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!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Recipe of the Week: BBQ Strips

I love snacks! These days, it's as though I got an internal clock late in the morning, craving something savory before my midday green smoothie. Well, these BBQ Strips have been doing just the trick.

Yet another great recipe that has come my way thanks to Joz. She brought a huge platter at her latest potluck and everyone raved about them. In fact, she tripled the recipe and still there wasn't quite enough! Give these a try and you'll soon see why.

BBQ Squares
Posted by Auntie L on Raw Food Talk here

1 C fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/4 C chopped onion
1 C dried tomatoes, soaked 15-30 mins.
1 C soaked raisins (Joz's yummy variation)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1-2 tsp minced jalapeno (add more for spicy sauce)
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
2-4 Tblspoon agave nectar or honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 beet and/or 1/2 red bell pepper
1 tsp nama shoyu (soy sauce)

1.5 C raw walnuts
1.5 C raw cashews

Blend all but the nuts in a high-speed blender and pour into a mixing bowl. Chop the nuts in a food processor by pulsing the motor; leave them pretty chunky. Stir in the chopped nuts and adjust the seasonings, remembering that flavors intensify when the mix is dehydrated. Spread on teflex on dehydrator tray. Dehydrate until firm, slicing into squares and turning over onto screen, then dry until crunchy. Eat as a snack or as the main dish for a meal.

Auntie L's Notes:
This recipe makes a very mild BBQ square a child can eat. Add more spices if you like it hot! The beet or bell pepper can be omitted, but I recommend either and usually use both for the rich red color they give the squares. I use home-dehydrated tomatoes, but you can use the storebought ones too. The recipe may look complicated because it has a lot of ingredients, but they go together fast and, man, is it good! You should be able to do the whole thing in the food processor, adding the nuts last. If you try that, let me know how it works. I served BBQ squares as the main dish (with a salad, raw corn on the cob, and dessert) to non-raw friends and they loved them so much I had to give them more to take home.

Carmella's Notes:
~ I used cayenne instead of fresh jalapeño, and the soaked raisins recommended by Joz.
~ I went a little heavy on the beet. As a result, my strips turned much redder than the ones Joz took to the potluck (shown below).
~ After about 22 hours, mine still weren't crunchy, but I figured it would take way too long for that. Delicious anyhow!

Raw Inspiration

I have a confession to make. I was awarded the Inspirational Blogger Award by lovely Audry of Filling Up on Life some time back. (Gasp!) I didn't mean to keep it a secret for so long, I was just at a loss as to who to pass the award to. See, the thing of it is that between food prep, Raw Freedom Community and this blog (not to forget Life's constant surprises!), I have barely had a chance to stroll around the greater blogosphere for what seems like ages.

When the Award came my way again this week via Bob of Legally Raw, I decided to look into the matter in earnest. I wasn't off to a good start, however, as I soon found out that two of my favorite bloggers, my dearest friend Heathy and Shannonmarie of Rawdorable, just received an Inspirational Award of their own too. Oh - oh... Back to square one.

Hummmm, what to do?

As I was lying awake in bed, looking for a way around this, it suddenly hit me. Master tweaker that I am, I decided to modify the rules just a tad (surely Christy won't mind!) and share the award with those whose creations and passion for raw food continue to inspire me daily, bloggers or not. I have had the privilege to virtually brush shoulders with a good number of gifted raw chefs on Raw Freedom Community these past months, but in the spirit of the Inspirational Blogger Award guidelines, I'll be nominating only 5.

So without further ado, here they are:

Heathy/Fairygirl - Whom most of you have already met. An amazing Raw Goddess who sure knows how to work magic in a kitchen. (Read my Two Raw Divas, One Kitchen series to see what I mean!) Heathy offers raw food classes and catering services to her local community in Ontario, and is presently working on a much awaited raw dessert recipe book.

~ Heathy's Blog

~ Heathy's recipes on RFC, including:

Snowdrop - Having just completed a teacher's training with Alissa Cohen, she is presently working on her first recipe book. Several of Snowdrop's creations have become staples around here.

~ Snowdrop's recipes on RFC, including:

Ocean - Who has climbed to rawk stardom quickly with her now famous tuna salad. She has recently returned from training with Cherie Soria at Living Light Institute in California.

~ Ocean's recipes on RFC, including:

Joz - Without a doubt, the most enthusiastic, devoted and funny raw foodie I know. Always on the look out for new recipes and ways to convert SAD favorites into raw.

~ Jozzie's recipes on RFC:

Flandria - A promising raw chef who recently started sharing her own recipe creations online. (Lucky us!)

~ Flandria's blog

~ Flandria's recipes on RFC, including:
Girls, you rawk!!!

And my deepest thanks to Audry and Bob. I feel honored to have received not once but twice this prestigious distinction.

