Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Beautiful Living Food at Grezzo Restaurant!

This past weekend, we drove down to Boston and met Steph and John at Grezzo Restaurant for dinner. “Grezzo Restaurant is located in the heart of Boston's historic North End. This elegant, upscale restaurant serves food that is a virtual explosion of taste and a feast for the eyes. Set in rustic tones, the 28-seat candlelit restaurant with copper tables and crushed cranberry colored chairs specializes in Organic, Raw Vegan cuisine. “

This is Alissa Cohen’s beautiful raw vegan restaurant where I had a 12 hour chef training class at the end of August. CLICK HERE FOR MY BLOG POST. We had a great night and enjoyed all the fabulous food!

For Starters:

Grezzo sliders - house-made patties on vine-ripened tomato, pommes frites and pickles, creamy "bleu cheese" dressed hydroponic watercress. These were so good! We all loved them!

Appetizer special: Avocados with sour cream and broccoli. These were delicious too! I wish I had written down the full description. These tasty treats seemed to be a take on potato skins with sour cream which worked well. These were very filling!

Dinner entrees:

Land and Sea - locally harvested maitake, yellow oyster, black trumpet, hedgehog and honshimeji mushrooms.  Smooth lemon ricotta, dulse and Maine coast kelp. This was my favorite dish from the chef training class so I ordered it for dinner.

Lobster Thermidor - a terrine of tarragon and mustard seed cashew cheese, black grapes and baby spring vegetables. I loved this one as it was very adventurous and super flavorful. 

Native Tomato Ravioli - house-made black olive boursin, mint, fennel fronds, flat leaf parsley and truffle. Both Steph and John really loved this dish. I also thought it was amazing when I got to sample it at my class in August. For Italian food lovers, I highly recommend this dish! It’s also a good one for those new to raw foods!

Star Anise Crusted Papaya Steak - creamy dill vermicelli with marinated cucumber and olive salad. This is very good and of course it’s fish-free! It doesn’t taste like salmon, but I love how the spices and sweetness blend so well together. You must love papaya and sweet bold tastes to enjoy this one.

Dessert!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with gelato! Super decadent. We loved it!

Apple pave a' la mode - sweet and tart apples, lucuma caramel, whole clove ice cream. Beautiful and so creative! And of course it tasted wonderful.

Scott and I got down to Boston on noon with a ‘mission’. We tried on some new special running shoes and footwear that cannot be found yet in Vermont. I’ll post about it soon after I run more on this innovative new footwear ;-)

Because we arrived in the big city around lunchtime, we decided to have lunch at Grezzo as well as our dinner later on that night. Grezzo is a 3 hour drive so we wanted to experience as much wonderful raw vegan gourmet food as possible! Plus it was so nice to have someone else ‘uncook’ for us!

Lunch!

Cheese and Cracker plate. This was an amazing appetizer! Even Scott was super impressed with everything. The breadsticks were delicious and crispy. Scott loved these! They were dehydrated for 24 hours. The nut cheeses were also fantastic. Scott even liked the pickled veggies that also came on the plate. I highly recommend this one especially for people new to raw food.

Gnocchi Carbonara - house-made dumplings, creamy rawmesan and fresh English peas with pea shoots and crispy eggplant. This was my lunch which was super delicious! Everything went so well together.

"Free-Range" Chicken-less Salad - zucchini, creamy cumin cashew dressing, apples and grapes. This was Scott’s lunch and he loved it! He ate the whole thing! I had a few bites and thought it was the best mock chicken salad yet! Definitely a winner!

 

Grezzo is a wonderful restaurant to experience raw vegan gourmet food! We had so much fun and enjoyed everything. I can’t wait to try the new location in Newburyport, MA sometime next spring! And I’m also patiently waiting for the new Grezzo recipe book so I can make all the above dishes at home!!

 

On Sunday we drove across Massachusetts to visit one of my favorite people of all time!

