Category Archives: Grains & Breads

How to Make Sushi – An Easy Tutorial!

sushi

I’ve had this sushi tutorial on my old domain from college for years. I’ve been thinking for a long time that since I have a proper food blog (which is now over two years old!), that I ought to migrate that content over here. 

I’m going to teach you how to make sushi. It might sound intimidating, but it’s actually pretty easy once you practice a few times. The best part is that it is so much cheaper to make it at home, and you can often find the ingredients in bulk at very reasonable prices at your local Asian market.

raw vegan sushi

Tools

There are some really handy tools I recommend for making sushi at home, which will make your life much easier. You might find them at your local grocery store or big box store since making sushi at home has become trendy in recent years, or you might find a better deal online. Here is what you will need, along with some handy Amazon links to purchase them (and I am very grateful for any purchases you make there, since it helps to keep the virtual lights on for this blog). 

raw vegan sushi

Sushi Related Japanese Words and Phrases 

…And before we get started with the instructions, here are some fun sushi vocabulary words, so you can sound like a pro when telling all of your friends how to make sushi. 

  • Sushi – Literally, “sticky rice,” but in general, refers to anything made from the sticky vinegared rice. 
  • Nori – Dried and pressed sheets of seaweed. 
  • Maki OR “norimaki“- Regular old seaweed on the outside sushi roll.
  • Futomaki – Super big maki roll using a whole piece of Nori, rather than half.
  • Ura Maki – Inside out roll.
  • Temaki – Cone shaped hand roll.
  • Nigiri – A topping laid over a small bed of rice. Usually, this is fish, but you can use any veggie you like. 😉
  • Onigiri – A plain old rice ball filled with fun stuffin’s. 
  • Kappa – Cucumber (Kappa maki = cucumber roll).
  • Kombu – Kelp

Visual Reference for Rolling

Here is a series of images from the original (and very vintage, I might add, because they are so not my usual professional quality) blog post showing how to roll up your sushi. 

