Author Archives: adrienne

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 15

raw vegan nut cheese plate

I am very late in writing up the synopsis for the rest of my Advanced Raw Cuisine course, but here it is, better late than never… Day 15!

Day 15 marked the end of pastry week! The finished chocolate bonbons were presented today. We also started prep work for one final pastry recipe that will be completed as part of week 4, and everything came together for the final cheese plate as well. It was beautiful when everything was laid out.

Here are some red pears in the vacuum sealed bag. They are marinading in a sauce that will make them both flavorful and soft. It contains some agave, lemon juice, and spices. The texture was wonderful. The apple slices were pliable and soft, just as if they’d been poached! These are for a chocolate walnut cake that will be ready as part of week 4. 

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These are some candied fennel seed in the making. Fennel seeds tossed with a little maple syrup and put into the dehydrator to get crispy! They will also be used for the walnut cake dessert. 

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Here are the final nut cheeses after aging in the fridge for over a month! The course is only 4 weeks, but since I was working on a longer 8 week track, I had the opportunity to age mine longer. The texture was wonderful. They were soft and creamy, definitely more “cheese-like”. The flavors were so mature. It was really worth the time to let this happen. I also put some of them into the dehydrator for about 24 hours to put a bit of a “rind” on them. 

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I present to you… the finished cheese plate! This has my nut cheeses, some homemade mustard, a raw bread loaf, some raw crackers, a few slices of cucumber and pear, and a few drops of a balsamic vinegar reduction. It was so good!

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The last thing that was finished on this day was a batch of chocolate bon bons! We learned how to temper chocolate and made these wonderful filled candies. There is a green tea and honey filling in the center. 

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Vegan Chipotle Chili Stew

vegan chipotle chili

Mmmmmmm, chili! We had a little “cold front” here in central Florida recently. It dropped down into the mid-high 40s for about 3 days in a row. It’s practically shorts and flip flops weather again, but we needed something with a little heat to warm us up. My husband hinted that it was great weather for chili, so we took out the crock put and put this fabulously spicy and smoky chipotle chili stew together! 

vegan chipotle chili

I get really excited about cold weather because it gives me excuses to experiment with various vegan chilis and stews. They’re also hearty enough that my husband will happily eat them without missing the meat, so that makes me happy. 

This chili ended up a little runnier than I was hoping because I haven’t used my crockpot in so long. I was a little rusty on which dishes need extra liquid for different cook times, etc. It turned out more like a cross between a chili and a Mexican stew, which was just fine with me! We served it over whole grain brown rice, and it turned out just wonderful! 

vegan chipotle chili

This chili has a variety of beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, and corn. I normally like to add black olives too, but I was so excited about the cold weather and the opportunity to make a batch of chili that I completely forgot. There are a lot of spices in this too for extra flavor: a few spicy peppers along with smoked paprika and chipotle, garlic etc. It has a really rich, smoky, and spicy flavor profile. If you don’t like spicy, feel free to omit the ingredients which are obviously added for extra heat, like the cayenne pepper. My mother would not go near this chili. 😉

I also wanted to make a cream sauce to go on top of it, but my husband wasn’t in the mood for sour cream, so I whipped up an onion hemp cream sauce to drizzle over the top. Most of the flavor comes from onion powder. This worked out really well since I did not have enough fresh onion to use in the actual chili. It was a nice flavor compliment to the other vegetables and the smoky flavors in the dish. 

vegan chipotle chili

 