This is Stella who is almost 95 years old! She’s a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother. She is also one of the most amazing people I have ever known. Besides having a heart of gold, she looks and seems like she’s in her early 70s, not mid 90s! I’ve never met someone her age who is in such great health. Stella grew up on a farm and ate a diet of mostly veggies and fruit. Meat was a very rare delicacy on special occasions such as Easter. She has always eaten a diet of mostly plant-based foods with little meat. I believe her diet has contributed to her amazing health and vitality throughout the years!

Hope everyone’s doing well and getting ready for the winter in this part of the world! Cheers!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Very Happy and Humane Thanksgiving Holiday!

Thanksgiving Dinner: Marinated Mushrooms, Mashed Root Vegetables, Stuffing, Cranberry, and Brussels Sprouts. Recipes are by Sarma Melngailis and found in her new book, Living Raw Food.

Ever since I purchased Sarma’s new recipe book this past summer, I could not wait to try her full Thanksgiving dinner when the holiday season finally rolled around. So I decided to make her amazing holiday meal this past Saturday and share it with our friends, Mark and Sabrina :-)

Joyce’s Notes: WOW, this is possibly one of the best raw food dinners I have made so far!!!!! Everyone absolutely loved this raw vegan Thanksgiving dinner! Sarma and her talented chefs are amazing for creating these most delicious recipes that go perfectly together! Raw vegan Thanksgiving food is a tricky challenge but Sarma has cracked the code on this one! Even my most awesome husband, Scott loved this dinner. And he’s very picky with raw vegan entrees. I think this was his favorite raw food dinner so far as well. Sabrina loved the textures and I would have to agree. Everything was just delightful together. Both Mark and Scott had second helpings which was great! :-)

The recipes are made to serve 10 to 12 people. I made about 1/3 of the mushrooms but wished I had done about 1/2 or even a bit more. I did half of the mashed root veggies and half of the stuffing. This made a lot for both recipes. I still have a lot of mashed veggies and stuffing leftover (both taste great the next day!). I wished I had made more of the Brussels sprouts but luckily had enough for the dinner. I only bought about several handfuls but next time I would double that amount.

The marinated mushrooms were absolutely amazing! I dehydrated them covered in the marinade for about an hour. Previous to that, I let them sit out and marinate for a good half of the day. This  gave them that perfect ‘roasted’ texture. I am becoming a raw mushroom fan thanks to the world of raw vegan food! These mushrooms were Scott’s favorite part of the meal and he finished up the few leftovers on Saturday night. Too bad I didn’t make a bigger batch! Both the portobellos and the king oyster mushrooms were so tasty in the marinade which was so wonderful with the fresh rosemary, sage and thyme. I’m so happy to have found a great raw food recipe that Scott wants me to make again. These would be great for his lunches during the work week. He said he’d love to have the mushrooms and the Brussels sprouts together again. And those were the two easiest recipes of the whole meal :-)

For the Brussel sprouts, I used macadamia nut oil in lieu of the pistachio oil simply because I can’t find it anywhere here in Vermont! But the macadamia nut oil was brilliant with the maple syrup and olive oil. We all loved these! I think these were the best Brussels sprouts I’ve ever had. I didn’t have time to marinate them for the 30 minutes but did place them in the dehydrator for about 30-45 mins to soften. Who knew Brussels sprouts could be so classy and delicious!

For the stuffing and mashed root veggies, I followed the recipes to the T except that I only made half of the recipe amounts. This still made a bit too much but we’re enjoying the leftovers. Both recipes call for a bit of truffle oil which was just lovely. I highly recommend using the best quality truffle oil you can find.

The cranberries also turned out amazing! Even Scott liked them and he is not a fan of these tart berries. Sarma’s recipe is brilliant and uses Irish moss which I love to use in raw food recipes (desserts).  I made her recipe 1 1/2 times and this was perfect! I weighed 12 ounces of cranberries on my scale. I also used a bit more Irish moss since I have a good feel for using it. I started with .80 ounces of Irish moss (measurement after being soaked) and then added about .20 more. I also added a bit more agave, lemon juice and orange zest. And a couple small strips of lemon zest were added. The consistency was just perfect. It gelled up so nicely! I couldn’t have been more pleased with it!

