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DIY Almond Milk

Published June 4, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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I woke up today wanting to eat some cereal, knowing full well that we were out of almond milk. Now, I’m not above eating cereal with just water, but I had bought plenty of raw almonds for our raw food cleanse before we went to Portland, so I though I might as well finally give making my own almond milk a shot. I originally bought a nut milk bag a long time ago to aid in making juices with my vitamix because I refuse to buy a juicer, and my attempt using a cheesecloth was effective, but annoying. However since that purchase, it had just traveled from Boca to Fort Lauderdale to Seattle, unused.

I decided to go with a basic 1:3 almonds to water ratio for my 1st attempt here. Since I usually buy unsweetened plain almond milk, I also decided to forgo the date & vanilla extract additions I often see with raw nut milk recipes.

DIY Almond Milk
makes about 3 cups

1 c. of raw almonds
3 c. of filtered water

You will need:

high speed blender
nut milk bag
3-4 c. jar
large bowl

Directions:

Blend water and almonds in high speed blender until smooth. Pour mixture through nut milk bag over a large bowl to strain. (Twisting the bag seemed to help squeeze out the milk best!) Pour milk into a jar, and freeze the almond meal for another use.

Milk will keep for 3-4 days in fridge.

Results:

This was fast, easy enough, and pretty cheap to boot. I could see that a date or a little vanilla would give it some oomph if you’re just using it for cereal, or to drink. A little carob or cacao would make it a great raw chocolate milk too! You do miss out on the extra vitamins they fortify the boxed kind with, but hey, this is fresh! And I take plenty of vitamins daily. This may just become part of my kitchen routine. I’d love to try this with raw hazelnuts. (Which I was munching on as I made this.)

Do you make your own nut milk? What are your favorite recipes?

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It tasted great in my cereal! Way better than just water :)

It tasted great in my cereal! Way better than just water 🙂

January Raw Kickoff: Day 2 & a Raw Apple Cobbler recipe

Published January 9, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Day 2 started out much like Day 1, with the buckwheat groat porridge, though this time I ran it in the Vitamix until it was warm.

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For lunch I made us some celery soup. You can see most of the ingredients above! It was delicious and the avocado kept us full for a while.

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Dinner came from Matthew Kinney’s Everyday Raw Express. I made the Curried Carrot Slaw, Endive, Pine Nuts, Golden Raisins.

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Only minus the endive, because it is too expensive, with regular raisins, and with ALMONDS instead of cashews for the sauce because Thomas is allergic to cashews. (I do this all the time now as a straight substitute and have had no problems. I’m going to try to make some artisan almond cheese one of these days based off of a cashew recipe.) I served it on romaine leaves as incredibly fresh and tasty burritos. The pine nuts gave this the necessary filling ingredient. The sauce on this combined with the mint was just so flavorful.

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For dessert, I made this apple cobbler, very similarly to the way I made the pear blackberry one the day previously.

Raw Apple Cobbler

2-3 apples, cut into bite-sized pieces
drizzle of raw agave
sprinkle of cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger

1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. raisins
pinch of salt

1. Place apples in a 2-3 quart dish. Drizzle with lightly with agave and toss with spices until lightly coated.

2. For the topping, add almonds, raisins, and salt to the small bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of fruit.

Cream Corn Chowder & Jalapeño Parsley Pesto – Matthew Kenney’s Everyday Raw Express

Published October 5, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Week 1: High Raw mini-theme continues in VeganMofo post #4 with a delicious and filling raw soup and fresh pesto from Matthew Kenney’s Everyday Raw Express, but first…

I’m going to start off by saying sorry for the picture of the finished soup with the big shadow [of me] across the bottom. I tried to clean it up in Photoshop, and it made the soup unnaturally lemon yellow. I do hold an Art degree, but it was strictly in studio arts. No technology.  So I’m going to just go with the fact that I am after all the “camera phone vegan” and hope I’m off the hook until they start making better camera phones!

Since I’m off on a tangent right now anyway, I’ll tell you something else that has nothing to do with this soup, and everything to do with vegan blogging and technology. I realized today that I WILL be in Seattle for the Vegan Vida Con Tech seminar! It’s a pretty steep $150 for a 1 day “on the technical aspects of serious Internet veganism: blogging and social media”, but I think it’d be really beneficial. Two of my soon to be neighbor tweeps, Helen of Vegtastic, and Dawn of Vegan Moxie, are going to be doing presentations. In fact, they both also just gave away free tickets to the seminar, but unluckily, I didn’t realize that I’d be in Seattle for it until today. (Feeling generous? You can donate to my cause here! hah!)

In addition to that, while we’re on the topic of Vegan Vida Con, I realized last night that I had said if we made it out to Seattle this year, then I’d definitely go to Vegan Vida Con in Portland, Spring 2013. And well, now that it IS happening, I’ll be needing to buy a conference ticket soon too! Pretty exciting! It’s going to be held over Memorial day weekend.

And now on to the soup!

