Tag Archives: pistachio

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 14

raw vegan baklava

Here is the recap for Day 14 of Advanced Raw Cuisine! We are well into the desserts and pastries, and also working toward our finished advanced cheese plates!

The first task of the day was to put our fermented nut cheeses into the dehydrator to develop a nice rind if we wanted to. Yes, please! That is one of my favorite things to do with raw cheeses! It just seems to give them so much more texture and make them more cheese-like. They are a bit more firm and have a nice professional finish on the outside. Into the dehydrator my cheeses went!

We also started soaking some more oats to prepare flour for additional recipes that we will be working on later in the course. 

The next task of the day was to make the baklava filling and syrup, and then to plate it. It was a delicious blend of pistachio, apricot, and spices. The syrup was infused with citrus. The whole dish was quite a treat for me because… I’VE NEVER EATEN BAKLAVA BEFORE IN MY LIFE.

It’s not that I’ve been living under a rock. I’ve just had problems with wheat and gluten for most of my life, so there are a lot of things I never had the chance to try. Anyway, here are some lovely pictures of the assembled raw vegan baklava. 

raw vegan baklava raw vegan baklava raw vegan baklava

Next… CHOCOLATE! Yes, they taught us how to tempter chocolate! By using ingredients which are raw to begin with, the chocolate stays raw because the tempering process does not take it over 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Tempering chocolate is the process of heating and cooling it to specific temperatures in order to leave in tact only those fat crystals which leave the chocolate hard and shiny. This is the process that gives bon bons, filled chocolates, chocolate bars, etc. their familiar “crunch” and glossy appearance. It also keeps chocolate from melting at room temperature!

One of my favorite parts of this exercise was playing with my new infrared thermometer! I have always wanted an excuse to play with one of these. It’s so much easier than using a candy thermometer because there is nothing to clip on or clean up afterward. Just point and shoot occasionally. It’s also great for making sure your water temperature is perfect for tea. 😉

Check out my bon bons below. The first photo is the initial coating of the Polycarbonate Candy Mold (the text links to the actual mold I purchased) and the second photo shows a green tea and honey filling that I made for them. After setting up in the fridge to harden the filling, I added a final layer of chocolate on the top (which would actually become the bottom of the candy) and let them set in the fridge for about an hour. 

raw vegan chocolate raw vegan chocolate

Finished bon bon photos coming on day 15! 😉

If you’d like to learn more about raw food and chocolate, Matthew Kenney has a great book about it, aptly called, “Raw Chocolate“.

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 6

raw vegan beet carpaccio

Day 6 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary has been completed! This starts the second week of class where the focus is on “advanced equipment”. We’ll be learning how to use the sous vide technique for raw food, how to infuse a smoky flavor into the food via a smoking gun, and how to use the dehydrator as a hot box. I’m very excited about playing with some new kitchen toys!

To start the day, some prep work was required. I made almond milk and processed the strained out pulp into almond flour. I also made some oat flour by soaking raw oat groats, dehydrating them, grinding the grains, and sifting the flour from the bran. 

Next, it was time to harvest some herbs and season the macadamia goat cheese, which had been fermenting over the last 24 hours. I choose lemon balm, parsley, and dill. The lemon balm added a really nice flavor. It is slightly tangy like lemon, slightly sweet, and slightly bitter. It’s one of my favorite tea herbs. The parsley added an earthy quality to the mix, and the dill gave it a rich and savory quality. I love dill so much. I’d put it in everything if I could. 

fresh garden herbs

The macadamia cheese was shaped into a log by rolling it in parchment paper. It was then rolled in the fresh chopped herbs. It had a very herbal and earthy flavor, complimented by the tanginess and saltiness of the nut cheese itself. 

If you’d like to make the macadamia goat cheese, you can fine the recipe on page 48 of Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less by Matthew Kenney.

raw vegan macadamia goat cheese raw vegan macadamia goat cheese

Following the cheese flavoring, it was time to experiment with the sous vide technique! I was a little intimidated that our first project was to utilize beets. It’s no secret that I have a love-hate relationship with them. I try to like them, I really do. I know they’re super healthy, but they taste like dirt to me. It’s not my fault though. Science says I’m just overly sensitive to geosmin. I taste it in fresh corn sometimes too. 

Geosmin is an organic compound with a distinct earthy flavor and aroma produced by a type of Actinobacteria, and is responsible for the earthy taste of beets and a contributor to the strong scent (petrichor) that occurs in the air when rain falls after a dry spell of weather or when soil is disturbed.” [Wikipedia]

Another side effect of being a supertaster, I suppose. So there. 

I chose yellow beets for this assignment since they have a milder flavor to me. I also love they are the color of sunshine, and I live in the Sunshine State, after all. I sliced the beets on a mandolin, tossed them in some seasoning, and added some fresh herbs from my garden. They went into a vacuum sealed back, and then into the water bath.

I’m using the Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator. It’s pretty awesome. It clips onto any container, so you can use a big stockpot that you might already have and it stores easily since it’s basically just a metal cylinder. It stores easily if you have a small place like I do, and there’s no need to purchase a separate sous vide machine. Best of all, it’s very reasonably priced at less than $200 if you get it through Amazon.

raw vegan sous vide beets raw vegan sous vide beets raw vegan sous vide beets

After this project, we made an oat crumble and put it into the dehydrator and also made an almond gelato, which was put into the freezer to set up. 