Thank you Sarma for creating these wonderful raw vegan Thanksgiving recipes!!!

It turns out that if you live in NYC you could have ordered this meal as take-out from Sarma’s Store, One Lucky Duck. CLICK HERE to see their photo and details. Wow and they did dessert too!

And lastly I want to thank Angela from the Happy Raw Kitchen for posting her photos and experience from making Sarma’s wonderful holiday dinner. She shares some great photos and recipe tips so do check out her blog. It’s always one of my favorites :-)

 

And for a lovely holiday dessert:

Chocolate Chai Spiced Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust! Inspired by Sweet Gratitude.

I love the flavors of chai and chocolate together and decided to make a raw vegan cheesecake based on a recipe in Sweet Gratitude.  I made my own crust as I normally do. For the filling I only made half the quantity called for in the book and changed a few things to suite my tastes.

Here’s my modified recipe:

use a 7 inch spring form pan (or double recipe and use a 9 inch)

Chocolate Cookie Crust

  • one cup of unsoaked almonds
  • 4 med-large fresh dates
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of cacao powder
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of cacao nibs

Process the almonds until they become crumbs in the food processor. Then add the dates, vanilla and agave and process until mixed. Then add the cacao and process again. Finally add the cacao nibs and process just a few seconds. Don’t over process. Press mixture into spring form pan and set in the freezer while making the filling. Try not to eat it all from the food processor :-)

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups of cashew pieces, soaked for about 3-4 hours
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons of agave syrup
  • 1/3 cup of sweetened almond milk (with agave)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of strong chai tea*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (slightly heaping) of extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 (or 2/3) tablespoons of soy lecithin, ground fine in the coffee grinder
  • 1 tablespoon of cacao powder

Blend all the above ingredients except the last 3 ingredients until smooth. Taste and adjust spices if necessary. Then add the melted coconut oil and lecithin and blend until well incorporated. Pour about 60% of the filling into the spring form pan. Also set aside a bit for the top swirl. Then add the cacao powder to the remaining filling and blend until well mixed. Pour this on top of the chai spiced filling. Next add the little bit of extra filling on top of the chocolate layer and swirl with a knife or chopstick. Set in the freezer for several hours until frozen solid. Then remove sides of pan and place in the fridge.

* I used 2 pouches of Zhena’s Gypsy King Chai tea in a bit less than 8 ounces of hot boiling water. Let steep for at least 15-20 minutes

One note: although I believe that I used vanilla extract in the filling, I didn’t write it down that day. So I’m not 100% sure I put the vanilla in the filling even though I had planned to do so. I might wait until the very end before adding it when I make this again.

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Joyce’s Notes: This was soooooo good! This is one of my new favorite raw vegan desserts that I’m so excited about! Everyone including Scott, Mark and Sabrina loved this one! And it’s perfect for the holidays!

The chocolate cookie crust was super! And both Scott and I are both picky with raw crusts. Scott raved about this crust! We loved the cacao nibs which made it a bit crunchy. I prefer adding less dates and adding agave syrup to crust recipes. I think they taste much nicer that way.

The filling was amazing! The flavorings and spices were spot on! I loved the chai, spices and chocolate all together. What a lovely combination! I’m so pleased with this one! And you could make variations from this cake: A chai spiced cake without the chocolate or a cake with all chocolate (which has the chai and spices mixed in). I’m so glad we got to share this wonderful dessert with our friends. I’ll definitely make this one again!

 

On Thanksgiving Day, Scott and I did a hike up the 150 year old  Mt Mansfield Toll Road which was a lot of fun. “The 4.5-mile unpaved road begins next to the Inn at the Mountain and climbs to an elevation of 3,850 feet. The road ends at a parking lot next to the Mt. Mansfield Summit Station with stunning views”. This time of year it’s closed to traffic so it was a great option for being in the outdoors. It’s a beautiful hike! We were hoping to ski during the holiday weekend, but our November has been too warm for snow.

