I have released four recipe books so far:

The Best of the Sunny Raw Kitchen
The Best of Raw Freedom Community
Delightfully Raw and
Deliciously Raw

These feature some of the most delectable creations to have come out of my raw kitchen and will appeal to anyone interested in a healthier diet, regardless of their level of knowledge and experience. From easy one-step everyday fare to more elaborate and involved gourmet dishes and layered cakes, they offer something for everyone and every occasion. Incredibly tasty smoothies, creamy and comforting warm soups, sexy salads, delicious nut cheezes, satisfying entrees and scrumptious guilt-free desserts...

Healthy food never tasted so good!

To learn more about my recipe books, click here!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sunny Raw Kitchen Tour East Coast Adventures - New Jersey

I'm getting there, getting there... slowly working through my pile of photos and memories. Yay!

Sometime this summer, I received an email from a young woman named Kelliann who had some raw dessert related questions. We hit it off right away! One thing quickly led to another; when she found out that we were gonna be traveling down the east coast, she invited us to Gloucester City, just outside Philadelphia, where she lives with her partner John.

Only a year ago, Kelli and John used to eat the usual SAD diet. They pretty much became vegetarian overnight, then later vegan, and after stumbling on a bunch of raw sites (including mine), grew more and more curious about raw. Like I said, Kelli was particularly intrigued by raw desserts, so when she found out that we would be visiting, she loaded up on various essentials, such as cacao butter, coconut oil, cacao powder, agave nectar and Irish moss (from Elaina Love) so that we could have a dessert making blitz. (Woo hoo!)

As I was mentioning in my previous post, due to last minute change of plans, we stopped in New Jersey for a couple of days before heading to Marty's in Pennsylvania. Still, even in this short time, the four of us deeply bonded and were excited at the prospect of hanging out together for a while longer.

Where's Puss?
This was our first time staying in a city-like environment after years of living in the boondocks, so it was a bit of a shocker. We forgot how crowded it can be and how pollution can manifest in so many different ways (noise, smells, sight, and of course, energetically.) It was especially challenging for Puss who spent most of the time hiding under a bed. One evening, Don didn't notice her sneak right by his legs as he was letting Kylo in. I mean, it was totally an unexpected thing for her to do, being in hiding mode and all. During the night, as I was sleeping, it kept coming to me that I couldn't feel her presence. Sure enough, no sign of Puss anywhere the next morning when we got up! EEEK As you can imagine, being so connected to her, it threw me in a state. The thought of having to leave her behind was not a pleasant one, but the worst part was knowing how scary it must feel to her out there, between the loud planes flying over every few minutes and a dog barking frantically next door.

Every once in a while, I'd walk around the block, but still no Puss in sight. Then late afternoon, I was calling her name in the alley behind the house when I heard the faintest "miaow". I stopped and tried to locate the source of the sound. That's when I noticed a little hole under a shed which could have definitely served as a good hiding spot. She was actually tucked amidst some high weeds on the other side of it. As it turned out, she had only ventured 3 backyards over. What a relief!

The really interesting thing is that for the remainder of our stay, all traces of her previous shyness had vanished. Puss started hanging out with us and even hopped on Kelli's lap a few times! She developed a fixation about going back outside to adventure some more. (Go figure! lol) Every time someone opened the door, she'd come running over. She also had spurts where she'd be standing in front of the door, moaning for minutes on end. (Forget it, Puss!)

In Kelli's Sunny Kitchen
On the day that we returned from Pennsylvania, Kelliann had prepared Russell James' Broccoli in Hoisini Sauce for dinner. We're not big fans of raw broccoli, but man, this was sooooooo good! This is one of the awesome things about this trip; it's so easy to get stuck in a rut with food (as with all things too!) Now we get to explore other ingredients and new ways of preparing food that we're not naturally drawn to. The broccoli looked like it had been broiled and the sauce was just out of this world! Oh, and the parsnip rice... Mmmmm, what a delight!

Broccoli in Hoisini Sauce with Parsnip "Rice"
By Russell James
Published in his 'News From the Kitchen' eZine, Issue #21*

Serves 1 - 2 people

5c (500g/1.2lb) broccoli florets
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari

- Mix all ingredients together a in large bowl and massage with your hands until the broccoli becomes softer, then leave to stand for 10 minutes.