sushi-tutorial-13-add-rice-to-nori
sushi-tutorial-14-how-to-roll-sushi
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How to Make Sushi
Learn how to make sushi at home with this easy sushi tutorial. With the right tools, you'll be 'on a roll' in no time! This instructional guide uses vegetable rolls, so it's 100% vegan friendly!
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Rice
  1. 2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  2. 2.5 cups water (for cooking)
  3. 1/4 cup sushi vinegar
Wraps
  1. 4-6 sheets nori (assuming we are making maki rolls with the rice on the inside)
Fillings
  1. Cucumber
  2. Carrot
  3. Avocado
  4. Scallions
  5. Bell pepper
  6. Sunflower sprouts
  7. Pickled vegetables
  8. Marinaded tofu strips, tempeh, or other faux meats, if you're into that kind of thing
Preparing and Cooking the Rice
  1. Rinse the sushi rice until the rinse water runs clear, not cloudy. This is starch you are washing off. You can put the rice into a strainer under a faucet, but I find it's handy to put the strainer with the rice directly into a bowl of water, and then swish it around with my hands. You'll have to change the water a couple times, but you can see when it's "clean" a lot easier.
  2. Bring cooking water to a boil in a pot. Add rice. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low/simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the water is all absorbed. Alternatively, you can be lazy like me and use a rice cooker.
Preparing the Fillings
  1. While the rice is cooking, cut your fillings into long even strips. For cucumbers and carrots, use a julienne peeler to make the perfect squared edge strips that you see in a Japanese restaurant. They turn out so professional looking and it's much faster than chopping by hand. If you are including avocado, cut into thin wedges.
Seasoning the Rice
  1. When the rice is done cooking, fluff it a bit in the pot, so that it won't dump out into your bowl into one big clump. Sushi rice is sticky, and it will want to hold together.
  2. Transfer the rice to a non-metallic bowl. Metal will interact negatively with the vinegar that the rice is seasoned with. Add the vinegar and stir with your rice paddle or large non-metallic spoon.
Rolling the Sushi (Reference the blog post for some illustrations on what the rolling process looks like)
  1. For maki rolls, you need half a sheet of nori. Cut it in half so that the fold runs parallel with the perforated lines on the sheet. You can also just fold it and tear it gently along the fold.
  2. Lay the half sheet of nori on your sushi mat, again with the perforated lines running parallel to the bamboo strips on the mat.
  3. Cover the sheet with a thin even layer of the rice. It's VERY sticky. Leave about a 1/2 - 3/4 inch uncovered on the edge that is farthest away from you. Keep a small bowl of water nearby to dip your hands into if you don't want the rice to stick to them.
  4. Place some of the veggies on top the rice. Don't overfill. When you roll it together, the edges of the rice should touch together. It helps to run a wet finger along the un-riced edge so it will stick and seal the roll closed.
  5. Make sure the edge of the seaweed (closest to you) is lined up with the edge of the mat. Hold the veggies with your fingertips and use your thumbs to start curling the mat up. Guide the veggies firmly toward the center of the roll as you bring the edge of the mat up and over to start forming the roll.
  6. As you start rolling the mat up and over the veggies, the tube will start to form.
  7. When the mat hits the edge as you are rolling, then just peel it back, fold it under a bit, and start rolling again so that the edge of the mat will come over the roll. Once the maki is rolled all the way, put your fingers over the roll and give it a good squeeze and tug to make sure it's nice and firm, and round out the shape.
  8. If you have veggie pieces sticking out from the ends, just give them a trim with a good SHARP knife to make the ends flat.
Cutting the Sushi
  1. Use a VERY SHARP knife and slice it into about 6 pieces. A sharp knife is very important to making sure the roll has straight even edges and won't rip when cutting. It helps to dip the knife into some water before cutting the roll. Make sure there is no rice on the edge of the blade from cutting previous rolls.
Ura Maki Variation (Rice on the Outside)
  1. To make url maki, cover the entire half sheet of nori with rice and flip it over.
  2. Place the veggies on the seaweed. Since there is no rice taking up room, you can use more to fill the center.
  3. Roll in the same manner as the regular maki, ensuring that the edges of the rice overlap slightly so that the roll will stick closed.
  4. Garnish with some sesame seeds, if desired.
Hand Roll Variation (Low Carb)
  1. You can also use your half sheet of nori to make a hand roll (a sushi cone that you can hold in your hand). Cover it with a tender lettuce leaf, skip the rice, add your fillings on a 45 degree angle from one of the corners, and then roll it on a diagonal, wrapping the extra around and using a little water to seal the edges shut.
Notes
  1. Cook as much rice as you want using a ratio of 1:1.25 (rice:water).
  2. Each cup of uncooked rice will make 4-6 sushi rolls.
  3. For every cup of uncooked rice that you started with, use 2TB vinegar to season.
  4. "Sushi Vinegar" is rice vinegar with the addition of salt and sugar.
  5. Some sushi vinegars are malted, which means they may not be gluten free. If you are sensitive to gluten, make sure you read the labels carefully to find a product that meets your dietary standards.
  6. If you cannot find a sushi vinegar that is unsalted, you can make your own sushi vinegar using this formula - ½ cup of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt (it will be enough for 3 cups uncooked rice). You could try using a natural liquid sweetener here in place of the sugar. Just make sure to check substitution ratios, as some are more or less sweet than sugar.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Overnight Chia Oats

overnight chia oats

Since I started working out, I made it a habit to start eating breakfast (after my workouts since I do them fasted to improve my fat loss). I also workout first thing in the morning and I’m not a huge fan of getting up earlier than I have to, so I started making overnight chia oats. I can just mix my oats, chia seeds, water, spices, and frozen fruit together, then stick it in the fridge, and by morning, it’s ready to eat with no heating and no fussing. I don’t have to worry about cooking anything in the morning, waiting for the container to cool before I can pack it, etc. I just grab my bowl of oats from the fridge with the rest of my food for the day and I’m on my way out the door. 

Another benefit of this method is that it is very versatile. You can change the fruit, spices, and liquid to make multiple flavor combinations and never get bored! You could use nut milks instead of water. I have even used fruit infused kombucha! I am a big fan of blueberry and cinnamon, but I have made it with mango with a little bit of local raw honey drizzled over the top, and it was also very good. Banana with some dried coconut shreds was a big winner too.

