Category: Vegetarian/Vegan

We all know Tink loves his popsicles. They’ve appeared over many episodes and a whole room on the Afternoon Delight was filled with them at one point. So today we’re making Tink’s flavor of choice cherry, but with a creamy yogurt swirl.

Be on the lookout over the next month for Karma’s and Xianna’s popsicle recipes.

This recipe is only 5 ingredients, and outside of the freezing only takes about 5 minutes to make (if you’re using frozen or pre-pitted cherries).

First we puree the cherries with 2 tablespoon of the honey and a pinch of salt. The final texture can be as smooth or as chunky as you want.

Then, mix the yogurt, another pinch of salt, the remaining 4 tablespoons honey, and vanilla extract or paste, if using. We’re using nonfat Greek yogurt and a little bit of both vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste.

Next we pour half of the cherry mix between the molds. Layer the yogurt mix on top, and then the rest of the cherry mix.

To swirl the mixes together take a butter knife, a thin spoon, a chopstick, a popsicle stick, or anything thin and flat and stick it into the popsicle mold. Move it up and down in a sort of zig-zag pattern. Do it only a few times for chunky layers, or really go at it for a finely marbled popsicle.

And then freeze! After 4 or so hours, depending on your freezer and mold size/shape, your popsicles will be ready.

Cherry Froyo Popsicles [makes 8-12 popsicles, depending on mold size]

3 cups fresh or frozen cherries; pits and stems removed
6 tablespoons honey
3 cups Greek yogurt (any %fat)
2 pinches salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste; optional

Puree the cherries with 2 tablespoons honey and a pinch of salt.

In a separate container combine the yogurt, remaining 4 tablespoons honey, a small pinch of salt, and vanilla, if using.

Divide cherry mix between popsicle molds. Top with the yogurt mix. Use a spoon, butter knife, or stick to gently swirl the two mixes together.

Place in the freezer and allow to fully freeze, about 4 to 6 hours.

Bantha Blasters are first ordered during Episode 24. They’re pink and green, and pop and fizz. Our real life version uses watermelon for the pink, melon liqueur for the green, and Pop Rocks for some great popping and fizzing.

Finished drink and a small bowl of Pop Rocks
A good ol’fashioned Bantha Blaster

This recipe uses seedless watermelon, vodka, simple syrup, lime juice, Midori melon liqueur, and, finally, Pop Rocks.

All the ingredients laid out
Bantha Blaster in the making.

Now, we had some real trouble finding Pop Rocks in our local grocery stores and ended up buying a few packages online. Sadly, the online packs did not have the flavor we wanted: Green Apple. The Green Apple is preferred for its green color, but other flavors will work if you also have trouble finding them.

First, cut up the watermelon into cubes and put them in a blender along with the vodka, simple syrup, and lime juice. Our watermelon was a little under-ripe so we used 2 ounces of simple syrup. Use less if your melon is nice and ripe.

A clear pink blender canister filled with watermelon and other ingredients.
And yes, this is blender was once used at a certain coffee chain.

Blend everything up until smooth. There will be watermelon “foam” at the top and more of a juice at the bottom.

Two tall glasses filled with ice cubes, each with a small amount of melon liqueur at the bottom.
The first layer.

Fill 2 highball glasses with ice and pour 1 ounce of midori into each glass. Using a fine mesh strainer or something similar, strain the watermelon mix between the 2 glasses. This will remove the foamy pulp so that you’re left with a smooth juice.

Two tall glasses filled with ice cubes, each with a small amount of melon liqueur at the bottom, and the watermelon mix on top.
Getting ready for those popping rocks.

Very carefully pour 1 package of pop rocks onto the top of each drink. Very carefully! If your Pop Rocks are particularly “fresh” or you live in a fairly dry environment the Pop Rocks might, well… pop quite vigorously when they hit the liquid. When we first made this drink a while back the Pop Rocks exploded everywhere and made a bit of a mess. For this photoshoot the house was humid and since the candy had to sit out while everything was made they didn’t react quite as violently.

