Friday, May 30, 2008


Best Blog Tips
Okara "Parmesan"

What is okara? It's the pulp, or residue, leftover from making soymilk (see this blog post and this page on my website). If you make soymilk frequently you will have lots of it! Many people make interesting recipes with it, but, I must confess, I usually simply compost it!

Does it have any nutrition left? Yes, it does! It's full of fiber-- both soluble and non-soluble-- for one thing. It also contains some protein, calcium, iron and B vitamins. If you want to save it to use later, you can freeze it or dehydrate it (see the Tips in the recipe below).

The justhungry blog has some great ideas for using okara that I hadn't thought of (though not all vegetarian)! For instance, she mentions that you can rehydrate dried okara by simmering it in water or soymilk until soft, and then draining it. One great idea is to use fresh okara in polenta.

I never liked using fresh okara in breads, as it seems to sometimes "weigh them down". But justhungry suggest using dried okara in quick breads, etc., for a lighter texture-- sounds promising!

I just remembered that Dori from the Bakehouse blog (who has lots of okara recipes!)!) recommended using okara in my nut-based parmesan substitute recipe, but I never tried it. The other day I did, and it's good! Thanks, Dori! We can't get the Galaxy Foods Vegan Soy Parmesan up here anymore, so this is something I will definitely use often!

I'll post a few more okara recipes soon!

PS: for a new and improved version see this blog post!

BRYANNA'S OKARA PARMESAN SUBSTITUTE (Hat Tip to Dori from the Bakehouse blog!)
This is derived from my recipe for “Almonzano” (from my book "Nonna's Italian Kitchen"), but Dori from the bakehouse blog suggested using okara in it instead of almonds. The measurement for the okara is mine. This really looks like grated cheese and tastes "cheesey" (the miso adds a bit of fermented flavor). It shakes out easily, too. You can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe and keep it refrigerated or frozen. IT'S ONLY 12 CALORIES A TABLESPOON!!

PS: By "squeezed", I mean okara that comes after squeezing and twisting the soymilk out of a cloth or cloth bag, or pressing through a fine filter. The okara left in the filter of a soymilk maker is much wetter and you would need to squeeze that further.

1 1/3 cups dried okara (2 cups fresh, squeezed) (see Cooking Tips below for how to dry and store)
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons light miso

Process the okara, yeast and salt in a DRY blender until as fine as possible. Add the miso in tiny bits. Process again so that there are no lumps. Place in a covered container or shaker and keep refrigerated. (Make sure that the container is tightly closed so that no moisture gets in while in the refrigerator.)

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per tablespoon):
12.7 calories; 18% calories from fat; 0.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 58.3mg sodium; 49.3mg potassium; 1.8g carbohydrates; 0.4g fiber; 0.0g sugar; 1.5g net carbs; 1.0g protein; 0.2 points.

Cooking Tips

If you have a large amount of okara, you can use a food dehydrator, or spread it on cookie sheets and set it in the oven at its lowest temperature, with the oven door cracked open a little to let out moisture, until dry, stirring now and then.

To dry a small amount in a microwave oven:
Get a microwave-safe plate, or use the carousel in your microwave. Line it with two sheets of paper toweling (this will absorb the moisture), and top that with a piece of cooking parchment cut to fit (this will keep the okara from sticking as it dries). Spread the okara evenly on that, breaking up clumps as much as possible. Leave a space in the center empty (it burns easily in the center of the plate).

Here's my set-up for microwave-drying small amounts:

Microwave at half power (#5) in 5 minute increments, stirring after each one, until dried. I took away the paper toweling after the first 5 minutes because it was quite wet, and replaced it with new paper toweling.

Let it cool thoroughly before using or storing (in zip-lock bags).


Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Best Blog Tips

UPDATES, January 2020: See this post about straining the milk; and this one.

Also, if you are looking for a soymilk maker, look for a filterless machine-- see 2020 reviews of filterless machines here and here. Filterless machines are so much easier to clean and some can make a thicker soymilk, with more beans, and NO burning!

The machines I use (the SoyQuick pictured below) is, unfortunately, not produced any longer. (You may be able to find a good deal on an un-used or gently-used SoyQuick machine on ebay or other similar sites.)

