Raw Cacao Mousse with Irish Moss

Cacao!

Cacao!

There seems to be a trendy ingredient as of late…Irish Moss. I see it pop up in all the raw vegan pies and puddings in fancy juice bars and vegan cafes, and have been a bit confused as to what it is and how to use it. It is a gelatin substitute and thickening agent that creates a fluffy texture in recipes.

This is a 2 day process that requires overnight soaking, so you can make this ahead! Not at the last minute, or you will be sad.

Irish Moss How-to

Buy Irish Moss from your local health food store or Whole Foods. I used the Divine Organics brand. Irish Moss is actually a type of seaweed and is full of trace minerals such as magnesium, super important for your health!

1. Grab a cup of moss from the bag and place in a very large bowl. It will be in large kelp-like leaves. It will smell like horrible fish and the sea. Don’t be afraid (I was!).  Add water to cover by a couple of inches. There will be sand and weird white and black gritty things covering the moss, as it is from the sea. Soak overnight or all day long.

2. After at least 6 hours, the moss will double in size and be lighter in color. Rinse the moss a few times with cold water until you no longer have sandy bits falling into the bowl.

3. Add soaked moss with 1.5 cups of fresh water (not the soaking water) and blend in a food processor or Vitamix until totally blended and gel-like in consistency.

4. Store in a container up to a week.

Raw Cacao Mousse Recipe

(Makes four 6oz puddings, but you can use smaller containers to make more cups!)

5 Pitted Dates (soaked overnight or add boiling water and soak 5 mins)

1/4 C. Brazil Nuts (soaked overnight or add boiling water and soak 5 mins)

3/4 C. Irish Moss puree

1 C. Almond Milk

1/2 C. Full Fat Coconut Milk

2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

3 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder (if using cocoa powder, use 4 tbsp as cacao is stronger)

Pinch of sea salt

Raw Cacao Nibs, for sprinkling on top

Directions:

1. Combine soaked brazil nuts and dates in food processor or vitamix and blend until mostly combined, scraping down the sides if needed.

2. Add Irish Moss puree and cacao powder, blend until smooth.

3. Add remaining almond milk, coconut milk, salt, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, blending for a few minutes until completely smooth and chunk free. Taste to make sure it is sweet enough to your liking before pouring it into cups!

4. Pour into 4 mini mason jars or ramekins, sprinkle with cacao nibs, and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The Irish Moss takes a bit of time to set up and become firm.

5. Enjoy!

3 Ingredient Backpacker Pancakes (grain free, gluten free)

pancakes

Pancake heaven

As a gluten free traveler with persnickity eating habits, I learned pretty quickly to carry my own ingredients with me for anti-starvation purposes. Since I have a sweet tooth and love baking but cannot eat hardly any packaged baked goods (I’m semi-paleo diet and don’t eat any grains at all) I bring my own ingredients for sweet treats. I always travel with a small container of Manuka Honey (this stuff is amazing when sourced from New Zealand!), raw cacao powder (instant hot chocolate!), a bit of cinnamon, and coconut flour. Each time I checked into a new hostel, I would purchase a container of eggs and a tub of Yoplait’s “Fresh’n Fruity” greek yogurt from a grocery store nearby. Side note: Yoplait’s yogurt has way cuter packaging in New Zealand than the States. I could always have honey and yogurt for breakfast, or eggs. Easy peasy! New Zealanders do not refrigerate their eggs. The first time I saw an aisle full of eggs right next to the cookie aisle and the “long life milk” (i.e., unrefrigerated soy milk and rice milk) aisle, I laughed. Perfect! I do not have to fight for more fridge space at the hostel!

yogurt

Fancy Fresh’N Fruity Yogurt!

The first morning I woke up at the Backpacker’s Hostel in The Bay of Islands, NZ, I wanted pancakes. Actually, I wanted crepes.  What is a crepe made out of anyway? Eggs, flour, milk. I reviewed my ingredients. I have eggs. And I have some yogurt that is basically thicker milk. And I have some coconut flour that is basically like flour. I had purchased a ripe white peach during the height of their summer season in March, and found a stick of butter in the hostel fridge that looked sanitary and edible. I can work with this. I take a giant spoonful of coconut flour, a giant spoonful of yogurt, and crack two eggs in a bowl and mix. My idea for a crepe quickly transitions into a pancake recipe when I realize how thick the batter is – and how much it looks like buttermilk pancake batter!

pancake batter

Batter

I sauté the white peach with some cinnamon and newfound butter in one pan, and cook off the pancakes in another pan, which to my amazement, come out PERFECTLY. They look like real buttermilk pancakes, are kind of fluffy, and are delightfully browned. As I sit outside on the porch overlooking the ocean, my strikingly tall and beautiful Dutch roommate Sanne sees them and exclaims, “Oh my! You have actually cooked a breakfast! You are a cook! I wish I could cook.” And runs off to fetch her cereal and milk to join me. We had a long discussion the day before in which I tried to explain to her, with English as her third language, that I do not eat bread or flour. She was astonished, “You do not eat glutens? Or flour? Carbs? But all I eat is carbs!”

