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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. 

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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 - 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: Day 15

raw vegan nut cheese plate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 7

raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato

Day 7 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary completed!

I’ve had such a fun time working on everything today with many opportunities to exercise my creativity. I’ve learned so much while taking these courses, not only about flavors and techniques, but also about art. My plating skills have improved dramatically, and as an artist, these playful arrangements translate into more lessons for me than just those with culinary applications. They have made me a better photographer, causing me to reconsider placement of the people and objects in my portraits. 

The day was started by adding some sliced apples and pears into a water bath for a little more practice with the sous vide technique. Following that, we learned about and executed two “amuse bouche” dishes. According to Wikipedia, “amuse bouche” literally means, “mouth amuser”. It is a 1-2 bite sized course that is both intense and playful.

We were given the freedom to create two of our own amuse bouche plates. My selections were inspired by the produce and herbs that I’ve been growing in my garden this summer, and by Florida grown produce in general. I tried to include local components in each dish (some as local as my patio).

The first plate includes some of my favorite flavors. It is small sampling of red and yellow grape tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, and scallions atop a parsley and dill hemp seed pesto, which acts as both a surprise element in the dish, and a punch of flavor. 

Recipe link: Parsley and Dill Hemp Seed Pesto

raw vegan amuse bouche raw vegan amuse bouche

I wanted my second amuse bouche to be plated differently from the first, and I wanted a way to transform a classic non-vegan hors d’oeuvre into a healthful raw vegan version. In this dish, I created my version of “prosciutto and melon” using hami melon (sometimes called “Honey Kiss melon”), marinaded red pepper, and Florida avocados with a basil and ginger cucumber sauce. I was very pleased with the result. 

Recipe link: Bell Pepper ‘Prosciutto’ and Melon

raw vegan melon and prosciutto raw vegan melon and prosciutto

While I was busy snacking on my amuse bouche creations, we learned how to use the dehydrator as a “hot box”, which is very handy for creating a “wilted greens” texture, but leaving them completely raw with all of their precious nutrients and enzymes in tact, as the temperature remains at or below 115. 

The salad we made with this technique was a simple spinach salad tossed with some olive oil and lemon, and included a little bit of our macadamia nut goat cheese, some chopped golden raisins, and some pine nuts. Two thumbs up from the husband on this one! We ate it for dinner. πŸ™‚

raw vegan wilted spinach salad raw vegan wilted spinach salad raw vegan wilted spinach salad

After the salad, it was time for dessert. With all of the components for the apple pear crumble ready to go, all that was needed was to plate it. I had enough to make a few of them, so I plated it 2 different ways to see how it would look. Which one do you like best? πŸ™‚

This dish is comprised of the apples and pears that were in the sous vide earlier today. We were told to cut them with final plating in mind. I made very thin round slices on the mandolin, sans cores. In one plating, I rolled them up; in the other, I left them them flat. They are topped off with the oat crumble that we put in the dehydrator yesterday, along with the almond gelato that we also made yesterday. I got a little more practice making perfectly shaped quenelles. I think I’m getting the hang of it! The whole thing is topped off with a little bit of star anise syrup that we made today and a pinch of star anise for garnish. I love that stuff!

If you’d like to make this yourself at home, Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw Desserts, from pages 118-129, contains a variety of recipes for crumbles, cobblers, and ice creams that you can mix and match to make any number of similar desserts.

raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato

We ended the day by starting on an advanced pickling assignment. We are making quick pickles here, so the process includes some vinegar, as well as salt, which helps them to be ready quicker than a traditional salt brine only ferment. The class is only 4 weeks, so this method is understandable. We were allowed to experiment with flavors and ingredients that we thought might go well with our aged cheeses. I love pickling experiments, so I made two different jars – one with fruit and another with vegetables. 

My fruit pickles are: elderberry, lavender, apple, ginger, peeled muscadine grapes, and cinnamon. 

