A couple of evenings ago, as I was enjoying a much deserved rest after a busy day at the kitchen counter, I was struck with an idea for a new series of posts. It occurred to me to keep you posted with weekly updates about what's been going on in my sunny raw kitchen. Not only would it be an opportunity to put the spotlight on my recent culinary experiments, recipe testing and those special gems I keep coming back to again and again, but also to give those new to raw foods a sense of what eating a mostly fully raw diet really looks like.
So without further ado, here's what's been uncooking around here...
I find that my creative juices have slowed down to a trickle lately. Actually, I should mention that Life has been presenting me with my share of challenges in the last little while, so my energy has been naturally going where it's needed. In practicality, this has meant a great deal of inward focus (read - mostly meditating and not doing much.)
In spite of what it may look like, we don't have gourmet feasts every single night. (Alright, alright, very nearly perhaps, but not always!) As much as I love preparing food, it's nice to take a break and stick to the simple stuff once in a while, especially in times like these.
As some of you may know, raw soups are a daily affair around here. This week's concoctions included Cucumber Avocado Dill Soup, the lovely Mushroom Soup Heathy and I came up with when she visited last fall (shown on the left), and two of Manu's creations: Creamy Arugula Soup (recipe below) and another highly unusual but absolutely delicious one featuring parsnip, sauerkraut and red pepper. (Sorry, no recipe just yet as we'd like to give this one another try to nail down the amounts to the T.) Oh yeah, we also had baby and mature bok choi coming out the yin yang, so on Leah's suggestion, I made a simple miso broth (white miso, water, seaweed, fresh ginger root, garlic) which I served with slivers of bok choi, chopped red pepper, green onion, and cubes of avocado. Mmmmmm
Manu's Creamy Arugula Soup
2 cups arugula
3 cups spinach
2 cups sesame milk*
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup oil
2 tbs light miso
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs honey
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground
1/4 tsp salt
* If you don't have sesame milk already made, blend 2 tbs of tahini with 2 cups water. Alternatively, you could use only almond milk although you may have to cut a little on sweeteners, as they are there to counterbalance the bitterness of the sesame.
1/2 avocado cubed
1/4 cup red bell pepper, cubed
Parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Blend all broth ingredients until smooth. Gently warm up, stirring constantly on medium heat. In the meantime, divide toppings into 3 bowls. Pour broth onto toppings and enjoy!
As I was just saying, our main courses this week remained for the most part real 'no brainers' that can be quickly whipped up. Crackers n' spread have been our snack of choice. I just love how you can make a spread or pate in but a few minutes and then be set for days! I was excited to try some of the recipes in Kristen Suzanne's Raw Sides & Snacks ebook and opted for her Olive Tapenade and Sea Side Cottage Spread. They were both excellent. I can see why the former is one of her favorites. It is totally awesome both on crackers or as a dip for veggies.
I did venture out a bit to make my rendition of Naomi's Pizza Supreme which I'd been meaning to try. I used a buckwheat crust I had already made, red pepper instead of green, a bit of garlic in the mozzarella and this Pecan Sausage recipe. (Mmmmmm... this stuff grows on ya!) I've never had sausage on pizza in my SAD
days, so didn't really know what to expect. It was delish anyhow!
Since our reserve of crackers had taken a serious toll, a 'D day' (that's a dehydrator day for the uninitiated)
was called for. Not to mention that Manu has been looking forward to having one of those ever since he moved in the cabin next door. Ahhhhhhhh! Feels so good to play in the kitchen, especially when I don't have to do the grub work and can focus on the fun stuff (thanks to my two assistants!) Aren't I a lucky girl!!!
I was debating whether I should make nori snacks, as these are highly addictive and we tend to go through these in no time at all (but it is soooooo worth it!) I used to make the original version I got from Raw Pleasure Australia's free ebook, but lately have been using Rawvolution's Sunflower Seed Cheese as the pate. (Simply divine!!!) The one thing about those, however, is that it can be time consuming to spread the pate on the nori sheets. However, Manu came up with an ingenious new trick that solved the issue beautifully. He dropped a big dollop of cheese in the middle of a nori sheet, put a piece of plastic film on top, and with the help of a rolling pin, spread cheese evenly and voila. Pure genius, I tell ya!
