It’s amazing how many healthier foods can be made out of lentils instead of bleached, white flour. For example, if you buy a package of sprouted lentils, or sprout (until the roots peak out) and then dehydrate a cup or two of lentils and put it in a dry jar, the dry, sprouted and dehydrated lentils can be put little by little into a simple coffee grinder such as the Krups 203-42 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades, and ground into a course meal or flour.
You can buy a package of sprouted lentils without having to sprout and then dehydrate the standard supermarket type. Usually packages of sprouted lentils are found in the natural food aisles of supermarkets. One type that works well when grinded into a flour or course meal is truRoots Organic Sprouted Green Lentils, 10-Ounce Pouches. If you use this brand, for example, one package makes two trays of lentil crackers after you grind the lentils into flour/meal.
Then all you need to do is mix one-third each of lentil flour, flax seed meal, and oat bran in a bowl. Add any flavoring you want such as dehydrated onion flakes, chopped onions, chopped dill, chopped or dried parsley, a dash of turmeric, garlic, and any seasonings you like that go with savory cracks. Add the liquid of your choice to form a paste that you can pat into a shape. The liquid can be almond milk, water, vegetable juice, or broth.
Then on a cookie sheet you can either sprinkle sesame seeds on the bottom or chia seeds or both to keep the crackers from sticking, grease the pan with sesame seed oil, or sprinkle almond meal on the cookie tray. And just pat the doughy paste with wet hands until it is about a half inch high. Then cut square or diagonal shapes with a knife and sprinkle on top any herbs or spices you like, dried onion flakes, brown sesame seeds, chia seeds, minced garlic, or chopped nuts. Or simply season with your favorite seasonings. Then bake in a 350 degree F. oven until the cracker is no longer wet in the middle. Cool, and cut apart, serve as a cracker or flat bread.
And there’s more delights you can make out of lentils besides flour that are healthier than what you see served in most fast-food eateries. For example, if you decide to try a vegan meal, here’s what you can do with lentils…and to make the vegan meal also gluten-free, use grains such as amaranth and/or quinoa instead of wheat. Check out the sites, “Dr. Oz – The Best Anti-Aging Superfoods – Red Lentils, Amaranth” and “Lentils – The World’s Healthiest Foods.”
Wheat, rye, and barley have gluten. Rice, amaranth, and quinoa don’t have gluten, unless they’ve been mixed with other grains at the factory. For a change, you might try lentil balls or patties instead of meat balls or burgers. You can vary lentil patties with beet burgers, for example and still go gluten-free and vegan as long as you put them on lentil crackers or lentil meal flat breads instead of the usual commercial buns. You also can look into buckwheat, which isn’t wheat. Buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb, and buckwheat isn’t a grass. Rye, wheat, and barley are grasses.
Also patties don’t have to be served with buns. You can serve black rice on the side or eggless egg salad.
What’s eggless ‘egg’ salad spread and dip? It’s tofu blended with turmeric
That’s made by mixing in a food processor or blender a small package of tofu with a teaspoon of turmeric, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, seasonings of your choice, a teaspoon of grape seed oil mayonnaise (optional), and some chopped celery, chopped onion (optional) and any other chopped vegetable you want to add such as cucumber or parsley.
You use the eggless egg salad, which really is a tofu blend with turmeric as a dip with celery stalks, crackers, broccoli florets, or carrot sticks, or sandwich spread just like you’d use egg salad. Food is healthy when you’re not allergic to it. So if you are allergic, don’t eat it. For most people not allergic to lentils and various grains, including the gluten-free type, here are some choices when you want to try eating vegan or vegetarian for a spell.
More healthier food choices with legumes
Exotic legume balls, eaten since Biblical times around the ancient city of Tarsus and all over the Eastern Mediterranean. If you’re trying to save money, want to eat (vegan) vegetarian, recession-proof basic, healthy, and nutritious food, try the Cappadocian and also Levantine food of folk dancers and athletes– vegan treat balls. You can serve them with beet burgers made from chopped beet roots and beat green tops mixed with flax seed meal and baked into a patty. Or the vegan legume balls can be soaked and prepared raw, steamed, or cooked.
Such legume balls and patties are eaten all over Asia Minor and the Middle East and are called köfte in Cappadocia, realm of the ancient Hittites, kufta in Aleppo, another ancient Hittite stronghold. You only need two main ingredients-lentils and bulgur wheat. Spice according to your preferences with toasted cumin seed, and garnish with chopped parsley and (optional) mint.
