Obsessed with Raw Summer Soups

I haven’t blogged for a while, mainly because I’ve been very busy but also because my habits, values and interests have steered me away from desserts. I’ve been enjoying a lot of wonderful salads and my usual green smoothies. However, I’ve got a new culinary interest and it’s about time I started to record my creations.

Raw Soups have been rocking my world lately. It all started with Raw Gazpacho, but this week I’ve been experimenting with wonderful results. I love my Vitamix!

This year, I’ve also started some gardening for the first time. I’ve been growing loads of beautify kale, 3 kinds of tomatoes, lots of fragrant basil and cilantro. It’s so great to pick these and add them straight in to my soup.

Raw Gazpacho

  • Tomatoes, about 3 medium sized
  • Zucchini, one or two small ones.
  • Celery, 1 or 2 stalks
  • Loads of fresh basil
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • Raw Saurkraut, a third of a cup
  • Red Onion, or green onion depending
  • Avocado, optional but creamy and delicious
  • A drizzle of Rallis ice pressed olive oil (my favourite)
  • Sea salt sprinkled on top

Yesterday I made a similar soup but with cilantro instead of basil and I added some fresh ginger and a little coconut. Very yummy.

Raw Ginger Beet Soup

  • 1/2 BeetIMG_00000179
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Celery Stalk
  • .33 coconut milk (I just used light canned coconut milk which isn’t actually raw but I don’t feel like cracking a coconut)
  • small piece of ginger
  • drizzle Honey Ginger infused White Balsamic (optional)
  • sprigs of cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • avocado cubes to swim in the soup (optional)
  • sea salt (optional)

IMG_00000186Raw Corn & Pepper Soup

  • fresh kernels from 2 ears of corn
  • 2 small orange peppers
  • 6 yellow tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp red onion
  • 1 ripe peach
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 1/4 tsp organic miso
  • touch of white balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • touch of hot sauce

 

This version of the soup includes coconut milk, a zucchini and some hot pepper.

This version of the Corn & Pepper soup includes coconut milk, a zucchini and some hot pepper.

Example of a Raw Summer Vegetable Soup

  • 1 Medium Tomato
  • 1 Medium Zucchini
  • Aprox. 1 cup of the red stalks from Swiss Chard
  • 1/2 Medium Beet
  • 1 Small Carrot
  • 1 Celery Stalk
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • Aprox. 1/4 cup of Red Onion
  • 1/2 small Avocado
  • Bunch of Basil
  • Drizzle of infused White Balsamic (something else sour would do the trick)
  • A drizzle of Rallis ice pressed olive oil (my favourite)
  • Sea Salt sprinkled on top

The 2014 Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off: Pucker Up Lemon Squares (raw)

lemon squaresYesterday I participated in Toronto’s Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off! I entered in the raw category with an updated version of my original raw lemon squares. It was a really neat experience! I was there rather too early, the first non-professional on-site in fact. I’m both a busy bee but also an eager beaver, what can I say.

I’m hoping to post some photos later of the raw plate which included my lemon squares and the other items that I was up against. Here are the listings from my category:

Decadent Raw Desserts (Gluten-Free friendly, check ingredients carefully)

Title Description  
Pucker Up Raw Lemon Squares Tart, lip puckering, rich and creamy lemon perfection, all rolled into one delicious raw gluten free treat!
Raw Chocolate Lavender Cheesecake Rich and creamy chocolate cheesecake with a hint of local lavender – served on a chocolate brownie crust.
Raw Gluten Free Raw Sticky Zucchini Flax Cinnamon Buns, rolled in raw Carmel sauce and drizzled with raw cashew cream!!
Better Tarts A raw take on a canadian classic, that is better for you and better tasting!
Molten caramel brownie Fudge brownie, gooey caramel centre, sprinkle of sea salt…yum.

The plate was pretty monochromatic, as were a few of the plates in other categories, so my lemon squares really popped! I used extra tumeric for more colour this time around, and I also added a lemon drizzle (coconut butter, lemon, stevia) to use as “glue” to stick on some sour lemon flakes made with dehydrated lemon for some extra texture. I was thrilled with how they came out, and all of the feedback I received was very positive. Maybe too positive, since it made me overly hopeful that I might win in my category which I didn’t, but that’s ok. It was still a nice day.

Old Recipe: Original Raw Lemon Squares

New Recipe: Totally Fabulous Raw Lemon Squares

Filling:

  • 5 cups of dried, unsweetened coconut.  butter (approximately one jar or about 4.5 cups of fine dehydrated coconut converted in to coconut butter)
  • 2-4 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 10 lemons, zested first, then squeezed
  • 1/3 cup of lucuma powder (optional)
  • Stevia Powder to taste – I like NOW brand
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric (for colour, optional)
Crust:
  • 1 cup of raw cashews
  • 1 cup of raw coconut flour
  • aprox. .5 cup of dates (use more as needed)

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS: **Your food processor must be completely dry for this to work, and all ingredients should be at room temperature before proceeding.

