Thursday, March 24, 2011

Zucchini and Nut Crackers

Raw crackers are something I always find nice to have on hand, they're usually quick to throw together, you can make them in large batches and they last a very very long time. Proof: I made a batch of Flax Crackers near the beginning of my going raw(about a year ago), I discovered them lurking in the back of my cupboard about a month ago and tried one, and they tasted fine. A little crisper than previously, but definitely still edible!

1/2 cup ground flax
3/4 cup water
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cups nuts (I used a mix of almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds)
handful of fresh mint
2 tsps salt
hemp/poppy/sesame seeds for sprinkling

Combine water and flax until all the water is absorbed

In a food processor, process zucchini until it's in small pieces and add to flax.

Chop nuts in food processor until finely ground, add to the bowl and stir in mint.

Spread on Teflex sheets and sprinkle with seeds, score into desired shapes.

Dehydrate for about 6 hours at 115, remove teflex sheets and flip, then dehydrate til completely dry.

Double Sesame Hummus

The last week I had was kind of a bummer, I got into a car accident, my car is now a write off, I had some issues with work and it felt a bit like stress was coming in from all around. Every cloud has a silver lining though, and a shoot that I did a month ago got published in the West Ender(a local Vancouver paper)! Every time I see a box on a street corner I'm tempted to yell at everyone in the vicinity 'I TOOK THAT PHOTO'! But I don't, cause I'd rather not frighten them.

Anyways, with all that going on I really haven't been eating/making anything exciting, I've been pretty much just eating Hummus, dippable veggies, smoothies and crackers all week. Hummus is like crack for me, I could eat it all day every day. I made up a sort of asian inspired version with Toasted Sesame Oil, my new favorite ingredient. (Yeah yeah, it's not raw but at 1 tablespoon in the whole recipe I think I can sneak by the Raw Police. Un-toasted just isn't the same). Sort of the equivalent of fast/lazy food for me.

2 small or 1 large zucchini(peeled if you don't want it green)
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4-1/2 cup tahini
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon EVOO
1-2 cloves garlic

Mix all in a blender until smooth.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Couscous and Sushi

Jicamas may possibly be one of my new favorite vegetables. Ground up really small they resemble the texture/look of rice, and can be used in place of rice pretty much everywhere you could think. It has a slight natural sweetness and a little bit of crunch. I used one and split it up to make raisin studded 'couscous', drizzled with some macadamia nut oil, and served with a jalapeno Harissa(a tomato and pepper sauce). The other half went into making sushi rolls with avocado and mushrooms. Every time I attempt to make sushi I find that someone has thrown out my bamboo rolling mat. Every. Single. Time. By the time I realized it this round, I was halfway through making it and not in the mood to run out and buy one, so I used a large freezer bag. Oddly enough it rolled better than any bamboo mat I've ever used.

Jicama Rice:
1/2 jicama (usually produces about 3 cups cubed), peeled and diced

Place in a food processor and whirl until it resembles rice, place into a strainer and squeeze out as much water as you can. You can flavor it at this point and use it, or you can dry it for a few hours in the dehydrator to get rid of some of the moisture. If you're making sushi you'll want to use this option, otherwise your nori will fall apart.

For the Couscous:
Add a couple handfuls of raisins and a tablespoon or two of macadamia nut oil, and a pinch of salt.

For Sushi:
Mix in 2 tblspns agave, 1 tblspn brown rice vinegar, and 1 tblspn mirin, as well as a pinch of salt.

Baba Ganoush

To be honest, I've never eaten the conventional version of Baba Ganoush(an eggplant garlic dip), so I have nothing to compare it to. But I like this one a lot, freezing then unfreezing the eggplant helps remove some of the bitterness.

1 Eggplant(large)
1 zucchini(peel removed if you don't want a weird green dip)
1/2 cup soaked cashews
1-2 cloves garlic
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt to taste
1/4 cup tahini
2 tblspns olive oil

Dice the eggplant and freeze, then defrost completely.

Place all ingredients into a food processor, process until smooth.

How to Be A Lazy Vegan

Granted most people don't work mostly from home like I do and have lots of time to prepare food most days. I find I spend about half my time like that, and the other half my time out and about without much time to eat. So I'm going to try and share with you everything I know about eating vegan when you don't have a lot of time, or are too lazy or hungry to make anything exciting or time consuming.

1) Being prepared: Carrying snacks with you(nuts are dried food are nice and portable, larabars, apples, oranges, bananas, dried crackers/flat bread/wraps) if you know you're not going to get a chance to really sit down and eat something, or have the time to buy something. Or having these things at home when you're really hungry from a long day.

2) Plan your meals: I try and do one huge grocery trip once a week, and usually make some kind of salad dressing or dip in a large batch to have in my fridge. Buying boxes of salad mix, or making your own and leaving it in the fridge is nice cause then all you need to do is mix the two together. I usually make a big batch of crackers or flatbread as well to have for snacking. Avocados can be made into guacamole pretty quick as well.

3) Run out of ideas: I read blogs, cookbooks, ect. I try to make a point of trying something that sounds weird to me just to see if I like it, and if you do, well you've found something new! Another thing I love about raw food is that usually nothing goes terribly wrong if you substitute most ingredients. When I first started eating raw I used to search high and low for all the exact ingredients, and once I brought them all home I would usually forget what exactly I bought them for and end up not knowing how to use them. I've gotten better at this now. I have a habit of making 1 thing a week, then only wanting to eat that so I end up eating it for a whole week. Then I get bored of it and move on. I'm not really sure why. Trying a new vegetable/fruit a week keeps things interesting as well.

Things that taste good but don't take long to make:
Zucchini Noodles: Run them through a spiralizer, and toss them with salad dressing, thinned out dip, tomato sauce, pesto, veggies, nuts,
Soups: Toss all the ingredients in a blender until they get warm, and chop some more veggies to mix in.
Salads: Pretty self explanatory, and lots of variety.
Wraps: Like a salad but you can carry it with one hand.

Some recipes can be made into several different things, for example: cashew cheese. It can be flavored pretty much any way you like, and used as a dip, spread, sauce, dressing, filling, eaten on it's own, or dried and made into a cracker. It's also ridiculously easy to make:

1 C Cashews
1/2 C Pine Nuts
1/2 Lemon
1/2 Shallot (about 2 T)
1 Clove Garlic
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add some water to thin if desired.
You could add herbs, sundried tomatoes, other nuts, spices, whatever your heart desires.

Examples of foods that serve more than one purpose:

Burger Patties! Without dehydration they're sort of like a pâté, you can use them as burgers(obviously), crumble them up over 'spaghetti', stuff them in a wrap, eat them on their own...

Baba Ganoush: (Although this applies to all dip-like things), eat it with crackers, put it in wraps, thin it with some water and use as a sauce.

Banana Ice Cream: Eat on it's own, make a sundae, top a fruit salad with it, put it in a smoothie, make parfaits...

Hopefully this was somewhat helpful!