Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin pie with lucuma fudge sauce

It's in season: Everybody's making it and some of us are even blogging about it. There are a billion recipes for making it, some healthier than others. Pumpkin pie was one of my favorite treats in my childhood, it still reminds me of years of special holidays - Christmas days, Thanksgivings, Halloween parties. It is one of the traditions I want to follow now that I have my own family. This recipe is a lot healthier than the traditional pie recipe, but not completely raw. I'm looking forward to trying all-raw pumpkin pie as soon as I get a more powerful blender. Ours has 700W and it is excellent for many things, but it would lose the battle against raw pumpkin hands down.

The crust:
About 2 cups almond pulp (left over from making almond milk)
1/2 C pumpkin seeds
6-8 dried dates and raw organic honey
Raw organic honey
Organic, cold pressed coconut oil
Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg to taste
dash Himalayan Salt

In a food processor blend almond pulp, seeds and dates into a batter. Spice up, and enough honey and coconut oil for right texture and flavor. The crust should not be overly sweet, consistency should be thick and just enough moist to work with by hand. Shape into a pie tin, dehydrate until firm.

4 C pumpkin meat (I used 1/4 of a large, traditional orange Halloween pumpkin)
roughly 10 dried dates
1 C thick, creamed coconut
0,5-1 tbsp psyllium powder
cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, dash cayenne

Steam cubed pumpkin and puree smooth with a food processor. I only steamed the pumpkin for a couple minutes, just to soften up the surface of the cubes a touch. You should have about 4 C of pureed pumpkin. Allow to cool. Stir in creamed coconut. I use Biona creamed coconut which I mix with pure water to make my own coconut cream. If you can't find a similar product, try to buy a thick coconut cream that has as little additives as possible. Mix in spices, taste and adjust seasoning. Add psyllium, start with 0,5 tbsp and let it set for 10min. It should make the filling thicker and goo-like, if this doesn't happen you need to add some more. Be careful, adding too much will compromise flavor and texture (you don't want a slimy pie filling). Dollop the filling into the pie shell, chill until filling firms up and you can easily slice into the pie.

Many raw pies use lecithin as a thickener, but I like to avoid soy products when it's possible. If you can get non-GMO, organic lecithin somewhere, you could substitute it for the psyllium.

Lucuma fudge sauce
Almond milk
Dried dates
Lucuma powder

Blend everything until smooth. I didn't measure exact quantities, but I think it was about 1/2 C almond milk, 5 dates, handful of cashews and heaping tablespoon of lucuma.

I was especially pleased with the crust and the sauce, which turned out to be a wonderful substitute for the whipped cream/vanilla ice cream I used to enjoy with pumpkin pie in the past.
The filling tastes exactly like the traditional, without being baked for hours. Yaelian gave me the idea of using slightly dehydrated butternut squash for the filling, so next time I'll definitely use grated, dehydrated squash.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Herbed flounder parcels with sundried tomatoes and lemon wedges

Marinade (for 6 small fillets of European flounder):
High-quality, cold pressed olive oil
7 sun dried tomatoes (dry&whole)
lemon zest (organic lemon!)
large clove garlic
dried or fresh chives, thyme, dill

Slice sun dried tomatoes into thin strips, grate garlic and place in a bowl. Grate about the peel of one lemon. Make sure it is organic, at least when you are using the peel. You will never know what it could have been treated with otherwise. Drizzle a fair bit of olive oil on top, you need enough for the tomato strips to pump up. Add the herbs.

Herbed flounder parcels:
the lemon you peeled for the marinade
1 medium red onion
Himalayan salt, ground black pepper
dill, thyme, chives

Salt and pepper the flounder fillets. Place in the center of a square piece of foil/parchment paper, pour marinade on top and add in red onion rings (thinly sliced), lemon wedges and some more herbs. I am not sure about the safety of aluminum foil, so use that with caution. Roll up into parcels and bake in low heat (350F) for 20-30min.

I got the idea of fish "parcels" from Yaelian's interesting blog. She used tilapia and leeks in hers, check that recipe out too!

