Monday, March 28, 2011

PS---Quick Update on the Cabbage Rolls and Mounds of Coconut

Well... both menu items from Sunday disappeared so fast, I had to make a second batch of each.  Half the second (double) batch of Cabbage Rolls is also gone.  The Mounds of Coconut will be set up by tomorrow and then, their time will have come.  Such yumminess cannot last.  I wish all my recipes turned out this tasty.  These were both home runs!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Honoring my husband's family heritage-Cabbage Rolls

A Polish tradition at Easter, and Christmas too!  Cabbage rolls were so wonderful, warm and well, greasy, but delish!  So today thinking of that great warm family, full of tradition, I have made an incredibly yummo raw version.  All I can say is WOW.  Better than I thought they could be!  Serve some raw kraut on the side, sprinkled with caraway.  These are for you Grandpa!

1 C grated carrots
1/3 C grated daikon
1/4 C grated celery
1/4 C ground soaked walnuts
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/4 t onion pwder
sea salt
black pepper
2 t lemon juice
2 t olive oil
1/2 dried marjoram

Mix together, taste for seasoning.

4 cabbage leaves, wilted in lemon juice and salt brine

Tomato Sauce

1/2 C sundried tomatoes
3 small dates
2 t lemon j
1/2 t onion powder
1 t marjoram
1 1/2 t Hungarian paprika
soaking water from dates and tomatoes

-blend sauce ingredients to desired consistency,
stir in 1/4 c soaked sultanas along with salt & black pepper, to taste.

Roll filling in cabbage leaves, top with tomato sauce and dehydrate ~ 2hrs to warm.

If your in the mood, go ahead and gild the lily:

Pine Nut Sour Cream

3/4 c pine nuts, soaked
2 T water
1 T lemon j
2 t cider vinegar
1 t white miso
salt to taste

Blend in a high speed blender till creamy.

For dessert: Mounds of Coconut
3 T coconut butter
3 T coconut oil
Soften in a warm double boiler
3 T honey
1 t yacon syrup
1 T chopped carob chips
1 T chopped cacao nibs
1/4 t almond extract
pinch salt
Mix into this syrupy mixture:
1 C grated dried coconut
1 C grated fresh coconut

form into mounds, and roll in finely minced cacao nibs (pulse in food processor)

Sweetener of choice can be substituted for honey-coconut crystals, sucant, agave-whatever you enjoy!  Dry sweeteners will require a few spoons full of water for the right sticky quality.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mediterranean Savory Cheezcake Tarts

Exquisite photos and Slovenian text I could not read inspired me to create my own version of Barbarella's "Quiche" <>- As it turns out, I need a better camera.  But the rich little tarts taste so much better than I photograph!
Since it was rainy here yesterday, I took my time and broke this into three steps.  Four really, if you count getting up for a midnight snack and taste testing the crust/tomato combo--I knew then it would be good!

1.) Tomato Topping
1 C Cherry Tomatoes, halved
2 T finely minced Shallot
2 t. Cider Vinegar
1 t. Balsamic Vinegar
2 t. Blood Orange Olive Oil
salt, pepper to taste
Dehydrate 3 hours @ 105
Stir in 1 T minced Sun-dried Olives
Greek Oregano to taste

2.) Base (via Russell James):
3/4 C Raw Cashews
2 T Raw Macadamias
1/8 t. Garlic Powder
1T Flax Meal
1 t. Olive Oil
1.5 t. Nutritional Yeast
1.5 T Water
1-2 t. Lemon Juice
Grind fine, with some texture remaining.  Pat into tart tins with removable bottoms and dehydrate, when firm to handle, remove outer tin and continue dehydrating overnite.

3.) Savory Cheez Filling (modified from Russell James)
1 C Zucchini
1 T Water
1/2 C Cashews
2 T White Miso
1/4 Shallot
1 t. Lemon Juice
1 T. Nutritional Yeast
1 t. Psyllium
Blend till creamy, and stir in by hand:
1/4 C finely chopped Cherry Tomatoes
1 T minced Celery

Assemble by filling the tart shells with the savory filling and top with the marinated Tomato mixture.
Dehydrate until warm.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fig Newtons in the Raw

Since among my favorite winter flavors are fig, lemon, and buttery walnuts, I made myself some raw
'fig newtons'.  They turned out quite yummy too!
For the crust:
1/2 c walnuts, soaked
2 T raw cashew butter
pinch of salt
3-4 dates
Process into a dough.

For the filling:
1 cup figs, chopped and soaked
1/4 c raisins, soaked
rind of 1 lemon, grated
soaking water to make a thick filling
The processor works fine for this step too.

Roll into a square for bars, or a circle for triangles.
Spread the filling on half the dough.
Fold over and score where the cookies should be separated later.

Dehydrate until they can be handled. Cut into individual cookies, then turn over.
When they reach your desired stage of dehydration...


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dried Pineapple & Plum Blossoms

When I took my pineapple out of the dehydrator yesterday, I was delighted with it's floral sweet aroma, which had permeated my entire kitchen, and the floral form and color.  Not to mention, it tastes like pineapple candy, only better!  Wow, all the pineapple I have purchased already dried must have been ages old!  This is golden, and delicate, and oh so scrumptious.  It immediately reminded me of the sweet scent coming from my Japanese plum tree near my deck.  Here they are together.  My intent was to make a pineapple dessert.  Now though, I can't imagine embellishing it with anything.  It is almost too gorgeous to eat............but not quite!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Incredible Lightness of Being---Raw

The best way to start the day. Juice, glorious juice!  Love its color, flavor and the way it makes me feel.  Joyful, energized, juiced!  The best part is, that energy is sustained, all day.  Today, I ate lightly.  Oranges, a few sun dried olives, a bowl of pink grapefruit and avocado.  Some tea, raw almonds, a handful of the sultanas that arrived from my online order.  Now, I know sleep will be restful and restorative.  A lovely day!
Title paraphrased from Kundera: 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being"

Monday, March 7, 2011

Is 'raw' more complicated?