Gluten-free legume balls: Substitute another grain such as quinoa for bulgur wheat
If you want gluten-free legume balls, use other grains mixed with the lentils as a filler or to hold the legumes together, such as quinoa, black rice, or millet, in place of of bulgur wheat, or any type of gluten-free grains mixed with flax seed meal and the cooked or soaked lentils. Also mashed cooked or soaked chick peas/garbanzo beans can be mixed half and half with the cooked or soaked until chewy lentils.
These vegan treat balls go back to Neolithic times when the first emmer wheat grew in the grain and legume belt said to be close to the Garden of Eden, where the four rivers met-the Tigris and Euphrates source and the source of the Pison and Gihon. (The last two rivers dried up, but can be seen as dry riverbeds from a satellite’s view.) That’s where the modern country of Turkey’s borders with Iraq, Iran, and Syria all meet in one spot, the heartland of lentils and grain.
Vegan köfte patties, balls, or oblong shapes
Vegan köfte is the food of baglama (stringed instrument) musicians and of tribal, folk, and belly dancers, of wandering nomads and settled farmers. And köfte tastes like the vegetarian version of a meat ball. You eat it, and it gives you enough energy to folkdance.
Best of all, in a recession, it’s low-cost, nutritious food that is filling but not stuffing. You can serve it just as you’d serve meatballs, covered in vegetarian, gently spiced gravy made from ground, puréed lentils and a little lentil and vegetable broth.
You won’t feel hungry an hour later after eating this dish with a side of green vegetables or a salad. Or serve with toasted flat bread smeared with a mixture of tahini (puréed sesame seed paste and lemon juice) topped with chopped mint and Italian parsley combined with mashed, cooked garbanzos (chick peas).
Here’s how to make these grain and legume vegan treat balls called köfte. It can be shaped into a vegan meatball, called a ‘treat ball’ in English-speaking circles. Some restaurants call it a meatless ball, a ‘neat ball’, a croquette, rissole, patty, quenelle, grilled legume and grain patty. It has been said that it’s one of the “the lowest-cost health foods around.” Cappadocia, the land of fairy chimney houses, is known for its puréed spreads and sauces made from legumes, beans, lemon, mint, parsley, and sesame.
Although raw food enthusiasts can eat raw the individual ingredients soaked until chewable, the Cappadocian version used cooked lentils and bulgur wheat kneaded into balls and then chilled.
Another version of this food chills the vegan balls and then adds cooked, mashed fish, kneads it again, and then bakes it in the oven in oblong shapes, called ‘kibbee’ in Aleppo and in areas south of Ankara, Turkey. I prefer not baking it, but serving it in rolled, chilled vegan balls because the lentils and grain already have been ‘cooked’ once. That’s how they cook this type of food in Alanya (also in Alania) and in other lands such as Chuvashia.
You can use rice bran oil with added spices, but the healthiest way to serve köfte, is with a bit of extra virgin, (first expeller pressed) or cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Here’s how to make this healthy, vegan food.
The two main ingredients you need are lentils and bulgur wheat. You can buy bulgur wheat in any health food store, in most supermarkets, or in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern grocery stores. Or order online. See Sunnyland Mills (Fresno) to learn more about bulgur wheat and where to find it in your local area or online.
First, let’s prepare what you’ll need by your hands as you cook:
1. Take out your bottle of extra virgin olive oil and your cup of chopped parsley or half cup of chopped parsley and half cup of chopped mint. If you don’t like mint, just use Italian parsley. Also take out your half cup of chopped yellow onions. Put these ingredients aside. If you don’t season with salt, use celery seed (ground) and dulse granules instead.
2. Cook a cup of lentils about a half hour, until soft, in two and a half to three cups of water or vegetable broth. Set aside three tablespoons of cooked lentils with which to make gravy. Use your favorite color lentils. In the old country, people usually choose the red lentils.
When the lentils are cooked, add ½ to ¾ of a cup of fine or medium bulgur wheat to the broth. Let the wheat and lentils soak in the hot broth for a half hour until most of the water is absorbed, and the wheat is soft and chewy. Salt is optional. Add sea or mineral salt if you’re not salt-sensitive. If you’re salt sensitive, sprinkle dulse granules and celery seed into your lentil mixture or use a pinch of onion or garlic powder.
