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Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 11

raw vegan thai salad

I’m officially into my third week of Advanced Raw Cuisine via Matthew Kenney Culinary Online. Today marks the start of… wait for it… PASTRY WEEK! We’ll be making cookies, breads, and crackers, and finishing the week with some chocolate making and a cheese plate with the nut cheeses that have been patiently fermenting in the refrigerator. I really loved putting the cheese plate together in the first level fundamentals class. The recipes we worked on today were fabulous. I have no doubt the rest of the week will be a lot of fun. 🙂

It’s time to get back to the cinnamon rolls… They were setting up in the freezer, and then I sliced them. I prefer my sweets in smaller portions, so I made these rolls smaller than usual. Not a whole lot of “swirl” going on, but I think they’re cute anyway. Cutting them down to this size also allowed me to use my sushi mat to roll them, which made the whole process really easy. After slicing, they went into the dehydrator for a few hours to warm up before plating and serving them later today.

raw vegan cinnamon rolls raw vegan cinnamon rolls

The next project was to learn a method for making raw bread loaves in the dehydrator! I had seen some of these before in old raw foods books, but they relied on sprouted glutenous grains, which I am unable to eat. This method does not! We used flours from some nuts and some sprouted gluten free grains for these. The seaweed, Irish moss, was used to hold the whole thing together and give it a bit of a bouncy texture. 

Since these breads will be going on our cheese plates at the end of the week, we were given free reign to add our own seasonings and make our own shapes. The rectangular loaf has some chopped olives in it. In the profile, you’ll see I shaped it like a cute miniature loaf of bread with the little “bubble” at the top. Those high school pottery classes are finally paying off! 😉

The second rounder loaf has a big of molasses and chicory root tea added in to give it a darker color and depth of flavor, as well as some caraway seed. My intent for that one was to be like a faux-rye bread with a biscotti-like profile after it is sliced. I am so excited to see how these turn out!

raw vegan bread loaf raw vegan bread loaf raw vegan bread loaf raw vegan bread loaf

All this pastry work sure does make a girl hungry. Thank goodness there was a salad recipe planned for today. This is a “Thai salad”. We learned more about combining unique ingredients and textures, and also about styling salads. This is a great lesson for me because I absolutely love salad, and I’m always looking for ways to make them a bit prettier. There is a little bit of the spicy sesame dressing peeking out from under the greens, and some more mixed into the mix of colorful vegetables and coconut on the top.

This was an amazingly delicious salad. It’s still pretty warm here in central Florida, so it was nice to have something that was light and refreshing, but still had a lot of flavor. I would definitely make this one again!

raw vegan thai salad raw vegan thai salad raw vegan thai salad

After the salad, it was time for dessert. It’s pastry week, right? Bring on the pastries! =D

Remember that chocolate chili sauce I made on day 10? It’s going on the cinnamon rolls! This was one exotic dessert and I really loved it! The rolls are topped with some chocolate and chopped walnuts (the rolls also have walnuts in them). The drink you see paired with them is a chili-cacao herbal tea with a cashew foam to make something that is kind of a cross between a tea latte and a cappuccino. I topped it with a few slivers of thai chili pepper. Chocolate and chili are one of my favorite flavor combinations! 

This wraps up day 11. Looking forward to more pastry adventures on day 12!

raw vegan spicy chocolate butter raw vegan cinnamon rolls raw vegan cinnamon rolls

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

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/

Italian Pasta Salad (Vegan, cooked w/raw option)

Pasta Primavera Salad - Vegan and Gluten Free

This Italian pasta salad recipe is heart-healthy and easy to make. It is low in fat and full of raw vegetables with a flavorful flax seed oil pesto sauce.

My Dietary Transition

I have been working to transition my diet to that which follows the protocols outlined by Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn for optimal human health. (Check out the health resources link on this blog to find some of their work if you have not already.) Essentially, it is a low fat whole foods plant based diet. I was already eating a whole food plant based diet with a lot of raw food, but still eating far too many nuts and oils with the wrong proportions of omega fatty acids. I am giving their recommended 80-10-10 (carbs-protein-fat) approach a try, which hypothetically should be achieved simply by eating a varied diet of whole plant foods. If I use oil, I am trying to use flax oil exclusively for my cold dishes, as it is the only plant based oil that is higher in omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acid, and using coconut oil occasionally, but sparingly for my occasional cooked dishes (and in large amounts on my skin as a moisturizer!).

