Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Snowy Birthday

Unfortunately, we had a mega snowstorm on Saturday, leaving over 2 feet of snow in 24 hours. Crazy or what?! Up until then, we thought that spring was upon us - most of the snow was gone, a few of the lakes had recently opened, and the temperatures were promisingly warm. I even did yoga last week out on my frozen lake, as it was melting one sunny afternoon - kinda looks like a fake backdrop or something, but yes, I really am out there on the cold rocks and ice in my bare feet. See, that's how you can tell I'm a true Canadian!

Anyway, it was my mom's birthday on Sunday and she wanted a bon fire celebration. Everything was covered in snow, but we still managed to pull it off. By the evening the snow had stopped and some blue sky even poked out, yay! I prepared some snacks: a veggie platter with hummus, multigrain chips with fresh salsa (tomato, red/green pepper, red onion, lemon juice, sea salt), dehydrated pesto stuffed mushroom caps (I always keep a batch of fresh pesto on hand so it's really easy to throw something like this together), and cucumber/creamy spinach crunchies (sprouted tortilla that I cut into rounds and dehydrated until crisp, topped with cucumber, spinach cream dip, and a slice of grape tomato).
Spinach Cream Dip
This recipe is inspired by the dip I made for Darwin's birthday, from Freshtopia. I just throw things into the blender until it tastes right. This version is "Tree of Life friendly" :)
macadamia nuts
enough water for blending into a thick cream
1 small clove garlic
lemon juice to taste
sea salt to taste
Blend until smooth, adjusting taste. Add a bunch of roughly chopped spinach and blend on the lowest setting until finely chopped (you could just blend, but it would turn green, so you wouldn't get that white dip with spinach flecks).

Of course there was a Birthday cake too. This is one that my mom requested last summer when I came up with the recipe: Chocolate Mint Squares - like a mint nanaimo bar - A dense, chocolate nut cake topped with fresh mint cream and dark chocolate. Whew, this one is rich! Some of the guests had never experienced a raw dessert before, but everyone enjoyed it! Carmella, remember this one? She helped me test the recipe when we had our uncooking extravaganza - it'll be in the dessert book.
I think that's it now, for Birthday's...well for a while. But they are always fun, and it's an excuse to make a cake :) I hope you'll make a raw cake for your next loved one's Birthday!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Birthday on a Bicycle Built For Two

This past weekend was a friend's birthday. I had a surprise party for him (hehe, Im so sneaky, he didn't suspect a thing). Anyway, an event like this is always an excuse for me to get into the kitchen and make a bunch of things, yay! It was a "bring your own meat" party for those who wanted it, and I made the other food items: a veggie platter with deviled eggless dip - First I must say that this dip is sooo awesome and I can't believe I haven't made it until now, esp since Carmi always raves about it.

1/2 cup water (I used 1/3 cup)
Juice from one small lemon
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt (or to taste!!!)
1 ½ cups raw cashews
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Turmeric, as needed for color (approx. ½ teaspoon)

You can click on the link to check out the other instructions, but I took the easy route and blended everything until smooth, adjusting the taste as I went along.

I also made nori rolls, with Carmella's sunflower garlic spread, which is so simple, yet delicious.

In addition, there were crackers and two other dips (sorry, no pics) The lemony spinach dip (thanks to a friend on RFC for this recipe), comes from Freshtopia. I didn't make mine too lemony, but it sure tasted and looked great. The zucchini hummus is a fab recipe that comes from The Raw Table. I didn't have the avocado, so omitted it and added a bit more tahini and oil in it's place. I also only had about 1/2 of the dill that was called for, and subbed cashews for the pine nuts. It turned out fine anyway.
Last but not least, was the cake. This birthday cake consisted of three layers of vanilla cake, stacked with two layers of chocolate whipped cream, all covered in a strawberry frosting and garnished with fresh berries (recipe will be in the dessert book). I didn't even get a chance to snap a picture of the inside of the cake!

In less than a week it's time to celebrate another birthday around here - my mom's! I'll have plenty on the menu for that event too!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Italian Meal

Recently I've made a few simple Italian style recipes that I'd like to share...

Brushetta Boats
A quick appetizer that can be made in minutes.

Romaine lettuce
fresh basil, chopped
garlic, minced
sea salt
lemon juice

In a food processor, chop the tomatoes into small chunks. Add the remaining ingredients, to taste.

Spoon the tomatoes into the lettuce leaves.

Top with parmesan.

Lovely Lasagna
Ah, you could make heaps of different lasagnas to suit your preference. As long as you've got a few basic ingredients, you're set. Don't even bother measuring. Just taste as you go along, and add a bit more of this or that until you like the taste.

zucchini, peeled, thinly sliced into long strips

Tomato Sauce:
sundried tomatoes, soaked
fresh tomatoes
fresh basil or pesto
lemon juice
olive oil
sea salt
dried basil
dried garlic

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Veggies: Mushrooms, red and green peppers - chopped and marinated in a little nama shoyu for a few hours (if you have the time, otherwise, don't bother marinating).
Fold veggies into the tomato sauce.

Nut cheese with Spinach:
cashews, macadamias, and/or sunflower seeds
lemon juice
sea salt

Blend until completely smooth and creamy. Fold in chopped spinach.

Assembly: Arrange the zucchini strips to cover the bottom of your dish.
Spread a layer of the tomato/veggie sauce on top.
Arrange another layer of zucchini.
Spread the spinach/cheese on top.
Keep layering in this order. This time I finished with sauce on top, but sometimes I like to finish with a cheesey layer. Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil or parsley.
Dehydrate for a few hours, until warm through (I like that warm, gooey, cheesey texture with the soft "cooked" zucchini noodles).