Overnight Chia Oats With Fruit
Serves 1
A quick nutritious and delicious breakfast meal that you can prepare the night before, which requires no cooking!
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup oatmeal
  2. 3/4 cups water
  3. 1/2 cup berries or fruit of your choice
  4. 1.5 TB chia seeds
  5. 1 tsp cinnamon or other spices
  6. pinch sea salt
  7. optional: drizzle of local honey or a couple drops of stevia if you'd like to add a little more sweetness besides the fruit
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or jar with a lid and refrigerate overnight.
Notes
  1. Optional fruit/flavor combinations: blueberry/cinnamon, banana/coconut, mango/honey, strawberry/lime, raspberry/cacao, apple/cinnamon, pineapple/vanilla
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Red Beans and Rice Stuffed Peppers – Vegan and Oil Free

Red beans and rice stuffed peppers

I had been wanting to do a variation on red beans and rice for a while. I found some bell peppers on sale at the grocery store, so I thought it might be fun to incorporate the bell pepper as an external component and make stuffed peppers instead of chopping the peppers up and mixing them into the rice and beans. 

red beans and rice stuffed peppers - vegan and oil free

This stuffed peppers recipe came together quite nicely and worked out really well for my meal planning because I was able to pre-stuff all of the peppers and then just line them up on a baking pan in my refrigerator. The ones that wouldn’t stand up on their own were situated in some small ramekin bowls. They stayed fresh for the whole work week, and all I had to do was put them into a bread pan to bake them two at a time (or you could use a 9×9 pan to bake four at a time) when I came home from work. Alternatively, these would also work well if you wanted to create some freezer meals from them while peppers are in season and the prices are a bit lower. 

red beans and rice stuffed peppers - vegan and oil free

 

Red Beans and Rice Stuffed Peppers - Vegan and Oil Free
Serves 4
Smokey and spicy, this flavorful recipe is simple to prepare and works well to make ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator or freezer until it is time to cook them.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Stuffed Pepper Base Ingredients
  1. 5-6 bell peppers in any color
  2. 2 cups cooked whole grain brown rice (you can do this ahead of time in a rice cooker)
  3. 2 cups cooked kidney beans (you can do this ahead of time in a crock pot or use canned beans)
Sauté Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  2. 1/2 sweet onion
  3. 2 stalks celery
  4. 2 clove garlic
  5. 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  6. 2 tsp smoked paprika
  7. couple pinches black pepper
  8. pinch white pepper (very small pinch - it is potent)
  9. pinch cayenne pepper (optional - omit if you don't like spicy)
  10. pinch sea salt as needed (this really depends on your broth)
Instructions
  1. Cut tops off of bell peppers and remove seeds and innards. Set aside.
  2. Put cooked rice and beans into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the vegetable broth to a large sauce pan and simmer at medium heat.
  4. Sauté all ingredients listed under "Sauté Ingredients" section in the sauce pan.
  5. When vegetables are cooked and soft, pour entire contents of sauce pan into the large mixing bowl and stir until evenly mixed into rice and beans.
  6. Add mixture to bell peppers until even with cut top.
  7. Put tops on peppers and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  8. When ready to bake, put in a glass pan with raised sides (to keep them from tipping over) and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until peppers are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
Notes
  1. If you decide to freeze them, the bake time might be a little longer than 45 minutes, perhaps closer to 60 minutes.
  2. The number of peppers required will depend on the size and variety of peppers you are using.
  3. Rather than cutting the tops off, you could slice the peppers in half vertically and make half stuffed peppers. When you bake them, the stuffing will be open to the hot air in the oven and get crispy on the top.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Easy Gluten Free Vegan Sourdough Bread Recipe

simple gluten free sourdough bread

This is an easy gluten free vegan sourdough bread recipe that you can make at home without a lot of complicated ingredients. It is soft and airy, yet moist and flexible – the perfect sandwich bread! It took a few tries to perfect the process, but I am consistently getting good results from this recipe and method now, so I feel confident that it is ready to share with everyone!

I have only found one gluten free vegan bread available for purchase (from a local bakery, and it was really expensive) that even resembled the taste and texture of the gluten-filled, egg laden breads I used to eat. Most of the gluten free breads out there are terrible, to be honest. The taste and texture just aren’t the same. When the egg and dairy are also removed, they often end up dense and dry, or both. They are hardly suitable for sandwiches. 

I’m not trying to “toot my own horn”, but this bread is amazing. 

easy gluten free sourdough bread

It is moist in the center and cooked all the way through. There are not gummy or dry patches. It has nice air pockets, and a good “squishy” texture. It cuts without crumbling and falling apart. I can bend it a good amount without breaking, so it holds together well. It has even passed “the sandwich test”. Yes, this is a glorious sandwich bread. 

