Day 3 was promising to be the most intense yet, as we were expecting company for dinner. I decided to get up early so as not to feel pressured or rushed. As it turned out, I was alone in the kitchen most of the morning since Jaime was off to work and Sandy had to take care of some business. I started right in on the different recipes for that night's feast.
Around noon, Sandy went to pick up Jaime from work and to get a new blender (the jug of her old one cracked the previous night - of all times!) As for me, I stayed home and took a breather! Working alone made me appreciate how much more quickly and efficiently things get done when you've got some helpers!
The Lasagna Comes Together
Once Jaime got back, I picked up my Borner V-Slicer (what an awesome tool!) and sliced up the zucchini noodles. Jaime, who is amongst other things, a talented photographer, took lots of photos while I was assembling the Luscious Lasagna. No worries! I'll be sharing those with you in an upcoming post, but here's a little teaser...
The lasagna ingredients: Zucchini Noodles, Tomato Sauce, Spinach Cream, Almond Ricotta and Cheesy Nut Cream
Next, I stuffed crimini mushrooms with left-over Cilantro Pesto, which I then popped in the D for a few hours.
Rah! Rah! Let's Hear it for Pizza!
I thought making a couple of different pizzas would be a good idea. I started with a Pesto one. I put a layer of Cilantro Pesto on Alissa's calzone crust (which we had already dehydrated), followed by some Cheddar Sauce. I finished off with some marinated crimini slices and cherry tomatoes as toppings.
Rich Cheddar Sauce
Adapted from "Rejuvenate Your Life" by Serene Allison
1/2 large red bell pepper
¼ c water
1 c raw cashews, sunflower seeds, or almonds
1 T tahini
2 T nutritional yeast
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons onion powder (or a small slice of onion or 1 tbs or so of green onions)
1 clove garlic
2 T lemon juice
Blend until creamy. Add more water if it is too thick.
Mmmmmmm... Raw Art in the Making:
The second pizza was a layer of Cheese Sauce, Alissa's Marinara Sauce, marinated oyster mushrooms and red pepper and some pineapple. Yummo!
From Living on Live Food by Alissa Cohen
2 ½ cups Tomatoes
12 Large Sundried Tomatoes, Soaked
3 Organic Dates, Pitted and Soaked
¼ cup Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic
2 tablespoons Parsley
1 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
⅛ teaspoon Cayenne
Place all of the Marinara ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
I put both pizzas as well as the lasagna in the Excalibur for 3 hours or so.
In the meantime, Sandy was working on dessert. We had a few sweet treats up our sleeves for the chocolate lovers. First, she prepared Raw Priestess' Brownies which she topped with Rawkinloc's Cinnamon Rolls frosting. Raw genius in its simplest and most delectable form!
by Christine D. Winters, aka the Raw Priestess
1 cup walnut (unsoaked)
1 cup Dates(pitted unsoaked)
1/4 cup cacao powder (you may use carob if you like)
Place in food processor, and blend until well blended, should still be dry and chunky, maybe blend about 30 seconds.
Press into a small spring form pan.
Refrigerate until you can insert a knife and it isn't too sticky.
Cut into little pieces, then pop into a ziploc baggie and freeze.
They can be eaten fresh, from the fridge or from the freezer. They won't last long though, these are my newest addiction.
If they are crumbly, keep processing them.
I use a 9 by 9 pyrex glass pan to put them in, then I pop them in the freezer to harden up a bit, then take out and cut, then put in a ziploc baggie and keep in the freezer as I like them chewy and moist.
I have added extra nuts (pecans or walnuts are divine), but sometimes I just chop up all kinds of nuts and put them in (mac nuts, pine nuts etc.)
They are also my favorite, with Rawkinlocs cinnamon roll frosting on top. Again, I pop these into the freezer as I like them chewy.
You can also drizzle almond butter on top, mmmmmmmmmmmm and then add more nuts.
Or drizzle agave nectar on top and chopped nuts, add banana ice cream and some raw chocolate frosting mmmmmmmm
Macademia nut whipped cream on top, add fresh raspberries in season or strawberries to the top, mmmmmmmmmm
They are soooooo good with just about anything on or in them! LOL
Oh, and YES, you could use raisins or figs or apricots or prunes, but realize it will have a bit of a different taste, as raisins taste different than medjool dates (which are my favorites!) Yummmmmyyyy
Sandy also made Maraw's Chocolate-Dipped Date Truffles that we were recipe-testing (lucky us!) for her beautiful new raw food magazine: "Purely Delicious" - a quarterly print publication celebrating the very best of raw and living foods!
Chocolate-Dipped Date Truffles
Chocolate Dip Ingredients:
¼ cup agave nectar
¼ cup coconut oil (at slightly warm room temp - need to be liquid)
3-4 tablespoons raw cacao powder (you may also use carob)
¼ teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt
8 large medjool dates
cold almond butter
With a sharp knife, carefully make a small slit in one side of each date. Remove seed while trying to keep the date as intact as you can. Fill the center of each date with a small bit of almond butter and pinch to close. Set to one side.
In a small bowl, combine coconut oil or butter, with cocao power, vanilla and salt. Add agave and stir very well until smooth. Take your dates and dip each one in the chocolate mix and place them on wax paper. Allow them to sit in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes. Remove from wax paper and enjoy.
If your agave nectar is cold, you will need to move quickly so that the coconut oil doesn't harden too fast. However, this makes a much nicer, thicker coating for the truffles.