This morning, she looks at my pancakes and asks, “But this is not carbs? Not flour?”

“Nope,” I replied, “It’s made of coconut!”

“This is really really good!” She says as she tries a bite of her first no-carb pancake, “This is soooooo good!”

And so the recipe is born. It gives me enough energy to run off on a boating adventure all morning! This boat!

boat

Eat pancakes, go boating!

3 Ingredient Backpacker Pancakes (Grain Free Gluten Free)

2 Eggs

1/4 Cup Coconut Flour

1/3-1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt (if it is a thick or greek yogurt, use a little more – if it is a thinner yogurt, use a little less)

….the extra 2 ingredients…if you feel fancy 😉

1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

Pinch of salt

You can also add a little lemon zest, blueberries, or whatever strikes your fancy.

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Start with 1/3 cup yogurt and see if the batter is thick enough. It should feel and look like conventional pancake batter. If it is too thick, add a little more yogurt. Heat a cast iron pan over low-medium and melt a tsp of butter or coconut oil. When the pan is hot and the butter is melted, drop large spoonfuls of batter in the pan. I can usually fit 3 small pancakes in a 10 inch cast iron pan. After 3-4 minutes, when the pancakes start to bubble on top and is light brown on the bottom, flip. Wait for the other side to brown and remove from pan. Repeat until all pancakes are done!

This recipe makes 6-8 hearty but small pancakes and feeds 1 super hungry person or 2 semi hungry people. Add some bacon and you have the perfect breakfast! Serve with butter and jam or maple syrup drizzled on top. Yum!

recipe: faux buttermilk pancakes

I have discovered the perfect gluten free, vegan pancake recipe. After much trial and error, this is it! These pancakes are thick, fluffy, do not stick to the pan, and are so so SO satisfying in a way that real buttermilk pancakes of the past used to satisfy. When I took my first bite, I jumped with joy and screamed. Now I can die happy one day, knowing that I have created my dream pancake! The recipe is relatively simple with the exception of a little prep work-proccessed almonds-which I always seem to have on hand, since I make my own almond milk semi-frequently. What are processed almonds and how do I make them? Here is the recipe!

Faux Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients

1 C. Brown Rice Flour
1/2 C. Tapioca Flour
1/2 C. Soaked, Ground Almonds (brazil nuts work well too)
3 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 C. Unsweetened Almond Milk/Brazil Nut Milk (or other non-dairy milk of choice)
3 Tsp. Ener-G egg Substitute
1 Tbsp. Ground Flax Seeds
4 Tbsp Warm Water
3 Tsp Agave
2 Tbsp Melted Earth Balance
1 Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

In a large bowl, whisk brown rice, tapioca, and almond flours, baking soda, and salt until combined. Set aside.
In a medium sized, microwaveable bowl, combine flax meal, water, and Ener-G egg replacer. Whisk, microwave for 20 seconds, then stir again to combine. I find that egg replacer and water don’t thicken up unless they are microwaved, which gives it a gooey, egg like consistency, and a thicker pancake batter. To the liquid mixture, add melted earth balance, almond milk, agave, and vanilla extract. Whisk or stir until well combined, then add to flour mixture and whisk until well batter looks thick with only a few small lumps. Do not over-stir!
Heat a medium sized, non-stick skillet to medium heat and add a tiny bit of earth balance to coat the bottom. Pour 1/3 Cup of batter onto skillet and wait until you see a few bubbles pop, then flip. Pancake should be golden brown. Add a few chocolate chips or thawed blueberries before flipping, if you like! Just a warning, if you add frozen blueberries, the batter tends to get too soft around each blueberry, resulting in a mushy texture that isn’t so awesome. Therefore, thaw the berries, or hold off altogether. I find that this pancake is so awesome plain, it doesn’t need much but a drizzle of pure maple syrup and some fruit on the side.

Enjoy immediately! Feeds 2 hungry vegans/makes about 6 large pancakes.

recipe – coconut tapioca pudding

Homemade Has Never Looked so Good


After a recent dining excursion ended with coconut tapioca pudding topped with fig compote, I decided it was time to make my own. Although it takes a little longer to prepare, the larger pearl size (as opposed to small pearl) is satisfyingly gummy in a creamy coconut base. A small amount of agave instead of the usual refined sugar lends a surprising brown sugar flavor. Top with local berries, add a drizzle of chocolate syrup, or enjoy it plain. Go eat your pudding!

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

1/3 C Large Pearl Tapioca
3/4 C Water
1/3 C Agave Syrup
2 1/4 C Canned Coconut Milk (about 2 cans)
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 Tsp Sea Salt

Soak tapioca in water for 30 minutes, until all water has been absorbed. In a medium saucepan over medium to high heat, combine soaked tapioca, coconut milk, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a bubbling simmer (low-medium heat) for 15 minutes, stirring often. In the last 5 minutes, add agave and stir continuously. Pudding will thicken slightly, and thickens more after cooling. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so a film does not form on top. Stir in vanilla. Refrigerate in a large bowl or 6 individual servings for a yummy treat!