I have revised my recipe for soymilk using the filterless machine. Because you can use a larger amount of beans without burning the milk, you can make ultra-creamy soymilk with this new Soyquick machine. Even with the extra beans (organic), it's still costs UNDER $1 a quart!

I developed a new soymilk recipe that makes non-beany soymilk (using ordinary soybeans) that is creamy and silky-smooth and tastes great! DH, who previously did not really like homemade soymilk as a beverage, is now converted!

For each batch, use a total of 6 oz., or about 165 g, of dried soybeans, which have been soaked thoroughly (I soak them overnight-- or even for up to 3 days-- in large screw-top jars with water up to the bottom of the neck of the jar), and, if you like, the skins removed (see information below-- this is an easy but important step to improve the flavor of the finished product), PLUS 3 tablespoons of rolled oats, which add a creamy texture.
NOTE: You don't have to follow the intructions in the following section if you use Laura soybeans, which apparently have a less "beany" flavor. This is what I have been told-- I haven't tried them myself because they are not available in Canada, as far as I am aware. Link to order Laura Soybeans (USA) (non-GMO)-- they are a pretty good price.

BEFORE MAKING THE SOYMILK, I prefer to rub off most of the skins of the soybeans-- this neutrilizes the "beany" taste. ( The skins contain some of the bitter flavours and also some inhibiting enzymes, so removing the skins can positively affect the taste, while some "gas forming" or "digestion inhibiting" compounds may be reduced or eliminated.)

This procedure isn't as arduous as it sounds. Place the drained, soaked soybeans in a deep bowl in the sink. Cover with boiling water and let sit until it cools off to just warm.  This helps loosen the skins. Remove the skins (or husks) by rubbing the soaked soybeans (still in the soaking water) between your hands with a back and forth motion. Stir the beans in a circular motion. The skins will float to the top and you can float them away while you drain off the water, leaving the beans behind.  You need to do this a few times (adding more water each time) until most of the skins have come off (leaving a few behind is okay). (PS: To conserve water, you can drain the soaking water into another bowl and reuse it each time you float away more skins. See instructions and ideas at end of this post.)

The skins are great for your compost, BTW, and the okara (the soy pulp left over from squeezing out the milk) can be used in recipes. Check this blog's Recipe Link page for  okara recipes, or use the search box on the main page using the word "okara". In addition, you can do a search in whatever search engine you use for "okara recipes"-- there are actually quite a few out there, such as Susan Voisin's vegan Okara "Crab" cakes or my Okara Waffles. There are some great okara recipes here, too!

Okara is full of fiber-- both soluble and non-soluble-- for one thing. It also contains some protein, calcium, iron and B vitamins. If you want to save it to use later, you can freeze it or dehydrate it

***NOTE: Do read the comments below-- lots of interesting and helpful information!

Now, follow the directions for your machine to make the soymilk.

Straining your soymilk:I like my milk smooth, so I want it strained well. Gold coffee filters, which is often recommended, are very slow and tedious. The mesh strainer that comes with many machines is just not fine enough for me and doesn't hold much at a time, so I gave up on that. Consequently, I use a metal "Chinois", or a conical strainer, to strain my soymilk with ease. (These are sometimes called "China caps", or a "8-inch Extra Fine Mesh Bouillon Strainer".) It has large capacity, is made of stainless steel and has extra fine mesh. If you do buy a conical strainer, opt for extra-fine mesh, NOT perforated steel.  In Canada, you can buy this from amazon here. In the USA, you can order it from here.

**For extra-smooth milk, I also line the strainer with a fine mesh "jelly bag" or nut milk bag, which fits inside the strainer and can be secured by folding the top edge over the edge of the strainer. The string at the top of the bag can be secured by attaching it to the hook at the top of the metal strainer, across from the handle. Then your pulp can be pressed with the bottom of a jar or some sort of pestle (it will be too hot to squeeze by hand). These bags are easily available in cookware shops, online, and even in large supermarkets.

To flavor each batch after straining, use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1-2 tablespoons organic sugar or sweetener of choice.

Note: Soymilk is naturally very low in sodium and sugars, which is why they are added to commercial soymilk. Dairy milk is naturally high in both—a taste most of us are used to, so most people prefer a little flavoring. Some people like to add vanilla, but I don't like the flavor of vanilla in my tea and cereal, etc..

