Vermont is so lovely this time of year when it finally warms up. I took these photos a week ago. This is the backside of Mt Mansfield with a small family farm somewhere between Cambridge and Jeffersonville, Vermont.
I also took this photo of Smugglers Notch ski resort on the same day with some cornfields in the foreground. This is one of the main mountains where Scott and I ski during the winter months. Thanks to man-made snow, the season only closed a few weeks ago.
A couple weeks ago, an event happened that effected both Scott and myself so we were not able to make any gourmet raw food the last weekend in April like I had planned. And Scott had to curtail his 30 day raw food challenge. We hope to try again in the future with Scott going completely raw for 30 days. For now, he’s doing a combo of raw food along with his favorite tasty cooked vegan meat substitutes, tofu pups (he loves those!), smoked tempeh, and veggie burgers (Sunshine burgers are his new favorite and they rock!!)
Gorgeous, Raw Vegan Samosas on Saturday!!
Cauliflower Samosas with mango chutney, banana tamarind sauce, and mint. Recipe is found in Raw Food Real World, by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis. (These photos were taken by Scott and myself)
I’ve had my eye in this recipe for a while now. Initially I was a bit intimidated by making the samosa wrappers out of blended up young Thai coconut meat and coconut water. After working with young Thai coconuts this past winter and having a bit more experience under my belt, I decided to give this wonderful recipe a try. And I’m so glad I did! It was a fantastic dinner which both Scott and myself enjoyed so much. Both of us have a love for authentic Indian food, so this was a lovely treat for our Saturday night!
Sarma Melngailis has posted this recipe online on the Gliving website. (check out her photos) It can also be found posted on the Raw Freedom Community, the Sunny Raw Kitchen, and other spots on the internet. So I’ll just copy the recipe onto my blog for convenience in case anyone would love to try this recipe:
For the samosa wraps:
2 cups young coconut meat (4 coconuts)
1 ½ cups coconut water (or more)
½ teaspoon cayenne (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
½ teaspoon sea salt
In a Vita-Mix or high-speed blender, puree the coconut with the coconut water, cayenne, and salt until completely smooth. Using an offset spatula, spread the coconut very thin on Teleflex-lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 115 F for 2 to 4 hours, or until the surface is dry. Carefully flip over and peel away the Teleflex sheets. Dehydrate further on the screen only, just to dry the underside, 15 to 30 minutes longer. The wraps should be very thin, almost transparent, and very pliable.
Carefully slide the wraps onto a flat cutting surface and cut into large rectangles, about 3 by 7 inches, and set aside.
For the filling:
1 large head cauliflower, florets only
½ cup raw macadamia nuts
1 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons Chunky Chat masala
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh peas or thawed frozen peas (I used frozen sweet peas)
1 handful julienned cilantro
Place the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop into small pieces. It’s okay if they are not entirely uniform in size - they add texture.
In a high-speed blender, add the nuts, water, garam masala, Chunky Chat, and ginger and puree at high speed for 2 minutes until completely smooth. It should be the consistency of heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the cauliflower, peas, and macadamia cream to a shallow glass bowl or pan and stir to combine. Place the bowl in the dehydrator and dehydrate at 115 F for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower becomes somewhat tender and the cream thickens a bit.
Toss the cilantro in with the cauliflower mixture just before filling the wraps.
Place a heaping tbs of cauliflower filling at one end of a coconut wrapper. Fold one corner over diagonally to meet the other side, to form a triangle. Fold the samosa over and continue folding like a flag. Wet the end of the wrapper slightly to seal.
Sarma then suggests to serve these with the following sauces:
For the tamarind sauce:
1 cup soaked and strained tamarind pulp
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon nama shoyu
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
Place the tamarind pulp, maple syrup, nama shoyu, and olive oil in a blender and puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add a pinch of salt if necessary. Place in a separate bowl and set aside. This sauce may be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days. It can also be frozen if you have leftovers or want to make it in advance.
For the banana tamarind sauce:
1 cup Tamarind Sauce (from above recipe)
1 small banana
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 small red chili pepper, seeded
Pinch of sea salt
Puree the sauce ingredients in a blender until completely smooth. Transfer to a separate container and set aside.
For the Mango Chutney (I made half of the recipe):
4 cups diced ripe mango
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 green onions, white and 1 inch of green, diced
½ small jalapeno, cored and seeded, diced
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 small handful cilantro leaves
In a food processor, add all of the ingredients and pulse to combine well, but keep it chunky. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days. (Makes about 4 Cups and is a nice accompaniment to other dishes or on it’s own as well.)
1 cup Mango Chutney
1 small handful mint leaves, finely julienned
Joyce’s notes: As I said above, this is a very tasty recipe! It’s a bit involved with the many different components. I found the Thai coconut wrappers to be the trickiest part of the recipe. I used 4 coconuts to yield 2 cups of coconut meat. Always buy an extra coconut or two since some have more meat than others. I cut back on the cayenne pepper to 1/4 teaspoon and it was still hot and spicy. And it gave my samosas a light pink/orange hew. So a 1/2 teaspoon would have been very hot and even darker in color.
