Friday, August 8, 2014

Vegan Recipe & Cookbook Review - Raw Lime Parfait from The HappyCow Cookbook (#HappyCowRoadTrip)

When I first became vegan, eating out was difficult. There weren't many veg-friendly restaurants, let alone vegan establishments. Servers typically didn't know what the word "vegan" meant and had no idea what was in the meals they served. We were relegated to picking and choosing items off the "a la carte" menu ... workable but not ideal.

The HappyCow site is a valuable tool for vegetarians and vegans. Simply type in the name of a city and it will list vegetarian, vegan, and veg-friendly establishments in the area. It's a great resource for traveling or simply keeping up with restaurants in one's home town.

The HappyCow Cookbook (#Vegan)
Eric Brent, founder and director of HappyCow, along with Glen Merzer, coauthor of Better than Vegan, have put together a cookbook which includes recipes from top-rated vegan restaurants around the world.

To say that it's just a cookbook, however, would be an injustice. The book lists restaurants around the world and offers readers information about the owners and how they got started, other items on the menu like gluten-free, soy-free, and sugar-free options, and even asks owners how they reduce their environmental impact. The address of the establishment, phone number, and website (if available) are also provided.

And there are recipes! Fabulous, delicious, recipes!

In 2011, an up-scale vegan restaurant opened it's doors in Asheville, NC. I haven't had the pleasure of eating at Plant but I've talked to people who have. They say that the food is fabulous and that Chef Jason Sellers creates dishes which appeal to both vegans and carnivores alike. The establishment is so popular, in fact, that reservations are advised.

Asheville is a veg-friendly city. Vegetarian restaurants aren't unusual. Plant has quickly become the shining star of the "foodie" culture in this area. It's also the only full-service vegan restaurant in town.

I was invited to review The HappyCow Cookbook which includes Plant Restaurant. I couldn't wait to read about this establishment and try the recipes they share. One of their recipes made me drool.

The kind folks at BenBella Books have graciously allowed me to share that recipe with you.

From Plant in Asheville, NC

Vegan Recipe - Raw Lime Parfait from The HappyCow Cookbook

Raw Lime Parfait

Serves 4

When it comes to light desserts, nothing beats the interplay of sweet and tart. A generous amount of lime in this parfait lifts the palate and allows for the seasonal fruit to shine. This simple parfait can be made ahead of time and will keep, covered, for a few days. Your parfaits will taste even better if allowed to warm up just slightly after coming out of the refrigerator. At Plant, we serve them with some dehydrated raspberry for a sharp, tart burst.

For the crust:
2 cups almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup agave syrup
3 dates, pitted and roughly chopped

For the granola:
2 cups almonds
Large pinch salt
Large pinch ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons lime zest
1/4 cup agave syrup

For the lime cream:
2 1/2 cups cashews, soaked overnight and drained
3/4 cup agave syrup
Zest and juice of 4 limes
2 tablespoons water

To assemble:
Seasonal fruit (garnish; e.g., 16 thin slices apple, 8 berries, or 4 tablespoons diced pineapple)
4 large pinches orange, lemon, and lime zest (optional)
2 teaspoons agave syrup (optional)
4 sprigs fresh mint or 4 edible flowers (garnish; optional)

For the crust: In a food processor, grind the almonds, salt, and cinnamon into a coarse meal. Add agave syrup and dates, and process until a wet, fairly sticky doughlike mix forms. Chill the crust in an airtight container until ready for use.

For the granola (make 24 hours in advance): Grind the almonds in a food processor until 1/8" pieces remain. Combine almond meal and remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand or with a rubber spatula until uniform. The mixture should resemble a wet granola. Spread the mixture in a single layer on a rubberized baking mat or on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Dehydrate in a dehydrator or in a low oven at about 115 degrees for 24 hours, until crisp and crunchy. The granola will crisp as it cools, so don’t worry if it’s still slightly moist when it comes out of the dehydrator or the oven. Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature.

For the lime cream: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add water slowly if necessary, until the mixture is smooth, airy, and no graininess remains. Adjust the agave syrup and lime juice, to taste, to achieve the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. Chill the cream in an airtight container.

To assemble: Place a 1/4" to 1/2" layer of the crust mixture into the bottom of 4 parfait dishes, 8-ounce glasses, or any decorative glass serving container. In each glass, alternate layers of granola, lime cream, and your seasonal fruit until only 1/4" remains at the top of the glass container. Try to keep your layers even and distinct, and be careful to keep the sides of the serving container clean from smudges. Fill in the remaining ¼" of the glass with granola and a mix of fruit, and chill.

For a finished look, combine the orange, lemon, and lime zest with the agave syrup in a blender and pulse to make uniform. Drizzle the citrus agave syrup over the fruit in each dish or glass just before serving, and add a sprig of mint or edible flower.

If you'd like to add The HappyCow Cookbook to your library, please visit BENBELLA BOOKS or find it at AMAZON.

For more recipes and reviews, follow the blog tour at these stops:

I received a copy of "The HappyCow Cookbook" in order to write this review. I received no other compensation. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and reflect my honest opinion of the material reviewed.

Image and recipe courtesy of BenBella Books