   This photo shows the blade-protector, which is a cinch to clean-- no more filter clogging!
EXTRA: If you make your own soymilk and/or tofu and you are having water problems, here are some ideas to conserve water during the very water-intensive process:
You can use the same 2 quarts or so of water to:
a.) float the skins off the soybeans;
b.) scald your equipment;
c.) wash your equipment after making the soymilk;
and d.) water your plants or garden!
While rubbing the skins off of the beans before making the soymilk (removing the skins results in a product with a less "beany" taste), strain the water in which you are floating off the skins through a sieve into a pot or bowl each time. Re-use the same water for each round of rubbing off and floating off the skins and save the water after the last round. (NOTE: I have found that the age of the soybeans makes a difference in terms of removing the skins.  For older, more shrunken soybeans, it takes me about 7 minutes to remove the skins; for nice plump newer soybeans it takes only about 3 minutes.  I soak them in the refrigerator first for a few days.  Freezing the soaked beans also helps the skins come off more easily.)

Now you can 
boil that same strained rinsing water and use it to scald your equipment in a basin. After making your soymilk, you can re-use the same water (in a washing basin and reheated) to wash out your straining cloth and clean and rinse your soymilk-making equipmentIf you use dish soap, use a biodegradable one. You can then use this washing and rinsing water to water your plants or garden, or even flush your toilet, if water is very scarce.

                 Finished soymilk ready for the refrigerator.


Friday, May 23, 2008


Best Blog Tips
Downtown Princeton, NJ, near where we stayed on our trip

I'm finally getting down to blogging about my trip back east! My sister Karin and I traveled to New Jersey in mid-May to visit an old friend of our father's near Princeton. On 3 of the 5 days we were there we traveled by train (an hour's ride) into New York City to see a few sights and sample some of the vegan restaurants I had researched ahead of time!

Our host is a Professor Emeritus at Princeton and he took us for a tour of the University on our first day. The weather was lovely, and the campus was lush and green, in contrast with the largely Gothic architecture! We had some pretty good vegan sushi at the student cafeteria for lunch. That evening our hosts took us to the Sunny Garden Chinese restaurant for a lovely meal of Shanghai Garlic Greens, steamed vegetarian dumplings, Sizzling Tofu and Vegetables, and brown rice.

After that, aside from breakfast and one lovely salad dinner on the deck of our hosts' home in the country, we ate the majority of our meals in New York, which is what this blog will be about. For three days of our visit, we took the train from Princeton Junction to the New York Penn Station each morning (an hour's ride), and then back home again in the evening. During our 3 days in New York we took just about every mode of transportation going except a ferry (I'm used to those, anyway!). We took the train, the subway, the municipal bus, a taxi, and even rode in a private hired car (a black Lincoln) on one occasion!

We took "hop-on, hop-off" bus tours on two of our city days, in addition to LOTS of walking downtown, and in the theater and financial districts. I felt a little foolish doing the "tourist" trip, but it was a good way to see the city in a hurry, and the guides were informative, kind, and very entertaining.

On our first day in the city we "hopped-off" near Washington Square in Greenwich Village and had lunch at The Red Bamboo Soul Cafe.

The interior of the Red Bamboo-- that's Karin at the desk.

I have to explain that, though my sister is a vegan, and likes to eat well, she is not a "foodie". She has more strict eating habits than I do, which I guess is why she is skinny and I'm not! So, you will see a contrast between her choices and mine!

For this first meal in New York, she chose the edamame starter, which she repeated in almost every restaurant we visited. It was a hard choice (check out the menu here!), but I decided to go all-out with the soul food theme and ordered Cajun Fried Shrimp ("Deep fried vegetarian shrimp seasoned with paprika, thyme and sage seared with a southern BBQ sauce").

This was good-- four big "shrimp" and the sauce was not sweet. (However, I prefer the vegetarian "shrimp" we get in Vancouver, BC at West Best Vegetarian [4934 Victoria Dr.], a small storefront that supplies Buddhist vegetarian restaurants and also sells Chinese "mock meats" to the public. Their product is firmer than the one I had at The Red Bamboo.)

