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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. πŸ˜‰
  • 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
sushi-tutorial-15-how-to-roll-sushisushi-tutorial-16-how-to-roll-sushisushi-tutorial-17-how-to-roll-sushisushi-tutorial-19-how-to-cut-a-sushi-roll

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 - Β½ 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/

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Week 4

raw vegan chocolate walnut cake

Week 4 of Advanced Raw Cuisine was particularly exciting. We finished a few more pastry projects, made a few savory dishes, and got to work toward our final project, which for this class had some practical business applications. 

First, one of the final two pastry projects… raw vegan cupcakes! I always wondered if this was possible, and it sure is! They even had a nice little “bounce” from the Irish moss. We had creative freedom to make a flavor of our choosing, and since it was fall when I took the class, I made pumpkin spice with a vanilla frosting and some chocolate shavings.

Yes, I’m one of those people. Pumpkin spice all of the things! =D

raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes

We also started to learn about costing out ingredients so that we could calculate prices for dishes the way restaurants do. This was a very useful lesson for those with entrepreneurial aspirations. We made this dish of cacao corn chips and guacamole, calculated the cost of all of the ingredients, then the cost of the whole dish, and finally, added on a markup to ensure we were paid for our time and resources used. This was a really beneficial exercise. The guacamole was tasty too. It’s one of my favorite foods. πŸ™‚

raw vegan cacao corn chips and guacamole w/sunflower mole raw vegan cacao corn chips and guacamole w/sunflower mole

One of the other “big” projects this week was to put a lot of the lessons we learned together in a final pastry dish. We were given two to choose from, or the option to make both. I selected the chocolate walnut cake project. It was delicious. I had more than enough to take into work and share with my coworkers. They all enjoyed the special delivery and this dish got rave reviews!

Below are some photos of the prep work and the final plated dish. The dish is comprised of the chocolate cakes, the sous vide pears, a walnut caramel sauce, a fennel oil, candied fennel seeds, sassafras ice cream, and some fennel fronds and lavender as garnish. It was really delicious.

IMG_2233sous vide pearsIMG_2230 IMG_2165sassafras ice creamraw vegan chocolate walnut cake raw vegan chocolate walnut cake

Following all that dessert, I’m so glad there was another savory dish. This one was especially good because it had a bit of spice in it! It didn’t hurt that cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables too. I know, it’s a bit weird. So many people don’t like it, but to me, it has a subtle sweetness that makes it exquisite. 

This dish is a cauliflower and walnut harissa. I love that we branched out and used walnuts for more recipes this week. So many of the other recipes were based on almonds and cashews, which are certainly versatile nuts for their flavor and texture, but it was nice to have some more variety. There is a walnut cream sauce in the base, some harissa sauce, some marinaded and dehydrated spiced walnuts, and some cauliflower and romanesco. This dish would have been even more beautiful if I had access to some junky purple cauliflower, but my grocery store didn’t have any. I love the way we were instructed to plate this dish in a ring mold with the stems up. They are so organic looking. 

raw vegan cauliflower walnut harissa raw vegan cauliflower walnut harissa

The last real food recipe that we made before presenting out final projects was a lovely light carrot soup. This was somewhat like a gazpacho. There was a nice variety of carrot, radish, and apple chunks for texture and flavor. It was all topped with a bit of the soup, which had been foamed in the blender. The rest of the soup was poured in to make for a nice presentation. The soup was a great blend of sweet and savory with a smooth mouthfeel. It was a great lunch!

raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup

For my final project, I decided to make a probiotic granola bar. I polled my social media friends to ask them what kind of product they might be interested in. The overwhelming response was for something quick and healthy that was also filling. I also asked about probiotics and what the perception of taste and texture was regarding fermented foods. People either love sauerkraut or they hate it. Personally, I love sauerkraut. I make it by the gallon, but I digress. I made these bars so that I could sneak some good bugs in without people having to fear the funky taste of fermented vegetables. 

raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars

To celebrate the completion of the class, we were presented with some raw cocktail recipes. Whoo hoo! The base of both of these was also good as non-alcoholic drinks on their own. The green one is a nut milk with match powder – basically a vegan green tea latte. It is mixed with a cloudy sake to make it an adult beverage. The purple drink is a lavender and blueberry lemonade. It is also mixed with unfiltered nigori sake. Both were totally delicious. It was a nice way to celebrate. Cheers!

healthy vegan sake cocktails healthy vegan sake cocktails healthy vegan sake cocktails healthy vegan sake cocktails

 

 

I’m done!!! =D =D =D Be on the lookout for more delicious recipes and more class adventures coming your way!

advanced raw cuisine certificate of completion

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 5

raw vegan corn and mint ravioli

I just completed day 5 of the Advanced Raw Cuisine course through Matthew Kenney Academy. What a wonderful experience my first week has been so far. We covered different types of sauces extensively every day, putting our lessons into practice with a variety of delicious recipe creations. For many of these recipes, we also learned new techniques for food preparation. 

Today, we learned about a 5th type of sauce used in raw cuisine, the “enhanced sauce”. This group of sauces is quite versatile. They are emulsified and using the basic method, they can be used to create either a light and silky smooth sauce, a butter, or an ice cream. For today’s lesson, we used this technique to create a tangy “tomato fondue”, which was used as a sauce in a raw ravioli dish that we plated later in the day.

raw vegan tomato fondueraw vegan tomato fondue raw vegan tomato fondue

While the sauce was warming and thickening in the dehydrator, we created a second enhanced sauce. We were given the option of creating either an olive oil ice cream or a basil butter. I chose the basil butter because I grow my own basil, and I love being able to make recipes with food that I’ve grown myself. This creation went straight from the blender into the freezer to use at a later time. 

basil

When the tomato fondue came out of the dehydrator, it was time to assemble and plate the rest of the ravioli components. We made the corn and mint pesto, which you can see hiding between the coconut wrapper squares  in some of the photos, and we also tossed a little baby arugula with a little olive oil, pine nuts, salt and pepper to help break up the color and spacing on the plate. I had the coconut wrapper squares that were prepared and cut up for the previous day’s lesson all ready to go! 

Bonus: The mint came from my garden. It’s really rewarding to be able to use my own herbs in these recipes!

This is the final result. The whole dish came together beautifully. I was able to put it together quickly and have it ready for lunch time. The tomato fondue was savory, tangy, and had a buttery, but light consistency. The corn and mint pesto was very slightly sweet and refreshing. The coconut wrappers were infused with a bit of carrot and also offered a subtle sweetness to contrast the tanginess in the sauce. They also contributed a more solid, but still soft texture. The arugula tossed with olive oil and lightly seasoned added just a hint of bitterness and saltiness, which nicely balanced the whole dish, both in flavor and in plating. I was thrilled with how well this turned out.

raw vegan corn and mint ravioli raw vegan corn and mint ravioli raw vegan corn and mint ravioli raw vegan corn and mint ravioli

The final project of the day was to get started on some macadamia nut “goat” cheese, which will be used in some recipes over the next few days (and probably plenty of snacking too). πŸ™‚

raw vegan macadamia nut goat cheese raw vegan macadamia nut goat cheese

 

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 4

green curry kelp noodles

Day 4 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary has been completed!

Today’s creations were very exciting! We revisited the coconut wrapper technique that we learned in Level 1 and used to create the kimchi dumplings. For this variation, we added a little carrot juice to give them a brilliant orange color. They went into the dehydrator and will be used in a recipe tomorrow to create ravioli!

This is a really simple method to create flexible grain free wrappers that can be used in a variety of ways, from wraps to dumplings, to ravioli. Just blend some fresh young coconut, toss in a pinch of salt and whatever vegetable juice you’d like to color/flavor it with, and dehydrate until it holds together, but remains flexible. 

carrot coconut wrappers carrot coconut wrappers

The next project, green curry kelp noodles, was the main focal point of the day, and was used to illustrate today’s sauce lesson: plant based sauces. This is a class of raw vegan sauces that use pureed produce as a base. The green curry sauce we made today incorporated coconut milk and herbs with sweet and spicy notes.