Chipotle Chili Stew w/Onion Hemp Cream
Serves 8
Looking for something warm and smoky to warm you up this winter? This spicy chipotle chili is an easy vegan meal. Served over whole grain rice with an onion hemp cream sauce.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Chili Ingredients
  1. 56 oz crushed tomatoes (2-28 oz cans)
  2. 15 oz each (appx 1 can or make from dried): black, pinto, kidney, and chickpeas
  3. 10 oz fresh or frozen corn
  4. 8-10 oz chopped fresh white button mushrooms
  5. 8-10 oz fresh or frozen chopped bell peppers
  6. 2 TB dried cilantro
  7. 1 TB chili powder
  8. 1 TB cumin
  9. 1 TB chipotle chili (omit if you do not want it spicy)
  10. 1 TB smoked paprika
  11. 1-2 tsp smoked sea salt (to taste - there is no other salt in the recipe)
  12. 1 tsp cayenne pepper (omit if you do not want it spicy)
  13. 1 tsp red pepper flake (omit if you do not want it spicy)
  14. 1 tsp garlic powder
  15. 1-2 cups water (2 for a thinner "stew" and 1/2-1 for a thicker "chili")
Onion Hemp Cream Ingredients
  1. 1/4-1/2 cup water (depending upon desired thickness)
  2. 1/2 cup hemp seed
  3. 1 tsp onion powder
  4. 2 TB nutritional yeast
  5. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  6. juice of 1/2 a lemon (add to taste)
Base Grain Ingredients
  1. whole grain brown rice - 3 cups uncooked
Instructions
  1. Put all chili ingredients in a 6 qt. crockpot and mix until well combined. Set it on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours.
  2. Prepare rice as indicated on package before serving. We use a rice cooker, and it takes appx. 45-50 minutes.
  3. Blend all onion cream ingredient in a high speed blender until well combined.
  4. To assemble, place some rice in the bottom of a shallow bowl, spoon chili on top, and drizzle a little onion cream sauce on top. You can also top with some micro greens if you'd like. I really enjoyed the slight textural crunch and fresh flavor that they added.
Notes
  1. All of the ingredients for this recipe were organic. Please look for organic ingredients when possible.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Breakfast Wheatgrass Juice Shots

Ah, wheatgrass juice, my old friend… we meet again. =D 

My husband and I love to watch food documentaries and tv shows about food and culture. Our areas of interest within the topic of “food” vary pretty dramatically though. One theme we both really enjoy though is travel and sampling of local foods from different regions. I think we’ve both got a bit of wanderlust, or maybe just some nomadic tendencies. 

We recently watched a show covering the immense variety of different food offerings available in Los Angeles. The host tried high end dining, fast food, and even made a stop in to see “Mr. Wisdom” out there. He’s a Hare Krishna practitioner who offers vegan food, wheatgrass shots from grasses that he grows himself, and rejuvelac. My husband knows of my fondness for wheatgrass juice and my dislike of rejuvelac, so I think this part piqued his curiosity. 

I do occasionally grow wheatgrass, but not too frequently. It’s hard to keep the cats from eating all of it, and we have three of them now! Whenever we make a pilgrimage out to our semi-local Whole Foods, I usually like to pick up some of the locally grown wheatgrass so I can juice it at home. I hadn’t intended to pick any up this time, but he actually said he might like to give it a try! So, of course, I enthusiastically picked up the big bag. =P

This morning, before work, I juiced a shot for myself and a half shot for him since he’s never tried it before. The Hippocrates Institute recommends 2 ounces of wheatgrass juice twice a day for health and healing. Because it stimulates the liver to rapidly cleanse and detox the body, it is best to start with small amounts and work up to the recommended amount.

I remember the first time I tried it, I somewhat arrogantly thought that because I ate a healthy and healing diet already that I could jump right in with a larger amount. I had a shot and a half and I felt like I was going to throw up within an hour of drinking it. It’s really potent! I have no problem with this amount now. 🙂

The Hippocrates Institute recommends drinking it undiluted on an empty stomach, but I just can’t handle the flavor straight, so I drink it with fresh organic apple and/or cucumber juice. My husband saw the shots out while I was still juicing the apples this morning and asked, “So, this is what I’m supposed to drink?” I told him he could wait for the apple juice, but he just picked it up and shot it, seemingly unbothered. I suppose I should have expected that from a guy who drinks strong black coffee without batting an eyelash. Meanwhile, my “supertaster” taste buds make me want to gag if I try to drink it straight. 

