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Advanced Raw Cuisine: Week 4

raw vegan chocolate walnut cake

Week 4 of Advanced Raw Cuisine was particularly exciting. We finished a few more pastry projects, made a few savory dishes, and got to work toward our final project, which for this class had some practical business applications. 

First, one of the final two pastry projects… raw vegan cupcakes! I always wondered if this was possible, and it sure is! They even had a nice little “bounce” from the Irish moss. We had creative freedom to make a flavor of our choosing, and since it was fall when I took the class, I made pumpkin spice with a vanilla frosting and some chocolate shavings.

Yes, I’m one of those people. Pumpkin spice all of the things! =D

raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes

We also started to learn about costing out ingredients so that we could calculate prices for dishes the way restaurants do. This was a very useful lesson for those with entrepreneurial aspirations. We made this dish of cacao corn chips and guacamole, calculated the cost of all of the ingredients, then the cost of the whole dish, and finally, added on a markup to ensure we were paid for our time and resources used. This was a really beneficial exercise. The guacamole was tasty too. It’s one of my favorite foods. πŸ™‚

raw vegan cacao corn chips and guacamole w/sunflower mole raw vegan cacao corn chips and guacamole w/sunflower mole

One of the other “big” projects this week was to put a lot of the lessons we learned together in a final pastry dish. We were given two to choose from, or the option to make both. I selected the chocolate walnut cake project. It was delicious. I had more than enough to take into work and share with my coworkers. They all enjoyed the special delivery and this dish got rave reviews!

Below are some photos of the prep work and the final plated dish. The dish is comprised of the chocolate cakes, the sous vide pears, a walnut caramel sauce, a fennel oil, candied fennel seeds, sassafras ice cream, and some fennel fronds and lavender as garnish. It was really delicious.

IMG_2233sous vide pearsIMG_2230 IMG_2165sassafras ice creamraw vegan chocolate walnut cake raw vegan chocolate walnut cake

Following all that dessert, I’m so glad there was another savory dish. This one was especially good because it had a bit of spice in it! It didn’t hurt that cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables too. I know, it’s a bit weird. So many people don’t like it, but to me, it has a subtle sweetness that makes it exquisite. 

This dish is a cauliflower and walnut harissa. I love that we branched out and used walnuts for more recipes this week. So many of the other recipes were based on almonds and cashews, which are certainly versatile nuts for their flavor and texture, but it was nice to have some more variety. There is a walnut cream sauce in the base, some harissa sauce, some marinaded and dehydrated spiced walnuts, and some cauliflower and romanesco. This dish would have been even more beautiful if I had access to some junky purple cauliflower, but my grocery store didn’t have any. I love the way we were instructed to plate this dish in a ring mold with the stems up. They are so organic looking. 

raw vegan cauliflower walnut harissa raw vegan cauliflower walnut harissa

The last real food recipe that we made before presenting out final projects was a lovely light carrot soup. This was somewhat like a gazpacho. There was a nice variety of carrot, radish, and apple chunks for texture and flavor. It was all topped with a bit of the soup, which had been foamed in the blender. The rest of the soup was poured in to make for a nice presentation. The soup was a great blend of sweet and savory with a smooth mouthfeel. It was a great lunch!

raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup

For my final project, I decided to make a probiotic granola bar. I polled my social media friends to ask them what kind of product they might be interested in. The overwhelming response was for something quick and healthy that was also filling. I also asked about probiotics and what the perception of taste and texture was regarding fermented foods. People either love sauerkraut or they hate it. Personally, I love sauerkraut. I make it by the gallon, but I digress. I made these bars so that I could sneak some good bugs in without people having to fear the funky taste of fermented vegetables. 

raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars

To celebrate the completion of the class, we were presented with some raw cocktail recipes. Whoo hoo! The base of both of these was also good as non-alcoholic drinks on their own. The green one is a nut milk with match powder – basically a vegan green tea latte. It is mixed with a cloudy sake to make it an adult beverage. The purple drink is a lavender and blueberry lemonade. It is also mixed with unfiltered nigori sake. Both were totally delicious. It was a nice way to celebrate. Cheers!

healthy vegan sake cocktails healthy vegan sake cocktails healthy vegan sake cocktails healthy vegan sake cocktails

 

 

I’m done!!! =D =D =D Be on the lookout for more delicious recipes and more class adventures coming your way!

advanced raw cuisine certificate of completion

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/

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 4

green curry kelp noodles

Day 4 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary has been completed!

Today’s creations were very exciting! We revisited the coconut wrapper technique that we learned in Level 1 and used to create the kimchi dumplings. For this variation, we added a little carrot juice to give them a brilliant orange color. They went into the dehydrator and will be used in a recipe tomorrow to create ravioli!

This is a really simple method to create flexible grain free wrappers that can be used in a variety of ways, from wraps to dumplings, to ravioli. Just blend some fresh young coconut, toss in a pinch of salt and whatever vegetable juice you’d like to color/flavor it with, and dehydrate until it holds together, but remains flexible. 

carrot coconut wrappers carrot coconut wrappers

The next project, green curry kelp noodles, was the main focal point of the day, and was used to illustrate today’s sauce lesson: plant based sauces. This is a class of raw vegan sauces that use pureed produce as a base. The green curry sauce we made today incorporated coconut milk and herbs with sweet and spicy notes.

It was plated with kelp noodles that we tenderized with warm water and baking soda. This was nothing short of amazing to me. I’ve tried kelp noodles before, and I could never completely get past the crisp texture and semi-bitter flavor until now. Simply soaking them with a little baking soda softened them up just like rice noodles and made the flavor more neutral, and they are completely raw! In this state, they are easily seasoned by any sauces and flavors that are mixed with them. We marinaded these in some chili oil and lime juice. 

