Thursday, April 17, 2014

Raw Cheese Stuffed Celery



At every holiday, my Grandmother would make something that was so delicious us kids (and some adults) would argue over the last piece. No, it wasn't a dessert...it was stuffed celery.  Crunchy salty celery goodness stuffed with an allium scented cream cheese mixture topped off with paprika.  Funny that something so simple would be so crave worthy. I think it was my love of cheese that had me hooked.  My Grandmother has since passed away and no one makes this stuffed celery anymore, but that does not mean I do not think about it on holidays.  I made a vegan version a few years back, but with ingredients that I would not currently eat such as store bought faux vegan cream cheese (which did not have the healthiest ingredients since cane sugar and things I could not pronounce were included) and it was pretty good.  I have not made it since then though, until this week that is.  My Mother suggested I make some with my macadamia nut cheese and I just had to. Because I knew it would be amazing and way better than Grandma's version ever was (sorry Grandma, you know I am still inspired by your cooking). 


 The macadamia cheese is a simple mixture that I love to use for chevre on salads because it can be crumbled once chilled.  This time I added some garlic to it in place of the powered garlic Grandma used to use.  It was sooo tasty!  I piped it into the celery sticks and topped it off with some smokey paprika (you can use sweet if you want, which is what my Grandma used, but I prefer the smokey).  These were the best stuffed celery sticks I have ever eaten.  And let me tell you I ate a lot in my younger life.  I think these would be perfect for any holiday as an appetizer!

Raw "Cheese" Stuffed Celery
Makes about 24

Cheese:
2 cups raw macadamia nuts, soaked in filtered water for 8 hours and drained
juice of one lemon
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp sea salt or himalayan salt
2-3 Tbsp filtered water

about 8 large organic stalks celery cut into 4 inch sticks

smoked spanish paprika

In a high speed blender combine all the cheese ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.  Place in a pastry bag and pipe into the hollow of each celery stick.  Sprinkle them all with the paprika and serve.




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Raw Waldorf Salad My Way


I was never really a big fan of waldorf salad growing up for 2 reasons.  One, I thought the combination of mayonnaise and fruit sounded disgusting and two, I hated celery in salads with fruit.  So you may be asking yourself...why did I make some?  Well, when I became raw my distaste for celery vanished.  I am not sure why but I love the flavor now...something about the slightly saltiness that I enjoy.  Also, I thought I would be able to create a dressing to pair with it that I would find palatable and because raw creamy salad dressings are so delicious!


I used a combination of creamy coconut meat and walnut butter for the base of my dressing along with lemon juice for a bit of a tang and it was delicious!  I mean like lick the spoon and scrape the bowl out it was that good!  I added the classic apples, grapes, celery and walnuts but also some perfectly ripe pear...because you can never go wrong with extra fruit.  It was wonderful!  Not at all like the waldorf I remember tasting as a kid, and yet it had all the same fruits and veggies pretty much.  I think I actually like waldorf now and I would serve this at an occasion like Easter!


Raw Waldorf Salad My Way
Serves 6-8

Dressing:
1 cup young coconut meat
1/3 cup coconut water or more as needed
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp raw honey
3 Tbsp raw walnut butter
a pinch sea salt

2 stalks celery, sliced thin on the bias
2 ripe pears, sliced
2 sweet apples (such as pink lady or honeycrisp), sliced
3 cups red grapes
3/4 cup coarsely chopped raw walnuts

For the dressing, combine everything in a high speed blender and blend until smooth (if it is too thick add a little more coconut water (since young coconuts vary in water content of their meat)).  Pour over all the other ingredients in a large bowl, and toss to combine. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Raw Southwest Spring Carrot Gnocchi with Spicy Chili Sauce


I used to love gnocchi before I went raw.  Pillowy little dumplings, the perfect comfort food in my mind.  about a year and a half ago I tried to make a raw version and failed miserably.  I had no idea what I was doing, being new to raw food, and they turned out so bad I threw them out.  I thought it was about time I attempted making them again now that I know more about how ingredients behave when using raw things.  


I decided to give the Italian comfort food a Southwest flavor since I am always one for putting my own spin on things and I love a little spice.  I made a carrot gnocchi, but I flavored it with things like cumin, chipotle and garlic.  I then made a silky chili sauce, a little spicy that I knew would pair perfectly with the gnocchi. I served them with asparagus and peppers and they made for a satisfying comforting dinner!  So much for that epic fail I had last time I tried to make them...this was a win, and this is why I always try everything at least twice.  I consider fails just a practice round!