Here's a pic of the entire plate. The fish is served with mashed sweet potatoes and pumpkin (very briefly steamed, mashed with creamed coconut, spices) and a salad of grated carrot, sprouted red quinoa and raisins. As you can see, most of your plate should consist of veggies, especially raw ones. Always when cooking, pause to think what you actually must cook. Very little things actually need heat! You don't need cooked food every meal, not even every day.And when you do cook, use gentle methods to preserve vital nutrients (steaming for instance). If you haven't thrown out your microwave already, do so immediately. To many this is probably a given, but there are way too many people out there unaware of how they are exposing themselves to harmful radiation and free radicals just by warming up their packed lunches at work.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fennel cream linguine with basil pesto

A raw pasta recipe? AGAIN? Yeah. I might have posted one or two in the past. But fennel is in season and I wanted to create something raw and completely new out of it. Raw fennel does have a strong anise taste, which is why there aren't many raw food recipes that call for it. In this dish however the salty sweet citrus marinade softens them up in texture and in flavor.

Fennel cream pasta sauce
1 small bulb fennel
1/2 C sunflower seeds, soaked and drained
Cold pressed olive oil
Honey (1-2 tbsp)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt, pepper
1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Mix together honey, lemon juice, salt, pepper and oil. Coat all thinly sliced fennel strips with the marinade and dehydrate (the low heat really promotes softer texture and allows the marinade to work its magic). If you have time, marinate overnight and dehydrate for an hour or two before making the sauce. I marinated for 30 min and warmed in 110F for 2 hours. In a blender or food processor process the sunflower seeds and fennel strips (marinade and all), add nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste. As this is served with salty pesto, the salt is only there to slightly off-set the sweetness of the honey. The freshly ground black pepper is very essential though, make sure you add plenty.

Traditional but raw pesto:
1 huge bunch basil
3 tbsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
extra virgin olive oil
Himalayan salt, freshly ground black pepper

Blend until desired consistency. You could always just use your favorite pesto recipe, they all should work fine.

We used a sweet potato and a parsnip for the raw pasta. This going into the kitchen with one ingredient in mind but not having the slightest clue of what I'm going to do with it seems to be a theme for me these days.. luckily it appears to work well. This was everything I wanted: cheap, satisfying, flavorful, nutritious and new.

If you haven't had fresh fennel already, this is the time to start! It is packed with vitamin C and potassium, and most importantly a great source of benefitial antioxidants and phytonutrients. Yummy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mini carrot cupcakes with a pecan lucuma glaze

Mini carrot cupcakes:
2/3 C sunflower seeds, soaked and drained well
1/3 C pumpkin seeds
7 dates (to taste)
2 medium carrots, grated
4 tbsp organic cold pressed vegetable oil
( dried, unsweetened & unsulfured shredded coconut)
2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup (to taste) or raw honey
cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg to taste

Process the sunflower seeds and dates into a paste (slightly chunky). Add grated carrots (organic carrots don't have to be peeled), maple syrup and oil. Add in coconut flakes, about half a cup until consistency is thick enough to roll into balls in your hands. Taste and adjust spices. Roll into tiny balls (1 inch wide or so) and place in mini cupcake molds. Dehydrate for an hour or so, you want them to firm up a notch but not dry out.

After you've dehydrated the cupcakes, it's time to make the glaze.

Pecan lucuma glaze:
handful of chopped pecans
1-2tsp lucuma, cinnamon to taste
agave nectar (or honey), coconut oil

Chop nuts and mix with lucuma and cinnamon by hand. Stir in agave and coconut oil (a spoon is a good tool), until you have a thick chunky syrup. Make sure you taste it each time you add sweetener or oil to make sure it doesn't get too sweet. The cupcakes themselves are not that sweet, so the glaze can be a bit more on the sweet side.

Coat the cupcakes with the glaze and place in the fridge for as long as you can control yourself. Right before you are ready to serve, sprinkle some coconut flakes on top for garnish. We tasted some right away, they were good, but sticky to eat because the frosting was runny.
After they had spent the night in the fridge, the glaze firmed up and you could eat them just like regular cupcakes. These were a hit with my bro and husband and I enjoyed them too. If you don't like the flavor of sunflower seeds, you could substitute (part of) them for your favorite nuts. Their flavor however is far milder if you have the patience to allow them to cool and set properly.