Health Benefits of Wheatgrass Juice

Why is this such a healthy habit to get into? According to the Hippocrates Institute, wheatgrass contains:

  • twice as much vitamin A as carrots
  • more vitamin C than citrus
  • the full spectrum of B vitamins
  • calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus in balanced ratios
  • all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein
  • 20% of calories from protein
  • enzymes that protect us from carcinogens and help the body to remove toxic metals

Here are some other health benefits (source: http://www.organicauthority.com/health/15-uses-for-wheatgrass-juice.html):

  • stimulates circulation
  • improves digestion
  • treats arthritis by means of the chlorophyll reducing inflammation
  • increases oxygen supply to bodily tissues, which facilitates cellular regeneration
  • helps the liver to detoxify the body more efficiently
  • stabilizes blood sugar
  • improves complexion through cellular regeneration – in addition to drinking it, you can put it directly on your skin to heal sunburns faster, treat discoloration, and heal wounds faster
  • helps to prevent cancer by cleansing and oxygenating the blood
  • improves immune function

Additional Wheatgrass Resources

Bottoms up! =D

Quinoa Collard Wraps (Vegan)

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

In response to all of the intricate raw food posts I’ve made over the last several months, I’ve been hearing a common question: “When do you have time to do all of that?!” Well, the truth is that I don’t, and I often had to sacrifice my sleep to complete everything on time. The learning experience was fantastic, but I need a little break, so I’m taking the month of November off to rest and do some traveling.

Like most other full time working professionals, my free time is limited to evenings and weekends, and many times after a long day, I’m just tired and don’t want to put a lot of effort info food preparation. Of course, I always want to make sure that I’m not sacrificing the quality or nutritional value of my food when I do so. I still shop almost exclusively in the produce department and make everything from scratch.

So, what was on my dinner plate this evening? Quinoa collard wraps! There is a local restaurant here where we live that makes wraps, which my husband is very fond of (I’ve never tried them). Today, he mentioned swinging by there for lunch, and I suggested that since he liked wraps so much, we should just pick up some ingredients at the grocery store to make our own much more affordably. Big thumbs up from Mr. Frugal. =D

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

We obviously have much different tastes in food (hence the name of this blog). While he is using whole wheat tortillas and turkey in his, I love to use gigantic collard greens as wraps and fill them with vegetables. Quinoa also makes a really hearty filling for wraps. While many traditional wraps put the grains on the outside and greens on the inside, I like to reverse it! I get a lot more green in my diet this way. 

These were really easy to make. I cooked some quinoa and seasoned it like a tuna salad with celery and onion. Something that I also really love to add to quinoa is a good quality mustard. In this case, I used a 100% homemade curry honey mustard! A little of this stuff goes a long way. Use it sparingly!

curry honey mustard

Of course, you can use any kind that you like, but but seasoning the quinoa with any sauce or spread you might put in a sandwich, you don’t have to worry about it dripping out of your wrap while you’re trying to eat it.

I also added tomato, some yellow bell pepper, some spicy radish sprouts, and a few slices of homemade pickles from cucumbers that I grew on my porch. 

dill pickles

Cucumbers in brine, at the start of the pickling process.

All you have to do is layer in your ingredients and then wrap it up just like a burrito. After that, slice it in half (on the diagonal to be a little fancier), and voila!

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

I ate two of these for dinner, and I feel very satisfied. I also met my requirement of adding something leafy and green to every meal. 😉

This is an incredibly healthy meal for several reasons:

  • Quinoa is a great plant-based source of protein, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is one of the only grains which can be considered a “complete protein”, and it also contains more minerals than other grains.
  • Quinoa contains a bioflavanoid called “quercetin”, which is also found in the skins of apples and onions. It helps to stabilize mast cells and prevent the release of histamine. If you have allergies, this is a great food to incorporate into your diet. 
  • Leafy greens are a great source of calcium in general, but collards are the best source of calcium among all leafy greens, or any other vegetable for that matter!
  • Collards are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, and vitamin C. 2 cups of chopped collards give you 92% of all the RDA for vitamin C. The leaves in this recipe are so large, they easily blow that out of the water. 
  • Collard greens are also a source of ALA (omega-3). Combined with vitamin K, they are a highly anti-inflammatory food.
  • Collard greens are effective at lowering cholesterol! Their high fiber content and the nutrients they contain bind to the bile acids that are released by our gallbladders after eating a fatty meal. Instead of getting reabsorbed into the body along with the fat, they pass through the intestines and existing cholesterol must be broken down to make more bile acids. This is actually the same mechanism by which some cholesterol drugs work. (Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=138)

Please enjoy this recipe!

