Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nachos and Taco Salad

My friend Steph is in town for the week, so we met up yesterday to make a short film, hang out, shop, and eat. We went to Foundation, a tasty veg restaurant on Main St. that has Vancouver's best nachos. The only sad part is they are slathered in cheese, which I don't eat. So I got a delicious salad instead, but it left me with a hankering for some corn chips to call my own. So I made my own version with some corn chips I had, heartbreakingly spicy salsa(just the way I like it), and mounds of guac, with a little sour cream. Food heaven.

Spicy Corn Chips

3 C. Frozen Corn
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp Cayenne
1/2 tsp Paprika

Blend all of the above in a food processor, and spread on a teflex sheet. You want it a bit on the thick side, so they hold up to dipping. Score into triangles, and dehydrate at 115 for about 10 hours. Flip over and dry for another hour.

2 tomatoes, diced
1/4 c onion, chopped
juice from a lime
1/2 jalapeno, seeds to taste
salt to taste

Mix all in a bowl.

1 avocado
juice from 1 lime


Sour Cream
Flesh from 1 coconut
1/4 cup soaked cashews
1 tblspn lemon juice
1 tblspn cider vinegar
1 Tsp white Miso
1/2 C water
Combine all ingredients in vitamix blender. Blend until smooth.

Taco salads are just an excuse for me to eat salsa with a spoon,I can never get enough.

After that my mouth was somewhat on fire, so I cooled it down with some Chocolate Maple Chia Pudding.

Have Food, Will Travel

I recently just booked a trip to Hawaii for a photography workshop held by one of my favorite photographers, Lara Jade. So I figured I would blog a bit about eating raw/vegan while travelling. I haven't been every single place in the world, so this is only pertinent to places that I've been so far. Research where you're going, what kinds of foods are popular there, grocery stores that may be near where you're staying, whether your accommodations have a refrigerator/kitchen, ect. A site that has been invaluable to me(it has an iphone app as well. Of course.), is Happy Cow. You type in the address(or the app can locate where you are by GPS), and it'll give you all the vegan/vegetarian/veg friendly/health food stores that are within a radius of your choosing. You have access to reviews, the phone number/contact info of the place, and sometimes the hours of operation. It's amazing. When I travel(depending where I'm going), I usually rather make my own food than eat out. Which sometimes helps save money also. If the hotel you're staying at has a fridge, that's a major plus as well!

Being prepared is also invaluable, most major airports are equipped with Starbucks though, and you can always find a fairly fresh fruit cup there. Bringing crackers, nuts, dried fruit, and fruit that travels well(such as apples/bananas/oranges) is handy too. Whenever I travel I usually bring enough snacks to feed the whole airport, since when I'm tired I usually get hungry, and then grumpy, and don't usually want to wander around looking for something to eat. Some airlines offer vegetarian meals if you ask ahead, some are good, others not so much.

Since I'm not a raw food nazi really it doesn't bother me too much if I eat some cooked food once in a while, as long as it's vegan I'm happy. In the past few trips I haven't really found it to be a problem, searching out grocery stores and greenmarkets is one of the easiest ways I've found to stay raw while travelling. Trying out vegetarian restaurants in different places is one of my favorite activities, although it's a bit depressing since most places I've been to seem to have better Veg restaurants than Vancouver, and it irks me. The thought of going to Hawaii is thrilling for me, however. I'm going to eat pineapples, coconuts and avocados all day and I will probably need to be rolled home.

A few of my favorite restaurants abroad:
Pure Food And Wine/Raw Vegan-If you've been reading my blog at all you'll probably know that I worship at the shrine that is Pure Food and Wine. Haute Cuisine Raw fare that leaves everyone else in the dust. Located in New York City, this is my favorite restaurant ever.

Hangawi/Korean/Vegan-Also in New York, this restaurant has wonderful veggie bowls that is served with the best kimchi ever. Their ginger tea is amazing. Last time I was in NYC I braved a snowstorm to walk 15 blocks to get here and it was completely worth it.

Aux Vivres/Vegan-In Montreal, they serve Rice bowls, salads, burgers, sammies, desserts, and all of it delicious. The chapatis are mouth watering, and I'm drooling on my keyboard just thinking of it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Portobello Corn Dumplings

Today was a day for experiments. I wanted to make a dumpling kinda thing, so I cobbled together various parts from other recipes into these. I had made some coconut wrappers previously for samosas, and they were so tasty that I almost ended up eating just them without the filling, so I figured something similar would work for these. I mixed the coconut with some zucchini to make them a little firmer, blended with coconut water and spread super thin and dehydrated for a few hours. The filling was some chopped portobellos and corn, marinated in olive oil and nama shoyu then popped into the dehydrator. I served them with Celery Root Soup as a sauce, with a little truffle oil drizzled in it.

