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!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Super Choconana Shake

This week, I got to make my friend Leah's Layered Chocolate Mousse Cake as she had asked me to put it to the test. (Ahhhhh! The things you do for friends! lol) It was absolutely scrumptious and visually stunning (I love LOVE the effect of the different shades!) Leah still wants to tweak the recipe a bit, so you'll have to be patient before you get to give it a try. But that's not to say you can't drool over it...
A real beauty, isn't it?

I also made Lana's lovely Creamy Spicy Broccoli & Greens Soup a few times, which you can find posted on Raw Freedom Community. However, I've decided to feature a chocolate drink I've been enjoying these last few days. Not only because it's yummily addictive, but it is a pretty rare occurrence around here. See, we've fallen into the routine of Don preparing a green smoothie every morning with whatever fruits are on hand. As a result, we hardly ever venture to try something new in the beverage making department. Inspired by Ginger's fantastic Best Coffee Ever, this superfood shake will leave you fueled up and crying for more.

Super Choconana Shake

Yields about 3 cups

1 banana
2 cups almond milk
1 medjhool date
2 tsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp carob powder
1 tsp maca
2 capsules Fo-Ti, also known as Ho Shou Wu* (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Dash nutmeg

* Fo-Ti/Ho Shou Wu is a Chinese herb and can be found at health or supplements stores.

Blend all ingredients until smooth and frothy in high power blender.

Carmella's Notes:
~ If you don't have almond milk already made, you can quickly whip some up by blending 2 tbs of almond butter with 2 cups water.

~ Depending on the ripeness of your banana, you may want to add a touch of agave nectar for sweetness.

~ If using fo-ti, open the gel caps and empty the content (powder) into the blender.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Time to Fetch Those Chopsticks Again

I know I've already dedicated two posts to Asian food with a raw twist (see this and this), but with the arrival of the Chinese New Year on February 7th, I decided to hop on board for the celebrations.

It is said that the Year of the Rat is a time of activity and renewal. Well, there's certainly been some major changes and action going on in the Sunny Raw Kitchen lately. For one thing, I now have a new assistant, Manu, who you've already met. He lives next door but likes to hang around our kitchen for some interesting conversations, and of course, awesome raw food.

And so we've marked the beginning of the New Year and this new friendship/collaboration by putting an array of Chinese dishes on our raw table.

As you know, I have a thing for soup and so I took the opportunity to play with some interesting new flavors. For this variation of carrot soup, I replaced the peanuts, usually called for in Szechuan food, with a mixture of almond butter and tahini. Sure did the trick! This one got a big thumb up from everyone.

Szechuan Carrot Soup

Serves 4

1 cup coconut water or regular water
3/4 cup coconut  milk*
1/4 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
1/2 avocado
1/4 cup young coconut meat
1/4 cup carrot pulp
2 small garlic cloves
1 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/2 tablespoon raw tahini
1 1/2 tablespoon raw almond butter
1 1/2 tablespoon Nama Shoyu or tamari
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
dash of lemon pepper
4 cups carrots juice

* To make coconut milk, blend 1 part dried coconut with 3 parts water in high speed blender.

Blend all ingredients except carrot juice in a VitaMix or high-powered blender and process until smooth. Add juice by hand. Gently warm up on the stove, stirring constantly until lukewarm. If desired, top with a light cashew cream and serve.

We've tried the following soup posted on GoneRaw. A definite reminder that I should put daikon more often in the shopping cart. The carrot we used was apparently a LOT bigger than the one in the original recipe but delicious nonetheless.

Daikon Dumpling in Miso Broth
Posted by TheDailyRaw on GoneRaw.com

The lemon makes the dish pop wonderful flavors in your mouth. Very, very delicious!

* 1 tablespoon yellow miso
* ½ carrot, shredded
* 1 cup warm water
* ¼ cup diced scallions
* 1 dried seaweed, broke into tiny pieces
* ½ lemon

* ½ daikon radish, cleaned
* sea salt

* 4 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
* ½ cup rice wine vinegar, (not a raw ingredient)
* ¼ cup agave nectar
* ¼ cup Nama Shoyu
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Miso Broth: Put miso, scallions, carrot and seaweed in a bowl with the warm water. Stir to dissolve the miso. Set aside.

Daikon Dumpling: Use a mandolin to slice daikon in paper thin rounds (1/8-inch or less). Sprinkle rounds with sea salt and let set for an hour to soften. Under running water, rinse thoroughly to remove salt.

Asian Mushroom Filling: Put ingredients in quart bag and shake until coated well.

Assemble: Add one teaspoon of the Asian to the center of rinsed daikon round. Fold over and pinch the ends to close.

