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!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oregon's Natural Beauty and A Gals' Christmas Tea

Wrapping up our adventures in Portland before we continue traveling south... (Not only am I keeping up with my blogging but I'm even a little ahead! Woo hoo!)

Just after we arrived we were blessed with several days of sunshine (yay!) and took the opportunity to walk around the area.

Along our favorite walking route is a field where several horses graze peacefully.

The first time we passed by they were extremely curious about the new strangers in their neighborhood. I had the privilege to have a 'tete a tete' with most of them, during which I was exposed to the proper sniffing and nipping protocol. ;-) I had never been so close to horses and was gleefully giggling like a little girl!

Handsome fellows, aren't they?

This one was on his way over to check me out too! hehe

More furry creatures we encountered on our walk that same day were a couple of llamas.

This guy was so curious that he followed Don and Kylo for a short while.

They had a little staring contest. lol

And here's a lovely view of Mount Hood, not far from where Gayle and Rick live.

Gayle Spoiling The Gals
This is the third year that Gayle put together a Christmas Luncheon Tea as a gift to her dearest girlfriends. I had never attended one of those and was really looking forward to the experience. It was so much fun to plan out and prepare various miniature dishes!

Looks like maybe we weren't alone; notice the orbs of light around me?

The day before the luncheon Rick called to us while we were in the kitchen, so we interrupted our preps and rushed outside to behold the gorgeous sunset.

I had made two variations of cultured cheeze; Russell's Olive, Caraway and Fennel from his Raw Nut Cheese ebook and the Caper & Mushroom one from my new Delightfully Raw. They were served with Ani Phyo's Black Sesame Sunflower Bread that Gayle had dehydrated. As I was editing the picture I realized that the platter could have used some fresh herbs for color, but we were so excited to serve the first course that I completely forgot!

These accompanied a very tasty soup Gayle found on the Hallelujah Acres' website. In fact it's so good that the gals have asked that she make it every year!

Carole's White Christmas Soup
Submitted by Carole Pettee on Hallelujah Acre's site

This recipe comes from Health Minister Carole Pettee who lives in Genoa, Illinois: "I have been in raw food preparation classes, and this past week we made this wonderful raw soup that I wanted to share with you. It's easy to make and will surely be a recipe you will make again and again. Winter is great for warm soup, but this RAW soup, with the added pinch of jalapeno, gives it a warm feeling when eaten." (You may want to double the recipe for this one.)

Serves 2-3

1/2 cups Walnuts (soaked for 4-8 hours)
1 1/2 tablespoons Miso (white or dark)
1/2 cup Zucchini (chopped)
1/2 cup Red Pepper (chopped)
1/2 cup Tomato (diced)
1 tablespoon Garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon Dill (minced) (If available, fresh is best)
1 tablespoon Parsley (minced) (Fresh if possible)
1 tablespoon Green Onion (chopped)
1 teaspoon Jalapeno Pepper (or to taste - this gives the soup heat)
1 ear of Corn (cut from the cob)
1 cup water (add more if desired)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Celtic Sea Salt to taste

In food processor, put in all ingredients except for the corn, walnuts, miso, water, and olive oil, and pulse for a few seconds until all is coarsely chopped.

Add corn and pulse for a few times more. DO NOT OVER PULSE as you want your vegetables to be chopped and not liquefied. Put these ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

In a blender, put walnuts, miso, water, olive oil, and Celtic Sea Salt and blend until liquefied.

Pour over vegetables, stir, and serve. (Before serving, you can sprinkle some more chopped green onions on top of soup.)

Carmella's Note: Gayle pretty much followed the recipe to the T, except that she used frozen corn and subbed half of the olive oil with avocado.

The Entree Platter consisted of Zucchini Roll-ups, Vegan Bay Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce, Squash “Beggar’s Purse” with Pomegranate and Sage, and Collard Wraps.

Zucchini Roll-ups 
From Nomi Shannon and Sheryl Duruz's Raw Food Holiday Celebration Guide and posted here with Nomi's gracious permission

These are so tasty and make wonderful appetizers and snacks!

Pate Du Soleil
3 cups hulled sunflower seeds, soaked 8-12 hours, sprouted 2-4 hours
1 cup lemon juice
2 red capsicums/peppers, roughly chopped
4 scallions (green onions), roughly chopped
½ small onion roughly chopped
½ cup raw tahini
2 tablespoons nama shoyu or other salty product
8 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
2-3 medium cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Soak sunflower seeds overnight. Drain.

