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Really really really short post today.  (One can only ignore essays for so long).

I bought some fresh jujube dates yesterday.  Not like the little shrivelly things that come in the medicinal chinese soup packets (which are awesome, but different), no… more like crisp quince/apple-texture and date-flavour.  With a little olive-stone inside.  PLUS, resemblance to dinosaur eggs!  Neat.

That’s all.
Oh, except that I bought more nut butter.  mmmmmmmmmmmmm nuttery buttery.  It’s gonna be spice cake icing for this weekend, Thanksgiving.


I’m almost done my raw week.  It’s been easy in a lot of ways (the food is just as delicious as any “normal” food), and in other ways a bit of a challenge (detox symptoms, having to throw out lots of food that spoiled unexpectedly fast, the whole nut soaking thing, the whole raw food extremism thing)…

It’s actually going to be bittersweet easing back into regular food, I think.  I don’t feel any huge inclination towards it at the moment, even though I know that someone as flighty and spacey as me really does flourish better on the standard vegan fare.  But that said… I should get onto the food of this week, more or less a meal by meal replay of all the lego-bright dishes I got to have the time of my life constructing.

Okay, so this is technically a pre-raw warm-up (haha, warm up, is that a pun?).  I made a carrot/tomato/miso soup to see how I’d feel about it all, thick with pumpkin seeds and bowl-licking good, and so….
I jumped in headfirst.  Would you look at that?  It looks like a deep-sea fish it’s so pretty.  A lot of green, but worth it.  The sprouted chickpea hummous in those wraps kept me going for snack times for the first few days, and the minty cucumber dressing from Vegan World Fusion doubled as a salad topper and a soup, before spoiling way too fast as these enzymic dishes are wont to do.  Alas, alas!
Avocado was also a life-saver, as I never felt warmer or more satisfied than after a meal that incorporated it.  I mashed this one up with rice vinegar, soy sauce and ginger, and made showy crunchy (astoundingly good) sushi rolls.  And a fruit salad with loquat and date syrup beside it.
Breakfast of day 2: the incarnation of my oatmeal habit!
Raw oats ground up in a spice grinder, with a heavy pinch of ground flaxseed, half a mashed banana, berries and lots of salt and cinnamon, left to soak overnight.  I’m keeping this one!  I’d been getting tired of regular oatmeal and this is perfect for summer and very laid back.  You have to choose fairly soft fruit for best results, but again – peaches, berries, tropical things – all available right now!  It’s very nutty and satisfying to have for breakfast.
Lunch day 2: Zucchini bites with spicy hummous, a salad of shredded carrot, red pepper, soaked walnuts and red wine vinegar (yum!!), and broccoli tossed with cucumber dressing.
Dinner that night was my first green smoothie.  I will admit I thought it the concept very strange at first, at least before I took my first sip.  Is it totally an unabashedly weird that I love the taste of green things in my smoothie now?  It adds a neat texture and a resonant kind of garden note that makes it more of a meal to me.  Especially wonderful with banana and pomegranate juice, I might add.
I’m skipping breakfast reports because they’re all variations on the raw oat groat thing, but…
Lunch day 3: A curried miso carrot dressing on spinach with avocado chunks and dried pineapple pieces – ZOMG.  Genius.  And some cucumber dressing in a bowl trying to be soup as I attempt to slurp it all up before it goes bad.  
Dinner 3: My attempt at flatbread without a dehydrator resulted in (of course) a lot of prematurely fuzzy food, but there was a small grace period where it was semi-firm enough to eat as bread and I made little sandwiches with homemade sumac tahini cheese, and some green beans tossed with organic stone-ground mustard and lemon.
Dinner day 4: pizza!
(lunch seems to be missing from the record)
The pizza is topped with sage-y sundried tomato marinara, green pepper, onions, pineapple, almond cheese, and artichoke hearts.
Lunch day 5: Possibly in the top 5 sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, is this Haiku Wrap from Juliano’s contribution to The Complete Book of Raw Food.  It has avocado mashed with garlic, ginger and lemon topped with wakame, mustard, pickle, burdock, bell pepper, onion, corn and shoyu – and it’s a magical, magical combination.  (carrot slaw with sprouted peanuts keeping the sammiches upright on either side).