Quinoa Collard Wraps
Serves 1
These quinoa collard wraps are not only easy and quick to make, they are also delicious and nutritious!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
Wrap Ingredients
  1. 2 giant collard leaves - washed, dried, and stems shaved down flat
Quinoa Ingredients
  1. 1 cup cooked quinoa
  2. 1/2-1tsp honey mustard
  3. 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  4. 2-3 tsp red onion, finely chopped
  5. pinch or two of salt, to taste
  6. twist or two of black pepper, to taste
Other Wrap Fillings
  1. 1/4 bell pepper, cut into strips
  2. 1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
  3. 6-8 small dill pickle slices (don't skip these!)
  4. sprouts of your choice (optional for extra "green")
Instructions
  1. If you have leftover quinoa, this is a great use for it! Just mix in the "Quinoa Ingredients".
  2. If you need to cook the quinoa, follow the instructions on the package or just throw it in a rice cooker if you can't be bothered to read such things (guilty). Just make sure you rinse it first to remove residue which can result in bitterness.
  3. Chop the vegetables. If you had to cook your quinoa, mix the celery and onion in while it's still warm to soften them a bit. They are also good crunchy!
  4. Lay your prepared collard leaves down on a flat surface. Don't forget to shave the stems down with a sharp knife so the leaves can be rolled easily.
  5. Depending on the size of your collard greens, add appx 1/4 cup of quinoa (or maybe a little more or less) to the center of the leaf.
  6. Add any other wrap fillings that you'd like.
  7. Roll it up like a burrito.
  8. Slice it up and eat it!
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 14

raw vegan baklava

Here is the recap for Day 14 of Advanced Raw Cuisine! We are well into the desserts and pastries, and also working toward our finished advanced cheese plates!

The first task of the day was to put our fermented nut cheeses into the dehydrator to develop a nice rind if we wanted to. Yes, please! That is one of my favorite things to do with raw cheeses! It just seems to give them so much more texture and make them more cheese-like. They are a bit more firm and have a nice professional finish on the outside. Into the dehydrator my cheeses went!

We also started soaking some more oats to prepare flour for additional recipes that we will be working on later in the course. 

The next task of the day was to make the baklava filling and syrup, and then to plate it. It was a delicious blend of pistachio, apricot, and spices. The syrup was infused with citrus. The whole dish was quite a treat for me because… I’VE NEVER EATEN BAKLAVA BEFORE IN MY LIFE.

It’s not that I’ve been living under a rock. I’ve just had problems with wheat and gluten for most of my life, so there are a lot of things I never had the chance to try. Anyway, here are some lovely pictures of the assembled raw vegan baklava. 

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Next… CHOCOLATE! Yes, they taught us how to tempter chocolate! By using ingredients which are raw to begin with, the chocolate stays raw because the tempering process does not take it over 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Tempering chocolate is the process of heating and cooling it to specific temperatures in order to leave in tact only those fat crystals which leave the chocolate hard and shiny. This is the process that gives bon bons, filled chocolates, chocolate bars, etc. their familiar “crunch” and glossy appearance. It also keeps chocolate from melting at room temperature!

One of my favorite parts of this exercise was playing with my new infrared thermometer! I have always wanted an excuse to play with one of these. It’s so much easier than using a candy thermometer because there is nothing to clip on or clean up afterward. Just point and shoot occasionally. It’s also great for making sure your water temperature is perfect for tea. 😉

Check out my bon bons below. The first photo is the initial coating of the Polycarbonate Candy Mold (the text links to the actual mold I purchased) and the second photo shows a green tea and honey filling that I made for them. After setting up in the fridge to harden the filling, I added a final layer of chocolate on the top (which would actually become the bottom of the candy) and let them set in the fridge for about an hour. 

raw vegan chocolate raw vegan chocolate

Finished bon bon photos coming on day 15! 😉

If you’d like to learn more about raw food and chocolate, Matthew Kenney has a great book about it, aptly called, “Raw Chocolate“.

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 13

raw vegan linzer cookies

Day 13 of advanced raw cuisine is completed! The day started off with my old friend, the Irish moss seaweed. It has to soak for a few hours so I can make some more Irish moss paste to use in a dessert recipe that is coming up!

irish moss soaking

After the seaweed was put in some water to soak, it was time to learn about mustards, chutneys, and reductions. We were given some guidelines and allowed to make our own mustard and chutney variations to be set aside as candidates for our cheese plates later in the week. We also made balsamic vinegar reductions in the dehydrator that we will be using in the caprese salad plating on day 16!