Then, it was time for a lesson about agar agar. Agar is a seaweed that has amazing gelling properties. It’s not technically raw, but as a sea vegetable, it is rich in minerals, low in calories, and a good source of fiber. It can be used as a replacement for gelatin, and it can also be re-heated and re-blended if it sets too quickly. It’s a very versatile and it’s benefits outweigh its drawbacks. We used it to make a raw vegan version of tofu, with a base of coconut and cashew. 

It had a really nice flavor and texture. It didn’t have the same weird aftertaste that traditional soy based tofu does, and it is completely soy free. If you’d like to make this recipe, it is on page 66 of Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw.

raw vegan coconut tofu raw vegan coconut tofu

Finally, it was time to plate the beets with the components that we’d been putting together. This dish contains the sous vide beets, the macadamia goat cheese, the lemon butter I made on day 5 and put in the freezer, some crushed pistachio, and a few microgreens or sprouts. 

If you’d like to make this dish, you can find a similar recipe on page 48 of Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less by Matthew Kenney.

raw vegan beet carpaccio raw vegan beet carpaccio raw vegan beet carpaccio raw vegan beet carpaccio raw vegan beet carpaccio raw vegan beet carpaccio

What a great and delicious day! I can’t wait to see what we’ll be creating next!

Raw Food Fundamentals: Day 11

raw vegan chocolate truffles

Day 11 of learning raw food fundamentals has been completed!

I started the day with some lessons about how to make raw vegan versions of cheese. This was very insightful. I have seen other recipes in the raw food community about fermented nut cheeses, and this course has allowed me to do some fun experiments with that, as well as learn some great techniques. I can now re-create comfort foods and as an added bonus, get some extra probiotics in my diet. I will never complain about that. 😉

Here is some “swiss cheese” spread out on the dehydrator sheet ready to go in. We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.

raw vegan swiss cheese

After this, I started the process of soaking and sprouting some buckwheat for use in a later recipe. After the soaking is done, it still has to be dehydrated back to a crispy state. I am excited to see what it will be used for. 

Next came the assignment I was most eager to work on. CHOCOLATE! That’s right, we learned how to make chocolate truffles, and we got to select our own toppings. The texture and flavor of these is amazing. They aren’t overly sweet either, like the truffles you might purchase in a chocolate shop. I think they had just the right amount of sweetness. 

The recipe for the batter to make the truffles is in Matthew Kenney’s book, Raw Chocolate

In the photo with the truffles on the big round plate, the center truffle has pecans on it, and the flavors on the rest, starting clockwise from 12 o’clock position, are:

  1. cacao nib/chili powder/applewood smoked sea salt
  2. bee pollen
  3. pistachio
  4. maple candied pineapple
  5. lime zest, dried coconut, coconut sugar
  6. cinnamon, ginger, orange and lemon zests
  7. cinnamon
  8. cacao nib / Pirate’s Bite spice blend from Spice & Tea Exchange in Winter Park, FL

I sampled a few to make sure they were safe to eat. I have some other taste testers coming to visit tomorrow. 😉

raw vegan chocolate truffle toppingsraw vegan chocolate trufflesraw vegan chocolate trufflesraw vegan chocolate trufflesraw vegan chocolate truffles

 After my fun afternoon of truffle rolling (which may or may not have been accompanied by a lemon honey margarita), we made pancake batter. They’re all ready to go into the dehydrator! I was really excited to see this. I haven’t had pancakes in a long time. I can’t wait to see what they taste like!

raw vegan pancake batter

I’m all set for big day #12! I can’t wait to have more fun with the fermented cheeses and see how these pancakes turn out!

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine – Day 2

raw vegan lasagna

I just finished day 2 of “Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine“, a course offered online through the Matthew Kenney Academy. It’s been a great experience so far. It’s very labor intensive and I’m so thankful that I was able to do this as an 8-week course. There is going to be a lot of stuff happening in my kitchen this weekend as I attempt to finish Day 3 on Saturday and Day 4 on Sunday!

To start Day 2, we learned about flavor balancing, and we made some seasoned almonds in the dehydrator that will be used for a recipe later in the week (Day 6), so I’ll post a photo of them at that time. Following that, more knife skills! We do cutting exercises every day to learn better grip and control of both the knife and the food being cut. I’m sure it will save me from many future accidents! I think they are getting a little better, but I still need more practice.

chef knife skills exercise

 

We also learned about plating guidelines and put that into practice with two beautiful raw vegan dishes: red beet ravioli and lasagna. I have learned to much from this course in the mere two days of work that I have completed.

Both recipes can be found in the book, Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow. Highly recommended!

The knife skills and the plating guidelines have helped me tremendously. Plating food really IS an art form. I really feel that these are probably the best food photos I have ever taken, thanks to the new things I have learned and incredibly helpful feedback from the instructors.

I’m definitely looking forward to day 3, because I peeked ahead and I get to make smoothies and pickles! =D

raw vegan red beet ravioli raw vegan red beet ravioli raw vegan red beet ravioli raw vegan lasagna raw vegan lasagna raw vegan lasagna