March 19, 2014

Tiny black things in the sugar vs. chocolate banana cheesecake | Sumo orange

For those of you who may remember the black worm incident, don't worry, this is not that.

When I saw the photo of chocolate galaxy banana cheesecake from Vegan Pie in the Sky on Chow Vegan's Pi Day blog post, I knew that I'd be making it one of these days. Chow Vegan had made it as mini-tarts, and that left me itching to get out my mini-tart pans and do the same. I followed her link to the recipe, bookmarked it, and moved on with my life, because I figured the tarts were not going to happen any time soon. It was true that a couple of days later we were having a bunch of family members over for dinner, but my husband was doing the cooking for that event, and I'd already decided not to make a dessert. However, on the morning of the dinner party, while the husband was out for a morning walk, the cheesecake invaded my brain, and before I knew what was happening, there I was in the kitchen getting out ingredients and pans.


The recipe has a graham cracker crust but I was going to make an almond flour crust instead. I had just added the flour and sugar to a mixing bowl, and was combining them when I noticed tiny black things in the bowl. Ugh. Ever since the worm fiasco, I'm really suspicious of anything that doesn't look exactly right. You might say overly suspicious. The black things weren't moving and didn't appear to have legs, but they were so tiny I had trouble noting the details. There were a number of them in the sugar jar and I fished one out, put it on a white surface, and looked at it with a (not so great) magnifying glass. It had a certain brown pattern on it. All the black things had the same pattern. Eeuww. I vaguely remembered seeing something like it before but couldn't place it. Was it some stage of insect development? I tossed the mix into the compost when, duh, I had a thought. I looked at the measuring spoon I had used in the sugar. Double DUH. The little black things were chia seeds left from when I'd added a spoonful to my smoothie, and some were still clinging to the bottom of the measuring spoon. How dumb is that? Have you ever looked at chia seeds closely? They are not solid black, but have a pattern on them. How embarrassing to admit this in public, but there you go — sense of humor trumps shame.


After wasting all that expensive almond flour, I decided to just make the cheesecake without a crust. I had also used up my small window of time with all the seed/bug nonsense, and had to get going on the cake or there wouldn't be enough time for it to chill. Instead of using the mini pans without a crust, it seemed more expedient to use one nine-inch pie plate — easier and quicker.


As you can see, the cheesecake was beautiful, but was it good? Of course it was good — it came from an Isa and Terry cookbook. It was enjoyed by all the guests. One guest asked if it contained rum — it didn't, but a question like that is always a good sign. However, I still have the memory of an extraordinary tofu cheesecake I used to make, the recipe for which is buried somewhere in my recipe collection. I remember including the cheesecake on a buffet at a dinner party I was hosting, and seeing one of the guests (an omnivore foodie) slicing a piece. I watched him place the cheesecake on his plate, cut a piece with his fork and raise it to his lips. I startled him when I yelled, "WAIT!" "It's not what you think," I said. "It's made with tofu."

"I like tofu," he answered mildly, and went on to eat it, and pronounce it the best cheesecake he'd ever had, tofu or not. I've never tasted anything that could compare, and someday I hope to find the recipe and make it again. Until then, chocolate galaxy banana cheesecake is A-OK — super easy to make, too, and works well even without a crust. The longer it chills, the better it tastes. You should try it! Here is a link to the recipe.

The Sumo orange
The orange is sitting on an eight-inch plate.

Have you ever had one of these? It's a Sumo orange — a cross between a mandarin and a California navel that took 30 years to develop. My son, who lives in California, told me about them, and suggested I try to find some at Whole Foods. It was good, but not as sweet as I was expecting, though the texture was appealing. 


The oranges are quite large, seedless, and have a thick, bumpy skin which is very easy to peel. Sumo oranges have a short season, which is just about to end, so if you want to try one, get to Whole Foods ASAP.

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18 comments:

  1. You have the best bug stories! :-) Glad the cheesecake worked out in the end. It's good isn't it? The sumo oranges are good too. But you're right, they're not as sweet as something like a cara cara.

