Friday, September 30, 2011

Raw Vegan Cashew Cheese - the 3 month experiment

This recipe started 2 weeks ago when I whipped up my first batch of cashew cheese. It sat on the counter for 2 days and then in the dehydrator/oven for 6 hours and finally in the refrigerator for 10 days. At this point it is a creamy, delicious sort of nut pate.I sliced it into thick slabs, wrapped it in paper and put it back into the refrigerator where it will age for up to 3 months. I sliced the cheese into 3rds, wrapping one to age as is, coating another in cracked peppercorns before wrapping and aging and leaving the final piece to enjoy this coming week. While the recipe requires patience, I think it is worth sharing.
Cashew Cheese 
2 C Raw Cashews - covered in water and soaked 12 hours minimum
4 capsules Acidophilus powder dissolved in 1 C water
1 clove garlic
3 T Nutritional Yeast
1 T 21 Salute or Mrs. Dash or Spike salt free seasoning 

  Drain the cashews. Process the cashews, Acidophilus mixture, Nutritional yeast, garlic, and 21 Salute in a food processor fitted with an "S" blade for 1 full minute or more until creamy.
Empty into a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with a clean pastry cloth or dishcloth and leave on the counter in a relatively warm and draft free place for 24 - 48 hours.

Dust a cutting board with:
2 T cracked Black Pepper
4T Nutritional Yeast
3T Medium Coarse Sea Salt

Empty the cashew mixture into your hands and gently form into a fat cylinder. Next roll the cylinder of cheese on the cutting board coating it thoroughly in the Pepper, Yeast and Salt mixture.

Next place the cheese in a dehydrator (or in your oven on the lowest temperature with the door propped open with a wooden spoon - this should give you a temperature of around 110 degrees) for 6 hours until a soft crust forms around the outside of the cheese.

Put this in a non-metallic covered container in the refrigerator for 10-14 days. A small covered glass casserole dish is perfect for this.

In 10-14 days remove the cheese from the container. 
Slice into 3 or 4 thick slabs. 
If you like, at this point you may coat 1 or 2 slices with more cracked peppercorns or herbs to suit your own preference. 
Now, you have something similar to Boursin Cheese - so feel free to enjoy some and age the remaining slices like this: Wrap in parchment paper and return to the refrigerator to continue aging for up to 3 months.

I will check back and update in 3 months!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Chocolate Pudding

This is probably the most delicious raw vegan treat yet. Go. Make it now. That's all I'm saying.

4 T Chia Seeds
1 C Coconut Milk or Coconut Water
1 C Raw Cashews
6 Dates - pitted
2 T Raw Cacao Powder
1T Coconut Butter (optional)
1/4 t Vanilla1 T Raw Agave Syrup
pinch Sea Salt

First - Soak the Chia Seeds in the Coconut milk for 1 hour.

La La Lah...about an hour later, do this:

Grind the Cashews and Dates together in a food processor fitted with an "S" blade until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal. Add the Cacao and process a few more seconds. Next add the Coconut Butter and Vanilla and process a for about 20 seconds. Now add the Chia Seed/Coconut Milk mixture and process for 30 seconds or more until well blended. Then the Agave and Salt and process again for 10 seconds or so. Serve as is or chilled. This will keep refrigerated for about 5 days. It won't be around that long, but hypothetically, it would keep :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Brazilian Brownies

The Detroit Zen Center offers the most delicious raw foods I have ever had.....anywhere. They make these delectable raw brownies from Brazil nuts. Unfortunately, (for me, not them) the folks at the Zen Center are heading to Korea for 6 months. So, I had to figure out a way to satisfy my brownie jones in their absence. Well, the recipe is all over the internet. They are easy to make and so good! I have to admit, they lack something compared to those at the Zen Center, though. I imagine when the Zen Center re-opens 6 months from now, you will find me face down in a pan of brownies.

