Monday, October 5, 2009

Porcini Ravioli, Two Autumn Cakes and a Leaf Peepers Half Marathon

Peak foliage in Vermont is upon us now and it’s so beautiful outside. This is our favorite time of year in New England. I made some lovely seasonal recipes that are perfect for this time of year when apples and root vegetables are plentiful and the weather is a bit cooler.

Saturday night we had a lovely and delicious candle lit dinner before our first half marathon on late Sunday morning (details later).


Porcini Ravioli in a Cream Sauce. Recipe is by Sabina Nicholson (also know as Snowdrop) and can be found on her blog, the Adirondack Raw Food Connection.  This was a wonderful recipe that both my husband and I enjoyed so much! Sabina gave me permission to post the recipe on my blog. But you can also find it on her blog with her own photo as well. Do check out her blog!

Here’s Sabina’s recipe:

Makes approx. 12 ravioli serves 2

If you cannot find dried porcini mushrooms, use a grocery store dried mushroom medley.

1-2 turnips

Peel the turnips if you wish, or just scrub them well. Slice the turnips into very thin slices, by using a spiral slicer, mandolin or other vegetable slicer to make thin round disks. These will be used as the wrapper, which would normally be the pasta dough.

Porcini filling:
1/2 oz Dried Porcini Mushrooms (or a medley: porcini, shitake, oyster, bolet) looks like about 1/2 cup dry in volume.

Flavored Soaking liquid:
1/4 cup Spring Water
1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu or Raw Tamari
1 tablespoon White Wine
1/8 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

Veggie puree:
1 Parsnip
1 tablespoon Onion, minced
1 small clove Garlic
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1. Rinse the dried mushrooms, discarding the rinse water, drain.
2. Soak mushrooms in flavored soaking liquid let stand an hour, stirring a few times until softened.
3. Drain mushrooms lightly, saving any leftover liquid for later.
4. Chop drained mushrooms in food processor until a fine chop achieved.
5. In a small bowl add chopped mushrooms.
6. Process parsnip, garlic, and onion in food processor until fine puree is achieved, put in a separate small bowl.
7. Add 1 teaspoon of the cream sauce to the puree, stirring to make it stick together a little.
Directions for assembling the ravioli:
1. Remove a single turnip slice from the batch.
2. Place about a half teaspoon of parsnip puree filling in one side of the turnip slice.
3. Then add a half teaspoon of the mushroom mixture on top of the puree.
4. Brush the other side with the soaking liquid and fold the turnip over until all the sides meet. Squeeze the edges together. If you don't have enough filling in them they will not stick together.
5. Place them in a single layer on a teflex sheet.
6. Dehydrate set to 105 degrees until warmed through and softened.

Cream Sauce:
1/2 cup Cashews, soaked 2 hours, rinsed, and drained
1/2 cup Spring Water
1 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Agave Nectar
1 teaspoon Nutritional Yeast
1 teaspoon light Miso
1/2 teaspoon Onion powder
1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Nutmeg
Pinch of White Pepper

1. Blend and blend until smooth. If you need to -thin it with a few drops of water until the perfect sauce consistency is achieved.
2. To serve: Puddle the cream sauce on the plate, gently lay ravioli on top and garnish with tiny parsley mincing around the edge of the plate.

Serving suggestion: A bowl of deep green spinach salad polka dotted with black sundry olives and dehydrator "roasted" red pepper strips.


Joyce’s Notes: Like I said above both Scott and I really enjoyed this dish! Scott really liked it a lot which is great because he’s a bit more picky with raw vegan dinners. It was very rich with the porcini mushrooms and the top-notch cream sauce. The cream sauce was indeed delicious and could be used for other recipes and raw vegan dishes. One of my favorite raw sauces so far!!

I liked using turnips for the ravioli wrapper and parsnips for the inside. Both root vegetables are very much in season here in Vermont. I was able to buy fresh local organic turnips and parsnips in the co-op.