Battered Zucchini
A great side dish, appetizer, or meal on it's own. I think these would be nice to serve at a party too, made with different veggies and served with a few different dipping sauces.

I made an "egg" dip out of some sunflower seed cheese I already had on hand. I thinned down the cheese quite a bit with water, and then added a little olive oil.
Crusty coating:
I used some sprouted, dehydrated, and ground buckwheat, mixed with ground yellow flax, sea salt, garlic, and minced parsley.
I dipped zucchini rounds into the "egg" mixture, then into the coating, before it went for a bake in the dehydrator for about 5 hours.
They turned out really great, with a "proper" coating and everything. I was rather surprised, as it was a bit of an experiment.
For a dipping sauce, I blended soaked sundried tomatoes, soak water, macadamia nuts, sea salt, lemon juice, young coconut pulp, bit of rosemary, and agave.
Mmmm, enjoy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Weekend Away

Last weekend, I travelled to Winnipeg for a little getaway with my Mom and Darwin. Since we live in a small town, we make it a point to pack as much into our trips as possible. I pulled together some snacks for the ride - cut up veggies with cheddar dip, oranges, grawnola bars, lots of water, green powder, and an "ultimate trail mix" - dates, macadamia nuts, pecans, raisins, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, hemp seeds, cacao nibs, and shredded coconut. Our 5 hour journey began with a 4pm departure on Friday, and a safe arrival just in time for a 9:30pm movie - Leatherheads - I wouldn't recommend it. Saturday we were up bright and early for a day of running around. We zoomed from one side of the city to the other and shopped till we dropped. My favourite part is always the health food store, where I get to stock up on my staples...Oh, and the grocery store for my young coconuts and boxes of medjool dates. It's been a while since I've had coconuts, with the exception of Nassau, where I got to eat them fresh, but I usually prefer playing with them in the kitchen (check out the smoothie recipe below). By evening, we made a brief stop at our friend's place to get ready for a night out. We had dinner reservations at a Japanese restaurant, before making our way over to my mom's friend's retirement party for a night of socializing and dancing. It was late to bed that night, but we had a lot of fun!

The next morning, we headed over to a waterfront market that has little shops, cafe's, etc. We walked along the river (which has flooded), and had some lunch before travelling back home. Spring has really sprung over here in the Prarie's - see? no snow! There are still a few feet of ice on the lake, and snow on the ground in our neck of the woods - patience is key here while awaiting spring - oh yeah, and lots of trips South :)

Now, I couldn't leave without giving a recipe, so here's a smoothie that I made for lunch today, with the young coconuts I bought in the city. Yay, I am so happy and grateful!!!!

Vanilla Nut Smoothie
1 cup young coconut water
1/2 cup packed young coconut pulp
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/2-3/4 cup ice
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lucuma powder
1/8 tsp mesquite powder
3-4 drops vanilla stevia (or agave to taste)
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Drink up with a big smile on your face!

I hope you had a great weekend too!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Some Of My Food Pics

Ok, so the other day Carmi put up a slideshow of her magnificent pics on her Sunny Raw Kitchen blog. Naturally, I thought it was a good idea and decided to add one too - however I kept having problems actually getting it on my page. Carmi walked me through it but I STILL couldn't manage. Then I figured I needed to make one using "slide" instead of the other user I had made my previous slideshow with. Weelll....it became a blog post when I did it, instead of a strip on the side of my blog. If anyone knows how I can do this properly, please let me know. Thank you! In the meantime...a few food memories of the past, lol.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Quickie Dinner Tonight

For ages I've been wanting to create a raw veggie pot pie. Im really not sure why though - I remember as a kid, my mom would buy and serve chicken pot pies for a quick dinner, but I never cared for them all that much. Recently I got to tackle this project. During a savory "D" day a few weeks ago, I made the pastry crust, which also doubled as buckwheat breadsticks that I served with a mushroom steak. While I don't have an exact recipe (there I go again - Note to self: measure everything and write it down!), I can tell you that is consists of : sprouted buckwheat, walnuts, ground yellow flax, apple, sea salt, olive oil, and water - all processed together, then rolled out and cut into rounds that would fit into the tops of my little serving bowls. Next, I dehydrated them on each side until firm. I kept these in the freezer until I was ready to assemble the dish. Really, that was the most time consuming part of the dish. If you have those ready, the rest is super easy and can be thrown together in a matter of minutes.
Veggie Pot Pie Filling:

For the cream sauce - It was basically an alfredo sauce: Cashews, lemon juice, water, garlic, sea salt, and touch of agave, all blended together until completely smooth and creamy.

I diced zucchini, red pepper, and mushrooms into small pieces. I think broccoli, spinach, and other peppers would be a nice addition.

Next, I mixed the veg into the cream sauce and spooned into my serving bowls. The buckwheat pastry went on top and was brushed with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sesame seeds. Then it was into the dehydrate for a few hours, until warm and the veggies were soft. I find this makes a big difference, for a lot of dishes. Warming in the dehydrator gives it that cooked feeling for sure.

And what dinner would be complete without dessert? I whipped up these quickie moist choccie brownies to satisfy my chocolate sweet tooth.
1 ½ cup almonds, ground
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dates, pitted, packed
1 medium apple, peeled, grated
¼ cup carob powder
¼ cup cacao powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a food processor, blend the ground almonds, walnuts and dates into small crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to bring all ingredients together. The batter will seem a bit wet, but will firm up as it chills.
Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8” cake pan. Chill.
What's on your dinner menu tonight?