My vegetable pickles are: squash, carrot, shallot, turnip, radish, portobello, chili pepper, peppercorn, dill, and smoked sea salt. 

If after 4-5 days, they turn out well, I’ll share the exact recipes. πŸ™‚

pickled fruit pickled root vegetables

Parsley and Dill Hemp Seed Pesto (Raw Vegan)

raw vegan amuse bouche

It’s no secret that I love pesto, and I love to experiment with different varieties because of all the herbs that I’m growing. I’ve been trying to squeeze in as many uses as I can for them before the weather cools and they are no longer flourishing. This parsley and dill hemp seed pesto was created as part of a class assignment, through Matthew Kenney Culinary, to create two amuse bouche dishes.

The pesto is the base for this particular dish, atop which is stacked some red and yellow grape tomatoes, chopped cucumber, thinly sliced radishes, scallion, a few alfalfa sprouts, and some sprigs of dill. A tiny pinch of salt is sprinkled on top to tenderize and enhance the flavor of the vegetables. Every tiny mouthful allows for a little variation in which vegetables are paired with the pesto. It was really wonderful. I enjoyed both eating it and plating it.

Parsley and Dill Hemp Seed Pesto (Raw Vegan)
A delicious herbal pesto made from parsley, dill, and hemp seed. Parsley is a great source of iron and hemp seed is not only a source of good fats, but also offers a full range of essential amino acids.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup parsley, loosely packed
  2. 1/2 cup dill, loosely packed
  3. 1 clove garlic (bonus: use fermented garlic to add some probiotics)
  4. 2 TB hemp seed
  5. 2 TB cup extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil
  6. 1 TB nutritional yeast (optional if you feel opposed to eating it, as it is not truly raw)
  7. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  8. few twists of black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a food processor until herbs are thoroughly and finely chopped. This produces a chunky pesto. If you'd like a smoother pesto, use more olive oil.
Notes
  1. Use 1 tsp dried garlic for a milder garlic flavor.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Cucumber Raita Rolls (Raw Vegan)

root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls

Coconut Yogurt, Sweet Pepper Relish, Root Vegetable Salad, Cashew, Mint

These cucumber raita rolls were the starter dish that I created for my final project. This dish was inspired by both Indian raita and Greek tzatziki yogurt dishes. The filling in the rolls is flavored more as a tzatziki. The cumin-infused raita flavor is in the root vegetable salad beneath it, which is a blend of sweet potato, turnip, and jicama. The dish is topped off with a sweet pepper relish and garnished with a few tiny mint leaves. 

root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber raita rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber raita rolls

I was very pleased with the way the flavors and textures of this dish turned out. The noodles were neither too soggy nor too crunchy, the cucumber rolls had a lot of flavor, and their soft texture complimented the subtle al dente texture in the root vegetable salad, while the sweet pepper relish brought in just a bit of sweetness to top the whole thing off. It was a well blended mix of tangy, savory, salt, and sweet. I am really thrilled that the course gave me the means to create something so beautiful and delicious.

root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber raita rollsroot vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber raita rolls