It was plated with kelp noodles that we tenderized with warm water and baking soda. This was nothing short of amazing to me. I’ve tried kelp noodles before, and I could never completely get past the crisp texture and semi-bitter flavor until now. Simply soaking them with a little baking soda softened them up just like rice noodles and made the flavor more neutral, and they are completely raw! In this state, they are easily seasoned by any sauces and flavors that are mixed with them. We marinaded these in some chili oil and lime juice. 

The marinaded kelp noodles are topped up with a variety of vegetable noodles that include zucchini, carrot, and radish. Also in the mix are some marinaded mushrooms, fresh cilantro leaves, and some of those curried nuts we made yesterday

It was an amazingly fresh and vibrant dish, full of flavor and texture. I ate every last drop! πŸ™‚

thai green curry kelp noodles green curry kelp noodles green curry kelp noodles green curry kelp noodles

The final task of the day was to flavor our nut cheeses that we started fermenting on day 2. Below, I have created:

  • caraway and smoked paprika (macadamia nut/ fermented coconut water)
  • honey, cinnamon, cardamom, and fig (brazil and pine nut/ water kefir)
  • parsley, onion, garlic, and turmeric (cashew/ probiotic powder)
  • dill (macadamia nut/ rejuvelac)

I can’t wait to eat these! They have a couple weeks to set up in the fridge though, as this is a lesson in aging nut cheeses. 

raw vegan fermented nut cheese raw vegan fermented nut cheese raw vegan fermented nut cheese raw vegan fermented nut cheese

Raw Food Level 1: Day 13

raw vegan chocolate chip cookies

I just completed day 13 of the Raw Food Level 1 course at Matthew Kenney Academy. I’m having so much fun! I feel like the time that I spend on my class material is going by so much faster now that my daily knife skills exercises are completed and I am able to get right into the recipes each day. I am also probably moving a lot faster, thanks to those very same knife skills. 

Today, we explored raw versions of some more baked goods, and continued to prep the fermented nut cheeses that we started a couple days ago.

I created 2 cheeses, as required, and a bonus experiment. I chose to model my rosemary crusted cheese after a goat cheese, so I let it ferment a bit on the longer side of the suggested range, and I added a bit of lemon to really create a tangy flavor. The one next to it is a citrus and rose petal cheese that was inspired by a spice blend called, “Florida Sunshine“, which is made a local company, “The Spice & Tea Exchange”, in Winter Park, FL. I mixed some orange zest into the cheese, and then topped it off with some rose petals, sea salt, and black pepper. My “bonus” experiment is a nut cheese that I added a red wine stain and some black pepper to. I was hoping that the red wine flavor would infuse into the cheese, but it didn’t really sink in as I had hoped. It sure was pretty, though. 

raw vegan nut cheeses raw vegan nut cheeses

Following the cheese flavoring, we put those chocolate chips to good use and made raw vegan chocolate chop cookies! Oh my goodness, these were amazing. I haven’t had anything resembling a chocolate cookie in a long time. With all of my weird food allergies and other food problems, I just decided to give up on baking all together. It’s nice to know that I can still have a treat. I will definitely be trying some other cookie recipes in the future.

raw vegan chocolate chip cookies raw vegan chocolate chip cookies

After the cookies, it was time to make something healthy again. We had a lesson on vinaigrettes and learned about acid to oil ratios be making two different provided recipes, and then comparing/contrasting them. After that, we took what we learned and were given free reign to design our own vinaigrette dressing! I made an Asian inspired citrus and sesame vinaigrette and have included the recipe at the bottom of this post in case you would like to put it on your own delicious salad.

vinaigrette salad dressings

After creating an awesome vinaigrette, we were challenged to create a salad with whatever we had on hand that would compliment our newly created salad dressings. The salad exercise was also to practice artistically plating salad. It’s not just a “pile of stuff” on a plate or in a bowl.

My salad had a base of red leaf lettuce. I tucked portobello mushroom and bartlett pear into the folds and propped them up a bit with some sprouts to create a dimensional look.  I also added some julienne of carrot and sugar snap pea pods, as well as some peas that were removed from the pods, scallions cut on the bias, and finely diced celery. That little mound on the left is a bit of pickled ginger that I made myself! This salad was great, and having good knife skills made all the difference in being able to present it as a piece of art. 