  1. Blitz the dried coconut and 2 tbsp of coconut oil in the food processor to make coconut butter. This can take several minutes. Stop and scrape the sides of the sides of the food processor often. If after 5 minutes your mixture is still dry, add more coconut oil as needed.
  2. Once you’ve made a completely smooth butter, add the lemon zest. Blend.
  3. Add the lucuma. Blend.
  4. Add the lemon juice. Blend.
  5. The stevia that I use comes with a tiny little spoon inside the jar. Add 2 of the tiny spoonfuls, or just a small pinch of stevia and blend and taste often. Adding only a small amount at a time, add more of the stevia as needed adjusting to your palette.
  6. Add the tumeric. Blend.
  7. Pour contents in to a bowl and set aside on the counter (not the fridge) while you continue on to make your crust. 
  8. When working in this order, there is no need to clean the food processor. Blitz cashews in the food processor until they start to form a crumb. 
  9. Add the coconut flour and approximately 6 dates and start the food processor going, adding more dates until the mixture starts to seem slightly sticky. Stop the food processor and smoosh some of the mixture together with your fingers from time to time and when the mixture starts to stick together, it’s ready.
  10. Line a pan with parchment paper, or oil and dust with coconut flour before pressing the crust in to the form.
  11. Once you’ve pressed the crust in to a pan, scoop the filling in to the pan and smooth it out with a spatula. Place it in the freezer for at least one hour before cutting and serving. I like to make this the night before and thaw it out the next day for serving.

The Raw Chocolate Lavender Cheesecake that won was really lovely. It was both aesthetically nice, and very tasty. For me, chocolate does tend to be chocolate and can get repetitive, but the addition of the lavender added some interest and the texture in particular of the creamy chocolate in the middle was very nice.

I’d also like to note that the texture of the crust for the raw butter tarts was really impressive. I wanted to ask the fellow who made them about what he used but didn’t have the chance. I really know a lot of raw desserts at this point so it takes something to impress me and make me wonder, so actually, for me the crust of those butter tarts was the most interesting thing on the raw plate. I think that if his filling (probably made with date) had a little more of a caramel edge to it, maybe with some lucuma and a touch of yacon and mesquite, he could have been the winner.

4bakersI competed as part of Team Lindy Hop with Kris Light and her P.B. Phone Home squares, Ashley Bratty with her Snickerdoodle Sandwich Spectacular/Snickerdoodles Marsala and Heather O’Shea with her Jazzberry Lemon Cupcakes. I have to admit that all of these desserts (including my own) were so yummy that early on I thought it might be a clean sweep for our entire category. Everything was delicious, but unfortunately Kris and I stood aside to cheer on the 2 winners on our team, Heather and Ashley. Heather even won Best in Show for her cupcakes! You can read more about her entry on her blog here.

This was a really neat experience. I hope to snag some more photos to post soon.

Oh, and my lemon square display made it in to this photo gallery from BlogTO.

Raw Banana Cream Pie

Status

Raw Banana Cream PieIt sure has been a while since my last post! I’ve been busy with my giant Frankie 100 project coming this spring and haven’t been playing in the kitchen much. However, tonight my husband will join me to attend the Conscious Eating Niagara potluck which I haven’t been to in forever, so I thought I’d update the blog with today’s creation.

It’s another case of, a little of this, a little of that. Actually, I had some raw bars in the freezer that I decided to blend up and make in to the pie crust. It’s all about the filling.

Mandi’s Banana Cream Pie

Crust Filling
Almonds

Hazelnuts

Coconut Flour

Dates

Coconut Syrup

Touch of Moroccan Spice Mix (includes chili, ginger, cinnamon)

Bananas, regular & small red bananas

Coconut butter

Real Vanilla Bean

Touch of Himalayan Salt

Stevia

 

 

My dad’s excellent Gluten Free bread

Yesterday I had breakfast at my dad’s place and I was really impressed by his homemade Gluten Free bread. This was really one of the best GF breads I’ve ever had. (Obviously not vegan.)

Daddyo Cheese PicIngredients:

1 1/4 cups milk @ 90 degrees
3 large eggs @ room temperature
1/4 cup melted butter
3 tbsp Xylitol
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup Amaranth flour
1/2 cup Oat flour
1/2 cup Brown Rice flour
1/2 cup White Rice flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Potato starch
1/2 cup Tapioca starch
1/2 cup Corn starch
1 tbsp Xanthan Gum
2 1/2 tsp Yeast

Made in the bread machine according to the machine’s instructions.

Recipe by the awesome, Mr. Lorne Gould!

Enjoy!

Raw Peach Squares

I picked up some fresh Niagara peaches at the Peach festival in Niagara on the Lake this weekend. Here’s a little raw recipe that I’ve whipped together for a party tomorrow. As usual, this is a play it by ear recipe.

This is just a quick post so I don’t forget to post about it. I’ll have to grab a photo later when I cut these in to squares. Right now it’s setting in the freezer.