Place dumpling into a small bowl, add 1/2 cup of miso broth. Squeeze lemon on top. Serve immediately.

Carmella's Note: We used less vinegar, tamari and sweetener for the mushrooms.

I also was curious to try one of Flandria's recent creations posted on Raw Freedom Community. Exquisitely exotic!

"Canh Chua" Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Soup
2 cups coconut water
1 stalk of celery
2 teaspoons carrot juice
1 cup tomatoes, no skin
2 tablespoons lemongrass, zested, using a zester
1 cup cilantro
1 lime
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons nama soyu
2 teaspoons Himalayan salt
1 cup fresh pineapple
1 teaspoon jalapeno with seeds, more for a spicier soup
1 tablespoon saffron
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Soak the saffron in olive oil and salt. Set aside.

Blend all the other ingredients. Prepare a nut bag or cheese cloth to strain the soup. Pour the soup into the nut bag or cheese cloth then squeeze liquid.

You can put the soup in the dehydrator to warm before service.

Serve with the saffron oil made earlier. Strain the saffron oil and top the soup. You can add cilantro and mung bean sprouts, too! Enjoy

Variation: Add cilantro and mung beans sprouts, along with the saffron oil on top.

Carmella's Note: I had to omit the lemongrass and saffron as I didn't have them on hand.

On a different note, this cucumber salad was inspired by a recipe found on a conventional SAD diet site. Always a good source of inspiration, specially when it comes to international cuisine.

Asian Cucumber Salad

Serves 4

2 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded*
1 1/2 tbs salt
1 tbs rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tsp raw sesame oil
1 tsp red chili flakes

* To de-seed cucumbers, slice cucumber in half and remove seeds with a spoon.

Slice cucumber thinly with a mandoline. Toss in salt and let sit for a couple of hours. Drain the liquid off.

Add the rest of the ingredients.

Let sit for a half hour to allow flavors to blend before serving.

Next is a broccoli salad that my friend Joz has made countless times. Yet another great new way to eat this veggie in the raw.

Chinese Broccoli with Peanuts
From TopRawMen.net

In a salad bowl, add:
3 cups broccoli tops, chopped
1/4 cup raw Spanish peanuts

In a blender, add:
1 Habañero pepper
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 avocado
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt

Blend until creamy, pour over broccoli and peanuts. Let marinate for 45 minutes in the refrigerator.

Carmella's Notes:
~ I used chopped almonds instead of peanuts.
~ I replaced the Habañero with a small slice of jalapeño as I don't care much for heat.

And of course, the 'plats de resistances'. Here's a couple of noodle based entrees that turned out particularly yummy.

Spicy Noodles in Szechuan 'Peanut' Sauce

Serves 4

3 or 4 zucchini (depending on size), peeled and made into angel hair with a spiral slicer. (You want roughly 1 1/2 cup pasta per person.)

Sprinkle salt over zucchini pasta and place in a colander to allow excess water to drain.

1/2 large yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 large red bell pepper, julienned
2 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
3 cups baby bok choi, sliced
2 green onions, sliced thinly
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced and marinated in:
1 tbs tamari
1/2 tbs sesame oil
2 tsp lime juice

'Peanut' Sauce
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup raw almond butter
2 garlic cloves
1 tbs fresh ginger root, grated
2 tbs Nama Shoyu or tamari
1 tbs raw sesame oil
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbs honey
Dash cayenne

Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender until smooth. Add water until desired consistency is reached.

In a large bowl, toss veggies except marinated mushrooms in some peanut sauce, cover and allow flavors to blend in the dehydrator at 110 degrees for at least an hour. (Longer if not using the D.)

Just before serving, add zucchini noodles and drained marinated mushrooms to the veggies.

Divide into 4 servings. Top with more Peanut Sauce and decorate with black sesame seeds.

Hum, still not sure what to call this next dish... I'll go with Stir-dried Veggies and Pasta in Ginger Orange Sauce. The orange zest and mint gives this dish a surprising and fresh flavor. "Brilliant" according to Manu.

Stir-dried Veggies and Pasta in Ginger Orange Sauce

3 zucchinis, peeled and spiralized with the largest (fettuccine) setting
1/2 tablespoon salt

Toss zucchinis in salt and let sit in a colander for a few minutes to allow the excess liquid to drain.

1 cup snowpeas, finely julienned
1 cup carrots, sliced diagonally
1 cup red pepper, julienned
1 cup nappa cabbage, sliced finely
1 cup small broccoli florets
1/4 cup green onion, sliced

Ginger Orange Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon raw sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Nama Shoyu or tamari
2 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated
3/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh mint (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced

Blend all but cilantro in high speed blender until smooth.