One thing I might try in the future is using one of my own fermented nut cheeses inside as the filling in lieu of the parsnip filling for something different. I love parsnips and thought the filling was very good, but you must like parsnips if you are going to do this recipe with the parsnip mixture. We found that the cream sauce and porcini mushrooms hid the turnip taste. So if you don’t fancy the taste of turnips, this recipe will be OK as the turnips soak up all the other flavors. (I do like the taste of turnips and most root veggies)

One thing to note is that I doubled the recipe and this worked out great. I only used one large turnip for the wrappers which were enough for the filling and sauce. We had a nice meal on Saturday as well as Sunday evening. The leftovers after our half marathon last night were so welcomed and appreciated. I warmed up the ravioli and sauce in the dehydrator and it was perfect and so tasty!

Overall, I highly recommend this recipe for an elegant romantic meal for this colorful time of year. Thanks so much Sabina for sharing such a great recipe!


My Own Apple Caramel Cheesecake with Fermented Macadamia Nut Cheese.

Apples are in season here in Vermont and the co-ops and stores are loaded with local apples. I was so happy to purchase some local organic macintosh apples at City Market Co-op last week. Organic apples are a bit tougher to grow here in Vermont so they aren’t as available as the conventional or IPM apples. But I do my best to seek out and support the organic varieties and farmers who do make the effort to grow organically.

At my Grezzo Chef training class in August, we learned how to make cheesecakes with fermented nut cheeses. Grezzo’s head chef Leah showed us how she made her Apple Lucuma Cheesecake. My apple cheesecake is a bit different than Leah’s. I didn’t use any young Thai coconuts and I used more cheese and less soaked nuts. This made my cake a tad bit more ‘cheesy’ tasting. I made a raw ‘caramel’ sauce with some delicious really raw cashew butter.

This recipe will be available when I get my ‘special project’ underway. However I just wanted to share it since it was another success.

Joyce’s notes: This is one of my best cheesecakes yet using fermented nut cheese. It tasted great and it was firm enough. I added some of the caramel sauce in between the filling which you can see in the above photo. Our neighbors came over to sample some cake last night and also said this was my best cheesecake so far. It’s nice when non-raw friends really enjoy my desserts as I know these healthy wonderful treats can be for everyone! My goodness, there’s nothing ‘bad’ or harmful in these desserts! How awesome is that!

One thing I did differently was make the macadamia nut cheese using quinoa rejuvelac instead of wheat or rye berries. I will definitely use quinoa again for rejuvelac as it seems to taste and smell the best.


My rainy day cake experiment from the previous Sunday!

My own Orange Pistachio Cake!

I love orange and pistachio flavors and saw this orange jello-like traditional dessert with chopped up pistachios in it. I was combing through a traditional dessert book during my lunch break and thought that I should come up with my own cake using the combination of oranges and pistachios. My dessert is completely different from what I saw in the book but the flavors were inspired from it. Sometimes it’s great to look at regular cookbooks for inspiration!

I’m really proud of this dessert! It’s original and like nothing I’ve tasted in the raw vegan world so far. Again, this will be available soon when my project gets underway. My new desserts will be for sale but half of the proceeds will be going to a very wonderful cause. More details on that when my husband starts building the actual website! I really do want to help animals one cake at at time!! ;-)

Joyce’s Notes: Both my husband and I really liked this a lot. I actually loved it and so did some of Scott’s co-workers who got to sample some of the cake! Raw cakes have been tricky with us since a lot of raw recipes use leftover almond pulp from making almond milk. Scott doesn’t fancy the almond pulp in recipes so I thought I’d do something different. I found a good and simple way to make almond and pistachio flour without soaking or dehydrating or making any types of nut milk. I’ll share this soon. The result was so much better! It was moist and flavorful.

The orange layer is made using Irish moss and fresh oranges. The Irish moss worked out extremely well and the texture was amazingly perfect! I’m so glad I wrote everything down! At Natural Provisions Health Food Store in Williston, I found these organic Cara Cara oranges from South Africa. They had a nice pinkish color which gave my orange layer a very dramatic orange.


Here’s a quick and super easy recipe that’s bursting with flavor!!