Raw Peach SquaresRaw Peaches n’ Cream Squares

Filling

  • Coconut butter – about 400 grams
  • 8 ripe peaches
  • a touch of stevia, to taste
  • a touch of vanilla
  • a pinch of pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Crust:

  • Coconut flour
  • Coconut oil
  • Dates
  • A touch of ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Blitz the coconut butter in the food processor until it makes a smooth cream.
  2. Cut the peaches up in to slices and start to drop them in the food processor until everything is blitzed together.
  3. Add the other ingredients to taste.
  4. Pour batter in to a bowl and set aside on the counter.
  5. No need to clean the food processor. Just throw about half a cup of coconut flour in and start to blitz it, then add dates and some coconut oil until it still starts to come together as a dough. Add more coconut flour as needed.
  6. Use some coconut oil to grease a square pan. I have a flexible non-stick silicone pan that I like for raw desserts. Press the crust in to the bottom, then pour the batter in. Set in freezer for at least 2 hours. Cut in to squares and enjoy!

The flavour has come out quite subtle and creamy and really nice. Let’s see if the drunkers at the party appreciate it or not.

Raw Peach Squares

Fun with Kelp Noodles

kelp with hazelnutI’ve been on a big kelp noodle kick for the past while. My favourite thing to do is to soak the kelp noodles for at least 20 minutes in water, give them a good rinse, and then marinate them in a seed or nut based sauce until they become soft. Really yummy.

One of the recipes that I really enjoy for kelp noodles is a Thai Peanut Sauce. However, peanuts (at least not the ones used in those types of recipes) are not raw and not particularly good for you, so I’ve been playing with replacing them with other nuts. This weekend I made a sauce with hazelnuts for 2 different potlucks and it turned out quite well.

Other times, I’ll use my favourite Garlicky Kale dressing or something similar, or I’ll even use a pre-made pesto.

For a Thai inspired sauce, I use the following ingredients. You have to just play with them to get the flavour that you want:

  • Natural Peanut Butter or some other type of nuts (like hazelnuts) soaked and rinsed before using
  • Water
  • Lime juice
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Chilis or a hot sauce like Sriracha
  • Coconut Aminos, Tamari, Miso or salt for seasoning
  • Agave for sweetness (or another sweetener)
  • Cilantro or mint, and lots of it!

I like this kind of sauce with zucchini noodles too, and lately I’ve been mixing the zucchini noodles in with the kelp noodles. Just don’t add the zucchini until the end since it can produce too much water.

Who’s Kale?

who's kale

The Kale Recipe everyone’s talking about – Who’s Kale? 

  • 1 bunch raw kale, washed, de-stemmed and dried
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (I like a little less, like 1 tbsp, or just more apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos (originally called for Bragg’s liquid aminos, or tamari or soy sauce would work, or just add salt to taste)
  • 4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (I generally use a lot more – yum!)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (1 – 2 cloves of garlic, when I’m lazy I use garlic powder

Optional:

  • .5+ teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • sesame seeds, to taste as garish (optional)
  1. Break or cut kale into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.
  2. Puree all ingredients except kale and sesame seeds in a blender or food processor to blend the dressing.
  3. Pour dressing over kale and massage into the kale with your hands until all pieces of kale are coated.
  4. Let the salad sit in the fridge for an hour or so to marinate. You can skip this step if you need to eat right away, but allowing some time to marinate will wilt the kale a bit and make it a little more palatable – particularly for those who are skeptical of eating raw kale.
  5. Sprinkle on some sesame seeds before serving if so desired.

Credit to the original internet source: http://www.eatingbirdfood.com/2011/02/garlicky-kale/

***

Last Sunday was Niagara VegFest. Among many other great purchases, I picked up a couple of I “heart” kale buttons and a bag. 2 days later, I was riding the subway in Toronto late at night and a guy asked me, “Who’s Kale?” which has now become the running joke.

So how do I eat all this kale?

I already loved Kale Chips, but it was the Garlicky Kale from Whole Foods is the recipe that started my real love affair with kale.

  • Kale Chips
  • Garlicky Kale from Whole Foods
  • Kale salads of all sorts are delicious. Make sure to massage the dressing into the washed, de-stemmed kale so that it really softens and marinates.
  • In juice: I keep the kale stems and use them for juicing. One of my favourite combinations is kale with pear. Kale + pear are a wonderful pair!
  • In smoothies: Since I eat so much kale at other times of the day, I tend to favour spinach in my morning smoothies, but kale often makes an appearance too.
  • When I’m on the go in Toronto, I seek out kale salads from restaurants like:I heart kale
  1. Freshii 
  2. Fresh
  3. Urban Herbivore
  4. Vegetarian Haven

Some people only think of kale as a cooked food but I really prefer it raw. Eating it raw has completely changed my view of this super green, and I really find it much more satisfying than other lettuces or baby spinach for salads.

Wikipedia has this to say about kale:

Kale or borecole (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group) is a vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbagethan most domesticated forms. The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide array of vegetables, including broccolicauliflowercollard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar groupAcephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically.

Want to know more about the various varieties of kale? Check out ilovekale.com.