2 cups brazil nuts
1/4 cup raw cacao
3 cups dates - pitted
1 tablespoon vanilla
In a food processor or blender, grind the nuts into flour.
Add the raw cacao and grind a bit more.
Add the vanilla and dates and process until you have a rather smooth dough.
I have a smaller processor, so while the resulting dough was not as smooth- these are still wonderful brownies (if I do say so myself).
Now, if you have one of those cool silicone brownie forms - press the mixture into that. I don't own one of those so - line a square or rectangle food storage container (8x8 ish or you can wing it) with plastic wrap and press the brownie mixture in. Whichever container you use - press the mixture firmly into the container. Slice into small squares with a sharp (not serrated) knife and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mango Lassi Breakfast Pudding

Slightly reminiscent of a mango lassi and slightly reminiscent of rice pudding, this breakfast pudding is filling, delicious and delightfully satisfying.
Step 1 -
1/4 C Flax Seeds
1/4 C Chia Seeds
2 C Coconut Milk

Combine and let soak 15 minutes.

Step 2-
1/3 C Raw Cashews
5 Cardamom Seeds

Grind well in a food processor fitted with an "S" blade the add:

2T Coconut Butter (not oil)
8 Pitted Dates
1/2 t. Vanilla
1T Raw Agave (or more if you like things sweet)

Grind again for a 30 seconds or so then add:

1/2 Ripe Mango - peeled and sliced
Grind until you have a very smooth, thick paste.

 Step 3 -
Add the Coconut Milk and Seed mixture and blend really well until  you have a nice, creamy pudding.

This recipe serves 4 or you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days - so you have a ready made, healthy, delicious, raw, vegan breakfast!
Serve with mango slices or fresh raspberries.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pan-Asian Cabbage Salad (a.k.a. Super Awesome Potluck Salad)

A little Vietnamese, sort of Thai, a bit Japanese and I bought most of the ingredients at the Chinese market. So Pan-Asian seems about right. This salad is cool, crisp, peppery and minty and SO darn good! Raw Disclaimer: This salad is raw - but I am not certain about some of the ingredients in the salad dressing. If you want to be sure - simply dress the salad with some Nama Shoyu or Braggs Aminos,  some olive oil and sprinkle with some raw sesame seeds or raw sesame oil, if you can find it.

Start by rinsing well and soaking in some warm water:
2 Oz Dried Shiitake Mushroom Caps

Let the mushrooms continue to re-hydrate while you make the salad. Reserve the liquid for the salad dressing.

Pan-Asian Cabbage Salad

1 large head Green Cabbage - chopped as you would for cole slaw
1 bunch Cilantro - washed and chopped fine
1 bunch Thai Basil - washed and chopped fine (regular basil works, too)
1 bunch Mint - washed and chopped fine
1 very small Red Onion - sliced paper thin and chopped
1-2 Jalapenos (according to your heat tolerance) seeded, sliced paper thin

Place all the above ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently to combine well.

Drizzle with the dressing:

Pan-Asian Salad Dressing
 1 clove Garlic - mashed into a paste
1/3 C Sesame Oil
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/4 C Shiitake broth from soaking the Shiitake Mushroom Caps
1 t Vegan Fish Sauce (yes, Virginia there is such a thing at the Chinese Market. Is it raw? I have no idea.)
1 T Tamari, Nama Shoyu or Braggs Aminos

Whisk together, sprinkle over salad - mix well.
Top with:
1/2 C chopped raw almonds.
2 Oz Shiitake mushroom caps (from the beginning of the recipe) soaked, stems removed and sliced into thin strips.
Thai Basil sprig for garnish.

Serve chilled. This salad is great for potlucks and picnics - it travels well and stays fresh without refrigeration for a few hours.

