Monday, August 24, 2009

Rustic Pizzetta, Wild Blackberries, Vanilla Cardamom Cream Sauce and a Blueberry Pie!

Last week I was inspired by Carmella Soleil’s raw vegan Tuscan Pizza that she created for a catering job. CLICK HERE to see her post and photos on the RFC website. She also created another superb raw fermented cashew cheese recipe which I made for my pizzetta.  I knew this would be another great experiment for the weekend as my dear husband Scott loves raw vegan fermented cheese made from cashews. And I was so delighted that everything I made this weekend received a thumbs up from Scott! Now that’s something! ;-)

Joyce’s Notes: My pizzetta turned out excellent! (thank goodness!) Scott was loving these! Even the crusts  were well received which I will talk about soon. Scott preferred his pizzetta with more cheese, no pesto and topped with tomatoes. I loved my pesto so much and found it totally delicious on the pizzetta with a bit less cheese.

For the crust I decided to make something similar to a tart crust using very little ground flaxseed and no buckwheat which are both common in raw pizza crusts. Scott doesn’t like the flax or buckwheat tastes so I had to do something different! My result tasted really good, but this is a rather delicate crust. Scott & I both didn’t mind at all that the crust was fragile. We ate it with forks and also used our hands.

Here’s my crust recipe:

Delicate Italian Herb Crust

  • 2 cups of cashew pieces, not soaked
  • 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts, not soaked
  • 1/4 cup plus one tablespoon of ground flaxseed (use coffee grinder)
  • 2 medium crushed cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of dried Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil or more to taste

Blend all ingredients in the food processor using the S-Blade until well combined. Mine was a tad course for a more rustic effect.

I spooned out 4 small crusts on one teleflex sheet and then did the fifth one on another sheet a bit thinner just to experiment. I dehydrated these for a total of 9 hours, flipping over after about 4-5 hours.


Here are my crusts before putting them into the dehydrator:


The Basil Garlic Cashew Cheese is an amazing recipe by Carmella! I’ve made raw cheese using rejuvelac but it’s extra work and I’m not sure that rejuvelac agrees with my tummy. Or possibly I’m just not used to it. So I made my cheese with probiotic capsules. Here’s my how I made my cheese:

  1. Thursday morning I soaked 2 cups of cashew pieces
  2. Later that night (around 10pm) I ground up the drained cashew pieces with enough water to turn over in the Vitamix. I also added 3 probiotic capsules to the Vitamix.
  3. I had to use the plunger to get the mixture to turnover
  4. When totally smooth, I spooned the mixture into a strainer lined with cheesecloth and also covered it with the cheesecloth.
  5. I left this to ferment on my countertop for almost 24 hours which by then it was ready to use on Friday evening.

Check out my St Patty’s day post for more photos of my last fermented cheese project towards the end. CLICK HERE :-)

For probiotic capsules I went to the City Market Co-op and purchased this vegetarian brand (100 capsules for about $18):

Bluebonnet Milk-Free Acidophilus plus FOS

These worked like a charm! After almost 24 hours, my cashew cheese smelled like it was supposed to: a slight, subtle sour cream scent. Here’s a photo from from March when I made fermented cheese. It was taken before the 24 hour fermentation.

Once the cheese was done fermenting on Friday night, I used Carmella’s Basil Garlic recipe. Here it is with my very slight modifications. I also doubled the recipe as I had about 2 cups or so of cheese.

  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic (I used one big and one small clove)
  • 2 teaspoons of minced chives or more taste (1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 2 1/2 packed tablespoons of chopped basil or more to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowel with the fermented cashew cheese and mix gently. Then place in the fridge overnight or until ready to spread onto the pizzetta the next day.


Because I used cashew pieces instead of the whole nuts, my cheese was very soft and easily spreadable on my pizzetta. This cheese rocks! It’s actually very simple to make. I am so pleased with the probiotics and plan to make more cheese this way! Raw fermented vegan cheese is sooooo amazing! I urge everyone to make this and show their friends and family just how awesome raw food is!

