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, February 3, 2011

Delightfully Raw in St George Utah

As I was mentioning in my last post we very nearly didn't make it to St George in time for a raw potluck that was scheduled at Barbara and Duane's home. Vegetarian Society of Utah (VSU) members are used to getting together regularly to share food but it is usually vegan and oil free. I thought it might be fun since I was going to demo a couple of recipes to make it a raw get together.

We've had the opportunity to attend a number of potlucks along our travels and I must tell you that I was very impressed with the variety of dishes that the VSU people contributed. Since most aren't really into raw per se I was expecting lettuce, veggie sticks and fruit platters, but nope, the dishes included different kinds of salads, spreads, dehydrated crackers and even calzone! Barbara invited some of the participants to tell us a little about the dish that they brought. I thought it was a really nice and fun touch! Take a peek at all the beautiful food that we partook of...

The Boutenko's Garden Burgers

Live Garden Burgers
From Eating Without Heating by Seigei and Valya Boutenko
Posted here

1 lb. Nuts (soak overnight and rinse, if time permits: makes for easier digestion)
1 lb. Carrots (finely grated)
1 Medium onion (finely chopped)
1 Tablespoon sweetener (date syrup, raisins or very ripe banana)
1 Tablespoon oil: extra virgin olive, sesame, or your choice
1 or 2 Tablespoons poultry seasoning

If the mixture is not firm enough, add one or more of the following thickeners: dill weed, dried garlic, dried onion, dried parsley flakes, nutritional yeast, psyllium husk powder, ground flaxseeds.

Form into balls, cutlets, or fillets and sprinkle with a little paprika before serving.

Note: If you want "fishburgers," add seaweed in the form of dulse, kelp or nori to the mixture.

Carmella's Note: Lillie made these with almonds and replaced the poutlry seasoning with Braggs (I'd recommend using tamari instead) and herbal seasonings.

Jan brought dehydrated stuffed bell peppers. The texture was surprisingly; like they had been cooked!

Jan's Organic Stuffed Peppers
Green cabbage, finely shredded
4 large avocados, ripe but firm
2 lemons, juiced
6 red bell peppers, cut in halves
1 pound carrots, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 to 2 bunches of green onions, finely chopped
Salt, pepper and lemon pepper, to taste

1. In a food processor, grate the cabbage on a fine grating blade.

2. With the S blade chop the carrots, celery, green onion until finely chopped but not mushy. Chop each separately!

3. Stir the cabbage, carrots, celery and onions together then add the juice of one lemon and the spices. Be sure to taste as you add the spices.

4. Mix well.

5. In a separate bowl peel the avocados and dice into cubes, then add the juice of the 2nd lemon. Stir gently careful not to make the avos mushy.

6. Gently fold in the avos into the veggies mixture.

7. Prepare the red bell peppers; cut in halves and remove seeds.

8. Spoon the mixture into the pepper halves and place on a dehydrator mesh. Dehydrate at 90 degrees for about 12 hours, then continue to dry for a few hours depending on how you like them.

A man named Michael drove all the way from Cedar City to join us that evening. He has been following my blog for some time and expected to meet us in Las Vegas during last year's tour, but the stop was canceled. ;-( We were glad to get a chance to connect this time around!

One of the stars of the potluck was his Calzone. If they ever thought that raw food was boring, they surely had a taste of how versatile and interesting it can be!

Adapted from Alissa Cohen’s "Living on Live Food"

4 Cups Sprouted Buckwheat
1 1/2 Cups Soaked Flax Seeds
3/4 Cup Olive Oil (I used more like 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 Cups Carrots
1/2 Cup sprouted lentils
1/2 Cup sprouted garbanzo beans
2 Cloves Garlic
2 teaspoons Curry
1 teaspoon Rosemary
1 teaspoon Thyme
2 teaspoons Sea Salt

Mozzarella Cheese
1 Cup almonds
1 Cup Cashews
1/2 Cup dried tomatoes
1 1/2 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Water

Spinach Dip
4 Cups Spinach
1 Large Avocado or 1 1/2 small Avocados
1/2 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoons Herbamare Seasoning Salt
(I added a little water as the dip was too thick to my liking...)

Marinated Veggies
1 Cup Broccoli, diced
1 Cup Mushrooms, diced
Lemon juice

For the Dough:
Grind the carrots in food processor. Add in rest of ingredients and blend well until reach dough-like consistency.

On teflex sheet, form half the dough into a half circle about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. Repeat on second teflex sheet with remainder of the dough.

Dehydrate at 105 for 3 to 4 hours; then turn over and dehydrate for another 1 to 2 hours. (You don't want it too dry though!)

For the Cheese:
In a food processor, blend all of the mozzarella cheese ingredients together until its completely smooth.