It is such a blessing to be walking the raw path aways with you all! ;-)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Veggies & Rice Bowl

I wasn't sure which recipe to feature this week as I made a couple of blueberry chocolate experiments that also turned out great. I've already posted the recipes on Raw Freedom Community here and here.

Since I featured a blueberry dessert not so long ago, in the end I opted for an Asian dish that is simple, colorful and, most importantly, tasty.

Rice Bowl
Posted by avrawcado on Raw Freedom Community

Grate one whole cauliflower and set aside as your rice.

Blend the following in your vita-mix:

The juice of two lemons
A couple of sprinkles of raw sesame seeds
2 cloves of garlic
Some grated ginger to taste
6 T nama shoyu (or tamari)
4 T raw honey/agave
Dash of himalayan salt

With the blender on low, add some olive oil until the consistency is about right. Then blend on high for about 10 seconds.

In your food processor, toss in some red bell pepper, peeled pea pods, carrots, chinese cabbabe, mushrooms, and green onion. You can add broccoli and asparagus too. Pulse until the veggies are all bite size, then add the sauce and stir to coat the veggies.

Put the "rice" into a bowl and then cover with the veggies. Eat with chopsticks.

Carmella's Notes:
~ I used a mixture of parsnip and cauliflower as the rice, to which I folded in peas and pulse-chopped carrot.

~ Instead of food processing the veggies (I used, botton mushrooms, bok choi, celery, red pepper, broccoli and green onion), I just sliced 'em up, then marinated them in the sauce which is sorta reminiscent of Snow's famous Sweet & Sour Sesame Sauce.

~ I usually avoid having left-over cauliflower dishes as they tend to develop a strong bite. However, the rice kept well for another couple of days in the fridge, no doubt thanks to the lovely sweetness of the parsnip.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Cream of Leek

After months of enjoying the same tried and true soups, for no apparent reason, Don and I have recently started to crank up new recipes again. Funny how creative spurts come and go...

The following emerged from one of my all time faves, Jennifer Cornbleet’s Cream of Zucchini. I didn't have the garlic and dill called for in the recipe, so I did what any cook/uncook would do; I went with what I had on hand. The result reminded me of the SAD Cream of Leek I used to love. So creamy and delicious!

Cream of Leek

Serves 2

½ avocado
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon mellow white miso
1 " piece of leek
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Dash cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Handful of fresh parsley
1 cup water (or until preferred consistency is reached)

Place all of the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

If desired, warm up gently on the stove, stirring constantly.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sweet Yumminess or Ode to Shannonmarie's Treats

With the rush of the Holidays and all, it feels like I haven't done some earnest uncooking in ages! (We've been living mostly off left-overs for weeks...) Alas, the supply of sweet treats had shrunk to, well, crumbs, so it was time for me to go on a recipe hunt.

Having used the last of the coconut oil for my Blueberry Cheesecake, I was also looking for oil-free recipes which was ruling out most of the fancy options. Thankfully, I didn't have to search for long as I remembered that Shannonmarie of Rawdorable had some beyond yummy-looking treats that perfectly fit the bill.

She must have had a serious case of ear tingling, as I spent a good part of Friday trying her scrumptious recipes. Actually, scratch that... I had a bit of whipped cream in the freezer, begging to be used up, so I also made her Million Dollar Chocolate Brownies the evening before that. As it turned out, I didn't have quite enough to do the deed, so I opted for the single decker variety. Oh, and I replaced the coconut oil called for in her recipe with cold pressed olive oil.

Man oh man! Are these ever good!

Don't they just make you want to reach out and grab one?

I couldn't wait to try more of her creations so I gleefully went to 'work' the next morning. (I'm not kidding... Even Don commented on my perkiness! lol)

I decided to start with her intriguing Russian Raw Cakes - a completely new territory for me. I was given some lucuma powder over the Holidays (thanks Jozzie!) and was thrilled to finally get a chance to use it in a recipe.

Gawd, I LOVE lucuma! In fact, I'm not the only one... DaPuss was hovering over the lucuma covered cakes to the point that I finally gave in and sprinkled a little of the stuff on the table. She licked it clean! Now you gotta understand she's quite the picky pussy, so it was highly unusual to say the least.
Here they are... Want a lick too?

Although the flavor was quite nice (by the way, SM, I did add some agave to the mixture), I think they lacked a little something. Having never tasted Russian cakes before, I couldn't quite put my finger on it though. As Shannon pointed out, this was her "first unplanned attempt", but I have no doubt that she will tweak the recipe to perfection.

Believe it or not, I've had 2 recipes for Snickerdoodles come to me within the same week. I'd never heard of these before, and gotta say that I get a kick every time I say that word. (To herself: Snickerdoodles, Snickerdoodles, Snickerdoodles... ;-) ) By visiting the link Shannon posted, I found out that the name is believed to be a corruption of the German word 'Schneckennudeln', or cinnamon-dusted sweet rolls.