3. In a large frying pan, heat two to four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add your half cup of chopped yellow onions and fry the onions a minute until they become soft and translucent, but not browned or burnt. Pour in your teaspoon of ground cumin spice and stir a minute in the hot olive oil.
4. Drain your cooked lentils and softened bulgur wheat of any remaining broth or water, and put the water aside in a cup to make gravy with later. Add three tablespoons of cooked lentils to the water. You’ll later blend the three tablespoons of cooked lentils with the broth or water, adding any salt or spices to taste, to make gravy to pour over the finished vegan treat balls.
5. Now pour the drained lentils and bulgur wheat mixture into the frying pan with the fried onion and stir. At this point, in case you have vegetable pulp left over from juicing peeled carrots or other peeled vegetables, feel free to add a few tablespoons of the vegetable pulp to the mixture of lentils and bulgur wheat to add texture. It will enrich the vegan balls with fiber. For example, after juicing peeled carrots, spinach, parsley, and celery, you can add the left over vegetable pulp to the lentils and wheat mixture in the frying pan.
6. Let the mixture cool enough to knead with your hands. Put the entire mixture of wheat, onions, lentils, vegetable pulp, cumin, and any other spices you wish. Add the chopped parsley or parsley and mint. Keep kneading the cooled mixture until you can form small vegan balls that hold together. Press the water out with your hands and form into balls about an inch in diameter, or about the size of large marbles.
7. Keep kneading for five minutes. If your hands get covered with food, wet your hands and knead. Now add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the entire mixture. Knead again.
8. It’s spice time. Add any more spices you wish-garlic powder, pepper, or a pinch of cayenne. Now add any chopped Italian parsley or mint and any more flavors, herbs, or spices that you enjoy, such as zatar (thyme and sumac mixed) or turmeric. If you want to add a curried taste, add a pinch of curry powder. In Cappadocia the familiar spices would stick to pepper and cumin for these vegan balls.
9. Put some baby spinach leaves or Romaine lettuce leaves on a plate. Chop some green onions and put them on top of the spinach or lettuce leaves. Slice lemons in a round, thin shape, and garnish a plate with lemon wheels on top of the green, leafy vegetables.
Now take the vegan treat balls you just made and place them on top of the green leafy vegetables with the lemon wheels around the edge of the plate as garnish. Chill the balls for an hour in the refrigerator until they are cold.
10. In a blender, liquefy the three tablespoons of cooked lentils you set aside with ½ cup of broth or water. Add any salt or spice to taste or if salt-sensitive, other spices or chopped celery. Blend until you have a gravy consistency. Pour the gravy over the chilled vegan balls.
11. Serve the köfte chilled on a platter or as soon as the food has cooled from luke warm. Side dishes that are customary to be served with köfte include toasted flat bread smeared with a mixture of a cup puréed or mashed cooked garbanzo beans (chick peas) blended with three to five tablespoons of tahini (puréed sesame seeds).
12. You can liquefy your own sesame seeds in water in a blender. Then add them to the cup of mashed garbanzos mixed with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Blend together as a paste and smear it on a wedge of toasted flat bread. Or serve the garbanzo and sesame sauce paste on the side of the plate as a dip.
13. This vegan dish is low-cost, very healthy, and is said to be the favorite food of folk dancers from Cappadocia. So see the video below for a little music of Cappadocia to folkdance to as you eat low-cost vegan, and nutritious.
14. Note that if you’re on a wheat-free diet, any other cooked whole or cracked grain can be substituted for wheat in this vegan lentil and grain ball. You might use barley, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, or whole oat groats instead of wheat. So choose the grain you are able to eat. Other legumes also can be substituted for lentils, such as garbanzo beans. And the sesame seed paste and garbanzos can be made with almost any other types of cooked beans such as mashed pinto or black beans. So eat the food to which you’re not allergic.
15. Note for people who are not vegan vegetarians, you could also add any type of cooked fish to the lentils or combine the cooked, mashed, lentils and grain with cooked, ground lamb, poultry, or fish to make vegetable and fish or meat balls. But in old Cappadocia and far away in Chuvashia, the tradition is lentils and wheat. And the food is favored by musicians and dancers.
Delicate use of many spices that don’t overpower one another in flavor or scent
What we enjoy, especially about Cappadocian cooking with my own favorite vegan recipes, is the delicate use of spices. Instead of having spices overtake food and burn your mouth, spices such as roasted ground cumin, thyme, or sumac actually enhance food flavor.