A top down shot of the finished drink, topped with red Pop Rocks.
Shown here with Watermelon Pop Rocks.

Bantha Blasters [serves 2]

2 cups fresh seedless watermelon, cut into cubes about 1/2-inch in diameter
4 ounces vodka
1-2 ounces simple syrup, depending on how sweet your watermelon is*
2 ounces lime juice
2 ounces midori
1 small package Green Apple Pop Rocks**


Place watermelon, vodka, simple syrup, and lime juice in blender. Process until smooth. Fill 2 highball glasses with ice and pour 1 ounce of midori into each glass. Strain the watermelon mix between the 2 glasses. Very carefully pour 1 package of pop rocks onto the top of each drink.

*Simple Syrup recipe found here
**Or whatever flavor you can find.

In episode 23 the crew treats themselves to some ice cream. They get pistachio, lime, and salted caramel. Pistachio and salted caramel are easy enough to find in the grocery store, but lime can sometimes be tricky to get (outside of sherbet and sorbet). So today we’re making lime ice cream and using coconut milk as the base. This adds a wonderful hint of coconut flavor, and keeps the recipe vegan.

Waffle cone bowl with scoops of lime ice cream topped with coconut flakes and a lime slice.
Scoop into a waffle cone and top with coconut flakes!

The ingredients for the recipe laid out on a cutting board.

This ice cream uses coconut milk and coconut cream in place of traditional dairy. Coconut cream and milk have higher fat contents than many other non-dairy alternatives and will give your ice cream a smooth, creamy taste.

Cornstarch and xantham gum are used as thickeners and binders. They will keep the coconut fat from separating out of the mixture and make the base thicker which will create a richer mouthfeel.

Xantham gum is a soluble fiber and bags of it can usually be found in the baking aisle. Most grocery stores I’ve been to carry the Bob’s Red Mill brand. If you can’t find it, or don’t want to buy a whole bag for one recipe you can leave it out.

Coconut milk and cornstarch being mixed in a small bowl.
Tiny whisk not required.

In a small bowl or cup pour ½ cup coconut milk. Whisk in the cornstarch until completely combined. Mixing the cornstarch into a small amount of liquid will make it easy to combine and prevent clumps.

This will get set to the side to be used later.

A saucepan with coconut milk and cream and lime zest being whisked together.

In a saucepan combine the coconut cream, remaining coconut milk, and lime zest. 

Over medium heat bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

An R2-D2 kitchen timer set to 30 minutes with a covered saucepan in the background.
R2 units are quite helpful in the kitchen.

Remove from the heat, cover, and tell your R2 unit to set a timer for 30 minutes.

This will infuse the coconut milk with all the flavor in the zest.

A fine wire strainer atop a metal pitcher.
Any sort of fine wire strainer should work.

Strain the zest out of the coconut mix. At this point the zest has given up its flavor and removing it will give a smoother texture to the ice cream.

Return to a clean saucepan with the xanthan gum, salt, and sugar, and any optional extract or food coloring.

a bottle of lime extract, "leaf green" food coloring, and "lemon yellow" food coloring.

Adding a little bit of lime extract will create a very strong, punchy lime flavor. If you want a more mellow, smooth flavor leave it out.

Naturally this ice cream will have off-white, barely there green color. If you want a more colorful lime green color you can add some food coloring.

A little ceramic bowl with 3 drops yellow food coloring and 1 drop green.  A tiny spoon is in the background.
Tiny spoon not required.

If you can’t find “lime” food coloring, you can make your own by using 3 parts yellow, 1 part green.

I mixedg mine in a little sauce bowl, 1- for the photo and 2- because I want just a hint of color and 4 drops would be too much for that.

But if you want a strong green color go ahead and add 3 drops yellow and 1 drop green directly to the mix.

A small ceramic bowl with mixed food coloring and tiny spoon.
Look at the beautiful color!

