A'right! I'm back to report! I needed some rest after all the intense uncooking in Sandy's Sunny Kitchen, but I started 'working' sooner than I thought. Between photo editing, contacting recipe authors for permission, and trying out some new recipes I just couldn't resist, this has been another busy week!
As you probably know from my previous posts, I recently spent a few days in Calgary rawk 'n reveling with Don's sister, Sandy, and her daughter, Jaime.
One thing I've learned along the way is that things never quite turn out as you expect them to. Actually, here's one of my favorite jokes: "How do you make God laugh? Make plans!" I love it because I find it to be so true. Life is so incredible and deep, and so many elements come into play that you just can't predict how things will unfold. This was the case for my trip to Calgary as well... only it went BEYOND anything I could have ever imagined! The setting was beautiful, the atmosphere was relaxed and fun, and Sandy and Jaime were fantastic assistants; enthusiastic and eager to learn more about raw food prep. Even the sun joined us, shining down on our working area. It truly was magical! Oh, and did I mention the food? I don't think it could have gone any better. And now, I get to share it all with you, so hang on to your seats and get ready for an intense, bliss-full raw adventure!
The actual physical journey, as it turned out, was not at all indicative of what was awaiting us in the days to come. In fact, we nearly couldn't get going, as the gas tank wouldn't open. But some kind soul showed us how to defrost the lock and we were on our way. The going was slow and difficult however. The roads were icy and we even got some snow. But, thankfully, things improved as we got closer to Alberta. We finally made it to Calgary on Tuesday evening, after an almost 10 hour drive.
On Our Way...
On Our Way...
I hadn't seen Sandy and Jaime for quite a while, so we had some catching up to do. It felt so good to connect again and we were all excited about the upcoming time we were to have together. Before going to bed, we loaded the Excalibur with nuts and seeds that Sandy had put to soaking earlier that morning. This process allows for the release of the enzyme-inhibitors, thereby facilitating digestion.
On Your Mark, Get Set...GO!
Although I would have gladly slept a little longer, I woke up early to the sound of engines revving, as workers were getting ready for the day. As strange as this may sound, I had almost forgotten about that reality, as we live in the boonies, surrounded by Crown land, where the comings and goings of society are but a faint whisper.
We began Day 1 of our raw adventure by the fireplace, preparing our daily menus and coming up with an uncooking plan. Sandy was particularly interested in learning how to prepare raw dishes that would appeal to her husband, Bruce, who is a real 'meat and potato' guy. She was hoping that my stay would help ease him into the Raw Vegan Diet and, who knows, maybe even eventually 'win him over.' There was so much I wanted to show them! The 'must try' list was impressive and, quite frankly, I doubted that we'd manage to make it all in just four days. Yet somehow we nearly did, except for a couple of salads!
First thing was to go do some grocery shopping. Before leaving though, we prepared two batches of soaked pumpkin and sunflower seeds that we seasoned with some Braggs, garlic and herbs and curry spices. We then simply spread them on the mesh trays and left them to dry. They make such a wonderful snack and are certain to add a nice touch to any salad.
While shopping, I couldn't resist loading up on fresh young coconuts, as we virtually never get them where we live. By the time we got back and put all the food away, it was already mid-afternoon, so we got to work on our evening meal. We opted for relatively easy, quickly whipped-up dishes that don't require any dehydration.
Let's Get Noodling!
What better way to begin our class than by playing with a spiral slicer? So I got my Chef Help out and we had fun making pasta and slicing up turnips for Alissa Cohen's raviolis.
From "Living on Live Food" by Alissa Cohen
This is one of my favorite raw recipes, I often make these at seminars and events and people go wild over them! There is always one person who continues to ask me through the whole event "What kind of pasta is this made from" even after I tell them numerous times that it's turnip not pasta. It's hard to believe these are raw!
Peal the turnips. Slice the turnips into very thin slices, by cutting them in half and then using a spiral slicer, mandolin or other vegetable slicer to make thin round disks.
These will be used as the wrapper which would normally be the pasta dough.
1 cup pine nuts
1 cup macadamia nuts
1 cup walnuts
6 t tamari
8 t lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 cup parsley
Blend the pine nuts, macadamia nuts and walnuts in a food processor until ground. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well, until creamy.