In a large bowl, toss veggies in sauce. Cover with a plate and 'stir-dry' in the dehydrator for a couple of hours.

Just before serving, add pasta and mix well.

Variation: For a different texture, you can also toss the pasta along with the veggies and sauce prior to putting in the D. It will give the noodles a slightly cooked look, as shown above.

We diverged a little to play with the Land of Smile's exotic flavors too. Not very authentic but hey. *shrug*

On the menu was the Creamy Thai Coconut Soup that I've just featured as Recipe of the Week along with Raw Food Real World's Spicy Thai Wraps, which I've been meaning to try for some time, especially since Heathy keeps raving about how wonderful they are. These were outstanding. We served them with a dipping sauce that Manu made with mango, banana and a bunch of yummy spices.

But back to our Chinese theme...

Finding Chinese desserts to turn into raw wasn't the easiest thing in the world, as there just isn't that much to choose from. There is of course the famous Fortune Cookies that shannonmarie of Rawdorable has done a great job at re-creating here. I opted for a simple but lovely pudding.

Mango Coconut Pudding

Serves 4

1 cup cashews
1 cup mango, fresh or frozen (thawed)
3/4 cup water
3 tbs dried coconut
3 tbs honey or agave nectar
1 tsp lemon zest
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbs lecithin powder

Blend all ingredients except lecithin in high speed blender until smooth. Add lecithin and blend for a few more seconds.

Set in the fridge or freezer.

Serve with orange and grapefruit fillets.

And lastly, we made Cafe Gratitude's outstanding Lime Pie that we topped with a cream made with young coconut and cashews. Perhaps not the most traditional either, but we thought the lime fitted right in with our Asian theme. Anna of the RawTable.com also has a lovely Key Lime Pie recipe posted here.

Phfew! I'm not used to preparing so much gourmet food in such a short period. Time to get back to eating crackers and spread for a little while... ;-)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Creamy Thai Coconut Soup

We had our share of exotic Asian food last week, you know, with the Chinese New Year and all that. I'll be sharing several awesome creations that emerged from that uncooking blast, but for the moment, here's a scrumptious rendition of a Thai coconut soup.

It started off as a recipe from one of my uncook books, then evolved into something completely different once I passed the torch along to Manu, a friend who went to culinary school in Germany and has a keen interest in raw foods.

All I can say is 'Wow!' This was fantastic! Don't be intimidated by the few steps in making the broth. It is soooooo worth it. THE best Thai soup I've ever tasted.

Creamy Thai Coconut Soup

Serves 4

2 cups dried coconut
6 cups water
6 kafir lime leaves without stock
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lime zest
2 green onions
2 celery stalks
1/4 cup cilantro root*
1/2 med. yellow bell pepper
1/2 med. red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 nori sheets, broken up
1/2 Tbs fresh ginger root, grated
1/4 cup coconut oil (optional)
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tbs lecithin powder
2 tsp agave nectar
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup tamari
Salt to taste

Blend the dried coconut with 2 cups water until smooth. Then add the remaining water and blend until a coconut milk forms.

Finely grind the kafir lime leaves, sesame seeds, red chili flakes and zests in a coffee grinder. Add these, along with the rest of the broth ingredients to the 'coconut milk' and blend for a few seconds until very smooth.

Strain and discard the pulp.

* Manu's Note: If cilantro roots are not available, use stalks. However the disadvantage is that it will give the soup a greenish tint.

1 small avocado, diced
1/3 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup thinly sliced daikon
1/3 cup thinly sliced bok choi
1/3 cup thinly sliced red pepper
1/3 cup thinly sliced yellow pepper
Handful cilantro leaves
Handful black sesame seeds

To serve:
Divide toppings among 4 bowls. If desired, gently warm broth on stove while stirring constantly and pour pour over veggies. Top with cilantro leaves and black sesame seeds.

Here's Manu putting the finishing touch to this delicious soup

Monday, February 11, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Delight-full Chocolate Orange Cake

Whether because of chocolate's alleged aphrodisiac properties or the way it delightfully seduces the palate, chocolate and Valentine's Day seem to naturally go well together. My original intention was therefore to suggest some raw chocolate recipes (see here and here) to share with those close to your heart, but I've been having a hard time finding moulds at the local stores.

Enters Plan B.

With Cafe Gratitude's amazing Mudslide Pie still fresh in my taste buds memory, I decided to experiment with a chocolate orange version of it. (I've been fantasizing for months about the one Heathy made when she visited me last fall.)

The result is the following beyond creamy and scrumptious melts-in-your-mouth dessert that is sure to complement beautifully a romantic candlelight dinner. Don was rolling around on the floor moaning in ecstasy, crying "It can't get any better can it?"

