Category Archives: Recipe Swaps

Lemon-Vanilla Bean Blender Pudding

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet, like a jar of pudding.

The Vintage Recipe Swap returns! After a several-month-long hiatus, our busy lives finally permit another epic recipe remake. We grew, we split, we frantically (at least on my part) went about our lives for a few months, and now we’re back together as one recipe-hungry group again.

Christianna provided us with an excellent recipe to rekindle our imaginations: Lemon Sponge Pie from the Old Court House Tea Room in Delaware. We are working our way through The Second Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes From Famous Eating Places, compiled in 1954, hence the geographic context.

mmm pie. Lemon pie makes me think of afternoon tea drinking and sophisticated conversation. Maybe it’s the Delaware tea room bringing that scene to mind but I think of lemon as a light, refreshing flavor that is available year-round. In this season of syrupy summer fruit desserts, a little lemon is a welcome reprieve.

I am trying to take it easy on myself nowadays: no elaborate undertakings in the kitchen when there is so much to do outdoors. I’m not baking bread. My pizza stone has seen very little use this summer. I didn’t feel like making pie. I know what you’re thinking: What self-professed baker/blogger is too lazy to make pie? Pie has never really been my thing. I’m a muffin kind of girl, remember? Even those requite too much portioning of ingredients into little tins for my patience right now.

And now to the un-pie. My favorite thing about pie is custard pie filling (mmm crustless sweet potato goat milk pies). For my take on lemon pie, I decided to embrace summer simplicity and my love for creamy filling with a no-cook lemon pudding. Two things make lemon pudding better: vanilla bean and eating it out of a jar. Whipped cream and some simple vanilla wafers would be fantastic too but I didn’t have either of those.

Walnuts made a nice addition.

I completely made up this recipe and I am completely satisfied with how it turned out. The spoon I dipped into the blender came out with a very lemony, creamy bite of heaven. I even sneaked some healthy things in there, balancing out the tangy Greek yogurt with silken tofu and keeping the added sugar to a minimum with only 1/4 cup of agave nectar. I have to warn all traditional lemon-pie lovers out there that this dessert is very lemony and not very sweet. It was perfect for my taste but you could balance things out a little more with more agave or honey and less lemon. I’m providing those variations in the recipe below in addition to my zippy version.

Don’t skip the vanilla bean but substitute vanilla extract if it’s all you have. The vanilla bean flavor shows up more after the pudding chills in the fridge for a few hours. I was so happy to come home to a jar of this after some epic dinghy sailing last night even though my frozen toes and fingers could have used a hot drink instead. The vanilla had come through and the texture had thickened since my sample bowl earlier in the day.

Lemon-Vanilla Blender Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 block (12 oz) silken tofu, such as Mori Nu Organic
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, regular or low-fat
  • Juice from 2 lemons (1 for more subtle flavor)
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4-1/3 cup agave nectar or honey, depending on your sweetness preferences
  • Insides scraped from one vanilla bean

Instructions

  1. Add everything to the your blender, starting with the tofu and yogurt.
  2. For the vanilla bean, slit the entire pod open with a knife and scrape out the dark paste (tiny bean flecks!) with the back of a knife or a spoon. Add this to the blender.
  3. Blend, starting on the lowest speed and working your way up, until the mixture is fully blended.
  4. Pour into bowls or jars to serve immediately or chill for a few hours or overnight before serving. The flavors will intensify and the texture will thicken as it chills.
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Roasted Citrus Parfait

By now, I’m on the island of St. Kitt’s, trying to adjust to Caribbean heat and humidity. Today, my little brother turns 24. Today is also the first Wednesday Recipe Swap for Burwell General Store. Wow, there’s a lot going on!

While it may sometimes come along during busy periods in my life, I have loved every single recipe swap since joining the group. I always learn something about a dish or two, about my own cooking, and about the astounding abilities of my co-swappers. This little activity has become so popular (yeah, we’re pretty cool) that Christianna, the swap’s founder, proposed that we split into two groups. There is now a Monday Swap and  Wednesday Swap every month. Each group starts with a different recipe, making for even more delicious madness.

As you can see, I fell in with the Wednesday swap crowd. I drooled over the Monday group’s pizza recipes earlier this month. At the time, I already had my own dish in the works, as I knew I’d be in the tropical wilds on the swap date.

I smiled when I saw this months recipe. Ah, jello salad. My mom makes a jello salad, just one but it’s a good one. It incorporates all the wonderful things about jello salads: fruity jello, crunchy things, cottage cheese…I could go on. I actually kind of love it, although I’ve never made it myself.

Anyway, back from that tangent. I didn’t make that salad, or any jello salad. After briefly considering an experiment with agar agar or unflavored gelatin I veered towards simplicity. A simple parfait is much more my style. I carried the citrus and cottage cheese over from the original recipe but needed little else.

I made this for lunch one day last week while I was trying to clean out the fridge and frantically ready myself for three weeks in the Caribbean. Breakfast might be a more appropriate meal for a parfait and it could certainly be a dessert or even dinner with some minor tweaks. The possibilities of varying the grain layer, sweetening the fruit, or maybe adding a layer of wilted kale and some savory spices make this an extremely versatile dish.

My main inspiration was Joy the Baker’s Roasted Winter Citrus. I bookmarked this post last month because I love roasting everything and will try that technique on anything at least once. I’d never tried it with citrus fruit but the idea immediately had me thinking of hot sweet-sour juices paired with something cold and cheesy. I ended up roasted a sliced grapefruit, partly because I’m always looking for different ways to eat that somewhat challenging fruit. Layered with chilly cottage cheese and cooked millet, roasted grapefruit was truly delicious and different.

Look at that soupy cottage cheese running down the inside of the glass. I wished I had my favorite cottage cheese on hand when I made my parfait. Nancy’s cottage cheese is cultured, like yogurt, so it’s tangy and richer tasting, even in a reduced fat version. I love it.

The pineapple in the original Orange Snowflake Salad seemed a little tropical to me. Maybe I just had the tropics on my mind, because knew I had to top my parfait with coconut butter. Coconut butter (like all nut butter) makes everything better, obviously. A more indulgent cook would have put gobs of this incredible spread/topping/syrup between every parfait layer. Next time.

I’m not the only one taking jello salad in a totally different direction!


Roasted Citrus Parfait

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup cooked grain (millet was nice)
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • A few wedges of Roasted Winter Citrus
  • Coconut butter, warmed in a bowl or pot of hot water so it is a liquid.

Instructions

  1. Roast your citrus first, or maybe you have some leftover from another meal.
  2. In any case, cut fruit out of rinds once it is cool enough to handle.
  3. Spoon a layer of grain into the bottom of a pretty glass or dish.
  4. Follow that with a layer of citrus, followed by cottage cheese.
  5. Repeat layers until you run out of room or ingredients.
  6. Top parfait with a couple spoonfuls of coconut butter.
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