Exotic Alchemy: From Cream Stack to Tropical Cheesecake
Next was the cheesecake. My original idea was to make Fairygirl's fantastic Chocolate Cream Stack (recipe coming up soon!), but since Sandy had lots of frozen strawberries which she picked last summer, we had a change of 'plans'. In fact, as is often the case, the recipe mutated into something quite different altogether.
Earlier, Jaime showed me how to open a Thai young coconut. It was my first time ever drinking coconut water. Bliss! Gotta get more of those to take home with me!!! Actually, I just found out the following info about young coconuts in one of Mike Snyder's weekly newsletters. According to him,"Young coconuts are highly nutritious, delicious, and easy to digest. The coconut tree acts as a water filter and it takes 9 months to create one liter. The coconut water is almost identical to human blood plasma and has a similar electrolyte balance." Cool, eh?
As you can guess, we just HAD TO add some fresh coconut to the cheesecake SOMEHOW! After consulting my raw library and inspired by Raw Guru's version, I decided to make coconut whipped cream.
Sandy removed the cheesecake from the freezer, covered it with kiwi slices, and spread the whipped cream layer on top.
The complete Tropical Cheesecake recipe coming up soon, along with a step-by-step description (with pics!) of how to make it. (Recipe now available here!)
Time flies when you're having fun! Already approaching 6 o'clock, so better get ready for our guests. Looking out the kitchen window, I caught a glimpse of the gorgeous sun setting on the Rocky mountains. So I quickly grabbed the camera and stepped out onto the deck, which has an amazing view of downtown Calgary on one side and the Rockies on the other.
The Art of Feasting in the Raw - Day 3
Our guests arrived shortly afterwards. We served the Stuffed Mushrooms in the living room, while we were waiting for a latecomer. They also munched on the Zucchini Roll ups and Savory Nori Snacks that we had prepared a couple of days before.
Once everyone was accounted for, we made our way to the counter where we enjoyed the Boutenkos' Rawssian Borscht. It is so stunning and delicious! Everybody was impressed!
Oops, the bowl looks a little messy but you get the drift anyway...Rawssian Borscht
2 c. water
1 small piece ginger root
3-4 cloves garlic
6-7 bay leaves
Pour mixture into a large bowl.
2 c. water
2 stalks celery
4-5 oranges, peeled and seeded
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T honey
1/2 c. olive oil
sea salt to taste
Blend together for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 c. walnuts and blend on low speed quickly so walnuts are not completely blended.
1/4 head cabbage
1 bunch parsley
Add grated ingredients to blended mixtures and serve.
Serves 7 - 10
Carmella’s notes: We usually omit the grated cabbage at the end or replace it with kohlrabi.
After that, everybody could help themselves buffet-style to Alissa's raviolis:
... and the 2 kinds of pizzas:
We also had Caesar salad as there was lots of left-over dressing from Wednesday's meal.
Meant to Meet
In our vision of the world, there are no such things as coincidences. There is an order behind the ‘apparent’ chaos, and therefore, all things are intricately interconnected. Again, this is no ‘new age’, funky assumption, but rather a proposition that has now been proven by Quantum Physics. You change a single element and you affect the whole picture. This is known as the 'Butterfly Affect'.
In any case, the ‘hand of the Mystery’ was made quite obvious that evening in my meeting with Diana Stoevelaar, the Raw Chef who prepared the Holiday ebooks for Fred Patenaude. Everything seems to have conspired to our coming together. As I was suggesting above, it is always the case, but there are times when it is particularly apparent.
During the afternoon, as I was taking a little break, I thought I'd check my emails. Imagine my surprise when I noticed a message from Diana's partner, Manu, saying they would love to meet me. Somehow, he 'happened' to stumble upon my blog a few days earlier and found out I was coming to Calgary. So I wrote back and invited them to our dinner party.
Shortly after we started our main course, the phone rang. It was Diana asking whether it was too late to join us. In fact, it couldn't be more perfect! She was just about to start working on her supper and when I mentioned the beautiful desserts, well, that sealed it!
The Rawsome Sisters
When I greeted Diana at the door, it was like an immediate recognition took place. From then on, we were pretty much inseparable! We felt so close and had so much to talk about! In fact, Manu declared that we were 'soul sisters'! LOL
Diana first got into raw foods in 1987, after being diagnosed with Lupus, along with asthma and other ailments (of which she has since healed herself.) For the last few years, she has been sharing her passion for the Raw Food Lifestyle by teaching uncooking classes, conducting lectures and hosting raw monthly potlucks. Recently, Diana has also started preparing the menus for Frederic Patenaude's 'Body Enlightenment System'.
Diana and Manu are both beautiful, vibrant people and we had an amazing connection.
Yay! It's Dessert Time!
While these two enjoyed their meals, the others gravitated towards the dessert table. Who wouldn't? It all looked so inviting and delicious!
The finished Tropical Cheesecake...
Dessert Platter with RP's Brownies and Maraw's Chocolate-Dipped Date Truffles:
WE WERE SOOOOOOOOOO STUFFED! But man-oh-man, was it ever delish!
Being the ones who usually teach others about raw foods, it was a rare treat for Diana and Manu to get to enjoy a raw meal prepared by someone else.
As for our other guests, it was their first time eating a fully raw dinner and they were sort of expecting carrot sticks and lettuce. They never in their wildest dreams thought that raw food could taste so good! he he!
This was a magical evening and one I'll always remember!