This is the finished “lime green” food coloring mix. I used about a fourth of the mix.

Ice cream base before food coloring. Off-white, barest hint of green.

Before

Ice cream base after food coloring. A very pale lime green.

After

Ice cream base boiling in a saucepan.

Stir the ice cream mix over low heat until sugar has fully melted and mixture is warm.

Gradually stream the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan while whisking non-stop. Once everything has been incorporated, whisk continually until the mixture comes to a soft boil.

The ice cream base in a metal pitcher with plastic wrap pushed against the surface of the ice cream base.

Strain the mixture into a large measuring cup or pitcher to remove any lumps. Stir in the lime juice. The lime juice is getting added at the end here to keep it bright and tart.

Press plastic wrap against the surface of the mixture so a skin does not form.

The metal pitcher on a shelf in a fridge.
Maybe there’s too much yogurt.

Place in the refrigerator next to all your yogurt cups and fully chill. You want the ice cream mix to be as cold as possible so when it goes into the ice cream maker it’ll freeze faster, which will make smaller ice crystals which means a smoother texture.

A Cuisinart ice cream machine on a counter with the metal pitcher beside it.

Churn in an ice cream maker, following the machine’s instructions. You could make this recipe and use a “no churn” or “no machine” method, but the result won’t be as airy and smooth. An ice cream machine will freeze the mixture faster, creating smaller ice crystals, and churning will introduce air, making the ice cream lighter.

Ice cream being churned.
Look at that creaminess.

Once out of the ice cream maker, place in an airtight container, cover, and freeze for at least 3 hours to allow it to further firm up.

Ice cream in a reusable ice cream quart container.
Use a reusable ice cream container or a tupperware.

Lime Coconut Ice Cream [makes about 1 quart]

1 400-ml can coconut milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 400-ml can coconut cream
3 tablespoon lime zest (from 2-4 limes)
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice (from 1-3 limes)
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon lime extract
Optional: lime green gel food coloring (or 3 parts yellow + 1 part green)

In a small bowl or cup pour ½ cup coconut milk. Whisk in the cornstarch until completely combined.

In a saucepan combine the coconut cream, remaining coconut milk, and lime zest. Over medium heat bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes.

Strain the zest out of the coconut mix. Return to a clean saucepan with the xanthan gum, salt, and sugar, and any optional extract or food coloring. Whisk to combine. Stir over low heat until sugar has fully melted and mixture is warm.

Gradually stream the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan while whisking non-stop. Once everything has been incorporated, whisk continually until the mixture comes to a soft boil.

Strain the mixture into a large measuring cup or pitcher to remove any lumps. Stir in the lime juice. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the mixture so a skin does not form. Place in the refrigerator until fully chilled.

Churn in an ice cream maker, following the machine’s instructions. Once out of the ice cream maker, place in an airtight container, cover, and freeze for at least 3 hours to allow it to further firm up.

Waffle cone bowl with scoops of lime ice cream topped with coconut flakes and a lime slice.

We’ve reached the final installment of our Nerftown breakfast series: pancakes! And not just any pancakes, but buttermilk buckwheat pancakes. These pancakes are hearty, nutty, and just a little tangy. Perfect for mornings out on the range.

A stack of pancakes with butter and maple syrup.
Nerftown Buckwheat Pancakes

Ingredients of the pancakes laid out in bowls.
All the ingredients.

Buckwheat flour gives these pancakes a delicious nutty taste and hearty texture, but regular all-purpose flour keeps these light and fluffy. The brown sugar will help bump up that wonderful rich flavor of the buckwheat flour. And buttermilk will give a little tang to the batter, but will also help activate the baking powder to give these pancakes more rise.

The flours, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder combined in a bowl.
The flours, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder.

Combine the flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. You’ll want to make sure there are no large clumps of flour left.

Melted butter and eggs added to the dry ingredients.
The eggs are under all that butter! We promise.

Add the melted butter and eggs. Stir until just combined.