Recipes for both the mustard and the chutney are included at the bottom of this entry!

The mustard I made is a spicy yellow curry honey mustard. I was very pleased with the way it turned out. My husband has been putting it on his sandwiches. 🙂 

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The chutney I made is a spicy pineapple chutney with some dried apricot and a little fresh mint. It was both refreshing and potently spicy at the same time… a real sinus clearer… my kind of food! 

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This is the easiest balsamic vinegar reduction I have ever made! I didn’t have to worry about watching anything on the stove, or checking temperatures, or making sure anything wasn’t burning! I just put the glass bowl of balsamic vinegar into the dehydrator to let some moisture evaporate off, and after a few hours, I was left with a beautiful balsamic vinegar syrup. 

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As a bonus, we also learned how to make homemade vanilla extract. It is really simple. I can’t believe I’ve never done this before. I took herbalism classes years ago, and it is literally just a vanilla bean tincture. Pour some vodka over the plant matter and let it hang out in a dark place for 4-6 weeks. Voila!

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The other fun thing we got to do today was to assemble the linzer cookies! After making and dehydrating the cookie shapes yesterday, and making the jam, everything was ready. I spread a bit of the raspberry jam between the layers and had a lot of fun taking photos of them. I nibbled a little, but to be honest, my husband was the one who got to eat most of them. They have an almond flour base, and eating too much almond sets off my allergies, so I had to give them up. They turned out to be quite beautiful though!

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After making the liner cookies, we started a cracker recipe, so that we would have some crispy components to add to our cheese plates. I added some garlic and black sesame seeds to give them a more pungent flavor and a nice visual appearance. I really love how they turned out!

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After setting the crackers up in the dehydrator, I blended the Irish moss into a paste and then day 13 was all wrapped up! I’m so ready to go for chocolate making on day 14!!!

Spicy Yellow Curry Honey Mustard
This spicy yellow curry honey mustard blends the exotic and the familiar and a unique flavor combination that is great spread on breads, crackers, sandwiches, etc. If you like spicy food, you will love this mustard recipe!
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 TB yellow mustard seed, soaked in cold water for 10 min (use warm water for less spice)
  2. 2 TB yellow mustard seed, unsoaked
  3. 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup fermented coconut water (or use a dry white wine)
  5. 1/4 tsp salt
  6. 1 TB yellow curry powder
  7. 2 TB raw honey
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and well incorporated.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/
Spicy Pineapple Apricot Chutney
This chutney blends tropical fruit and spicy flavors with fresh elements of mint and basil. It is sure to clear both your palate and your sinuses. 😉
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Food Processor ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
  2. 2 TB chopped apricot (appx 5 apricots)
  3. 1/4 thai chili, seeded (omit this if you don't want it to be spicy)
  4. 1 TB lime juice
  5. 1/4 tsp of salt
Chopped and folded-in ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
  2. 2 TB chopped spearmint
  3. 1 TB chopped basil
Instructions
  1. Blend the "food processor ingredients" in a food processor until well incorporated, but still a little chunky.
  2. Transfer blended ingredients to a bowl and fold in the remaining chopped pineapple and fresh herbs.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Mushroom Taco Lettuce Wraps (Raw Vegan)

mushroom taco lettuce cups

I’m still working on the recap of the second half of my advanced raw cuisine class, but until I have all of the blog posts up, I still have to feed myself and my husband, so that leaves a lot of room for experimentation. These mushroom taco lettuce wraps are what I put together for dinner tonight, and there was enough leftover to have for lunch tomorrow too. For tomorrow’s lunch, I’ll be chopping up some romaine and taking the leftovers as a taco salad. =D

mushroom taco lettuce cups

I took a vacation immediately following the completion of my culinary classes, and returned with a strong desire to go back to my low fat lifestyle after 4 months of culinary classes and a vacation that was vegan, but contained far too much fat. I went on a cruise and although the wait staff was very good at honoring my requests that everything be vegan and gluten free, much of it was cooked and laden with oils. I was too polite to send the food back since they had worked so hard to accommodate my food allergies. I tried to eat fresh fruits for breakfast and salads for lunch, but it wasn’t enough. On a plant-based diet, just putting oil and vinegar on a salad can result in at least 30% of the day’s calories coming from fat! That doesn’t even include fats from whole food sources. 