Coconut Wrappers
1 3/4 cups coconut meat
1/4 cup chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cups coconut water
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all in a blender until smooth, spread super thin on teflex sheets for about 2-4 hours at 115 or until tops are dry, flip over carefully and peel away teflex. Let dry for 15-30 mins more. They should be pliable and almost transparent.

2 portobello mushrooms, gills removed and chopped into tiny pieces
1/2 cup corn
1/4 olive oil
1/8 cup nama shoyu
1 tblpn lemon juice

Toss all ingredients in a bowl, dehydrate at 115 for about an hour or until the mixture looks sauteed.

Cut each sheet of the coconut wrappers into 4, place about 2 tblpsns filling in the center, then bring the sides up and twist slightly to form bundles. A bit of water helps them stick together if they don't want to stay.

Noodle-ized a coconut and tossed it with some fruit and cinnamon for breakfast.

Yesterday's truffles again

The Butternut Squash Soup is even better on the third day. I made some lemon shortbread to dip in it using leftover Pine Nut 'Goat Cheese'.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

I made some Butternut Squash Soup yesterday, but it felt like it needed something else. It was tasting a little too squash-y, for lack of a better adjective. I decided putting it in a blender again with an avocado and some ginger was what it was missing, so that's what I did(and warmed it up while I was at it). Since I am a ginger whore I added a lot, but if you don't like it you could use less. Fresh herbs would be good as well. Then chopped up some corn, tomatoes, celery, and mushrooms, tossed them with lemon juice and olive oil and put them in the dehydrator for about 20 mins. Consumed the whole thing with some kale chips, and it was pretty tasty. Trying out raw soups has been a slow process for me, I find they just taste a bit weird most of the time, or they have so much oil involved that my mouth feels greasy after eating them. This one made me happy though.

You could serve it without the veggies as well as an appetizer.

Butternut Squash Soup

3 cups Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed(about half of 1 large)
1 1/2 cups water
1 avocado
1/8 tsp each of dried garlic, onion, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper(or to taste)
1/4 cup agave syrup
juice from 1 lemon
Knob of ginger, minced if you're not using a high speed blender
Salt to taste

Blend all in a blender until warm

(This part makes enough for 1 bowl)
1 tblspn olive oil
juice from half a lemon
pinch of salt and pepper
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup corn
3 mushrooms, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
half an avocado, cubed

Toss corn, tomato, and mushrooms with olive oil, lemon S&P, dehydrate at 120 for 20 mins or until warm and slightly softened.

Pour soup in bowls, top with veggies.

Chocolate Truffles and Coconut Snowballs

Since I have a huge lump of cacao butter sitting in my cupboard, and by sheer luck there was hardly any clients at work today so my boss let me leave early, the obvious thing to do was to go home and start making some chocolate truffles. People are generally surprised when I tell them how just how much I adore chocolate. They give me this weird look and say 'Aren't you a vegan?'. Not really sure of when people started believing vegans don't like chocolate. Or that all chocolate contains milk? Maybe all the gross stuff like Aeros, Kit Kats, that kind of thing. But I'm sort of a chocolate snob, and I really rather eat a little bit of super dark, super expensive chocolate than a bag of Oh Henrys any day. Most chocolate isn't raw(although you can find raw bars), but I generally make an exception for it. Or you can make your own. It's fairly simple, all you do is re-unite cocoa butter and powder, along with some sweetener and whatever other goodies to choose to throw in.

For the truffles I made 2 different types, chocolate ones and coconut snowballs. The coconut snowballs didn't take to being dipped in the chocolate too well, they didn't really firm up properly so I rolled them in some more coconut afterwards and it seemed pretty tasty.

Chocolate Truffles
1/4 cup coconut butter
1/2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup maple syrup/agave
1 cup cacao powder

Blend everything except the cacao powder in a blender, then mix the cacao powder in by hand in a bowl. Let set in the fridge for about half an hour(or in the freezer if you're impatient as I always am). If you use the freezer check on them in about 15, you don't want rocks. Scoop into balls and roll in more cacao powder, or dip in melted chocolate then place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and place in fridge/freezer to set.

Coconut Snowballs

1 cup nuts(I used almonds and brazil nuts, but macadamias, cashews, hazelnuts, anything really would work also)
1 1/2 cups plus 1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded, dried coconut
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup/agave

Process the nuts in a food processor until they're finely ground. Add 1 1/2 cups coconut, coconut oil, and maple syrup, then process until the mixture is a sticky paste. Place in the fridge/freezer until slightly firm. Roll into balls and then roll in additional coconut.

