Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jicama

Recently I got my hands on a grrreeeaat jicama (crunchy, watery, root veggie)- now this is a rare thing since I can only get them in the city (4 hours away), and even then, there's no guarentee it will be a good one. But this time it was pretty close to the "perfect" one. Yay! Now, there are heaps of things you can do with this versatile veggie - including Joz's lemon poppyseed cake that I've been wanting to make for quite a while, but this time I decided to use it a few other ways: in veggie kabobs, as cheesey ravioli wrappers, and in chocolate covered nutty balls.

I quite enjoy the challenge of throwing dishes together with only a minimum of ingredients that I have on hand. So on my kabob day I used : red and orange bell peppers, jicama, and avocado - marinated in a delicious Cilantro Vinaigrette from Alissa Cohen's Living on Live Food. Oh boy - this was my first time making it, and I'm glad I did! Packed with cilantro, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and honey...its super tangy and herby, with a touch of sweetness.

I cubed the jicama and tossed it with a little olive oil and sea salt, before running it rhought a coating of black and white sesame seeds. Ooh, what a nice crunch the seeds add.


For the large, flat raviolis (and some rolled up cigar style): I thinly sliced more jicama on my mandoline and then spread cheddar cheese dip mixed with shredded chard and spinach, between two sheets. I served this with leftover cilantro dressing from the kabobs.


For a quick "throw together", I made dessert with the last of the jicama. These have almost everything under the sun in them, blended together until smooth in a food processor. Lets see if I can remember most, if not all the ingredients: pecans, jicama, walnuts, dates, raw oat flour, agave, macadamia nuts, vanilla, lucuma, sea salt, maca, mesquite...hmm, yup I think thats about it! I let the mixture sit in the fridge to firm up and then rolled into balls before double dipping them into Carmella's chocolate. As you can see in the pic, some are still drying but it only takes a few mins, a trip to the fridge speeds up this process.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Bit of This and That


I've been slow to post lately, but it doesn't mean that I haven't been in the kitchen! Here are just a few of the things I've made lately.

First up is the most important course - ice cream! I remember the day I first saw this recipe by Living Light chef, Cherie Soria: maple walnut ice cream. Ooooh, it looked great, but I didn't think about it much beyond that. Soon after, Carmella made it and raved - so I just had to give it a try. You really don't need the maple extract here - I didn't use it and the ice cream was still fabulous with a prominent maple flavour due to all the syrup. This recipe really is fab and super easy! I recommend.



* 2 cups walnuts, soaked 8 to 12 hours
* 1 cup cashews* 2 1/4 cups water
* 1 cup pure maple syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon maple extract
* pinch solar-dried sea salt
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, soaked for 8 to 12 hours, then dehydrated (optional)

1. Drain and rinse the walnuts.
2. Put the soaked walnuts, cashews, and all remaining ingredients, except the chopped walnuts, into a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy. The mixture should resemble the consistency of a thick milkshake.
3. Pour the walnut cream into ice cube trays and freeze until hard.
4. Put cubes through a Green Life or Champion Juicer outfitted with the homogenizing plate.
5. Stir in the chopped walnuts and return to the freezer for a couple of hours. Serve immediately or store in the freezer until ready to use. Keeps in the freezer, in a sealed container, for 1 to 2 months. (Heathy's note: AS IF it's going to last that long!)

When I got a bunch of young coconuts lately, I decided to make my peppermint ice cream, (from the ice cream post - my favourite post so far, I think) sans the chocolate chunks. Instead I served it with warm cacao sauce! Mmmm, nice version.


On the savory side, here's a winning bruschetta! I had been wanting to make Cafe Gratitude's recipe ever since making the almond toasts a while back, but I used them for croutons. During my last D day I made the toasts again - a mixture of almonds, carrot pulp, garlic, sea salt, flax, and olive oil. If you want a crunch, you'll get it with these - just make sure to dehydrate them long enough.


I zapped some tomatoes into small chunks in my food processor and then added olive oil, fresh basil, lemon juice, a bit of minced garlic, and sea salt. Easy peasy.

...aaaand switching back to the sweet side of things again - Chocolate is IN folks! But not just any chocolate - I'm talking about the kind that's good for you...pure cacao with only the best and most natural ingredients added to make it a tasty treat. This recipe comes from my friend Carmella in her latest post "For The Love of Chocolate" . Naturally, I had to give these goodies a try - except that I didn't have some of the ingredients (young coconut, hazelnuts) on hand, so I had to settle for making only one item the other day: Carmi's Fruit and Nut Chocolates. Mmmm, these are delish! I made one huge chocolate bar and then sliced into smaller bars/sticks.

1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup cacao powder
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs agave
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend until smooth in high speed blender or food processor.

Transfer to a bowl, then add by hand:

A few drops pure almond extract
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Spread mixture on plate or pan lined with parchment paper and set in the fridge or freezer. You can score the chocolate with a cookie or pizza cutter after a few minutes or break into pieces once fully set.

Alternatively, you can pour it in chocolate molds or little muffin pans, being careful to oil these first for easy removal.

Go on! Forget the store bought chocolates and give this a try! Till next time...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Weekend of Food and Fun

This past weekend was such a great time! It started on Friday, with time spent in the kitchen (my favourite place, of course), for a savory "D" day. Yippeee!!! The following day its always so much fun to see how things turned out after all the hard work and time spent dehydrating. Here's what I pumped outta the D...
I recently came across a recipe for "Cheeze-Itz" crackers on RFC, and while I've never eaten one before, I love all the cheezey dips, so figured this would be a fabulous recipe. I was right, these crackers are excellent! Next time I will make them a bit thicker though, as mine are thinner than I'd like, and a bit fragile.

