I think I’ve officially scarred my husband for life. At least when it comes to healthy desserts.
The first blow came last year on his birthday, when I decided it would be a fine idea to make a pumpkin-tofu mousse recipe I saw in Clean Eating Magazine. The photo looked scrumptious, the description made it sound fantastic. Plus, it included the magic phrase: “No one will guess the secret ingredient.” To my mind, when you’re making a dessert that involves tofu, that kind of guaranteed deception is important. Accordingly, I did not tell Jeff what was in the mousse. I even hid the tofu I bought just for the occasion.
I was so happy with my plan. Jeff loves pumpkin, and I would be hosting a big family Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks after that, so I saw it as a great opportunity to test-drive a new recipe. Not that I needed to, of course, since the recipe looked so great. Plus, I had made a chocolate-tofu mousse before that was a big hit.
The first words out of Jeff’s mouth after he took a bite were, “Is there tofu in here?”
Sure enough, the pumpkin, sweetener and spice did NOT cover the tofu taste (funny, because tofu doesn’t have a lot of flavor to begin with). Jeff looked at me the way one might look at someone who just gave away his new puppy to passing strangers. I had dared to serve him tofu for his birthday dessert. I wondered if I would ever be forgiven.
Flash forward a year. I spied on a vegan food blog a recipe for black bean brownies. (“Oh no,” I can hear you saying.) The photos looked scrumptious, the description made them sound fantastic. The blogger said she served them to her fella and “he had no idea there were black beans in there.”
Sold! Sign me up.
The recipe involved a can of black beans, two bananas, agave nectar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla and instant oats. I added some espresso powder, and swapped almond meal for the oats (I don’t have instant oats in the house, and I knew almond meal would work fine). A whirl in the food processor and a stint in the oven later, they looked great.
After dinner *, as I was cutting into them, Jeff was so happy (and so surprised) that I’d made brownies. Really surprised, apparently, because he suddenly looked at me and said “There’s not tofu in there, is there?”
I applied my best poker face and tried to sound just a little indignant when I said, “No! I wouldn’t do that to you…again.”
He took a bite and looked at me. “You lied!”
“No! I swear! There’s no tofu…just black beans. And bananas.”
Truly, about all you could taste was banana. It was like very moist, very dense chocolate banana bread. Tasty, but definitely not brownies. In fact, anyone who thinks this recipe tastes like brownies has never had a brownie.
So this morning, when I saw a recipe online for flourless carrot cake, I told Jeff about it, and was very careful to tell him I saw it on the New York Times website. Martha Rose Schulman and her Recipes for Health won’t steer me wrong!
* I think the only thing that saved me from being strangled last night was that the new crockpot recipe I tried out for dinner was a smash hit. Whew! I’ll share the results of that in the next day or so.