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Guilt-free frozen desserts.

Guilt-Free Frozen Desserts

Ever since the emperor Nero sent runners off to collect snow that would be mixed with fruit and honey for ancient "sherbet," there has been a love affair between the human palate and frozen desserts.

Marco Polo is credited with bringing the first recipe for ice cream to the Western world from his travels to China in the 13th century, but it was reserved as a delicacy for the rich since the freezing process was such a difficult one.

Ice cream was still a rare treat when Dolly Madison first served it at the White House, during her husband's presidential term, about 1810.

Things have changed. Ice cream is now America's most popular dessert, and as a nation we consume some 900 million gallons every year. Something else has changed, however; what's in ice cream usually isn't confined to the cream, milk, eggs and sugar that once were all it took to make the smooth, cold delight. Today's commercial ice cream can contain any of 1,200 ingredients. Among them are chemical additives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, artificial flavorings and colorings and dairy by-products. True, some companies make "natural ice cream," but these are often higher in fat and refined sugar than other brands. Frozen yogurt, although a fat-reduced ice cream alternative, can be higher in sugar content than ice cream and since it is a cow's milk product, it can cause an allergic reaction in many people.

So what will we fill a cone with? There are natural, non-dairy frozen desserts that rate high on taste, low on fat, and zero on cholesterol and artificial additives. Some of these are available in health food stores and enlightened supermarkets. One popular brand is Ice Bean from Farm Foods. It's soy-based, honey-sweetened, and its tofu vanilla flavor is indistinguishable from the finest French vanilla ice cream. Another option is Rice Dream. The sweetness comes from rice so no additional sweeteners are used. The result is a light dessert somewhere between sherbet and ice cream. Their Neapolitan is a particularly luscious flavor.

Such products are fairly expensive, however, costing more than ordinary ice cream and in the range of the gourmet varieties. To satisfy the budget and a summer-long craving for the cold stuff, make your own.

The simplest way to turn out a healthful version of "soft-serve" is to peel ripe bananas, freeze them overnight, and run them through a Champion juicer with the homogenizing blank in place. If you lack this appliance, you can chop the bananas into 1-inch pieces before freezing and put them in a food processor with the metal blade. You'll need to interrupt the processing from time to time to scrape the frozen banana off the sides, but it's well worth it. You'll have something wonderful in a matter of a minute or two. With a little more work, your kitchen can become a frozen dessert factory this summer, and you'll have the most popular house in the neighborhood!

BASIC VANILLA ICE CREAM (from the newsletter of John McDougall, M.D.)

1 tbls. Emes unflavored gelatin* 1/2 cup water 1 cup boiling water 2/3 cup honey or maple syrup 1 tbls. vanilla & 1 tbls. lemon juice 1/2 tsp. sea salt 1-1/2 cups raw cashew pieces 1-1/2 cups water 1-1/2 cups vanilla Eden Soy(R) soy milk (may be mixed half and half with water to lessen fat content)

* Emes is a vegetable gelatin that can be ordered from P.O. Box 883, Lombard, IL. 60148; $9.98 for 1 pound postpaid.

Soak Emes gelatin in 1/2 cup water for several minutes. Pour boiling water over the gelatin. Stir and add sweetener and blend thoroughly in food processor. Add vanilla and salt. Set aside.

In blender, put 1 1/2 cups of raw cashew pieces (available at health food stores) along with 1 1/2 cups of water and blend thoroughly for several minutes. Add these pureed nuts into the food processor and begin blending, slowly adding the 1 1/2 cups of soy milk. When thoroughly blended, freeze in ice-cube trays.

When frozen, put amount of cubes desired into food processor and process until consistency of soft ice cream. To change flavor, add frozen juice concentrate, fruit or other flavorings as you process.

ORANGE FREEZE (from Marilyn Diamond in Fit for Life II: Living Health)

1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice 2 frozen bananas 4-6 soft dates, seeds removed 1/2-1 cup crushed ice

Combine juice and dates in blender and blend until smooth. Add ice and bananas. Blend until thick and creamy. Serves 2. Serve immediately for a delicious frosty shake.

SHERBET (from The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals) 2 cups orange juice 2 ripe bananas, sliced 1/4 cup sorghum or rice syrup 1 cup pitted fruit (strawberries, cherries, raisins, peaches, apples, etc.)

Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend at high speed for 1 minute until smooth. Pour into large plastic container or small individual cups; freeze to desired consistency. Serve plain, or garnished with fresh fruit. Yields 1 quart.

STRAWBERRY THICKSHAKE (from Rosalie Hard in Ten Talents, also the source for historical data about ice cream)

2 cups frozen strawberries (unsweetened) 1 cup chilled orange juice (or 1/2 orange juice concentrate, 1/2 water) 1-2 bananas, frozen or fresh

Puree' strawberries in blender with orange juice. Add bananas and blend till smooth. Spoon into tall glass, top with whole strawberry for garnish. Serve immediately with tall spoon.

(Victoria Moran has written extensively on the subject of food preparation. Her specialty is the compilation of gourmet recipes that do not depend upon animal products. She is also the author of the best-seller. Compassion: The Ultimate Ethic, acknowledged by many to be the definitive work exposing the cruel exploitation of animal life.)
COPYRIGHT 1990 Vegetus Publications
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Culinary Vegetarian Delights, includes recipes
Author:Moran, Victoria
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Article Type:column
Date:Jun 22, 1990
Previous Article:Guilt and regret despite sexual revolution.
Next Article:Protect yourself from foodborne illness.

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