1/3 cup melted cacao butter(in a bowl over boiling water, or in a dehydrator set at 120 degrees)
1/3 cup plus 1 tblspn cacao powder
3 tblspns agave/maple syrup

Mix all together in a bowl, dip truffles in!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Creamy Basil Kelp Noodles

I've been searching both far and wide, high and low for kelp noodles in Vancouver, and I finally found them today. The hunt was completely worth it, I'm happy to say. (For the record I found them at Organic Lives)They taste a bit like rice/vermicelli noodles, and not the least little bit fishy. They smell a bit interesting in the bag, but a rinse gets rid of that pretty quickly. Picked up some other goodies from Organic Lives like cacao butter, I want to experiment with attempting to make some chocolate truffles. Cacao butter was also surprisingly elusive, I didn't think it was that uncommon an ingredient but I haven't seen it anywhere else yet. Perhaps I just don't know where to look.

I also went to this neat little homewares store I discovered on 4th Ave called Paboom, and bought 1 of every dish I thought was pretty. As well as a couple different place mats just for some variety. I get excited over the strangest things. This morning I rose at the ungodly hour of 6am today for a photoshoot, and when I got home all I wanted to do was make delicious things. Cooking(or un-cooking) is turning into meditation for me, it's kind of relaxing. I had to fight my mom to make dinner for her and my dad, I think she was pleased. I kindly left half the dishes for my dad to clean up though.

The kelp noodles ended up in a salad as well.

Creamy Basil Kelp Noodles

1/3 of a package of kelp noodles, rinsed
1/4 cup pesto
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4-1/2 cup water
juice from a lemon
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Combine everything but the noodles in a blender, then mix with noodles. Add whatever veggies you like, I used cherry tomatoes and hemp seeds.

Experimented with some Butternut Squash Soup, with somewhat southwestern seasonings, corn, and a dollop of lemon cream. I think it might taste better tomorrow when it's had a chance to sit.

I bought a truckload of avocados when I was at Granville Island yesterday, so they got made into chocolate pudding. With Vanilla Cream on top.

(we ran out of spoons)

Summer Squash Pasta with Truffled Cream Sauce from Raw Food Real World.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's Not Okay to Kill Dogs But Cows are Fine?

Today I was having tea with a friend, and she brought up how a friend of her's mentioned how people are so outraged at the massacre of 100 healthy sled dogs(more on that here) in Whistler. What she didn't, and I don't, understand is how people are so enraged at this, yet it doesn't seem to make as much as a difference to them that thousands of cows, pigs, chickens, ect. are brutally murdered and kept in deplorable conditions. Are they not animals as well? Last I checked they were all sentient beings, capable of feeling pain and all equally deserving of proper living conditions, the right to mother their young, to enjoy being outdoors, to eat the food they were meant to eat. In my opinion, no matter what anyone says there is no 'compassionate' way of killing something. Just because cows are not necessarily kept as 'house' pets doesn't mean they should be treated differently than your cat or dog. Why the double standard?

Usually I try not to force my views on others, or attempt to stay as far away from the 'preachy vegan' stereotype as much as possible. Desire to not rock the boat, or make others uncomfortable. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, are they not? But in this case I really can't abide that point of view. While yes, I believe it's fair to allow others to come to their own educated conclusions without me breathing down their shoulders, I think the key word is educated. The majority of people I've met have no interest in educating themselves to the cruelty that most animals are subjected to, the unethical treatment of workers in slaughter houses, and the extreme waste of potential farmland and damage to the environment that is factory farming. It's an absolute waste of resources, the amount of land needed to feed a non-vegetarian compared to a vegetarian(3 acres vs 1). Plants feed the earth, the air, they keep the soil healthy in a sustainable manner. Even if you don't happen to care about the death of an animal, wouldn't it make sense, to borrow a phrase, not to shit where you eat? Everyone needs to live someplace, and earth is the only place we have.

The protest I hear the most often when discussing meat eating(and non eating), is that people miss the taste of meat. To put it bluntly, I believe that's selfish. You can't imagine forfeiting a few moments of your pleasure for the greater good of the wellbeing of the planet, the life of another sentient being, your own health even? The tradition of eating it, family meals, not wanting to be the odd one out? Sure it may be difficult, and sometimes you might want to eat meat. To be honest, my tastes have changed completely. I never crave meat, and never want to eat it. Somewhere in the back of my head I could imagine perhaps it tastes good, but the cons far outweigh the pros to me. To my health, and the knowledge that I couldn't sit comfortably eating something that was murdered in a cruel manner so I could eat it. I'm not expecting this of everyone, but even little steps help. Eating less meat, consuming less animal byproducts. Even just educating yourself on where it comes from, and it's impact on the planet. Does it not deserve even that? I'm not trying to say I'm perfect, or that you have to be either. it's unrealistic to expect that you can go through life without touching a single animal byproduct, they lurk in places you can't even imagine. I'm just trying to stress the point that you should attempt to at least educate yourself on a topic before making a decision based on simply your comfort levels, or what's just convenient to you. Choosing to be ignorant is a huge shame.