Here are a few photos with some nice views of Stowe:

Gotta love the double black diamond trails!

Looking out towards Smugglers Notch (where we ski)

Some attempts at making snow on Spruce Peak (Stowe)

Top of Spruce Peak

And lastly, this is a huge flock of geese! We both felt this was the best part of our hike that day. A truly magnificent site!

Hope Everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend! Thanks for visiting my blog!

 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Adopt-A-Turkey, Save a Life and Make Some Live Vegan Food for Thanksgiving!

turkey

The Farm Sanctuary has a wonderful program called ADOPT-A-TURKEY. Here’s a excerpt from their webpage I copied below:

Adopt-A-Turkey Project

seeks to end the misery of commercially-raised turkeys by offering a compassionate alternative for Thanksgiving. Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary has rescued more than 1,000 turkeys, placed hundreds into loving homes through our annual Turkey Express adoption event, educated millions of people about their plight, and provided resources for a cruelty-free holiday. For a one-time $25 donation, anyone can sponsor turkeys residing at Farm Sanctuary. Sponsor a turkey and receive a special adoption certificate in your name – or give sponsorships as gifts for family and friends. Donations are also needed to support our lifesaving efforts to promote a compassionate Thanksgiving and protect all farm animals.”

turkey2

CLICK HERE FOR THE ADOPTION LIST. We adopted Hawthorn last week and received our adoption certificate in the mail this past Saturday. Scott and I were both so delighted. Scott wanted to have it on display in the kitchen. He thought Hawthorn was adorable and said we should open our own small animal sanctuary someday. He’s truly the best and has a heart of gold! I’m so lucky that he cares about these precious sentient beings as much as myself.

turkey3

These photos are free to use by the Farm Sanctuary. They are from last year’s Celebration For the Turkeys which we hope to attend possibly next year. I love how the turkeys who reside at the sanctuary get to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving feast. I just love the Farm Sanctuary and all that they do for animals. Please adopt a turkey and start a new family tradition. I truly believe most people will embrace this beautiful and compassionate act of kindness given the choice.

Taj the turkey

This is Taj the beautiful Turkey from the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary. You can sponsor him too! This was posted on my Facebook news feed by the Ananda Farm Farm Sanctuary. Send them a friend invite if you are a Facebook member! :-)

Now for some Food! ;-)

The last couple weekends I’ve been experimenting with some raw vegan dishes. We are attending an early family Thanksgiving dinner next Saturday down in Western Massachusetts. Luckily our family has agreed to a vegan/vegetarian dinner that day. Having recently seen some very upsetting undercover investigations on turkey farms, I just can’t bear to attend a Thanksgiving dinner with a poor dead turkey on the table. And seriously, it’s not the 1950s! I believe in starting new healthy, humane and compassionate family traditions! We are lucky to have an understanding and considerate family even if they are not vegans or vegetarians. There will be plenty of delicious and festive food options and decadent desserts.

Thanksgiving is about being together with friends and family and appreciating all the good things in life. I’m sure everyone will enjoy the day together and love all the compassionate, delicious food :-)

I’ve decided to bring down a raw vegan ‘stuffing’ that turned out wonderful last weekend! Even Scott liked it a lot and took some to work for lunch. It’s a very clever recipe and I highly recommend trying it. It tastes like traditional stuffing with the flavors of a lovely Thanksgiving meal.

This is called Stuffing Fantasy and was created by raw chef, Elaina Love. You can find the recipe posted on the Raw Freedom Community website. CLICK HERE.