I am a firm believer in Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s research and approach on diet, whole foods, and macronutrients. In his latest book, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, he discusses that the ideal macronutrient ratio is 80/10/10 (carbs/protein/fats). He is not the first expert to express this opinion either. Douglas Graham’s book, The 80/10/10 Diet, goes into a lot of detail about this topic as well (I recently finished this book and hope to get a review written in the coming weeks). 

I have experimented with this very low fat way of eating before, and not only did I have more energy, I also slept much better. I had been tracking my sleep for over a year on my FitBit, looking for ways to improve my sleep, and I noticed a drastic reduction in the number of sleep disturbances after eating this way for only a couple of days. The number of disturbances remained low until I started adding more fats back into my diet again. My skin complexion also seems to be much better with less fat in my diet. Ultimately, I just feel better and have more energy.

Anyway, for this reason, I’ve been striving to keep my diet very fresh and clean since I’ve been home. My fats have been very low, and since I aim for a weekly average of 10% fat, I added a small amount of avocado oil to the mushrooms in this dish to give them a bit more texture. Despite that, my omega fatty acids for the day were still balanced and I am still within range for my macronutrient ratios for the week! There is a total of 1 TB, but it is meant to be served as an appetizer for 4 people, and if you feel very strongly about omitting oils completely from your diet, you could leave it out (or you could add more for a richer mouthfeel). 

I hope you enjoy this recipe! It’s easy to make, very healthy and fresh, and the final outcome is visually appealing as well if you might have guests coming to visit. 🙂

mushroom taco lettuce cups

Raw Vegan Mushroom Taco Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4
These raw vegan mushroom taco lettuce wraps are a satisfying and lean appetizer, full of flavor, and easy to make!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 head of Boston, Butter, or Bibb lettuce
  2. 8 oz white button mushrooms, diced
  3. 1 TB avocado oil (see notes on different oils)
  4. 2 TB of your favorite taco/fajita seasoning mix (refer to notes for one I like to use)
  5. 2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
  6. 1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  7. 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (or more if you love it as much as I do)
  8. 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  9. 1/4 sprouted mung beans, lentils, or a mix (optional, but makes it a bit more hearty and increases the protein)
  10. 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  11. pinch of salt (or two!)
  12. 1/2 tsp cumin
  13. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Instructions
  1. Toss chopped mushrooms, avocado oil, and taco seasoning together until mushrooms are well coated. Put in a covered glass bowl (either with a lid or with plastic wrap - no towels - you don't want the moisture to escape) and put in a dehydrator at 145 for 1 hour. (See note about temperature.)
  2. Separate the lettuce leaves from the head, clean, dry, and set aside.
  3. The remaining ingredients are for the salsa. Mix them together in a bowl and set aside to marinade while the mushrooms are sweating.
  4. When the mushrooms are ready, place some lettuce leaves onto a plate, and spoon on the salsa and seasoned mushrooms. Top with a cilantro leaf to make it extra fancy.
Notes
  1. The taco seasoning I use is from a local shop called "Penzeys Spices". They make it for chicken, but I love it on mushrooms! https://www.penzeys.com/online-catalog/chicken-taco-seasoning/c-24/p-516/pd-s
  2. You can use a different oil than avocado if you like, but I like this one for it's truly neutral flavor. From a health perspective, I normally prefer flax oil as it's the only plant based oil with more omega 3 than 6.
  3. If you are opposed to eating oil and very strict about eating 100% whole plant foods, you could omit it. If you want a richer mouthfeel for the mushrooms to be more "meaty", you could alternatively add more.
  4. If you do not have a dehydrator, you can marinade the mushrooms overnight instead. A little extra salt will help them to release their juices.
  5. Using your dehydrator at 145 for the short period of time called for in the recipe will not result in the internal temperature of the food being heated that high. It will still be well within range to still be considered raw. When I removed the mushrooms, they were "lukewarm" to the touch. The goal is to just help them "sweat" a bit.
  6. This recipe is meant to be eaten as an appetizer for 4 (or 2 for 2 meals each). That works out to only 3/4 tsp oil per serving.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 12

Pastry week continues in Advanced Raw Cuisine! Today, we worked on prep recipes for a number of items that will be completed in the next few days of the curriculum.