The buttermilk being poured into the batter.
Pour that good, good buttermilk in.

Pour in the buttermilk and stir. You don’t want to over mix the batter or else the pancakes will come out dense and chewy from the extra gluten formation.

Whisk held above the bowl of batter to show the batter dripping into the bowl.
Texture of the batter.

Batter should be thick, but still pourable.

A pat of butter melting in a cast iron pan.
This is probably too much butter. Learn from our mistakes.

Heat a nonstick pan or heavy cast iron over medium-low heat. Place a small pat of butter on the pan. Once the butter has melted pour batter using a 1/4 cup scoop onto the surface.

Pancake cooking in the pan.
Some bubbles beginning to form.

When bubbles begin to form on the edges of the batter and the edges start to look matte, flip the pancake. Cook until deep golden brown.

Serve with butter and good maple syrup.

Pancakes stacked on a plate. Scones and sausages are in the background.
The full spread.

Nerftown Buckwheat Pancakes

1 cup (120g) buckwheat flour
1 cup (128g)all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
Additional butter; for pan

Combine the flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and eggs. Stir until just combined. Pour in the buttermilk and stir. Batter should be thick, but still pourable.

Heat a nonstick pan or heavy cast iron over medium-low heat. Place a small pat of butter on the pan. Once the butter has melted pour batter using a 1/4 cup scoop onto the surface. When bubbles begin to form on the edges of the batter, flip the pancake. Cook until deep golden brown.

Repeat with remaining batter.

Ah yes, the bug-monkey meatballs again. Or is it monkey-bug? For a creature we made up ourselves we sure don’t know anything about it. This week we’re bringing you another version of these little cocktail appetizers. This time they’re made out of mushrooms and lentils. And before you even say “but I don’t like mushrooms” know that once they’re minced, fried, and mixed in you can’t tell they’re there. We promise! A few of our squad mates down right hate mushrooms, but love these.

Faux Bug-Monkey Meatballs

 

These little meat-less balls are similar to our original Bug-Monkey Meatballs, with a few differences. The biggest is a base of lentils and mushrooms instead of pork and fish. Since the lentils and mushrooms are on the softer side there’s also less soy sauce with more cornstarch and breadcrumbs to help them bind together. Because the mixture is a bit softer they are also baked instead of pan fried. The sauce is almost the same with the exception of the removal of the fish sauce and extra soy sauce to compensate for it.

 

Ingredients. Piled artistically. Because we could.

 

The lentils are first cooked in vegetable stock and liquid smoke to give them some extra flavor. Once they’re soft and all the liquid has been absorbed three-fourths get pureed in a food processor. Pureeing some of the lentils creates a base that is easy to form and binds well, while keeping some of the lentils whole gives the “meat”balls more texture so they don’t end up mushy.

 

Then mushrooms are cooked in a mixture of vegetable oil and coconut oil. The coconut oil will firm up while the mixture rests in the fridge and make these easier to roll into balls, but will melt when cooked and help keep things “juicy”. Once all the moisture from the mushrooms has cooked out and they become crispy we add the garlic and ginger for a minute to release their flavor.

 

“Meat”ball mixture

 

Everything is then mixed together and put in the fridge for an hour. This rest time lets the coconut oil solidify. Towards the end of the rest time preheat the oven. We tried pan frying these, like the original Bug-Monkey Meatballs, and it did not work well. The softer mix didn’t hold up and they fell apart. If you are set on pan frying these and are fine with them not being vegan you can add an egg to help create a tighter bind.

 

“Meat”balls on the baking tray.

Use about a tablespoon of filling and roll into little balls. Make sure you line your baking sheet with either parchment paper or a silicone mat. Don’t use tin foil. These little suckers will stick to the foil.  Bake for 30 minutes, flipping them around every 10 minutes.

 

While they bake, make the sauce. It’s almost exactly the same as the sauce from the original recipe, except you’ll use the pan the mushrooms were cooked in and extra soy sauce instead of fish sauce.