The recipe and directions don’t specify how many teleflex sheets/trays to use for the dehydrator. I did 3 sheets and then a smaller circle on a fourth sheet to see if a thicker wrapper might be better. So in the future, I’d spread the coconut batter over 4 teleflex sheets. It is very important to spread the batter thinly and very evenly which is tricky. Spend extra time getting this as evenly as possible. Here’s my best sheet that was also my thinnest and most even one:
The recipe calls for 20 wrappers and I was able to get 14 plus some scraps which would have been enough for a couple more had I been a bit more experienced with these. For folding the wrappers with the filling, Carmella has a nice demo with photos on her Sunny Raw Kitchen blog. Click here to see!
The cauliflower filling was easy to make and very tasty by itself. I’d make this again and use it in salads for my week day lunches. I’d also use the sauce as a salad dressing (using cashews in lieu of the macadamia nuts) The key ingredient in the sauce that makes it so delicious is the chunky chat masala seasoning. I found this seasoning at a local Indian specialty food store on Williston Road, South Burlington, VT (next to Marcos Pizza). You can also find it online to order. I highly recommend finding the chunky chat masala. I wouldn’t make the samosas without this key ingredient! Here is a photo of my filling. I put it into a pie plate which fit nicely in the dehydrator for the couple hours or warming.
The mango chutney was lovely and Scott and I both found it a refreshing combination with the finished samosas. Here’s a close up photo of my chutney:
The banana tamarind sauce was a ‘thumbs down’ for Scott. He found it too sour/tart tasting. I liked it and thought it was very tasty with the samosas and mango chutney. However, the samosas and mango chutney alone would have been perfectly fine. The tamarind recipe calls for 1 cup of soaked and strained tamarind pulp. I used a half cup of tamarind paste which is found at City Market Co-op and the local Indian store. I don’t have much knowledge or experience with tamarind so I believe mine was too heavy using the thick paste/concentrate. As you can see from the photo mine is very dark. The photos on Gliving show a light brown sauce. But even though mine was very heavy, rich and sour, I still liked the taste of the sweetness and banana.
Overall, we just loved this dinner and found ourselves eating all 14 samosas that night (only 10 shown in photo). We were very hungry when we sat down to eat, so it wasn’t hard devouring them all up. After that we were quite full. The spicy coconut wrappers were wonderful with the filling and sauces!
There was a good amount of filling left over as well as the sauces and a few scraps of the wrappers. So I enjoyed this as a lunch on Sunday. This is one of those recipes to make on a day where you have plenty of time. It’s a lot of work and calls for many ingredients but it’s worth it especially if you have a love for Indian food. Imagine tasty and super healthy Indian food! Raw food is awesome!!! And Sarma and Kenny have taken raw and living foods to new heights with classy and sophisticated recipes like this one. Thank you so much Sarma and Matthew!!
My Mango Cheesecake with a Mango parfait crème!
City Market Co-op in Burlington, Vermont had a nice shipment of organic mangoes which were ripe and very sweet tasting. So I couldn’t resist buying a bunch for this weekend. Although I made a few cheesecakes recently, I had to try my own mango version. My filling is inspired from Cheflandria’s mango cheesecake. I also used my favorite raw dessert book, Sweet Gratitude as a reference for the basic skeleton of my cheesecake filling. (sorry, they don’t have a mango cheesecake in their book to avoid confusion)
So here’s my recipe!
Rich Mango Cheesecake
Use a 9 inch spring form pan
- 1 1/2 cup of soaked cashews (a bit more than 1 1/4 cup of dry cashew pieces)
- 1 cup of dried coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts
- 2 oz of date paste (about 2-3 dates)
- zest of one small orange
- 1-2 tablespoons of agave syrup
- 3/4 to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (not melted)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Use a Food Processor with the S blade to combine everything to make a soft crust. I like to add everything except the dates and then add them a bit at at time while everything is being processed.
Lightly grease your spring form pan with coconut oil. Press crust into pan and set in freezer or fridge while you make the filling.
- 3 cups of soaked cashews (about 2 1/2 cups of dry cashew pieces)
- 2 heaping cups of fresh chopped mango (about 2 med to large mangoes)
- 1 cup of homemade almond milk sweetened with maple syrup or agave
- 3/4 cup of agave syrup
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
- 3 tablespoons of organic soy lecithin
- 1/3 cup of coconut butter, melted (Artisana brand which is coconut meat)
- 2/3 cup of coconut oil, melted
Blend all ingredients in a Vitamix until smooth except for the lecithin, coconut butter and oil. Add the lecithin, coconut butter and oil and blend again until smooth and thoroughly blended.
