Saturday, March 26, 2011

Take comfort

It's been a tough few days. First, I wasn't admitted into the educational policy program I applied to for next fall. I found out five minutes before I had to conduct an internal training webinar for my coworkers. I give myself big ups for not breaking down during the meeting. I cried, on and off, all day yesterday. Then, after the webinar and before the rest of my now-awful day, I had to deal with an unhappy account. Unhappy not with me but someone else. Whom I was also upset with. It took a lot to be calm, neutral and composed, but I did it. Once again, big ups. Then, this morning, I was pulled over because my back light was out on my car (it was the freaking day time), and because I allegedly didn't stop at a stop sign. Which is totally not true. I didn't even California roll. It's some podunk nowhere place, a one-horse-more-cows-than-people-place, and they fined me $225. A tad exorbitant, no?!?!?!?!?! I'm sorry you need some new post light or cow fence or whatever, but I am not funding your town's major improvements.

Life has been a pretty trying experience the past five or so years, and I wish one thing would just work out. When I'm annoyed or upset or just plain cranky, I like to clean and cook. I know, it sounds weird, but it feels good to exert control over something, to take comfort in knowing the outcome is completely predictable. It cheers me to know that when I scrub with all my might, the white cupboards will eventually shine. I find it reassuring when a dab of elbow grease on the bookshelves yields a dust-free home for my cookbooks. I love knowing blending avocados with bananas and cocoa and agave creates a smooth, creamy pudding base.

Full disclosure: until last night, I had never used avocado for a base to any recipe other than guacamole. I have been interested in creating some vegan and/ or gluten free treats lately. My fondness for this style of cooking reached an all time high last Memorial day in Portland, OR. While trolling the farmer's market on the PSU campus for dry goods that would travel back to MA well, my friend M and I stumbled upon Petunia's, a delectable gluten-free bakery cart. Looking over her wares, we both decided on the chocolate-coconut-banana tart. Let me tell you: it was delish!!! Like crazy good. Like fly-to-Portland-once-a-month-to-get-one-good. I have often thought of recreating these, but never have seriously looked into this type of cooking. Until the day from Hades. Armed with over-ripe bananas, gluten-free graham crackers, agave and Earth Balance buttery sticks, I set out to make a tart crust. Then, I paraded the avocado around the food processor, added the rest, and voila! Puddin' base for my alternative tart. I didn't get quite the coconut taste I wanted in the end product, but I am going to be messing around with this recipe for awhile. I brought it to B's last night, and we munched on it with some spumante (mmm). All in all, the wholesome tart was pretty healing and offered some solace to my chapped, rejected soul. I ate some more when I came home from the ticketing incident too. I might just bathe in it this evening. Perhaps that will completely relieve me and get me out of this funk.

Gluten-free & Vegan Chocolate-Banana Tart

2 cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs

4 tablespoons vegan butter, melted 1/2 cup agave syrup

2 very ripe, large bananas

1 very ripe avocado

1/3 cup light coconut milk

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Heat oven to 375 F. Mash one banana in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 1/4 cup of the agave. Add the banana mixture to the crumb concoction and mix with your hands. Smoosh into an 8-inch tart or pie pan, careful to have equal mixture throughout the pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, assemble the pudding filling. In a food processor, add the avocado, the other banana, 1/4 cup agave, cocoa and coconut milk. Blitz until thick, smooth and creamy looking. Put in fridge to cool and set further.

When the crust is done, take out of the oven and cool on a rack. Once the crust is cool, remove pudding from the fridge. Scrape pudding into the the cool crust. (How many times can I say "cool" ?!"

Slice another banana on top for garnish, is desired. You could whip some full-fat separated coconut cream as faux whip for the top too. Or add some dairy if you're just attempting vegan cooking on a whim.

No comments:

Post a Comment