Cheeze-Itz (From Gone-raw)
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup brazil nuts
1 cup almonds
1 big tomato
1 cup red pepper, diced
1/4 cup ground flax
cumin, to taste
2 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Soak and dehydrate nuts/seeds. Process all ingredients and spread on teflex or parchment paper as thin as you like, after a few hours score with a pizza cutter and leave until dry on top then flip and leave until crispy.

Heathy's Notes:
I used soaked sunflower seeds and almonds - I never bothered to dehydrate.
I used brazil nuts, without soaking them
I added 1/4 cup soaked, sundried tomatoes
I used ground yellow flax (the recipe never specified which kind)
I added 1 small clove of garlic, minced
I added onion powder, to taste

Some of my favourite crackers are the Just Like Ritz Crackers - very similar to a recipe in Pure Food and Wine, and the Zucchini Crackers in Carol Alt's, The Raw 50, which I've also made and enjoy. These are sooo easy to throw together and turn into crunchy crackers.

Just Like Ritz Zucchini Crackers
2 1/2 cups walnuts
2 1/2 cups cubed zucchini, peeled
1/2 cup ground golden flax
1/4 cup hemp seed (sometimes I use part sesame and part hemp)
2 tsp sea salt

In a food processor, grind walnuts into small bits. Transfer to bowl.
Grind zucchini down to small bits - do NOT process into a puree, keep texture. Add to walnuts.
Stir in the remaining ingredients, adding a bit of water, if needed for spreading.
Evenly spread on a teflex, score and dehydrate until crisp, flipping after a few hours.

I finally got around to making Ani Phyo's Black Sesame Sunflower Bread - although mine was made with white sesame seeds, since I couldn't get the black ones. I still remember the first time I had this - Carmi gave me a "to go" lunch of the bread, tuna salad and lots of veggies, while I was travelling home from her house last Fall. Perfect travelling food - it all held up really well. I left mine in the "D" longer to achieve thick, hard crackers, rather than a soft bread. Yummm!

The second bread I tackled was a slight variation of Rawvolution's Onion Bread that I usually make. I noticed on RFC that someone had created an "Even Better Onion Bread". I liked the idea of adding the carrot and zucchini to flesh it out a bit, since I personally find the recipe too oniony and always cut down on the amount anyway. (I can't stand raw onions, even if they're dehydrated). Using Rawvolution's recipe as a base, I cut down to 1 large onion (regular, didn't even bother with a sweet onion), and added 2 medium carrots, (processed down to really small pieces), in addition to some water and extra sunflower seeds. I didn't have zucchini to add, like the new recipe calls for, but I will definately try that next time.
The third bread recipe I made was Russell James' famous Sundried Tomato Herb Bread. I've enjoyed this recipe ever since he brought it into creation....hmmm, musta been almost 2 years ago. Anyway, it's always tried and true in my books. The only alteration I always make is less herbs than called for. I made it once with the full amount and it was just too herby for me, since I prefer a more neutral tasting bread that I can use as a base to create fun tasting sandwiches.

In addition to that I made Almond Toasts from Cafe Gratitude - Crumbled up, these make the absolute best croutons (raw or cooked) I've ever had! No pics yet, as they are waiting in the freezer, until I decide to make bruschetta or something. But more on that to come...


Whew, after a long day in the kitchen, Nori Rolls were on the dinner menu. I've been using the tuna salad a lot lately whenever I make rolls, and its wonderfully amazing, but I was in the mood for something a bit different this time. Welcome, falafel pate! This was really yummers. In a food processor, I blended: soaked sunflower seeds, soaked pumpkin seeds, and soaked almonds, along with tahini, olive oil, sea salt, cumin, coriander, cilantro, garlic, and lemon juice. Rolled up with julienned carrots, peppers, cucumber, & avocado - ready to eat! A little nama shoyu on the side for dipping is always optional, but I find I don't often need it, since the pates have lots of flavour.


After a morning of shopping on Saturday, I prepared for the arrival of my childhood friend, Marcy who came for a visit from out of town. We alternate from my town to hers for visits, and this time I invited her up to attend a wedding social along with Darwin and some other friends. I have to admit that I love margaritas so we enjoyed a drink before heading out.

I went out with crimped hair that night - such an 80's thing, I know, but I've had fun frizzing my hair over the years. Would you believe, I've had the same crimper since I was 5 years old?! Still going strong!
We had heaps of fun that night!!!!

On Sunday it was "dip mode", to have spreads for all the wonderful breads and crackers. It was time to get back into the kitchen again, to whip up more tasty delights. I made another batch of the deviled eggless dip using half macadamia nuts and half soaked almonds. The colour isn't bright yellow but the flavour is still the delicious. Then I made the best raw hummus I've had so far. It's the one that Carmella makes, from living-foods.com, and now that I've tried it, I'm not sure I need to search out any other hummus recipes - oh, besides trying Cafe Gratitude's recipe, which is on my "to do" list. Another batch of tomato salsa was on the list too, with lots of cilantro!

Zucchini Hummus
2 cups peeled zucchini, chopped
4 Tbs. olive oil
1 and 1/2 lemon, juice of
3/4 cup ground sesame seeds
3/4 tsp. sea salt
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. paprika
1 t ground cumin
Cayenne to taste
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Heathy's notes: I omitted the paprika, cumin, and cayenne, since I prefer a more plain tasting hummus. I also just use 1 clove garlic and that was plenty for me.

I've enjoyed the spinach dip so much, that I made it for the third time. The dip is sooo great on thick slices of tomato... Mmmm....with cucumber too, oh, and on raw crackers...and by the spoonful!!! Well, you catch my drift, it's a winner all the way around.
What a fabulous weekend - fun memories and lots of food to enjoy in the coming weeks.