Posts tagged ‘local’

October 4, 2010

Eat Local Challenge: Vegan Chocolate Truffles

Hawai’i is abundant in rare delicacies.  From macadamia nuts to lilikoi (passion fruit) to avocados the size of your head, there definitely is no shortage of delicious food.  The other night I wanted to surprise Ben with something special.  The trick was that it also needed to be local since we’re still taking the Eat Local Challenge.  Luckily I realized that we had just bought a big block of our favorite dark chocolate made by Waialua Estate (seriously, this stuff is decadent and rich and so amazing!) from Whole Foods.  I decided I’d be surprising Ben with truffles.  And not just any truffles.  Vegan dark chocolate truffles.

[Waialua Estate is located on 'O'ahu's north shore.  They grow and sell both coffee and chocolate.  Note that Whole Foods sells this chocolate by .56 lbs blocks - that's a lot of chocolate.]

This recipe is ridiculously simple with chilling the mixture being the most time-consuming piece.  It’s a very versatile recipe and I encourage you to play around with the ingredients to suit your tastes.  These came out incredibly rich and wonderful.  I’ll definitely be making them again soon!

Vegan Chocolate Truffles

[Ingredients - use scant measurements]

  • 8 1/2 oz or 250 grams chocolate (no milk content).  I used 70% extra dark chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp coconut butter
  • 1/2 c (minus 2 Tbsp) coconut milk (either light or regular)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • your choice of flavorings (balsamic vinegar, cayenne pepper, coconut, lavender, macadamia nuts, etc.)
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder and/or cacao nibs

Chop chocolate into small pieces.

Place coconut butter (which differs from coconut oil in that it includes coconut flesh and has a much stronger flavor and texture) in a 1/2 c measuring cup and fill the rest of the way with coconut milk [this is the vegan substitute for heavy cream so it should be pretty thick].

Heat coconut mixture in a heavy bottom saucepan until it boils.

Remove pan from the flame and stir in the chocolate pieces until mixture is smooth, silky and shiny.

Add in flavorings (use your creativity here).  I decided to try out a variety of them, so first I divided the ganache into thirds.

-First third: ~1 tsp of balsamic vinegar

-Second third: ~1 tsp of peanut butter

-Third third (is that grammatically correct?): plain

Chill the mixture in the freezer for about 30-45 minutes or until it is well set (it should be easy to scoop with a spoon and not very sticky).

While the mixture is chilling ready a bowl with your coating(s): nuts/cocoa, cacao nibs, etc.  I used this Valrhona powder that I also got from Whole Foods (I looked for local cocoa powder but couldn’t find any. Tisk tisk, Waialua Estate).

Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop a small portion out and shape 1” round balls using as little hand-surface-area as possible (you don’t want to melt the mixture too much).

Roll ganache balls in coatings to cover.  I decided to coat the original ganache with lilikoi butter as well as layer the lilikoi butter with cacao nibs and cocoa powder.

Transfer to a tray lined with wax/parchment paper.

Repeat for the rest of the ganache.

Freeze truffles for an hour or so to set.

Enjoy! Makes about 18 1” truffles.  And holy moly are they delicious!  Because these are essentially being held together by coconut butter I’d keep them at cooler temperatures (we’re keeping ours in the fridge) so that they don’t melt.  I can’t wait to make these again with different coatings and mix-ins!  I may even make milk-chocolate truffles for my dairy eating friends and family :) .  They are so rich that a 1” ball is the perfect end to a local meal!

September 30, 2010

Eat Local Challenge : Proteins

Since steel cut oats aren’t local to Hawai’i, I’ve had a really tough time making breakfast (if you know me, you know that I eat steel cut oats at least once a day–and am currently having serious withdrawals).

I really want to challenge myself this week, so I’ve been sticking with the Eat Local Challenge!  Mostly I’ve been having fresh fruit from the farmer’s market/my dad (he’s the best pineapple-picker I know).

I’d typically have some type of protein substitute, but apparently protein powder doesn’t come from Hawai’i, either. Lucky for us, my high school classmate is a farmer and sells her free-range eggs at the farmer’s market!

I cooked up the eggs with some of Chef Kevin’s Maui-made “Terragon Tropical Blend” Seasoning and (my new favorite!) Habanero Coconut Pepper Sauce…

put it on a piece of Mana’s 100% Sourdough Rye bread with a bit of Surfing Goat Dairy chevre… and voila!

My delicious–and nutritious–100% local breakfast!

As explained in a previous blog, Ben and I are “selective omnivores” and we’ll eat most meat/dairy/eggs if we know exactly how it’s been raised and where it comes from.  I went almost 100% vegan right after reading “Eating Animals” and wound up having to go on iron supplements (lame).  Since then I’ve re-incorporated eggs, goat dairy and sustainably raised meat back into my diet and keep a close watch on my iron intake.  I consider myself a pescatarian (veggie + seafood) for labeling purposes ;) .  In any case, eggs are super healthy for you in moderation. I usually have about 5 per week to keep my protein and nutrient levels up.  I’m so glad to know that my eggs come from chickens on my friend’s farm and that I can ask her how they live (they come home to a coop but roam around their huge farm all day) and whether they’re injected with hormones (they’re not).

Speaking of local protein sources, Ben and I decided that we’d make fish tacos tonight because it’s pretty much the only local protein source we’ll buy (Maui Cattle Company sells locally grown, grass-fed beef, but we just can’t get ourselves to eat red meat anymore).  So imagine my frustration when my favorite Maui seafood shop Valley Isle Seafood was closed early (to their defense, it was during the Maui County Fair Parade and the whole town shuts down early).  So I went to Foodland, the local market to get some poke (raw fish mixed with seasoning) because they’ve got a great selection of affordable, delicious seafood.

…Or not.  Can you believe that–in the state of Hawai’i–we get our ahi (tuna) from the PHILIPPINES?!? Are you kidding me?  Ugh.  I totally didn’t know what to do because I had everything ready to go for the tacos.  I was so frustrated (and was less than polite with the poor fish-packer lady) as I got the Filipino fish (we share the same ocean… that’s gotta count for something).

[awesome semi-local fish tacos -- excuse the lighting, it was dark already.]

In the end, the poke did it’s job and I had an awesome fish taco with cilantro-lime sauce, but it’s the principle.  We are the most isolated island chain in the world.  We need to be self-sustaining, especially with fish!  Come on now.  I’ll be writing a letter to Mr. Foodland and Mrs. SackNSave very soon.

How important is eating locally to you? How far away is too far?

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