I like sunflower seeds, for many reasons. They are an excellent source of calcium and other nutrients, they are cheap and the taste is nice. This recipe was improvised on the spot when I had my brother come over to visit us and wanted to have something nice for the coffee table. I soon discovered that we were out of almost everything, the only nuts we had were a handful of pecans and we were completely out of honey. So I kind of just got the idea of using our last 2 carrots for something but doubted it would mount to anything good. This recipe really surprised me, especially considering I had no idea what I was doing when I started throwing things in the food processor :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tuna steak pasta with pesto and cheesy red pepper sauce

Everything else is raw, except the tuna steak slightly seared. This is a quick and easy recipe packed with flavor. I try to make a slightly fancier meal for us at least once a week, set the table especially nice and light candles. It's a good way for couples like us with a small baby to enjoy a romantic dinner together. Let the baby play by him/herself for a little while (in sight of course!) and take the time to really talk about something else than baby poop :) Here's what's cookin':

For the pasta:
50:50 ratio of fresh parsnips and sweet potatoes

Spiralize peeled veggies into linguine/tagliatelle shape. Dehydrate for a little while, mostly just to get a little tenderness and warmth into the dish. I had them in 110F for as long as it took to make the sauces.

Creamy cheesy red pepper sauce:
1/2 C soaked cashews (30min-1h)
1/2 fresh red bell pepper
Cold-pressed olive oil
Himalayan salt, freshly ground black pepper
Paprika-spice/mild chili powder

Blend cashews and chopped bell pepper, add olive oil until desired consistency and spice up. This is not supposed to be hot and spicy, but rather have a subtle spicy undertone. The sauce gets sort of a mac and cheese type flavor.

Traditional but raw pesto:
1 huge bunch basil
3 tbsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
extra virgin olive oil
Himalayan salt, freshly ground black pepper

Blend and add olive oil until you get the consistency of regular pesto.

Seared tuna steak slices:
2 tuna steaks
2 large cloves garlic
peel of half a lemon
olive oil
Himalayn salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper

Drizzle some olive oil on a frying pan, grate garlic and lemon peel and combine with oil.
Salt and pepper your tuna steaks on both sides, sear on pan until cooked on all sides but raw (pink color) on the inside. Do not cook through (will dry and lose flavor) or brown to create carcinogens. If you have sashimi-grade tuna (i.e. for a fact know that there are no parasites), you could also just slice it thinly and mix it in raw if you like. You can eat the tuna as raw as you like and dare.

Slice up the tuna as thin as possible, combine pasta with cheese sauce. Gently mix tuna slices with pasta, pour a little pesto on top. You could also just mix the pesto sauce right in, that has it's charm as well. If you don't eat fish, I recommend having just the pasta with cheese sauce and enjoying it like mac and cheese.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Coconut encrusted chicken breast on a bed of thai-marinated cauliflower

Marinated cauliflower:
1/2 large head cauliflower
batch thai-marinade

Grate or finely chop cauliflower to a rice-like consistency. Stir to coat and allow to marinate for at least an hour in the fridge.

Thai-inspired marinade:
1 roughly inch-by-inch cube of grated ginger
1-3 cloves garlic
1/4 C soaked, unhulled sesame seeds
juice of one lime
2 tbsp coconut oil
perilla (purple mint) & flat-leaf parsley leaves
fresh red chili pepper
Himalayan salt & pepper

Blend smooth in a blender.

Coconut encrusted chicken breast
2 as fresh and organic chicken breasts you can get
lime juice
coconut oil
raw organic honey
Himalayan salt & pepper
meat of half a coconut

Marinate chicken breasts for as long as you can in lime juice, organic coconut oil, honey, salt & pepper. Fry on a non-stick frying pan only until just done, you don't want chewy overdone chicken or black burned meat with carcinogens. "Grind" coconut meat with chili (fresh or dried), salt & pepper into a coarse mixture. Take the chicken off the heat and coat with grated and spiced coconut. Serve on top of thai-cauliflower and fresh vegetables.

This is a wonderful spicy meal for someone who still eats meat, but prefers majority of their veggies raw. If you are 100% raw, feel free to accompany the thai-"rice" with a raw burger or for example stuffed red pepper. A vegan could use the chicken marinade to marinate tofu. As with most of my recipes, they are meant to inspire your own culinary aspirations, not to tell you to eat exactly what I eat.

I've written about this a couple times, but I thought it may be a good idea to summarize. With my knowledge of nutrition I cannot recommend an unsupplemented, exclusively raw vegan diet. If you are ethically opposed to meat products, that is perfectly understandable and a respectable principle. It does not however mean that you don't need vitamin B12 and protein like the rest of us. So, make sure you are getting enough protein from your diet and regularly consume a good-quality B12 supplement. I personally believe that the best diet is one which is high in variety, consisting of mostly fresh and organic food. Raw food is high in enzymes that aid digestion and absorption of nutrients, so try to take in most of your food (80%) uncooked.