Pumpkin Seed-Macadamia-Pine Nut Cheese! Recipe is by by Diana Allen, MS, CNS of

A week ago, Scott and I had to drive out of state for the day and brought with us this awesome snack! This is a super flavorful nut cheese that’s so easy and quick to make. There’s no fermentation. The only thing you need to do ahead of time is soak the pumpkin seeds for 2-4 hours.  We ate this nut cheese wrapped up in collard leaves which was just delicious and so convenient for traveling!

Diana kindly gave me permission to post the recipe on my blog to share with everyone. Here’s the recipe with my variations (click on the the link to above to see Diana’s original recipe)

  • 2 cups of pumpkin seeds, soaked 2-4 hours (I did 2 hours)
  • 1/2 cup of unsoaked pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts
  • juice of 2 lemons plus 1/2 tablespoon
  • 1/3 cup plus 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 drizzles of white truffle oil (or to taste)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of sea salt (start out with just one tsp)
  • 1 medium to large garlic clove, minced
  • 6 small scallions, chopped finely

Directions: Put soaked seeds and nuts in food processor and pulse/process to fine meal texture. Add lemon juice, garlic and olive oil and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides with spatula as needed. Add truffle oil and 1 teaspoon of salt, and continue to process for a while (up to 10 minutes altogether). If it's not coming together, add a little water to obtain desired texture - it should be very thick yet creamy. Taste and adjust salt if you want. When cheese seems done, add in scallions and process briefly to break down and blend well. Keeps in fridge five days.


Diana states that her recipe is based on another one called Cheese with Spring onions, posted by Zoe on CLICK HERE to see this recipe! This is also a delicious recipe that’s super easy to whip up. I’ve made it several times and always loved it as a snack or quick meal. These are very versatile nut cheese recipes where you can easily change the flavorings and even the seeds and nuts. The basic skeleton is 2 cups of seeds (pumpkin or sunflower) and 1 cup of nuts with olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. And all you need is a food processer. A great mid-mid week staple!


Our First Half Marathon!

This past Sunday, Scott and I did our first half marathon called the Leaf Peepers in Waterbury, Vermont which the next town over from us! A half marathon is 13.1 miles. This was my first big endurance event in over 11 years! I’ve suffered from chronic knee pain and knee problems for most of my adult life. After going raw vegan and cutting out the dairy, my knees healed themselves and have become pain-free. It’s like I have a new pair of knees! I can now run more than 3-5 miles without pain and having to rest in between running days. So this half marathon meant a lot to me. It was a big milestone in my life of living a raw food lifestyle. Raw vegan food is truly miraculous!

Saturday I made sure I ate plenty of good raw vegan food that would provide me with energy. I’m the type of person that does better when I’ve eaten hardy food the day before. That’s how it always was during my bike racing days in the 1990s.

For lunch I made a nice big kale salad with a delicious Chia Mustard dressing that was thick and creamy.

The Chia Mustard Dressing was soooo good and even Scott liked it and had it on his kale salad. The recipe was created by Carmella Soleil and can be found on the Raw Freedom Community website. CLICK HERE for the recipe!

I have found that I run well on chia seeds so I wanted to have them incorporated into my meals the day before the event as well as on the morning of the race. In Vermont I buy them at Healthy Living or Natural Provisions. They are a superfood packed with omega fatty acids and easily digestible protein. They were eaten by the ancient Aztecs for strength and endurance. I have read that other raw food runners also have great results eating them for longer events.

With a lot of rainy days lately, we were so happy to wake up on Sunday morning with this scene right from our bedroom window. Perfect fall weather for a running race!

For breakfast on Sunday morning before the big run, I made a green smoothie with two tablespoons of chia seeds, an apple, grapes and collard greens. I also made a nice big bowl of Brendan Brazier’s energy pudding which consisted of bananas, dates, ground flaxseed, raw carob powder, extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil, lemon juice and sea salt. This all gets blended in the food processor. It even tasted good! The recipe is from his book, The Thrive Diet which I highly recommend for everyone, not just athletes. I wrote more on Brendan’s book in an earlier blog post with photos of the pudding. CLICK HERE to see (page down to end of post) This all worked out well because the race didn’t start until 11.10am so there was plenty of time for the food to digest. And all the above ingredients do get digested quickly so you are not slowed down when running.

