cheesy cashew dip with eggplant crisps (raw)

So the past few days I have been concerned about getting enough calories during my  (somewhat clumsy and sort of spontaneous) transition to raw food. I have felt pretty lost and clueless when it comes to food time… with little hints and glimmers of success scattered here and there. But now I will never have to worry about getting enough calories EVER again because this stuff is delicious! I will dip ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in this! Anything and everything vegetable or fruit related, that is.

I found this recipe in The 30 Minute Vegan, and followed it more or less. Really, I just used it as a guideline. The recipe was for a basic nut cheese, but the consistency is more of a cheese dip or cheese spread, but nonetheless it’s fantastic!

Here is the recipe for you to try for yourself:

Basic Nut Cheese from The 30 Minute Vegan:

  • 2 cups nuts or seeds (soaked, rinsed, and drained)
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 filtered water ( I believe I used less than a cup, and that was enough)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons or more minced fresh herbs (I used oregano, basil, and parsley)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Sea salt (and cracked black pepper too, if you are a pepper freak like me!)

Method:

  • Place your nuts/seeds in a blender and blend, slowly adding the water until you reach a creamy consistency.
  • Transfer to a bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • To add some culture via beneficial bacteria and additional tang to the cheese (good for the intestinal flora!), transfer to a glass jar and cover with plastic wrap or cheese cloth, secured with a rubber band (no lids allowed in this culture). Allow it to sit at room temperature over night. I did this and it was very tangalicious the next day. The book recommended doing it with just the blended up nut/seed and water mixture, but I went full throttle and did it with the whole recipe. ‘Twas good!

To make the eggplant crisps, thinly slice some eggplant and then throw it in your dehydrator at 115 degrees fahrenheit for about ten hours or so. If you lack a dehydrator, fresh veggies will be good dipped in this, or raw crackers, or even fruit! I ate some fuji apple slices dipped in this and it was kind of magical.

I do believe if you have a REALLY great blender, that you can use even less water for an even thicker consistency, but you will have to get back to me on that one. ; )

cremini marinara over zucchini noodles (raw)

Hooray! My first official homemade raw meal… and it’s surprisingly delicious!

So… I have been eating a lot of salads the past few days and even though I have been coming up with some pretty tasty salad dressings and what not… I have definitely been getting bored. I prayed to the raw food gods for variety, and variety they gifted me. I just so happened to have a bunch of ingredients that I KNEW would make a tasty marinara sauce, plus half of a giant zucchini from the garden to boot!

Here is an approximation of the recipe (read: a guess), since I still haven’t mastered the art of measuring the things I whip up, in order to share exact recipes with you. Some day… some day I will master this art, I promise! This will be a guideline, so I encourage using your intuition and taste buds to tweak and adjust it to suit your food time needs!

Cremini Marinara over Zucchini Noodles

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 sweet red pepper, seeds removed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
  • Dried thyme, dried basil, dried oregano, sea salt, and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
  • Zucchini, your desired amount!

Method:

  • Very roughly chop the tomatoes and sweet pepper. Throw them into your food processor along with the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, basil, oregano, agave, and seasonings. Process well into a tasty sauce. Check in with your taste buds to make sure it tastes like a raw marinara sauce and not a salsa! Taste buds never lie.
  • Transfer the tasty marinara to a bowl and add in the cremini mushrooms. Let marinate for at least a half an hour, but the longer it marinates the better!
  • Zucchini noodlefication time! Grab your vegetable peeler and use it to shave the zucchini in long strips. Stack as many of the zucchini “shavings” on top of each other as you can and use your favorite chef’s knife to thinly slice them into noodles.
  • Transfer the zucchini noodles to a plate and top with the magical cremini marinara! DEVOUR!

YUM! Luckily I have a good amount of marinara sauce left over from dinner… so I can have more later! I’m looking forward to trying it after it has marinated even longer, as the flavors will intensify and the mushrooms will really soak up those intensified flavors!

