September 20, 2004
# Avocado Pie

I never watched the movie Go Further, but at least three people--upon seeing it--mentioned that the bus that the movie followed had a raw food chef, who at some point makes a chocolate-avocado pie. For months, the idea of an avocado pie kept popping up, at the very least as a curiosity: avocado? pie? how could that possibly work?

It nagged at me so, that I finally decided to try it.

A google search renders a surprising number of recipes for avocado pie. They range from dead simple to alive with complexity. After a week and a half of the unbearable anticipation of watching my 89 cent avocados ripen (an unsavory combination of watching the proverbial pot and waiting for the proverbial drying paint... with the fortunate suggestion of mysterious possibilities of undiscovered tastes at the other end), I opted for a combination of recipes.

Childhood memories of pineapple pie, combined with my inability to eat it due to a dairy allergy, spurred me to add pineapple. After two tries, my experience says that there is no need for complexity. Did I mention that avocado pie is tasty? Two variations follow:

Avocado Pineapple Pie

2-3 avocados, ripe
1/2 - 1 cup brown sugar (depending on how sweet)
2 lemons
1 small can pineapple rounds

1-2 cups margarine or butter
1-2 cups flour
3-6 tablespoons water

1 package graham crackers (optional but tasty)

Prepare a crust, using the infallible (except for one time in Georgia, when the flour gathered more humidity than I bargained for, and the crust ended up a bit soggy) directions from the intensively honed apple pie recipe, or some other crust recipe that works for you. Bake it at 350 F til it's crisp--20 minutes, give or take; there will be no further baking.

Juice the lemons, and mash the avocados, sugar, and lemon juice together. Use a hand blender if you've got it. Chop the pineapple into little chunks of a size that suits your sensibilities. Mix it all together (brief blending can render a range of pineapple chunk sizes, which makes eating the pie a bit more unpredictable and possibly fun). Maybe add a touch of flour, if it seems overly liquid. I haven't tried replacing the lemon juice entirely with pineapple juice, but it seems like it should do the same job--keeping the avocados from going brown.

Pour this green glop into the crust. Crumble up some graham crackers for a topping. I added a bit of margarine to the graham cracker crumbles, so they stick together a bit more, but I confess that there may be a better way, and I haven't got around to researching it.

Put the whole thing in the freezer for at least three hours (four or five, preferably), and serve with a side of whatever is left of summer.

Chocolate Avocado Pie

I tried this only once, with not-quite-ripe, low-quality avocados. It ended up a bit chunky, but still very tasty, leading me to see it as a promising avenue for future exploration.

Use the same recipe as above, minus the pineapple and graham crackers. Melt a package of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler, and mix it in with the avocado and lemon juice. The results were a bit lemony, so it's probably worth trying to cut down the lemon juice substantially and see what happens. Vanilla extract may also be in order.

A lot of recipes call for a half cup of lemon juice, but I'm not sure how necessary it is. If it's strictly for color, then the chocolate renders that point moot. And the chocolate may also stabilize things in unforseen ways. (I haven't seen any recipies for Avocado chocolate pie, so speculation is necessary.)

Freeze, and enjoy. I reckon the half-assed version that I made was better than any vegan "cheesecake" I've ever had, lacking as it was in soy texture and aftertaste.

Bonus recipe: Vice Cream

I've been meaning to write down this recipe, and since summer's going fast, here it is. The name is short for "vegan ice cream", but as you'll see, the monicker is pertinent in other ways as well.

Put in freezer:

4 ripe, peeled bananas, in a ziplock back, tupperware, or somesuch apparatus

Four hours later, blend with some of the following (in anything from tiny to substantial amounts):

Coconut milk
Vanilla extract
Orange juice, in a pinch

Freeze a bit more, serve. Yum.

If you're in Canada, as I am, then you get to also savour the guilt of having used the weight of your ingredients in government-subsidized fossil fuels to enjoy your more or less vegan dessert. Vice cream, indeed. But if you're south, where some of these things are actually local, savour it!

posted by dru
January 21, 2004
# Infinite Justice Vegetarian Chili

I've tasted one too many batches of vegetarian chili that leave me wanting the "real thing"--chili powder, meat, and beans. It may be that I've stopped eating meat except on holidays (for ethical, financial, and environmental impact reasons), but I think I actually prefer the following recipe to the ground muscle version.

I made this up last year, and have been refining it for a while. The refined version has been pretty popular among flatmates and dinner guests, so I thought I'd spread the love.

Have a more descriptive name? Suggestions are welcome.

1 can corn
2 big cans (800mL) diced tomatoes
2 medium cans (500mL) red kidney beans
4 stalks celery

3 heaping tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil
1 big piece of ginger root
1 big onion
5 cloves garlic

1/2 bunch cilantro
10 oz spinach

In a large pot, heat corn, tomatoes, beans (drain 'em) and chopped celery. Heat until it starts to bubble, reduce to medium heat. Add cumin, mustard, curry, salt and cayenne. Stir frequently in order to keep the thicker part from settling on the bottom of the pot and burning.

In a small pot, heat 1/4 cups olive oil (a bit more if the pot has a large base). Peel the ginger with a spoon or the back of a knife, chop finely and add to the oil, which should be hot. While the ginger sautées, chop up the onion, add it to the oil, and then chop the garlic and add it as well. Stir occasionally, sautée the whole mix until it starts to brown. Add it to the main pot.

Wash cilantro, chop thoroughly, add to the mix. Cook for an additional 30 minutes; ideally, let it cook over low heat for an additional hour or two, to let the flavours blend. Serve over rice, with garlic bread, or both.

posted by dru
by Stu Fuller

This is NOT chili.

A> Chili doesn't have beans.
B> Chili doesn't have tomatoes.
3> Chili certainly doesn't have ginger!

Egads, what is the world coming to?!

by Ross

Beg to differ, Stu. It is too chili. I'm gunna try it as well.

With 3 tblsp cummin I wanted to say, "Come on!" but I'll try it. If it doesn't agree with me, I'll just add varsol and strip the paint off an old straight-back chair I've been meaning to spiffy up.

by bree

Sounds tasty! I prefer to make a hybrid of veggie and meat chili, which basically means you reduce the amount of beef, and add a schwack of veggies. The more the merrier. This sounds good too though. Some eggplant might be good in it, for richness.

by dru


The cumin does seem like a bit much, but if you let it simmer for a few hours, it blends in very nicely.


Since you don't offer your obviously authoritative definition of Chili-with-a-capital-C, I can only tell that the world *isn't* coming to understand: what Chili actually is, according to you.

by Johnzo

Well Dru, your recipe sounds pretty tasty. However, with my vegetarian Chili, I have ravaged and lain waste to people in Chili-Offs who have boasted a great deal about their own chilies and have used ground beef with all it's delicious fats etc. This may be the casting-off of of my gauntlet in front of you, and when we meet again, we shall taste some Real stuff. If you beg me, I may even post the recipe on Misnomer. Perhaps.

All best,

The Chili Competition.