For the main dish, Karin ordered The House salad, but with the addition of tofu slices and Balsamic Vinaigrette:

I struggled to make a decision from the many tempting choices and finally settled on Butterfly Soy Chops ("Lightly breaded soy pork chips served with a fresh apple-raisin sauce, sauteed collard greens with veggie ham and sweet corn mashed potatoes"):

This was ALOT of food! There were three crunchy panko-covered chops under all that apple! I couldn't eat it all, and ended up taking half of the chops home with us, which I added to my salad on the night we ate at our hosts' home.

I liked the addition of corn to the mashed potatoes, and the collards with veggie "ham" were delicious. I found the "chops" a little lacking in taste (though the crunchy coating and the apples kind of made up for that) compared to my homemade ones-- sorry if that sounds like I'm blowing my own horn, but it's true!

It would have been nice to be in a group, so that I could have tasted more of the offerings! We had no room left to sample desserts, unfortunately, so we missed out on:
Chocolate covered Strawberry Shortcake
Peanut Butter Tandy Heaven
Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake
Brownie Bottom Cheesecake
Oreo Cookie Cheesecake

Darn it! Next time!


We worked up an appetite sight-seeing and walking for the rest of the day, and, at dinnertime, found ourselves in close proximity to one of the restaurants on my list, Franchia Teahouse & Restaurant, an extention of the award winning Korean vegetarian restaurant, Hangawi. It is a lovely, peaceful place with charming Asian decor. Here's a shot of the ceiling over our heads:

They have a nice sushi menu, so I ordered Crispy Tofu Skin Roll, and Karin ordered the Chicken Teriyaki Roll:

I didn't taste Karin's, but she said it was delicious. As for my sushi, I plan to try this at home myself! It was simple, just ordinary sushi rice rolled around crispy fried yuba and the nori seaweed, but it was a great contrast biting into the crisp yuba-- very pleasant and unexpected!

Only "light meals" are served at Franchia, but there is a great selection of dishes, and, once again , it was hard to make a decision! Since we had eaten a large lunch (at least, I had!), we ordered from the Appetizer menu. I ordered a plate of Assorted Dumplings (steamed, not fried), and Karin ordered the Summer Rolls with Mango Citron Sauce, and we shared. The dumplings were great! There were Soy and Grain 'Meat' Dumplings, Green Tea Vegetable Dumplings, Spicy Kimchi Dumplings, and Mixed Vegetable Dumplings, with a light soy sauce dip. I really can't decide which I preferred!

The "Summer Rolls" (above) were not quite what we expected, but they were light and tasty.

Again, we unfortunately couldn't manage dessert, tempting though they sounded, and had a Soy Chai Latte instead!

I would definitely recommend a visit to this charming teahouse if you are in the vicinity of 12 Park Ave.!


On our second day in New York, we chose Zenith, which is a regular Japanese restaurant on one side, and an Asian-fusion vegetarian restaurant on the other! The menu is extensive, and maybe we didn't choose wisely, but this was my least-favorite meal in New York. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't memorable, and it was a very small portion for the bucks!

Karin had edamame, of course,

and vegetables and tofu braised in a black bean sauce with tomatoes, with brown rice:

It was tasty, but unremarkable. Here's my lunch, Mushroom-Stuffed Ravioli topped with vegetarian seafood and vegetable in a white sauce:

The ravioli did not seem homemade to me, and I think I got about 6 small squares. The sauce was just a very light cornstarch-based Chinese-style sauce with no discernible herbs or other flavoring. For $15, it was not a bargain! I was hungry an hour later! But, that's okay-- I made up for it the next day!

This was the night we ate back in Princeton, when our hostess set a lovely table on the deck overlooking the garden and served wholegrain toast with a romaine lettuce and tomato salad with roasted nuts and other goodies in it. Our hosts had sliced chicken in their salad and I sliced up my leftover "soy chops" from the Red Bamboo in mine, while Karin added browned, crumbled veggie burger to hers. (Our hostess confessed that she was "terrified" when she found out we were vegan, and surprised that we were so "easy" to please!)


Our last day in New York was our best eating day, in my opinion (I can't speak for Karin!). I had spoken to my friend, vegan pastry chef Fran Costigan, whom we were to meet later for dinner, and she recommended Candle 79 over its parent restaurant, Candle Cafe. We were planning to visit the Metropolitan Museum that day, and Candle 79 is located conveniently nearby, so that's where we headed for lunch!