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    1. The cheese cake is really good! The oranges are good, too, but not as spectacular as honeybelles.

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  2. That is so sad about the almond flour!!! But yeah those stinking chia seeds stick to everrrrything! So annoying.
    I love sumo oranges. I love sumo everything.

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    1. Thankfully it was only 1/2 cup of almond flour since I was only going to make a bottom crust. But, still ...

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  4. Oh, no! That's so sad about the almond flour! I totally know that sinking feeling when you realize - after the fact - the mistake you've made. There's one oft-told story in my family about a time before I was vegan when we went to a fast food place. I kept finding hair in my food, and my aunt kept taking it to the counter. Each time, she got more and more frustrated about it. Finally the last time she said to the person, "Someone back there REALLY needs to get a hairnet." Then I realized that all of the hairs had a very odd and particular coloring to them. Each short strand had variations of shades. I looked down at my sweater and remembered I'd just spent the morning petting a calico cat... So all of those hairs in my food had come from my very own shirt. Whoops.

    I noticed those sumo oranges the last time I was at a Whole Foods. What a cool shape! I didn't pick one up, but I'll have to keep an eye out for them in case they have them at our local grocery store.

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    1. Oh, I also meant to say how gorgeous that cheesecake looks! Your dinner guests are the luckiest.

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    2. I laughed out loud when I read your comment — I've found cat hair on my plate in my house, and I don't have a cat, but my sons' do.

      I've never not recognized chia seeds before, but this was the first time I spotted a few in the sugar jar. I think I'm so glad they weren't an infestation, that the almond flour loss was a small price to pay.

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  5. Oh, I am so with you on the ew factor when it comes to out-of-place things in my food/pantry. I had a moth incident years ago, and that has kept me vigilant ever since. So glad those were just chia seeds but bummed you tossed the mix out, thus tossing out those bucks too. Ah, well, you live and learn. The cheesecake looks good; I was hoping to see a recipe, then remembered copyright. So this was just to torture us, I see. And, those oranges, what can I say? I've seen them recently - another blog? It looks like the best benefit to them would be the easy peeling factor and the no seeds. Gotta try them though! Love the little versions.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You're in luck about the recipe. Look in the first paragraph where it says (in purple letters) "link to the recipe." Well, that really is a link to the recipe. I always put links in purple and bold to make them obvious, but maybe I have to rethink that. I'll try to make the links easier to find.

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    2. No, you don't need to change a thing. Once I submitted my comment, I scrolled up and saw the link. Duh! But, then I was too lazy to add an additional comment to let you know. But, you forced my hand, I see. Your beautifully and well-formed links need no improvement!

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  6. Ohhh I need to try this cheesecake. And please find that other cheesecake recipe you speak of! This is a beloved dessert I thought I was giving up by going vegan - so glad I don't have to let it go!

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    1. I found three recipes that could be the other cheesecake but it might have been a variation on one of them, rather than any of them exactly. I have a tendency to change things, and because it was long before I started the blog and decided to be more accurate, I didn't write it down. Guess I'll just have to eat a lot of cheesecake to figure it out.

      You really don't have to give anything up by eating compassionately - its amazing how easy it is to veganize old favorites.

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  7. Ha! I was reading from the top with terror as to what the black thing would be and I was so relieved it was just some spare chia! Phew! and the cheesecake looks like it turned out amazing too, so you got a double win there!

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    1. My thoughts exactly. I was more than happy to be wrong about the bugs, and delighted with the cake.

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  8. i can't get over the chia seeds story :))
    all of the tofu based cheesecakes i have tried at home from books or elsewhere have been underwhelming. probably because i can taste the tofu. the wayward cheesecake was a-ok.

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    1. I know what you mean about tasting tofu — I rarely make tofu desserts for this reason. Maybe it was the banana and chocolate combo, but I don't remember being disturbed by the tofu. The tofu cheesecake I used to make had no tofu-y taste at all!

      Delete

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