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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

Raw Vegan ‘Prosciutto’ and Melon

raw vegan melon and prosciutto

I’ve been taking raw vegan culinary classes online through Matthew Kenney Culinary, and learning some amazing things. My favorite assignments are the ones where we are given a full creative license to take the skills we’ve learned and translate them into our own creations. You may remember the Bloody Mary Gazpacho that I created in my previous class, Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine, which was the result of one of these creative exercises. 

I’m currently taking the second class, Advanced Raw Cuisine, where we were given another of these exercises to create 2 “amuse bouche” plates. This raw vegan ‘prosciutto’ and melon dish was one of those creations. I wanted a way to re-create a popular non-vegan hors d’oeuvre in a more healthful and kind way that would still please the palate. This was the result.

Please enjoy. πŸ™‚

Raw Vegan 'Prosciutto' and Melon
A more healthful and kinder alternative to the traditional "prosciutto and melon" appetizer, this re-creation is packed full of vitamin C with a familiar smoky and salty texture.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 red bell pepper
  2. 1/4 of a cantaloupe, 1/4 of a honeydew melon, or 1/2 of a hami melon
  3. 1/4-1/2 of an avocado
  4. 1 TB grapeseed oil
  5. generous pinch (or 2) of smoked sea salt
  6. 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Instructions
  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the bell pepper. It's ok if you can't get the very top and bottom. We'll only be shaving off the flatter and broader sides.
  2. Using a mandolin slicer, shave off slices of the bell pepper that are as thin as you can make them while still keeping the cut pieces completely in tact with a continuous surface (no holes).
  3. Depending on the thickness you'd like the 'prosciutto' to be for the final plating, you may cut these in half. I did for the toothpick plating, but for something served on a plate, you might prefer to leave them wider.
  4. Add the shaved peppers to a bowl with the grapeseed oil, smoked sea salt, and smoked paprika. Toss them all together and ensure each piece is thoroughly coated. This will add not only a slightly darker color, but a smoky and salty flavor, and result in a pliable texture. Let it marinade for 15-20 minutes or until the peppers have the texture of a thinly shaved prosciutto.
  5. While the peppers are marinading, make melon balls and slice some triangle shaped avocado wedges.
  6. To assemble, slide onto toothpicks: avocados, then the peppers bent into wavy ribbons, and then a melon ball.
  7. Serve either on small plates or in some spoons.
Notes
  1. You can easily scale this recipe up or use other colored peppers or melons to get a different visual effect.
  2. I recommend not substituting for a different oil. Grapeseed was selected for its neutral flavor and salty undertones.
  3. Smoked sea salt contributes toward the smoky flavor of this dish. The smoked paprika is essential, but if you don't have smoked salt, using regular salt will still produce a good result. The smoky flavor will not be as rich, though.
  4. You can use any kind of avocado you like. I originally used the Florida avocado to add a bit of sweetness to the dish, but I prefer the Haas avocados.
  5. It is very helpful if you look for bell peppers that have relatively flat and broad sides, as they will be run over a mandolin slicer.
  6. If you slice the wider shaved pepper pieces in half and you have a larger pepper to start with, you should get 15-20 pieces from it.
  7. Traditionally, these are served alone, but you can add a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or some fresh herbs if you like. I think serving them with a bit of basil or mint makes an excellent palate cleanser.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/