Tag Archives: spinach

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. 🙂

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? 🙂

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. 🙂

pickled fruit pickled root vegetables

Frozen Blueberry Banana Green Smoothie

Frozen blueberry banana green smoothie

For those who follow this blog regularly, I apologize that I have been lax in posting recipes over the last couple weeks. My normal diet includes a lot of raw food. I was preparing healthy meals for my family during my visit, but many of them were cooked meals to make them more comforting and satisfying to them. After I returned home, I was just feeling that my body needed a rest.

As we are almost 5 months into the year and I have not done any kind of fasting since the first of the year (I did a 4 day water fast), I decided now would be a good time to give my body that rest. I have been making a lot of green juices and smoothies. I find that getting the extra nutrients from juicing and giving my digestive tract a rest while not stressing about what I’m going to make for dinner really helps me to clear my head and improves my energy levels. I like to do it 3-4 times a year. 

This next series of posts will contain some of the smoothie and juice recipes that I have been making for myself. This is one that I made for breakfast the other day – a blueberry banana green smoothie. I keep my bananas in the freezer (so I never have to worry about them getting past the perfect point of ripeness for my smoothies), and because it is so hard to find organic blueberries fresh in my area, I also purchase frozen organic wild blueberries. Frozen fruit gives the smoothie a really nice texture, and you can pretend it’s dessert for breakfast! =D

frozen banana blueberry green smoothie

Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients that are blended into this smoothie (which will feed two people or one person who will have two servings during the day – me!):

  • Bananas are a great source of potassium and inulin fiber, which feeds your gut flora. I’m a big fan of anything that encourages healthy gut flora, as healing mine has done so many wonders for my health. I have not been sick in a very long time, my digestion is better, and even some of my feed allergies have improved!
  • Bananas are also a natural source of tryptophan, which your body converts into serotonin. It makes you happy and helps you sleep better. 
  • Bananas are a good source of B6, which helps your body to create white blood cells. They are good for your immune system!
  • Bananas help to stabilize blood sugar.
  • Bananas are high in potassium and low in sodium, so they help to reduce blood pressure (if yours is high, but if yours is low, you will want to focus more on sodium rich foods like celery instead).
  • Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit. They help to prevent cancer and protect the eyes. They are especially good for the nervous system and the brain. 
  • Blueberries are low on the glycemic index, though with a whole foods plant based diet, I don’t really worry about the glycemic index anymore. 
  • Blueberries contain resveratrol, the same polyphenol that red wine is touted for having. Guess what? You can get plenty from blueberries, so put down that booze!
  • Like all leafy greens, spinach is an excellent source of plant protein.
  • Spinach is also a great source of potassium – providing more than bananas (per cup of each food)!
  • Spinach is one of the best dietary sources of magnesium, which helps to relax you – both your muscles and your nervous system. If you have asthma, it helps to relax the bronchial muscles, too.
  • Spinach is rich in iron. Goodbye, anemia!
  • Spinach is also high in potassium, and helps to reduce blood pressure. 
  • I tossed in a few bonus add-ins also: hemp seed, chia seed, and flax seed oil. The hemp seed is a complete plant protein with all of the essential amino acids, but it is still higher in omega-6 than omega-3, so I added some chia seed and flax seed oil, both of which are higher in omega-3 to help offset it.



Frozen Blueberry Banana Green Smoothie
Serves 2
This blueberry banana green smoothie is a delicious and nutritious frozen treat, full of phytonutrients that prevent cancer, anemia, and iron deficiencies!
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. 2-3 cups of water
  2. 3 large handfuls of spinach
  3. 2 frozen bananas
  4. 1 cup frozen organic wild blueberries (they have the most flavor, in my opinion!)
  5. 2 TB hemp seed (optional)
  6. 2 TB chia seed (optional)
  7. 2 TB flaxseed oil (optional)
  1. Add all ingredients to blender until well combined. Water content can vary based on how thick or thin you would like the texture of the smoothie to be.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/