I made some modifications which I thought were very nice. So here is my adapted recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups of soaked almonds (soak overnight)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large apple. I used a macintosh
  • 1/2 of a med-large sweet onion
  • 1 large and 1 medium clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium Portobello mushroom cap, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of flax meal
  • 1 tablespoon of flax oil
  • 1 tablespoon of nama shoyu or tamari
  • 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Spike (natural veggie seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh minced sage plus 1 teaspoon of dried
  • 1/3 of a bunch of fresh thyme, minced (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kelp powder
  • 1/2 cup of raisons
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts, chopped (or a bit more)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of additional chopped sweet onion

Follow instructions posted on the Raw Freedom Community.

Savory Squash Crepes With Sage “Cream” Sauce.

This recipe is by Susan Powers and is found on her lovely website called Rawmazing. CLICK HERE TO SEE RECIPE. I enjoyed these crepes but Scott did not fancy them. He did eat half of one. But he’s super picky with raw food and will be the first to admit that. If I were to make these again, I’d use butternut squash as it seems to soften up in the dehydrator a bit better than the acorn and carnival squash. I liked the cranberries inside the wrap! I used organic cranberries sweetened with fruit juice (healthiest option at the co-op)

Here’s what happened to my wraps: I must have pureed my 5 small zucchini too much in the food processor as the one wrap wasn’t drying in dehydrator. So at about 2pm I scraped it off the teleflex sheet and added about a 1/2 cup or so of flax meal to the mixture. I also added a bit of Spike seasoning. Then I placed it back into the dehydrator. By 7pm the wrap was done. And it was really good! I was shocked! Even Scott liked the wrap by itself. I was surprised that the dreaded flax taste wasn’t noticeable. The Spike seasoning made it taste lovely. I’ll have to experiment with these wraps again and then share more precise measurements!

Pumpkin Bread and warm spiced chocolate nut milk with Murphy!

I found this lovely pumpkin bread recipe on the goneraw website. CLICK HERE TO SEE. I was surprised at how the taste, consistency and texture was very similar to baked traditional pumpkin bread. I had some leftover frozen pumpkin that worked well. I thawed the pumpkin in warm water and it got very soft.

Here’s the recipe with my own modifications:

  • 3/4 cup of almond pulp leftover from making nut milk
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree*
  • 1/2 cup of soft date paste**
  • a bit less than 1/4 cup of ground flax meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon or more to taste
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of maple powder (granulated maple sugar ground up in the coffee grinder)

Mix the above ingredients by spoon and then my hand. I made a small loaf a little over 1 inch high and dehydrated it all day and then overnight. It was ready to eat for breakfast :-)

* used frozen pumpkin that was thawed in warm water. I processed it in the food processor until it was a consistent texture. It was still a bit grainy but that’s OK and didn’t hurt the recipe.

** I used a small handful of medjool dates and water and blended them in this tiny mini food processor which worked like a gem. I kept adding water until it was a nice soft and smooth paste

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Next time I might try less flax meal and add a bit of pysllium powder. While this recipe was very good, it wasn’t quite perfect. I’d give mine 4 out of 5 stars.

This past weekend I made a couple simpler veggie dishes that could be taken to a Thanksgiving dinner:

Broccoli in Bliss Sauce. Recipe is in the E-book, Raw Union.

I discovered this lovely recipe from Aimee’s blog, A Bitt of Raw who also loved this dish. (Thanks for sharing Aimee!) You can purchase the E-book by CLICKING HERE. It has some nice looking recipes along with some very decadent desserts. These are the recipes from the recent wedding of Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes, two famous raw foodies.

Joyce’s Notes: This is a very rich, creamy and tasty recipe that Scott and I both thought was excellent. If you are a curry lover, than I highly recommend this one. Our friend Jeff, who stopped over on Saturday night also said it was good after sampling a little bit. With the unique ingredients, it also tasted similar to a nice peanut sauce.

This veggie dish also has cubed zucchini pieces and some young Thai coconut meat along with chopped pistachio nuts. My coconut didn’t have very much meat and was very soft so it’s not visible. I dehydrated both the broccoli and zucchini for about an hour to soften it up which worked like a charm.