Sweet and Spicy Nuts

You can make these as spicy and hot as you like, they are super crunchy and satisfying. These nuts are great party food and also make an awesome quick energy food. Add dried fruit for trail mix or keep some in your office for a quick pick-me-up. The following recipe is for Cajun Spicy Nuts, but you can use the same method to create Indian, Asian, Italian and BBQ flavor Sweet and Spicy Nuts. The spice combinations for the flavor variations are at the end of this post. You can also vary the kids of nuts or seeds you use. Cashews, hulled raw Sunflower Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Flax Seeds, Hazelnuts, shelled Pistachios....really the combinations of seasonings, nut and seeds are endless. Have fun creating your favorite flavorful snack combination. These nuts make a pretty dandy gift, too.

Sweet and Spicy Cajun Nuts

3 C Nuts and/or Seeds (Pecans, Almonds, Pepitas)

Begin by soaking 3 cups of nuts - I used mostly pecans with some almonds and pepitas - for 1 hour to overnight. Drain and place on a kitchen towel to dry for a few minutes. Next put them in your dehydrator OR in the oven set to the lowest temperature (usually 170 degrees) and prop the door open with a wooden kitchen spoon. let the nuts dry and warm up in the dehydrator or oven like this for about 1/2 hour or so while you make the glaze.

4 T Raw Agave
2 T Date Molasses
2 T Coconut Butter

Mix together well in a small bowl until the coconut better is melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Next add your spice. I use "Cajun Seasoning" preferably without salt so that you may add your own, but salted works fine too, just don't add any additional salt.
Add the following to the Agave mixture:

Spice Mixture
1 T Cajun Seasoning
1 t Sea Salt (Smoked Salt is GREAT in this recipe)
1/2 t Cayenne (or more to taste - or for very mild heat omit)
1 t Smoked Paprika

Remove the warm nuts from the oven and place into a large bowl. Drizzle with the Agave Spice mixture and mix really well. Return the nuts to the dehydrator or cookie sheet and spread them out in a single layer. Put the nuts back in the dehydrator or oven - again propping the oven door open with a wooden kitchen spoon. Let the nuts dry for 4 or 5 hours if using the oven or 5+ hours if using the dehydrator.

Next - remove from dehydrator or oven, sprinkle with:

Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, Date Sugar, Maple Sugar or whatever sugar floats your boat
Sea Salt (omit if you used a Cajun Seasoning that contains Salt)

Let cool. When you first remove the nuts from the dehydrator or oven they will seem soggy and sticky. In just a few (3-5) minutes, they will become crispy and crunchy - if not, return them to the dehydrator or oven for another hour or so. When cooled, store tightly sealed in glass jars.

*For conventional diet (not raw food) - the nuts will not digest as easily and you will lose some of the nutritional benefits (consider yourself scolded), but you can speed up this entire process by not soaking the nuts - just warm them in a 250 degree oven and drizzle with the syrup mixture - return them to the oven for 1-2 hours until they turn crispy when removed from the oven. They are delicious either way!

Spice Mixture Variations:
Curry, Cayenne and Black Pepper
Sesame Seeds, Tamari and Wasabi Powder
Rosemary and Sea Salt
BBQ flavor - Dry Mustard, Smoked Paprika and Sea Salt

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Raw Pineapple Coconut Macaroons

So delicious and moist, these macaroons will satisfy your sweet tooth whether you are vegan, a raw foodie or not. So good and so easy.

1/2 C Dried Pineapple Pieces
4 T Coconut Butter (not coconut oil)
5    Dates - Pitted
1/4 C Raw Agave Syrup
1/2 C Ground Almond Meal
1/2 C Unsweetened Dried Flaked Coconut
1/2  t Vanilla
1/4  t Sea Salt
Process all of the above ingredients in a food processor fitted with an "S" blade and grind until you have a fairly smooth dough-like mixture. Spoon this mixture into a large bowl and add:
3 C Unsweetened Dried Flaked Coconut
Knead the coconut flakes into the pineapple mixture REALLY WELL. (and I mean REALLY WELL - or they won't hold together)
Now, just firmly squeeze this mixture into bite size macaroons - you can roll some in almond meal too, for variety.
I store them in the refrigerator, if there are any left :)