Asian pear salad with citrus and sesame vinaigrette Asian pear salad with citrus and sesame vinaigrette

We also did some prep work for a dish of portobello sliders that we will be consuming in the near future. Below are some “caramelized onions” and the batter for the buns, both ready to go into the dehydrator. I just love the way the red onion sliced on the mandolin looks. It’s like little ribbons with a bit of color on the edge. My kitchen smelled very fragrant while these were dehydrating! The slider buns had a really great bread-like finished texture as well. I will definitely be making them again.

caramelized onions caramelized onions slider buns slider buns

Lastly, we did a little more prep work for that fancy cheese plate that is coming at the end of week 3. We made some simple chia crackers! They are so easy. Toss some chia seeds into your liquid of choice with your seasoning of choice and then after they gel and become thick, put them on a dehydrator sheet and make some crackers! The variations that I made were basic black pepper, which was the recipe the school provided us with; carrot juice and onion powder; and a mix of smoked paprika, smoked sea salt, cayenne pepper, and red chili flake. They all came turned out to be amazingly delicious!

raw vegan chia crackers raw vegan chia crackers raw vegan chia crackers

Citrus and Sesame Asian Vinaigrette
A light and flavorful citrus and sesame Asian inspired vinaigrette salad dressing. It pairs perfectly with carrot, scallion, pear, and sugar snap peas.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup sesame oil
  2. 1/2 cup OJ (fresh squeezed is best)
  3. 3/4 tsp tamari (or coconut aminos and miso)
  4. 1/4 clove of garlic
  5. 1/4" piece of ginger
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.
Notes
  1. It should be enough to use on a few salads.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Bloody Mary Gazpacho (Raw Vegan)

raw vegan bloody mary gazpacho

To finish off the 10th day of my raw food classes, we were tasked with a challenge to come up with an original recipe based on a set of given criteria (I won’t spoil the fun for anyone who wants to take the class – no cheating!). Ultimately, my strange thought process led me to create a Bloody Mary Gazpacho. 

I was really pleased with myself when I tasted the final result. The soup base does indeed taste like a fresh Bloody Mary base, and all without the need for any animal products (goodbye Worcestershire sauce!) or heat treated juices that are devoid of nutrition. This particular dish is loaded with vitamin C and vitality! 

Part of the assignment was to get fancy with the presentation, so I had a lot of fun with the plating, but if that’s not your thing, feel free to just dump your vegetables right on top. 