Before the race :-)

I had a great run and was so pleased since it was my first half marathon. Running races are as hard as bike races but very different. With running, it’s more of an individual thing. Most people are trying to run their race within a certain time frame and/or meet a certain goal. My goal was to run it in about 2 hours since that was my first time even running 13 miles (we had done a few 12 and 11 mile runs for training). I did it in 1 hour, 49 minutes and 20 some seconds. (still waiting for the official results to be posted). I wasn’t the fastest person out there but far from being the slowest! I really enjoyed the run and discovered that I would like to do more running events. I’m hoping to try a full marathon sometime next year.

Overall I felt great and kept a good pace throughout the 13.1 miles. I’ve always preferred longer endurance bike races so I felt the best between mile 5 and beyond. By mile 10 my legs were becoming fatigued but aerobically I was able to soldier on at a good pace. By mile 12 I felt elated because I knew I was going to break 2 hours. So I gave the last couple miles everything I had. Getting to the finish line was such a great feeling! I did it and had a great time!

Scott’s race was very different than mine unfortunately. He finished the race but had a tough time due to a severe shin splint that developed two weeks ago. So for those last two weeks before the race, he didn’t run at all. I am so proud of Scott for doing the race and finishing it. He’s my champ!

Saturday between making food we did get outside to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage. The weather wasn’t the best, but the clouds provided some pretty photos. These were taken in our lovely town of Bolton.




Once we’ve recovered from our half marathon, we plan on doing some hiking and leaf peeping this week! Let’s hope for some nice weather on Thursday and Friday since we took time off from work to enjoy the leaf season! Check back soon for some hiking photos!

This coming Sunday, Oct 11 we are going to attend the Burlington Alive Potluck which takes place 5pm at Geniel Fife’s home in S. Burlington. I plan on making my favorite pumpkin cheesecake recipe. It’s to live for and I can’t wait to share it! If you live in the area, please join us. Everyone is welcome. It’s a lovely potluck with great people and delicious raw vegan food! CLICK HERE for details! If anyone wants to do a hike with us before the potluck, shoot me an email or facebook message :-)

Well that’s all for now!

Hope everyone has a happy and healthy week! Come to Vermont and enjoy the leaves!


  1. Beautiful, and wonderful! I'm so happy you beat the time limit you had set for yourself! Good job!

  2. Hi Joanna, Thanks! It was a lot of fun and the race course was really pretty along a partial dirt road that went along a river. Very scenic! Yeah I'm happy with my time since that was the longest I've run to date! Raw food definitely made it all possible!

    Joyce :-)

  3. Loving the look of the cakes! You are on my blogroll now..

  4. Hi Paretoraw, very cool! Thanks for visiting!

  5. Awesome post...glad you finally made Sabina's delish ravioli!

    You are becoming the Queen of raw cake for sure now...just beautiful:)

    Love hearing about your run and appreciate those fall pictures of lovely Vermont!

  6. Hi Angela, yes those ravioli were really yummy! I'd like to try them with raw fermented cheese as the filling! That could be really good, similar to Chad's red beet ravioli.

    The Adirondacks and Green Mtns are so spectacular this time of year. I'm just hoping for good weather towards the end of the week to do some hiking

    Have a nice week!

    Joyce :-)

  7. wonderful looking food. i can't wait to see the caramel cake recipe. congrats on completing the race.

  8. Definitely the queen of raw cake! All of your food looks so beautiful and yummy!!

  9. Hi Aimee and Bex!

    Thanks for the kinds words. I hope to have my recipes available soon. My new website will be involved with the Farm Sanctuary. I'm not giving to many details until we can get our website built :-)

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Enjoy the week!


  10. This tastes delicious…
    I tried it today at home and everybody liked it and appreciated me. Thanks for your nice recipe.

  11. Hi Geschenke, so glad the recipe was a success! It's a good one!

    Joyce :-)


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