I was considering making this for next week’s early Thanksgiving dinner with family but decided on the stuffing instead. Still, I would say this would be a very welcome addition to the Thanksgiving table. Since I am only bringing one dish and one dessert (with a possible salad), I have to make a few decisions on what to bring on the 3 hour drive Saturday morning :-)

In a quest for an Autumn kale salad, I made this on Sunday:

SimplyRaw’s Amazing Curried Kale Salad.

This lovely recipe can be found in Natasha Kyssa’s ebook called, SimplyRaw's Top 20 Recipes. CLICK HERE for details.

Joyce’s Notes: This is one of the best raw curry sauces I’ve made! Even Scott really liked the sauce. He’s not crazy about kale salads but liked the sauce a lot on it’s own. We both liked the cayenne powder which gave it quite a bit of kick! This sauce has potential for other raw dishes as well. Definitely a keeper! Thanks Natasha!

And Lastly:

I was supposed to teach a friend how to make Carmella Soleil’s Dazzling Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie which is one of our favorite raw desserts. Unfortunately she became sick along with some other friends of ours. It’s that time of year! I decided to make it anyway this past Saturday since it’s such a wonderful treat. This recipe is found in the e-book, called The Best of Raw Freedom Community which I highly recommend. CLICK HERE for details.

Now this is a wonderful dessert to bring to any Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Your friends and family will love you for this one! I brought this down for a Christmas dinner last year and everyone raved about it. I got emails from family members asking for the recipe! And if you have a good high speed blender and food processor, it’s a very achievable dessert! :-)

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For a great cooked vegan meat substitute for turkey, I highly recommend Field Roast’s Celebration Roast. CLICK HERE for more information. Field Roast is a small company that makes vegan grain meat substitutes. The Celebration Roast is absolutely amazing. I don’t buy it often because it’s hard to stop eating. Yes it’s really that good! I’m bringing down a couple of these roasts next weekend for our family get-together. And I’m confident that even the carnivores will love it too!

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Here’s our other furry toddler, Fergus who loves to nap under blankets:

I decided to enclose some links of the undercover investigations done on turkey farms which are very upsetting. I’ve shared some of these with our family and friends, so they understand my passion for having a cruelty-free and humane Thanksgiving dinner. Click on the links below:

"Butterball's House of Horrors"

Butterball Cruelty Confirmed by the USDA

Investigation Reveals Horrific Cruelty to Turkeys on Aviagen factory farms.

Mercy For Animals undercover investigation takes you behind the closed doors of one of the country's largest poultry slaughterhouses House of Raeford Farms, Inc. in Raeford, North Carolina.

PLEASE STAND UP FOR TURKEYS AND START A NEW HUMANE FAMILY TRADITION

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Please consider adopting a turkey at the Farm Sanctuary or any other sanctuary. It’s a wonderful thing to do!

Have a happy and healthy week!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween with Creamy Sage-Pumpkin Risotto, A Chocolate Hazelnut Pumpkin Cake and a hike up Mt. Ellen!

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween! What a fun time of year! I’ve enjoyed all the blog and facebook photos of Halloween food, desserts and costumes :-)

It’s usually quiet on our small mountain for Halloween. We normally get about 6-8 kids, but only had 2 this year due to the weather. Halloween was warm and gorgeous during the day and I had the pleasure of running in ‘balmy’ temperatures which reached the high 60s F. What a treat for me! But the rain arrived just in time for trick-or-treating which was unfortunate.

Creamy Sage-Pumpkin “Risotto” with Wild Mushrooms and Amaretti. Recipe is by Matthew Kenney and found in his new book, Entertaining in the Raw on Page 171.

I received permission from Matthew Kenney to post this beautiful autumn recipe onto my blog! Thank you Matthew!! I’m so happy because this is a delicious recipe which is perfect for this time of year. And I love being able to share such recipes on my blog for everyone else to enjoy.