A couple books that I found really interesting on this topic:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Marinated Kale Salad

Kale is an amazingly nutritional vegetable. It's actually a type of cabbage, and is loaded with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and a plethora of vitamin K. It's full of phytonutrients, and produces sulforaphane which a natural cancer fighter. It helps protect your eyes from cataracts, and ultraviolet light. Despite all these wonderful things I've always had kind of a hard time eating it on it's own. I love it as chips, in smoothies, juiced, ect. But eating on it's own was just something that hasn't really appealed to me. Too green, funny texture, hard to chew, whatever. Leftover fear from my childhood aversion to vegetables perhaps. I kept reading about other blogger's love of 'massaged' kale salad(describing it that way is just kind of creepy for me. Even if it's true, I don't know if I like my food to be massaged. I rather have a massage myself.), so I figured I'd try it out. I made a dressing with lemon and macadamia nut oil(One of my faves!), salt, agave and a touch of garlic. I performed the prerequisite massaging, and it wilted down nicely. Then tossed with cherry tomatoes, avocado, hemp seeds, sprouts and cucumbers. And I actually liked it. A ton. As in I could have eaten 4 more bowls of it. Amazing what a little massaging can do. Kale, I am no longer afraid of you. This is definitely something I'm going to try again!

Marinated Kale Salad:

Juice from 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil(or any oil)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

1 bunch Kale, ripped into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 avocado, chopped,
1/4 cup hemp seeds
handful of sprouts
1/2 cup chopped cucumber

Pour dressing over kale and massage until it begins to look wilted, toss all other vegetables in bowl together.

Served the Kale salad alongside some 'mashed potatoes', which were actually marinated cauliflower dehydrated, then run through a food processor.

Coconut Fruit Salad

For the first time ever, I opened a coconut all on my own today(previously I'd been making my dad do it for me). I like being able to do things for myself, but I have this huge fear of large knives jumping at me of their own accord. This morning though I decided I wanted that coconut, so I grabbed it, whacked it with the cleaver multiple times, and managed to pry the thing open all on my own. I'm very pleased with myself at the moment. I had some pineapple and grapes lurking in my fridge, so I cut the coconut into thin noodles and tossed them with the pineapple, grapes, and some strawberry/blueberry sauce. Then dusted it with some more coconut(dried), and mulberries. Then I served it in the coconut shell, since I can't figure out what else to do with those things anyways. Drunk with a tall glass of fresh coconut water, it was a perfect Valentine's day breakfast.

Young coconuts are a great source of good saturated fats, and are health promoting and immune boosting. They've been shown to lower cholesterol and raise HDL. In many cuisines coconuts have been used as a nourishing and strengthening food, containing calcium, manganese, selenium, zinc and iron. Coconut water has the same pH level as human blood. Even with it's high fat content coconut oil has been shown to promote weight loss and decrease fat stores, as well as increase the body's metabolic weight. So the fat content helps keep you full, while being super good for you. As well as tasty.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

