Cookbook Update #6: So Many Distractions

Tomorrow is my deadline. Well, technically, though they’ve given me until Monday to complete the manuscript.

I could probably ask for another extension, but I don’t want to. I am mentally done, and now I need to be physically done.

It’s hard to put into words just how consuming this whole process has been. In the last month, I did my very best to put aside everything that wasn’t absolutely necessary or the book.

But even though I did that, there are still so many things that got in the way; things I never thought about. Like how much time it takes to go shopping for ingredients, or to wash dishes, or even doing laundry (there are a lot of kitchen towels in there). And of course I still have to teach and do class prep, and I’ve had some work commitments, like sponsored blog posts I had to write, and tomorrow, I have to speak at a conference, a commitment I made before this deadline. I could have easily used an assistant through this entire process… maybe something to aim for next time? (Ha! Look at me, all “next time.”)

But enough about that. There are victories to be celebrated, my friends!

First of all, the publishers have decided on a name. My book will be called Aquafabulous! It makes me happy just thinking about it–especially that exclamation point. We’re still working on the subtitle.

vegan macarons made with aquafaba

Secondly, yesterday, I finally had the macaron breakthrough I have been hoping for. Over the last month, I have easily made macarons 50 times, and they were all failures. The last 10 or so batches, however, I could see I was getting closer. I didn’t have bursting feet any more, they tasted good, and were starting to resemble actual macarons more. I even carried a batch over to my friend Lori’s place to test them in her convection oven, but I had the same, failed results (they were coming out lopsided). In each batch, I’d have a few that were perfect, and all the rest would be failures.

On Tuesday night, I was in despair. I was convinced I was going to have to submit the manuscript without a macaron recipe. But yesterday I cracked it, and made 3 perfect pans of macarons. I’ll be making them a few more times over the next two days, but I think we have a winner, folks!

The funny thing about the macaron recipe is that I have never written any of it down. Normally, I work with notes on my phone, dictating the recipe in as I go. I have never done that with macarons, everything is in my head. It’s going to be a complicated, 20-step process, but it’s all there!

By hook or by crook, I’m submitting that manuscript on Sunday night. There will be recipes I originally thought I’d have in there that won’t have made it, but there will also be new recipes that I added along the way, so hopefully it all balances out.

As ever, friends, thank you for your love and support. See you on the other side.

Creamsicle Ice Cream [Vegan]

Remember when you were a kid and it was a hot summer day? What you wanted, more than anything, was a frozen, sweet treat. Popsicles, Freezies, Fudgesicles, Creamsicles, and my personal fave, Revellos.

Well, times have changed, but not really, because now I have a kid of my own.

And we have our mother-son rituals. Like riding our bikes to Second Beach pool as often as we can during summer vacation. Like going for a treat on Friday after school to celebrate making it through another week. And like making juice as an after-school snack.

Often, when Michael gets home from school, we’ll make a juice together for his after-school snack, and my mid-afternoon pick-me-up. I cut and peel, he throws stuff in the juicer. We usually have apples on hand, carrots, an orange, and I like to include a little beet.

Last week, however, we got a delivery that has mothballed our juicer for a while. We’ve always been a fan of Happy Planet juices (Extreme Green has gotten me through some challenging afternoons), but they just released a new line of juices called The Daily Squeeze. Happy Planet Daily Squeeze Juices

There are three colours, and each colour features different fruits and vegetables.

  • Purple: black currant, purple carrot & beet
  • Green: green apple, kale, kiwi & spinach
  • Orange: mango, carrot & orange

We both agreed the Green was our fave, mostly because we really liked the tart green apples.

These juices are a lot like the ones we make in our juicer; a balance of fruits and vegetables, not super sweet, and yummy!

Of course, whenever I get a new product in my kitchen, I always see that as a challenge. What can I make with it? How can I transform it into something else?

How about a dreamy Creamsicle Ice Cream?

This recipe is entirely vegan, of course. I often do a coconut milk base for ice cream, but this time I tried a cashew milk base instead, and I was pleased with the results. You’ll also love the vanilla-orange flavour… it gets an extra punch from infusing the orange peels into the Happy Planet Orange Juice, and by adding a whole frozen orange (pureed) to the juice before churning it.

So, so very tasty!

vegan-creamsicle-ice-cream

Creamsicle Ice Cream [Vegan]

Ingredients

Method

The day before

  1. Take a vegetable peeler and pull thin strips of the orange rind off and reserve. Peel the orange, break into sections, and discard the remaining peel. Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper (or a silpat) and place the orange sections on it. Place in the freezer overnight.
  2. Place the cashews in a 500 ml mason jar and fill it with water. Screw on the top, and place it on your counter to sit overnight.
  3. In a small saucepan on top of the stove, place the orange juice, sugar and reserved orange peels. Bring this mixture up to a boil, and allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes. Drain off the orange peels and then place in the fridge overnight.

The day you are making the ice cream

  1. Drain the cashews and place them in your blender. Add 200ml of water and blend on high speed until the cashew milk is smooth and creamy (about 1-2 minutes).
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the aquafaba and the xanthium gum. Turn the mixer on low for about a minute just to combine, then turn it up to medium for a couple of minutes. Finally, turn it on high until the aquafaba forms stiff peaks.
  3. Pour the cashew milk into the bowl with the whipped aquafaba.
  4. Now, in the same blender jar, place the sweetened, reduced orange juice and the frozen orange sections. Blend on high until they are smooth. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the aquafaba as well. Add the coconut oil and the vanilla.
  5. With a whisk, stir until everything is combined.
  6. Churn according to your ice cream maker manufacturer’s directions. Once the ice cream is churned, remove it from the bowl of the ice cream maker and place it in a lidded plastic container in the fridge to set.

Enjoy frozen, preferably on a hot summer day.

 

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