Sunday, January 27, 2008

Another Dinner Down…And many more to go!


On a cold winter night last Saturday, I held yet another raw dinner party. Greeted by beautiful ice candles (made by my mom), a range of people attended, from those who have been coming to my raw food/yoga classes, to people who had never before tried gourmet raw food. My mom and Darwin ran around that evening, acting as my servers and kitchen helpers, so a huge thanks to them! Many hours of preparation went into this event, but I really loved it all – well actually, ALMOST every part. I was supposed to use red chard leaves for my thai wraps, as I always do. However, four grocery stores in the area did not have it this past week!!! Big uh-oh, but I never had the final verdict until the day before the dinner, as I had placed an order to the local produce department who said it was a good possibility of getting it in by Friday. So, I was left wondering what the heck would be an equal replacement. I ended up using red and green leaf lettuce with the center rib cut out to make them more pliable. Minor setback though. Everyone said they enjoyed the food and wanted to know when the next dinner would be! Sweet As!
Now, let’s get to the good part. Just what was on the menu?!




Appetizer:
Caesar Salad with pine nut parmesan cheese, and almond croutons
OR
Cream of Mushroom Soup topped with marinated mushrooms, almond milk swirl and parsley

Main:
Spicy Thai Veggie Wraps with sweet mango dipping sauce and spicy nuts
OR
Cheesy Broccoli Cannelloni with sundried tomato basil sauce

Dessert:
Strawberry Lime Mousse Cake with strawberry sauce
OR
Apple Crumble with vanilla ice cream




Creating the menu is always so much fun for me, but never easy, as there are so many great raw dishes that it’s hard to decide on just a few. One day I’ll have to make it buffet style, or “chef’s surprise” – actually, I’m contemplating that for my next dinner. No one will know what they’re getting until they arrive! How fun is that?!

All the recipes here are as I’ve made them for the dinner, so they need to be cut in half or more, for a smaller group.

I ended up creating my own Caesar dressing and parmesan, just days before. I’ve made Woody Harrelson’s dressing before, and while it’s great, I was wanting something a bit different.
Here’s a variation I came up with, based on his and Café Gratitude’s dressing.
This salad is my new favourite! I’ve been eating it literally all week (since I had to test the recipe and now I’m enjoying a bit of leftovers from the dinner) and I still love it!




Crunchy romaine lettuce, mixed with creamy, tangy, slightly peppery dressing, all topped with cheesy, crumbly, nutty parmesan….and crunchy, very bread-like croutons (from Cafe Gratitude - made from veggie pulp, almond pulp, almonds, carrot juice, and sea salt) Mmmmm!!!! I haven’t eaten a “real” Caesar salad in about 8 years due to all the dairy and who-knows-what-else in it – so this is such a treat! One woman exclaimed that this tasted "just like caesar salad without the bacon bits!" haha

Caesar Dressing

2 medium avocados
½ c cashews
½ c water
¼ c lemon juice
¼ c olive oil
2.5 tbs acv
2 tbs nutritional yeast
2 tsp sea salt
1-2 tsp black pepper
2 medium cloves garlic
1 large date

Blend till smooth.

Parmesan Cheese

½ cup brazil nuts
½ c pine nuts
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 small clove garlic, minced
¼- ½ tsp sea salt

Pulse brazils, yeast, garlic, and salt in FP until almost ground. Add pine nuts and grind until crumbly.

This is the mushroom soup I came up with, also a few days before the dinner. Carmella and I made such a great mushy soup during our kitchen adventures, that I was hoping to use, however I realized that I had no written it down. After creating this version, I was chatting with Carmi one evening when she told me she had our recipe! So I took that into account, and put a slight twist on my new soup. The almond milk and avocado make it deliciously creamy!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

5 cups almond milk (soak 1.5 c almonds)
5-6 cups chopped mushrooms
1 cup dried porcini soak water
2/3 cup dried porcini mushies
½ medium avocado
½ cup chopped zucchini
1/3 c olive oil
¼ c lemon juice
4 sm cloves garlic
2 tsp sea salt

Blend till smooth. Garnish w marinated mushies (sliced button mushrooms in tamari and then dehydrated for a few hours), almond milk swirl, and chopped parsley.


