Friday, October 30, 2009

The Journey Part 1 - NYC: One Lucky Duck

As I mentioned in my last post, we took a decadent trip to One Lucky Duck after lunch at Quintessence. I was like a kid in a candy store! There were so many mouth watering goodies, that I didn't know where to start - for only a second - then I headed straight for the chocolatey things. Naturally I had to try the infamous Mallomar that I've heard about so many times and even made them at home a while back during a cookie extravaganza. The linzer torte also looked really great, as did the chocolate ganache tarte, and I've been told that the fig newton bars are great... I'll just have to wait until the next trip. Luckily Philip had his amazing camera, hence the fabulous photography.

Mallomar extraordinaire! Cookie, vanilla cream, chocolate.

Moonpie - Thick vanilla cream, wrapped in thin layer of brownie, dipped in dark chocolate. This was my favorite one!

Chewy Almond Crunch Bar - Nuts, dried fruit, buckwheat, and choccie

Caramel Bar - cookie base, chocolate with chunks of walnuts, dark chocolate on top.
Almond Joy - coconut and chocolate with an almond

Chocolate Banana Cream Tart - chocolate crust, whipped cream, bananas.

Me and bag o' goodies! I ate it all in 2 days!

I am so grateful to have enjoyed food from all three places, with great friends. I look forward to being in the city again next month for more food adventures. Next on my list is: Caravan of Dreams, Rockin' Raw, Organic Avenue, and Raw Soul.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Journey Part 1 - NYC: Quintessence

Moving right along to the next stop - I visited Quintessence Restaurant twice while in the city. It's a comfy little place in a cute neighborhood, right across the street from a Russian bathhouse (which I'd like to check out in the future). Be prepared for another picture show!

This delicious chai latte was in order first since it was a bit of a chilly day. It hit the spot with it's hot, frothy goodness, and sprinkle of cinnamon! Mmm!

Philip and I went for lunch and shared 2 appetizers- 2 handroll combo: Chipotle "cheese" hand roll, and spicy fofu handroll. Too spicy for me, but I managed a few bites! I didn't get a pichy...

We enjoyed the Stuffed Fofu: Silken mock tofu stuffed with a succulent filling of napa cabbage, shitake, seaweed, and scallion, marinated in a savory ginger cilantro sauce. Topped with sliced, marinated shitake mushrooms. This was so yummy! Just like real tofu - I totally recommend!

We each had the Arugula Sprout Salad- Arugula, sunflower sprouts, cherry tomatoes, goji berries, in a sweet-spiced fig cardamom dressing, topped with candied walnuts. Excellent! I would def eat this again!

We enjoyed the beautiful sunny Autumn day!
A trip to One Lucky Duck was in order for dessert after lunch!!!!... But I shall wait until the next post because it'll be packed with divine pictures... :)

I had dinner at Quintessence a few days later with Deana, Mary, and her husband. Another feast was enjoyed by all!
The others ordered the Stuffed Fofu, and I enjoyed the Garden Dill Soup, as an appetizer. The soup was delicious and filling, although a little thicker than I normally like my soups.

Us gals each ordered pizza - the Santa Fe Pizza looked like the best to take a pic of. It's topped with bell pepper cheese, mexican spiced veggies, sour cream, and guacamole. I ordered the California Pizza but was so filled up on soup that I could only eat half of mine (I had to save a lil' room for dessert).
Matt had the Indian Platter. Peppers and cucumber in a cream coconut curry sauce, chick pea veggie balls in an almond curry sauce topped with mango chutney, and tamarind sauce.
For dessert Dee and I shared this Coconut Cream Pie with Strawberry Ice Cream. The pie was extremely creamy, thick and delicious... the ice cream was so-so. They didn't have too many flavors that day.

This wraps up another raw restaurant adventure in the city! A magnificent dessert tour is yet to come in my next post....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Journey Part 1 - NYC: Pure Food & Wine

What a magical experience it's been on this journey so far! I'm currently on the beach in Jacksonville, Florida... but I'll go back to the start. My trip began with an action packed week in New York City - Visits with friends, wonderful yoga classes at different studios, amazing food, sight seeing, shopping... it was all I could have hoped for, and more! I kicked started the trip with a dinner at Pure Food and Wine with Philip. I've been wanting to eat there foreeever, and I can happily say I've done it (twice)! Get ready for a photo fiesta! I made sure to have the camera ready and waiting to go

I started with the Master Cleanse Tini - lemon, maple syrup, cayenne, and sake. Really good, but a bit spicy for me, especially toward the end when the cayenne seemed to gather at the bottom.

We decided to get a bunch of food and share. For an appetizer we went with the Plate of Assorted Cultured Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheeses served with rosemary crisps, pear, mache, and basswood honey. Delicious! Each component is great, but combined, this is a real savory treat! I would totally order it again.