We started the day with some almond flour for a linzer cookie dough, checked on our bread from yesterday, and started another fermented nut cheese that will become a mozzarella for a caprese salad. I can’t wait to try it! I formed it into rustic looking rounds in preparation for the final plating before putting it into the dehydrator. 

raw vegan mozzarella cheeseraw vegan mozzarella cheeseraw vegan mozzarella cheese

The first “finished” recipe for today was a jam that will go into our linzer cookies. We were given a base recipe and allowed to pick any fruit, preferably a berry, that we wanted. My local grocery store had raspberries on sale, and I hadn’t had them in so long because they are rather expensive, so I picked some up and made the wonderful raw jam that you see in the photo below: 

raw vegan raspberry jam

 

The next task was to make the dough for the linzer cookies. I’ve never had a traditional baked linzer cookie because of my gluten intolerance and allergies. This was a really fun project that allowed me to have something similar, which was much healthier. I used a traditional linzer cookie cutter to give them an authentic look, and it worked like a charm with the dough recipe that we were taught to make. Aren’t they professional looking? I was thrilled with the way they came out. 

raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies

Once the linzer cookies were rolled out and cut, they went into the dehydrator and it was time to work on the next project, which was to start on a phyllo dough for baklava! This was also something I never had the opportunity to try, so it was a very exciting recipe for me to work on. It’s not airy and flaky like a traditional phyllo dough, but it does hold up well to stacking and it has a wonderful flavor. I thought it was a wonderful raw translation of a phyllo dough for the purpose of stacking ingredients in layers. 

raw vegan phyllo dough raw vegan phyllo dough raw vegan phyllo dough

That’s if for day 12! Looking forward to tomorrow’s projects where we will start preparing some sauces and crackers for our cheese plates!

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 11

raw vegan thai salad

I’m officially into my third week of Advanced Raw Cuisine via Matthew Kenney Culinary Online. Today marks the start of… wait for it… PASTRY WEEK! We’ll be making cookies, breads, and crackers, and finishing the week with some chocolate making and a cheese plate with the nut cheeses that have been patiently fermenting in the refrigerator. I really loved putting the cheese plate together in the first level fundamentals class. The recipes we worked on today were fabulous. I have no doubt the rest of the week will be a lot of fun. 🙂

It’s time to get back to the cinnamon rolls… They were setting up in the freezer, and then I sliced them. I prefer my sweets in smaller portions, so I made these rolls smaller than usual. Not a whole lot of “swirl” going on, but I think they’re cute anyway. Cutting them down to this size also allowed me to use my sushi mat to roll them, which made the whole process really easy. After slicing, they went into the dehydrator for a few hours to warm up before plating and serving them later today.

raw vegan cinnamon rolls raw vegan cinnamon rolls

The next project was to learn a method for making raw bread loaves in the dehydrator! I had seen some of these before in old raw foods books, but they relied on sprouted glutenous grains, which I am unable to eat. This method does not! We used flours from some nuts and some sprouted gluten free grains for these. The seaweed, Irish moss, was used to hold the whole thing together and give it a bit of a bouncy texture. 

Since these breads will be going on our cheese plates at the end of the week, we were given free reign to add our own seasonings and make our own shapes. The rectangular loaf has some chopped olives in it. In the profile, you’ll see I shaped it like a cute miniature loaf of bread with the little “bubble” at the top. Those high school pottery classes are finally paying off! 😉

The second rounder loaf has a big of molasses and chicory root tea added in to give it a darker color and depth of flavor, as well as some caraway seed. My intent for that one was to be like a faux-rye bread with a biscotti-like profile after it is sliced. I am so excited to see how these turn out!

raw vegan bread loaf raw vegan bread loaf raw vegan bread loaf raw vegan bread loaf

All this pastry work sure does make a girl hungry. Thank goodness there was a salad recipe planned for today. This is a “Thai salad”. We learned more about combining unique ingredients and textures, and also about styling salads. This is a great lesson for me because I absolutely love salad, and I’m always looking for ways to make them a bit prettier. There is a little bit of the spicy sesame dressing peeking out from under the greens, and some more mixed into the mix of colorful vegetables and coconut on the top.