The marinaded kelp noodles are topped up with a variety of vegetable noodles that include zucchini, carrot, and radish. Also in the mix are some marinaded mushrooms, fresh cilantro leaves, and some of those curried nuts we made yesterday

It was an amazingly fresh and vibrant dish, full of flavor and texture. I ate every last drop! πŸ™‚

thai green curry kelp noodles green curry kelp noodles green curry kelp noodles green curry kelp noodles

The final task of the day was to flavor our nut cheeses that we started fermenting on day 2. Below, I have created:

  • caraway and smoked paprika (macadamia nut/ fermented coconut water)
  • honey, cinnamon, cardamom, and fig (brazil and pine nut/ water kefir)
  • parsley, onion, garlic, and turmeric (cashew/ probiotic powder)
  • dill (macadamia nut/ rejuvelac)

I can’t wait to eat these! They have a couple weeks to set up in the fridge though, as this is a lesson in aging nut cheeses. 

raw vegan fermented nut cheese raw vegan fermented nut cheese raw vegan fermented nut cheese raw vegan fermented nut cheese

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

Radish and Caraway Gazpacho + Heart Disease

Raw Vegan Gazpacho Soup

This is a difficult recipe post for me to make. I am a little behind in my recipe postings for two very good reasons:

  1. My grandfather is in the hospital dying of heart disease. He was an active man who was never overweight.
  2. I am working to complete a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University.

The course material is very timely for me. We have been extensively covering the role that diet plays in the development of heart disease and cancers, the two consistent top causes of death in the United States. These are diseases of affluent nations. The richer we are, the poorer our diets become, full of processed foods and animal proteins.

The Heart Disease Epidemic

According to the CDC, about 600,000 people die from heart disease in the US per year. That is 1 in every 4 deaths. This is an epidemic. Conservatively, the CDC says that about 200,000 (1/3) of heart disease deaths are preventable with diet. However, based on the lifetime work of T. Colin Campbell, PhD, author of The China StudyWhole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, and The Low-Carb Fraud, he estimates that a full 90% of heart disease is preventable with the proper diet. The more calories we take in from unrefined plant foods instead of animal proteins and processed foods, the less we die from heart disease and cancer as a species. 

Heart disease deaths vs intake of plant food

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr, a respected surgeon who directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, has had great success in halting and reversing heart disease among inoperable patients. His patients, “…agreed to follow a plant-based diet with <10% of calories derived from fat. They were asked to eliminate oil [except flax seed], dairy products … , fish, fowl, and meat. They were encouraged to eat grains, legumes, lentils, vegetables, and fruit. Cholesterol-lowering medication was individualized. The only goal was to achieve and maintain a total serum cholesterol of <150 mg/dl”.

He has also written a great article about abolishing heart disease on Dr. Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies website. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Autopsies from soldiers in the Korean and Vietnam wars revealed an 80% rate of coronary heart disease. The median age was 20. 
  • A study of autopsies from accident, homicide, and suicide victims aged 16-34 revealed heart disease in every single one.
  • When the Nazis invaded Norway and seized all of their livestock, the people subsisted on whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Their rates of death from heart disease and stroke plummeted, but went back up to pre-occupation rates when their livestock was returned. 
  • As Western culture has permeated into Asia, these countries have started to adopt our bad dietary habits. They are shifting away from strongly plant based diets and starting to consume more animal proteins and processed foods. Coronary artery disease is predicted to become the #1 global disease burden by 2020.

The Hearth Healthy Diet

Based on the work of these men, and many others on the forefront of this research, the ideal diet for human health is a whole foods plant based diet. We receive the right balance of macronutrients automatically when we eat whole unprocessed foods grown from the ground. Dr. Campbell’s latest book, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, spells it out:

β€œThe ideal human diet looks like this: Consume plant-based foods in forms as close to their natural state as possible (‘whole’ foods). Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains. Avoid heavily processed foods and animal products. Stay away from added salt, oil, and sugar. Aim to get 80 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 10 percent from fat, and 10 percent from protein.”

Note: Dr. Esselstyn noted that the exception to the rule for oils is flaxseed oil, as it is the only one that contains more omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acid.

I am starting to incorporate more of these practices into my own diet, as I am constantly looking for ways to continue improving my own health. Going forward, more effort will be made for my recipes to follow the protocols outlined above that science is validating are correct for our species. 

Heart Healthy Gazpacho with Radish and Caraway
Serves 2
This is a heart healthy variation of gazpacho, which incorporates radish and caraway seed for a subtle punch of flavor. It follows the low fat whole foods plant based approach for heart health as outlined by the research of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and T. Colin Campbell, PhD. The only acceptable oil to use in small quantities is flax seed oil, which contains more omega-3 than omega-6.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cucumbers
  2. 1 red bell pepper
  3. 1/2 small red onion
  4. 6 radishes
  5. 5 medium sized vine ripened tomatoes (I grew mine!)
  6. 1 clove raw garlic (probiotic upgrade: 5-6 ACV fermented garlic cloves)
  7. 2 TB flax seed oil
  8. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  9. 1/2 tsp caraway seed
  10. 1/4 tsp cumin
Instructions
  1. Finely chop 2-4TB of each vegetable and set aside to stir into the soup.
  2. Add everything else to a high speed blender (Vitamix is my preference) and blend thoroughly until everything is smooth and well incorporated.
  3. Pour into two large bowls and sprinkle the chopped vegetables in.
Notes
  1. Makes two large meal-sized servings or 4-6 appetizer/side servings.
  2. I also tried the soup with a quick pesto recipe (basil, flax oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic, sun dried tomato, hemp seed, and some nutritional yeast), and mixed it in. Two thumbs up from my mom and sister.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/