Dinner 5: Another one of those raw standbys I never understood (like the green smoothie), was the zucchini pasta thing, but you know what?  It’s pasta-like, and not salad-like as I thought it would be!  Really good, actually, enough to repeat it later.  And the things that look like eggs are crunchy turnip slices topped with nut cheese.
Lunch 6: Cabbage burrito-wraps with cumin and chili sunflower pate inside (along with corn and tomatoes and green onions and things).  With a side of Pringle lookalikes (but really it’s delicious turnip) and nut cheese again for my new favourite take on nachos.  Soaking the slices in cold water gives them the perfect chip shape and makes them sweeter, too!
And that’s not to say there were no sweets!  I made some tahini-geranium cookies, that I could upload but they look pretty much like little brown discs.  The brownies are gorgeous, though!  I ground up some sprouted and dried buckwheat into flour and combined it with dates, ground almonds, walnuts, carob powder, salt and vanilla and proceeded to nom NOM NOM them up because they were so amazing!!  I highly recommend the buckwheat flour thing, I have a container of the sprouts in my freezer right now and it gives things a more cake-like texture than the usual wodgy raw dessert texture.
And here’s a plate full of desserts I took to a raw potluck last night.  Clockwise from the top left are salty sunflower seed cookies, then those buckwheat brownies with a banana-fudge frosting, then coconut-cashew-agave crusted pear tarts with gojis on top, and finally like orange & clove oatmeal raisin cookies!  So much fun, and so easy to just make a few servings of anything, and experiment all over the place!  I definitely got into the habit of whizzing up just a single cookie for after lunch sometimes when I needed something for my sweet tooth.
Potluck food itself was possibly the BEST vegan thing any non-vegan has ever made for when I came to dinner.  It was a sundried tomato-cashew romesco sauce over marinated eggplant and it was mindblowingly good.  I think it was from a book by the same people who did Raw Food/Real World, if you wanted to try it, and you might want to add extra orange juice like my friend did and eat every indulgence-soaked aubergine triangle with additional gusto for having done so.  :)
Day 7….
….   it’s day 7?  It’s the end of the week?
Do you realize I didn’t realize that until about halfway through writing this post and counting up the dates?  Oh my goodness, I suppose that means I’m done and I should ground myself now.  Part of me wants to keep going, and in fact… *goes off to buy bananas for a few minutes*
* a few minutes later *
Well… on the way down the stairs to the market, oh what do I smell but buttery wafts of rice and faint hints of curry? and whoa-p, there goes MY 100% raw convinction!  That, and charred hot dogs on the street as I walked… and I’d like to feel like myself again, I think. :D
A few things I noticed, though, to sum up the week…
* it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive at all to eat raw.  I stuck mostly to almonds and sunflower seeds for nut protein, which can be relatively cheap.  And I didn’t indulge in the condiments like nama shoyu and special apple cider vinegar or anything.  If anything it might have been cheaper due to me not buying coffee all the time.  OH YEAH I QUIT COFFEE FOR A WEEK.  !  Craziness.
* nut soaking liquid is super mucilagous and gross, and I’ll probably soak most things now if I think of it beforehand.
* white wine was okay to drink, as was whiskey (although I’m pretty used to whiskey).  Red wine on the other hand, made me terribly achey for a whole day after drinking it, and then the ache turned into a kinda “detox ache” that I’ve still got in my calves when I bend over too far.  
* a couple drying racks set in front of a sunny window was my dehydrator, and it worked pretty well for cookies and buckwheat sprouts.  Terrible for bread though, and I wouldn’t even try crackers.  Oh yeah, and sun tea!  Tasty stuff!  And not even that long to make, maybe a few hours in the sun for amber-steeped liquid.
* I caved once, for a bunch of artichokes I got for free, but wouldn’t you?  All succulent and dipped in lime & olive oil???  I’d never tried artichokes before and it was my chance right there, so I don’t feel bad.  And they are, by the way, not nearly as hard to make and eat as advertised and mysteriously sweet and I ate the stems too, YUM.
* Guess that’s it!  And I’m so making pizza, man, like, soon.

