Tag Archives: raw

Cooking a Raw Dish: Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I like raw food. I do. But sometimes when I eat a raw dish, I think—hmmm, this would taste reeeeally good if it were hot! Like temperature-hot, not Shakira-hot because I’ve eaten some pretty sexy raw dishes before. I’ve made this sundried tomato and basil manicotti (*see footnote) from VegNews in its intended raw format in the past, but this time around I decided to forgo nearly slicing my fingers with a sharp knife trying to get thin zucchini noodles and just make baked stuffed zucchini boats.

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I made the sundried tomato and basil cashew cheese as-is and stuffed them in the zucchini. I also made the raw marinara as-is except I chopped up the scooped-out zucchini insides and stirred it in. I simmered the marinara until the zucchini was cooked and then I poured it over the stuffed zucchini and baked everything covered in foil for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

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I had no clue how this would come out because I’ve never tried baking a raw dish. While the zucchini baked, I kept thinking—this is so wrong, what am I doing?? But my apprehensions were unfounded because the dish came out creamy-dreamy delicious! The filling was just as full of sundried tomato-basil flavor as it was raw. The marinara was rich and tomato-y and the zucchini was nice and tender with a subtle bite. All the individual components melded nicely as a result of the baking.

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* To get to the actual recipe, scroll down until you see “raw manicotti”. The recipe calls for 4 zucchinis and I only had 2 so I had sauce and cheese leftover.

Mmmmm…..brains….raw brains

I recently discovered a magical fruit called ackee. It hails from Jamaica and is also known as the “exotic vegetable brain” despite the fact that it’s a fruit and it’s definitely not brains. The nickname is presumably due to its wrinkly brain-like appearance (click here to see a backlit picture of an ackee). The texture of this is buttery-smooth and has a melt in your mouth consistency. Some compare it to scrambled eggs. The taste is mild and frankly, hard to describe. All I know is I am officially addicted to these tiny fruit brains.

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While doing some research on ackee (did you know that unripe ackee can be poisonous?), I stumbled across this video by livefoodexperience on how to make a raw ackee omelet/scramble. The guy in the video is actually IN Jamaica so he’s got the fresh stuff….and the sun and the beaches…but I digress. I was still able to recreate raw Jamaican scramble in my kitchen. Ya mon!

Here’s what I did. I rinsed and drained a can of ackee.
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Then, I roughly mashed up about a cup of young coconut flesh with a fork. I got the young coconut flesh from my local asian market in the freezer section. I’ve used fresh young coconut before, but until I get a machete for chopping young coconuts (and for chopping zombie heads off), its easier to use the already cut frozen stuff.

Then I added the coconut flesh to the ackee, threw in some fresh chopped tomatoes and a little bit of miso, salt and black pepper. Stirred it up and…

Ya mon, raw ackee scramble! The livefoodexperience guy used black salt in his to give the scramble a real sulfur-y taste (like eggs), but do you know how hard it is to find black salt in stores? Its hard. Its like trying to find a vegan at a Mcdonalds. I’m ordering some black salt online. Black salt or no black salt this was melt in my mouth raw awesomeness! I plan to make this regularly as it is super easy and tasty. The only thing this dish was missing was the tropical setting…maybe next time.

Raw Strawberry Pie

So yeah, I love these guys.  I want to live in their house with them and have them make me raw vegan food and good music.  Here’s a video of them making raw strawberry pie.

Jónsi & Alex Recipe Show – Raw Strawberry Pie from Jónsi & Alex on Vimeo.

We followed the recipe and here’s the results…….

First off, it was extremely easy to make.  We followed the directions exactly and the pie tasted absolutely divine….strawberry sweet coconutty goodness!  For me, the texture was a bit gritty due to the coconut and the fact that we used a food processor for lack of a heavy duty blender.  Hsauce thought it was perfect through and through, but I felt that if the filling had just been smoother it would have been even better.  The recipe is perfect and I highly recommend that you try it  (do it.. right now), but I would advise that if you want a super smooth creamy pie to use a heavy duty blender like Jonsi and Alex.

The recipe (in words), along with other raw recipes from Jonsi and Alex, can be found here. You can check out their music there as well.  Jonsi (not the same as Jonsi &Alex) is touring this year, check out the tourdates.   I love it when amazing musicians are vegan….makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Mini Road Trip

We went to AR2010 this past weekend. Although everyone there might not have agreed on the means to the end (i.e. new welfarism vs. abolitionism or indirect vs. direct action), I felt everyone agreed on what the “end” should be…full animal liberation and a non-speciesist world. I learned a lot from just the day and a half that we were there and it was amazing being around so many others that get it.

Dennis Kucinich opened the conference at Friday’s morning plenary. We wanted to get a picture with him but after his speech he left pretty quickly.