2. Allow to sit out on counter for 2-4 hours (but no longer, if you are not ready to continue with recipe, rinse, drain and refrigerate to slow the sprouting process).

3. Rinse and drain.

4. If you have a large enough food processor just put all the ingredients in it, and run until pate is quite smooth.

5. Taste, adjust seasonings. The garlic flavor will develop and become stronger in a few hours.

This pate can be made with nuts or a combination of seeds and nuts; when you make it with all sunflower seeds it will keep for a week or more in the refrigerator.

Zucchini Roll-ups
½ zucchini per person
Pate du Soleil (enough to lightly cover each slice)

1. Thinly slice room temperature zucchini the long way using a mandolin on the thinnest setting. It is difficult to slice this thinly using a knife, but if you don't have a mandolin or other type of slicer, be sure your knife is very sharp and slice as thinly as possible.

2. Spread a thin layer of pate on each zucchini slice and place on dehydrator mesh tray.

3. Run the dehydrator and when the zucchinis are soft and flexible (2-4 hours) take the trays out and roll up the zucchini. You may have to hold them together with a toothpick.

4. Remove enough trays so roll-ups will fit back in to the dehydrator and dry until zucchinis are hard.

5. This could take as long as 24 hours. These will keep for some time.

6. Serve on a tray. They are so delicious just try to keep your guests from eating too many! Before they know it they will have eaten two zucchinis and 1⁄4 cup of pate before the meal even begins!

Carmella's Notes:
~ For the Pate, we soaked the sunflower seeds for about 8 hours and skipped the sprouting step. We also added a bit more salt than was called for and replaced the jalapeno with a couple of dashes of cayenne.

~ If you're using a mandoline, I'd recommend slicing the zucchinis in half length-wise first. You'll get nicer and more uniform slices that way. If you happen to leave your slices a tad too long in the dehydrator and find them hard to roll up, simply spray them from underneath with a little water, allow to soften up and proceed.

While preparing all those small yummy bites, I couldn't help but think of Cherie Soria's Crab Cakes recipe. With Gayle's agreement I decided to take them on as a project and make them for the tea. Yay!

Vegan Bay "Crab" Cakes
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.

Carmella's Notes:
~ For the Crab Cakes, we used a mixture of macs and cashews.

~ For the Tartar Sauce, I modified the recipe a little; I subbed part of the capers with Bubbies' Dill Pickles, used less horseradish and omitted the red onion.

Gayle spotted this next recipe at the last minute and decided to include it on the menu. Peeling and cutting the raw squash was a lot of work but the result was worth it; the little bundles were so festive, elegant and very tasty.
Squash “Beggar’s Purse” with Pomegranate and Sage
Posted by Susan on Rawmazing.com
4 cups peeled and cubed squash
2 young coconuts, flesh from
1 cup water from coconut
1 cup ground flax seeds

1. Place all ingredients in high-speed blender. Blend until very smooth.

2. Spread thin on non-stick dehydrator sheets.

3. Dehydrate at 115 for 2-3 hours until dry but still flexible. Do not over dehydrate.

5. Peel from sheets, cut into 5″ squares.

1 cup pumpkin seeds (soaked and drained)
1 cup almonds (soaked and drained)
1/4 olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 cups spinach leaves, packed
2 cups grated squash
Orange, juice and zest from
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons dried sage
1 cup pomegranate seeds
Salt and pepper to taste*

1. Place almonds, pumpkin seeds, water and oil in food processor. Process until finely blended.

2. Add spinach and process until finely chopped and well incorporated. Remove to bowl.

3. Add squash, orange juice and zest, optional agave, and dried sage. Stir to combine.

4. Stir in pomegranate seeds and salt and pepper to taste

*I only use Himalayan Salt.

Sage Cream Sauce
1 cup cashews, soaked and drained
3/4 cups water
2 teaspoons dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and process until smooth.

Chives (we used ribbon)

1. Place spoonful of filling in center of wrap. Fold sides up and tie with chives.

2. Place spoonful of sauce on plate, and place the “purse” on the sauce.

Collard Wraps
Wraps are so easy to assemble and so colorful! There was Cauliflower Rice left over from a meal we enjoyed a couple of days before so Gayle used it as part of the filling. The rice by itself tasted quite bland so she mixed in some of Cafe Gratitude's Salsa Verde.