Raw Southwest Spring Carrot Gnocchi with Spicy Chili Sauce
Serves 4

Gnocchi:
2 1/2 cups chopped carrot
1/2 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
sea salt to taste
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
a pinch cayenne
1 cup sprouted chickpea flour or sprouted quinoa flour
1/2 cup coconut flour (plus more as needed)

Sauce:
1 large tomato
1 red bell pepper
1 medium carrot
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (soaked until soft and drained)
3 dates
1 garlic clove
sea salt
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp almond butter

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, or mini peppers cut julienne (or sliced if you have the mini pepper)
a few scallions, sliced

For the gnocchi, combine the carrots, hemp seeds, almonds, yeast, sea salt, garlic, flax, cumin, turmeric and cayenne in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If using the blender, transfer to a food processor before adding the flours.  Add the chickpea flour, and process until smooth.  Add 1/2 cup of the coconut flour and process until smooth. Remove from the food processor and place in a large bowl. Knead in more coconut flour a little at a time until you have a soft but not too sticky dough (the less you add, the more tender the gnocchi will be, and I ended up with about 1/4 cup additional flour).  Shape into little gnocchi shapes, and set aside on a plate (or if you want them warm, place them in the dehydrator at 115F while you prepare the sauce).
To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
When ready to plate, spoon some of the sauce onto a serving plate, top with some gnocchi, some asparagus and spoon some more of the sauce over.  Top with peppers and scallions.  Serve!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Raw Cardamom Scented Carrot Cake with Rosewater Vanilla Coconut Frosting


The last time I made a raw carrot layer cake...was 2 years ago. Granted I have many "carrot cake" desserts since then, but not a classic layer cake which is my favorite.  That last one I made was one of my first attempts at raw layer cake too, and it was a bit too dense...due to the large amount of nuts I used in it.  I have since changed my cake recipes only using nuts as a small garnish or flavoring as they make very heavy cakes.  Since I feel like the spiced layer cakes are kind of fallish and I was going for a Spring cake this time, I decided to switch up the flavorings a bit.  


Lots of carrots in the batter of course, but then instead of the heavy spices you usually find in carrot cake, a little cardamom, rosewater and vanilla was added.  Boy was it ever heavenly tasting.  I could have eaten the batter out of a bowl with a spoon (and I did a little) it was so delicious.  It smelled wonderful while dehydrating as well. It needed something just as heavenly to top it off, so I chose rosewater vanilla coconut frosting.


All together this cake was the best raw carrot cake I have made.  I love the light flavors in place of the strong spices, and before I even dove into it the aroma alone was enough to make me happy.  I could see this being the centerpiece of an Easter table. I am sure everyone would save room for dessert!


Raw Cardamom Scented Carrot Cake with Rosewater Vanilla Coconut Frosting

Makes one 8 inch 2 layer cake

Cake:
2 1/2 cups raw sprouted buckwheat, raw sprouted oat, or raw sprouted quinoa flour  
2 cups ground raw flaxseed 
3 cups raw coconut flour (do NOT use store-bought!)*

1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp rosewater
2 tsp cardamom
2 cups chopped organic carrots
1 cup medjool dates, pitted (soaked in filtered water for 30 minutes if not soft, then drained)
2/3 cup raw coconut nectar or your choice of liquid sweetener
1 1/2 cups filtered water (or as needed)

2 cups shredded organic carrots
1 1/2 cups finely shredded dried coconut

Frosting:
4 cups young coconut meat**

1/2 cup coconut water
2 tsp rosewater
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or agave nectar
1/2  tsp sea salt

seeds of one vanilla bean, or 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid


dried roses and chopped raw pistachios for garnish

For the cake batter, combine flour,  flaxseed, coconut flour, sea salt, in a large bowl and whisk together until and set aside. To a food processor, add the dates, vanilla, rosewater, cardamom, chopped carrots, nectar, and water to the processor and process until pretty smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth with a sturdy spoon (wooden works well) and well incorporated (the batter will be stiff, so you might want to use your stand mixer if you have one, and if you feel the mixture is too dry add a little more water (you want it to be the consistency of thick brownie batter). Stir in the shredded carrots and coconut and mix until well combined.  Shape the batter into 2 8 inch round layers on a lined dehydrator sheet.  Dry for about 12-14 hours (until dry on the outside but still moist).