They’re delicate spices rather than overbearing, and they don’t give me migraines like ground chili and cayenne mixed with mustard do. So choose the spices and herbs tailored to your own body’s signature. My favorite seasonings and herbs are celery seed, coriander, and parsley.
In other countries with related Turanian languages, but more distant geographic locations from Cappadocia, such as Chuvashia, bulgur wheat sometimes may be substituted for other grains such as whole buckwheat (kasha/kashi) or barley. You also could use millet, teff, or quinoa and legumes to make these vegan balls. Enjoy a taste of folk music to dance to with your meal.
Quinoa is native to South America and is eaten in Bolivia and other South American countries, sometimes with cheese and milk added. In the USA, quinoa sometimes is eaten instead of rice and comes in several colors. It’s gaining in popularity as another grain that does not contain gluten. You can prepare it as a side dish instead of rice or other whole grains.
Lavender Frozen Dessert Recipes
Use lavender honey instead of sugar when you make lavender frozen desserts or cheesecakes. Here’s how to make lavender frozen desserts or rose ice cream using rose-petal extract. Or make nutty spiced oat and rice-based frozen desserts.
Have you ever tasted culinary lavender ice cream? Lavender is a versatile herb for cooking. In upscale restaurants, fresh edible flowers are served for flavor enhancement, scent, and food appearance.European gelato stands sometimes offer lavender frozen desserts. Here’s how to make them yourself.
When using lavender for cooking, baking, or ice cream, use any of these three species of lavendula lavender: Angustifolia, intermedia, latifolia species are all edible. Also check out the recipe, “Lavender Ice Cream: Edible Flowers.” It’s at the “Cooking for Two” site, at About.com. Buy your edible, food-grade lavender at herb stores or gourmet kitchen shops that sell dried, edible flowers that have been grown for culinary uses. You can buy dried, edible lavender from the UK online at the Daisy gifts site.
Or see the lavender ricotta cheese cake recipe that also uses crystallized violets to decorate the cake. Check it out at the Cafe Nilson site. The recipe also uses lavender buds, lavender honey, and amaretto. See the Cooking with Edible Flowers site for more recipes. Check out savory lavender recipes are this site.
Always use culinary lavender flowers (food grade), not the plants treated with pesticides in nurseries. An excellent recipe for lavender sorbet is on the Lavender Sorbet site. The secret to making a soft sorbet is to add two tablespoons of vodka to your liquid mixture. You add the vodka and lemon juice after you cook the sugar, water, and culinary lavender flowers.
Where do you buy culinary-grade, organic dried flowers? Seabreeze Organic Farms of San Diego, CA delivers organically grown fresh edible flowers overnight. Also you can buy organically-grown dried edible flowers such as calendula, rose petals, lavender buds, and hibiscus from online resources such as Herbs by Diane and Mountain Rose Herbs.
If you don’t use sugar, substitute another sweetener such as honey, stevia, or fruit juice concentrate. See the recipe for lavender sorbet at the site. There’s also a recipe for lavender tea cakes. Check out these two sites for lavender recipes: Lavender Sorbet and Lavender Tea Cookies.
Culinary lavender is a popular herb that’s edible. In Europe it’s used in ice creams that are colored lavender as well by the use of pureed blueberries, sometimes blended with raspberries. Edible species of flowers, lemon blossoms, and certain types of leaves can be used fresh, and both buds and stems can be used dried.
Lavender is a member of the mint family. It’s an herb close to and can be blended with rosemary, sage, and thyme. In savory foods rather than in sweetened ice cream or frozen desserts, use lavender with fennel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage. Using lavender in frozen desserts and ice cream goes well with blueberry juice as food coloring. Mix blueberries and red fruit to create the lavender color when making lavender ice creams and nondairy frozen desserts.
Let’s walk down the memory lane of exotic non-dairy frozen desserts
It’s fragrant milk-free ice cream time. And that includes frozen desserts, scented with the edible ‘perfumes’ of flower petal water extract from roses, orange blossoms, including cooked lemon blossom petals in the Grecian style. Here’s how to make these desserts. Your nondairy versions may use sesame seed paste or almond milk, for example, or these other alternatives to dairy products such as grain milks and a variety of nut milks.
Would you like to eat cactus-flavored ice cream, carrot ginger ice cream, saffron and turmeric-ginger-cloves sorbet, green tea-flavored frozen dessert, mango, carrot, kiwi, and coconut sorbet or lavender ice cream? How about some guava ice cream, or pomegranate frozen desserts?