In light of Eating Disorders Awareness Week that just passed (Feb 6-12), I wanted to just sort of touch on a subject that's pretty important to me. I haven't really discussed this with people, given that it's quite personal to me, but I figure you do no favors to anyone without being honest with yourself, or sharing what you know in the hopes it can help someone else. For most of my life I've struggled with an eating disorder/and disordered eating. When I was younger I was overweight, food was a comfort to me. I ate regardless of whether I was hungry or not, it was just something to do. When I was 15 I started to work out excessively, and restrict what I ate to 500 calories a day or less. I was never happy with my weight though, no matter how much I lost it was never enough. I wouldn't want to leave the house some days because I believed I was too fat to do anything. Eventually I weighed about 90 lbs, was freezing all the time, couldn't focus on anything, started to grow fine hair all over my body and even talking a short walk was an exhaustive effort. I started to eat a bit again eventually, and then I couldn't control it. I would eat and eat and eat, and just wouldn't be able to stop. I felt this immense sense of shame because I couldn't control myself, I wanted to never have to need anything, least of all food. A few years later I began making myself throw up what I ate, anywhere from 2-8 times a day. I would make cakes, cookies, any kind of junky food I craved and would eat it until I physically couldn't eat anymore. I wish I could stop, and I wouldn't be able to. I would switch between 'good' days, and then would binge the next 3. I tried to stop many times, but it always felt impossible. More recently I decided that I needed to change something (something about that quote about an idiot doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result). I decided I needed to focus on making myself healthy, not trying to make myself skinnier. Eating raw has played an enormous part in that, just the knowledge that everything I put into my body is good for me is incredibly healing. It seems at times that eating disorders are these drill sergeants in your head, always telling you that you're inadequate, fat, eating too much, a pig with no self control, obese, lacking, not working out hard enough, not as good as everyone else. Trying to quiet that voice is a challenge at times, still. But I think every day it gets a little easier. I don't think food should be something I need to feel bad about, there's enough bad things in the world without that. I think I'm incredibly privileged to live where I do, and live the life I am able to. It's a waste of time to sit there counting my calories, hating my body. I think with your diet health should be the ultimate goal, not just thinness. It's taken awhile for me to realize that, but it's so freeing now that I finally have. That's half the reason I have this blog, realizing that has made me realize that I really want others to be able to learn from my experience. While I don't know everything, I want to be able to share what I do. As well as make really good food.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Beet Ravioli with 'Goat Cheese', and Pesto Pasta

Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day, I wanted to use it as an excuse to make some beet ravioli that I've been eyeing for awhile. Since I've got my new mandolin, no veggie is safe from being sliced into exquisite thin strips of loveliness. I even took the time to cut each little slice into a heart shape, which maimed the cookie cutter a little, but nothing too serious. It was worth it. So were my red hands, and the stained counter. I filled them with a Pine Nut/Cashew 'Goat Cheese', and served them with pesto on summer squash pasta. Since there's no special someone in my life at the moment, I fed this to my parents, whom I love most of the time. I was rather pleased at myself for sneaking them an almost entirely(I let them eat whole wheat spaghetti instead of summer squash) raw dinner which they liked. The things you do for those you love.

Beet Ravioli with 'Goat Cheese'
1 large or 2 small beets, slice thin as possible on a mandolin or with a vegetable peeler
1 tblspn Macadamia Nut Oil
1/2 juice of a lemon
1/2 tsp salt

Let the beet slices marinate in the lemon juice, salt and macadamia nut oil for 30 mins or overnight to tenderize

'Goat Cheese'
1 cup Pine Nuts
1 cup Cashews(you could use all cashews if you prefer)
1/4 cup water
4 tsps nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon

Mix all in a food processor til smooth.

Cream Sauce
1/2 recipe of 'goat cheese'
1/2 cup water
1 tsp thyme
1 clove garlic
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon

Blend in a blender til completely smooth.

Pesto Pasta
I ran out of enough basil to make pesto entirely with it, so I threw in some spinach. I kind of prefer it this way, sometimes basil can be a little pungent and overpowering for me.

1 bunch of basil
1 cup packed spinach
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix all in a food processor til almost smooth, but still with a few chunks, serve over pasta.

I cut some leftover Chocolate Mousse Cake I had into heart shapes, then dipped them in Chocolate sauce, then popped them in the freezer for about 10 mins. Served with some Strawberry Ice Cream and Strawberry/Blueberry sauce. I can never get enough of pairing strawberries and chocolate together. Never.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tahini Cucumber Salad

Continuing along in the vein of delicious food that is ridiculously easy is the Tahini Cucumber Salad. Tahini is one of my favorite seed spreads, so it's usually always in my fridge in copious amounts. The dressing I made for this salad was from some hummus I had, mixed with water to thin and lemon juice(also a favorite). I was a bit lazy with this salad and used only cucumber, but any variety of julienned vegetables could be good in here. Some parsley would be nice too. This Hummus is from Rawvolution by Matt Amsden, which is a great cook book full of really simple recipes. I've been searching for dips/spreads that are lighter on nuts than usual, and this one is perfect in my opinion.

2 (small-med) zucchini(peel if you don't want green hummus)
3/4 cup tahini
4 cloves of garlic(or less or more)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin

Whirl all in a blender until smooth.

To make into dressing: Mix 1/4 cup hummus with 1/8 cup water, and juice from half a lemon.

Pineapple Carpaccio and Banana Ice Cream

Sometimes raw food preparation can be rather lenghty, or have recipes that contain numerous parts and a couple days of preparation. While I adore recipes like this, (I like spending as much time in the kitchen making things as much as I do eating them). But sometimes, simplicity triumphs and you end up with something wonderful. Some days I feel rather lazy, and a big ass green salad isn't what I'm in the mood for(although I do love them). Today(and yesterday) were both days like that. I was working on making some scallion pancakes with eggplant and pepper filling, and it was taking awhile in the dehydrator. Yesterday's dinner was just a plain salad, but dessert was something slightly magical. The idea for the pineapple carpaccio came from Raw Food Real World, I threw on some agave syrup and banana ice cream, and it was the most exciting thing I've eaten in awhile. So simple, yet so delicious.

