May 5, 2013

Who moved my cheese?

Dear Readers, I ask for your strength during this trying time. I've decided to give up dairy for a little while, in order to see if it has any effect on my skin. This decision was not made lightly, as I love ADORE all things dairy, especially cheese, but I need to figure this out. I've suffered from eczema since I was a baby, but in the past 2 years, it's gotten progressively worse. No skin ointment, pill, or moisturizer seems to make any difference, so I decided to look inwards, instead of piling things on outward. Apparently, dairy can be the biggest trigger of eczema outbreaks! You should have seen my face when I read that. Sad Beth. But, if it works, I'm willing to try almost anything. Therefore, the next series of recipes will be mainly dairy-free.

I ventured into the online blogosphere of veganism and some parts of it are scary. "Cheese" sauce made from cashews and yeast? "Milk" from soaked almonds? It was too much. So I started with baby steps, and will taste-test my way through this. I think you'll enjoy my first attempt!

What better place to start with than chocolate? I knew this recipe would be good, as I'd attempted something similar a few years ago as part of the Daring Bakers (I really miss having time for that group!). This was whizzed together quickly with some leftover silken tofu and a stash of incredibly indulgent dark chocolate morsels imported from San Francisco, via mother-in-law. The end result was amazingly rich, incredibly decadent and very very satisfying.

Silken Chocolate Tofu Mousse
Adapted from

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (Generic brands are typically dairy-free, but Nestles and Hersheys are not, so read the labels!)
1 (10 ounce) package firm silken tofu                                                          
1 -2 tablespoon brown sugar or 1 -2 tablespoon honey or 1 -2 tablespoon brown rice syrup, to taste   (I used a splash of vanilla instead)
1 dash nutmeg (I omitted)
1 banana, thinly sliced (optional)

Melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan or double boiler with a tablespoon of water over medium heat. Or, if you're lazy like me, melt them in a heatproof bowl in the microwave, in 45-second spurts, stirring after each round.

Transfer the melted chocolate to the container of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the tofu and process until smooth. Add the brown sugar, honey, or rice syrup to taste, and sprinkle in the nutmeg. Process again until velvety smooth. Stir in the sliced banana, if desired.

Divide the pudding among 6 dessert cups and chill until needed