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 beautiful 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
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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 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

Vegan Peanut Butter Pie (or Vegan Peanut Butter Cups) – GF & mostly raw

This is basically a raw dessert, except for the peanuts are roasted. But it’s hard to beat that roasted peanut butter taste, so I’m taking one for the team on this one.

I’ve know that coconut butter would be the perfect way to thicken a peanut butter filling since I started playing with coconut butter in desserts a couple of years ago. It didn’t let me down!

Jaime and Krister are awesome. They had elephants at their wedding!

I pulled this out for my dear friends, Jaime and Krister’s going away party. They’re moving to Boulder this week. We’re going to miss them!

This recipe is definitely approximate. Adjust ingredients to taste. The main thing is to use equal parts coconut butter & peanut butter.

Ingredients

  • 400g coconut butter
  • 400g natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of coconut syrup, to taste
  • pinch of Himalayan salt

Crust

  • Dates & Coconut Flour in aproximately equal parts. About 1.5 cups of each.

Chocolate layer

  • Coconut oil, aprox 1 to 1.5 cups
  • Raw cacao powder, aprox 1 cup
  • 1/4 tsp of NOW stevia or to taste
  • Himalayan salt to taste, optional

Directions

Make the crust first. Blend your dates into mush in the food processor, then slowly add your coconut flour until it makes a dough. Grease a pie plate or springform pan with coconut oil, sprinkle with some coconut flour so the crust won’t stick, then press the dough in.

In the same food processor, blend your coconut butter until soft and smooth. Add the peanut butter, then the salt. Add your coconut syrup last. Don’t over blend once you’ve added the coconut syrup. Adjust the amount of syrup according to taste. Pour the peanut butter mixture onto the pie crust. It appears very liquidy but it will solidify. Chill in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate layer.

For the chocolate layer. gently warm up your coconut oil to get it to melt by putting it in the dehydrator or near something warm. If you’re not concerned about keeping the recipe raw, you can just set this up as a double boiler setup in a metal bowl over another filled with boiling or hot water. Once the coconut oil is melted, whisk in the other ingredients. Adjust the stevia in the recipe carefully. You don’t need the chocolate layer to be very sweet since the peanut butter filling is sweet. Pull the pie from the freezer and pour the chocolate layer over the top. Then put it back in the fridge or freezer to set. Let it set for about 4 hours before serving, or however long you want in the freezer.

I froze mine a week in advance and brought it out at a party today. It was a big hit!

I plan to use the same recipe to make peanut butter cups. It’s just that with little individual cups, it will be much harder not to pig out on them!

Making your own raw vegan milk, Part II

Ingredients: raw nut butter of choice (I’ve used one of my favourite Health Nut flavours but any raw nut butter will do) and sunflower lecithin.

Frothy after being shaken up.

A fine strainer.

Strain your milk.

Before leaving for Sweden, I prepared some very portable vegan oat milk powder to take away with me.

That worked out really well, and I enjoyed it very much in my morning smoothies.

Now that I’m back in town, I’ve decided to go raw for the month of August in honour of Rawstock Niagara, an exciting festival that I’m helping to organize that takes place at the end of this month. As usual, I want to keep things quick, easy and not too messy. I dislike cleaning nut milk bags (a lot) and don’t feel like washing my blender all the time so this quick shake and strain raw almond milk is perfect.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp raw nut butter of choice
  • 2 tsp sunflower lecithin*
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum gum (optional)
  • pinch of cinnamon, vanilla, stevia, or other flavourings to taste
  • 4 cups of water (you might be able to use up to 5 cups, actually, but definitely 4)
  1. Put your ingredients into a container with a lid and shake away!
  2. Strain through a fine strainer.
  3. Enjoy! Keeps about 4 to 5 days.
  4. You can actually save the pulp and use it as the base for your next batch mixed with about a third to half of the proportions of listed above.