raw vegan bloody mary gazpacho

Bloody Mary Gazpacho
Serves 2
A savory twist on the traditional gazpacho, this dish is infused with rich Bloody Mary flavors that combine smokey, sweet, and slightly spicy. Your friends will swear they're eating cooked food!
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Prep Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
Chopped Vegetable Ingredients
  1. cucumber, small dice - 1/2 cup (appx 1/2 large cucumber)
  2. yellow bell pepper, small dice - 1/2 cup
  3. tomato, chopped roughly to small dice - 1/2 cup
  4. green olives, rough chopped - 1/4 cup (I used Castelvetrano olives - my new favorite!)
  5. shallot, minced - 2 TB
  6. fresh parsley, finely chopped - 1 TB
  7. carrots - 1/2 carrot - cut paper thin on mandolin
Bloody Mary Gazpacho Soup Base Ingredients
  1. red sweet pepper, chopped (appx 2-3 small peppers) - 1/4 cup
  2. pearl and/or plum tomatoes, chopped - 1 cup
  3. sun dried tomato, chopped - 1/4 cup + 2 TB
  4. celery juice - 1/2 cup (juice of 4-5 stalks)
  5. lime juice - 2 TB (juice of 1-2 limes)
  6. wasabi powder (all natural - make sure there are no additives!) - 1/2 tsp
Instructions
  1. Put sun dried tomatoes (for soup base) in warm water to soak for 10-15 min while you prepare the chopped vegetables and marinade.
  2. Juice the celery and the limes.
  3. Chop the vegetables and add all of them except the carrots to a medium sized mixing bowl.
  4. Add the marinade ingredients to the chopped vegetables and mix until well coated. Let it sit while you make the sauce.
  5. Add all of the sauce ingredients to the blender on high speed until smooth and well combined. If you want to thin it out a bit, you can add a little bit of filtered water, 1 TB at a time.
  6. Divide the chopped vegetables into two portions - one for each plate.
  7. For each plate: If you want to get fancy, line a ring mold with the sliced carrots. It helps to have them in a bowl of water so they stick together better. Then, fill the ring mold with half of the chopped vegetables and pack it down. Juices will leak out and this is ok. Pour appx half of the soup mix into the bowl BEFORE removing the ring mold. Let the juices mingle and swirl them with a spoon for an even consistency. Then, carefully, remove the ring mold, and garnish with some fresh herbs.
  8. If you want a more rustic dish that looks like a traditional gazpacho, then add the soup base to the bowl first, forget the ring mold, and add the vegetables right on top. Use the shaved carrots as a garnish around the edges of the soup.
Notes
  1. If you REALLY want to, you can thin out the soup base to make it a more drinkable texture and it does make an excellent vegan Bloody Mary base.
  2. If you add some flax seed to the water that the carrots are in, they will adhere together even better.
  3. You can find ume plum vinegar at any Asian grocery story or you can order it online. I like this one: Eden Foods Selected Ume Plum Vinegar -- 10 fl oz
  4. The ume vinegar really does provide a depth of flavor, even though there is a small amount. If you can't find it, you can try substituting with ACV and then adding an extra 1/2 tsp of dulse flakes to increase the "fishy" factor.
  5. You can probably use coconut aminos in place of the tamari if you prefer.
  6. The smoked spices REALLY make the flavor pop on this. Please don't omit them. I used an applewood smoked sea salt from a local spice company, but you can use any that you like which has a strong wood-smoked infusion of taste and fragrance.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Tropical Carrot Cake Smoothie

tropical carrot cake smoothie

My sister is here for a visit this weekend. I decided to put my new smoothie design skills to work for a mid morning snack, and this tropical carrot cake smoothie is what I came up with. We had a large variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from, and since we both love carrot cake, we decided to use that as the inspiration for this smoothie. Enjoy!

Tropical Carrot Cake Smoothie for 2
Serves 2
This summer time smoothie is a perfect mid-morning snack for the carrot cake lover. Now you can have your cake and drink it too. πŸ˜‰
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup carrot juice (fresh juiced)
  2. 1 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed)
  3. 2 frozen bananas
  4. 1 cup frozen pineapple
  5. 1 TB local raw honey
  6. 1 TB vanilla extract (I use alcohol free in vegetable glycerin)
  7. 2 pinches of sea salt
  8. 2 pinches of cinnamon
  9. 2 pinches of nutmeg
  10. 2 pinches of ginger
Instructions
  1. Juice enough carrots to yield 1 cup of juice (this will vary based on the size of your carrots and the model of your juicer).
  2. Juice enough oranges to yield 1 cup of juice (1-2 large oranges)
  3. Add juice and all other ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth, well combined, and frosty. You may need to use a tamper.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine: Day 4

zucchini tartare

On Sunday-Monday of this week, I completed day 4 of β€œFundamentals of Raw Cuisineβ€œ. I probably should have spread it out over 3 days. There was a lot to do, and I only got to about half of it. More than half if it was setting components for other recipes up in the dehydrator. I can’t want to eat the finished products. πŸ™‚

As with every day before, the day’s work started with knife skills. All those pretty cubes of zucchini and the chiffonade cuts of basil went into a beautiful zucchini tartare, and the rest went into the blender for some rosemary croutons. The rest of the veggies were juiced. I’ve been enjoying a fresh juice every day after my chopping exercises!