I really hope that you enjoy it. I have put a lot of time, energy, and experimentation into coming up with something that is amazing, so I can share it with everyone else out there who might have as many food allergies and intolerances as I do. It is nice to eat real food again.

gluten free sourdough bread recipe easy gluten free sourdough bread recipe simple gluten free sourdough bread recipe

Simple Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe
Yields 1
This easy gluten free vegan sourdough bread recipe with simple ingredients produces a bread that is airy, moist, flexible, and absolutely perfect for making sandwiches.
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Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Starter Ingredients
  1. 3 cups brown rice flour
  2. 3 cups water kefir, kombucha, fermented coconut water, or any other yeasty fermented beverage
  3. 1/2 gallon glass jar or other large glass container
Bread Ingredients
  1. 3 cups sourdough starter
  2. 3/4 cup millet flour
  3. 2 TB psyllium
  4. 2 TB Ener-g egg replacer (or 2 TB of flax seed)
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 cup liquid (nut milk preferred, but a fermented beverage adds a more "sour" flavor to the bread)
Starter Instructions
  1. Add 1 cup of brown rice flour and 1 cup of the fermented beverage to a large glass container. Stir to mix well. Cover with cheesecloth and let it sit for 24 hours. You should start to see a little bubbling or some "puffiness".
  2. Once a day for the next 4 days, add 1/2 cup each of the flour and fermented liquid and stir to mix well. Some people say that it is better to do 1/4 each twice a day for GF starters, but I have had equally good results just "feeding" it once a day.
  3. After this point, you should have a fragrant and airy GF sourdough starter!
Bread Directions
  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients (everything except starter and liquid) together in a bowl. Whisk or sift so they are well-combined.
  2. Add the liquid and the starter and mix with a large spoon until everything is just combined. Don't over-mix so you won't let the air out.
  3. Grease a stoneware pan with coconut oil OR line a glass pan with foil OR use a non-stick pan (there are some good ones made from silicon).
  4. Proof the bread with your preferred method. Please refer to "Notes" section for options.
  5. After the batter has risen, bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Test that a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.
  6. When the bread is done, let it cool completely in the pan, covered with a towel. I put mine into a very large stockpot with a lid or in the microwave and just let it cool overnight (to keep the cats away from it). We want the steam inside to keep cooking the center of the bread.
  7. After the bread has completely cooled, carefully remove it (and remove the foil if you used that method) and transfer to a cutting board, to slice however you'd like. Don't forget that the end pieces are the best part! =D
Notes
  1. For the bread batter liquid, I have used fresh and fermented nut milk, as well as fermented coconut water. The final product has been great for all of them. You could probably even use a GF beer if you wanted to.
  2. When using a glass pan, I have tried greasing the pan generously, but the bread still sticks. Foil seems to be the best method of easily getting the loaf out while not ripping it apart in the process. You could maybe try two pieces of parchment paper, one horizontal and one vertical if you are opposed to foil. I haven't tried this method, but to prevent the batter from going beneath the paper, I'd recommend greasing the pan so that the paper sticks to it.
  3. I have used just millet and also blends of millet and white rice flour in the batter, and it turns out about the same. The only thing I use in my starter, however, is brown rice flour. When I use other flours in the starter, the bread quality isn't the same.
  4. I have been using the same starter for several batches of bread now. When you aren't feeding it, it keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks. I was able to revive mine with no problem. I wouldn't leave it in the fridge longer than that though after some additional experimentation. Traditional starters will last a long time when refrigerated, but GF starters can be finicky.
Proofing Options
  1. OVEN METHOD 1: You may be lucky enough to have a "proof" setting on your oven. I do!
  2. OVEN METHOD 2: Turn oven on to lowest setting for just a few minutes to warm it, then turn it off. Put the bread pan in the center and allow it to rise for a few hours or until the bread puffs up over the edge of the bread pan a bit.
  3. OVEN METHOD 3: http://littlehouseinthesuburbs.com/2009/01/turn-your-oven-into-proofing-oven.html
  4. DEHYDRATOR METHOD: Cover your bread pan tightly with plastic wrap or insert it into a larger container with a lid to keep it from drying out. Set the dehydrator to 110-5 and proof for 2-3 hours. If the batter is not sealed into the pan completely, the bread will dry out.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

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 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. 🙂 

IMG_2111

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! 

IMG_2112

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. 

IMG_2105

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!

