2 Ingredient Chocolate Mousse With Citrus + Lychee

Lychee is one of my favorite southeast Asian fruits, second only to mangosteen. Its pink-white flesh is glossy, delicate and aromatic…the vibrant taste is absolutely unique. Think of a grape, but juicier, with smooth floral, rosy notes and pear undertones. Even comparing it to a grape is slightly insulting, because its freshness and flavor is on an entirely different level.

lychee fruit (1 of 2)

Clearly, lychee is my valentine this year.  Lychee is also considered a lucky fruit in Chinese culture, symbolizing family abundance and harmony, so this dessert would be a fun fusion dish for Lunar New Year gatherings this weekend. Red and golden hues make a lucky color palette. Continue reading

Chinese Five Spice Gingerbread Cookies

Happy Christmas Eve, y’all! 2017 is coming to a close–I can barely believe it! I’m in the mood to bake spicy cookies and drown my stress in hot chocolate, how about you?

Needless to say, grad school life has kept me quite occupied this year. I actually got sick twice this semester (currently still recovering)–which is absolutely insane to me, because I hardly ever get sick. This semester seriously took a toll on me. I have another year left–my thesis looms ahead! Cue the tears and hot chocolate…and Chinese five spice gingerbread cookies.

gingerbread scene final-B

Chinese five spice, ngũ vị hương in Vietnamese, is one of my favorite things to reach for in the kitchen. It has a complex balance of flavors: sweet, savory, sour, and bitter. Around this time last year, I shared a savory recipe featuring it–Fusion Jackfruit Bao Bites. This year, I’m showing you how I decided to throw it into some cookies…it turned out to be a success at a vegan Christmas cookie swap I went to, so I decided to refine the recipe to share with you!

Finishing Process2

Chilling the dough before and after rolling keeps cookie shapes intact–but I also like the cute mistakes that occur when I forget to chill the second time, like this little dancing cutie!

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Harry Potter Butterbeer Macaroons // The Plant Philosophy Collab

ICYMI, Margaret (The Plant Philosophy) and I have been getting magical in the kitchen with some Harry Potter themed treats, including Polyjuice Potion and Felix Felicis Potion!

 

Last week when Margaret and I got together to collaborate on more Harry Potter recipes, we had some issues with our initial recipe ideas. Plus there was a torrential downpour most of the day, so we struggled to get good lighting for our photos. Maybe we would’ve had better luck with a sip of Felix Felicis. 😉

Harry Potter Butterbeer Macaroons | plantcrush.co

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Bite-Sized Coconut Macaroon Nests

Say hello to the cutest dessert I’ve ever made, inspired by spring and nature!
Mini Coconut Macaroon Nests | plantcrush.coCrunchy on the outside, tender and chewy on the inside, these little coconut macaroon bites are best enjoyed soon after they’re taken out of the oven. They are decadent and delicate at the same time. To compliment the macaroons’ rich coconut flavor, I topped them with fresh juicy blueberries for some tart sweetness.

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Christmas Superfood Bark

Chocolate bark is one of my favorite things to make for the holidays! In the past, I have often sprinkled crushed candy canes on top of my chocolate bark, but I’ve been wanting to use healthier toppings. I’ve also been inspired by this healthy chocolate base without refined sugars!

I immediately thought of pomegranates and pistachios for toppings–the colors are perfect for Christmas and they go well with chocolate!

Pomegranates are loaded with Vitamin C, can help your body fight cancer, and improve your metabolism! Pistachios are packed with nutrients, fiber and healthy fats, plus they’re rich in cancer-fighting vitamin E.

Not only are these ingredients gorgeous, they are rich in immune-boosting antioxidants, minerals and vitamins! Why would I not want to sprinkle my chocolate with them? Superfoods > crushed candy. 🙂

Christmas Superfood Bark!