2 large tomatoes
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/4 fresh basil
1 clove garlic
dash of olive oil (optional)
Soak the sun dried tomatoes until soft. Blend in food processor, the tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and garlic until well blended . Add the dates and olive oil and blend until smooth. This sauce should be thick.
Directions for assembling the ravioli:
Remove a single turnip slice from the batch. Place a tsp full of cheese filling in the turnip slice and fold the turnip over until all the sides meet. Squeeze the edges together. Some of the filling will ooze out, but this is what will hold the edges together. Just put the excess back into the bowl to reuse. If you don't have enough filling in them they will not stick together. Place them in a single layer on a large plate and drizzle the tomato sauce on top, allow to sit for a few hours. The turnip will become soft from the tomato sauce. Use a spatula to scoop the ravioli's up and serve.
Raviolis, all ready for assembly
We started our first raw feast with the Boutenko's wonderful Green Spinach Soup. On the Raw Food Society of BC's site, they described it as "Raw Family’s All New, Stupendously Magnificent, Outstandingly Exceptional" soup... and they weren't far from the truth!
Green Spinach Soup
3 Small avocados (or one extra large)
2 Red bell peppers
½ Bunch cilantro
½ Bunch Organic Spinach
2 Small lemons (without seeds)
3 Cups pure water
1 Small jalapeno pepper
½ Teaspoon celtic sea salt (optional)
Put all the ingredients in a Vita-Mix blender and blend well using the tamper.
Once the ingredients are well blended, pour the soup into a large bowl.
Add thinly sliced napa cabbage or red cabbage and dulse leaves or flakes.
Here's our full dinner menu: Caesar Salad, Carrot and Parsnip Pasta with Cilantro Pesto, Stir-Dried Broccoli and Portobello Mushrooms, and Alissa's Raviolis.
Crisp Caesar SaladA classic Caesar salad with crisp romaine lettuce and a Pinenut Parmesan. Tamarind is a tangy, sweet compliment for an authentic Caesar Salad flavor and can be found in Indian and ethnic markets. Crumble in leftover onion bread as croutons to absorb flavor.
Posted on Woody Harrelson’s site
Posted on Woody Harrelson’s site
1-2 heads Romaine lettuce
Caesar Salad Dressing:
Makes 1 pint of thick dressing that will keep fresh for a week.
5 tablespoons raw tahini
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons tamarind paste (optional)
1 nice clove garlic
2 green onions, or 1/4 cup sweet onion
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup or 3 soft dates, pitted
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1-2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1-2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
2 tablespoons good olive oil (optional)
fresh water, 2 tablespoons at a time as necessary to blend
In a blender or Vita Mix: Blend tahini, pine nuts, tamarind, garlic, green onion or minced onion, lemon juice, vinegar, maple syrup or dates, nutritional yeast, black pepper and sea salt, adding oil and fresh water, 2 tablespoons at a time as necessary to blend until very smooth.
Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
1/4 cup pinenuts
1/4 cup whole cashews or macadamia nuts
1 teaspoon good oil or fresh water
2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
pinch dried garlic granules or powder
pinch Celtic or sea salt
In a food processor or blender: Chop pinenuts and cashews into a fine meal. Drizzle in a touch of oil or water. Chop in pulses until moist and ground. Add nutritional yeast, dried garlic and salt and chop in pulses until crumbly.
Separate Romaine lettuce leaves and break into pieces. Dollop dressing on, a few tablespoons at a time, and toss with lettuce until well coated, but not drenched. Serve and sprinkle with ‘Pinenut Parmesan’
Carmella's note: We only used the dressing, without the parmesan, and it was still fantastic! In fact, Jaime pronounced it her 'new favorite dressing'. It's partly because of that (and the fact that we made so much of it! LOL), that we ended up passing on the other salads I had planned on making.
Carrot and Parsnip Pasta with Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Inspired by Vanessa Sherwood's recipe posted on GreenChefs
I just love this dish! Even Don, who was never a parsnip fan, enjoys it. I find that the personality of the Cilantro pesto blends just beautifully with the root vegetables. Add some marinated or stir-dried veggies, such as broccoli and mushrooms (oysters work wonderfully!) for a special touch. Feel free to use whatever pesto recipe you prefer.