This is a quick list of what to eat and what not to eat:

Yes, often:
Fresh, wild caught fish (vary the species you eat)
Sprouted quinoa, soaked millet and buckwheat
Cold-pressed, organic oils (coconut, olive, hemp..)
Dark leafy greens
Sprouted legumes (chick peas, adzuki beans, peas, mung,lentils)
Seeds (sesame, chia, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin)
Raw organic honey (high in enzymes, tolerates heat well!)
Avocado, ruby grapefruit, pomegranate, lime, lemon
Sea vegetables
Dried fruit (especially figs and dates for calcium and vitamins, help with acid/base balance)
Berries (goji, blueberry, sea buckthorn, mulberry etc)
Nuts (cashews, walnuts, brazil, pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts)
Fresh herbs (especially flat-leaf parsley is packed with vitamin C, iron and antioxidants)

In moderation:
Raw cacao (high in caffeine, possibly other harmful side effects -> use mostly carob)
Soy sauce, even nama shoyu (high in sodium)
Raw cane juice/sugar, agave (just because it's raw doesn't mean it's healthy)
Red meat, pork (avoid if possible or buy organic)
Butter (if needed, buy pure & organic)
Soy products (if consumed always buy organic and non-GMO)
Cooked veggies (favor steaming over other cooking methods)

Dairy (casein, lactose)
Refined white sugar
White flour
Any additives, preservatives (especially ANY artificial sweeteners and MSG)
Potato, white rice & pasta (deficient in nutrients, high in carbs)
Margarine & refined oils (trans fat)
Refined sugar
Table salt (chemically synthesized sodium chloride)
Bread (replace with raw crackers or organic 100% yeast-free rye bread in moderation)
Peanuts (highly common allergen, contain toxins)
Non-organic greens (high in nitrates)
Processed food

This is just a quick list, intended as a guideline. Use your own knowledge to decide what you believe is right for you. We are all individuals. If you don't understand why something is listed, feel free to ask in either Finnish or English and I'll be glad to explain further. I hope this inspires you to do your own research so that you can make informed decisions about your own nutrition. The main problem these days with food is that so many of us have just stopped caring. It is far too easy to just grab what's fast and cheap.

Do your loved ones a favor and start valuing yourself and taking care of your body. If you have children one of the most important tasks you have as a parent is to be a role model: the only way of teaching is actually showing them how to live healthy and eat right. If you have a spouse or partner, every additional year you can spend together healthy is priceless. Cleansing your diet will also help cleanse the environment. What are you waiting for?

Embark on your own journey to increased vitality and happiness, step by step. Never stop because you think you know it all already.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chocolate hazelnut swiss roll with raspberry mint mousse

Swiss roll "dough"
2 C almond pulp (from soaking and making almond milk out of 1,25 C almonds)
(1-2 tbsp finely ground hemp seeds)
3-4 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 C raw cacao powder
organic hazelnut-flavored agave (or agave+natural hazelnut extract)
4-6 dried dates, soaked for 30min
dash Himalayan salt

Blend in a food processor, taste and adjust flavor to your liking. Add enough coconut oil to make a uniform dough, it shouldn't be too wet but rather have the consistency of thick chocolate mousse. The almond pulp should be rather dry. Spread into a rectangular shape on a non-stick surface, dehydrate for a couple hours on one side and about an hour on the other. Keep an eye on it, don't let it dry and crack.

Raspberry-mint mousse:
1 C raspberries (frozen and thawed)
3/4 C cashews, soaked, rinsed and drained
juice of 1/2 lemon (I even added some lemon pulp)
coconut oil
3-6 dried dates, soaked
good fresh mint leaves, to taste
(agave if you want it sweeter)

Blend first nuts, add thawed raspberries.Then add rest of the ingredients and blend until creamy. Add only enough coconut oil to get the right texture, make sure it doesn't get too runny. If it does, add psyllium husks.

Hazelnut chocolate frosting (best frosting recipe EVER!)
1/2 C raw cacao powder
few tbsp coconut oil
hazelnut agave
couple soaked dates

Blend dates and cacao powder, then alternate adding coconut oil and agave little bit at a time until taste and texture are perfect. Right consistency is that of a chocolate syrup/sauce.