IMG_2117 IMG_2116

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!

IMG_2087 IMG_2103 IMG_2098 IMG_2091

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!

IMG_2119 IMG_2120 IMG_2121

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/

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/

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 3

raw vegan mezze platter. eggplant bacon. olive bread. hummus. muhammara. hemp tabbouleh.

Day 3 of Advanced Raw Cuisine is completed!

This has been a truly wonderful and delicious journey so far. We are not only creating beautiful raw versions of classic recipes like romesco and tabbouleh, but we are also learning the foundations upon which those recipes are built so that we will have the tools to create our own recipes in the future. Every one of these edible works of art is made from pure and uncomplicated ingredients. This is truly how food was meant to be eaten.

Today, we focused on tomato based sauces, demonstrating this technique with a raw vegan romesco sauce. I used a vibrant yellow tomato that I found at my local market to introduce an extra pop of color into the dish. Not unlike a traditional romesco, we used tomatoes, bell pepper, chopped nuts, and spices to build flavor and texture. The finished product was richly flavorful and vibrant, keeping all of the enzymes and vitamin C from the tomatoes and peppers intact that would otherwise be lost to the cooking process. 

raw vegan romesco raw vegan romesco

 The second recipe we learned was a muhammara. Muhammara is dip eaten in the North African and Middle Eastern regions, traditionally made with red peppers, walnuts, bread crumbs, and olive oil. In the raw version, the dip is infused with a concentrated pepper flavor by dehydrating the peppers first. We also soak and dry our nuts to neutralize enzyme inhibitors, which makes them more digestible. Otherwise, it’s not too different from the traditional preparation, except that we use no breadcrumbs. The other ingredients give it so much texture that it’s really not needed. 

raw vegan muhammara raw vegan muhammara

We’ve also created a tabbouleh, replacing the bulgar wheat with hemp seed, and a zucchini hummus, which amazingly, has a very similar texture and flavor to one made with cooked chickpeas. Mine is a little more orange than usual because I’m currently having a secret love affair with smoked paprika. I love the hemp seed in the tabbouleh because it adds a slightly nutty flavor, good fats, and the complete range of essential amino acids. Besides that, it’s easy to come by and requires no preparation, making this version of the recipe even easier to prepare than its traditional counterpart. 

The tabbouleh recipe can be found on page 88 of Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw. It calls for sprouted quinoa, but it is easily exchanged for hemp seed. 

The eggplant bacon is on page 58 of the same book. Some basic flat bread recipes are on pages 50-52.

The hummus recipe is on page 85 of Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less.

raw vegan tabbouleh

Besides the muhammara, humus, and tabbouleh, the mezze platter also contains the eggplant bacon and the olive flatbread we created in the days prior. It all came together nicely with complimentary flavors and textures that were a delight to snack on for dinner. My husband ate his fair share too. 😉

raw vegan mezze platter. eggplant bacon. olive bread. hummus. muhammara. hemp tabbouleh. raw vegan mezze platter. eggplant bacon. olive bread. hummus. muhammara. hemp tabbouleh. raw vegan mezze platter. eggplant bacon. olive bread. hummus. muhammara. hemp tabbouleh. raw vegan mezze platter. eggplant bacon. olive bread. hummus. muhammara. hemp tabbouleh.

The last plate of the day was mushroom calamari with caper and herb tartar sauce and the romesco that was prepared at the start of the day. We cut calamari shaped rings from mushrooms with ring cutters, and then marinaded them to create a softer, more rubbery, and fattier texture… like calamari, but without harming any sea creatures in the process. After marinading them, we “breaded” them with a blend of flax meal and herbs and then dehydrated until the outside was crispy.

It’s really an ingenious process, and the flavor and texture were very familiar and comforting without having that “greasy” feeling that fried foods leave in your mouth. This is food that leaves you feeling energetic, rather than lethargic, after eating it. There’s also no fear of burning yourself with any dangerous hot oils in during the preparation process. 

raw vegan mushroom calamari raw vegan mushroom calamari raw vegan mushroom calamari raw vegan mushroom calamari raw vegan romesco sauce raw vegan tartar sauce

Before the day was over, we also made two batches of seasoned cashews to add some extra flavor and texture in future recipes. One batch is coriander and the other batch is curry. I just love coriander. It is seriously underrated as a spice. Looking forward to making and eating more delicious things tomorrow!

seasoned nuts - curried cashews