Then we enjoyed the house cured olives with fennel and orange (pictured in the back), and the Asian hand rolls with spicy cream. I enjoy olives in moderation since they're a bit salty for me, but the orange/fennel was a nice combo. The hand rolls were good (not on the menu)... marinated cabbage filling of some kind. They were pretty good but I wouldn't order again.

Mojito- Mint, lime juice, sake, cava - this was my favourite! So refreshing!

Squash blossoms stuffed with spring onion and herb cheese... over heirloom tomato and marinated fennel/capers, with strawberries in aged balsamic vinegar, for the main course. This was seriously delicious! The cheese is insaaane! We also had some kind of croquettes in spicy sauce - not on the menu - it was really tasty too!

Dessert! Always my favorite part of the meal. Chocolate and more chocolate here. Trio of dark chocolate coated indian spiced ice cream treats: Chocolate cardamom coconut ice cream cone, pistachio gelato ice cream sandwich, chai tea creamsicle. Frozen heaven! I highly recommend!

Mint Sundae- chocolate, fresh mint, mint chip ice cream, mint chocolate cookies, and vanilla cream. I absolutely love ice cream so it was a given I would order this. The little choco chunks throughout really make it!

A few days later I enjoyed a second trip to Pure Food with some friends. Unfortunately that night I discovered that my camera battery was almost finished, so I didn't even get a pic of the 5 of us, or all the food- but I was able to snap a few shots really quickly here and there. Here I am with my good friend Deana (who I hadn't seen in a few years. It was so good to see her again!), and new friend Mary, who I met via my blog. We all had a great evening!

While everyone else drank wine, I enjoyed the Purple Rain Cocktail - raspberries, blueberries, yuzu, sake. The 3 of us gals decided to do food sharsies. We chose 3 appetizers: a salad with some kind of sherry dressing, candied walnuts, cheese, and dried berries (which I didn't get a shot of). It was fabulous, and I could have eaten a whole one myself - sharing 3 ways just left a few bites! Then we had:
Cream Cheese on Rosemary Crostini with marinated mushrooms, and fennel. This was really fabulous! Crunchy, creamy, and full of flavor.
King Oyster Mushroom Scallops with chive creme fraiche, wilted watercress, and garlic tomato broth. I was amazed at how similar this actually is to real scallops despite the fact they're made with mushrooms (I used to enjoy them back in the day). Actually, these are a bit firmer than a properly cooked (tender) scallop, but oh so yummy! The tomato broth is really flavorful, and the creme works really well in the dish.

For the main course, we enjoyed the Trio of Mini Pizzettes with various toppings... I don't remember exactly what was on each... but there were cherry tomatoes, cheese, marinated mushrooms, pesto, mache, probably other things... They were all delicious, although a tad salty. We also had the Enchiladas which I wasn't too impressed with. Definitely not like a typical one with a wrap and fillings... but the flavors were nice.

For dessert we enjoyed the Ice Cream Trio and Mint Sundae (I got to enjoy them twice!) and this Chocolate Mousse in Dark Chocolate with blueberry ice cream, vanilla cream, and berry puree. It was great - the other two are still my faves though.

No, we're not enjoying these desserts at all!!
More mint sundae! View from the top.

That wraps up my first two Pure Food and Wine experiences! I shall be back in NYC for another week and will be sure to try everything else on the menu :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving fellow Canadians! Hopefully you (and everyone else too, of course!) had a fabulous weekend, full of great food, fun with family/friends, and pleasant weather. My weekend brought rain, snow, and sleet, if you can imagine, but I kept toasty warm inside with a fire, good company... and many layers of clothing!

The holiday brought the perfect opportunity to make some extra special treats. On Saturday night I made these Apple Cranberry Lemon Martinis for friends who came home from Vancouver for the long weekend. It was awesome to see them! Having soooo many fresh apples, I'm finding countless ways to use them. I rimmed the glasses with a mixture of raw sugar and pomegranate powder (dip the rim in water first). I think it adds a nice little touch!

For the drink: Freshly juiced apples and cranberries shaken with greygoose vodka, ice, and a few drops of pure lemon essential oil... garnished with a few floating goji berries.

Utilizing another delicious ingredient, I made Maple Maca Ice Cream. While not raw, it is a natural sweetener, rich in minerals, and abundant in Canada (what the hell kind of Canuck would I be if I didn't eat it?!)

Maple Maca Ice Cream
2 cups cashews
2 cups water
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon maca powder
Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Chill for a few hours.
Process through an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.
Alternatively, freeze in ice cube trays.

Enjoy with friends!!! We sure did!

Never mind turkey or ham dinner for thanksgiving! While my family eats it, I've been the "odd" one since I was 14, eating salad, yams, and dessert for the occasion. Here's what was on my plate: Spirulina Salad: greens, sprouts, spirulina, tomato, red pepper, cucumber, avocado, lemon juice, kelp, olive oil (Boo, no one ever wants to eat this with me!)... and Cheesy Squash: baked spaghetti squash topped with tahini cheese sauce, salsa, and thick tomato slices.