The resulting bark was beautiful in both appearance and taste–silky-smooth, rich chocolate, accompanied by refreshing bursts of juicy, tart pomegranate arils, and finally, a nice crunch from the pistachios! I was amazed at the contrast and harmony of it all. Love! Continue reading

Rustic Savory Mushroom & Green Bean Crostata

The holidays are here and that means it’s pie season. I much prefer galettes and crostatas, though, and they are so much easier than pie!

A crostata (or a galette) is a free-formed pastry, which is why I love it so much. Usually it’s a dessert Savory Rustic Veggie Crostatadish, filled with seasonal fruits, like this apple galette I made, but it can also have a savory filling! Like potatoes, or tomatoes, for example. 🙂 I’ve been wanting to attempt a savory crostata for a while, and I finally got to make one and record the measurements this week!

Inspired by comfort food and pretty pastries, this is like a dressed up version of a green bean casserole. I actually like it better, because the herbed crust is so delicious! This is great for Thanksgiving, or for dinner on a relaxing Sunday evening.

Please note: the measurements below are for two crostatas (I couldn’t just make one!), but feel free to half them if you don’t want to make that much!

Rustic Savory Mushroom & Green Bean Crostata

Rustic Savory Mushroom & Green Bean Crostata
(makes 2 crostatas, 5-8 servings)
Total time: 2 hours

Herbed Crust 

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry purpose flour, chilled
  • 1 tiny pinch sea salt
  • 2 t organic sugar
  • 1 cup chilled non-dairy butter (I used Earth Balance this time–I want to experiment with a coconut oil crust in the future! Do any of you use Nutiva products for baking?)
  • 6 T fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used 2 T each of thyme, parsley and sage)
  • 4-5 T ice water
Method:
  1. Pulse the flour, sea salt, and organic sugar in a food processor until well incorporated.
  2. Cut the non-dairy butter into the flour mixture, using a fork. Don’t worry about making the butter pieces small—sugar cube sized chunks are fine.
  3. Process in the food processor until you get a coarse, crumbly mixture. Clumps are fine here. Halfway through, add the herbs.
  4. Add the ice water to the mixture, one tablespoon at a time. Pulse after each tablespoon & assess if you need to add more water each time you do–you want the dough to just come together.
  5. Divide your dough in half and carefully dump each half on two separate pieces of saran wrap. For each round of dough, take the plastic and wrap it around the dough, shaping it into a flat disc as you go. Watching Martha Stewart do it is helpful! 🙂
  6. Chill your dough in the fridge for at least an hour (or overnight). While your dough is chilling, you can prepare the filling!
Green Bean & Mushroom Filling

I used Fork and Beans’ Green Bean Casserole recipe, with several of my own adjustments (noted below).

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz fresh green beans, chopped and boiled until just tender—put them in ice after straining so that they stay fresh. Once they are cold, take them out of the ice and let them dry on a paper towel.
  • grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 2 T garbanzo flour (or regular all purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth–all I had on hand was phở broth, so I just went with it, but it actually turned out amazing! It made everything very aromatic! 🙂
  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • a generous dash of garlic powder
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
After finishing step 3 on Cara’s recipe, I transferred the creamy mushroom sauce to a large mixing bowl and added the green beans to it. 

Assembling the crostataRustic Savory Mushroom & Green Bean Crostata

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Take the chilled dough rounds out of the fridge.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough rounds into rough circles.
  4. Transfer the dough rounds to two glass pie pans (mine were 8 inches in diameter), or a baking sheet.
  5. Spoon the green bean and mushroom filling onto the dough, leaving about 1 1/2 inches at the edges. Fold all edges of the dough towards the center. Food52 has some good tips for this.
  6. Brush the crust with some almond milk or melted nondairy butter.
  7. Sprinkle the whole thing with breadcrumbs or almond parmesan, to your taste. Last night, I made some herbed breadcrumbs with my favorite Ezekiel bread, so I used those! Check out my Facebook for the herbed breadcrumbs recipe.
  8. Lower the oven’s heat to 350 degrees F and bake the crostata for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden. I let mine bake a little longer because I wanted it to be extra toasty!

Enjoy, and I hope everyone has a beautiful time with their family this weekend! Thank you for reading!