- Transfer the broccoli to a non-stick dehydrator tray and dehydrate for 4 hours at 105 degrees F. You may find it useful (but not essential) to turn the tray around halfway through as the broccoli closest to the fan will dry quicker.

For the sauce
1/4 cup tahini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon yacon syrup or agave
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 teaspoons tamari
1/2 a garlic clove
1/2 a small de-seeded chili
1/2cm cube of fresh ginger

- Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender.

- Mix with dehydrated broccoli when ready to serve

- Serve with the parsnip "rice"

For the parsnip "rice"
1.5 cups (275g/10oz) peeled parsnips
1.5 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon light miso
1 tablespoon cold-pressed sesame oil
3 spring onions, finely chopped

- Grind all ingredients, except the spring onions, in a food processor until fluffy and rice-like.

- Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chopped spring onions

During the four days that followed, Kelli and I didn't stay away from the kitchen for too long. We both love prepping food and there was simply too much fun to be had! We made all sorts of things, from soups, to entrees, to desserts and dehydrated stuff. One of the really cool things is that John is totally supportive of Kelli's raw experiments and was open to trying everything. In fact, by the time we left, I don't think there was much doubt left in his mind about how awesome raw creations can be. ;-)

Let's see, where to begin?

Since I was just referring to the Broccoli in Hoisini Sauce, I guess I could start with the yummy soup that we enjoyed that night, keeping with the Asian theme. Kelli had a recipe in mind, but as is often the case, it evolved into something else.

Raw Vegetable Miso Soup

Serves 4

8 cups water
Big knob of fresh ginger root, grated
2 tbs miso (or to taste)
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Kale broken up in small pieces
Mushrooms, sliced and marinated in a little olive oil and tamari
Red pepper, cubed
Green onion, sliced
Carrot, thinly sliced

Bring water to boil in a pot, along with the ginger root, then simmer for about 1o minutes on low heat. Turn heat off and allow broth to cool down a little.

In a small bowl, dissolve miso in a 1/4 cup or so of hot broth. Add to the pot, along with garlic and kale. Let sit for 2 or 3 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the serving bowls, placing some of the veggies in each one.

Pour miso broth on top and enjoy!

While we're on the topic of soups, one night, I whipped up one of my latest concoctions: Cheezy Spinach Almond Soup. This is seriously good stuff! I perfected the recipe days before we began our travels so haven't had a chance to share it online. It actually gave me the idea that it would be nice to offer something a little 'exclusive' to the folks attending our classes so I decided to hang on to the recipe for now. (Sorry guys!) I promise to post the recipe once our Tour is over, though!

Cheezy Spinach Almond Soup

As there were Portobello mushrooms in Kelli's fridge begging to be used and we still had some Soft Veggie Wraps, we threw together (yet another!) fiesta. Caramba!

Jozzie's delicious Fajitas were once again a mega hit.

We served them with guacamole, cashew sour cream and fresh cilantro. Oh, and a little hot sauce for extra spike!

This is one of Don's absolute favorite meals!

Their friend, Carol, who teaches vegan cooking classes, joined us for a raw feast on the weekend. Kelli and I prepared my Lasagna Magnifica which we served with a mixed green salad.

Carol had brought along a really tasty raw paté that she finds always strikes a chord whenever she serves it. It's easy to see why.

Tastes Fishy

Makes 4 cups

2 cups almonds soaked 12-48 hours
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onions
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp kelp powder
1 tsp sea salt

Process almonds in Champion juicer with solid plate or in food processor. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients until well incorporated.

As we were starting to run low in some savory dry goodies, we took advantage of Kelli's borrowed Excalibur and had a D day. We made Rainbow Flax Crackers, Raw Cheeze Itz, Nori Snacks with my Sunflower Garlic Spread and Just Like Ritz Crackers. Between the 3 of us, we had everything tucked away in the dehydrator in like 3 hours!

Don chopping the veggies for the Rainbow Crackers.