It is an elegant restaurant and the lunch menu is small, but varied. (That makes it easier for me!) Karin chose the Hydrogarden Farm Edamame with Celtic Sea Salt, Chili, and Lemon for her starter, and the Fava Bean Vegetable Soup for her entree:
(Pardon the lackluster photos-- the lighting was poor!)

She was enthusiastic about the additions to the edamame, and I can attest that her soup was delicious!

I chose the BBQ Seitan Sandwich with avocado, caramelized onions, polenta fries, and mixed lettuces, partly because I wanted to taste their seitan, also because I love polenta! The sandwich was large, and the bread was a sort of focaccia, I think:

I'm sure the ketchup was homemade. The seitan was fantastic-- the sauce not too sweet, and you could have sworn you were eating "pulled pork" if you didn't know better! Nicely satisfying, delicious-- the best meal I had in New York!

We decided to have dessert, but the photo just did not turn out. We shared the House Made Sorbet & Ice Cream Sampler (chef's daily selection), which was vanilla-chocolate chip, blueberry, and banana. The vanilla was creamy and wonderful; the blueberry was a little flat-- not enough berries for my taste; and the banana was smooth and surprisingly good-- I say that because I usually hate banana ice cream. But it is often made with phony flavoring, and this was made with real bananas, no mistake!

For our last New York restaurant meal (which was my favorite second only to Candle 79!), we met up with Fran at Zabar's and had a quick look-round (it was rush hour and dinnertime, and the lines were long!), then bought some bagels for our breakfast the next morning at H&H Bagels, before heading for a favorite Turkish restaurant of Fran's, Turkuaz. I was looking forward to this-- I was missing this type of cuisine!

There was no bellydancer that night (I love seeing good bellydancing!), but the restaurant was charming and we sat at a low table on lounges decked with colorful pillows. Fran and I tried not to bore Karin too much with "foodie" talk, but I don't know how well we succeeded!

The menu is omni, but there are plenty of vegan options in Turkish cuisine! Fran and I decided to chose several dishes from the salad and appetizer menus and share them. The waitress kept baskets of Turkish flatbread coming, to dip into the light-spiced olive oil on the table. We chose Piyaz (White Bean Salad--Boiled white beans, tomato, red onion, red and green bell pepper parsley mixed in olive oil and vinegar); Patlıcan Salatası (Eggplant Salad--Char-grilled eggplant puree, red and green bell pepper, dill, freshly squeezed lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil); Imam Bayıldı (Imam Fainted-- Baby eggplant stuffed with onion, red and green pepper, currants, pine nuts and garlic); Zeytinyağlı Yaprak Dolması ( Stuffed Grape Leaves-- Grape leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, currants, and herbs); and Acılı Ezme (Spicy Mashed Vegetables-- A mixture of hot and spicy finely chopped vegetables, which also contained walnuts and reminded me of Muhamarra, the walnut, red pepper, pomegranate molasses and breadcrumb spread).

We were talking so much that I forgot to take pictures until we had already eaten most of our meal! I assembled what was left on one plate and took this picture (lighting was bad here, too):

Everything was absolutely scrumptious!

Karin chose the Türlü (Vegetable Casserole) with rice-- I forgot to take a picture of this before she ate it!

We had a quick visit with Fran at her apartment before we had to head to Lincoln Center to meet our hosts, who were attending the opera that night. We participated in the "scrum" at the curb, as everyone tried to find their hired cars, and went home to Princeton in style in the big black Lincoln, courtesy of our hosts!

So that was the end of our New York eating-- the less said about airport food (when you could find anything!), the better. It was a bit of a nightmare trip home, due to some delays and storms over the Great Lakes, but we made it home in one piece!

I was really glad to get home. It was a great visit, and I was so glad to have visited with my father's old friend and his wife, both very engaging, and to see Fran, even briefly. New York is exciting and we only scratched the surface! The Metropolitan Museum was amazing! And it is NOT true that New Yorkers are rude or unfriendly! We encountered helpful people everywhere! However, even though I was raised in San Francisco, and lived in Vancouver for 11 years, I am not a city girl anymore! It was too busy, noisy, and crazy for me! So here I am on my little island again, and grateful for the privilege of living in such a paradise!