Meanwhile, to make the frosting, combine all ingredients but the coconut butter and oil in a food processor and process until smooth.  With the motor running, add the coconut butter and process a minute more.  Pour the cream into a bowl and let sit in the fridge until the consistency of whipped cream.
When ready to frost, place one cake layer on a plate.  spread frosting about 1/2 inch thick over the first layer, then top with the second.  Spread frosting over the top and down the sides of the cake, smoothing out.  Place the remaining frosting in a pastry bag, and pipe decoratively around the bottom and top of the cake.  Store cake in the fridge.

*Store bought coconut flour is dryer than home made and it can result in a not as delicious cake. You can make your own by simply buzzing finely shredded dried coconut in a high speed blender for about 10-30 seconds until it is fine (but not too long or you will get butter).  
**If you do not have access to young coconut meat, for the batter, you can sub 4 cups raw cashews soaked for 4 hours and drained well before using.  




Sunday, April 13, 2014

Raw Cadbury Eggs


 Cadbury eggs are an Easter candy classic, and they were always just something I ate when I was little.  I have to admit, they weren't my favorite. I preferred the peanut butter and raspberry cream filled eggs to the overly sweet Cadbury.  Funny that even as a child that loved sugary things I thought that.  But I got to thinking, if I made a raw version I might like them better.


 So that was my project on Friday.  Kind of a random decision, I was thinking about them while I was out running for some reason then decided that I needed to make them.  I was determined to make them later that day after work.  I find making raw food relaxing and there is nothing I would rather be doing most evenings.


I free styled these since I don't own any Easter egg molds (but that's ok, I am sure most of you don't either and I want you to be able to make them easily too) but I think they turned out pretty cute despite not looking like the originals.  I used a simple coconut butter base because I did not want to mess with complicated ingredients or young coconut meat, so they are not as runny as the original.  But if you let them sit out at room temperature for a quite a while at a warmer temperature they become pretty soft (but even if you don't and they are firm in the middle they are still delicious and less messy).  I have to say, these are the most delicious Cadbury Eggs I have ever eaten!  Even if they are a knock off.  My Mother who hates Cadbury Eggs was willing to try one and loved it and my boyfriend Eric loved them as well (big surprise since he is obsessed with anything involving chocolate).  If you enjoy play dough at all you will enjoy my method of making them.  Don't worry, they don't have to be perfect, what matters is the delicious end product!  




Raw Cadbury Eggs 
Makes 12

Filling:
1 1/2 cups raw coconut butter (not oil) warmed to liquid
1/3 cup raw coconut nectar, maple syrup or raw local honey
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp filtered water
a pinch sea salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 cups raw dark chocolate chunks, or chopped raw dark chocolate

Note: all ingredients in this recipe must be at room temperature or warmer or when you mix them together they will clump up.  Whisk together all ingredients until well combined, then remove 2/3 cup of it and whisk in 1/2 tsp turmeric.  Pipe into mounded tsp (so about 2 tsp total) onto a foil lined tray.  Place in the freezer for about 2-3 minutes to allow to firm up enough to shape with your hands.  Gently shape into balls.


Spoon some of the white mixture by the Tbsp onto the same tray so that you have enough for the yolks you made.  Place the shaped yolks on top of the white mixtures you placed on the tray and place in the freezer for a few minutes.


Remove and spoon enough of the white mixture over each yolk to cover it (about 1 mounded Tbsp).


Use an offset spatula to spread it over the yolk to cover it completely.  Place back in the freezer a few minutes, then carefully use your hands to shape into eggs (if they are too sticky they are not ready to shape and they need a few more minutes).



Place in the freezer for 30 minutes at least to harden.  Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl (I like to place mine in the dehydrator until it melts).  Set the bowl next to the tray of eggs.  Dip each one into the chocolate and place back on the tray (I use a fork and set the chocolate on it before dipping).  Place the tray of chocolates back in the freezer once they are all dipped for a few minutes to set the chocolate. Place the remaining melted chocolate in a ziplock bag with the tip cut off and drizzle over the eggs.  Once the chocolate has set they are ready to serve!  These are best at room temperature if allowed to set out an hour before serving (so the filling is soft). Store extra in the fridge.