knife skills knife skills knife skills

After checking on my kale chips (not quite done), I started the day off with a delicious pumpkin pie spice smoothie. This smoothie was a little like a raw “cheesecake” that I made for Thanksgiving last year – it didn’t actually contain any pumpkin. The flavors of carrot and pumpkin pie spices sort of trick your palate into thinking there might be some pumpkin in there though! The recipe presented to us in the course is an adaptation of the “Bunny Spice” smoothie recipe in Matthew Kenney’s book, Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow. The main difference is that the recipe in the class had less carrot juice and used pumpkin pie spice instead of just cinnamon. After looking at the recipe in the book, I think I might have liked to try it with the extra carrot juice though!

pumpkin pie spice smoothie pumpkin pie spice smoothie pumpkin pie spice smoothie

While I drank my smoothie, I worked through the reading material about the usage of superfoods in raw recipe creation, and also a primer on raw vegan sweeteners. Raw honey is occasionally used, which is not vegan, and grade B maple syrup is occasionally used, which is not raw, but both in moderation. Many raw foods are sweet on their own if they contain rip fruits or sweeter vegetables like carrots or peppers, and don’t need much extra, except to function as a bit of a flavor enhancer.

That was where I left off on Sunday. I decided to give myself a little rest after spending all day in the kitchen on Saturday. All work and no play makes Adrienne a dull girl, right? πŸ˜‰

I picked up with Day 4 on Monday when I came home from work. The next assignment was a beautiful and delicious zucchini and avocado tartare. This one was really quick and easy to make, which was a good thing because I was very hungry when I got home. πŸ™‚ The recipe blends delicate soft pieces of zucchini with avocado and a tangy herbal sauce in a ring mold to make a dish that is both light in summer flavors and artistic on the plate. Ring molds really step it up a notch!

The recipe is in Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less.

zucchini tartare zucchini tartare zucchini tartare

 

After my belly was full, there was some more prep work to get those recipe components into the dehydrator. I currently have in my dehydrator: pine nut “parmesan”, shiitake “anchovies” (mushrooms – pre-dehydration photos below), and rosemary croutons (pre-dehydration photos below), which were made with the almond flour that I created after dehydrating the almond pulp from my nut milk in the previous day’s coursework! There is going to be an amazing raw vegan Caesar salad in my future!

mushroom anchoviesrosemary croutons

I’ve saved the best for last. My kale chips turned out great. The pile got smaller as I photographed them because I couldn’t stop eating them. Life is hard, I know. I made two batches of kale chips: ranch and spicy mango lime. I will add recipes for each of them in separate blog posts since this one has become quite long already. For now, you’ll just have to salivate on your keyboard. Sorry! πŸ˜‰

kale chips kale chips kale chips  

How to Make Sauerkraut

Homemade pink sauerkraut with purple and green cabbages

Homemade sauerkraut is so easy to make and it is a great way to get a large amount of probiotics into your diet on a regular basis. I eat or drink fermented foods every day, and I love them! The probiotics have been really great for my digestion and my immune system. I no longer suffer with environmental allergies, and even some of my food allergies have been healed. I haven’t been sick with even a sniffle in well over 2 years either. I don’t have any concern when coworkers in the office are riddled with colds and flus. 

Pink sauerkraut in a flip top glass jar. Homemade sauerkraut is as easy as chopping and pounding some vegetables and then waiting for the lactobacilli bacteria to multiply. When you mix green and purple cabbage together, you get a beautiful magenta colored sauerkraut!

homemade sauerkraut ingredients

Start with some basic ingredients. Use 3 TB of kosher salt for each 5lb of cabbage (sorry, you will have to weight it for the best outcome!). I like to add 2 carrots and 2 cloves of garlic per head of cabbage also. Caraway seed is one of my favorite spices, so I use a lot of it – 2 TB per head of cabbage.

Start your sauerkraut by adding salt and spices.

Shred cabbage and add it to a large glass bowl. Mix in salt and any herbs that you’d like to add, like caraway seed and crushed garlic cloves. I mix in the carrots after the cabbage starts to release its juices.

Massage the salt into the cabbage until it becomes limp and starts to release its juices.

Massage the salt into the cabbage until it becomes limp and starts to release its juices.

After the cabbage starts to release its juices, pack it tightly into a glass container.

