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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

Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary: Day 1

raw vegan milk chocolate custart

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine was such a great educational experience for me that I decided to take the second level course, Advanced Raw Cuisine, as well. I’ll be working through it over the months of September and October. 

We really hit the ground running in this class. We jumped right into recipes and some more in-depth culinary techniques. What I really like about this course so far is that the school has gone to great lengths and experimentation to really deliver us some solid and well-tested raw recipes, built on a foundational structure that is similar to a cooked food culinary course. 

Our first lesson was “mother sauces”. Obviously, raw vegan mother sauces are not the same as cooked mother sauces, but the conceptual ideas are there. We were presented with a well-thought out list of 5 raw vegan mother sauces, and during the first week of the course, we are focusing on one of them each day.

The first of the mother sauces that we learned about was the cream sauce. It is built on a foundation of soaked nuts to provide a rich and creamy texture. With these mother sauces, we can add ingredients to modify textures and flavors, which make secondary sauces. Our first recipe assignment was to create a Meyer lemon cream sauce, which will be used in a root vegetable gnocchi recipe on Day 2. I think it looks nice and creamy, don’t you? 🙂

lemon cream sauce

Our second lesson was about nut milks. We covered basic almond milk as a flavor and texture exercise on Day 3 of Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine. It helped us to learn some great lessons about flavor balancing. In this exercise, we were to select 3 different nuts and seeds, and not only compare and contrast the different flavors and textures, but to also consider what kinds of recipes they might be used for, assess how much pulp they created, whether the pulp was usable in recipes, and if so, what kind. It was a really great taste and thought exercise.

I used brazil nut, pumpkin seed, and hemp seed for my 3 selections. The brazil nut was my favorite! Almond milk is so yesterday.

nut milk tasting

 The next recipe was a delicious milk chocolate custard, with the milk being any one of the fresh milks we just created! It’s like someone out there knew how to put me in an even better mood on my first day back to school. =P Seriously, culinary school AND chocolate. I think I’ve reached nirvana.

I chose to use my brazil nut milk, of course. It was amazing. This also has some avocado and spices in it for a little something extra. I’ll definitely be making use of this technique again. 

This recipe is in Matthew Kenney’s book, Raw Chocolate, on page 72. It is listed as “Milk Chocolate Pudding”.

raw vegan milk chocolate custart raw vegan milk chocolate custart

Someone out there must be a mind reader because fermentation is right up there with chocolate on the list of food things I love. We learned how to make salt preserved lemons, which are traditionally used in North African recipes. These have to cure for 3-4 weeks and then we will be using them in a recipe during the final week of classes. I’m really excited about these because it’s something new that I’ve never tried, and I love food from Mediterranean/Middle Eastern regions.

The only part of this recipe that I didn’t like was a little detail of the preparation. We were required to cut an X into each lemon almost down to the bottom and then stuff them with salt. I then realized the eerie resemblance they had to those creepy face hugger eggs in the Alien movies. Thankfully, I’ve had no nightmares about lemons yet. 🙂

salt preserved lemons salt preserved lemons

But, wait… there’s more! I can hardly believe it myself. I feel like there is so much more packed into each day of this course, but at the same time, I am able to work much faster, thanks to the skills I learned in Level 1. While I was sneaking giant spoonfuls of chocolate custard and trying not to think about face huggers, I worked on the next project, which was to start on an olive flat bread recipe that we will be using in a mezze platter on Day 3. If the batter was any indication, this will be divine. Besides having just the right amount of olive flavor, there is a hint of orange zest that balances out the salt nicely.

raw vegan olive flat bread raw vegan olive flat bread

 The final required recipe was to start marinading a batch of eggplant crisps. The sauce was sweet, salty, spicy, and smokey all at the same time. I’ve actually made this recipe before, and I really love it. They’re great to put in a sandwich, break up into a salad, or just to snack on. They don’t even taste like eggplant by the time they’re done, which is great because let’s face it… eggplant on its own is bitter and weird. This recipe makes it all better. 

If you’d like to make this recipe for yourself, it is in the book, Everyday Raw, by Matthew Kenney. 

raw vegan eggplant bacon raw vegan eggplant bacon

 The final assignment was optional… an introduction to kombucha. Anyone who knows me personally has seen all of my crazy kombucha experiments elsewhere on social media. That’s something that can easily have its own blog entry or multiple blog entries devoted to it. So for now, here are a few snapshots of my process and some finished batches. 

making kombucha

making kombucha

making kombucha