Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ready To Roll
A quick easy lunch or snack. . . another application of that versatile nut/seed pâté posted earlier.
Here it is packed onto a sheet of nori, topped with slivers of red bell pepper, cucumber and mixed sprouts. Any thinly sliced crisp veggie would work well.

Faster than spreading peanut butter and jelly on Wonder bread. Yikes, do people still do that?

Rolling is easy with the aid of a bamboo mat — do it a few times and you'll be a pro. Dampen the edge of the nori with a little water on your finger to seal the roll and voila!

I didn't use a dipping sauce or sesame seeds with this version. But you certainly could.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Light Lunch

A trip to the produce market produced some lovely little deep red and yellow tomatoes. The true color of the red ones, was more of a maroon, not captured by the camera. I longed for some green zebra striped tomatoes but was happy to find these as well as some little orange ones, which I devoured standing over the sink, the tomato in one hand, the salt shaker in the other. Shhh.

I had a bit of nut/seed pâté left in the fridge. It made a nice filling for a big, crisp lettuce leaf along with some mixed sprouts. I included a little sliced avocado with the tomato—one of my favorite combinations.

I chose to lightly drizzle a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar onto the plate as I wanted the fresh flavors of the produce to shine through. I thought a heavier dressing might overpower the delicate, sweet taste of the tomato. I used a generous sprinkle of sea vegetables for the mineral content as well as the aesthetics.

Taking the extra minute or two to plate food attractively adds to the enjoyment and puts a little extra emphasis on each delicious component. Composed salads are a nice change from the ubiquitous tossed salads.

Take another look at this fun plate of food!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Raw Chili Rellanos

With temperatures already in the 90's in Central Florida, what better time to make a transition to raw, whole foods? Tasty, tempting, quick and easy — fruit and vegetables starring at every meal can be as simple as eating a bowl of fruit or a big green salad or as fancy as preparing some gourmet raw recipes.

I chose to make a nut & seed pâté with a Mexican flavor*, then stuffed it into Poblano pepper halves. The stuffed peppers make a great appetizer or a quick fix for lunch or supper, accompanied by a big salad of dark leafy greens, crunchy cabbage and sweet onions.

Or you can expand your raw food kitchen skills and take those Chili Rellanos a step further.

Here they are with a puddle of raw marinara sauce and a scattering of mock cheese. They spent an hour or so in the dehydrator, which softened the raw pepper a bit and warmed up the pâté and sauce. A nice little gourmet touch for guests or as a special treat for ones self.

* following the basic nut and seed pâté recipe in the last post, I added a dried chipotle to soak with the sun-dried tomatoes. Added a half cup of chopped fresh cilantro and a generous pinch of Mexican oregano to the mix for a little change of flavor.
Raw Marinara Sauce
Combine in a blender or food processor: 4-5 plum tomatoes, 2-3 soaked sun-dried tomatoes, a large clove of garlic, a generous helping of fresh parsley and basil (or use 1 TBS dried Italian herbs), a pinch of sea salt, and a teaspoon of agave nectar (optional) to offset any bitterness from the tomatoes. Add enough filtered water to achieve a thick purée. Taste for seasonings, adding more if necessary. Letting the sauce sit for 2 - 4 hours, if time permits, allows the flavors to marry. Or it can be made ahead and refrigerated in a covered container.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nut and Seed Pâté with Raw Veggies
Looking for tasty appetizers or a light lunch?

Save the pulp when you make nut milk and turn it into an interesting pâté— perfect for a dip or use it to stuff lettuce wraps or as the first layer in nori rolls.

After making a quart of almond milk, I had a scant cup of almond pulp. I decided to improvise a little pâte with it and it turned out to be the highlight of a raw veggie meal. I tucked some on fresh cabbage leaves and rolled up, dipped sugar peas in it and slathered sweet red bell pepper strips with a generous helping. Fun to eat with lots of crunch, great zingy flavor and a wide spectrum of nutrition.

1 cup almond pulp (residue from making almond milk)
1 cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked 4 hours)
3-4 sundried tomatoes (soaked until soft)
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
1 - 2 shallots (or substitute green onion)
juice from half a lemon
1 Tbs tamari
pinch of sea salt
pinch of cayenne

Combine all in food processor, scraping down sides to incorporate all into a fine pâté. Thin with more lemon juice or a bit of water if needed to achieve the right consistency.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Live Food Adventures

These aren't your same old same old (so-so) salads.

Eating a diet consisting primarily of live foods can be quite an adventure. Unfortunately, most folks think celery and carrot sticks, with lots of lettuce tossed in, when they hear raw food. On the contrary, with so many professionally trained chefs entering the raw food scene, there are countless fine recipe guides for preparing gourmet raw foods, many mimicking the cooked foods we've grown both accustomed to and addicted to.

Many of the gourmet recipes require quite a bit of prep work, many hours of soaking, dehydrating, etc. and are perhaps best kept for weekends or special occasions. But there are still opportunities to feast on fresh, uncooked ingredients that can be prepared in minutes without resorting to carrot and celery sticks.

I enjoy a big bowl of interesting salad at lunch time most days. Combining an unusual mix based on what's in the fridge. I'll admit, when I shop, and I do shop 2 or 3 times during the week, greens are at the top of my list. Not only do I use dark, leafy greens in a smoothie each morning, but I make green juices 4 to 6 times a week and then I include a variety of different greens in my salad bowl.

Here are a couple of interesting combinations that are quick and easy, inexpensive and nourishing. Not to mention, delicious and thoroughly satisfying.

Cabbage and Green Beans

New green cabbage was in at the produce market and I had some blanched green beans in the fridge. I minced a couple of cauliflower florets, sliced a bit of Vidalia onion and then for added zip I minced up two or three slices of pickled jalepeño pepper. I tossed this all with a generous dollop of Angela Elliot's Satay Sauce from her great little book, Alive in 5.

Cucumber and Arame

adapted from Renegade Health via Donna Gates at Body Ecology
Incorporating sea vegetables into everyday meals isn't something I grew up with. But after reading about this rich source of minerals, I've been experimenting. This salad is a snap to make and a nice side dish, if eating only a big salad isn't your cup of tea.
I pared down the quantities listed to accommodate one person. The full recipe, listed below, will serve 3 to 4 as a side dish.
1.5 oz of Arame
4 cucumbers, peeled and very thinly sliced (I used a mandoline)
2 tsp sea salt
1 red pepper, diced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (raw with the mother)
2 TBS cold-pressed oil - I used olive oil. Hemp or flax oil would be fine, too.
pinch of black pepper

Soak arame for 15 minutes in enough water to cover. Sprinkle sea salt on cucumbers and let set for several minutes to release juices. Discard soaking water from arame. Chop arame and add to cucumbers. Add all other ingredients and toss.
Big thanks to Kevin and AnneMarie Gianni at Renegade Health for showing me how via video, with a salute to Donna Gates at Body Ecology for developing this easy sea vegetable salad.