The first entrée is an adaptation of the cheesy broccoli cannelloni by chef Dan Hoyt, from Carol Alt’s, The Raw 50 . I’m not so big on some of the herbs in the recipe (as I did try it before), but I love the idea, so I decided to create a new version. The all versatile zucchini makes the cannelloni tubes, filled with cheddar sauce mixed with chopped broccoli. They get topped with sundried tomato basil sauce, pine nuts and fresh parsley, and were served with a mixed greens salad.

Cheesy Broccoli Cannelloni

Cheddar Sauce

1 large red bell pepper
1/2 c water
1.5 c raw cashews
1 c sunflower seeds, soaked
2 T tahini
¼ c nutritional yeast
2-3 teaspoon sea salt
1 tbs onion powder
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup lemon juice
Blend until creamy and smooth. Chill.

Pulse 1.5-2 heads broccoli, with a bit of nutritional yeast and sea salt, to small bits in food processor. Fold into cheese sauce.
Peel/ make strips out of zucchini. Let sit to soften or dehydrate for a few hours. Roll up with the filling.


Tomato Basil Sauce

1.5 cups packed dried tomatoes, soaked a few hours
¼ cup soak water
1 pitted, medjool date or 2 tsp honey
2 tbs olive oil
2 small clove of garlic
Sea salt & dried oregano to taste
4 large tomatoes, chopped
½ cup fresh basil, chopped & packed

Blend all but fresh tomatoes/basil. Pulse last 2 ingredients into the blend.

The second entrée is one I've made a few times before - Sarma Melngailis’ thai wraps. Chopped savoy cabbage is mixed with a thick, spicy, gingery, tangy, almond butter mixture. This, along with vegetable strips, spicy nuts, and fresh cilantro are rolled into collard or lettuce leaves. Sarma’s are served with a tamarind sauce, but mine were served with a sweet, cool mango sauce.
Mine look quite disheveled (do to probs with the lettuce as wraps) but they do taste great and are fun eaten with your hands!


Sarma’s Spicy Thai Wraps

1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup lemon juice
¼ cup chopped ginger
2 tablespoon chipped red chile, seeds included
3 tablespoons nama shoyu
2 cups raw almond butter
1-2 heads savoy cabbage, shredded
24 very large collard green leaves
2 large carrots, cut into matchstick-size pieces
1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1 red and green pepper, sliced thin
1 handful cilantro leaves
*Spicy nuts/seeds

In a high-speed blender, puree the maple syrup, lemon juice, ginger, red chile, and nama shoyu. Add the almond butter and blend at low speed to combine. Add water to thin if necessary, to get a thick, cake batter - like consistency.In a medium bowl, add the shredded cabbage and the almond butter mixture and toss well to combine.
Roll with veggies into collard leaves, along with spicy nuts.


Spicy Nuts/Seeds2 cups soaked almonds, chopped
2 cups soaked sunflower seeds
2 tbs sesame oil
1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
1/2- 1 tsp chili powder
cumin to taste
Mix spices with nuts. Dehydrate until dry.

Sweet Mango Dipping Sauce
5 cups mango
½ medium banana
Lemon and lime juice to taste
Agave to sweeten

Blend until smooth. Serve with thai rolls.


Onto dessert...I decided to try the apple crumble recipe from Purely Delicious magazine, and I'm glad I did. I warmed the crumble for a few hours in the D, to get that "just outta the oven" warmness. Mmmm, perfect winter dessert, paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Apple Crumble

Crumble Topping:
2 cups pecans
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pitted and packed, medjool dates

In a food processor, combine all ingredients until they become crumbly.

Filling:

10 medium sized apples (2 pureed/ 8 sliced)
2/3 cup pitted and packed, medjool dates
1/3 cup raisins
2 -3 tsp cinnamon
3-4 tbs honey or agave
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp sea salt

Puree 2 apples and rest of ingredients till smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Peel and thinly slice the 8 apples. Toss with cream.
Place into a large dish, sprinkle with nut crumble topping. Warm at 115F a few hours.