To show you how lovely it is here, here are some pictures I took on the ferry as we were leaving Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, heading for Vancouver Island (I was so wiped that I was too lazy to go outside to take these, so there is some glare):

All the best!

Friday, May 9, 2008


Best Blog Tips I'm off to Princeton, NJ and New York for a week, with my sis! I'll blog when I get back!

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING NON-PLASTIC IN WHICH TO STORE YOUR HOMEMADE SOYMILK? These are 1 qt./L Frigoverre glass storage jugs (made in Italy), and they were $4.99 each (Cnd) at London Drugs (UPDATE 2012-- they are now $5.99 and the make is Bormioli Rocco, but it's the same thing). Tight lid and easy to store; sturdy glass. UPDATE 2014:  These jugs are also available under the name "Amici" or "Quadro" (talk about confusing!). Here's a 2 qt. jug from Canadian Tire.

Online sources for various kinds of glass storage jugs/pitchers in the US:

A set of two 1 L jugs similar to the ones above, but with colorful lids at, and also the single one with a white lid, but, oddly, they are more expensive than the Canadian ones above.


Here's a yummy, no-fat soup we had for lunch the other day:


The combination of black beans and sweet potatoes is always enticing, but especially so in this soup with Caribbean flavors.

3 cups cooked or canned (2/ 15 ounce cans) black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cup low-sodium vegetarian broth (don't use more-- trust me!) (I like Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Vegan Broth Base)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules OR 2 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 pkg. (60 g) Yves Veggie Pizza Pepperoni (or any spicy vegan "sausage" or "deli slice"), cut into slivers
4 green onions, chopped
12-14 ounces sweet potato, peeled and diced

Mix together the beans, broth, tomato paste, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, garlic granules, allspice, and thyme in a blender or food processor. Puree coarsely. Pour into a medium-sized soup pot. (You can also do this right in the soup pot with an  immersion/stick blender.)

Add the bay leaf, veggie pepperoni slivers, green onions, and sweet potato. Bring to a boil, stirring now and then. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Servings: 4

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
273.1 calories; 2% calories from fat; 0.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 513.8mg sodium; 842.1mg potassium; 50.6g carbohydrates; 14.1g fiber; 4.2g sugar; 36.5g net carbs; 17.5g protein; 4.7 points.


Chocolate panini.... some high-quality white bread, Ricemellow Creme (or you can use my homemade "Marshie Fluff", ; vegan, organic, fair trade chocolate; and low-sugar apricot jam. Yum!!


Sunday, May 4, 2008


Best Blog Tips

I should be blogging a little more regularly from now on (except for being away for the week of May 12th). Due to some family obligations, I decided to stop publishing my quarterly vegan cooking newsletter, the Vegan Feast, after five years. I'm kinda sad, because it was a great experience, I met some wonderful people, learned alot, and ate really well, but something had to go!

Last night we took dinner over to a friend's house and I made a dessert I had been thinking about doing for a week. The brownies are a veganized, whole grain version of one I saw in a magazine, with a few other changes. I have made a number of other desserts with chai spices, and this sounded intriguing. I was a little worried that the brownies would be too dry (they were dryer than my other brownies, but not overly-so), so I decided to pair them with a really gingery version of my vegan gelato. It worked! All of the diners gave the dessert a thumbs-up! Give it a try!

Printable Recipe


These were inspired by a recipe in Cooking Light magazine. They aren't dark brownies-- if they were too chocolate-y, the chai spices would get lost in the chocolate! They are delicious served with the Ginger Gelato (recipe below).

GLUTEN-FREE NOTE: I think this recipe would work well, maybe even better, with a gluten-free flour mix.

1/4 cup plant-based milk
2 chai tea bags (I used rooibos chai teabags-- see photo below)
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz.) organic, dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (Fairtrade, if possible)
1/4 cup vegan butter (see my palm oil-free Buttah) or 3 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons flaxseeds
Dry Mix:
1 tablespoon Ener-G or Orgran egg replacer powder
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or GF flour mix
1 cup organic unbleached sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened organic cocoa (I use fair trade Camino brand)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lightly toasted slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil or spray a 9-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with baking parchment cut to fit.