For the Spinach Dip:
In a food processor again, blend all of the ingredients for the spinach dip together until smooth.

Marinated Veggies:
Marinate the broccoli and mushrooms in the lemon juice and sea salt for about 20 minutes or until the dough is done in a few hours.

Now let's assemble the Calzone:

1. Remove one sheet of crust (the dehydrated dough) from the dehydrator and spread the entire mixture of Mozzarella Cheese on top of the crust.

2. Place the spinach dip on top of the mozzarella cheese that is now on top of the crust. (These layers will be thick!)

3. Drain the marinated veggies and place these on top of the spinach dip.

4. Remove the other "half" of the crust from the dehydrator. With a very large spatula and with your hands flip the crust onto the top of the "loaded" crust.

5. You will have to push this down a bit and may have fillings seeping out. That is okay.

6. With your fingers, go around the sides of the calzone and pinch together the crust. You may have to wipe away any filling that is leaking out as you pinch. Just be sure to close the sides well.

7. Dehydrate your assembled calzone at 105 degrees for 14 to 18 hours.

This will stay in the refrigerator for a day or two but is really great warm, straight out of the dehydrator.

Notes: If you see the crust breaking of splitting, try to repair that before it goes back into the dehydrator by using your fingers and a bit of water to smooth it out. You will have to remove a few sheets to fit the assembled calzone into the dehydrator. You can re-warm your calzone by putting it back into the dehydrator for an hour or two before serving.

Carmella's note: For a quicker, less involved version, you can make the calzone recipe into sandwiches or pizza.

And on the sweet side someone had brought a recipe created by my friend Eva Rawposa of Uncooking 101. (It's such a small raw world, isn't it?) Actually Eva was just telling me the other day that she has revamped her website and to celebrate she has all kinds of deals going on at the moment. So make sure to drop by and check it out!

Raisin Walnut Truffles
Posted in Eva Rawposa of Uncooking 101's Raw News Bite, Vol. 1 Issue 4

4 cups walnuts
3 cups raisins
2 7-8" vanilla beans
3/8 t sea salt
1/2 T cinnamon

1. Chop 1 cup walnuts in a food processor until well chopped but definitely not powdery! You want to keep some texture to them. Set aside in a bowl, then mix in the cinnamon.

2. Put the remainder of the walnuts and other ingredients into the food processor. Keep processing until it starts to form a wonderfully oily glob of a ball.

3. Hand roll this mixture into separate balls, about 20-25 of them. Roll the balls around in the chopped walnut mixture.

4. Share! And make sure when people are mmm-ing and hmmm-ing that you inform them this is actually a health food. (Yes!)

One of the faithful attendees to VSU potlucks is Frank. He's in his 80s and over the months he has been tweaking to perfection a delicious berry pie creation made from almonds and dates (crust) and mixed berries.

Frank's famous Raw Berry Pie

Everyone was glad to dig into all this yummy looking food...

... including yours truly, of course! ;-)

Did I ever feast or what?

Spreading the Good Word about a Plant Based Diet
I've already told you a little about Barbara's amazing transformation and healing by changing the way she ate. As President of VSU she organizes several programs every month, and during our stay she happened to be the one doing the presentation. Barbara and Duane are really doing a fabulous job at raising awareness about the benefits of a whole food plant based diet.

Barbara had a contract with Hollywood for 20 years as the official Liza Minelli look-alike. She used to do cabarets and shows all over the country and even abroad. And so she started off her program with a short renditon of 'Yes!' that got all of our attention.

She then walked us through her incredible story and the 8 steps that have allowed her to heal herself from a number of diseases, including obesity and cancer.

In Barbara's Sunny Kitchen
The night of the potluck both Don and I got hit with the symptoms of a vicious flu. I had fever, a stuffy nose and my body was aching all over. It's rare that either of us get sick, let alone at the exact same time. I was just grateful that we had a roof over our heads and a cozy home to rest in. We basically stayed in bed for an entire week, having only juices, green smoothies and soups so that our bodies could focus on healing.

Once we started to feel better I joined Barbara in the kitchen and whipped up a few delicious meals. Here are some of the foods that we enjoyed...

Don, The Soup Man, whipping up a green soup.

I recently shared with you a video in which Barbara demoed how to make a vegan cheeze. She was also interested in trying some of my cultured cashew cheeze.

All the fixings for lettuce Wraps: Garlic & Dill Cheeze and various veggies.

So simple and sooooooooo good!

Barbara and Duane don't consume any processed oils. I had never really delved into this aspect of diet although Don and I used to eat very little oil before we got into gourmet uncooking. When you think about it, though, it does make total sense that natural oils from avocados and nuts are healthier than the man-made/processed stuff. We'll be experimenting with oil free recipes although we've decided that we will continue to enjoy raw coconut oil in our desserts. For one thing we are not quite ready to let those go yet and also coconut oil feels better to us than the other varieties.