This might be the most delicious soup I’ve ever made.  I don’t even usually like creamy soups, but this one has ocean in every bite, and the tofu bits get all soaked with the richness and get buttery, and the veggies are… in giant chunks!  Which is fun!  I have to thank the Sexy Vegan in huge part for a lot of the tasty tricks involved (nori seaweed!  cashew cream!), but here’s my specific take on the method.  So so so so good.

Cashew Cream
1/3 cup cashews
1 cup water
– blend together in a blender until very very smooth and liquid-y creamy
Chowder!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, in 1/2″ pieces
1 large stalk celery, 1/2″ pieces
1 medium red potato, chunks
1/4 lb. extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
fresh black pepper
enough water/broth to cover (4-5 cups?)
1/4 cup white wine
**Cashew Cream
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp margarine
1/2 cup corn niblets
1 sheet nori seaweed
dash of liquid smoke (optional but approximates bacon)
salt to taste
– okay!  Saute the onions over medium heat in a large soup pot until starting to soften, then add the carrot, celery and potato and cook another 5 minutes or so, just til things look golden.  Add the tofu, spices, broth, white wine and cashew cream and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer about 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft and beginning to break down, then add the vinegar, margarine, corn, nori seaweed, smoke flavour (if using), and adjust seasonings to taste.  Eat while hot, sprinkled with bacon bits and with crackers or biscuits on the side.  Magnifique!
For a technicolour moving-pictures version, with drunkennesss and tempeh and fancy mushrooms and robot voices——->

Pomme’s birthday, precious Pomme deserves a precious cake! A cake that faeries might design if they were into that sort of thing. Something deviously healthy and yet richer than sin, delicate like tea-time but exotic, too. Something refreshing that can still be cut into a nice solid “wodge” of nutty pink cream… something like a pistachio rosewater cheesecake!

I think I’ve outdone myself this time.

I’m saving this recipe for the zine, but I *can* tell you that there’s cardamom in the cream, cocoa and orange in the crust, and it’s really really impossibly easy to make (and makes a cake like no other!). Amazing straight from the freezer, like ice cream except completely unlike ice cream…

There was birthday dinner, too, which was almost equally as special as the cake, at least if you like guacamole as much as we do (which is with undue passion). A spicy papaya salsa on red leaf lettuce with a nice tender-browned brick of cumin-lime tofu, with guac on the side… heaven! (and credit where credit is due, totally inspired by susanv’s recent post).

Oh my gosh, it’s been a few days, hasn’t it? I have been cooking! Notably I made a turtle cake for my friend’s 24th. A turtle turtle cake, if you will. He’s so cute… swimming in generous puddles of buttery caramel sauce. It was almost a shame to cut into him to get at the deep chocolate innards. Almost.

I started with the Vcon deep chocolate bundt cake, mostly in the interest of conquering the book – in all honesty I don’t think the coffee really meshed with the rest of the cake components, but I also oopsed and used my regular crappy brand instead of brewing up my stash of GOOD coffee that I keep around just for cakes. I am d’oh.

Luckily toasted pecans and caramel sauce (ohhhhh that sauce!) go an incredibly long way towards nummifying everything they come into contact with. Generous layer and then onto…

My FAVOURITE icing in the whole world. I got it off vegweb, but I’ve seen identical versions over the internet, and holy all that is holy, it is good. Think rich, choco-fudgey, creamy, not too sweet. Also low in fat, and not like eating a bowl of shortening (*ahem* buttercream I’m looking at you). Add an extra shake of salt and it’s pure heaven.

(especially dolloped all over a pound of strawberries and eaten as dinner which I did not do, gosh no, certainly didn’t!)