Sounds promising? ;-)

Delight-full Chocolate Orange Cake

Makes one 7 " cake

Crust Variation 1
3/4 cup well packed soft dates, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cup ground almonds or loosely packed left-over pulp from making milk
1/2 cup dried coconut
1/2 cup cashews

Place dates in food processor and process until a smooth paste forms. You may need to add a little water.

Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth.

If using ground almonds instead of wet almond pulp, you might want to add a couple of teaspoons of water for moisture.

Crust Variation 2
1/2 cup brazil nuts
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tablespoon raw cacao or carob powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 medjhool dates
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1-2 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)

Process first 7 ingredients in a food processor until fine. Add agave and cacao nibs if using and process some more until the mixture just starts to stick together.

Orange & White Chocolate Filling
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1 1/4 cups cashews, soaked
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tbs vanilla
1 tbs orange zest
1 tbs + 1 tsp lecithin powder
1/4 cup + 1 tbs cacao butter

Blend all ingredients except lecithin and cacao butter until smooth. Add these and blend some more until well mixed. Put mixture in the fridge to set (see notes).

Chocolate Filling
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 tbs cacao powder
2 tbs vanilla
Pinch of salt
2 tsp lecithin powder*
1/4 cup cacao butter

*Lecithin acts as an emulsifier. Look for lecithin (preferably non-GMO), in granules or powdered form, at your local HFS. If using granules, make sure to grind them up in a high speed blender of coffee grinder.

Blend all ingredients except lecithin and cacao butter until smooth. Add these and blend some more until well mixed. Put in the freezer to set.

To Assemble
Press your crust of choice into the bottom of the springform pan.

Pour half of the White Chocolate Orange mixture on top and set in the freezer for about an hour.

Top with the Chocolate layer and return to the freezer.

Once set, pour the rest of the Chocolate Orange layer and return to freezer until ready to serve.

Decorate with dried coconut and gogi berries ground up in coffee grinder, cacao nibs and orange filets.

Close your eyes and enjoy in good company!

Carmella's Notes:
~ The different layers of this cake can be prepared quickly, but you do want to start preparing this several hours ahead to allow enough time for the different layers to set during the assembly process. (I began around noonish in order to serve it that evening.)

~ I used the cake recipe for my Strawberry Shortcake as the first layer, but I think it would be also fabulous with a chocolate coconut crust. Take your pick!

~ You'll notice that the Orange & White Chocolate Filling is firmer than the Dark Chocolate Filling at first. I recommend keeping it in the fridge until ready to assemble the final layer for easier spreading.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Brazil-Broccoli Mash and Miso Gravy

It's been yet another week feasting on lots of yummy new dishes. Amongst other things, I happened to be on the same wave length as my dear friend Heathy as we both made some cannellonis. (If you haven't already checked out the account of her latest dinner party, you can do so here.) For my part, I've posted two delicious filling ideas on Raw Freedom Community if you want to take a peek.

However, I've decided to feature Ani Phyo's outstanding Brazil-Broccoli Mash with Miso Gravy since I've only made it four times in the last 5 days! lol

Broccoli is one of those veggies I don't use a great deal, as Don doesn't care for it much unless it's marinated. However, I felt like venturing into new territories, you know, pushing the taste bud boundaries a bit. (I find it's good to get off the food rut once in a while...) Ani was right; her Broccoli Mash & Gravy is absolutely awesome and was an instant hit, even with Don. I've also served this dish to a non-raw friend, and he likes it so much that he's asked me for the recipe.

Amazing stuff! Another one of those 'must try' recipes!

Brazil-Broccoli Mash
From Ani Phyo's Raw Food Kitchen
Posted on files.meetup.com

(Serves 4)

1 clove garlic
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt (I used a LOT less!)
1 c. raw Brazil nuts
2 c. broccoli, chopped

Process the garlic, pepper, and salt into tiny pieces. Add Brazil nuts and process into a powder. Empty this powder into a bowl and set aside. Next, process broccoli while slowly adding the Brazil nut powder back in.

Serve with Miso Gravy (Optional but so darn good!!!)

Carmella's Note: I've been also making this with different nuts: a mixture of brazil/walnuts, brazil/walnuts/ pecans. Mmmmmm

Miso Gravy
¼ c. miso
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
½ orange, peeled and seeded
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp pitted dates

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Carmella's Note: I add a touch of water to the gravy as it is a bit too thick for my taste.

Shown below served with dolmas and homemade sauerkraut. Heavenly!

It's getting close to supper time... Better go whip up another batch to serve with Russell's Spinach & Mushroom Quiches! ;-)