All you have to do is add cactus juice and some pureed or finely-chopped cooked or softened to the chew cactus. Or flavor ice cream with edible lavender puree and color, or fresh pomegrante juice to your frozen desserts or ice cream.
Below are some tips on how to make fragrant, ‘perfumed’ ice creams and other frozen desserts from scratch with milk alternatives, nuts, fruits, and spices. Try combinations such as walnuts and fresh ground ginger, the ground spice, or crystallized ginger.
How about clove ice cream made with a pinch of cloves and cinnamon, allspice and cardamom? Or try fragrant orange blossom water, rose water extract or saffron ice cream with walnuts or pistachios?
In Iran, for example, ice cream sold on the street is vanilla with saffron flavoring, rose water extract or orange blossom water, and pistachio nuts. In the Levant, rose petal water extract is used to flavor ice cream. And in Greece, lemon ice cream and sorbets are served with cooked lemon blossom petals sweetened with honey and lemon juice and put in jars.
Italy serves lavender and hibiscus gelato from street vendors. If a flower petal is edible, it’s fragrant, ‘perfumed’ petals may be eaten and the water extracted to flavor ice creams and frozen desserts.
For nondairy “ice cream/ice crème” or technically, “frozen desserts” made with ‘oat’ milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, sesame paste milk, walnut-pecan-cashew-roasted peanut butter milk, or rice milk that you make yourself as the base. First you start by the following steps:
Step 1: Vegan Frozen Desserts Look Like Ice Cream In A Graham Cracker Or Crushed Cookie Pie Shell
Here is the standard Frozen Dessert “Ice Crème” Base:
2 cups of rice, nut, or oat milk… You also can use soy milk, grain-based milk, almond milk, cashew nut milk, and most types of nut or sesame seed paste ‘milks,’ or if you’re lacto-ovo-vegetarian, try low-fat goat milk.
3 tablespoons of rice flour or corn starch. Rice flour is healthier for those allergic to corn products.
¼ cup orange blossom (not clover) honey (or a banana and peeled apple for sweetener).
1 pint whipped low-fat tofu with a little juice added, or thick rice or oat milk that has been left overnight in the refrigerator and thickened to a pudding consistency. You can still use the standard one pint of heavy whipping cream if you want all that fat and taste, but I prefer a non-fat substitute, such as whipped skim milk or tofu. The authentic Mediterranean style uses heavy whipping cream.
Dissolve the rice flour or cornstarch in 1/2 cup of grain (rice or oat), almond, sesame, cashew, hazelnut, pecan, peanut butter, or soy milk. Or mix the nut, seed, and grain milks with or without the soy milk. Heat the remaining ‘milk,’ and honey to a little below simmer. Stirring constantly, add milk and rice flour mixture in a thin stream.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to pudding consistency. Add flavoring of your choice–rose or orange petal water, mint extract, vanilla, fresh ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg (just a pinch), cloves, or crème de menthe–actually your choice in flavoring.
If ¼ cup of honey or other sweetener isn’t sweet enough for you, add a banana or peeled apple to the blender to increase sweetness. I prefer the orange blossom or rose petal extract water with a ¼ cup of brown rice syrup or just a banana and an apple for sweetening strength.
Stir in heavy cream consistency whipped tofu or thickened rice milk to a pudding consistency. Or use any other healthy whipped topping that looks like the consistency of non-fat whipped skim milk, whipped cream. A nondairy alternative to heavy cream is whipped tofu such as a healthy, lower fat, non-dairy topping.
Chill and freeze in a 2-quart ice cream freezer. An alternative method is to whip the cream or tofu first and then fold the whipped topping into the custard base. Freeze in your regular freezer compartment.
For Turkish coffee ice cream or Mocha-Apricot Cognac Ice Cream of Alexandria, Egypt, add 1/4 cup canned apricot nectar, 1/8th to 1/4 cup of crème de cacao, and 1/8 cup of cognac. Experiment with any of the flavor combinations mentioned here.
If you want ice cream texture in an Alexandrian parfait, whip ½ pint of crème, dairy heavy cream, or low-fat non-dairy crème, and blend in 1 tablespoon of Greek Ouzo, apricot brandy, cherry brandy, coffee liqueur, and kirsch blending with 2 tablespoons each of cold Turkish coffee, cognac, crème de cacao, and ½ cup of orange blossom honey.