Anyhoo, I couldn't resist giving these a try. I ended up modifying the recipe a little, as I was curious to play with the combination of apricots and cinnamon. Mmmmmmm... These turned out to be my personal favorites.

Apricot Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Shannonmarie's recipe posted here

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup dried apricots (soaked briefly to soften up)
1/2 cup dates (soaked briefly to soften up)
1-2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Dash of sea salt
Sprinkling of cinnamon

Lucuma powder and more cinnamon for rolling

Grind almonds and cashews finely in a food processor. Add apricots, dates, agave, vanilla, sea salt and cinnamon. Process until a smooth dough forms.

Shape dough into balls, roll them in a mixture of lucuma powder and cinnamon, and flatten them into round cookie shapes.

Dehydrate just long enough to absorb some of the powder on the outside. Eat fresh from the dehydrator or chill them in the refrigerator.

Next, I decided to finally tackle Ani Phyo's Dreaming of Donut Holes after reading about a variation published in VegNews magazine on yet another of Shannonmarie's posts. The recipe has been on my 'to make' list for months! You know how it goes...

I wasn't sure which version to go with. I briefly contemplated trying both, but was starting to run out of steam, so I settled for the original recipe from her Raw Food Kitchen book. Ani actually shared it a while back on uTube here. These were a real hit! A keeper for sure. I will definitely be trying the other variations as well.

Here you go in case you don't have a high speed internet connection...

Dreaming of Donut Holes
From Ani Phyo's Raw Food Kitchen

1 3/4 cups raw almonds
1/2 tsp sea salt
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 cups dried pineapple, chopped
2 cups dates, pitted
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup shredded coconut

In a food processor, place almonds, salt and vanilla. Process into a fine powder. Slowly add chopped pineapples and dates. and mix well. Place in a large bowl. Mix in 1/3 cup coconut.

Using an ice cream scooper, form dough into donut-hole-size rounds. Roll in 1/4 cup shredded coconut.

I like to save energy whenever I can, so I usually whip up one batch of dough after the other in the food processor without washing it in between - a little trick I learned while making breads and crackers. (I mean, why go for the extra work, right?) In that light, my last project for the day was Shannonmarie's Chocolate with White Chocolate Chunks Cookies.

I found the batter a bit wet, probably because I forgot to give a squeeze to the soaked prunes and dates before dumping them in. To resolve the issue, I added an extra 1/4 cup of almonds that I ground finely in the Vitamix, and an extra squirt of agave to adjust the sweetness.

Here they are sans the chunks, as I'm nearly out of cacao butter. (eek) Instead, I topped the cookies with cacao nibs and chopped walnuts.

Since I wasn't using cacao butter, I decided I should pop 'em in the D for a couple of hours to firm up.

Shannon wasn't kidding; the prunes, cinnamon and cayenne really give these cookies a deep and enhanced chocolate flavor. Delish!

Oh, and here are the batters before shaping them into their respective forms. A bit of a sticky affair but a lot of fun too.

Just as I was getting ready to work on my last batch of dough, we received the unexpected visit of Rysiek, a fellow raw food lover who is the creative and leading energy behind the local retreat centre/intentional community called Ashinah. Don and I nearly lived in one of Ashinah's beautiful strawbale infrastructures when we first came to the area years ago, and haven't really had the opportunity to reconnect with Rysiek since.

On the spur of the moment, we invited him and his partner, Naomi, to join us for supper. An offer they graciously accepted. I had left-over Chop Suey and Spinach & Cream Pasta Casserole, so with Don's help, managed to whip up a feast in no time. They loved the food, sharing they felt like they'd walked into some gourmet restaurant. lol

We had a really awesome dinner and the evening zoomed right by. It was neat to be able to exchange with other long term raw foodists. In fact, Rysiek and Naomi have been conducting raw retreats at Ashinah for the last few years. We talked about the possibility of hosting a BC Raw Summit there next summer. Never know what Life has in store, eh?

One thing's for sure, we weren't short of dessert!

All that was missing to this gathering of beautiful food and people was the lovely Shannonmarie. I'll make sure to drop her a line and invite her along next time I whip up such a treat-full feast.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Bliss-full Blueberry Cheesecake

Santa brought me some fun new kitchen toys over the Holidays. (Guess I've been a good girl after all!) Ever since Heathy's visit, I'd been seriously lusting after springform pans. Sure, my old trick of a plastic tub lined with film works, but when you've seen the right tool in action...

I had to at least point the ol' man in the right direction, so I decided to ask him for a 7 " pan and a set of 4 cute little ones (4 1/2 " by 1 1/2 ") that I'd found in Raw Freedom Community's Amazon Store.