This is a shot from one of the many talks we attended. At the podium is Gene Baur from Farm Sanctuary. To his right is Hope Bohanec from In Defense of Animals and Michael Weber from Farm Animal Rights Movement. Michael Weber is a cool dude with, from what I could tell, excellent vegan ideology.

Unfortunately, that is all the pics I took! Here is a list of noteworthy things/people/organizations that I personally learned about for the first time at the conference:

Green is the New Red – Initiated by a very cool and intelligent guy, Will Potter. Addresses the issue of civil liberties being revoked in the name of “fighting terrorism”.

Emily’s Desserts – She had a table at the exhibition hall. As soon as we walked by I decided to break my healthy eating and go for a vegan cupcake…sooo worth it!

Lantern Books– from the website “Lantern Books publishes books on vegetarianism, animal advocacy, environmentalism, religion and social justice”. I picked up and am reading Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals. If critical thinking isn’t your thing, you won’t like Lantern Books.

Motive Clothing– msg shirts/clothing (vegan and straightedge)

Win Animal Rights/ Camille Hankins– an above ground animal liberation organization which believes in direct action. She brought a beagle to her talk that was recently rescued…so amazing!

Stop Animal Exploitation Now– Another non-profit that focuses on animal exploitation in laboratories. I found out from their talk that much of what animal exploiters do in their labs (i.e. records, etc.) is public information that just needs to be exposed by individuals or groups.

And the following lists vegan organizations/stores I was aware of pre-conference but they are such great organizations, etc that I wanted to give them some love as well:

United Poultry Concerns- Saw Karen Davis, the president of this non-profit, speak and she is bad ass! Super inspiring.

Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe
– Atlanta’s very own vegan shop with everything from vegan toiletries to clothes to food.

Herbivore Clothing– One of my favorite shops for msg. apparel and such.

Mercy for Animals– A non-profit animal advocacy organization responsible for the well known Conklin Dairy Farm undercover investigations and others. Got to meet Nathan Runkle!

When we left the conference (Saturday midday), we drove to DC and ate at Cafe Green, an all organic vegan restaurant. The food was outstanding and very reasonably priced.

I had the raw seaweed soup. It was good, but if you don’t like things that have a strong vinegar taste, you won’t like this.

I also had the “Revolutionary Che”. Soy chicken with melted vegan cheese, red onions and tangy sweet sauce on ciabatta with coleslaw. Oh so very good!!


Hsauce had the vegan cheesesteak sub.

For dessert, we had the raw chocolate cheesecake. Amazing! Like the softest, creamiest chocolate mousse that melts in your mouth.

Our friends, Sean and Emily, let us couch surf at their place in DC that night. We went for dinner at Woodlands Restaurant and the next morning Emily made us this amazing vegan breakfast with blueberry pancakes, hashbrowns and some kiwi. Unfortunately I forgot to get a pic of all of this!

On the drive back home we stopped in Charlotte and visited my sis, nephew and nieces.

My niece had a stink face in all the pictures b/c she didn’t want us to leave.

And now we’re home.

I’m not sure if they noticed we were gone….

Luv’n it Live in Atlanta

Heck yeah! We finally got a chance to go to Lov’n It Live– a raw vegan restaurant here in Atlanta.
We started with the Nori roll appetizers. From their menu description “Nutmeat, tomato, avocado and lettuce wrapped in Nori seaweed sheets”. For one order you get 2 of these! They were absolutely delicious. Their nutmeat was so full of flavor and just really good!

For my entree, I ordered the Tostado. From their menu description “Crisp flax shell layered with local field greens, Luv’n It Live’s delectable tomato sauce, pine nut cheese, chopped tomatoes, avocados, black olives, and sage patty crumbles. This is our most popular dish!”

I see why it’s their most popular dish. Words can not describe just how delectable this was! Every mouth was a burst full of flavor. The sage patty crumbles had these little fennel seeds and they were just yum!

Here is a part of the flax shell layer underneath all that goodness.

Hsauce ordered the Sage burger. From the menu “The overall character of this dish is robust, yet the individual flavor of sage is light and straightforward. This burger can be served either on a bed of lettuce or in between 2 pieces of Luv’n It Live’s infamous flax bread. Oh and don’t forget to ask about our house cheese!”.

I had a taste of this as well and it was awesome too! It had many similar tastes to my dish since it used the same sage patty, house pine nut cheese, and tomato sauce. In retrospect, we should have ordered slightly different dishes to get more variety in tastes, but hey next time!

For dessert, we stopped at the Seven,
Yeah, it tasted as good as it looks. There is a big chunk of it missing in the picture because I could not wait until after my pic to try it.

Raw Spaghetti

Imagine a healthy AND delicious meal that requires no cooking and very little time. This raw spaghetti was like a chunky, funky gazpacho with “pasta”. Tasty and perfect for the warmer weather! We more or less followed this recipe switching out the dates for a handful of cashews and adjusting the seasoning to taste. Also, we don’t have a fancy scmhancy spiralizer, but a hand grater and a little elbow grease worked just fine.