Vanessa's Pumpkin Seed Pesto
1/2 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds, soaked 1 hour or more
1/2 Bunch Cilantro
3 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1 Large Clove Garlic Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Himalayan Crystal Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Cumin
Blend in food processor until smooth.
Carrot & Parsnip Pasta
2 to 3 Large Carrots
2 Large Parsnips
Some Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds for the garnish
Make angel hair pasta, using a spiral slicer! Alternatively, with a vegetable peeler, peel the carrot and parsnip into thin ribbons. Place into a large bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Stir-dried Portobello and Broccoli
1 or 2 Portobello mushrooms
2 cups of broccoli
a little olive oil
a little tamari, Nama Shoyu or salt
1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed (garlic powder would also work)
Thinly slice the Portobello mushrooms, and chop the broccoli into small florets. Toss the mushrooms and broccoli with the oil, garlic, and tamari. Dehydrate the Portobellos on a teflex sheet for 1-2 hours until soft. Put the broccoli in a bowl covered with a plate and leave in the dehydrator for 1 or 2 hours as well. This is to get a 'stir-dried' effect and prevent the broccoli from getting all shriveled up and dry.
Toss the carrot and parsnip pasta with the Cilantro-Pumpkin Pesto. Because the pesto will be quite thick, you may need to use your hands to make sure it is mixed in well. Top with stir-dried mushrooms and broccoli. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve.
A Taste of Heaven...
For dessert, we had Don and I's favorite: Rhio's Celestial Pecan Pie. So simple yet soooooo delish!
CELESTIAL PECAN PIE
1 papaya (or mango, or a pint of strawberries, sliced)
1 cup pecans (soaked in water for 1 hour)
1 1/2 cups pecans (don't soak)
6 oz. filtered water
5-10 dates, soaked
1/2 vanilla bean, cut into tiny pieces
1 heaping tbsp. raw honey (or to taste)
dash of Nama Shoyu
1) Soak one cup of pecans in filtered water. Set aside.
2) In a 9-inch glass pie pan, arrange one layer of sliced bananas (2 1/2 bananas should do it). Lay the banana slices in a spiral pattern with one slice slightly overlapping the other until you have covered the entire pie pan. Also put a layer going up the sides of the pie pan. Next, cut the papaya into 1/4 inch thin slices and layer the papaya over the banana. Over the papaya, put another layer of slightly overlapping banana slices. Now with your hands, compress the fruit down evenly. Set aside.
3) In a blender, put 1 cup of soaked (drained) pecans, dates, 6 oz. filtered water and tiny pieces of vanilla bean and blend to a fine cream. Taste the cream, and if it is not sweet enough for your taste, add more dates.
4) Pour the cream over the fruit in the pie pan. Put the pie pan into the dehydrator and dehydrate at 95¡ F for 3 hours.
5) In a small bowl, blend the raw honey with just a little water and a dash of Nama Shoyu. Prepare the unsoaked pecans for the topping by tossing gently with the honeyed water to coat the pecans.
6) After 3 hours, take the pie out of the dehydrator and place one layer of the prepared pecans on top of the pie. Place them artistically radiating towards the center of the pie.
7) Chill the pie at least one hour before serving.
Serves 6-8. Keeps for a few days in the refrigerator.
I don't know if it's just me, but everything always seems to taste better when somebody else prepares it. Everything was fabulous! They were amazed at all the different colors, flavors, and textures of our raw food dishes. Even Bruce tried everything. He especially liked the Pecan Pie. In fact, he took some to work the next day!
Raw Snacks to LIVE For!
Our day's 'work' wasn't quite over yet, though, as there were a few things we wanted to put in the Excalibur overnite. First, we assembled the Zucchini Roll-ups from Nomi Shannon and Sheryl Duruz's Raw Food Holiday Celebration Guide. They are so tasty and make wonderful appetizers and snacks. I had already prepared the Pate du Soleil back home so as to give us a head start.
Oh, by the way, this mouth-watering photo is courtesy of Nomi and Sheryl...
Pate Du Soleil (Nope...no blood relationship here! he he)
3 cups hulled sunflower seeds, soaked 8-12 hours, sprouted 2-4 hours
1 cup lemon juice
2 red capsicums/peppers, roughly chopped
4 scallions (green onions), roughly chopped
½ small onion roughly chopped
½ cup raw tahini
2 tablespoons nama shoyu or other salty product
8 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
2-3 medium cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Soak sunflower seeds overnight. Drain.
