Saturday, May 23, 2009

From Sea to Plate

Normally my non-sweet meals consist of salads and soups, but I do enjoy more complex savoury meals occasionally. Some are quick and easy to assemble while others require more preparation time, the use of more equipment, and/or dehydration.
Here are a few of what I call "extemely simple" savoury recipes I've enjoyed in the past while. Perfect for a busy person, these meals can be thrown together at the last minute, and can easily be doubled to serve a few people, or multiplied for guests.

These recipes feature a wonderful sea vegetable! Introducing...Kelp Noodles! I'm sure most of you have heard of them before, as they're becoming increasingly popular in the raw community, but if not, I'll give a quick run down. Kelp noodles are simply raw kelp and water, in the form of a soft noodle. An ideal alternative to pasta, these noodles are low in carbs and calories, and contain NO fat or gluten! In addition, a neutral flavour makes the kelp noodles really versatile - they work well in soup, salad, un-stir fry, and as pasta with any sauce or topping.

(A close up of the marinated noodles from the stir live)

Don't they sound good? As I write this, I'm thinking about having them for dinner, and how I'll prepare them...Hmmm....but back to the post...
So when you remove the noodles from the bag, you'll notice a funny smell - no worries, just rinse them really well under water. Actually, I add a little lemon juice to the water and let em sit a few minutes. Now, voila! Smell is gone!

Simple Stir Live

A mixture of veggies and noodles in a yummy Asian marinade.

While your kelp noodles are soaking few a few minutes in water, chop veggies of your choice and mix together in a bowl. I used: bok choy, red bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and avocado. Mushrooms would be nice in this dish too!

For the sauce, I used a mixture of tamari, extra virgin sesame oil, lemon juice, minced ginger and garlic. Mix the veggies, sauce and noodles - done! The longer the dish sits, the flavours mingle for an even better taste.

Italian Sea Pasta

The sea meets Italy in this dish which combines pesto with veggies and kelp noodles.

I always keep a batch of basil walnut pesto on hand for "quickies" - usually for stuffed mushrooms, pizza, or lasagna...but this time I decided to try it with the kelp. I mixed the noodles with the pesto, diced tomatoes, chopped spinach, and red bell pepper, then sprinkled it all with hemp seeds.

Cheesey Nacho Noodles

Everything that nachos have to offer in the form of a pasta dish!

The other day I decided to add some salsa (tomato, red/green pepper, cilantro, lemon juice, Himalayan salt) to leftover spicy nacho dip (you might remember the recipe from a few posts ago), and mix the sauce with kelp noodles. I topped it all with more salsa, chopped avocado, and fresh cilantro. Wow, was it ever good!

I usually add nori to my veggie soups but sometimes I like to throw a handful of kelp noodles... and although I haven't done it yet, I'm sure you could make a fabulous unchiken noodle soup!

How do YOU enjoy kelp noodles? I'd love some new ideas!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fun In Vancouver Land

You know I love to travel!!! I just got back from the most fabulous trip to Vancouver, British Columbia. I went to visit friends and family, but most importantly, discover any potential for moving there this Fall...

Vancouver is a beautiful West Coast city, surrounded by mountains, boasting Canada's most temperate climate. It was much warmer than home, so I took in my fair share of walks on the beach, and as an added bonus it was sunny for my whole trip! I stayed with my close friend, Netty, who showed me all around town and brought me to some great restaurants - we had such a ball together! I also took Bikram yoga classes every morning - a perfect way to start each day before heading down Robson for an afternoon of shopping, or meeting up with hometown friends for lunch. Oh, and I consumed plenty of champagne mangoes - which I love but can't buy where I currently live. Yum yum!

One afternoon, lunch with a long time friend (since we were 7!!!) turned into making plans for me to make raw dinner for her and her husband that evening. AH! How exciting - I find it hard to stay out of the kitchen while I'm on vacation - I tell ya, I always find a way in! :) After a trip to Whole Foods (one of the few in Canada) I had fun showing them how to make almond ginger nori rolls, which we had with salad, and for dessert, Strawberry Chocolate Parfaits: Puddings layered with fresh strawberries - simple, yet delish and I think something like this is good for anyone who is new to raw recipes.
Strawberry Pudding
lemon juice

Cacao Pudding
cacao powder

Coconut Whipped Cream

young coconut flesh
part of the coconut water
lemon juice

Served in wine glasses, of course! It was a fabulous time!

It was nice to visit and catch up with relatives who I don't see very often. My Aunt and I enjoyed an afternoon stroll in Stanley Park before enjoying a sunset dinner, and on another day I travelled via the train, to my Aunt/Uncle/cousins' house just outside the city.