Look at these hues! Isn't it gorgeous!?! A very perceptive little 5 year old pointed out, however, that blue is missing. Hum, let me know if you can think of what we could use!

Before popping the tray in the D.

Nori Snacks galore! Yay! Kelli and Don meticulously spreading the Sunflower Spread on the nori sheets. A bit of work but oh-so-worth it!

After a couple of hours of dehydration, we then cut the sheets into little strips and returned them to the D. This step helps avoid fermentation and makes for bite size snacks.

And in the dessert department, well, we sure had a blast! ;-)

One evening, I was given the task to come up with a dessert in less than an hour. I decided to go with Heathy's yummy Beautiful Chocolate Berry Pie filling (from her Just Desserts ebook) which I served into martini glasses. I used her Nutless Chocolate Cream instead of the cashew-based one in the original recipe.

Their friend Mike happened to stop by just as we were serving dessert. Sure got his timing right!

One of my all time favorite desserts: Banana Split! This particular variation was made with Heathy's Strawberry Ice Cream, Heathy's Chocolate Sauce and walnut pieces. So simple and oh-so-delish!

Cafe Gratitude's Coconut Cream Pie
John enjoyed this one so much that he ate a quarter of the pie all by himself! lol

I wanted to show Kelli how to work with Irish moss as it can be a little tricky. We opted for Sweet Gratitude's Lemon Meringue Pie. Makes the Sheriff's version very pale indeed...

As we had left-over Chocolate Sauce and Coconut Meringue, we turned these into a simple parfait one day for lunch, along with Chia Pudding and freshly chopped strawberries. Ahhhhhhh, Life is tough! lol

We finished our time in Gloucester City with a taste bud bang. On the spur of the moment, Kelli and I came up with 3 new recipes and my oh my, was it ever a feast! We started the meal with a new soup creation using fennel and fresh basil. Such subtle flavors!

Creamy Italian Soup

Serves 4

1 medium avocado
1 3/4 cups zucchini, peeled and chopped
1 cup packed spinach
1 cup fennel, chopped
1/2 cup packed basil
3 tbs Irish moss gel* (optional)
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp miso
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic
Sea salt, to taste
Hot water, until desired consistency is reached

* To make Irish moss gel, blend 1/4 cup packed soaked Irish moss with 1 cup water.

Blend all ingredients until smooth in high speed blender. Serve immediately, topped with freshly crushed black pepper.

Alternatively, you could use cold water and warm the soup gently on medium heat while stirring constantly until lukewarm.

Then came the plat de résistance: pizzas and a side of salad topped with Caesar Dressing.

We've had our share of raw pizzas, but Don and I agree that this one's got to be the best yet! We all had fun trying to come up with a name for it.

Raw Mama's Pizza

For this recipe you'll need:
  • Your favorite Buckwheat Crust (We used some amazing crunchy crusts that Kelli had made during a recent D day. Unfortunately, she didn't write down the recipe (boo hoo), but I'm sure it would be great with my Herb Pizza Crusts.
  • Garlic Sunflower Spread
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Your favorite pesto (I used my Yummy Basil Spinach Pesto)
  • Marinated Veggies

Herb Pizza Crusts

Yields about 33 square crusts

4 cups soaked buckwheat
2 2/3 cups sunflower seeds, soaked
4 cups zucchini, peeled and roughly chopped
3/4 - 1 cup ground flax
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup + 1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs + 2 tsp Italian herbs
1 tbs + 1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tbs sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Spread batter about 1/4 " thick on 3 3/4 dehydrator trays covered with teflex sheets. Score into 9 squares per tray.

Dehydrate at 125 for 2-3 hours, then flip onto mesh and turn the temperature down to 110.

Dehydrate until dry.

Sunflower Garlic Spread
2 cups sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
2 garlic cloves
2 tbs lemon juice (or to taste)
Salt, tamari or Nama Shoyu, to taste

Place all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth.

Tomato Sauce
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked
2 or 3 med. tomatoes
1 tablespoon cold pressed olive oil
2 soft dates, pitted and soaked for a couple of hours
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic or more, to taste
Optional but yummy: Handful parsley and dash cayenne

Drain sun-dried tomatoes well. (I usually just give them a squeeze with my hand.)