So here it is :-)

“Risotto”

  • 4 cups of peeled and roughly chopped jicama
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped and seeded fresh pumpkin (use small ones)
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cups of cashews, soaked for 2 hours (I used cashew pieces)
  • 6 tablespoons of water
  • 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of raw agave
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh sage (I coarsely chopped mine)

Process jicama in a food processor until rice-like consistency is achieved (don’t over process). Press out excess liquid with a cheesecloth or through a sieve (I used a nut bag which worked well); place in a bowl and set aside. Pulse pumpkin in the food processor with olive oil: add to jicama rice. Blend remaining ingredients in a Vitamix until smooth and creamy. Add to jicama-and-pumpkin mixture and combine well. Optional: cover bowl with plastic wrap and warm in dehydrator at 118 F for 1-2 hours. (I did this for 2 hours)

Wild Mushrooms

  • 1 1/2 cups of stemmed and roughly chopped (into 1/2 inch pieces) portobello mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups of stemmed and roughly chopped (into 1/2 inch pieces) cremini mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Spread mushroom mixture in a small pan and place at the bottom of the dehydrator at 118 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Amaretti

  • 2 cups of coarse almond flour (soaked and dehydrated almonds that are processed and sifted through a fine strainer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons of date paste
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup powder
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients well. Spoon tablespoon rounds of the dough onto dehydrator sheets, pressing down slightly. Dehydrate 24 hours until mostly crisp on the outside. Allow to cool.

Assembly:

Divide the risotto among 4-6 plates. Spoon 1/4 cup mushrooms over the risotto on each serving plate. Crumble amaretti over the mushrooms. Garnish with fresh sage if desired.

Serves 4-6 (although I felt it would only serve 3-4 unless the portions were very small)

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Joyce’s Notes: Wow this was another winner by Matthew Kenney! Even Scott who’s not a big pumpkin fan loved this dinner. It was so delicious with the creamy, slightly sweet risotto and savory mushrooms together. Scott really liked the mushrooms with the rosemary and thyme which are traditional New England autumn flavorings. I was never a big mushroom fan but have learned I really enjoy them in raw and living dishes! The texture is better un-cooked and they absorb their flavorings so well! The amaretti ‘cookies’ were very good and also enhanced the dish as a whole. We both enjoyed them with the mushrooms and risotto.

I followed the “risotto” and mushroom recipes closely without any true deviations or modifications. I’d recommend doing the same. The mushroom mixture might seem a tad too salty on it’s own but it works well with the sweeter risotto.

The amaretti was a different story. I didn’t soak and dehydrate the almonds so I modified the recipe and came up with this variation:

  • 3/4 cup of unsoaked whole almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons of soft date paste
  • 1/4 cup of maple sugar
  • small pinch of sea salt

I ground up the almonds and maple sugar in the food processor using the S blade until it was a coarse powder. Then I added the remaining ingredients and processed until well combined. I spooned onto dehydrator sheets and dehydrated my cookies for about 20 hours. They never got crisp on the outside. I might have over processed them which releases the oil. (which is why I didn’t add any additional coconut oil/butter)

Next time I would follow Matthew’s instructions and recipe. Having dry almond flour will make all the difference. My ameretti were still very tasty but just not crisp. They still tasted great on the risotto and mushrooms.

Overall, I was so delighted with this recipe for our Halloween Weekend. It was delicious gourmet raw vegan food, fit for a king! It’s a super classy recipe for impressing your friends and family! And it would surely be a lovely Thanksgiving dish as well. Thanks again Matthew! You’re an inspiration!

Scott carved me a cute Jack-O-Lantern! Love the teeth!

Next up: My Halloween Cake Adventure!

My own Halloween Chocolate Hazelnut Pumpkin Cake! (with Murphy enjoying the photo shoot)

I wanted to create a fun dessert with a Halloween theme using nice bright colors. I searched the internet for traditional Halloween recipes and desserts. Sometimes you can find creative ideas and inspiration from cakes and sweets that are non vegan.