After removing dasher and before curing the oat or rice frozen dessert, swirl this mixture through, then set up the freezer for curing for an hour. Serve flambé or taste the contrast of the ice cream with a bowl of heated canned or poached apricot halves for a royal topping of Alexandria, fit for pharaohs and their progeny. Serve the frozen dessert in a pie of graham cracker crust to keep it from melting and oozing on the table during a party.
Cook a cup of oatmeal in two cups of water and blend it into a smooth crème in a blender as you add a banana. Blend the whole mixture to a creamy liquid. Another base is made by cooking one cup of brown rice and five cups of water for fifteen minutes. Then blend that mixture to a creamy base (in a blender) as you add your flavoring–vanilla, banana, lemon, carob, and almond extract, orange or rose blossom extract, mint extract, cinnamon, or any other flavoring.
Step 2: Varying Your Vegan Nondairy Milk Substitute Base
Vegan vegetarians may use oat milk, rice milk, soy milk, or almond milk instead of milk, eggs, or animal protein. Along the Silk Road in medieval times, recipes called for fermented mare’s milk. To suit the tastes of vegans/vegetarians, I recommend soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, walnut-pecan-sesame seed paste milk, or oat milk (made from blending cooked oatmeal with water to a milky consistency).
The Central Asian base for the ice cream was not cow’s milk, but mare’s milk. Middle Easterners and South Caucasus Mts. Dwellers use goat’s milk. Finland uses vegetarian milk bases made from grain as does Sweden–with ‘oat’milk made from cooking a cup of oatmeal in four cups of water and running the liquid through your blender. Soy is used in the Far East, especially in China and Japan. As a vegetarian, I highly recommend home-made unsweetened almond, rice, and oat milk.
When making custard, you can use frozen custard to form the base for frozen desserts that look and taste like ice cream or thick smoothies you eat with a spoon. Vegans may use rice milk, almond milk, sesame seed paste (tahini), soy milk, or oat milk as they do in Finland. Sweden uses oat milk.
Rice milk is made from boiling a handful of nutritious brown rice in twice the amount of water you use for making cooked rice–about 1 cup of rice to 4 cups of water and blending it until liquefied in a blender. Let cook, add water if too thick, to a consistency of milk.
The same is done with oat meal–about 1 cup of oatmeal to 4 cups of water. I start with one cup of oatmeal to two cups of water and thin it as it cooks. Then I blend it in my blender until liquefied and the consistency of milk.
With almond milk, soak almonds overnight in the refrigerator. Then liquefy in your blender a cup of blanched (peeled) almonds. To blanch, heat the raw almonds to boiling. Let cool, and peel off skin of almonds. Use the shiny white almonds with water in your blender to liquefy and make almond milk.
These ‘milks’ may be used for making frozen vegetarian desserts. The milk can be made from virtually any grain cooked in water and blended the a milky consistency, like thick cream before other flavoring is added along with nuts, sweetener, such as brown rice syrup, apple juice concentrate, maple syrup, honey, a banana, fruit concentrate, amizake, or anything you want to sweeten it with that’s healthy for your individual body.
Step 3: Adding Flavorings and Scents from Edible Fragrant Flower Petals.
Add rose-petal water or orange blossom water to perfume ice cream. It’s found in health food stores and imported gourmet stores, especially in Middle East-style grocery stores, and usually comes from Lebanon or Greece. On the Internet, you can find groceries that stock Middle Eastern and Central Asian, Armenian, and Iranian or Indian foods. Most Lebanese restaurants have bottles of orange blossom and rose petal water to flavor desserts.
Ask where you can buy some at your local Middle East grocery. Some supermarkets also carry ethnic foods. Serve frozen custard base as you would serve “ice cream”–over almond-flavored nut butter cookies seeped with orange blossom petals. Rose petal water is drenched over semi-frozen rice pudding and cinnamon.
Frozen desserts may be served with the crunchiness of pine nuts sautéed in olive oil with cinnamon and orange blossom honey. Often blazing hot stewed apricots are dribbled over the frozen desserts.
Step 4: Vary Flavoring and Condiments to Frozen Desserts
Exotic, fragrant frozen desserts are a composite of crushed-clove ice cream or nondairy ice crème, pistachios, walnuts, and cinnamon. Historically, to make the ice cream, ice was carried down from snow-covered mountains to freeze ices and sherbets.