The finished product? Gooey, addictive, got pretty much destroyed by three people, if that says anything. Also, it had wings and is thus a Koopa Cake for extra nerd points. :)

The other day I found these chayote squashes for 25 cents, can you believe it? And at a mega-supermarket no less (I was making excuses to walk really far ’cause the sun was sooooo beautiful that day, and hey, they have a good selection of extracts in the baking aisle).

Anyway, I had no idea what they were, but I did a brief search-up and they’re totally a mexican thing, so I made probably the least-brainer I could have, just tossing them with coarse salt, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and red chile flakes. Lovely refreshing, actually. They taste a little bit like a bland cucumber-melon and I don’t think I’d go nuts trying to find them again, but hey, one less mystery on the list.

And more Vcon recipes cause I’m predictable like that. They are both to die for, because the Vcon is predictable like that. This is the pineapple cashew quinoa stirfry, mega yum. If pineapple-y grain-based stir fries had a bare knuckle fight in that square foot of free space in my kitchen I’d probably leave my bets with the pineapple couscous curry I made a while back, but that’s not to say they both wouldn’t both fight valiantly with their ways of deliciousness and copious use of sweet sweet juice. I’d also even say this tastes better out of the microwave the next day, but I might just be weird like that.

I’m not one for adult food, really. I made the Vcon tomato couscous with capers and rustic white beans and at first didn’t really… know what to do with it? But then something happened, something wise in me turned off my computer, headed to the fire escape with a glass of leftover white wine and a trashy novel and all of a sudden I was “some single woman shooing her cat away from the subtle flavas of leek”, instead of “some kid blogging, rocking, reading AND playing video games while shovelling back stirfry”. I dunno, it’s a subtle difference. And I was sad to see the last of it go.

Well, now I know what a coulis is (a veg/fruit pureed sauce), and eating a soup with multiple layers and swirling options is always a good thing in my book. It’s from VeganYumYum so there’s no going wrong, really, and this a definite make-again recipe. 40 minutes from grocery bag to dinner table, I think? And shmancy/not-too-shmancy enough to make for a drop-in guest (all you need is roasted red pepper and broccoli). I feel nourished like a queen. :D

I also found out you can roast chestnuts in the microwave! I was all transfixed by the shells steaming open and the steamy/nutty/sweet meats that came out of the nuker-box. Even the burnt one tasted good!

So I woke up and the windows looked like this: ^

In an ideal world I would have had the gumption to make it to my painting theory class. But it’s a record blizzard and I’m well, a flake. Plus it’s my last class before vacation, so nertz to walking in the snow for an hour!!!

I went shopping for dried papaya instead. :DDDD

The happy-surprise portion of the morning was discovering that the old-school apple drying worked! I can’t believe it only took 1 night! They’re a little on the thin and fragile side though, so I’m trying again with thicker slices this time, and I’m leaving the peels on because A: they taste good and B: skins are punk, haha.

Due to apple-having and papaya-buying I finally got to try Cassie’s amaranth bars, which I should probably call Spelt Bars because I couldn’t find amaranth flour at all, but whatever now I have a bag of spelt flour to play with! I haven’t tried one yet cause they’re all wrapped with plastic and ready for throwing in my bag on the way out the door, but they smell great, and I lovelovelove that there’s no added sugar or oil in them. It’s basically like my usual bag of trail mix except they’re chewy and oaty and if you put foil on them they would sell for $1.49 each.
(my version is made with dates, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, apples and papaya, yum!)

Also, last night I tried the awesome tofu patties from Tofu For Two, and I had to stop myself from eating all the mash from out of the bowl, seriously! There were some structural problems, but I drained the ‘fu without being told to and I halved the recipe, so it’s definitely my fault and sprinkling some extra water and soy sauce in there fixed it pretty well. And once they were cooked the texture was good and chewy with sun-dried tomato tahini goodness all over, which nicely masked my lack of sauce-making ability for another night. hee.

PS: my oven got fixed !! ^____________^

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