Mexican Cauliflower Rice
Posted on the Low Fat Recipes blog here

- 1 head cauliflower
- 3 medium size tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 3 stalks celery
- handful cilantro, or more to taste
- juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Pulse cauliflower in food processor until it's the size of rice. Or chop finely if you don't have a processor. Place in large bowl.

2. Pulse remaining ingredients in processor until still slightly chunky.

3. Mix the tomato mixture into the cauliflower mixture. And voila - Mexican cauliflower rice!

First wash and destem the collard greens.

Place a few spoonfuls of the Cauliflower Rice/Salsa mixture at one end of the half collard leaf, then top it with julienned red bell pepper, turnip and cucumber and asparagus spears.

Gayle served us two delicious herbal tea blends; Sunset on Seattle (from Market Spice at Seattle's Pike Street Market) at the beginning of the meal, and a very fragrant tea made of rosebuds and osmanthus (from Vital T-Leaf) with dessert. Both were absolutely exquisite! 

Aren't these gorgeous?

I contributed my Super Caramel Chocolate Tarts for the dessert platter. As sometimes happen, the Chocolate Ganache seized up while I was stirring it (chocolate making is such a delicate art!), but it it didn't affect the taste and actually gave them an interesting look I thought. ;-)

They were served along with Russell James' Mince Pies and Jennifer Cornbleet's Blondie Cashew Freezer Fudge.

Blondie Cashew Freezer Fudge
From Jennifer Cornbleet's Learn Raw Food site

Yield: 8 servings

When you feel like going out to buy a candy bar, stop, make this freezer fudge, and vanquish your craving!

2 cups raw cashew butter
2/3 cup dark agave syrup or maple syrup
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raw cashews, coarsely choppeds

Place the cashew butter, agave syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the cashews and pulse just until mixed. Press the mixture into an 8-inch glass baking dish. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving. Cut into squares.

Stored in a sealed container in the freezer, Blondie Cashew Freezer Fudge will keep for 3 months.

Gayle's Mods: She used a little over 1/3 cup light agave syrup instead of the full amount.

I had blogged about Russell's Mince Pies ages ago but the recipe we used for the tea was slightly different.

Mince Pies with Cashew Icing
Posted on Russell James' blog here

Yields 10 – 12 pies

For the crust
2 c cashews
1 c raw oat flour*
1/4 c agave nectar
2 T water
3 T lemon juice
Pinch salt

• Grind all ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly mixed.

• Press the mixture into a tart/muffin tray that has been lined in Clingfilm (plastic wrap) and dehydrate at 105 degrees F for 2-3 hours.

• Remove the crusts from the cases and dehydrate out of the case for a further 8+ hours, on the mesh dehydrator sheet.

*Raw out flour is made by milling raw oats in a coffee grinder or high-speed blender. If you don’t have raw oats available and you don’t mind using oats that have been steamed to preserve shelf life, then non-raw oats will also work. 

For the filling
1 1/2 c soft dates, stones and flowers removed
1/2 c orange juice
2 apples, chopped small
1 1/2 t mixed spice
1 c raisins, roughly chopped
Pinch salt

• Grind all ingredients except the apple and raisins until they form a paste.

• Add in the apple and raisins and process for a further 5 – 10 seconds until fully combined.

• Fill each of the cases with a little of the mixture then top with the cashew icing and a pinch of the nutmeg.

For the cashew icing
1 1/2 c cashews
1 T lemon juice
Pinch salt
3 T coconut oil
1/4 c agave
1/2 c water

• Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until completely smooth.

To garnish
Pinch nutmeg

Gayle's Mods: She replaced the raisins with dried fruit sweetened cranberries. Very good!

And finally, a High Tea just wouldn't be complete without scones! Gayle baked a batch made with a mixture of rice, spelt and teff flours. They were served with a Lemon Curd which was the filling for Sweet Gratitude's Lemon Meringue Pie minus the lecithin and with a little less coconut oil. The texture turned out to be perfect!

The pampered tea gals

What a beautiful spread, eh? Don't you wish you'd been there too?


  1. Looks absolutely amazing! What a great get together with incredible eats. I'd feel so special if I was there! And that sunset is breathtaking! I can only imagine it was even more beautiful in person. Love your road trips!

  2. Love the shot of the Llama staring and the horses checking you out. Animals totally rock! Thanks for reporting on your adventures and wonderful get togethers as well.

  3. Wow! What an incredible feast! Yes, I DO wish I'd been there, too...!