The Cleveland Food Co-Op, the whole foods store before Whole Foods, closed about five weeks ago. I had seen signs of ailing for a few months: from email newsletters to signs for 50% off everything. I happened to stop by on the last, unadvertised day of business. The darkened warehouse had shrunk to about 30% of its normal size and most of the merchandise had been scavenged. The remaining customers and one long-time volunteer hobbled up and down the remaining wholesale aisle like hospice patients. I didn’t need anything, but I bought two cups of dried red beans and left for the last time.
The Co-Op represents the first time I bought my own spices, the first time I ever tried cooking tofu and making yogurt. I learned about steel cut oats and spelt flour and wheatgrass shots (which are disgusting, by the way). I tried making vegan things for my Jain roommate. To me, the Co-Op wasn’t a hippie health food store — it was a gateway for experiments in food. After my mom and Alton Brown, it may be the biggest influence on my cooking today.
Can’t fight change — the Co-Op had become really expensive, and they couldn’t carry the necessities along with the novelties. But after its demise, shopping anywhere else seems less like groceries and more like a fashion statement.
Ingredients (adapted from 101cookbooks)
So this is called Substitution Fudge because there are replacements in what was already a unique brownie recipe rewritten in 101cookbooks. I used red beans (the original recipe has black beans replacing flour), and replaced the butter with applesauce and the egg with banana. The result is much more fudgy than brownie, and definitely not as decadent, but definitely still spoon worthy. And in case you were wondering, I think this is a vegan recipe. Yikes.
- 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 cup soft cooked red beans, canned is fine (or soak overnight covered in at least 6 inches of water)
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 cup instant coffee
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 overripe banana
- 3/4 cup sugar (white I think? I can’t remember honestly)