I make a very simple yet delicious raw vegan pesto recipe. Traditional pesto calls for parmesan cheese. My version tastes like the real deal surprisingly but without dairy! How cool is that! :-)

I bought a huge bag of fresh basil from the Richmond Farmer’s Market on Friday. So here’s my Pesto recipe. In the winter I cut this in half as basil is a very expensive produce item!

  • 1 cup of cashew pieces, soaked for 15-25 minutes
  • 6 cups of basil, medium packed
  • your best cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt

Using the food processor with the S-Blade, I grind up the basil and drained cashew pieces first until well broken down. Then I add olive oil and sea salt a little bit at a time until taste and consistency are right for me.


Pizzetta with a Red Pepper Flatbread!

I’m trying to find successful raw bread or cracker recipes that don’t contain ground flax and buckwheat since Scott just doesn’t like the tastes. So I found a recipe on the goneraw website called Crazy Bread Crackers which doesn’t have the above ingredients! Here’s the recipe with my slight modifications and notes:

  • 1/2 cup of cashew pieces, not soaked
  • 1 medium sized red pepper (or try a yellow one)
  • 1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes, soaked for an hour or so
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  • 2/3 of jalapeno pepper or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • juice of half a lemon

Blend all ingredients in a Vitamix until smooth. Pour onto a telefex sheet. I made one medium sized square that was not too thick. I also scoured the square into 4 sections using the spatula. I made this on Friday night and dehydrated it over night. I flipped it over the next morning and dehydrated it for most of Saturday.


Joyce’s Notes: This is soooo good! Wow, I was surprised at how it stayed together so well. It didn’t get crispy but was more like a flatbread. And this was not delicate like my crusts above!  It has a nice strong red pepper flavor and could be used to accompany raw Mexican dishes as well. This is a very versatile recipe! I would double it the next time and perhaps try a yellow pepper for a lighter color.

Now for some Sweets!

Wild Blackberries with a Vanilla Cardamom Cream Sauce!

Blackberry season is also upon us here in Vermont! Scott and I picked some wild blackberries along our mountain road. These are so sweet and luscious! I wish the season lasted longer!

I had one last young Thai coconut to use so I decided to make a cream sauce for the berries and also for a blueberry pie. I remember Heathy Pace had made some recipes using the spice, cardamom so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I was going to make one of her recipes using cardamom but didn’t feel like digging up the recipes. So I just threw some stuff together which worked great!

Here’s what I did:

First I blended about 1/3 cup of shredded coconut with about 3/4 cup of water in the Vitamix. To this mixture I added:

  • 1/2 cup or so from one medium young Thai coconut
  • 1/3 cup of dry cashew pieces
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons of agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, soft but not melted
  • 1/4 cup of coconut water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 + 1/16 teaspoon of cardamom (start off with less first)

Blend until completely smooth and refrigerate.


Joyce’s Notes: This was surprisingly wonderful! Next time I would definitely double the recipe as it went rather quickly! It was my first time using cardamom in a dessert and I can’t wait to use it again. It gave the cream a very exotic, almost Indian flavor.  This would also make a great ice cream I believe. Next time I might double the recipe and run it through the ice cream maker! Delish!


Blueberry Pie! Recipe is by Alissa Cohen and found in her book, Living on Live Food. You can also find the recipe posted on the Purely Delicious website. Just CLICK HERE! Anna from Purely Delicious Magazine has a lovely photo as well. This is a very simple and super easy pie which is perfect for blueberry season!

Joyce’s Notes: This is a winner! Both Scott and myself love this pie! I love simple recipes with few ingredients that actually turn out so delicious! Blueberries have a natural pectin that keep this pie filling firm without using coconut oil or Irish moss. It’s a brilliant recipe!

The filling is made of fresh blueberries, bananas and honey or agave syrup. That’s it! I used one cup of wild Maine blueberries that got mixed into the filling since they are nice and tiny. The crust is made up of almonds, dates and a pinch of sea salt. I also added a couple dashes of cinnamon which gave the crust a graham cracker flavor which I liked!