This was an amazingly delicious salad. It’s still pretty warm here in central Florida, so it was nice to have something that was light and refreshing, but still had a lot of flavor. I would definitely make this one again!

raw vegan thai salad raw vegan thai salad raw vegan thai salad

After the salad, it was time for dessert. It’s pastry week, right? Bring on the pastries! =D

Remember that chocolate chili sauce I made on day 10? It’s going on the cinnamon rolls! This was one exotic dessert and I really loved it! The rolls are topped with some chocolate and chopped walnuts (the rolls also have walnuts in them). The drink you see paired with them is a chili-cacao herbal tea with a cashew foam to make something that is kind of a cross between a tea latte and a cappuccino. I topped it with a few slivers of thai chili pepper. Chocolate and chili are one of my favorite flavor combinations! 

This wraps up day 11. Looking forward to more pastry adventures on day 12!

raw vegan spicy chocolate butter raw vegan cinnamon rolls raw vegan cinnamon rolls

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 10

raw vegan tomato filet and cheese crisps

Day 10 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney academy is completed!

What a busy day! As we are nearing the half way point, the midterm exam was today! After the text was completed, it was time to check in on the nut cheeses that have been aging in the fridge.

The big yellow one in the back left position is a cashew and probiotic powder cheese with parsley, turmeric, onion powder, garlic, and black pepper. It has a wonderful rich and cheesy flavor. After it warms a bit, it is also spreadable. 

The large orange wedge in the back right position is macadamia and fermented coconut water with smoked paprika and caraway seed. This one will be smoked with the smoking gun after it is done curing in the fridge. 

In the front right position is a macadamia and rejuvelac cheese with dill, and in the front left position is a sweet and spreadable cheese of brazil and pine nut, fermented with water kefir, and seasoned with honey, cinnamon, cardamom, and dried figs. 

raw vegan fermented nut cheeses raw vegan fermented nut cheeses raw vegan fermented nut cheeses raw vegan fermented nut cheeses raw vegan fermented nut cheeses raw vegan fermented nut cheeses

After checking in on the cheeses, we put together a light and simple dish of filleted heirloom tomatoes, tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and plated with the basil butter made during the first week of the class. It was topped with the cheese crisps we made yesterday and some micro greens. I choose to use some micro basil from my porch garden. 🙂

If you’d like to make something similar there is a great recipe for “herbed crackers” in Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney. To make them more cheesy, simply add more nutritional yeast. 

raw vegan tomato filet and cheese crisps raw vegan tomato filet and cheese crisps raw vegan tomato filet and cheese crisps

After enjoying a nice appetizer, we got a sneak peek of the pastry work that we will be doing in week 3. We started a batch of cinnamon rolls! We made a dough that was rolled out and then added a spiced paste and some crushed nuts and dried fruit. They were put in the freezer to set up, and at the start of week 3, we’ll be slicing them and warming in the dehydrator, to be served with some special sides and a surprise beverage!

raw vegan cinnamon rolls raw vegan cinnamon rolls raw vegan cinnamon rolls

 

To finish off the day, we had the opportunity to design our own enhanced sauce in the form of a frozen butter that could be served with either our cinnamon rolls, or a bread loaf that we will learn how to make next week. I chose to make a spicy chocolate butter that will be paired with the cinnamon rolls, and have included the recipe below for you. 🙂

Here are some shots of it fresh out of the blender and in the silicon trays. It would also be good on its own as a chocolate sauce to drizzle over some ice cream. 

raw vegan spicy chocolate butter raw vegan spicy chocolate butter raw vegan spicy chocolate butter

Mayan Chocolate Sauce / Frozen Chocolate Butter
A warm and spicy chocolate sauce, which can also be frozen into a chocolate butter.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup avocado oil
  2. 2 TB coconut oil
  3. 2 TB agave syrup
  4. 2 TB cacao powder
  5. 1 tsp chili powder
  6. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  7. 1/4 tsp chipotle smoked sea salt
  8. pinch cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until perfectly smooth. Use immediately either as a chocolate sauce on an ice cream, or freeze into silicon molds to use as spicy chocolate butter on your favorite warm dessert for a textural treat.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/