- One additional chopped up fresh mango
Add the chopped mango pieces to the filling by hand (don’t blend). Then pour filling onto the crust and freeze overnight or for several hours until frozen solid. Then take cheesecake out of freezer and remove sides of the spring form pan. The sides will be nice and smooth and neat this way. Then place into the fridge to soften up. You can also leave out for an hour before sticking it back into the fridge (for faster results).
Joyce’s notes: This is a very rich and sweet tasting mango cheesecake that turned out well. It’s a mango lover and sweet tooth’s delight! Scott and I both enjoyed eating this for breakfast on Sunday and again this morning! I have to say that when I did my run on Sunday mid-day, I felt the best ever this year! With only the cheesecake and mango parfait crème for fuel, I felt amazingly fit compared to the last few months! So later today with only this cheesecake, the parfait and a mango green smoothie, I might attempt to do my longest run of the year. I’m hoping the cheesecake will continue it’s magical effect!
I used the same crust as my Orange creamsicle cake which I think is a very tasty crust. However with this cheesecake I might omit the coconut flake for something different next time. Scott wasn’t too keen on the crust with this cheesecake either. But it is still very good.
We both like the filling as it is very rich and sweetly flavored with the fresh mango. It is very decadent tasting and rather heavy I must add. One slice with the mango parfait crème will fill you right up! And I also enjoyed having the mango pieces mixed into the filling. However, some of the pieces were a little stringy so I would be very mindful of this issue for the next time. Make sure you only use pieces that aren’t so stringy. It’s not noticeable in the photos, only when you eat a slice. It certainly didn’t ruin the dessert, but I wouldn’t serve this with the stringy mango pieces in a fancy restaurant :-)
I also used a couple more fresh mangos to make the mango parfait crème you seen in my photos. I basically modified Sweet Gratitude’s recipe for Strawberry parfait on page 187 to make a mango version. I had some leftover Irish moss to use up. And with some leftover almond milk and plenty of fresh mangoes, this was the perfect recipe to go along side my mango cheesecake.
Here’s the recipe
Mango Parfait Crème
- one ounce of Irish moss (weight after soaking)
- one cup of sweetened almond milk with maple syrup
- 12 ounces of fresh chopped mangoes (about 2-3)
- 1/2 cup of agave syrup
- 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of organic soy lecithin
- 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
Coarsely chop up the Irish moss after weighing and toss into Vitamix. Add the almond milk to the Vitamix and blend until the Irish moss is completely broken down. (can be a few minutes). Then add the mangoes, agave, vanilla, lemon juice and sea salt. Blend until creamy and smooth. Then add the lecithin and coconut oil and blend again until smooth and thoroughly blended. Pour into a glass container and stick in the fridge for a few hours. I used a shallow glass container.
Here’s a photo of the mango parfait crème:
Joyce’s notes: This is incredibly delicious! Wow, this is amazing I thought! I like this much more than the mango cheesecake! It is that good! It was firm enough to scoop out on the plate thanks to the Irish moss. The combo of vanilla extract and lemon juice made this very classy tasting. And this crème also went very well with the cheesecake. It really enhanced the whole mango dessert experience.
I’d like to make turn this parfait recipe into a mango pie someday. With more coconut oil and lecithin and perhaps more Irish moss, this could be a nice and firm pie filling.
A simple, tasty no-nonsense recipe:
Here’s my photo:
Joyce’s notes: I have never fancied eggs in any shape or form (yuck!!!). Even as a kid, I just didn’t like the smell or taste of them. Scott was always an egg lover, but has given them up for health and ethical reasons. This raw vegan, eggless recipe tasted very good to both of us! I don’t know what deviled eggs are supposed to taste like but I liked the flavor combinations. This recipe calls for dry cashews, garlic, lemon juice, dry mustard powder, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, and water blended up in a Vitamix . It was very smooth and creamy and perfect with the carrots. This recipe has gotten a lot of rave reviews on the Raw Freedom Community website and now I understand why. It’s very tasty indeed! Check out the website for the recipe and give it a try. It’s simple, filling and only takes a few minutes to make!
I’m going be incorporating some more simple recipes like the one above into my repertoire since I normally focus on very complex recipes. Some of these might not be as glamorous or ‘sexy’ but they should be very tasty, practical and easy to make. I’m hoping to create raw foods that Scott can bring to work (possibly make himself) and enjoy mid week! Rome wasn’t built in a day so it will take time, research and experimentation. But don’t worry, I still plan on making those beautiful and inspiring recipes that bring raw and living foods to new heights. I totally enjoy making gourmet raw food! However, one week at a time for now. Summer (which is short here in VT) will be calling us soon! We might just decide to ride our bikes or hike on the Long Trail instead of being in the kitchen all day during the summer :-)
Next weekend we have family visiting from Connecticut so I’ll be planning a raw lunch and dinner menu. It’s going to be tough as these folks cannot eat anything spicy, ethnic or exotic. Garlic, olives and red pepper are also off limits! So this is going to be a challenge! If anyone has any suggestions, I’m totally open ;-)
Until next week, take care and enjoy the warm sunny weather!