Today, when you make exotic ice creams or crèmes, you place your ice cream base or milk thickened with rice in a pie crust of crushed graham crackers. Flavors vary from saffron and sesame seed paste with orange blossom honey to rose or orange blossom water, to cactus and lavender, or pomegranate and cooked lemon flower petals.
In Asia, ginger, saffron, and carrot ice creams are familiar tastes. Make your own carrot ice cream with carrot juice and flavor with ginger, honey, and cashews, walnuts, saffron, and sunflower seeds. Date sugar is sometimes used to sweeten ice cream and frozen desserts in the Levant.
Make a crust for ice cream pies from akmak which is Armenian and Black Sea Bread popular in Crete, Armenia, Egypt, Turkey, and the Middle East. It can be made as a honey-sweetened pita bread, toasted and crumbled into crumbs. Or you can use a graham cracker crust.
The old way using akmak, was to crumble stale or toasted break into crumbs and drench the crumbs in honey and orange flower water. This produced a crunch in the ice cream and a crust or bed for the ice cream to lie on while it froze in a pie plate surrounded by a bucket of ice.
Traditionally, in the cold reaches of the high Caucasus Mountains and along the Silk Road in Central Asia, edible ice was found in the early winters and at high elevations. Spices and saffron were added to frozen desserts as well as cooked rice and raisins. In some countries, you find ice cream blended with rice pudding to which spices are added such as cloves.
Step 5: Varying Nuts And Spices To Create Perfumed Or Scented Frozen Desserts.
Exotic ice creams and other frozen desserts often are flavored with ginger and walnuts. Or flavor your frozen desserts with scents of cinnamon, cloves, pistachios, walnuts, and rose petals being distilled for rose water. In the Mediterranean areas, the Middle East, and parts of South Asia, rose water flavors ice cream, as do orange blossom petal water, and other edible flower extracts used in food.
Rose water extract from petals that comes in bottled waters may be used frequently in a variety of foods and desserts.You can use other extracts such as peppermint or almond, rum, or vanilla.
Step 6: Using Flower Water Extracts or Sesame Seed Paste To Create The Fragrance
Middle East ice cream uses orange and rose flower water. In the Middle East, rice milk ice cream is flavored with crushed sesame seed paste liquefied to a consistency of paste. It’s called tahini and may be bought in most health food stores and Middle Eastern-style groceries and in most natural food grocery stores today as well as in many upscale and most general supermarkets.
You can make your own tahini by putting hulled sesame seeds and water with a little sesame oil in a blender and blending the mixture to a consistency of paste. Mix with honey and you have a candy-type spread for crackers, pancakes, or toast. You add the sesame seed paste to the ice cream base and top with ginger and walnuts or cinnamon and honey.
Tahini (sesame seed paste) is made by putting ½ cup of sesame seeds, a cup of cool water, and ¼ cup of sesame seed oil or extra virgin olive oil in a blender to create a puree the consistency of mayonnaise, milky paste, or other thick, spreadable sandwich spread consistency.
Various ice cream flavors of the Middle East include orange, zest of lime, lemon, and orange in sherbet or frozen desserts with ginger and walnuts topped with cinnamon. Exotic ice creams also are made with pistachio nuts and orange blossom water whisked into in a base of vanilla ice cream. Your goal is to create a thick, perfumed ice cream or nondairy frozen dessert.
Step 7: Serve Ice Cream with Hot Herbal Teas or Decaffeinated Green Tea
If you tolerate caffeine well, you may choose to serve exotic ice cream alongside thick, sweet Turkish coffee. Or if caffeine is not good for your individual genetic makeup, serve various decaffeinated green teas and caffeine-free herbal infusions, such as ginger or blueberry tea. The idea is to take a bite of the frozen dessert followed by a sip of the hot drink.
For those able to tolerate the strong caffeine in espresso or any of the Turkish or Greek coffees, the Turkish coffee you may find in ethnic groceries usually is ground by hand from a blend imported from Lebanon, then powdered in a stone pestle with date sugar and cinnamon and added to orange flower or rose water. The mixture is then brought to a boil in a long-handled brass pot.
It’s served, still foaming, to the ice cream customers in the traditional tiny china cups. Some was used in the recipes for Turkish Coffee Ice Cream. You can blend coffee and chocolate into frozen desserts to create a bittersweet chocolate mocha flavor.