After the cabbage starts to release its juices, pack it tightly into a glass container. I layered mine because I enjoy watching the colors swirl together during the fermentation process. After it is packed into the jar, I use a plastic bag filled with salt water (in case it leaks) to weigh the cabbage down under the water level. If your cabbage hasn’t released enough water, you can add some brine on top at a ratio of 1 cup water to 1 TB salt. This makes an approximately 2% solution. It will continue to release juices at the start of the fermentation processes, so make sure there is plenty of room in the jar. I use a half gallon jar per head of cabbage. Some people use crocks or other fancy tools to make their sauerkraut. You can certainly use those (keeping oxygen away from the ferment is necessary, which is why it needs to be submerged), but I have a small kitchen without storage for a lot of those extra things. If your jar doesn’t have an airlock on it, make sure you pop the lid once or twice a week to let the excess gas out. This is the most practical method for me and I haven’t had a batch go wrong yet.

Sauerkraut fermentation under way!

This photo was taken about a week into fermentation. The cabbage is releasing its juices and the colors are muddling together. The bubbles are a sign that active fermentation is happening. You’ll know it’s done when bubbles stop forming. I push it down a couple times a week to release the gases (those are carbon dioxide bubbles – a byproduct of the fermentation process). All of the research and personal experimentation leads me to believe that a 12 week minimum fermentation time is ideal to allow for the most complete bacterial profile to develop and to reduce the histamine levels if you are sensitive to them. After this point, refrigerate it. It will continue to ferment very slowly in the fridge, but probably won’t last very long because you’ll be eating it. πŸ™‚

Homemade pink sauerkraut with purple and green cabbages

Finished sauerkraut with a gorgeous magenta color.

Fermentation Resources and Tips:

Easy Sauerkraut Recipe
Basic instructions for making your own probiotic-rich sauerkraut at home!
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. Appx 5 lbs cabbage (2 average sized heads - I mix 1 green and 1 purple to make pink sauerkraut)
  2. 3 TB kosher salt (I like it for pickling and ferments)
  3. 4 TB caraway seed (Warning: I LOVE this stuff. You can use less if you don't love it as much as I do.)
  4. 4 carrots (optional)
  5. 4 cloves garlic (optional)
Instructions
  1. Wash and shred the cabbage into thin strips. You can do this with a large knife, but two much faster ways are to use the slicing blade on a food processor (my preference), or to use the straight blade on a spiral cutting tool (I have tried this method and it works pretty quickly as well).
  2. Shred carrots if you are using them.
  3. Crush the garlic if you are using it.
  4. Add 1.5 TB salt to each head of shredded cabbage (I end up using one large mixing bowl per head of cabbage).
  5. Massage the salted cabbage until it starts to soften and give up some juices. Squeeze and pound on it a bit. Some people use "vegetable stompers", but I just use my Vitamix tamper. πŸ˜‰ The process might take 10-15 minutes.
  6. Mix in the caraway seed, carrots, and garlic.
  7. Pack it tightly into a large glass container (the Vitamix tamper comes in handy for this too). I use a half gallon jar per head of cabbage.
  8. If the liquid does not cover the top of the cabbage, you can make a brine with 1 cup of water and 1 tsp of water, and add a little as needed until your cabbage is completely submerged by about 1/2" water.
  9. Weight the cabbage down so that it stays under the brine. I use a large folded up cabbage leaf to keep the small strips from floating up and a plastic bag full of brine. Some people use river stones in a plastic bag, or a jar full of water that is small enough to fit inside the opening of the fermenting container.
  10. Over the first couple days, it will release more liquid, so make sure there is room for expansion in the container or that it is placed in a glass dish in case it spills over.
  11. Let it sit on the counter until bubbles stop forming in the container. Roughly 12 weeks is ideal to allow the full spectrum of available lactobacillus to develop and to reduce the histamine levels.
  12. Refrigerate it and eat a small bowl each day. πŸ™‚
Notes
  1. It will keep in the refrigerator for months.
  2. Check out the resources in the entry before this recipe card to learn more about what can go wrong and how to troubleshoot it.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/