The Problem with Labels

See the tags at the top of this post? They say things like “wheatfree”, “vegan”, sometimes “raw”? They correspond to how the recipe within this post could be categorized, making it easier for people who describe themselves as vegan, for example, to find it and (hopefully) make it. But I’d never call this blog “vegan” or “glutenfree” or any of the labels used to describe “alternative” food. Why? Because it’s limiting and detracts from my hopes for this blog. I’m far more concerned with getting you to cook REAL food than converting you to some alternative lifestyle.

 

Many people who describe themselves as vegan are doing so for moral and ethical reasons which stretch far beyond what goes on their plate. Yet the scope of vegan cooking has expanded to a colossal size in the past couple of years, thanks to popular vegan baking books, a rise in allergies to dairy and eggs, and a general shift in our attitude towards eating meat.

So, if one of my recipes doesn’t include any animal products or byproducts, I’m going to label it “vegan”, but I’d never label myself that way. For one thing, while I don’t eat much meat these days, I do still have it on occasion, especially if it’s good quality, raised humanely, pastured, and/or organic. I eat fish. And dairy products from goats, sheep, and buffalo. And honey. And I wear leather shoes and haven’t checked whether the makeup I wear is tested on animals. And guess what? I don’t feel guilty about any of that! Any lifestyle that does isn’t worth following in my opinion.

That’s where The Particular Kitchen comes into play. It’s a name that doesn’t set ground rules or boundaries because, when it comes to your health and especially your diet, there shouldn’t be any. As I mentioned in a blog post two weeks ago, my dietary habits have changed recently and for the better! Nobody wants to feel restricted by the food they eat. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide: “Starting today, I’m going to avoid eating dairy, eggs, soy, meat, gluten on occasion, and refined sugar so I can make life really difficult for myself and anyone preparing a meal for me.” Just like the hundreds of other food bloggers out there who have an allergy or intolerance or health issue brought on through diet and have to cut things out to feel better. Of course, some do make that choice, and have their justifiable reasons for doing so.

What this all boils down to is very simple: eat the food that keeps you at your healthiest. Food should sustain your energy, nourish you, leave you feeling satisfied and not overstuffed. It should be something that brings you joy, encourages you to be creative, gathers your friends and family. Most of the time, it should be food you prepare yourself, that’s grown nearby, appropriate to the current season, without the use of harsh chemicals and hormones. What you feed yourself should give you pride and comfort, not shame or irritation. It shouldn’t define who you are – it should change on a daily basis.

 

And best of all, it should provide you with a sense of indulgence from time to time. While I’m firmly anti-High Fructose Corn Syrup, I’m strongly pro-treat. A lot of the recipes on this website are of the dessert variety. Simply put, if you want to eat something sweet, why not a) make it yourself and b) have something that makes you feel good too?

Even though Valentine’s Day has come and gone, there is still occasion to have chocolate now and then. And I stumbled upon a recipe good enough to pin (and subsequently make). Black Bean Truffles, adapted ever so slightly from a recipe at So Good and Tasty. I won’t try and convince you of their brilliance – just read Jacqui’s description. They’re amazing. And leave you with a feeling of pride and satisfaction that you won’t get from buying a box of chocolates.

Black Bean Chocolate Truffles

by The Particular Kitchen

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour chilling time

Keywords: melt dessert gluten-free nut-free soy-free vegetarian wheat free

Ingredients (16-18 truffles)

  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 5 tablespoons cacao powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 3 1/2 oz dark chocolate (approx 1 bar, at least 70% cacao, I used Montezuma’s Lordy Lord)

Instructions

Place the beans, coconut oil, cacao powder, honey, vanilla, and salt in a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill and harden.

Once the bean mixture has cooled completely, line a plate or pan with greaseproof paper and scoop out the mixture one at a time using a small spoon. Roll in your palms to create a smooth little ball or whatever shape you’d like your truffles to be. Place back in the fridge if they’ve gone too soft or melted.

Once the truffles are ready to coat, break the dark chocolate into small pieces and melt using a double boiler, stirring often. Take off the heat. Using a toothpick or skewer, one at a time dip the truffles into the melted chocolate, swirling around until fully coated. Place back on the greaseproof paper. Put back in the fridge for another 30 minutes, or until completely cooled and hardened.

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