After you've dehydrated the swiss roll, spread the mousse on top and roll up. If it doens't look too pretty, covering it with delicious frosting will fix it. Decorate with crushed almonds/hazelnuts. Refrigerate before serving (couple hours for a firmer and easily sliceable texture).

I've been practically living in labs lately, so excuse me for not posting for a while. I hope this recipe helps me gain some forgiveness :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Indian samosas with sweet apple cucumber chutney

This is what I concocted for dinner tonight and couldn't resist posting right away after I saw this beautiful photo my husband took of the dish. It looked and tasted delicious, almost as if they were deep-fried. Not really though, since these are a health nut version of the traditional indian deep-fried potato treat.

The samosas: (for 4-6 people)

1 small head cauliflower (use only florets, about 2 C worth)
1 carrot, shredded
1 roughly chopped, small yellow onion
1 C fresh or sprouted dry green peas
3/4C dried, shredded & unsweetened coconut
1 clove garlic
piece fresh ginger
juice of 1/2 lime
3 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp coconut oil
garam masala, plenty of madras curry powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, pinch cloves & ground coriander

Coating: chili powder, salt, pepper

Mix all ingredients in a food processor with an S-blade until you have a (maybe slightly chunky) uniform mixture. Shape into triangles, this should make about 12 samosas (serving size is 2 per person). Sprinkle chili powder, salt & freshly ground black pepper. Dehydrate on one side for approximately 6 hours, then turn over, sprinkle with spices and continue to dehydrate for 4 more hours. For decoration, make little holes in the surface with a fork. You should get a firm but soft in the center texture.

Sweet apple cucumber chutney:
½ orange, peeled
few dried dates, soaked
soak water
piece fresh ginger, dash salt & pepper
½ tsp ground coriander

Blend other ingredients and add soak water until you get a not too thick sauce consistency.
Mix in 1 C tart, diced apple and 1 C cucumber with the ginger-orange sauce. Check seasoning, add more salt/pepper if necessary. The sauce should be a bit on the sweet side though to complement the savory spicy flavor of the samosas.

My husband really dislikes cauliflower, but neither he nor I could taste it in this dish. I probably wouldn't have even known these were raw if I wasn't told.. really delicious, definitely something I will make next time I am hosting a party. These could easily be made much smaller and served as finger food even for someone who is not used to raw cuisine. A must for someone like me, who loves spicy food and misses the flavor of baked savory dishes.

Linguine con spinaci

Raw pasta doesn't always have to be made of zucchini, and a raw non-dairy pasta sauce does not necessarily need to be a tomato marinara. The sauce can also be creamy and rich without nuts. This is how:

Butternut squash & yam linguine
50:50 yam and butternut squash, peeled
olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper, pinch of nutmeg

Spiralize the veggies to make thin linguine "pasta". Drizzle on olive oil, season and taste if you need to add more spices. I dehydrated these for an hour to soften them up nicely and allow them to marinate, but I thought they were tasty even before that.

Hemp spinach pesto sauce
a little less than ½ C hemp seeds, finely ground (about 1 dl)
roughly 3/4 C water
3 ounces of frozen spinach (more if using fresh)
1,5 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional for cheesier flavor)
small clove garlic
Himalayan salt, freshly ground black pepper
handful of fresh basil
½ ripe avocado
lemon juice, dash honey
(pine nuts)

If you can't find already ground hemp seeds, try to grind them yourself. The unhulled seeds have a thick and hard shell that most blenders (unless you're lucky and own a VitaMix) can't grind into a powder. I know mine can't, so I buy the powder ready. Hulled hemp seeds would lend to a different, possibly better flavor and texture, but are way too expensive here. First make hemp cream: blend with high speed a 1:1 ratio of hemp seeds and water. Filter through a nutmilk bag or cheesecloth if you prefer a smoother texture. Add avocado, spinach and other ingredients. Taste and add water if sauce is too thick.

Although the picture shows the sauce on top the pasta, we both mixed them up and it was way tastier that way. I did not bother to strain the hemp cream, because we enjoy the flavor of hemp seeds. If they are new to you or you don't like to taste them use hulled seeds or filter the cream.
The sauce can be warmed up quickly if desired.