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Jalapeño pesto consisted of parsley, pine nuts, lime juice, agave, jalapeño, nooch, olive oil, salt & pepper. It was unbelievably delicious, and made plenty!

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More than enough for two recipes of the soup!

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Soup was made from corn, pine nuts, almond milk, miso, olive oil, lemon juice, agave, salt & pepper.

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I ran it on high in the Vitamix until it was steaming and warm-hot.

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Results:

Wow! Except for the soup being a bit too sweet with the full amount of agave called for in the recipe, this was absolutely incredible!  I did cut back the olive oil just slightly on the first go, as well as added some Braggs to counteract some of the sweetness. The pesto gave this a spectacular contrast, visually, as well as in taste and texture. The pesto seemed to keep really well, because I made another batch of the soup [with less agave] a week later, and I swirled plenty of it in, with no problems! It’s like drinking amazing, spicy cornbread! Like most raw food, it made for a surprisingly filling meal with robust flavor.

I really like this book. The recipes are quick, simple, and flavorful, and best of all, don’t require a dehydrator to deliver professional tasting results. More recipe reviews to come from it! Yum!!

Oh, and before I forget, here’s a picture of our kitten Ganon, doing one of his most favorite activities of all. He’s 15 weeks and extremely exhausted from a long day of sleeping! Gotta throw in a kitten picture here and there for good measure! 😉

Dip, dip, hooRAW! More Terry Hope Testing & Avocado Salsa

Published February 5, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Finished!

I’m pleased to report back to you on the results of two raw dips I tested this weekend. One was my little creation based on the tomato and avocado that needed using in my fridge, and the second, another recipe from Terry’s upcoming book for Mexican Pumpkin Seed Pate (Sikil Pak).

This avocado salsa is kind of like guacamole and pico de gallo had a baby… and then threw in some corn for fun. 🙂 It’s delicious.

Avocado Salsa

1 or 2 ripe haas avocado
2 tbsp. of lime juice
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped finely
2-3 tbsp. of finely chopped white onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 large handful of cilantro, chopped finely
1/4 c. of fresh or frozen corn kernels*, optional
salt & pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper or 1/2 a jalapeño, chopped finely, optional

Directions:

1. Scoop out avocado into a bowl. Add lime juice. Add all other ingredients, and mash to desired consistency. Eat fresh or chill in the fridge to let flavors combine further.

*If using frozen corn kernals, just run them under some warm water in a fine mesh sieve before adding.

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Terry Hope Romero’s Mexican Pumpkin Seed Pate (Sikil Pak)

I was attracted to it since it was a raw recipe, and we do love a tasty dip for snacking or entertaining guests. The reviews that were already in were sort of a mixed bag, but it sounded like something we would like, so I decided to give it a go.

I started out with half of the suggested amount of water and got a chunkier dip, but then further thinned with the full suggested amount just to see if it smoothed out. It still retained the grainy texture, at least in my food processer, but if you want it creamy I’m sure a high powered blender would do the trick. She tells you to process to a chunky hummus texture.

Recipe called for soaking the seeds. I left mine soaking for about 5 hours.

A potent blend of pumpkin seeds, garlic, onion, cilantro, etc.

Finished!

Results:  This was pretty powerful stuff. The raw onion and garlic give it a heck of a bite, and it ended up tasting kind of like guacamole. We ate some fresh out of the food processor, and then wrapped it up in the fridge for later. We served it as a late snack for friends, and they loved it. An omni’s response: It’s fantastic. You could serve this to people, and they’d never know it was vegan. ; ) Hah, so there you go! I would definitely make this again.

And now here is a picture of Boris, for good measure. I caught him sleeping on the kitchen table and he was a little to sleepy too jump off immediately, so I snapped up his groggy, guilty little face. 😉

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High Raw & Green

Published January 4, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Guess who’s going to be eating high raw & drinking green smoothies again, for at least the rest of the week? If you answered “you are!”, you are correct. If you answered “I am!” You may be my boyfriend, or just coincidentally feeling our need for clean.

After last night’s complete starch fest made up of 4 Veganomicon recipes & a batch of biscuits, I was really feeling like we needed some serious green back in our life. All the holiday comfort foods and sweets have left me and my body feeling gross and sluggish, so it’s time for an informal detox. When I told Thomas I wanted to go back to green smoothies and raw food for the week, he was all for it. I made an impressive shopping trip to Whole Foods today after work, and found that I got a whole lot of healthy food and even some dish soap and paper towels for just under what I normally spend on a serious trip, so that was nice too.

We put all of the pots that normally frequent my counter back in the oven since it will be getting a well deserved respite.

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I also bought a bunch of hummus because they were on sale for only 99 cents each, and it’s pretty much Thomas’ fave snack. Two of them are oil free, and the other two are not bad. I figure eating them with carrot sticks makes for a pretty reasonable and healthy snack.