(Heathy’s Note: For soft “cooked” apples, let the sliced apples sit in the blended cream overnight)

Vanilla Ice Cream
3 cups soaked almonds
6 cups water
2 large bananas
¾ cup packed, pitted dates
2 tbs lecithin
½ tsp salt
2-3 tsp pure vanilla extract

Blend the almonds with water and then strain in a nut milk bag. Blend the almond milk with remaining ingredients until smooth. Chill overnight. Process in an ice cream maker, or freeze in an ice cube tray and then process through a juicer.


The second dessert is my all time favourite creation- Strawberry Lime Mousse Cake. I just can't seem to make this enough. It was served with a simple strawberry sauce and garnished with a fresh berry.












So overall, I think the dinner was a success - meaning everyone enjoyed good company and good food. I now look forward to my next big dinner which will be held outside in the summer. Im already dreaming up new possibilities...

15 comments:

Lovingraw said...

You did an amazing job, such dedication and love. The pie, forget about it, and the candle were pretty cool too. : )

Raw Goddess said...

Thanks Philip! This is so my passion :)

Carmella said...

Oh girlie! You've done it again!!! Everything looked fabulous! I can't believe how aligned we are (I know, it happens all the time but eh!)... I'm just about to make cannellonis for supper. lol I'll be trying something new, a pesto & cream filling with marinated mushies. I also have left over cheddar sauce in the fridge so purrrfect! Let's hope there's a bit of broccoli somewhere so I can try your version as well. ;-)
I'm soooo making your Ceasar dressing/salad! I've been having my house dressing for weeks on end now. lol Hey, I meant to ask you, for the croutons, you used wet almond pulp, right? (I'm too lazy to dehydrate it first! hehe)
Oh, and I made parmesan today as well. Too bad I didn't see your variation first. Will have to try it some other time then.

Congrats again for such a successful dinner!

Luv and light,
Carmi

RawLeah said...

wonderful job again!!! I cannot get enough of that Stawberry Lime mousse cake!!!!! Your kitchen looks HUGE!!!Something for me to dream about!!!

RawLeah

Bonnie said...

Hi ... i don't think I've ever commented before but I've been reading your blog for a while now ! I had to comment after reading this post ... I LOVE IT !!! I can't wait to try these recipes. I don't eat totally raw. Maybe one day I will though with recipes like this !! I'm guessing you don't live in Australia ( like I do ) with all that snow ! Too bad, I'd be signing up for one of your dinner parties !! Looks fantastic !!

VeggieGirl said...

how lucky are your dinner guests!! between the presentation and the actual food, I'm in awe!!

Yaelian said...

Everything in your dinner menu looks so appetizing and delicious.And your strawberry lime cheesecake mmmmm, I wish I could have a bite just now! Btw, when is your raw dessert book coming out?

Anonymous said...

hi! ok, i have been following your blog for a couple of weeks now and WHEN and where can i get your dessert book?????!! i'm SURE it will be a sell out!! thanks! lexilee in kansas

Linda Salas said...

May I come next time?
hehe
It all looks amazing, you are truly talented.

Blessings!

Anonymous said...

It really freaks me out how good you are making raw food. Dizam!
take care, sam yardsnacker.com

Raw Goddess said...

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments! I wish you all lived closer and could attend one of my parties too. I soooo love to do things like this. It just makes my heart sing :)

In light!
Heathy

shannonmarie said...

Wow, that looks amazing. Contrary to popular belief, I'm such a mess in the kitchen.

Katya said...

I love your blog, I'm trying to be a raw foodist to but here in my country we don't have any info about it. I'm interesting in your book but

where do we get a copy of your new book?

Thanks for share all this great recipes.

Blessings

Katya
El Salvador

Alicia (Vegan Guinea Pig) said...

Everything looks great, quick question. What is ACV? (The caesar dressing calls for it)

Mandy said...

I was wondering what ACV is as well! Love,Love,Love the blog!
Namaste, Mandy