The Recipe Origins

As my grandfather recently passed away from heart disease, I’ve been encouraging my family to adopt some more heart-healthy dietary habits by preparing meals for them this week while I am visiting. I was originally going to take this recipe to a vegan potluck dinner with some friends, as I thought it would be a nice light meal that would appeal to most people. When I ended up back home over the news about my grandfather, I made it for my relatives instead. 

A Note About Grains

I chose to include some grains in this recipe to make it more appealing to the audience I was preparing it for. One important thing to note is that when following the heart-healthy protocol, any grains which are consumed should be whole grains. This means that the germ, endosperm, and bran are not removed in processing. Otherwise, the grains lack fiber and nutrients. I found an organic rice pasta at my local grocery store (I LOVE PUBLIX!) that uses whole grain rice flour, which worked out really nice for the recipe. If your local hippy market doesn’t carry any such thing, you can order it from Amazon: Jovial Organic Brown Rice Fusilli.

HOWEVER, I generally prefer to limit my consumption of grains, due to their phytic acid content (which can be reduced by sprouting and fermenting, and offset by a healthy population of lactobacilli in the gut), but I digress. We can discuss that in another post at another time. Until then, EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES! 😉

How to Make it Raw

The rice pasta is the only cooked ingredient in the dish, so if you’d like it to be a completely raw vegan meal, you can just make noodles out of the zucchini instead of slicing it as I did for this version of the recipe, and omit the rice pasta all together. This was my original plan for the recipe. However, if sharing with hungry omnivores, the whole grain rice pasta makes the recipe a bit more familiar.

Pasta Primavera Salad
Serves 4
This light heart-healthy pasta primavera salad contains an array of colored raw vegetables, marinaded in a flax oil pesto dressing, and a whole grain organic rice pasta. The pasta is a great option for non-raw family members, but can be omitted if you would like the dish to be completely raw vegan. In that case, just spiral cut your zucchini into noodles instead. 🙂
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Pasta Ingredients
  1. 3 spiral cut zucchinis OR 1/2 lb whole grain rice pasta
Salad Ingredients
  1. If using pasta, then chop 2 zucchinis for the salad (don't chop any extra if they are your noodles)
  2. 1/2 heart celery, thinly sliced (appx. 1.25 cups)
  3. 1 cup grated carrot (appx. 3 medium carrots or 4 small organic carrots)
  4. 2 cups chopped grape tomatoes (1 pint package)
  5. 1 cup chopped yellow sweet pepper (appx 3 sweet peppers or 1 yellow bell pepper)
  6. 1/2 cup chopped artichoke heart (appx 5 hearts - marinaded in brine, not oil)
  7. 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (up to 1/2 cup if you love parsley)
  8. 1 cup chopped kalamata olives (reduce to 1/2 cup to reduce the fat - stored in brine, not oil)
  9. 1/2 cup chopped scallions (5-6 stalks)
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup flax seed oil
  2. 1/2 cup filtered water
  3. 1 large handful fresh basil
  4. 2 TB apple cider vinegar
  5. 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  6. 1 tsp oregano
  7. 1 tsp thyme
  8. 1 tsp onion powder
  9. 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  10. 1/4 tsp sea salt
Pasta Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions OR spiral cut zucchini and massage in 1/2 tsp of sea salt and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until soft and pliable, then rinse with cool water.
Salad Directions
  1. Chop all vegetables as indicated and add them to a very large bowl.
  2. If you are using pasta noodles, then chop some zucchini for the salad. If you are using zucchini noodles, then omit zucchini from the salad.
Dressing Directions
  1. Add all dressing ingredients to a high speed blender (Vitamix is my preference) and blend thoroughly until everything is smooth and well incorporated.
Assembly Directions
  1. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix until it is evenly distributed. Let the dressing sit on the vegetables for about 10 minutes to allow them to soften and soak in the flavor.
  2. Mix the pasta (either zucchini or rice noodles) into the large bowl with the salad and dressing.
Notes
  1. This pasta salad recipe will feed 4 people as a meal or 6-8 as a side dish. We had 6 at dinner and finished the bowl, but one of us had 3 portions and made a meal of it. 😉
  2. Feel free to double the recipe for an extra large or extra hungry crowd. I made a double batch so that there would be leftovers for lunch the second day.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/