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I also decided to give this vegan blue cheese a try for salads. I taste tested it right out of the package as soon as I got home. It really does taste just like blue cheese. A quick look at the ingredients reveals that it’s essentially seasoned tofu, and given the texture, that makes a lot of sense. I loved it, and it’s not even bad for you.

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These are the two raw books I will be using. I have used the one on the right a bit previously, and had good results. The one on the left is written by the owners of New York’s super fancy Pure Food & Wine, (never been there!) and the recipes are a little more intricate, but I figure I’ll try a couple of those too while I’m at it.

Stay tuned! : )

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Green smoothie lunch Friday

Published August 5, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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What better way to celebrate payday Friday than with a luscious green smoothie for lunch? Hah! ; ) Maybe not the 1st thing you think of, but today’s is super yummy. I discovered yesterday by trial that one of my delicious valencia oranges squeezed in gave a fantastic result. It’s nice to switch things up! (I would have used the entire orange, but they’re a little difficult to peel!)

Today’s smoothie was (in the order they went in the blender) : raisins, dried cranberries, agave, vanilla, water, mango, kale, collards, mustard greens, lots of spinach, a banana, the juice of one orange, and coconut milk beverage to blend.

La Vie en Raw, Coral Gables, Fl

Published July 29, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

So I found myself in Coral Gables for a couple of nights last week. Thomas was working on the Univision awards show, Premios Juventud, and I got to do some vegan exploring around the city.

I had been planing to go somewhere else, but the headache/carsickness I encountered on my way down in rush hour traffic prevented me from doing so. This actualy worked out just fine because after searching for vegan places in the area, and found myself on La Vie en Raw’s website. Though their closing time said 7 pm, there was also a disclaimer to call for closing time, because sometimes they stay open until 10. It was 8 o’clock. The voice on the other end let me know she expected to stay open another hour, so I headed right over. It was about a 10 minute ride from where I was staying, near University of Miami. The parking was easy, and it was right on Calle Ocho (8th st) across from La Carreta!

What a wonderful little gem!

LVeR is a quaint little raw vegan restaurant with seating for 14. There were a few tables still dining, so I decided to have a seat. Local art adorns the walls, and the kitchen is all open, right in the center. There are two chefs, and I met Sabina Torrieri, who hails from Roma, which boded well for the gnocchi I ordered!

I was offered soup or salad as a starter, and chose the salad. It was very fresh and came very lightly dressed with a barely discernable carrot ginger dressing.

Then came the Gnocchi Della Nonna! Cashew gnocchi served on a bed of spinach and garnished with basil pesto, $14. This was more delicious than I could have imagined! It was really exquisite. I was so pleased with my choice.

I ordered dessert to go, a slice of raw chocolate pie $6. It seemed to be drizzled in agave, and topped with shredded coconut. It was good if you’re used to raw desserts, not overly sweet, and mostly nut based.

I also took a spinach “hummus” wrap to go for Thomas. I snuck a bite, and it was pretty good.

They also had some cacao kale chips, which she let me sample, and I took a bag a bag with me to work. Hah, they definitely got mixed reviews, but I liked them! 🙂

They haven’t put the new menu up on the website, so I’m including a pic here:

I had a really great experience here and they seem to have a nice rapport with the locals too. If I lived closer it would definitely be a regular spot to frequent. La Vie en Raw is open Monday through Saturday (call for hours), and located at 3808 SW 8th Street, Coral Gables, Florida, 33134. 305.444.3826.

Macadamia-Cashew Pesto with Zucchini & Farfalle

Published February 9, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

So this was the EASIEST thing to throw together with my leftover 2 cups of macadamia-cashew “cheese” sauce. I put it back in the food processor and added more nutritional yeast, a handful of italian parsley, some basil leaves and little more salt & fresh ground pepper. I cooked up half a box of farfalle to toss it with, and shredded 2 medium zucchini. It was still really fresh and delicious, but the pasta gave it a little more heartiness. There was so much sauce though, that I went ahead and shredded the other 2 zucchini I had, and mixed them in too. The hot pasta warmed everything up without having to cook it, and I just ate it cold for lunch, and it was nice that way too. If you want a totally raw dish, leave the pasta out and up the zucchini! Recipe below.

It thickened up a bit in the fridge. About 2 cups.

The shredder disc in my food processor got these to a nice size in a flash.

4 medium zucchini, shredded or made into thin noodles

8 oz pasta, cooked according to package directions, optional (or just shred some more zucchini)

Macadamia-Cashew Pesto

1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1 1/2 c. cashews
water for soaking

1 c. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled
about 1/2 c. packed fresh parsley
about 10 leaves of fresh basil
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
1/2 c. nutritional yeast
Salt & Pepper

Directions:

1. Soak macadamias and cashews for 1-2 hours, or longer. Add all cheese ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth.

2. Add cheese mixture to hot pasta and zucchini. You’re done! Enjoy!

PS– Is nutritional yeast raw? NOPE! It would be dangerous to have live yeast in your system, so if you’re a hardcore raw foodie, leave it out!

and now, here is Tashi…

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