Pineapple Carpaccio with Banana Ice Cream

1 pineapple

Slice a pineapple on the thinnest setting on a mandoline, or with a knife. Place onto plates, and drizzle with agave syrup.

Banana Ice Cream

Freeze 2-3 bananas cut into chunks, then whirl in a food processor until creamy. Scoop onto pineapple slices, top with cinnamon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cheesy Noodles and Lemon Pudding

I've been going through the archives on one of my favorite blogs today, Choosing Raw, and came across this recipe for Cheese Sauce. This is the first recipe I've made off of Gena's blog, there's so many there it's hard to pick which one to do first. But I love cheese sauce, so anything similar to that makes me happy. The colour made me particularly pleased, it's the exact alarming shade of Kraft Dinner. The 'meatballs' are a Falafel recipe from Raw Food Real World that I had hanging out at the back of my fridge, and I kept singing that song about meatballs rolling out the door while I was eating it.

A salad with Miso Ginger dressing, daikon radish noodles, sprouts, and hemp seeds. The dressing works pretty well as dipping sauce, or to put on really anything you can think of. If you blended some with some water you could use it as a broth too.

Miso Ginger Dressing
1/4 cup Miso
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
1 tblspn minced ginger
1/3 cup sesame oil

Mix in a blender until smooth.

I had a couple mangos languishing on my counter, so they turned into this.

Lemon Pudding
1 mango, chopped
1/2 an avocado
1/4 cup coconut
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4-1/2 cup agave syrup(depends how sweet the mangoes are)
1 tsp. agar powder
2 tblspns coconut oil, melted

Mix mango, avocado, coconut, lemon juice and agave in a blender until completely smooth, if overly thick you can add some coconut water. Pour in agar powder, then with blender on drizzle in coconut oil. Let set in fridge until thickened.

Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake

When getting into raw food there's sometimes the idea that it has to be 'all or nothing'(it definitely was for me), and if you ate cooked food it was the end of the world, you were off the wagon. This definitely isn't true, and while it's a nice ideal it may not be practical for everyone. Eating a raw diet(diet in the sense of the word meaning the food you eat, not a way of restricting your food intake), takes a bit of forethought and preparation, but it doesn't mean you need to spend hours in the kitchen (unless that's what you like to do). Some foods, such a guacamole, gazpacho, most salads, and smoothies are already (mostly) raw. With a plant based lifestyle, it can be better to add than try to take everything out of your diet. Adding more greens and fruit to your diet instead of focusing on only what you can't eat can help that transition.

When I first went raw I pretty much decided overnight, which isn't really the optimal way of doing it. I was trying to make the most complicated recipes I could find, and getting frustrated when they wouldn't work how I expected. And whenever I'd sneak a piece of cooked food I'd feel incredibly guilty. The point of a raw diet isn't to make you feel guilty or inadequate, and it's not all or nothing. If you're eating well 90% of the time, and you decide you want something cooked it's not the end of the world. As soon as I gave myself that option, the temptation kind of went away. I don't eat 100% raw, but I try for most of the time. I always eat vegan, however, that's one thing I'm not willing to compromise on. I've found that the more raw I eat though, the less I really want to eat most conventional cooked foods.

For most cooked foods that I thought I would miss, there's a raw counterpart that I generally enjoy more now. For ice cream there's the Banana Sorbet. For pasta there's zucchini noodles, for chocolate/cake there's tons of recipes out there that are just as good(if not better, in my opinion) of their conventional counterparts. Things don't necessarily need to be eaten cold all the time, the dehydrator is great for warming dishes up, and 'cooking' veggies. Soups and sauces can be warmed by blending them for awhile in a blender, or on the stove top in a pot over low heat and using your finger as a thermometer.

Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake
This is from my favorite restaurant, Pure Food and Wine in New York City. Their cookbook was the first raw cookbook I ever bought(was totally seduced by the beautiful blonde on the cover, Sarma Melngailis), and I usually need to visit the restaurant 2-3 times every time I'm in NYC. Every time I go I'm completely blown away by the quality and presentation. A lot of raw restaurants can be a little crunchy, and to be honest, a little weird if you don't know what you're getting yourself into. At Pure Food and Wine I feel like I could bring anyone there and they wouldn't be intimidated or feel out of place, it's beautiful, sexy and cozy, and I could probably eat the entire menu 5 times over.