Friday, April 11, 2014

Spicy Sweet Carrot Radish Juice


After a hard day at work...I want nothing more than a run out in the sunshine and a cocktail to unwind.  No, not alcohol...some fabulous juice!  Lately I have been loving radishes in my juice. There is just something about the spiciness they provide that pleases my taste buds.  Especially with something a little sweet like carrots.  Add in a little apple for more sweetness, some celery, citrus ginger and turmeric and you have the perfect cocktail to keep your body happy and going strong! 


Spicy Sweet Carrot Radish Juice
Serves 1

3 medium organic carrots
5-6 radishes
1 large sweet organic apple (such as pink lady or honeycrisp)
2 stalks celery
juice of one large orange
juice of one lemon
1 small hunk ginger
1 small hunk turmeric

Put all ingredients through a juicer, stir up and enjoy!



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Raw Peppermint Chip Cupcakes


This was a very random recipe.  I wanted to make cupcakes, but I was not sure what kind, so I started making a vanilla based batter, figuring inspiration would come to me, and it did!  For some reason, peppermint chip ice cream (or peppermint bon bon as we call it in Minnesota but I didn't want to confuse most of you) came to mind, and so peppermint chip cupcakes it was to be!  I love the combination of a vanilla mint base flecked with dark chocolate.  It is comforting and reminds me of being a child and filling up my bowl with that flavor of ice cream...loving every bite!  My Dad always kept a container of it in the freezer so I enjoyed it often.  


Getting back to the cupcakes though...there was actually no ice cream involved (although I could see maybe topping them off with a raw peppermint chip ice cream in the summer instead of frosting).  Just the idea of it.  A vanilla mint cake base, green of course because peppermint chip always was.  Flecked with raw dark chocolate chunks.  It was amazing even before it became cupcakes.  One of those things you have to have a spoonful (or 10) of before you spoon it into the tins to dehydrate.  I topped it off with a fluffy, creamy vanilla mint frosting, which if frozen would taste exactly like the base for the ice cream.  Then topped it off with chocolate chunks and it was all pure heaven in a cupcake!  If you have ever loved peppermint chip ice cream, you need these in your life!


Raw Peppermint Chip Cupcakes
Makes 12 

Cake:
2 1/2 cups raw sprouted buckwheat, raw sprouted oat, or raw sprouted quinoa flour  
2 cups ground raw flaxseed 
3 cups raw coconut flour (do NOT use store-bought!)

1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
2 Tbsp matcha green tea (for color) (or you can use a large handful spinach leaves but the color will fade more)
2 cups young coconut meat*
1 cup medjool dates, pitted (soaked in filtered water for 30 minutes if not soft, then drained)
2/3 cup raw coconut nectar or your choice of liquid sweetener
2 cups coconut water (or as needed)

1 1/4 cups chopped raw dark chocolate or raw dark chocolate chunks

Frosting: 
3 cups young coconut meat*
1/4  cup plus 2 Tbsp coconut water
1/3 cup raw coconut nectar or raw agave nectar
1/4  tsp sea salt

seeds of one vanilla bean, or 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
a handful fresh spinach leaves
1/2  raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid



Chopped raw dark chocolate for topping

For the cake batter, combine flour,  flaxseed, coconut flour, sea salt, in a large bowl and whisk together until and set aside. To a food processor, add the dates, vanilla, mint, matcha, coconut, nectar, and water to the processor and process until pretty smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth with a sturdy spoon (wooden works well) and well incorporated (the batter will be stiff, so you might want to use your stand mixer if you have one).  Stir in the dark chocolate chunks.  Spoon the batter into 12 standard sized foil muffin tins (mounded high because it will not rise) and place on a dehydrator sheet.  Dry for about 12-14 hours (until dry on the outside but still moist). 
Meanwhile, to make the frosting, combine all ingredients but the coconut butter in a food processor and process until smooth.  With the motor running, add the coconut butter and process a minute more.  Pour the cream into a bowl and let sit in the freezer for about half an hour to 45 minutes or so until the consistency of whipped cream or frosting.  

Once the frosting is ready, place the frosting in a pastry bag, and pipe decoratively over the tops of the cupcakes (or you can spread it on if you like).  Sprinkle with chopped raw dark chocolate.  

*If you do not have access to young coconut meat, for the batter, you can sub 2 cups finely shredded, dried coconut and 1 cup filtered water buzzed up in a high speed blender until creamy for it. Then for the frosting, 3 cups raw cashews soaked for 4 hours and drained well before using (if you do not mind the recipe not being nut free).