Blend everything together until smooth.

Adjust seasonings.

Yummy Basil Spinach Pesto
2 cups fresh basil, packed
2 cups fresh spinach, packed
2 large garlic cloves
1/3 cup walnuts
Handful pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Blend basil and spinach until finely chopped. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

If you have a high speed blender, you can put in all the ingredients at once, starting with the basil and spinach.

Marinated Veggies
Thinly sliced fennel
Red and yellow pepper strips
Sliced mushrooms
Spinach, sliced in strips

Toss veggies in a simple marinade of equal part olive oil and tamari, and some crushed garlic.

On a pizza crust, spread a generous layer of Garlic Sunflower Spread, followed by Tomato Sauce. Then add a layer of Pesto and top with Marinated Veggies. Dehydrate for 1 or two hours at 110 degrees.

The Caesar Dressing is actually a recipe I'd been toying with for a while, but it still didn't feel quite right. Since we had some left-over Irish moss from making Sweet Gratitude's Lemon Meringue Pie, I decided it was the perfect excuse to try my hand at it again. Interestingly, I was sure that the recipe called for cashews so I dug those out of the van, only to realize that they weren't even on the list of ingredients! "Ah-ah!," I thought to myself. Sure enough, that's what had been missing! So deliciously creamy!

Carmi's Caesar Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup + 1 tbs water
3 tbs Irish moss gel*
2 tbs cashews
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp raw honey or agave nectar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 medium garlic clove

Blend all ingredients until smooth in high power blender.

* To make Irish moss gel, blend 1/4 cup packed soaked Irish moss with 1 cup water.

As Kelli had told me she'd been drooling over it for months, we finished the meal with my Delight-full Chocolate Orange Cake. I know that layered desserts can be intimidating, but I assure you that it's really not complicated at all! You just need to be patient in order to allow for the various layers to set in the freezer before proceeding onto the next. Kelli's spring form pan was fairly big which accounts for the thinner layers. Still decadently yummy!

John watching Kelli's every move.

I think he approves. ;-)

As has been the case with so many of the good folks we've met so far on our US travels, we parted with the strong feeling that our paths will surely cross again at some point.

Back soon with our adventures in DC...

Oh and do make sure to pop by Kelli's blog to read her detailed account of our time together! (See Part I, Part II and Part III.) That girl has some memory, I tell ya! ;-)


  1. I am drooling looking at all your pictures:-)

  2. Lucky beings, hanging together, preparing & sharing these wonderful creations! I am officialy jealous ;-}


  3. A mighty-fine and Great-looking spread yo have there!


  4. we had a deliciously good time, didn't we!? =) i've never eaten so good in my life, so of course i remembered every meal of it!

    i wish it were true that we went veg overnight, but it was (and still is) quite the transition. a transition that is becoming much more easy and tasty with raw foods (and blogs like yours)!

    since you left we've made all kinds of goodies! ice cream in the ice cream maker, chia pudding, a d-day with veggie chips, your lasagna (AMAZING!!!) the asian veggies, and lots more. we're having another d-day tomorrow to make rainbow crackers, cumin flatbread, herb pizza crusts and cheez-its! YUM YUM!!!

    can't wait to read more of your travels! say hi to don, puss, and kyky for me!


  5. Hi Carmella,

    What a (bunch of) feast(s)! I'm drooling and inspired and even more impatient for you to make your way to the West Coast. And it sounds like that won't be for many months, yet.

    I'm very much looking forward to meeting you and Don when you make your way here!


  6. Oh my goodness!!!! Everything looks so amazing!!! I just want to follow you around and help create and enjoy such beautiful bounty. Every meal, a sensual feast! I just discovered this whole new world of raw last winter and am bowled over by how alive and vibrant it all is - food, people, creative process.
    If you pass through Massachusetts, I would love to have you visit!!! Puss as well, I love Kitties. Maybe we could set up a food class somewhere.

    1. Thanks Gisele!

      I'll make sure to keep you guys in the loop with our traveling plans. Perhaps you could shoot me an email at sunnyrawkitchen(at)gmail(dot)com so that I can contact you directly if ever we go through your area. ;-)