From Sunday morning to the present moment, we’ve gotten close to two feet of snow! It’s currently Monday night as I’m typing this and it’s STILL snowing! Not having a significant snowfall in a few weeks, this is a wonderful treat! Sunday, we were out cross country skiing at Sleepy Hollow, a beautiful local xc area with incredible trails and scenery. Today Scott took the day off and we went downhill skiing at Smugglers Notch for some fresh powder! Wow! What an amazing day of fresh tracks and tons of new snow. It was windy and snowing pretty hard, but that made it even more adventurous! I only wish we both could take the day off tomorrow!!
The photo above is of Smugglers Notch but I didn’t take this one. It’s taken from a collection of downloadable photos people can use from the Smuggs website. It’s a breathtaking mountain!
Time for the Weekend Raw Food Update :-)
I love starting with desserts first as they are always my favorite part of the weekend!! This is a Chocolate Orange Cake which is quite famous among raw food enthusiasts, especially on the website, Raw Freedom Community. The recipe is by Heathy Pace and you can find her brilliant recipe in her e-book, Just Desserts. This weekend, there was a ‘Raw Project’ on the Raw Freedom Community website and several of us made Heathy’s amazingly decadent Chocolate Orange Cake.
Joyce’s Notes: This was my first time making an actual raw layer cake like this. I used an 8 inch spring form pan which worked like a charm. This cake is not very complicated but it does take a bit of time and patience as you must chill layers before adding other layers. This is a perfect recipe to make if you have a bunch of leftover almond pulp from making almond mylk! The cake portion uses almond pulp along with walnuts, vanilla, dates and dried apricots. The combination of these ingredients taste like traditional cake batter! Even my husband thought it tasted like real cake! Simply genius!
The chocolate and white chocolate orange layers were made with a cashew base. Both layers tasted like rich yummy frosting! Cacao butter was also used in both which made them taste wonderful. I love using cacao butter. It’s one of those special raw food ingredients that you order online to get the truly raw stuff. I got mine from Matt Monarch’s site: The Raw Food World. (click for details of the cacao butter) The white stuff in the photo is a block of cacao butter. This is basically raw unsweetened ‘white chocolate’ (one of my favorites!)
Another reason that this recipe requires extra time is that once the cake layer, the chocolate creme layer and white chocolate orange layer are made, you need to chill them in the fridge for a few hours as instructed. Although I bet you might be able to get away with chilling for an hour to an hour and a half to save time. Once the layers are chilled you start building the cake a couple layers at a time by freezing to set them and then adding another layer or two (depending on where you’re at). So the building/layering part requires patience and a bit of time as well. In spite of this being a bigger and time consuming project for me, I loved making it and found it was totally worth the wait. This is a delicious tasting treat!! If you love the combination of chocolate and orange, then you must try this one!! I highly recommend it for a special occasion or just a nice treat for yourself :-)
One tip for the cashews in the chocolate and white chocolate orange cremes: The recipe doesn’t call for soaking the cashews and normally I like to do this because my Vitamix can get pretty hot sometimes. So instead of soaking them, I took the cashews and ground them up into a fine texture in my food processor and then added them to the Vitamix with the other ingredients. Heathy suggested on the Raw Freedom Community website that you could soak the cashews in orange juice for the white chocolate orange creme. I might do that the next time!
Last tip for garnish: as you can see I sliced a few oranges to make the photos pretty. I also added cacao nibs (crushed up cacao beans) on the plates as well. The cacao nibs tasted great with the cake!!! They added a bit of crunch and a bit of extra chocolate to each bite. For every piece I ate this weekend, I kept sprinkling the nibs on top! Delish!
What do you Do with left over beets from Valentine’s Day?
For dinner I made another red beet ravioli recipe to use up some beets from last weekend. I found this video on You Tube of famous raw chef, Renee Loux making Red Beet Ravioli on the Hippie Gourmet. (click on green to see the video). I’m not sure about copyright laws and the legalities of posting a video like this on my blog. I don’t want to break any laws or step on any toes. So I’ll keep it off for now. Definitely check it out. Renee is charming and her video is very informative. Here are my photos:
Joyce’s Notes: I used a spiralizer to make the beet discs you see in the photos. This works very well to make thin ravioli layers. Renee used a ceramic slicer and blanched her beets. I didn’t blanch mine since I didn’t feel it was truly necessary. I prefer to avoid blanching and steaming in order to preserve as many enzymes as I can. But I did let my beets marinate for several hours. Here’s the marinade: Olive oil, a bit of flax oil, ume plum vinegar, truffle oil and a pinch of salt. I didn’t write the amounts down as I just watched Rene pour out these ingredients onto the beets. They are all small amounts with the olive oil being the biggest ingredient.
The cheese in these beets is outstanding. I watched the video several times to get a feel for the amount of ingredients used by Renee. However I ended up adding more to suit my taste buds. It’s a simple yet extremely flavorful mixture. Here are the ingredients:
- macadamia nuts (about 1 & 1/4 cups)
- pine nuts (about 1 & 1/2 cups)
- juice of half a lemon squeezed well
- olive oil
- truffle oil
- smoked Spanish sea salt
- fresh basil, a few leaves in the cheese and a few leaves as garnish
- scallions (green/spring onions), 2 in the cheese and one or two cut on the bias for garnish
Again I didn’t measure the ingredients out exactly. I started off with small amounts of oils and smoked salt like Renee used. Then I kept adding more truffle oil and smoked salt (I found this brand at Healthy Living Market in South Burlington: Matiz Mediterraneo. Oh my gosh it’s sooooo good. Not raw but that’s OK for me personally as it was used like a spice). Here’s what my cheese looked like after I scooped some out for the ravioli:
My texture and color was quite different than Renee’s as you can see from her video. I believe she may have soaked her nuts first. I just added a bit more olive oil to make mine creamy. I love truffle oil so I wasn’t shy when using this ingredient. (You can find good truffle oil in health food or gourmet specialty stores. We still have some left from our trip to Italy last May.) I used several basil leaves in the cheese (chiffinade cut) as well as a couple scallions. I pulsed them up after I got the cheese tasting good with the smoked salt and truffle oil. I also used the basil and a scallion for garnish which tasted lovely over the beets.
Overall this was an incredibly tasty and flavorful dinner! My husband, Scott absolutely loved this one!!! He even wanted the leftovers!! Today after skiing, I actually whipped up another small batch of this truffle oil, smoked salt cheese as I had all the ingredients. By just adding ingredients to taste, I was able to produce the same yummy and highly flavorful nut cheese again!!Thank you Renee for creating this amazing dish with truffle oil which is one of our favorite flavors .
Having one left over beet on Saturday afternoon, I decided to use my spiralizer again but this time I wanted to see if I could make beet noodles. The result is this! Fantastic veggie noodles! Nice and firm and strong!
I was going to make an Alfredo sauce but decided to use these beet noodles in a kale salad mixed with the truffle oil and smoked salt cheese. I love making big creative kale salads out of leftovers:
The kale and beet noodles were strong enough to mix in the cheese as a thick salad dressing. I also drizzled a bit of truffle oil, lemon juice and cut up one scallion. This was delicious! So flavorful, filling and incredibly nourishing with the kale. Ah kale! Another conversation for another time as I could write a book about why kale is so amazing and so good for you!!! ;-)
Almost time to sign off. A couple kitty photos, a roaring fire, and then a good bye for now.
It’s always nice to end a lovely weekend by sitting next to our soapstone wood stove with a good book and a warm kitty. Cheers for now!