Monday, February 16, 2009

A Valentine weekend

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My friend Sabrina brought over her professional camera with a food lens and took a photo of these spiralized beets. (Murphy was intrigued by the beets and loved being photographed by Sabrina)

She took a lot of lovely pictures which are posted below. I’m going to start with dessert first which was a White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake from the book Sweet Gratitude. Here are some shots by Sabrina and myself:

Joyce’s Notes: This White Choc raspberry swirl cheesecake was amazing!! I think it is my favorite raw dessert so far! We all loved it! I was lucky enough to find fresh organic raspberries shipped from California in City Market Co-op on Thursday. Sweet Gratitude has a whole section on cheesecakes but this one is unique in that it uses a fair amount of raw cacao butter in lieu of coconut oil which is the norm for raw cheesecake recipes. This gave it that rich white chocolate taste!  The crust was made with almonds, coconut flakes, cacao powder, dates, cacao nibs and vanilla. Delish!! I had a bit leftover due to the heart shaped pan. The cheesecake filling consisted of cashews, almond milk, agave syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, lecithin, cacao butter and of course fresh raspberries. I found the swirling part to be difficult. Much more so than Heathy’s Triple berry cake which I was able to swirl like a pro (see my photo on right side of my blog). The batters this weekend were thicker and didn’t mix together that easily. Luckily I saved some white filling to add on top of the pink filling. Then I was able to swirl it with a chopstick to get the pretty pattern you see on top of the cake. I liked putting fresh raspberries on top of the crust and then putting the white filling on top. The raspberries showing through were so pretty when cutting slices!

The raw chocolate sauce was also a recipe found in Sweet Gratitude on page 161. This was made of: almond milk, cacao powder, cacao nibs, agave, dates and vanilla. All I can say is that it tasted like traditional sauce you’d find at a good pastry shop. Chocolate lovers have to give this one a try! ;-)


Scott got me flowers. Aren’t they pretty!

Dinner! Here’s what I made for an entree and appetizer/salad:

Red Beet Ravioli with an Herb Cheese filling – a variation of the recipe on the Raw Table website (there are some lovely recipes on this website. Do check them out!).

Papperdella with Sugar Snap Pea & Saffron Crème by Chef Dan. – I purchased this recipe from Chef Dan’s website.


Joyce’s Notes: This was a challenging dinner for me! I put a lot of thought into what I wanted to make for food. Originally I was going to make Raw Food Real World’s red beet ravioli with the tarragon cheese and yellow pepper sauce (book and my photo are on upper right of page). That recipe is my all time favorite but I wanted to make something new and experiment a little. So I did a variation of the red beets from The Raw Table. These turned out very well! I made the herb cheese mid morning so it would sit all day allowing the flavors to come alive. The beets were done on a spiralizer which worked great!

I also made fresh asparagus which I discovered tastes absolutely divine as a raw accompaniment.  I got the idea from Tofu666’s blog. (if you haven’t checked out this blog, make a note to do it, as it’s an amazing vegan and raw food vegan blog. The photos and recipes are gorgeous) I basically took a whole bunch of fresh organic asparagus and marinated it in olive oil, a capful of nama shoyu, a bit of lemon juice, and cracked black pepper. I let it marinate for most of the day. Then I dehydrated the asparagus for an hour at 105F. Everyone was so impressed with this asparagus!!

I also made a Red Pepper Aioli sauce which went well with the ravioli. I didn’t show it in the photos because of the orange color (which was similar to that orange font!). I was hoping for a pink color but the sauce still tasted great. I didn’t write it down but here are the approximate ingredients as I remember:

  1. 1/2 cup of soaked pine nuts
  2. 1/2 cup of soaked cashews
  3. less than 1/2 of a red pepper
  4. garlic (one  sm-med clove I believe)
  5. lemon juice (1 or 2 TB)
  6. 2 TB Olive oil
  7. water – enough to make a sauce

Blend together in a Vitamix. Taste & adjust!

The Papperdella with saffron Crème was a bit challenging. It’s a fantastic idea. When I showed Scott the recipe he instantly wanted me to give it a try! The sauce is made with the following ingredients: pine nuts, young coconut meat, olive oil, saffron, garlic & sea salt. We both thought the sauce was missing something so I added agave which helped it a lot! Later on when our friends arrived, Sabrina also tasted it and felt it needed some lime juice. None of us liked the wide, thin zucchini noodles. (that might be the last time we make flat zucchini noodles as it’s now evident we just don’t fancy them as a pasta substitute! There’s no accounting for taste sometimes!). The noodle mixture was topped with red peppers and halved cherry tomatoes. My variation was that I marinated the toms and peppers in olive oil, sea salt and black pepper and dehydrated them for most of the day. That totally helped the recipe in general. Also added were frozen organic sweet peas from Cascadian Farms. (normally don’t use frozen fruits or veggies). And finally we topped this off with capers which made the dish OK tasting for myself. The funny thing was when everything was put together, the dish had a fish/crab taste to it which Mark and Sabrina both agreed. I thought it was interesting. Sabrina said she would have liked it w/o the zucchini as the peas and other veggies were good in the sauce. Perhaps kelp noodles would have been a better alternative to the zucchini noodles! But it was still a very pretty dish to photograph!

My left over snack yesterday!!!!!!!! We were both really tired on Sunday and had a very lazy day (which is always nice on occasion).

We hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s weekend! Cheers for now! xo

Favorite post Valentine’s day photos:


  1. amazing blogpost!
    loved the photos :)

  2. Hi Snowdrop!! Happy late Valentines! Thanks for the kind words. We had fun making and experimenting. I can't believe how tired we were on Sunday. The cat photos say it well :-) Cheers!
    ps - someday I'll have to get a camera like Sabrina's. I loved her photos!

  3. I love your blog and all your food looks great! I tagged you as a Kreativ Blogger.

    See my blog for details.


  4. Hi Aimee! Wow, Kreativ Blogger. That's so cool. Thank you! I'm never sure if I go overboard with all my kitty photos but they're my babies :-) Speaking of animals, I like how you have the Animal Rescue site on your blog! I was thinking about getting some for the Humane Society US, WSPA(world society for the protection of animals) and/or PETA. I just love animals! Btw - you yave a lovely blog! Great photo of your mom and you.

    Have a great week!

    Joyce :-)

  5. HI! I am new to your blog and I LOVE it. Thank you for sharing all your pictures and recipe's that you find. My name is Sabrina and it is funny to see it written over and over again=-)
    I am really enjoying your blog.
    Where do you find all these wonderful pans that you use?

    Love always

  6. Hi Sabrina! So glad you like my blog. I've been having a lot of fun doing it! I found the heart shaped spring form pan at a small local kitchen boutique called Kiss the Cook on Church Street, Burlington, VT. I also got my 8" spring form pan there too. I've seen different sized round spring form pans at Bed Bath & Beyond. They are actually better priced at BB&B. But that's Ok as I do want to support our small shops with this crazy economy. I do need to get a big 10" spring form pan for some of the cheesecake recipes in Sweet Gratitude.

    I am now patiently waiting for a chocolate orange cake to finish freezing up in the 8" spring form pan. I will be posting the results probably monday or tuesday :-)


  7. Hi Joyce
    Thank you for all the info.
    Can't wait to see the results of the Chocolate Orange cake.

    I nominated you for an award. Go to my blog for the details

    Love always

  8. Hi Sabrina,

    Wow, thanks so much for the nomination. That's so cool! You have a great blog and I can't wait to read more tomorrow.

    The chocolate orange cake turned out very yummy :-)

    Warm wishes,


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.