*The lecithin is very important. It’s an emulsifier and prevents the ingredients from separating in the liquid. It makes it creamy and a true milk. I prefer sunflower lecithin to soy which I’m intolerant to. The xanthum gum helps to thicken it up as well.

I’m enjoying this very much in my morning smoothies and I’m turning my husband on to it too. Go raw!

Raw Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Chaga!

Chemotherapeutic Ice Cream? 

For the May Conscious Eating Niagara potluck I’m bringing ice cream made in my shnazzy new machine. I had planned to make something chocolaty, maybe with caramel or cherries again, but when I started to make the base and added in the pure vanilla bean powder it was too delicious so I left well enough alone.

The secret ingredient? Instead of using plain water for this recipe, I decided to give it superfood properties and used the tonic made with Chaga mushroom powder instead! Don’t worry, Chaga does not give off even a hint of mushroom. It has an earthy tea-like quality too it that’s very subtle and it worked perfectly with the vanilla bean. And now this ice cream has chemotherapeutic properties. How cool is that?

If you’re not familiar with chaga, it’s a fabulous superfood. Here is what my friend Lee at Truly Organic Food has to say about chaga:
“The chaga mushroom is well known for its full spectrum of immune stimulating phytochemicals. It is also high in betulin or betulinic acid which is a chemotherapeutic agent, which is why the pharmaceutical industry is interested in it and is currently doing many tests on it’s constituents. Chaga is best consumed in it’s natural stated as a tea tonic, that has had time to brew over 20 hours.”<

I made this ice cream in a much larger quantity for the potluck, but here would be the recipe for a basic recipe:

  • 1/4 cup raisins, soaked in water until plump
  • 2 cup chaga tonic liquid (or purified water)
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for about 4 hours
  • 1 cup raw agave (coconut syrup or maple syrup would also be nice)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla bean
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
  1. Blend your soaked cashews first with only some of the liquid to ensure that the mixture is smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours so that the mixture is cold before using your ice cream maker. I recommend over night.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for your ice cream machine and enjoy!

Raw Vegan Notella Brownie Cheesecake

Last night was our April Potluck for Conscious Eating Niagara. At the last potluck I took some requests and my friend Fabienne voted for something with chocolate so voila!

The base was a chocolate hazelnut brownie, then a chocolate coconut filling and Notella by Health Nut for the icing. It was a winner! Sugar free, gluten free, chocolaty goodness.

Brownie Base:

  • 3 cups of hazelnuts (aprox.)
  • 3 cups of dates (aprox.)
  • 3/4 cup of cocoa (aprox.)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
  1. Yes, these are all approximations. It might have been more hazelnuts and fewer dates. You just start by blitzing the hazelnuts in the food processor.
  2. Once it makes a fine “flour” add about half of the cocoa and then start adding the dates until it comes together into a kind of dough. If it’s too dry and isn’t coming together, add a tablespoon of coconut oil.
  3. Once this is blending up nicely into a dough, add the rest of the cocoa to taste.
  4. Voila! Press into a lightly greased spring form pan. I recommend sprinkling coconut flakes on the bottom of the greased pan before you press in the dough. It helps to prevent sticking later.
Cheesecake Layer
  • 200g dehydrated coconut flakes (unsweetened)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 800 mL of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut syrup or agave
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 6 probiotic capsules (optional)
  • squirt of lemon (optional)
  • pinch of Himalayan salt (optional)
  1. If you want this to be more like real cream cheese, start by adding your probiotics to your coconut milk to soak in a bowl while you start the rest of the recipe.
  2. Blitz your coconut flakes and coconut oil in the food processor until it makes a creamy coconut butter. This takes a while.
  3. Add your coconut milk and blend. Add some lemon juice to the mix if you’d like.
  4. Once this is smooth, add your cocoa and then start to add your sweetener and taste to get the right amount of sweetness to your taste. Add a pinch of salt if you like.
  5. Pour over the brownie base and set in the fridge for at least 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Ice the cake with raw vegan Notella by Health Nut et voila!


Cheesecake