Cucumber Raita Rolls
Serves 1
Coconut Yogurt, Sweet Pepper Relish, Root Vegetable Salad, Cashew, Mint. The amounts here serve 1. Feel free to increase the volume to suit the number of servings you'd like to make.
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Root Vegetable Salad Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup each: sweet potato, turnip, jicama, spiral cut
  2. 1 TB grape seed oil
  3. 1 tsp lemon juice
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 1/4 tsp cumin powder
Sweet Pepper Relish Ingredients
  1. 2 TB each red, orange, yellow bell pepper, diced
  2. 1 tsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp ACV
  4. 1 TB agave
  5. pinch salt
Yogurt Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup coconut meat
  2. 1/4 cup soaked cashews
  3. 1/8 tsp 30B CFU Probiotic powder
Raita Ingredients
  1. 1 cup peeled and grated English cucumber
  2. 1/4 tsp salt
  3. 1/2 TB shallot, finely chopped
  4. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  5. 1 tsp olive oil
  6. 1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
  7. 1/4 tsp fresh mint, chopped
  8. pinch of salt
  9. pinch of ground pepper
Cucumber Roll Ingredients
  1. 1 English cucumber, sliced thinly along the length of the fruit, on a mandolin.
Yogurt Directions
  1. Blend yogurt ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and completely incorporated. Cover with muslin and put in dehydrator for 18 hours at 110 degrees. Put it in a cheesecloth with a weight on it and drain it for 36 hours. It will continue to ferment and thicken, and come out like a Greek yogurt. Put it in the fridge until you are ready to add the raita seasoning. Reduces to appx 1/2 cup + 2 TB.
Raita Directions
  1. Toss peeled and grated cucumber with 1/4 tsp salt. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Squeeze as much moisture out as possible. Reduces down to about 2 TB. Stir into yogurt along with the rest of the ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Pepper Relish Directions
  1. Toss all ingredients together. Dehydrate at 115 for 4-5 hours (on a non-stick sheet so nothing falls through) to soften and chill overnight.
Root Vegetable Salad Directions
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and allow to marinade 10-15 minutes before serving.
Assembly
  1. Layer a small handful of the root vegetable salad on the base of a small sushi plate.
  2. Place roughly 1 TB of the raita mix onto the end of a cucumber slice and roll it up. Place rolls on top of salad.
  3. Top with sweet pepper relish.
Notes
  1. Feel free to make a much larger batch of yogurt, relish, or salad with this recipe. Whatever yogurt you don't use for the raita is excellent to eat for breakfast. Having a raw vegan relish is nice to add to any dish as a condiment!
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine: Days 19-20

root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls

GRADUATION!!! I finished Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine! My last two days were spent working out the final details of my recipes and practicing my plating. Please enjoy the recipes

fundamentals of raw cuisine completion certificate

For our final, we were to design a 3-course meal and then implement 2 of those courses with complete recipes and plating. It was a wonderful experience and I loved the process of working out prototypes and receiving feedback from the instructors. I chose to execute my starter and my dessert.

Here is the menu that I created for my final project. It was based on my favorite cuisine, which is Indian food. πŸ™‚

First: Cucumber Raita Rolls
Coconut Yogurt, Sweet Pepper Relish, Root Vegetable Salad, Cashew, Mint

Second: Mutter Masala Dosa
Curried Vegetables, Turmeric Mashed Jicama, Walnut

Third: Mango Malai
Cashew Milk, Cardamom, Black Cherry, Pecan

Cucumber Raita Rolls (click for link to recipe)

root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rollsroot vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rollsroot vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls

Mango Malai (click for link to recipe)

mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce

On our last day, we made a wonderful cleansing and refreshing “apple aide” drink with a bit of cayenne pepper. Cheers!

apple aid

Raw Food Level 1: Day 17-18

raw vegan mango lassi panna cotta with black cherry sauce

Raw Food Level 1 is almost complete! Just 2 more days of class to go! Over the course of days 17-18, I worked on a lemon tart as part of the process for learning how to use Irish moss. Irish moss is a seaweed that can be used to thicken puddings, tart fillings, etc. 

Here is a photo of the seaweed soaking in preparation to use it.

irish moss soaking

There were some other essential skills that we learned here too. We made tart crusts that firmed up in the refrigerator, a frozen meringue formed into a quenelle, and some dehydrated citrus slices. It was fun learning how to make the quenelle, a classic French technique. I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that. All my frozen treats will be fancier from now on. I also didn’t know that you could dehydrate and eat citrus slices. I always found the peels to be bitter when blended or juiced, but after painting on a little agave and dehydrating, they are a delicious tart treat!