To boot, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom! Was I fortunate or what? I think they're absolutely beautiful!

Netty brought me to a restaurant I've been wanting to check out for a while - Radha Eatery, opened by the Yasodhara Ashram near Nelson, features a vegan restaurant with a seasonal menu, yoga studio, and food classes. I have been going to the Ashram with my mom since I was a little girl, and was there while plans for this restaurant were being made, about seven years ago. We skipped the main course and split this raw chocolate mousse pie.

Ah, such great times...too bad it had to come to an end....BUT, I will be returning to the coast in the September to live and work! Yipee, I am so excited!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Loved Ones

It was recently that special time of year for both my hunny (April 18), and my mom (April 27). Another year older, another year wiser!
Last year I had a little surprise party for Darwin, full of delicious raw food, of course. Things were a bit more quiet this year, but we still had a great dinner and an out of town visitor - the perfect opportunity to try some new recipes.

When this recipe from Kristen Suzanne's newsletter arrived in my inbox last month, it immediately caught me eye so I jotted it down on my mental "to do" list. Since it's a lot like the cheddar dip that my sweetie and I like so much, but with a spicy Mexican twist, I figured this would be the perfect choice.
I'm SO glad I made this - one of my new faves for sure! It's definitely got a kick from the cayenne - perfect with cooling veggies. The only change I made was to use cashews instead of hemp seeds, but I'd like to try with the seeds next time.

By Kristen Suzanne of

Yield approximately 1 1/2 cups

1/3 cup water
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 red bell pepper, seeded, rough chopped (approximately 1 cup)
2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon chili powder*
2 teaspoons tamari, wheat-free
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. This can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

The next recipe I've made once before, without the tarragon, but I didn't like it. Wanting to serve a second dip, I decided to give it another shot, with the tarragon and extra herbs. I added extra basil, doubled the dill, a bit more lemon juice, some onion powder, and only used 1 tsp coconut oil which I think was too much and would omit it completely if I make it again. Since I wasn't sure about the quantity of one zucchini, I used about 1 cup chopped. As Kristen suggests, I thinned it into a salad dressing the next day by adding water and a bit more lemon juice.

I served the dips with crackers: black sesame sunflower crax, Everyday Raw's herbed crackers, and onion veggie bread.

Herbin' Ranch Dip

By Kristen Suzanne, Published in her June 2008 Newsletter

Yield 1 1/2 cups

This is the one of the most nutritious, delicious ways to have ranch dip, but without guilt. I love serving this dip at summer picnics with vegetable crudite or as a dressing on your favorite greens.

1/2 cup raw cashews, unsoaked
1/2 cup raw pine nuts, unsoaked
1 zucchini, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, not packed
1/4 cup fresh dill, not packed

Blend all of the ingredients, except the fresh basil and dill, until creamy and smooth. Pulse in the basil and dill. This will stay fresh for 4-5 days when stored in an airtight container (mason jar works great) in the refrigerator. This dip also freezes well.* To make this as a dressing, simply add more water until you reach the desired consistency.

Darwin doesn't have a sweet tooth, but he really loves any tangy sorbets I make, so in his Birthday honor, I made Blueberry Lime N Grape Sorbet which turned out to be a big hit!

1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup fresh concorde grape juice
1/4 cup + 1 tbs lime juice
1 tsp lightly packed lime zest
1/4 cup agave
1/2 cup water

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Chill in the fridge and then process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.

We celebrated my mom's birthday a little early, since I was out of town for the actual day. The dinner menu, requested by my mom, was - dehydrated pesto stuffed mushrooms, salad, and cooked spanikopita. The highlight for me, of course, was the cake! When I had originally asked what she wanted, she wasn't sure - last year I did the chocolate mint cake/squares from my book so that flavour was out...and since she she doesn't like coconut, or banana, those flavours were ruled out too. Later, she asked about a cake with pecans (her fave nut), and chocolate (her fave food!), The two combined inspired me to make a Chocolate Turtle Cake! Probably one of my best ideas yet, it turned out fabulously! A thick layer of caramel mixed with pecans, sandwiched between two layers of chocolate cake, all covered in rich chocolate ganache, and topped with candied/regular pecans, then drizzled with more chocolate. This is truely the definition of decadent!!!!! We enjoyed it with vanilla bean ice cream, Mmmm!
As you can see in the pic, the flowers are FINALLY starting to poke through, meaning Spring is here! Oh so grateful!!! :D