You've got guests coming for dinner. You want to have a dessert but don't have the time. What to do? Here's my answer and it's healthy and pretty to look at, to boot! Wow!
Where we live (there are no traffic lights here, if you can imagine). So we don't have many choices for stores or shops - many times it is necessary to rely on our own devices to "cook" something up in a jiffy. This is what I did to solve my dessert dilemma. And the best part is that our guests wanted to take some home with them. That's always a nice thing to hear.
What is it, exactly? Basically, it's a chocolate fudge ball made from ground nuts, leftover granola, remains of some cocoa powder, a melted cube of bittersweet chocolate, some tahini, spices & a spoonfull of orange marmalade for moistness - ALL balled up and rolled in sesame seeds. YUM! See how below!
So HERE's HOW TO WING IT!
THIS "RECIPE" made 12 small Fudge Balls (about 1" in size)
I used several different kinds of nuts that I had on hand. About 1/2 cup each of 3 types (or use what you have) but it should total about 1.5 cups of nuts. In my case I used:
<---------- that's how you swoosh:)
When your fudge balls are all done and coated plate them and store in refridge. They will harden - so, I remove them about 1 hour before dessert to let them soften a bit. If they are too big cut the fudge balls in half with a sharp knife - you don't want to loose their shape - so don't squish - and plate stylishly atop one another.
These Fudge Balls pack a tasty punch - so it is good to serve them with an after dinner drink that will balance their richness. I serve them with coffee spiced with ground cardamom or with cinnamon (I love cardamom - but it is not for everyone). HMMMMM GOOD!
Ahhhh ....Nori Seaweed. Many of you know Nori as the green seaweed wrap used in Sushi cuisine. Here on the Mendonoma coast Nori grows abundantly wild along with many other edible sea vegetables. One doesn't need to harvest much to produce a lot of dried/finished product! A small zip lock bag full of Nori for my personal consumption is enough to last a very long time - and for this I am forever grateful to nature! What a treasure it is. I harvest it, dry it in the sun and then roast it with sesame seeds and a bit of sesame oil - once done I flake it down and put it into jars and use it as a roasted snack, in homemade granola or sprinkle it virtually on any foods I eat... I even put it into my breakfast cereal! It is THAT GOOD! and incredibly nutritious. And for those concerned about a "fishy" or brine-like flavor ... FEAR NOT! Roasted Nori has a salty, nutty flavor and it is tastier with a sesame flare.
Nori (Porphyra porforata) is a rich source of vitamin C and contains up to 25% protein by weight. Nori also adds vitamin B12, carbohydrates and trace minerals to your diet. It is the seaweed highest in protein, iron and vitamin B-12. In fact, there is no land vegetable that packs the same kind of nutritional & mineral rich punch as NORI or any fresh Sea Vegetable for that matter. Not one!
Here on the Mendo Coast one may harvest no more than 5 lbs a day for personal use. And, believe me, 5lbs is WAY TOO MUCH. I pull about an 1oz of the stuff and it lasts forever! I harvest responsibly - so, if you choose to harvest be sure to talk with someone that does harvest and do so responsibly. It makes you appreciate it more when you do the proper homework and research to collect this precious gift.
Madge's Homemade (vegan) Nori Granola Bars!
How to prepare Nori: You can purchase Nori dried in its raw/harvested form. Look up Mendocino Seaweed retailers. Or if you have some that has been harvested and dried in the sun this is what you can do: Grease your hands with sesame oil and massage the dried Nori, ensuring that you have coated it as best you can with a very thin layer of oil from your hands. Sprinkle with raw sesame seeds, spread on a cookie sheet and bake in a 300 degree F oven for about 5 minutes being sure to check on it every 2 minutes. It should turn a rich emerald green as shown above in my photo. I then jar this in an air tight glass container and store it in the pantry. Actually , I always have it out and use it in everything.