Heat the milk in a very small saucepan (like a little butter melter) OR microwave in a heat-proof measuring cup at 50% power  just to boiling.

Remove from heat. Add the tea bags, pressing down into the milk. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a tea-strainer into a measuring cup, pressing the teabags with the back of a spoon. If it doesn't measure 1/4 cup, add more milk until it does.

Pour into a medium microwave-safe bowl. Add the chocolate and Earth Balance or oil to milk/chai mixture. Microwave at high power for 20 seconds or until the chocolate is melted. Stir or whisk until smooth. Cool slightly.

In a blender, combine the water and flaxseeds at high speed until the mixture is "gloppy" like egg whites and you can only see flecks of flaxseed. Add the egg replacer powder and blend until it thickens a bit. Scoop this into the chocolate mixture with a spatula. Fold it into the chocolate mixture until it is well-mixed, but fluffy.

Combine the Dry Mix ingredients together with a whisk in a medium bowl. Add the Dry Mix to the chocolate/flaxseed mixture, along with the toasted almonds, stirring just until combined. It will be thick.

Spread evenly into the prepared pan-- I had to use wet fingers to spread it out. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan on a rack. Cut into 20 pieces, and loosen the edges. Cool before eating. Remove from the pan to a serving plate. Keep covered after they cool.

Servings: 20
Yield: 20 brownies

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per brownie):
140.1 calories; 29% calories from fat; 4.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 76.7mg sodium; 134.0mg potassium; 24.1g carbohydrates; 2.5g fiber; 13.8g sugar; 21.5g net carbs; 2.5g protein; 2.7 points.

The gelato in my little Donvier hand-crank ice cream maker ("No salt or ice needed; freezer bowl and paddle do the work").  UPDATE: Now I also have a Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2 qt. Automatic ice cream machine.

Printable Recipe

Servings: 8
Yield: 1 quart
Adapted from a recipe in my book "Nonna's Italian Kitchen". Tapioca starch makes this gelato smooth and custardy without the mouth-feel of a "frozen pudding".

This is a very ginger-y gelato. If you want to tone it down a bit (but, why?), omit the candied ginger.

NOTE ABOUT NUT ALLERGY: if allergic to nuts, use coconut milk beverage, or soy, hemp or rice milk, and omit the cashews and add 1/4 cup more milk of choice and 1/4 cup oil.

1 cup water
1/4 cup grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup light agave nectar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups creamy original-style plant-based milk
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
1/2 cup unbleached organic granulated sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca starch (don't substitute other starches! See Cooking Tips below)
1/4 teaspoon salt
ADDITIONAL: (you can omit this if you want a milder ginger flavor)
1/2 cup chopped organic candied ginger

Mixture #1:
To make the Ginger-Water, simmer the water and ginger in a small saucepan, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Strain through a sieve. Measure. You should have 3/4 cup. If you have more, simmer again to reduce it to 3/4 cup. If you don't have enough, add water to make 3/4 cup. Pour it into a small mixing bowl.

Whisk in the agave nectar and vanilla. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Mixture #2:
Blend all of the Mixture #2 ingredients in the blender until VERY smooth and frothy (make sure that it doesn't feel grainy). Place this mixture in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until thickened.

OR (MICROWAVE OPTION) place the mixture in a large microwave-proof bowl and microwave on high power for 2 minutes; whisk; cook 2 minutes more; whisk; and cook 1 minute more.

Whisk Mixture #1 into cooked Mixture #2. Chill the gelato mixture thoroughly, and then freeze according to directions for your ice cream machine.

When the mixture is about 3/4 of the way frozen, add the candied ginger.

When the gelato is frozen, scoop it into a quart container, cover and freeze for several hours before serving.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving):
201.2 calories; 19% calories from fat; 4.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 91.3mg sodium; 105.7mg potassium; 42.5g carbohydrates; 0.5g fiber; 29.5g sugar; 42.0g net carbs; 1.8g protein; 4.3 points.

Cooking Tips

Easy to find in natural food stores, Asian grocery stores or the Asian section of large supermarkets.

Also available at, & .ca and many online Asian food purveyors.