2. Allow to sit out on counter for 2-4 hours (but no longer, if you are not ready to continue with recipe, rinse, drain and refrigerate to slow the sprouting process).
3. Rinse and drain.
4. If you have a large enough food processor just put all the ingredients in it, and run until pate is quite smooth.
5. Taste, adjust seasonings. The garlic flavor will develop and become stronger in a few hours.
This pate can be made with nuts or a combination of seeds and nuts; when you make it with all sunflower seeds it will keep for a week or more in the refrigerator.
½ zucchini per person
Pate du Soleil (enough to lightly cover each slice)
1. Thinly slice room temperature zucchini the long way using a mandolin on the thinnest setting. It is difficult to slice this thinly using a knife, but if you don't have a mandolin or other type of slicer, be sure your knife is very sharp and slice as thinly as possible.
2. Spread a thin layer of pate on each zucchini slice and place on dehydrator mesh tray.
3. Run the dehydrator and when the zucchinis are soft and flexible (2-4 hours) take the trays out and roll up the zucchini. You may have to hold them together with a toothpick.
4. Remove enough trays so roll-ups will fit back in to the dehydrator and dry until zucchinis are hard.
5. This could take as long as 24 hours. These will keep for some time.
6. Serve on a tray. They are so delicious just try to keep your guests from eating too many! Before they know it they will have eaten two zucchinis and 1⁄4 cup of pate before the meal even begins!
Sheryl says: Nomi was amazed when she saw our photo of this recipe. She uses less than half the filling we did. Try it both ways and see how you enjoy it the most!
Carmella: If you're using a mandoline, I'd recommend slicing the zucchinis in half length-wise first. You'll get nicer and more uniform slices that way. If you happen to leave your slices a tad too long in the dehydrator and find them hard to roll up, simply spray them from underneath with a little water, allow to soften up and proceed.
Here are the Roll-ups after a couple of hours of dehydration. As you can see, we've just started to roll them up.
OK, I'm cheating a little... Here's a photo taken from the batch I made today, just before popping the Roll-ups back in the Excalibur. All nice and chubby... Mmmmmmmmmm!
We also made the Savory Nori Snacks from Raw Pleasure Australia's free ebook. These are sooooooo good! I always carry a few with me whenever I leave home.
Savory Nori Snacks
Finally, we prepared the Famous Onion Bread, posted by Pansy on Raw Food Talk Forum. It makes fabulous and tasty sandwiches or pizza crusts. Or enjoy it as crackers with some spread for a quick, no-brainer snack. We didn't find any sweet onions so we used red ones instead. The dough turned out much drier than usual as red onions don't seem to be quite as juicy. We just added a little water until we reached a spreadable consistency. Still, for some reason, spreading the batter didn't go as smoothly as when I make it at home. I was glad I was just teaching an informal class and not in front of a whole classroom! LOL
THE famous Onion bread
2 1/2 lbs sweet onions, peeled
1 cup ground sunflower seeds
1 cup ground golden flax seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
3 oz. Nama Shoyu
Put onions in food processor with 's' blade and process until small pieces, (but not mush). Put in mixing bowl with the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. The flax will absorb liquid. Smooth onto teflex sheets* about 1/4" thick and place in dehydrator for 5 hours, turning over for another 3-4 hours or until dry and crispy. Either break into pieces or cut with a pizza cutter, and store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
*If you don't have an Excalibur dehydrator, any type will do - just use natural unbleached parchment paper instead of the teflex sheets.
Carmella’s notes: I usually mix a little avocado, 1 or 2 tbs of olive oil and water in the food processor to make up the amount of oil called for in the recipe. I also tend to put a lot less Braggs as I don't like it too salty. I spread the batter with my hands which makes the process soooo much easier. Thanks Mel for the tip! I start dehydrating the bread at about 115 degrees for a couple of hours (this helps avoid fermentation), and then transfer it from the teflex sheets onto the mesh. I then turn the temp back down to 105 and leave it overnight.
Here's the bread after transferring it onto the mesh:
Not bad for the first day of our rawkin revel!
Off to get some well deserved rest...