I shared this tart with my husband and visiting relatives, and they all gave it a big thumbs up.

raw vegan lemon meringue tart raw vegan lemon meringue tart raw vegan lemon meringue tart raw vegan lemon meringue tart raw vegan lemon meringue tart raw vegan lemon meringue tart

Both of the dishes that I’m working on for my final project are of my own creation. We were tasked to come up with a three course menu, and then to execute two of the dishes. I chose the starter and the dessert. 

My starter is a cucumber tzatziki roll. The herbs are on the inside and the cucumber is on the outside! It is topped with a sweet pepper relish and paired with a root vegetable with a cumin vinaigrette. Which of my practice plating arrangements do you like best? 

raw vegan cucumber tzatziki rolls with root vegetable salad raw vegan cucumber tzatziki rolls with root vegetable salad raw vegan cucumber tzatziki rolls with root vegetable saladraw vegan cucumber tzatziki rolls with root vegetable salad

 My dessert is a mango lassi panna cotta infused with with cardamom and dusted with cinnamon. It is paired with a peppery black cherry sauce to create a spice blend reminiscent of chai. The panna cotta is topped off with a pecan tuile. Below are the photos of my practice plating before my big final presentation on day 19!

raw vegan mango lassi panna cotta with black cherry sauce raw vegan mango lassi panna cotta with black cherry sauce raw vegan mango lassi panna cotta with black cherry sauce raw vegan mango lassi panna cotta with black cherry sauce

Fundamentals of Raw Food: Day 16

raw vegan chia pudding

Week 4 of Fundamentals of Raw Food has officially started!!! Only 4 more days left and then I’m done with the course. I can hardly believe how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned. I’m really excited about the final project that I’m working on too!

The first thing we did was to create more nut milk for some additional recipes that we will be completing as part of the curriculum. I also created a cashew milk for the first time, as it is a component of the dessert recipe I am working on for my final project. 

The first project of the day was to create some tart crusts! These are so cute, aren’t they? They will eventually be filled with a lemon and chamomile tart filling. I can’t wait to taste it!

raw vegan tart crust raw vegan tart crust

After making the tart crusts, we made another breakfast (or anytime snack for that matter) dish. This is a banana chia pudding topped with a chai cream and some seasonal fresh fruit. The chai cream was amazing. It tasted just like a chai latte, and it gave me a great excuse to finally purchase some cardamom!

raw vegan chia puddingraw vegan chia pudding raw vegan chia pudding raw vegan chia pudding

We had another lesson in artfully plating and properly dressing salads today as well. If you toss the leaves in the bowl with the dressing and then arrange them on the plate, you get just the right amount in every bite. We have previously practiced with kale and a green of our choice in artfully plating salads. Today, we were given butter lettuce to practice with. It’s so light and fluffy. It almost looks like a flower when you make a little tower from it. Then, it’s easy to tuck little bits of vegetables into the folds. I feel like Christmas has come early with all the red and green bits tucked into my butter lettuce tree. =D

butter lettuce salad with honey mustard dressing butter lettuce salad with honey mustard dressing butter lettuce salad with honey mustard dressing

The class assignments are a bit lighter this week to allow us time for testing our final project recipes. We had to submit our first process/testing photos, so I can give you a little sneak peak of what I am working on. I started the prep work for my appetizer and my dessert. The appetizer will contain a yogurt cream sauce inside of a cucumber roll and my dessert is going to be a mash up of a mango lassi and a panna cotta. The photos below are my yogurt before starting incubation, a honey pecan wafer, and my panna cotta experiment in the molds, getting ready to go into the fridge to set up overnight.

raw vegan coconut yogurt raw vegan toule raw vegan toule raw vegan mango lassi panna cotta raw vegan mango lassi panna cotta

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/

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine: Day 6

raw vegan pad thai

Day 6 of my raw food classes (“Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine” at Matthew Kenney Academy) started off with more knife skills exercises. Slowly, but surely, I am getting used to the proper way of gripping everything and moving a little faster with my cutting. We are focusing on accuracy this week, so I had to pull out the ruler to make sure my cuts were precise. My carrot strips always bend after I cut them!

knife skills exercises knife skills exercises knife skills exercises

We also started working with coconuts this week! This is something that I am already familiar with, but that doesn’t make it any easier! I do have a lot more confidence in cracking coconuts now than the first time that I did it. I have an old meat cleaver that has never actually been used on any meat… I use it only for breaking into my coconuts!

