Cooking for the Wolf: Vegan/Soy-Free Spiced Mango & Pineapple Crumble

Cell snapshot of my keeper's delicious Asian-inspired dinner!

While I await recipes and pictures from Friday night’s Vegan/Non-Acidic Potluck, I thought I’d take a moment and share some spiced sweetness in a dessert post of “Cooking for the Wolf.”  Last night, my keeper whipped up a delicious vegetarian dinner of Vietnamese vermicelli and Thai lettuce wraps.  To balance out the soy in her recipes, I modified a vegan, spiced mango and pineapple crumble recipe from an old Vegetarian Times issue into a soy-free dessert.

Modifying the crumble into a soy-free dessert was simple:  I used a vegan, soy-free butter substitute and hopped over to the gelati shop down the street for two scoops of dairy-free apple gelati to go with it.  Super easy and according to my keeper (and to my great delight and relief), it was delicious!  The spice gives the crumble an unexpected twist and balances out the tartness of the fruit, while the apple gelati adds a fresh, subtle sweetness on top.  Peeling mangoes and fresh pineapple are the most laborious of fruit peeling adventures for me, but the end result was well worth the time it took!

The only other dessert I’ve ever made in my entire life is an apple crumble.  It’s pretty hard to mess up a crumble recipe (which is why it’s the only kind of dessert I’ve made so far), even when you’re using an under-equipped kitchen like me.  Last night, my keeper was pretty blown away that as a newbie cook, I don’t have measuring spoons.  Admittedly, I have little faith in my ability to eyeball 1/8 of a teaspoon.  Items have either never existed in my kitchen due to my lack-lustre culinary history and abilities, or they have been sucked into the void somewhere between five, lupus flare-related moves.  It was only this past Christmas that I received, at my request, my first set of quality knives courtesy of my lovely sister.  My “ghetto kitchen” creates some ridiculous situations here in my little apartment.  Rolling samosa dough with my Sigg water bottle the other day definitely tops the list!  Stocking up my kitchen will be a slow process due to financial reasons, but in that time I’ll be cooking with what I have in order to discover what I really need and what I can forgo with creative, budget conscious solutions.  The water bottle rolling pin will remain a one-time gong show – I just found and picked up my lost (and previously unused) rolling pin tonight from my parents’ condo!

The word vegan seems to be coming up a lot lately around here, so I thought I’d just clarify and check in with you to say that I am not eating an exclusively vegan diet at the moment.  The simple fact is that vegan recipes intrigue me, as does the lifestyle, so I’m trying some recipes to prove to myself that giving up certain foods doesn’t mean giving up delectable, amazing food, which, so far, is definitely true!  Not to mention the fact that I have keepers in my life who are inspiring and motivating me with their culinary curiousity and their own food-centred commitment to their health. Vegan sins like my slices of peppercorn gouda cheese are still lovingly stored in my fridge, so I’m not quite where I need to be in order to take the plunge into veganism.  My chocolate purge (4 months and counting) has given me hope that eventually, I could have the discipline to give up more foods that I thought I could never live without.  A “Cooking for the Wolf Vegan-for-a-Week Challenge” is definitely in the future, but I need more nutrition knowledge, recipes and culinary confidence before I do it.  It’s just another Face Forward food lifestyle experimentation on what I need to do to tame my “wolf.”  If I’ve learned anything from my research and experience so far, harmony with lupus is a full-on food fight.  I gotta pick my ammo carefully.

As a side note:  God, I miss M & Ms.  

But, I digress.  Vegan or not, I recommend that you spice it up with this easy and delicious crumble recipe.  And if you’re a calorie counter, it’s 354 calories per serving, but c’mon people, do we really care THAT much?

So, here it is:  I’m sending a sweet and spicy food hug across the internet Universe directly to you!  Enjoy!

Vegan/Soy-Free Spiced Mango & Pineapple Crumble

*modified from the June 2008 Issue of Vegetarian Times Magazine

Cell snapshot of the final product topped with dairy-free apple gelati!

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. packed light brown sugar, divided

1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided

3/4 tsp. grated nutmeg, divided

1/4 tsp. all spice, divided

1/4 tsp. salt

5 Tbs. chilled vegan margarine, cut into pieces, divided *I used Soy-Free Earth Balance, which you can find at most organic food markets.

1/2 cup raw pecans, coarsely chopped

2 Tbs. unsweetened shredded coconut

2 large mangoes, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch cubes (2 1/2 cups) *You can also use the sweeter, yellow-skinned “Filipino Mangoes” available at any Asian market when in season.  Since they are smaller, I would recommend using 4 – 5 in the recipe.

1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes (2 1/2 cups) *Choose fresh over canned!

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.  Coat 8-inch-square glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (or with the Earth Balance).  Combine flour, oats, 1/4 brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. allspice, and salt in medium bowl.  Add 4 Tbs. of margarine and rub with fingertips until mixture forms coarse meal.  Press together until the mixture begins to form moist clumps.  Stir in pecans and coconut.

2. Combine remaining 3 Tbs. of brown sugar, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp allspice in a large bowl.  Add mangoes and pineapple, and toss to coat.  Transfer to prepared baking dish; dot top with remaining 1 Tbs. of margarine.  Sprinkle oat topping over mango mixture.

3.  Bake 4 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and juices bubble.  Cool 10 to 20 minutes.  Serve warm with a dairy-free gelati of choice.

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