Tahini Veggie Cheese Sauce:
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup tahini
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs olive oil
1 small clove garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp agave
Pinch black pepper

Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Eat over squash, salad, or as a dip.

As for dessert, I made a Spiced Autumn Brownie (pictured at the top). The recipe will soon be available (just in time for American Thanksgiving actually) in a new online magazine called Eighty Percent Raw, created by my dear friend Tracy Johnson. I'm excited to be one of 5 featured chefs for the mag! It will offer all kinds of helpful information, recipes, and support for people who are transitioning, already raw, or for those who want to keep a high raw yet flexible diet (hence the 80%).

On another quick note, I'm getting suuuuper pumped for my upcoming trip south! I've been salivating over Pure Food's menu in preparation for all the meals I'll soon being enjoying there... am excited to see friends I haven't seen in a long time... and am dreaming of my time of the beach in Florida - especially with the frigid weather here! Ah :) Happy times!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Soups Of The Day

I've never been a big soup person, but Carmi managed to show me the light a while back with her delicious raw soups.
Since then I tend to gravitate to toward a bowl of blended goodness during the cold weather, often in place of my morning juice. Speaking of the cold.... its freeeezing lately. It's supposed to snow, yes SNOW on Saturday!!!
At the very least, I get to enjoy this scenery... but I sure am excited about heading south in ONE WEEK! Countdown is on!

Herbed Harvest Soup

1 cup carrot/celery juice
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1/4 large avocado
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 small clove garlic
1/4-1/2 tsp each rosemary
and thyme (crushed)
Himalayan salt, to taste
Pinch of cayenne

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Add more water to achieve preferred consistency. I like to blend the veggies with warm water to keep the chills away.

Here's a slightly spicy soup that was part of a yummy Thai meal I made a few years ago. It's a nice combination of sweet and spice!

Carrot Ginger Soup
3-4 cups carrot juice
1 small avocado
1/3 cup young coconut pulp
2 Tbs agave
1/4 - 1/2 red chili, or to taste
1" piece ginger
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth, starting with 3 cups carrot juice and adding more for proper consistency. Adjust seasonings to suit your preference.

Turning in a green direction, here's a great soup from Frederic Patenaude's recipe of the week. Photo thanks to Carmi.

Blended Salad
2 cups blended tomato
1 cup peeled diced cucumber
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups lettuce
1 cup spinach
2 green onions
1/4 cup parsley
3 stalks celery
1 avocado
1 tsp agave
2 Tbs dulse flakes
1 sheet nori, shredded

Blend all but the seaweed and paprika, until smooth. Season with last 3 ingredients.

Carmi and I created this delicious soup during our first kitchen extravaganza. It's hearty, creamy, flavorful. Comfort food during the cool months!

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.

Now go make some soup! :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Loving Raw and Hearty Fall Fare

I'm excited to report that my friend Philip, of Loving Raw (I'm sure you already know him) has just relaunched his website to bring forth The Raw Rockstar Community!!! This site is packed with information, inspiration, and recipes from a dynamic group of rawkstars who each have something unique to share. Im absolutely thrilled to be a part of the blog team (which includes Shazzie, Daniel Vitalis, and Elaina Love) as the official Dessert Diva! Woo hoo! As you well know, its my favorite topic! I'll have a Fall treat for you to check out on the site soon!

On that note, I've got some savory yummies to share with you today. In Autumn mode, I've been munching on these hearty meals lately.

We have loads of tomatoes from a friend's garden, so I decided to make a big batch of chili.
This is a chunky blend (can be done in the vita mix or food processor) of fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, red pepper, cilantro, zucchini, celery, lemon juice, garlic, Himalayan salt, chili powder, and cumin.
I then added in chunks of dehydrated carrot, red pepper, and zucchini. Topped it with some shredded cabbage, sprouts, and avocado. I enjoyed it with a side of cooked spaghetti squash.
Good on these cold and rainy days!

My juices these mornings have been nice hearty blends too! We have lots of carrots in the garden so I've been taking full advantage.

Carrot (tops too)

More bounty from my garden - we had a great crop of zucchini this year and I picked up lots of other veggies from a recent farmers market. These goodies inspired this noodle veg medley I threw together. So simple and Oh so good! A mixture of veggies: baby bok choy (love it!), patty pain (a cute little summer squash that tastes like zucchini) , mushrooms, red pepper, and red cabbage.
I tossed them with a marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, Himalayan salt, pure maple syrup, ginger, and garlic... and popped em into the dehydrator for a few hours.

Warm, flavorful veggies on a bed of zucchini noodles, sprinkled with black sesame seeds. Satisfyingly Delish!

A few snapshots of Autumn....I love how yellow the leaves have turned on this tree! How I love my lake!
The beeeaaccchhh!!! Sadly, the water will be covered in ice soon :(
Lovin the big old "grandfather" trees
Soon we'll be snowshoeing and skiing on this lake!!! Can you believe it?!