Thursday, June 24, 2010

Junk Food Veganism, Part One: Ginger Ice Cream

It is a myth among clueless omnivores (and vegetarians who should know better) that all vegan food is healthy. Veganland is a place filled with sprouted whole-grain bread, enormous locally-sourced salads and steamed tofu rolls right? Don't forget dessert - a bowl of seasonal fruit!! Raw fruit.

Wrong. Even though I'm eating some summer raspberries fresh from the bush in the backyard.

I have to make a confession: During the past week or so, I have become a junk food vegan. Instead of making the time to prepare nourishing food from the bountiful plant kingdom, in my busy week I've turned to kingdom of highly-processed vegetable oils and starch.

At least it's vegan starch?

Eating vegan junk food for a week straight hasn't left me feeling very good. Trouble sleeping at night, perpetual dehydration - from all those salty potato chips no doubt - and general sluggishness makes all my excuses seem like, well, excuses. I'm here to emphasize that eating junk food, even if its vegan, for an extended amount of time is detrimental!

That being said, I made some awesome dairy-free ice cream. Please incorporate this into a balanced diet and only after you've eaten your veggies and plant-based protein.

Ginger Lemongrass Ice Cream

3 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons grated ginger
1/2 cup candied ginger pieces, chopped
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Make sure your ice cream maker's frozen bowl part is frozen. Prepare the lemongrass - remove the green leaves from the pale stalk and discard. Peel the outer layer or two of the stalk, and chop into small pieces. Tie a square of cheesecloth around the lemongrass and set aside. Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan over medium heat and bring just below a boil. Stir in the grated ginger and drop the lemongrass-laden cheesecloth into the milk, sort of like a tea bag! Turn off the heat and let steep for twenty minutes or so. This process infuses the milk with lots of flavor-flav.

Has it been twenty minutes? Good! Turn the heat back on under the pan and remove the cheesecloth. The ginger stays. Give it a good stir and get ready to prepare your cornstarch slurry. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with a few tablespoons more coconut milk. Once that's taken care of, add to the just-below-boiling milk and stir, baby, stir, until the mixture is thick. Do the spoon test: if you can coat your spoon with milk, draw a line on the back with your finger, and the line remains intact? It's thick enough.

Remove from heat and cool. This part sadly takes an hour or two in the fridge. Try to be patient, and maybe eat some potato chips while you're waiting. Oreos would work too.

Once the mixture is cool, freeze in your ice cream maker according to directions. At the very end, stir in your candied ginger pieces - or if you don't have any of those, some more chopped ginger. Transfer the ice cream to a container and keep in the freezer.

YUM THAT WAS FUN! Southeast Michigan is getting steamy outside, so expect more ice cream posts soon.

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