 

Once the sauce is done and the balls are baked combine them, place in a bowl (We understand if your bowl isn’t square and fuzzy. We ourselves could only get a square bowl), garnish with green onions, and serve!

 

Faux-Bug-Monkey Meatballs with toothpicks!

 

Faux Bug-Monkey Meatballs

1 cup green or brown lentils
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil; divided use
3 tablespoons coconut oil; divided use
8 ounces cremini mushrooms; minced
4 cloves finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
4 tablespoons Chinese garlic chives, finely chopped (or a mix of the green part of scallions and regular chives)
1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Prepare lentils by rinsing them and adding to a pot with the vegetable stock and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat down and simmer covered until all the liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender (about 15-20 minutes).

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium heat in a medium sauté pan. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have lost all moisture and have become crispy. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Add 3/4 of the lentils to a food processor and pulse until a thick paste forms. Pour into a large bowl, along with the reserved lentils, the cooked mushroom mix, chives, peppercorns, salt, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, breadcrumbs, and the remaining vegetable oil and coconut oil. Stir thoroughly to combine.

Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Form into small meatballs, about 1 tablespoon each. Place the meatballs on a parchment or sil-pat lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the balls every 10 minutes.

 

For the sauce:

1 clove minced garlic
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4-1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
3/4 cup vegetable stock or water
3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Cornstarch slurry (2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved into 1 tablespoon water)

To the skillet the mushrooms were cooked in, add the garlic, red peppers flakes, and Sichuan peppercorns. Stir for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the vegetable stock, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Stir to combine, making sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet left from the meatballs. Bring to a simmer.

Add the cornstarch slurry and continue to simmer for about 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened. Add the meatballs to the sauce, and stir to coat them.

Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with toothpicks.

 

The opening scene of our recent Jedi Adventures arc features the Jedi eating noodles at a street vendor on Coruscant. For these noodles we wanted a fast and easy recipe, since these would have needed to be dished out quickly as people ordered them. The sauce requires no cooking and can be made while the water for the noodles are boiling.

Noodles, with extra sambal oelek for serving

 

These noodles are seriously delicious and so easy. They’re great for weeknight dinners when you want something fast with as little effort as possible. They are also quite tasty cold, making them wonderful to pack for lunch.

 

Noodles!

 

The sauce is rich, creamy, and just a little spicy. It starts with sesame paste (sometimes called tahini) and peanut butter. Together these create the rich, luscious base of the sauce. Soy sauce and rice vinegar are added for flavor, sugar for a touch of sweetness, and sambal oelek for just a bit of heat. Then hot vegetable broth is added to thin out the sauce.

 

 

Tabletop One’s Tips:

  • Almost any type of round, Asian noodles work for this dish.
    • At normal grocery stores, look for fresh noodles in the Asian section. They will often have vacuum-sealed packets of noodles.
    • If buying dried noodles, look for “white noodles”; noodles made with white flour instead of semolina. Italian pasta is made with semolina wheat flour, which gives it its distinctive yellow color, but imparts a flavor that is not ideal for this dish.
  • Tahini can be found either with the other nut butters, or the “international” aisle, specifically the Greek or Mediterranean section.
  • Sambal oelek is a Southeast Asian chili paste and can usually be found where ever your store sells sriracha (probably the most famous maker of sriracha, Huy Fong, also makes a sambal oelek. It also has a rooster on the jar.)
  • This recipe is easily scaled up to make more than one serving.

 

Coruscant Street Noodles [serves 1]

6 ounces fresh wheat noodles (or 3 ounces of dried noodles)
1 tablespoon sesame paste/tahini
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sambal oelek chili paste, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup hot vegetable broth
1 tablespoon chopped green onions

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package.

While the noodles are cooking, make the sauce by combining the remaining ingredients, except the green onions. Stir until it forms a smooth, even sauce.

When the noodles are cooked, drain them and toss with the sauce, and place into a bowl.

Top with the chopped green onions and serve immediately.

 

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