Of course we’ve been cooking!

So, another week has gone by again with no time to post 😦 . But as the post title says, we have plenty of homemade foods to share. First, I’ll start with the vegan cheesecake which I mentioned several posts ago and finally got around to making. This recipe is the main vegan one that seems to be floating around the internets. It can be found here, and recently the Little Vegan made it too.

Ok, so I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfect. I haven’t had “real” cheesecake in a long time but I seriously think this could pass for the real thing. I made the crust by crumbling cinnamon graham crackers and mixing it with a little bit of canola oil and blackstrap molasses to make it just moist enough to press into a pan. For the strawberry topping, I just warmed up some thawed and halved frozen strawberries with some sugar to taste and pureed half of the strawberries to make a thick sauce. This sauce also went well with some Van’s Belgian waffles later in the week.

After eating these waffles I have now added waffle iron to my long list of culinary wants! (UPDATE: As brought to my attention by Veggiegirl, these waffles are NOT VEGAN! I thought I checked the ingredients carefully, but alas, I am not perfect. I managed to miss the bee vomit (i.e. honey) on these waffles. That is the only non-vegan ingredient in these…why can’t they just take it out?!? Oh well, live and learn! We will not be buying these anymore and all the more reason to get my own waffle iron! 🙂 )

I also tried my hand at another raw dish this week. Every time I go to our co-op I see a raw spinach quiche in their refrigerated section but it costs mucho dinero, so I decided to try and make my own. I used the pecan-spinach quiche recipe I found on this page as a guideline. For the bottom “crust” of the quiche, I blended almonds that had soaked overnight with some spices and pressed it into the plate (which I then let dry out via the method I used for my flax seed crackers). For the filling, all I did was puree about 2 cups of spinach with 2-3 cloves of garlic, a cup of pine nuts, a couple of slivers of avocados, some mushrooms, and spices (nutmeg, salt, pepper, paprika, and garam masala). I topped it with some mushrooms that had soaked in Bragg’s liquid aminos (not entirely sure if this is considered raw or not) and paprika.

I’m not really sure if I liked this or not. I ate about four bites but to me it seemed more like something I would spread on crackers and not something I could eat a whole plate of, so I actually did finish it by eating it with crackers. So technically I didn’t eat totally raw that night but I am glad that I tried the dish and still haven’t given up on experimenting with raw dishes! Hsauce stayed away from this dish because it looked too much like guacamole to him and he doesn’t like guacamole…weirdo!

This week, Hsauce wanted to have “sushi night”. Sushi making is so fun and so incredibly easy and waaay cheaper than if you went out for sushi. Hsauce had already made the sushi rice (refrigerated cooked sushi rice mixed with rice vinegar, some sugar and a tiny amount of salt) while I was at work so all that was left to do was prep some ingredients and start rolling when I got home.

Here you can see some of what we used: avocados, baked tofu, carrots, cucumbers, Sriracha sauce, hoison sauce, and Tofutti cream cheese. We also used some sesame seeds, sweet chili sauce, and homegrown sprouts. When making sushi, we always have two water cups. One large cup of warm water to put the sushi cutting knife in to prevent stuff from sticking to it and another smaller cup of cooler water for our fingers when we spread the sushi rice onto the wakame to prevent it from clumping on our fingers. And as usual, we ended up with a ton of sushi!

Just as pretty as what you pay for at a restaurant don’t you think? We had it with miso soup (made with miso barley, which you can buy in a tub, seaweed slivers, cubes of tofu and mushrooms) which I didn’t get a photo of.

Another Asian inspired meal we had this week was fried rice with grilled tofu. Fried rice is also really easy and works best with day old rice. In this case I had Hsauce make some rice while I was at work and then stick it in the fridge. When I got home I threw some chopped veggies into a wok on medium high with some Earth Balance, threw in the rice, added a handful of fresh basil leaves, some Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and some salt and pepper and was done. Hsauce grilled the tofu slabs which had been marinating in a sweet chili soy sauce marinade all day. I had this dish for leftovers for work one day and my office mate commented on how it smelled “really good”. Yay!

To celebrate the arrival of fall weather (finally!!!), I also made a si
mple squash side one night. I just halved an acorn squash and hollowed out the seedy inside. I then put a few tablespoons of Earth Balance in each half along with a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar, sliced Gala apples, nutmeg, cinnamon and a bit of salt and pepper. I put this in the toaster oven on about 400F for about an hour. When I ate this, I smooshed all the liquidy goodness with the squash to make “sweet mashed squash”.

And this weekend I made some carrot-raisin muffins from VV. As usual, Isa’s recipe came out perfect! I can’t wait to be able to order her new cookbook, Veganomicon.