The only problem with the crust is that it is a bit gooey and stuck to the pie plate. Alissa instructs you to soak the dates. Next time I might not soak them. I might also use a different crust with different nuts. Eva from the Raw Freedom Community experimented with Alissa’s recipe and came up with a similar one. She uses pecans! Next time I might try her crust recipe! CLICK HERE to see Eva’s full recipe. Also I might freeze the crust first as the filling does seep into the crust a bit while in the fridge. But this is just a minor flaw.

Overall, this is a great summer-time pie! It’s delicious, easy and doesn’t take all morning to make! ;-)

Alissa Cohen & Grezzo Restaurant Classes!

This Friday morning I’m heading to Kittery, Maine to take classes with Alissa at her B&B! The first three days are in Kittery and called: The Living on Live Food Teacher Certification. On Monday we will all drive down to Boston for a 12 hour chef training class at Grezzo Restaurant! I cannot wait for Monday’s class as I’m most interested in learning how Grezzo creates it’s gorgeous 5 star raw vegan cuisine. I’ll be curious to see how they make their fermented nut cheeses! 

This is Fergus, our big Maine Coon Cat who naps while I blog. Life is good! :-)

So please check back in a couple weeks for a full update! I’ll have photos of the classes and amazing gourmet raw vegan food from Grezzo Restaurant!!  Enjoy the end of August and do come back again! 



  1. Joyce, i'm in boston right now. i won't go to grezzo probably until thursday but i am sure i will feel your presence there.

    lovely food! as if you need more training. ;-)

  2. Hi Aimee, Have fun in Boston! So happy you'll have the opportunity to try Grezzo. My first time will be at the class!

    I've actually never had a raw food class so I'm very excited. Books and the internet are great for learning but there's nothing like a live teacher :-)

    Take care,


  3. Hi, I am on my 5 month of being raw and just love your blog! It seems like your the only one out there that makes these fantastic recipes. Everything looks awesome every time! Your blog is what made me decide to buy Sweet Gratitude and make cheesecake which I have made for everyone at work and they LOVED it. I just started a blog at check it out. I hope you don't mind me asking, but how do you and your husband make a living? I'm young and haven't decided yet so I'm always curious. Thanks!

  4. Hi Joyce!
    This is a beautiful post! I love that you have so many of your very own recipes in it:)

    Have fun at the classes...can't wait to read all about it!!


    p.s. Fergus is too cute in that pic!

  5. Hi Valen, so great to hear by blog has been helpful and that you made a great cheesecake from SG! That's so cool!!

    As far as earning a living my advice would be to do what you love! My husband and I both work in the corporate world. I'm an accountant but would love to do something on my own in the near future and not work for a big company. Accounting is not my passion but it's been a good profession that has given me the means to do many things....That being said I don't think I'd be sitting in a cubicle if I could do it all over again ;-)

    I'll check out your blog! Thanks for the link I love diving into new blogs!

    And do check out Angela's blog, the happy raw kitchen (listed on side of my blog). She's awesome and makes great raw food every few days. I love her blog and always look forward to what she doesn next!

    Hi Angela!!! Are your ears ringing ;-) So glad you like my recipes this week. It was a fun making everything. Fergus thinks the guest room is his!

    Have a great night everyone!

    Joyce :-)

  6. lol!...thanks for the 'plug', and the hug!

  7. Your creations look AMAZING!!!
    I've been eating raw for about 4 months now and havent bought any books yet... If you were to suggest 3 or 4 inspiring raw recipe books, what would they be?
    Thank you for posting your beautiful pictures!

    Jamie :)

  8. Hi Jamie, so glad you like the photos. We have fun with all the food and picture taking :-)

    There are a lot of great raw food books out there now. Any of the books listed on the side of my blog are good. I tend to like the fancy complicated recipes on the weekends. The one's I've been using lately are Entertaining in the Raw, Everyday Raw, Living Raw Foods, and Raw Food Real World. For desserts, Sweet Gratitude is my favorite! These are listed out with links to more info about the books.

    For starting out I'd highly recommend Alissa Cohen's Living on Live Food and Ani Phyo's Raw Kitchen.

    Also check out the Sunny Raw Kitchen blog for a wealth of amazing and inspiring recipes! That's one of my favorites!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and do come back :-)


  9. Sweet Gratitude is definitely on the list!

    Thanks for the advice!

    Jamie :)


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