Here’s a traditional chocolate cake with bright orange frosting I found on the internet:

halloween-cake-decorating-spiderweb

I love to find traditional recipe ideas and ‘rawify’ them into healthy, nutritious living foods. So the above photo was the inspiration for my own raw and vegan cake. While that baked cake above looks great, you might not feel so well after eating it! ;-)

Here’s mine!

Joyce’s Notes: This is a super rich, decadent dessert that both Scott and myself love. Wow! I am so excited about this one! I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out together. I have never eaten a cake with both chocolate and pumpkin flavors. However, these combinations are truly divine, especially with chocolate and hazelnut together! A seasonal classic that will help keep you healthy and happy!

I don’t mean to be a tease, but this recipe is going to be part of a collection of recipes that will be for sale online, benefitting the Farm Sanctuary. I do hope to get the website up soon so everyone can have access to them.

The chocolate hazelnut cake batter was made with my version of almond flour, hazelnut flour, dried coconut flakes, cacao powder, date paste, agave syrup, coconut oil, and a few other wholesome ingredients. I don’t like almond pulp in raw cakes, so both nut flours were made with whole ground nuts. This turned out to be a nice soft and moist texture which worked great with the pumpkin layer. The hazelnut flavoring was lovely and made the cake very gourmet tasting.

The pumpkin layer was my own ‘pumpkin cream cheese frosting’. On Thursday night I whipped up a batch of crème fraîche inspired by Russell James. This was basically a mild cultured nut sour cream made with probiotic capsules. I used less cashews in the pumpkin layer and added some of the crème fraîche for a ‘cream cheese’ flavoring which turned out to be subtle but lovely. The pumpkin layer also consisted of agave syrup, coconut oil, soy lecithin, carrot juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. This was delicious and tasted similar to the pumpkin cheesecake I made a couple weekends ago.

This was our first time trying this ‘spider web’ design! I made a chocolate syrup for this. (cacao powder, young Thai coconut meat, agave, almond milk, coconut oil, and cacao butter). Then I put it in a plastic squirt bottle right from the Vitamix. (I did let it cool a bit in the fridge for a few minutes as it got warm in the Vitamix)

For this design, you draw concentric circles on top of the cake using the squirt bottle. Scott did this for me since he has a very steady hand. It’s a bit tricky. Next use a tooth pick to draw lines out from the inside circle to the outside of the springform pan. I was able to do this with ease. I then drew the spider using the squirt bottle as well.

To see another great Halloween cake with the spider web design, visit the Happy Raw Kitchen. Angela did a whole Halloween blog series with a wealth of creative raw vegan Halloween recipes and ideas.

Hiking Mt Ellen!!

Here are some photos of our beautiful hike up Mt Ellen yesterday. Mt Ellen is part of Sugarbush Ski Resort, also known as Sugarbush North (near Waitsfield, VT) We hiked up a long work road to the summit which was an amazing scenic route. And then we hiked down some of the ski trails. It was a gorgeous first day of November. I loved the sun and clouds against the mountain vistas! Enjoy!

The above shot is just the beginning of our hike before it gets steep!

This was taken after we hiked over halfway up the mountain!

Almost at at the summit!

It was 30F degrees on top according to a thermometer attached to the lift operator’s booth. At the the base lodge it was 52F degrees!

The summit views are incredible up there! Scott is excited to ski soon!

On the other side of the summit we could see Lake Champlain and the NY Adirondacks. So pretty!

Camel’s Hump is in the background on the left. (looking north!)

Hiking back down a ski trail. Can’t wait to ski that one soon!

Although we already have our bash badges at Smugglers Notch this year, we do hope to ski Mt Ellen a few times this year! It’s a gorgeous mountain with epic trails!

So that was our fun Halloween Weekend! Making wonderful raw vegan food and hiking up a big ski mountain!

Hope Everyone had a fun and festive Halloween! Have a lovely week!