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Raw Food Fundamentals: Day 15

raw vegan fermented nut cheese plate

Day 15 is Raw Food Fundamentals at Matthew Kenney Academy is completed! Today was an exciting day because I got to make some tasty breakfast items, and a fancy cheese plate! It just so happened that I finished the cheese plate on the weekend, so my husband and I were able to snack on it in the afternoon while we busied ourselves with bottling his home brewed beer. 😉

The first task of the day was to flavor our coconut yogurt. Mine was very tangy from the strong probiotics that I used in it and the extra time that I let it ferment. I added a little honey, vanilla, and some ripe bananas to make a delicious banana flavored yogurt. With this, I layered in some fresh mango along with my finished tropical buckwheat granola. I topped it all off with a pinch of cinnamon and a drizzle of raw honey. It was tangy and sweet and delicious!

raw vegan yogurt and granola parfait raw vegan yogurt and granola parfait raw vegan yogurt and granola parfait raw vegan yogurt and granola parfait raw vegan yogurt and granola parfait

The extra granola that was left was also amazing eaten as cereal with some homemade hemp milk and a little roasted dandelion tea (a reasonable facsimile for coffee if you want something that is caffeine-free, acid free, and good for your liver!).

raw vegan sprouted buckwheat granola with hemp milk

…And now the moment of truth. CHEESE PLATE TIME! With a little coaching about mixing flavors and textures together and the subtleties of plating something like this, I went to work. I actually own a cheese board too. I bought it for my sister’s baby shower last year, but I mostly use it for plating flax crackers and sauces or other snacks. Who doesn’t love food served up on a fancy piece of slate?

I did a little extra credit work on my cheeses since I’m on the slow track for this class. In addition to the 3 cashew cheeses that I made (rosemary crusted, orange/rose, and red wine/pepper), I wanted to try some with macadamia nuts as well, so I made 2 additional cheeses – one which I stuffed  with green olive, and another which contains layers of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Yup, it’s Simon & Garfunkle cheese. 😉 As my cheeses were all of the savory and salty variety, I paired them with sweeter elements and included some crunchy items on the plate as well. There are dried apricots, figs, and cantaloupe, fresh cherries, almonds, pecans dipped in raw honey and topped with the leftover homemade chocolate chops, and my trio of chia crackers that went into the dehydrator yesterday.

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

Following my nut cheese extravaganza, we made some more nut milks to prepare for tomorrow’s recipes and got to spend some quality time cleaning up our final project recipes, as well as making our grocery lists and daily schedules for testing out our final recipes and plating. I’m so excited!!!

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/

Level 1 Raw Food: Day 12

raw vegan pancakes

I just completed day 12 in the Level 1 Raw Food course from Matthew Kenney Academy. I am well into my third week, learning some cool new techniques, and starting to think about my final project already!

The first thing I got to do today, which was really fun, was to take my “swiss cheese” out of the dehydrator, cut it up to make it look like swiss cheese, and sample it. It was really good! It even had a bit of a swiss-like flavor, and the flexible fatty texture of cheese. If I made it again, I think I’d let it ferment longer to develop a sharper flavor, but this is definitely a technique that I would use again. Totally worth it!

raw vegan swiss cheese

raw vegan swiss cheese raw vegan swiss cheese IMG_1558

After checking on some of my other fermented cheese projects in the fridge and dehydrator, it was time to plate the pancakes that just came out of the dehydrator. They started as humble swirls of batter on a dehydrator sheet.

raw vegan maple pancakes

They were transformed into this masterpiece! I layered them with bananas and seasonal berries, and I made a maple blueberry jelly to go on top. It’s really easy to make. Blueberries naturally contain a lot of pectin, so I just blended them with a little maple syrup until all the little bits were smooth and then I poured it into a bowl to sit for a few minutes. When I spooned it out, it was jelly. 🙂

raw vegan pancakes raw vegan pancakes raw vegan pancakes raw vegan pancakes

The next project for today was to make chocolate chips! Yes, there is such a thing as raw vegan chocolate chips! We blended up a chocolate-y mixture containing raw cacao and then piped it out onto dehydrator sheets. I filled 3 sheets full of them and I have a totally new respect for cake decorators. My first two trays were pretty ugly, and my third came out much nicer. Aren’t they cute? 🙂

raw vegan chocolate chips raw vegan chocolate chips raw vegan chocolate chips

My final project for today was to start one of my favorite food projects – coconut yogurt! This is so ridiculously easy to make. Blend up some coconut meat, toss in some probiotics, and within a day, you have tangy coconut yogurt, ready to eat! You can then flavor it however you like. 

raw vegan coconut yogurt raw vegan coconut yogurt raw vegan coconut yogurt