Barbara made again her outstanding contribution to the raw potluck: Celery Root Slaw in Cashew Cream Sauce. She has become quite the expert at converting recipes in order to make them oil-free. In this case she substituted the oils called for with nut butters. Oh my goodness! This is to live for! I had never tried celery root before and loved it!

Celery Root Slaw with Cashew Cream Sauce
Adapted from a recipe by Gena of Choosing Raw

Serves 4

Marinated Mushrooms
1 tbs tahini
3 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs tamari
1 tbs finely minced shallot
1 1/2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced

Cashew Cream Sauce
1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hrs, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove
1 tsp salt
1 tbs agave
2 tsp almond butter
1/3 cup water
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large or 4 small celery roots (about 2 cups), with the exterior peepeld off
Fresh parsley for garnish

1. In a bowl, whisk together the first 4 marinade ingredients. Toss mushrooms with marinade and let sit for at least 3 hrs.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine cashews, garlic, salt, agave, almond butter, water and black pepper. Process until smooth. Add more water if necessary. (This also makes a wonderful all-purpose sauce or dressing!)

3. With a box grater or mandoline, grate celery root. Pat with paper towels to remove excess moisture. In a large bowl, toss celery root with 1/2 cup Cashew Sauce, and then add more as needed.

4. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Getting ready to enjoy one of our raw dinners.

Quinoa with Cauliflower Curry and a mixed green salad with an oil free version of my House Dressing

She had rice paper in her pantry but didn't know how to use it, so one night I showed her how to make Spring Rolls.

Rolling Away...

Aren't they gorgeous? I love love the vibrant colors!

We served them with my Satay Sauce.

Barbara was particularly excited about making a raw cake. As we had lots of left over almond pulp from my demoing how to make nut milk at the potluck, we opted for my Blackforest Cherry Cake. The cake layer turned out marvelously well.

The big challenge, however, was how to make the Whipped Cream without using coconut oil! We had to tweak the recipe quite a bit, replacing the oil with the same amount of Irish moss gel (achieved by blending 1/4 cup packed soaked Irish moss with 1 cup water), adding an extra 2 tbs of cashews, and 1 tbs kuzu (another type of seaweed) diluted in 2 tbs of water then heated for a few seconds in order for the gelatinous properties to be released.

The result was a wee bit softish but still, I was mighty proud of our achievement! Yay! It was very very decadent!

Our last kitchie experiment was to make one of the cheeses from the 'Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook' by Jo Stepaniek completely raw. (If you have missed Barbara's demo of how to make amazing firm vegan cheezes, go here!)

This 'gooda' cheeze turned out absolutely delish! We modified the recipe slightly by not cooking the carrots and replacing the agar with Irish moss paste.  I used the same ratio as mentioned above but next time I'll make a firmer paste by cutting down on the amount of water.

Gouda Cheeze
Adapted from a recipe from Jo Stepaniak's Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

1 1/4 cups Irish moss paste*
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup roughly chopped carrots
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 tbs tahini
3 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tsp onion pwd
2 tsp psyllium husk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic pwd
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Blend all ingredients in high speed blender until smooth and creamy.

Pour Cheeze mixture in mold lined with saran wrap.

Chill in refrigerator.

* To make Irish moss paste, blend 1/2 cup packed soaked Irish moss with 1 cup water.

Carmella's Notes:  
~ When we first made this Cheeze we used Irish moss gel using a ratio of 1/2 cup soaked Irish moss to 2 cups water. The result wasn't as firm as we'd like. I've modified the above recipe accordingly, using a lesser amount of water.

~ You could also sub the Irish moss with 1 1/2 cups water and 1 1/2 tbs agar powder. In that case the instructions would be as follows:

Combine water and agar in a small pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often until completely dissolved, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Add mixture to the other ingredients in the blender and process until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender jar as necessary.

Pour into container and cool uncovered in the refrigerator.

When completely cool, cover and chill several hours.  (I usually serve it after 1 hour or so).

To serve, turn out of the container and slice.

Comfy Furries
Barbara and Duane aren't used to having pets in the house but they kindly took our furries in. As you can see they made themselves right at home.

Puss in her favorite chair.

She had a long massage session with Barbara one night. Ahhhhhhhhhh, heaven!

Mr. Kyky keeping cool on the tile floor.

And that just about wraps up the highlights of our time in scenic St George, Utah. As it turns out we have a long stretch of amazing natural beauty lying ahead of us, with a visit to Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon and Sedona. I can hardly wait to bathe in their majestic presence and of course, share it all with you guys!

Stay tuned!

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