Chocolate Cake:
2 cups walnut pieces, soaked 2 hours or more
1 1/2 cups maple syrup
1 cup water
2 cups sifted cacao powder
3 cups almond flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Blend walnuts, maple syrup, water, vanilla in a high speed blender til completely smooth.

In a bowl mix together almonds, cacao powder and salt, stir in walnut mixture until there's no lumps.

Transfer batter to a parchment lined sheet pan and dehydrate for 24 hours.

Milk Chocolate Mousse
2 cups cashews, soaked 4 hours or more
1 cup young coconut meat(you can substitute dried here if you don't have any coconuts, just use about 3/4 of a cup instead)
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 1/2 tsps. Vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1 cup agave nectar
1 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups coconut butter liquified

In a high speed blender blend all ingredients except coconut butter until smooth, with blender running slowly drizzle in coconut butter. Continue blending until incorporated. Transfer to a container in fridge to set.

Cut the cake crosswise into three equal pieces. (This can be easier if you pop the cake into the freezer for about 30 mins)

Flip cake onto a parchment lined cutting surface, peel away parchment.

Spoon 1/2 mousse onto one piece of cake, carefully place second layer on top of mousse and press down gently. Repeat with remaining mousse and cake.

Place in freezer to set for about an hour.

On my birthday I made frosting for this out of chocolate pudding. I used to hate avocados, but I adore them now and people most likely won't believe you if you tell them they're in here.

Chocolate Pudding:
2 Avocados
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon melted coconut butter(not essential, but it helps it to firm up when chilled)

Place all ingredients into a food processor except for coconut butter, blend until smooth. You'll probably need to scrape down the sides while blending, once smooth pour in coconut butter slowly with machine on. Blend until fully mixed. If you want to use it to frost the cake, place in fridge for about half an hour to chill.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Carrot Ginger Soup

It's the (Chinese) year of the rabbit, eat lots of carrots! I've been eating so many lately my hands have begun to turn orange, which is unfortunate. You can make this as spicy or as mild as you like, I'm obsessed with ginger so I like tons in mine, and so spicy that my nose runs after I'm done drinking it. This also makes awesome salad dressing, tossed with greens, sprouts, and asian inspired vegetables.

2 1/2 cups carrot juice
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut(you could use fresh, but I only had dried at the time)
small piece of ginger, minced
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper(or to taste)

Put everything in a blender and blend until warm.

For the 'noodles' on here I sliced a daikon radish super thin on a mandoline, then sprinkled them with a bit of salt to tenderize them and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Sliced into thin strips then tossed them with dressing.

Blueberry Banana Sorbet

Bluberry Banana Sorbet

This is possibly the easiest thing you could ever make. And I may or may not have been eating this for dinner in lieu of a proper dinner. Oh well. You can play around with the ratios of this, more bananas makes for a softer, creamier ice cream, more fruit makes it a little grainier and harder to scoop. You could do just bananas if you wanted too, or add some cacao powder/vanilla/cinnamon. Chocolate sauce is good too (2 tablspoons agave syrup, 1 tablespoon melted coconut butter, and 1-2 tablespoons of cacao powder). Food Processors work better for this than blenders, but I've never tried so I can't say. If it's not broke don't fix it!

Take 2-3 bananas, chop them up and stick them in the freezer.
Take 1/2 frozen berries/other frozen fruit

Stick it all into a food processor until it's all light and fluffy and looks like ice cream. Eat it.

Summer Squash Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce

This was something that came into existence because I had lots of odds and ends lying around in my fridge from making Asparagus Portobello Ravioli from Raw Food Real World. I like Summer Squash (which is basically yellow zucchini) because it looks more like pasta, but the flavor is pretty much the same as regular zucchini. For the noodles run 1-2 squash through a spiral slicer.

From Raw Food Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis
For the Lemon Cream Sauce:
1 cup of cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon agave syrup
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, or for a bit longer to warm it up.

For the Asparagus and Mushrooms:
Chop 1/2 lb of whatever type of mushrooms you like and 1 small bunch of asparagus into bite sized pieces, toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of thyme. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Dehydrate at 115f for 2 hours(approx) or until they look sauteed.

The raviolis looked like this:

The 'pasta' part was made from coconut meat cut into squares, then dipped in the lemon sauce, with the filling sandwiched between two slices.

An Introduction

Since becoming a raw vegan I've encountered many people under the misconception that all you can eat is carrot sticks. While I do really really enjoy carrot sticks, this blog is my attempt to prove to the world that you can eat whole, healthy, living foods, and they can be amazing. Right now I'm lucky enough in my life to be able to have lots of time at home where I can spend the day making food in between photography work. This has led me to being able to try things I didn't have time to before, or was too intimidated to. So now I'm on a one woman mission to prove to everyone that raw vegan food is delicious.