**IMPORTANT TO NOTE: For those not familiar with eating this type of nutritional vegetable - it is important not to overdose on eating this. It is rich in Iodine and Iron - so, it is important to take a break every two weeks or so. Our american diets are not rich in seaweed normally (but they should be)... so, if you are pregnant or have iodine issues - please be sure to check in with your practitioner and do some reliable Internet RESEARCH.
Vegan Granola Bars with a Cocoa/Vegan Chocolate Sauce...
Preheat oven to about 325 degrees F.
VEGAN CHOCOLATE SAUCE: 1 TBSP Dark Cacao powder mixed with 2 TBSP of agave nectar ... mix slowly until well blended (it is a bit of a bear to mix initially but it slowly begins to come together. Check consistency and add more agave nectar to thin this sauce out. That is it.
This is a good one! A vegetable (vegan) "meat" Ball that is packed with so much flavor you will never eat a meat ball ever again! This is also a terrific recipe for your non-vegetarian/vegan friends, too! They will truly be amazed by the flavor and texture of these vegetable balls. I especially love the texture - as this is so essential to my food eating enjoyment! The veggie balls have a much better texture, I think, then meat balls - they are a bit softer but keep together and have such a great, flavorful bite! I eat these just as they are (heated or cold) or serve them with a simple vegan sauce (like a "creamy" (tofu) green onion sauce or tomato sauce). I usually make a batch that I eat as snacks or as a quick meal and I freeze the others for later dinner quickies.
I am grateful for finding this recipe in a cookbook I purchased at a yard sale. The cookbook was published in 1990 and is called Vegan Delights by Jeanne Marie Martin. Her recipes are terrific in this book --- best I have seen and tried yet ... and I always put my own variation on these recipes. Thank you Jeanne Marie!
Madge's Simply Satisfying Menu Idea of the Day
"Dinner with Friends"
Be sure to keep appetizers to a bare minimum as your main course will be filling & hearty!
For your starter course:
Freshly tossed, peppery arugula or mixed baby green salad with a lemon or mustard vinaigrette
(get those digestive juices flowing!)
Fettuccine & "Meat" Ball main course with a nice Cream or Tomato sauce (comforting and filling).
Rest for a bit before your final course! (play a round of cribbage or sip some wine)
*As a lighter alternative - skip the pasta and serve wrapped in lettuce or with steamed veg that's
topped with your favorite sauce!
Lemon or basil sorbet!
Check out the recipe below!
Another great way to serve these to your heavy-duty meat eater friends would be as "Meat" Ball Grinders (sub sandwiches) with a good o'l New England Italian Gravy Sauce! - and make sure it's TOASTED!
Brown Rice Vegetable Balls
Note: You can use Millet, Quinoa or Short Grain Brown Rice. Make sure your Brown rice is cooked with a little extra water for extra tenderness (I use my rice cooker as per instructions and this was perfect) and if you use Quinoa make sure it is actually a bit less tender than normal (1 and 1/8 cup quinoa to 2 cups water) - I haven't tried the Quinoa yet but this is the recommendation in Jeanne Marie's cookbook.
ALSO - I HIGHLY recommend the use of a food processor to process the vegetables for this recipe - it is best that each vegetable is pulsed to a small size (chopping would take a long time) and it makes things go quickly - IF YOU DON"T have a food processor - try grating the vegetables on a large grate setting (except the onions).
Note Below - I pulsed each veg separately in my food processor
Optional - 1/2 cup chopped nuts of choice.... I did not use nuts and found that these "meat" balls great texture!
Remove when done and serve as desired... I just plunk a couple on a plate with a nice salad and have lunch right then and there... I then save the rest for later or for a dinner party (see my storage of them below)! ENJOY these as much as I do!
ABOUT THIS BLOG!
I am simply a person with a serious passion for FOOD! I am not a chef, chemist or doctor - I am just a foodie food-head! The recipes in this blog are things I make for myself, my family and my friends and they have been tested and tried by some of my closest food critics. This blog has helped me become more aware and appreciative of the food I prepare and share and I am very grateful for this.