Tawainese Snow Ice: The New Thing

My bestest friend came up to the city to have a delicious sushi dinner with me on Clement Street in Inner Richmond, near where I am staying. The street is almost entirely restaurants of various Asian cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, Indian… and this colorful dessert place called 100% Sweet Cafe that I found on Yelp. We went in and sat down and were handed an actual menu that was like 12 pages long with lunch, dinner, and dessert options. The regular food was recognizable, but so was the dessert section was… odd. Think glass noodles in coconut milk or steamed sweet tofu. But one item stood out to me as a must-have:

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Snow Ice.

I had never heard of it before so I ordered it (chocolate, of course) and the waitress came back with a HUGE serving of fluffy, sweet shaved ice. It was bigger than my head, I proclaimed that I would not be able to finish it all. But it was so light and airy that I realized it was almost gone and I didn’t feel stuffed. I finished the whole thing handily, which was easy because that shit is addictive. Ok, it tasted a little synthetic but I wasn’t in the florescent cafe to feel wholesome.

Read more about this impending phenomenon here. Snow ice is is about to become the new froyo/cupcake/ice cream sandwich.

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Beignets: Deep-fried Ambrosia Made Healthier

One of my friends goes to Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was shocked when I admitted that I’ve never been to Nola in downtown Palo Alto. So we made a dinner date for Friday night to sample this southern cuisine.

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My friend is all smiles before the feast

After several drinks (including the aptly-named The Hurricane), lots of chicken, mac ‘n cheese, bread, and carbs, my friend went ahead and ordered dessert I’d never heard of: beignets. Oh my god. I could have rolled out of there just after the first massive drink but when those little rectangles of heaven on a plate showed up I forgot all of my full-tummy woes.

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Dough. Covered in sugar. Deep-fried. Covered in powdered sugar. Served with caramel, chocolate, and raspberry sugar syrups. Holy shit.

As you can see, there were 6 beignets and 2 of us… not a problem. I put one in a box to take home to my dad and we split the rest. It was sinful. My favorite sauce was the raspberry because it added a tart edge to the otherwise sweet, sweet, sweet doughnut pastry. I had been eating healthy and working out all week so I didn’t hate myself after consuming too many of these sugar-coated temptations, but I resolved myself to find a healthier alternative that I could enjoy even more without a gnawing mixture of feelings of guilt and fuck-it-I’ll-get-fat excitement.

**I realize that my description of these beignets is saturated with religious undertones… I may have had a religious experience during my interaction with the dessert, I’m not sure.

So here is the healthier recipe for oven baked beignets, courtesy of Jenna from Eat, Live, Run.

Jenna’s recipe: Oven Baked Beignets:

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Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

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In my house, chocolate chip cookies have always been a constant feature. We always have a lump of homemade dough in the freezer waiting to be baked up. It was the very first thing that I learned how to bake. My mum doesn’t even need a recipe anymore, she just throws it together in minutes. So it felt a little bit like sacrilege to tweak this dessert that is one of my favorite childhood memories…

But I’m so glad that I did.

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The point of this recipe is to substitute half of the butter with an avocado. What the fuck? I was dubious at first too but the promise of healthy fat and fruit etc was too tempting to just pass over. Even though the avocado gives the dough a slight greenish tinge, the biggest problem with these cookies is that they are so delicious and “healthy” that I end up convincing myself that its ok to have 5 in one sitting.

My recipe: Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate Banana Mouthgasm

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I am now going to call this bowl of frozen goodness the Mouthgasm because it is that delicious. And you know how sex is good for you? So is this dessert.

I was walking through the San Francisco International Airport on my way home after a long day of traveling when I saw my favorite froyo place that had just opened a store in the United terminal. Ecstatic, I made a beeline for the register only to be told (not very nicely) that they had just closed and the machines were off. I tried to guilt trip her but that chick was not having it so I carried on, defeated. I was so disappointed.

BUT THEN, I remembered that I had frozen banana chunks in my freezer! As soon as I got home, I buzzed the banana with a little yoghurt* and cocoa powder to create an even better chocolatey frozen dessert. The best part: I got to pile on as many strawberries as I damned well pleased–I DO NOT SKIMP ON FRUIT. I also drizzled on a little magic shell just for shits and gigs.

*TIP: After the banana chunks have been in the freezer for a few days, they dry out significantly. The last time I made some Mouthgasm with some long-frozen bananas, I had to fake it because it was all lumpy and not creamy at all. This time, a large scoop of fat-free yoghurt solved that problem–just toss it in the food processor with the banana chunks and it creams them right up.

My recipe: The Mouthgasm

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Banana “Ice Cream”

This is so simple.

  1. Cut up bananas
  2. Freeze them
  3. Puree them in a food processor
  4. Add in anything you want (I added Nutella) and puree again

and voila! Banana flavored ice cream without fattening cream or sugar. One banana makes the perfect serving size of frozen goodness.

Peach and Blueberry Upside Down Cake

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My mum and I tweaked the traditional upside down cake recipe to make it a little bit healthier by cutting the sugar/fat a little. We:

  • substituted half of the butter with some applesauce
  • cut the amount of granulated sugar in half
  • substitued buttermilk for soymilk with goats milk yogurt

The applesauce puts back in the sweetness that we took out with the sugar. I picked up these tricks on buzzfeed.com and also the Mayo Clinic site. Who knew they were so creative?

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We had the inspiration to create a peachy dessert when we were buying them on impulse at the farmer’s market in downtown Palo Alto. We went there for crepes and left with arm-fulls of fruit, composting dirt, and a bar of handmade marshmallows in dark chocolate with almonds (which was gone by dinnertime). We almost bought a mini pie before we realized we had to stop and work with what we already had.

I don’t remember what cake recipe my mum found on the internet BUT here is a Betty Crocker recipe that seems to have already cut the sugar and uses applesauce! It also goes the extra step to use only egg whites and skim milk.

Fresh out of the oven, our cake was a little moister than I had intended, but I think this was due to the use of applesauce and the fact that our peaches were so fresh and juicy.

This dessert is most deliciously served very warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.