By Kay Stepkin, Special to Tribune Newspapers
February 8, 2012
"Do I really need another way to make chocolate pudding?" I asked myself. I can make a vegan version by whisking cornstarch, a sweetener and cocoa into soy milk or processing tofu with cocoa. I even love a raw version that starts with avocado.
After tasting cookbook author Laura Theodore's recipe, I said, "Yes, I do!" Aerated with tiny bubbles, rich and with complex flavors, it's the lightest I've tried.
The recipe comes from Theodore's new cookbook, "Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine That's Easy and Delicious" (Book Publishing, $24.95), a collection of unique and tasty takes on comfort foods from Theodore's public television series of the same name. Good for beginning vegetarians, the book features nice explanations of vegan ingredients, menu ideas, helpful photos and mainly simple recipes.
Not all of Theodore's recipes are perfect, and some have pitfalls she doesn't warn you about. For example, her delicious peanut noodles call for soba, made from buckwheat — great for gluten-free diets. Theodore doesn't caution, though, that they can become hopelessly gummy if you overcook them even a moment.
On the other hand, her quick, easy cashew French toast is the best French toast I've ever had. Its thick, rich topping means you won't miss those cholesterol-laden eggs at all. And then there's that lovely chocolate mousse, which would make a perfect Valentine's Day dessert.
Sweet-and-spicy chocolate mousse
Cook: 4 minutes
Prep: 4 minutes
Chill: 3 hours
Note: Adapted from "Jazzy Vegetarian," by Laura Theodore. This dessert will not be as fluffy or stiff as traditional mousse.
1 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Shaved chocolate, fresh berries, optional
1. Heat the soy milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming hot but not boiling. Put the chocolate, maple syrup, cinnamon, cayenne and vanilla in a blender. Pour in the soy milk; process until smooth and frothy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender jar.
2. Pour the mixture into 4 dessert cups; refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. Serve chilled. Garnish with shaved chocolate and fresh berries, if you like.
Per serving: 157 calories, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 50 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
Kay Stepkin is a vegetarian cooking class instructor and former owner of a vegetarian restaurant/whole-grain bakery. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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