Another alternative is to use crème de menthe or food-grade, edible brands of peppermint oil or peppermint extract mixed with chocolate syrup or chocolate shavings. Into the coffee ice cream, you also may blend shelled pistachios, almonds, pecans, cashews, sautéed to light-brown hue pine nuts, or walnuts dipped in cinnamon.
Step 8: Spicing and texturing ice cream, nondairy sorbets, or other frozen desserts
You can make frozen desserts vegan by using non-dairy liquids and without added eggs. A tablespoon of flax seed meal substitutes for an egg in any given recipe. Spiced ice cream or nondairy frozen dessert can be flavored with pistachio nuts, cinnamon, and cinnamon or walnuts, ginger, almonds, and orange brandy flavoring. It’s placed in a pie shell and dotted with bits of dates in the Middle East and berries in the steppes of Central Asia.
Asian and Middle Eastern frozen desserts, smoothies, and ice creams (I call them nice crèmes) are spiced and scented. These frozen desserts often are topped with green crushed pistachio nuts and also with with cinnamon and chopped walnuts.
The desserts may be sweetened with honey or syrup. Also frozen desserts may use ginger and walnuts, pine nuts, or other nuts local to the various Middle Eastern, South Asian, Mediterranean, Far Eastern, and Central Asian locations.
Step 9: Texture of Cracked Wheat and Nuts in the Frozen Dessert
Some of the texture and flavor delights include cracked wheat, cinnamon, rose petal, orange blossom, and herb or flower flavors with crushed seeds, walnuts, or almonds, pine nuts, and pistachio nuts. The pine nuts (pignola nuts) are browned lightly in hot olive oil, cooled, and added to the ice cream. The ice cream should be crunchy, fragrant, spiced, and not-too-sweet.
Step 10: Perfuming Ice Cream or Frozen Desserts with Liquid Flower Essence
To achieve a fragrance of orange blossoms, use orange blossom honey and orange blossom essence (water extracted from distilling or boiling orange blossom petals) instead of clover honey. Orange blossom honey has a perfumed citrus scent to it.
Ice cream (or nondairy frozen desserts) that you make yourself do not have to be real ice cream heavy with the required butterfat content. Try alternatives to the whipped fat of cow’s milk and cream. Don’t shock your thyroid and pancreas with white sugar or added artificial flavoring and coloring.
Instead make yourself a diet-conscious frozen dessert such as a light custard base with or without eggs. You can use egg whites instead of yolks and made a meringue. Or emphasize vegan custard bases by blending tofu and/or soy milk together to use as a liquid base to make your frozen dessert.
Whatever you use-rice, almond, or oat milk-or other ingredients, you’ll use a milky-hued base to freeze your dessert to a smoothie-like consistency. The photo on the right shows the popularity of carrot frozen desserts in Japan. Also, see my other Examiner article on how to make nondairy coconut-pineapple-carrot-almond-mango sherbet.
Create carrot nondairy frozen desserts from coconut-pineapple juice, carrots, and mangoes. In a blender, puree mangoes and carrots with coconut milk or coconut-pineapple juice. The pineapple juice has just the right tangy flavor when added to coconut juice. And it makes carrot pulp taste more like grated coconut.
Carrot-Coconut-Pineapple-Almond-Mango Frozen Dessert
As an alternative, you can substitute orange juice for pineapple juice. Mix carrots and orange juice, blend with a handful of almonds and freeze. But the taste of the coconut-pineapple juice with mangoes gives this frozen dessert a special ambrosia flavor of the tropics. See my recipe, below.
1 to 2 cups of L&A brand coconut-pineapple juice or a similar tasting coconut-pineapple juice or blend and liquefy your own shredded coconut with fresh pineapples and 1/2 cup of water
1 cup of organic peeled baby carrots
½ cup of raw almonds
1 cup of frozen mango chunks
½ cup of shredded coconut (optional)
Blend everything together except the optional shredded coconut. Serve either as a smoothie or freeze in covered cups. Sprinkle with shredded coconut (optional). Serve as you would serve sherbet or a frozen smoothie.
You can add vanilla protein powder such as rice protein and make a thick shake and then freeze it in custard cups. Soy-milk, oat milk, almond milk, rice milk, or sesame seed paste-based ice cream with ginger and almonds or walnuts also may be served beside a deep soup bowl of steaming hot decaffeinated green tea. Adjust your food and desserts to your body’s genetic pattern and metabolism because we all experience food individually.