We already got the heads up for approximately how many coconuts we would be using in this course, so my wonderful husband bought me a whole case of them, and I spent all day Sunday hacking them open, draining the water, scooping the meat, cleaning the brown skin that lines the shells off the meat, etc.

I got everything put inside of freezer safe containers and bags so I’m all set and hopefully won’t have to crack anymore coconuts open for the rest of the class. I hope I have enough! Most of them looked pretty good and had thicker meat than average. My husband must have a hidden talent for picking out better coconuts than I do!

cracking open young thai coconuts

After the coconut cracking, we started working on a recipe for cilantro coconut wrappers that will be used for a dumpling recipe on Day 7. There will be a finished photo of it with the Day 7 material. Coconuts make great additions to wrappers made in the dehydrator because their fat content helps to keep them pliable. 

The next thing we got to do was make the smoothie recipe that we created at the end of week 1! I made my smoothie and felt that it needed a few adjustments, so after my second try, I was happy with the final result. I decided to call it the “Summer Chiller Smoothie” because of all the seasonal and cooling ingredients in it. Just click the link to go check out the recipe!

Summer Chiller Smoothie with cucumber juice, frozen pineapple, mint, and matcha! Summer Chiller Smoothie with cucumber juice, frozen pineapple, mint, and matcha! Summer Chiller Smoothie with cucumber juice, frozen pineapple, mint, and matcha!

We got to put together a really awesome dish of “Sesame Noodles” today as well. It called for almond butter, so I made my own! Almond butter is really easy to make. All you need is almonds and a food processor with a good motor in it because you will be running it for 15-20 minutes. Just put the almonds in and turn on the food processor. Stop every 2-3 minutes to scrape down the sides, and then turn it back on. First, it turns into crumbs, then it turns into a meal, then it turns into a paste, and then after it starts to warm up slightly and has been beaten by the blades for about 15 minutes, it will start to release more oils and become buttery. After that point, just blend it until it reaches the creaminess that you want. 

raw almond butter

The almond butter was used in a sauce that went into this “Sesame Noodles” dish. It seemed similar to other raw dishes I’ve had that were meant to mimic a “Pad Thai”. I even put my own variation of Pad Thai together a while ago, if you want to go check it out.

If you want the exact recipe for this dish, it’s kind of a cross between recipes from 2 of Matthew Kenney’s books: Sauce from the Spicy Sesame Noodles (page 99) in Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less and vegetable assortment from the Pad Thai (page 107) in Everyday Raw, served over yellow squash.

This one that we made for class was very delicious. I really liked the sauces and the variety of vegetables in the dish. We were supposed to practice some plating techniques with this dish as well. Stacking, I got. Saucing, I need to work on. My instructor says the folks at the school have been very impressed with my work thus far though. πŸ™‚

raw vegan pad thai raw vegan pad thai raw vegan pad thai

Lastly, there was an optional exercise to soak some wheat so we can grow our own wheatgrass. Well, I accidentally grabbed my oat groats instead! I did realize what I had done the next day, and then put my actual wheat berries into the jar to soak. I noticed after I opened the jar to drain them and thought they smelled suspiciously oat-y. πŸ˜‰

oat groats oat groats

 

Lastly, I was thrilled to see that the pickles I made for class were shared on Matthew Kenney’s Tumblr site! I got kudos for growing my own pickling cucumbers. =D

adrienne frankenfield pickles