To place this all in context here's a brief history of how I got into raw foods:

For those not in the know, the premise of Raw Food is that nothing can be heated over 118f. Therefore food is dehydrated, sprouted, blended, and sometimes frozen instead of being cooked. The reason being to preserve enzymes(which contribute to the breakdown of fats and protein) in your food. Our bodies produce both metabolic and digestive enyzmes on their own, but most raw foodists believe that not cooking food means that the foods we eat contribute their own enzymes to the digestive process, therefore making it easier for your body to digest. Some raw foodist include dairy/fish/meat in their diets, but I don't, for ethical and health reasons. If you want a more in depth explanation about raw food, check out this link:

I don't feel like I know enough about the topic of nutrition to comment on the ins and outs of how your body works, all I have is my own experience. And my experience says that eating a mostly raw diet makes me feel awesome, so I listen to that. Being a vegan and a raw foodist came into my life at a time when I think I needed it the most. I had been mistreating my body for awhile, through eating disorders, substance abuse, ect. and I felt pretty terrible. I went to see the movie Food Inc. with a friend one day and left the movie theater deciding I was going to be a vegan. I pretty much made the switch overnight, and to be honest I felt far better despite the fact that I've heard you're not suppose to do that. I kept reading about raw foods and they sounded pretty good, so I started eating mostly raw. And it was wonderful for awhile, but after a bit I found it really hard. The recipes were confusing to me, the ingredients foreign, and so all I really ate were salads which got a bit boring.

In January I made the decision that I was no longer going to make myself feel guilty about what I eat, and I was going to eat what I wanted when I wanted. All I've really wanted to eat since making that decision was raw food, so this blog is about that!

Things I ate today:

Kale and Corn Chips with Chunky Guacamole

Ginger Noodle Salad

Chia Pudding

Kale Corn Chips with Chunky Guacamole:
I only made half the recipe to test it out, and ended up eating the entire batch for lunch. Oops. I've been trying to eat less nut based dishes cause I find they can be kind of heavy, so this was one of the recipes I found on my quest for lighter chips/crackers.
Originally from

Corn Kale Chips:

4 cups fresh or frozen corn, separated
2 packed cups kale, chopped
1 clove garlic1
1/2 lime, juice from
1/2 cup ground flax
pinch Himalayan Salt
Place 2 cups of corn, garlic, and lime juice in food processor. Puree. Remove to large bowl.
Place remaining 2 cups of corn in food processor and process until pureed. Add kale. Pulse until chopped fine and well combined. You may have to scrape down the sides of the processor a few times.
Add corn kale mix to corn mix in large bowl. Stir to combine.
Add ground flax and salt. Mix well.
Spread 1/4 inch thick on non-stick dehydrator sheets and score. Dehydrate at 145 for 45 minutes. Turn down temperature to 115 and dehydrate until dry and crisp, approx 12 hours. You will want to flip them half way through the dehydration and move to a screen.

Chunky Guacamole:

2-3 avocados, cubed
2 tomatoes, cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 lime, juice from
Himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Toss everything together in a bowl, stir to mix and serve!

NOTE: If you don't have a dehydrator you can make the chips in an over set at the lowest setting with the door ajar. I've never tried this so I don't know how long it takes though.

Chia Pudding:

Chia Seeds are a 'superfood' that were used by the Aztecs and originated from Mexico. When soaked in water/liquid they expand and can be eaten on their own, or used to thicken sauces/smoothies/ect. They have more Omega-3 fatty acids than flax, and they can absorb over 10x their weight in water. They're high in fiber, and antioxidants. They take on the taste of whatever liquid you put them in and are slightly reminiscent of tapioca pudding. Making Chia pudding is so simple I kind of hesitate to call it a recipe, you mix 1 part chia seeds to 3 parts liquid, stir it and leave it for about 20 minutes. The longer you leave it the thicker it gets, and it'll keep for about a week in the fridge (sometimes depending what liquid you use, some nut milks start to taste weird after that long). You can use coconut water, nut milks, whatever for the liquid, adding some stevia, cacao, vanilla, or agave is good too. For the photo above I used some coconut water and blended it with a handful of macadamia nuts and a packet of stevia, then strained it and poured it over the seeds.

3/4 Cup Chia Seeds
2 Cups Nut milk
Stevia/Vanilla to taste

Mix everything together, then let it rest for a bit, mix every 10 minutes or so til it reaches the consistency you want. It'll appear too liquidy initially but the seeds will plump up in time!