Mango Sorbet

Mango Sorbet

I don’t have an air conditioner in my apartment, so now that summer is in full swing I’ve been making more and more frozen desserts in an attempt to keep cool.  I absolutely love fresh mangoes, but mangoes are actually one of the few fruits that I usually prefer to buy frozen.  Since I always try to have a supply of frozen mangoes on hand (my favorite brand is Trader Joe’s Mango Chunks), this sorbet is ridiculously quick and easy to make, not to mention delicious!
To make this sorbet, all that’s required is to pour the desired amount of frozen mango chunks into a food processor, add a squirt or two of agave nectar (optional), and blend until smooth.  I usually let the frozen mangoes sit on the counter for a little while to make processing easier, but it’s not really necessary to do so.  I had come across this recipe for raw mango sorbet in a few raw cookbooks, and I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical that a recipe with only two ingredients could fulfill my expectations for a sorbet.  I was totally blown away by the taste and texture of the sorbet when I first tried it, and I honestly believe that it’s better than any regular sorbet I’ve ever made.  This mango sorbet is fabulous straight from the food processor (when it’s the consistency I would except for sorbet from a gelato shop), or you can freeze it for a few hours until it reaches the consistency of a pint of store-bought sorbet.
The mango flavor really shines in the original recipe, but sometimes I like to add other frozen fruits for variety.  I hope you’ll give this sorbet a try, and here are some of my favorite variations for inspiration!

Pineapple Mango Sorbet

Pineapple Mango Sorbet: This sorbet is my favorite variation.  It tastes like scoops of sunshine and is the perfect tropical treat!

Papaya Mango Sorbet
Papaya Mango Sorbet
: I love the color of this sorbet, and the mango flavor does a great job balancing out the taste of papaya.

Mango Banana Sherbet

Mango Banana Sherbet:  The bananas make the sorbet a bit heavier, creamier, and more satisfying — almost like a mango ice cream.

Mango Peach Sorbet

Mango Peach Sorbet: The peach flavor gets a bit overshadowed by the mangoes, but I still absolutely love this variation!

June 25, 2009. Frozen Desserts, Raw. Leave a comment.

Artisana

Artisana Logo

I’ve heard of numerous products that are so addictively delicious that they are jokingly referred to as “vegan crack.”  For me, vegan crack is Artisana’s Organic Raw Cashew Butter (and I mean that in the best possible way).  I didn’t even like cashews before I started eating this nut butter, but it is so rich and creamy that I’m hard-pressed to imagine a more fabulous product. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I have, on more than one occasion, eaten an entire jar of Artisana cashew butter by myself in a single day.  I have even sat down with a spoon and eaten an entire jar in a one sitting.  This isn’t a habit I would recommend though, since in addition to being rather expensive, eating an entire 16 oz. jar of cashew butter is also 2562 calories and 322% Percent Daily Value for fat . . . whoops!  Most of the time I like to have a spoonful as a snack, or mix some into a batch of raw banana ice cream for extra richness.
Although the cashew butter is my hands-down favorite, I often buy the other varieties as well.  Here’s a ranking I’ve compiled of Artisana’s nut butters, with the cashew butter as the front-runner by a mile:

  • Cashew Butter
  • Macadamia Cashew Butter
  • Pecan Butter
  • Walnut Butter
  • Coconut Butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Tahini

The macadamia, pecan, and walnut butters also contain cashews to make them creamier, and I’ve been thoroughly impressed by all of them. I sometimes notice variations in taste or texture between different jars of the same flavor, but in a way I find it reassuring since it means that the products are definitely made from natural ingredients.  The coconut butter wasn’t as coconutty as I had expected, but as long as you remember to warm it up before using it, it can be very tasty as a snack or to use in raw desserts.  I was expecting to love the almond butter since almonds are my favorite nuts, but the jar I bought tasted completely rancid and I haven’t bought it again.  It’s also a bit difficult to include the tahini in my ranking, since eating tahini straight is pretty disgusting; but it has a nice, smooth consistency and would be great to use in raw recipes.
Otherwise, even though I have certainly preferred some flavors to others, I have always been very impressed by the high-quality of Artisana nut butters. The products are relatively expensive compared to regular peanut butter, but for organic, raw nut butters, the prices are on par with other brands. Artisana is a completely vegan company, and also offers a range of coconut butter-based products, my favorite of which is the Amazon Bliss.  If you’re on the market for some fabulous raw nut butters, I suggest trying Artisana’s products (especially their Organic Raw Cashew Butter), but you should be forewarned that there’s probably a good chance you’ll also end up becoming an addict!

June 15, 2009. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Veganizing Old Favorites

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While I was growing up, there were a few recipes that my mother made on a regular basis, usually with me to serve as her baking assistant.  For cookies, we usually made the “Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies” from the lid of the Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats container, but substituted chocolate chips for raisins.  For cake, we almost always went with the “Loaf o’ Gold” recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, but made the “Marble Pound Cake” variation.
When I first went vegan, I didn’t even think of trying to “veganize” these old favorites, and instead looked for new, already-vegan recipes to try.  I just assumed that I would get better results with recipes that were designed to be vegan, and I was not yet comfortable enough with vegan baking to experiment on my own.  After a few years, I did try to veganize some of my family recipes, with limited success.  I made batches of vegan Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, experimenting with various butter and egg replacers, and even making bar cookies (which I had never tried with the vegetarian recipe).  For the Marble Pound Cake, I didn’t try as many vegan substitutions, but I did look for ways to reduce the fat in the original recipe.  The results were always delicious, but on the whole they reaffirmed my belief that veganizing a vegetarian recipe is probably not the best way to make a great vegan dessert.

Marble Pound Cake

For example, both of the original recipes I mentioned call for an entire stick of butter (technically, the Loaf o’ Gold calls for half margarine/half butter, but we always used all butter in my family).  Sure, it would easy to use vegan margarine instead and keep most of the recipe intact, but I wouldn’t want to.  Replacing milk, butter, and eggs in vegetarian recipes can certainly be done with pleasing results, but the final product won’t taste the same as the original, and you’ll forever be comparing your veganized creation to the “real thing.”
If you can’t find an existing vegan recipe for a particular dessert, then you can get creative with vegan baking.  I’ve found that it’s better to recreate your favorite recipes using vegan methods than to veganize old favorites. Going vegan definitely broadened by cooking and baking horizons, and for anyone whose disappointed by vegan desserts, it might be because your stuck in a non-vegan frame of mind for your baking references and are using recipes designed to work with eggs and dairy.
When veganized, the recipes that I thought made the best vegetarian desserts rarely made the best vegan desserts.  I still make adaptations of my old favorites once in a while to satisfy my nostalgia and I always enjoy the taste, but there are definitely vegan recipes that are better!

June 5, 2009. Uncategorized. 4 comments.