This is the first thing most of my friends want to know.  It may be a comment like: "My husband would never go for that-or isn't it expensive?-or how do you find the time?- and my own query, don't you need hot food in winter?"  All potential life-complicators, for sure.

Raw food prep is really easier than cooking.  Axiomatic as that seems, it is not the way we have trained ourselves to view food.  A relatively small amount of planning and prep time can yield huge rewards.  I am a caregiver to my aging mom, whose dietary requirements are different than mine.  Typically, I prepare her food (cooked) as healthfully as possible and then prepare my own.  I find soups and mono or very simple salads to be the mainstays of my diet. On weekends, I prepare dishes that will help me through the busy workweek.  A chard or kale salad, marinated veggies, a salad dressing, some nut cheese, maybe a batch of crackers, bread or pizza crust, a few dehydrated sweets.  None of these takes more than a very few minutes of prep time, most will keep 3-4 days in the fridge.

Is it expensive?  I find I need, and in fact desire, smaller servings and less food overall.  I can only conclude that this is because what I eat nourishes me, and is more readily available for my body's needs because it comes in an enzyme rich 'complete package'.  The price of organic high quality produce is a bit higher than some other foods.  My food expenditure has not substantially changed, though what I buy has, for sure.

And the 'hubby', (or housemate, or children) who "would not eat this"-there are a couple possibilities that come to mind.  Most people are interested in trying food that 'looks delicious'.  So not only for your own enjoyment, but as a 'lure' so to speak, present your raw food as beautifully as possible.  My grandson ate two small servings of the white chocolate strawberry cheesecake at lunch on Sunday.  His skeptical dad who is a regular at Sunday 'brunch', confessed I am slowly winning him over.  He now wants to taste everything I offer.  He took left overs for lunch at work today!

Any increase in the quantity of raw in our diet is beneficial, raising our living vibrational energy and surprisingly, the more we eat raw, the more that is what we hunger for.  Such a good thing!  Simply offering something attractively presented can help open minds, and tummies.  O, and my mom, who cannot have most grains or any traditional sweets, thinks my raw desserts are gifts from the gods!  I believe she lives for the weekend knowing there is a beautiful dessert coming!

Winter, winter is cold.  So it seems hot food must be the antidote, right? I was among the most skeptical on this subject.  Now, I find that spicy foods that include warming ginger, cayenne, coriander,and other seasonings, soups made warm and sometimes spiced, and hot ginger lemonade are the cravings of winter.  Presently, I am drinking hot lemonade several times a day. If you are more into sweet beverages, there is almond milk cacao or cinnamon and ginger spiced apple juice, made warm.

Breakfast today was a superbly sweet and delicious pink grapefruit and avocado salad, consumed while sipping my hot ginger lemonade.  Having said far more than I thought to write, I will now get ready for work.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Favorite Pea Soup for 1

Spring menus keep popping into my mind.  This was today's lunch, and the left over salad will be dinner.  The sharp, pungent, earthy, salty dressing accenting the sweet oranges is addicting.  As I mentioned, it's been part of my daily menu since we started getting really ripe sweet oranges!  Give it a try and I bet you'll be hooked like me.

1C peas, fresh or frozen
1/4 C celery
1 small zuchini
1/2 small shallot
1/2 T lemon juice
2 t brewers yeast or 1/2 t white miso
1 t mint
1/2 c warm water
salt & pepper to taste

Blend in Vitamix till creamy.

Add 1/2 avocado
blend till smooth and enjoy.

Especially good with:

Sicilian Orange Salad

Make a dressing:

3-6 key limes, juiced
1 T fresh Greek oregano
2 T minced shallots
3 T chopped Kalamata olives
5 T olive oil
Arrange peeled, sliced oranges on a platter
Drizzle with the dressing
Sprinkle with pine nuts
Garnish with sprigs of fresh Greek oregano and more whole olives

Spring - Rain - Strawberries

Here it is, 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 6, 2011- about 3 months after starting my raw adventure.  A visit to Cafe Gratitude with my daughter-in-law Lisa, (who has such a knack for choosing places I will love) has grown into my full tilt dive into raw foods.  Several additional stops at Cafe Gratitude and some online ordering has my kitchen all set up.  I have been entertaining myself with new raw yumminess at every opportunity.

Today there is a cool spring rain, leading my thoughts to gardens, vegetables, and what fun this gardening season will be for me as a 'raw' tenderfoot.  Already I am rapidly depleting the stash of semi-dry tomatoes in my freezer from last summer's harvest.  Clearly I will need four times as many for the coming year.  I have eaten raw tomato soup for days, recently switching to asparagus-pea with red pepper oil, thanks to  Heather Pace of Sweetly  Then there are my own Sicilian Orange Salads just about daily.  Winter in California is almost more fun for produce than the main summer production season.  Kale smoothies, chard salad with raisins and pine nuts (thank you Jennifer Cornbleet), and all the lovely avacados, citrus and dates.  Just not suffering here.

You are probably wondering where the strawberries enter this post.  Yesterday, the first of the season organic fresh strawberries appeared in our local Safeway, and my initial attempt at raw cheese cake is in the fridge setting.  The recipe is from Vanessa Sherwood: "White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake."  It looks so tantalizing as it primly sits there chilling and getting ready for dessert hour.  And now, time to fix some lunch.  Check back soon, I will be posting pictures of some of my recent adventures in the Land of Raw.  I love it here, plan to stay!