For the first dessert of the year, I just had to make something special. I chose to inaugurate my new 7" springform pan in style with a decadent and gorgeous cake inspired by Vanessa Sherwood's fantastic White Chocolate-Strawberry Cheesecake.

A taste of raw heaven...

Bliss-full Blueberry Cheesecake

Makes one 7 " cheesecake

1/2 cup brazil nuts
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tablespoon cacao or carob powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 medjhool dates
1 teaspoon agave nectar

Process first 7 ingredients in a food processor until fine. Add agave and process some more until the mixture just starts to stick together. Press into the bottom of the springform pan.

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed)
1 cup dry cashews, finely ground
5 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp melted cacao butter
1/4 cup honey or agave nectar (I used both)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until completely smooth. Pour the filling over the crust and chill or freeze until ready to serve.

Carmella's Note: If using frozen blueberries, make sure they are well thawed and at room temperature to avoid the honey turning rock hard during blending.

Blueberry Sauce:
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Agave nectar to taste

If desired, decorate with chocolate sauce (just mix 1 part melted coconut oil with 1 part agave or maple syrup and 1 part cacao powder) and blueberries.

Sunny Raw Tips
~ To de-mold your cake, gently pass a knife along the edge of the springform pan before releasing the buckle.

~ Wash the pan immediately after use and don't let it sit in water to avoid the hinges rusting.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

One Candle

Today marks the one year anniversary of The Sunny Raw Kitchen. Wowsers! Has it really been that long?

Well, I certainly didn't expect that sharing my latest culinary experiments with the cyberworld could be so much fun (not to mention addictive! lol) Don has gotten used long ago to waiting patiently while I take endless photos each time I whip up something new, and also to making mental notes when he comes up with an original creation.

Some of the highlights of our year of huddling together in this virtual kitchen include:

- The recounting of my adventures In Sandy's Sunny Kitchen

- The launching of Raw Freedom Community, a warm online community to share and exchange about raw foods, health and a bunch of other topics

- The release of my first ebook "The Best Of The Sunny Raw Kitchen”

- A recent uncooking marathon with my dear friend and raw Chef, Heathy/Fairygirl

- Feature posts on a variety of dishes...

I've also looked in depth at a number of topics, giving my best tips about...

How to be raw on a limited budget
Foraging Wild Edible Plants
Making Sauerkraut
Equipping Your Raw Kitchen
And how to celebrate the Holidays and party in the Raw

Oh, and I have also set up an Index to help you find at a glance the recipes posted on this blog. I know I'm a little behind (oops!), but I'll do by best to keep it up to date. Call it my New Year's resolution. ;-)

My Faves
I've enjoyed a lot of incredible recipes over the last twelve months - most of which I've already shared with you. So I thought I'd do a little recap of my favorites before attacking a new epicurean year. Now, I gotta tell you that this was no easy task. I tried going with the usual 'Top 10' idea, but it was a desperate 'no can do'. And so I've settled for 27 (I like symmetry.) I still had to overlook a whole bunch of gems, but hey. *shrug*

Without further ado...

My Top 27 Raw Recipes for 2007:

(In no particular order)
  1. Jennifer Cornbleet's Cream of Zucchini Soup
  2. Don's Green Celery Soup
  3. Snowdrop's Ranch Dressing
  4. My House Dressing
  5. Kate Wood's Sauerkraut Salad
  6. Pansy's Famous Onion Bread
  7. Ani Phyo's Black Sesame Sunflower Bread
  8. Vee's Badabing Bruschetta Bread!
  9. Raw Pleasure Australia's Savoury Nori Snacks
  10. Tropigal's Chewy Crunchy Garlicky Toasts
  11. Ocean's Tuna Salad
  12. RawFoodRightNow's Raw Deviled Egg-less "Egg" Spread
  13. Fairygirl's Pasta Primavera
  14. Cherie Soria's Crab Cakes
  15. Snowdrop's Sesame Nuggets
  16. Russell James' Fennel & Cherry Tomato Balsamic Tart with Macadamia Cheese
  17. Russell James' Spinach & Wild Mushroom Quiche
  18. Samosas and Curry Sauce
  19. Rawvolution’s Burgers
  20. My Lasagna Magnifica
  21. Pizza (any kind, but our usual fare is with pesto, tomato sauce, Rich Cheddar Sauce and marinated veggies)
  22. Vanessa Sherwood's White Chocolate-Strawberry Cheesecake
  23. Snowdrop's Blonde Fruitcake
  24. Fairygirl's Chocolate Orange Cake*
  25. Fairygirl's Blueberry Chocolate Cheesecake*
  26. My Strawberry Shortcake
  27. Ginger's Best Coffee Ever
* Recipes available in her upcoming raw dessert ebook

Looking forward to another rawsome year with you all!

Raw blessings,