While Manu was busy rolling away, I made my all-time favorite: Onion Bread and finally got to try Cafe Gratitude's Almond toasts (soooooo good!!!) I also whipped up a couple of batches of Ani's Black Sesame Sunflower Bread (yet another staple around here). Actually, as it turned out, I misread the list of ingredients and put way too much salt in so, at the last minute, decided to make an extra batch. Flandria's Pajon Bread was also on my 'to make' list but I ran out of room. Guess it will have to wait until my next savory D Day.
Lastly, I prepared Cherie Soria's Crab Cakes which I've been raving about for a while now. If you haven't made these yet, you're up for a real treat! Man, are these ever good! Although I've enjoyed these crab cakes a umpteenth times before, it was my first time following the exact recipe for the tartar sauce. (I usually skip the capers and horseradish.) Anyhoo, yummy stuff!
Here's the recipe in case you've missed it...
Vegan Bay "Crab" Cakes
Recipe by Cherie Soria (as printed in Purely Delicious magazine)
Serves 6 (Yields twelve 1/4 cup cakes)
1/2 C. dried porcini mushrooms, soaked for 1 hr, drained and diced
1 1/2 C. zucchini, spiralized
1 1/2 C. macadamia nuts, ground
1/4 C. onion, finely minced
1/4 C. celery, finely minced
2 Tbls. nutritional yeast
2 Tbls. lemon juice
2 Tbls. red bell pepper, very finely diced
2 tsp. kelp powder
2 tsp. ground golden flax seeds
1 Tbls. ground psyllium
1 tsp. garlic, pureed
1 tsp. red jalapeno, minced (or substitute cayenne pepper to taste)
1 tsp. Himalayan crystal salt
1. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the spiralized zucchini into pieces about one inch in length. (A spiral slicer and a chef's knife are perfect for this task.)
2. Combine the zucchini and all remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add a few drops of water, if needed, to form a firm dough.
3. Using a 1/4 C. measure, create small cakes, about one inch deep.
4. Place the cakes on a nonstick dehydrator sheet and place in dehydrator at 120 degrees for 1 hour; then turn over to dehydrate the other side for another 1-2 hours. (This temperature will not be too hot to destroy the nutrients and enzymes, since the dough has enough water to stay cool during this time.)
5. Serve with a generous serving of Cocktail Sauce and/or Creamy Dill Sauce.
Creamy Dill (Tartar) Sauce
1/4 C. cashews, soaked in water 4 hours
1 1/2 Tbls. lemon juice
2-3 Tbls. water, as needed
1/4 C. dill weed, minced
2 1/2 Tbls. capers (not typically a raw food)
2 Tbls. celery, minced
1 Tbls. horseradish
1 Tbls. red onion, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1. Place cashews with lemon juice and enough water to form a thick, smooth cream.
2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse.
Mixture should have a slightly chunky texture. Serve over Crab Cakes.
~ For the crab cakes, I sometimes use a mixture of macs and cashews or only cashews.
~ I use the porcini soaking water as a base for that evening's soup. So tasty!
It's been rather uneventful on the dessert front, as I was still waiting for my order from Really Raw Food to arrive. We enjoyed the rest of Leah's yummy Layered Chocolate Mousse Cake most of the week. I also made Caramel Turtles, as I still had some chocolate coating sitting in the freezer from all the testing and re-testing for my Sunny Raw Kitchen ebook.
After 6 weeks of patient and yes, exasperated waiting at times, my RRF order finally got here last Thursday. Yippee! Turns out it was somehow misplaced. (shaking her head in disbelief) Anyhoo, now I'm all stocked up in cacao powder and nibs, vanilla beans, maca, agave syrup, and most importantly, coconut oil. Fun times lie ahead, that's for sure!
In fact, I'm in the middle of photo shooting my Layered Blueberry & Cream Cake which I'll be sharing with you tomorrow. Find layered cakes intimidating? I'll be walking you through the process, step by step, and you'll see that there's nothing to it. So stay tuned, it promises to be a swooning!
Pizza Supreme by naomipoe
Crab Cakes by Anna of TheRawTable.com
Winding It Up
13 hours ago