The “yogurt” looked promising when I opened it. Unlike Almond Dream and the flaxseed-based Good Karma, this one was white, not beige, and it had a smooth (though thin) consistency.
But when I tasted it, I was very disappointed. It has a pasty mouthfeel, leaving an unpleasant coating on your tongue. It’s sour, but that’s the most it has in common with real yogurt. And there’s an artificial aftertaste that doesn’t belong in yogurt — or any food, for that matter.
This just adds more support to my theory that almond milk does not make a good base for yogurt; I haven’t had a decent one yet. Coconut milk seems to do better, as in Coyo Coconut Milk Yogurt Alternative. That’s still the only dairy-free yogurt I would recommend. But not all coconut milk yogurts are good, either. Stay away from So Delicious! No bueno!
I’ve learned my lesson: No more almond milk yogurts!
This Saturday, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are getting married in a royal wedding that we Angelenos are very excited about. Not only is Meghan Markle an American, she is also from Los Angeles.
Many people are planning viewing parties, and what better way to celebrate the royal nuptials than with a traditional English tea? I adore afternoon tea… the girlier and more twee the better. It’s the only circumstance under which I tolerate doilies.
The problem is that a traditional afternoon tea is loaded with dairy. In fact, it’s often called a “cream tea.” There’s the milk you put in your tea, the cream cheese in the finger sandwiches, the clotted cream for the scones, the pastries filled or topped with cream… The list goes on.
Being lactose-intolerant, I’ve had to forego my beloved cream tea. That’s why, on this special occasion, I set out to make a “cream-free tea.” Here’s the menu:
ROYAL WEDDING CREAM-FREE TEA
Madras Curry Chicken Sandwiches
Cucumber with Lemon-Mint Butter Sandwiches
Tart Cherry Scone with Clotted Coconut Cream and Boysenberry Preserves
Earl Grey Tea
I should make it clear that I do use butter in my recipes, as the amount of lactose in it doesn’t bother me. But if butter is a problem for you, you can use a vegan alternative such as Earth Balance.
As for the tea itself, you can either drink it straight or use any non-dairy milk you like: almond, coconut, soy, etc. For a richer experience, I recommend using a heavier creamer like Califia Farms Better Half, a mixture of coconut cream and almond milk.
Final note: You don’t have to make everything from scratch. I bought the chocolate-covered strawberry at Gelson’s rather than dipping it myself. For the scones, I used a prepackaged mix called Sticky Fingers and spooned the batter into a Nordic Ware mini scone pan.
It’s okay to take a few shortcuts, especially when you’re making such an elaborate meal. Besides, as Carl Sagan once said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, first you must invent the universe.” Too late for that.
Below you’ll find my recipes for the sandwiches and the clotted coconut cream. Enjoy the royal wedding and your dairy-free royal tea!
MADRAS CURRY CHICKEN SANDWICHES RECIPE Chicken salad recipe adapted from Nom Nom Paleo
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 lime, juiced
1/2 pound cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 slices wheat bread
In a small bowl, combine mayo, curry powder, salt and pepper. Add chicken, cilantro, and scallions. Mix well.
Spread an even layer of curry chicken on a slice of bread; top with another slice.
Using a sharp knife, cut off and discard the crusts. Cut the sandwich diagonally into quarters, making 4 triangles. (You’ll have leftover chicken.)
CUCUMBER WITH LEMON-MINT BUTTER SANDWICHES RECIPE
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
2 tablespoons butter or vegan butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 english cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
2 slices white bread
In a small bowl combine the mint, butter, and lemon juice. Stir the mixture until well combined.
Spread a thin layer of butter mixture on each bread slice. Top one bread slice with cucumber, distributing the cucumber evenly. (Don’t pile it on too thick or the sandwich will fall apart.) Top the cucumber with the other bread slice.
With a sharp knife, cut off and discard the crusts. Cut the sandwich diagonally into quarters, making 4 triangles.
CLOTTED COCONUT CREAM RECIPE
4 tablespoons butter or vegan butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons canned coconut cream or milk
Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until well combined and smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add coconut cream and continue beating until the cream is light and fluffy.
Transfer cream to a small serving dish or ramekin. Serve with scones and preserves. If you’re not using the cream right away, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.
If Ben & Jerry’s is the Volkswagen bus of ice creams, Häagen-Dazs is the Mercedes Benz. It’s synonymous with top-shelf, luxury, quality. I’ve never had a Häagen-Dazs ice cream I didn’t like. That’s why I assumed that when they finally made a non-dairy ice cream, it would be amazing.
The flavor sounded great — who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate? And there were no scary-sounding chemicals on the ingredients list that would raise red flags. The only mystery was that, unlike most non-dairy ice creams, this one contains neither almond milk nor coconut milk, which on their website they allude to as “distracting dairy substitutes.” So what exactly is it made of?
My question is: Where’s the “cream” in this frozen dessert? What makes it creamy?
The answer is: nothing. Sadly, this frozen dessert isn’t creamy. It isn’t grainy like the dreaded Arctic Zero, but it’s definitely not creamy. The texture is almost like an Italian ice. I’ve even had sorbets that were creamier than this.
The other major problem with this flavor is that it’s way too salty. Peanut butter should be salty, but this is overwhelmingly so. Upon the first bite, the saltiness punches you in the face. If you’re a big fan of salty sweets, like the trendy salted caramel or sea salt chocolates, you might enjoy this dessert. But I would say for most palates, no.
As for the chocolate fudge part, it’s just okay. I expected Häagen-Dazs to pull out all the stops with some kick-ass chocolate, but they kind of phoned it in.
But the main problem is the base. The moral of the story is if you’re going to make a non-dairy ice cream, you might need to use a “distracting dairy substitute.” Let’s not forget that what people love about ice cream is the creaminess!
Companies that make vegan products have figured out that to make a successful vegan burger, they first have to pinpoint what people love about the experience of eating a burger. And now they’ve even come up with vegan burgers that “bleed.” That’s the kind of food science that can make a great dairy-free ice cream. Let’s hold those food scientists to it.