Oh yeah! I got my dehydrator in the mail yesterday, and I am mustering up the courage to give dehydrating a try! Very soon, I promise! I am going to attend another class next week at The Green Boheme... we will be learning about making “breads” and crackers and what not, so I’m really looking forward to it!

UPDATE September 2nd, 2012:

I had this again for lunch today, and the flavors were even more intense and delicious.. so if you make this, I recommend letting it marinate for as many hours as you can handle! I decided that this recipe was missing protein and fat, so I added some homemade cashew parmesan to it, and it was FANTASTIC!

Raw Cashew Parmesan:

Method:

  • There are no measurements here, just go by taste. If you want it more cheesy, use more nutritional yeast, otherwise if you want more of the cashew flavor, go lighter on the nutritional yeast. Add all the ingredients to your spice grinder/grinder device, and grind into a fine parmesany powder. Sprinkle on top of your pasta! Yum!

lemony-buttery-herby pasta

Lately we have been improving our meals based on what is in the fridge, and this is proving to be muey satisfactory! For dinner last night we came up with this incredibly tasty dish: Lemony-Buttery-Herby Pasta!

This pasta has sauteed tofu, cremini mushrooms, green onions, garlic, roma tomatoes, zucchini, and parsley in a lemony-buttery (aka earth balance-y) sauce with penne, garnished with fresh basil. We gobbled this magnificent stuff up. It was lemony fresh and buttery rich,  with delicious flavors from the sauteed vegetables.

We will definitely be making this purposefully from now on!

P.S. The garden is a growing big and strong, so hopefully soon we will be making some dishes straight from the garden! : )

grilled tofu and mushroom guacamole burgers

The guacamole I made for The Family’s dinner on Monday night looked really freaking tasty. So when I got home from delivering it, naturally the question of what dinner would consist of that night came to mind…

The only thing I could think of is that it HAD TO BE SOMETHING WITH THAT TASTY SPICY GUACAMOLE ON IT!!! So I got to making the guacamole. The spicy guacamole recipe goes a little somethin somethin like this:

  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 of a small onion, diced
  • 1/2 of a jalapeño, diced
  • 1/2 of a lime, juiced
  • A bit of garlic powder
  • Some sea salt
Mix all of these ingredients together and BAM! Spicy Guacamole is ready for action! I usually use red onion for color, but we were fresh out. And I usually add cilantro for tasty cilantro flavor, but we were out of that as well.

SO. Back to the program. I had part of the dinner puzzle solved. The rest was easy peasy to figure out when I flash backed to the incredibly tasty dinner Jef and I had a couple of nights before… Grilled Tofu and Mushroom Burgers with Spicy Sweet Potato Fries. How to make those burgers even better? SMOTHER THEM IN SPICY GUACAMOLE!

To make these tasty burgers, we grilled tofu, mushrooms, and onions in a bit of olive oil until they were DELICIOUS. We then toasted ourselves some sprouted grain sesame buns and layered on our grilled tofu, onions, mushrooms, and romaine lettuce. Then we SMOTHERED THEM IN SPICY GUACAMOLE and DEVOURED THEM! Muahahhahaaha!

 MMMM mmmmm MMMMM these were so FRIGGIN GOOOOOOD!

spice up your life sandwich

Today, I wanted a sandwich for lunch. But not just any sandwich, oh no. I wanted a kick in the pants, spicy-savory sandwich! I took a gander at what the fridge had to offer, brainstormed like a lightening bolt, got busy, and not too long after came up with this little beauty. BEHOLD! The Spice Up Your Life Sandwich! Also known as Curry Tempeh Sandwich with Spicy Hummus and Spinach.

Now for the story behind the photo:

I started off making some spicy hummus. I tossed some garbanzo beans, garlic cloves, toasted red hot chili peppers, lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil, and sea salt into the amazing food processor, and let it do it’s magic. After some minor adjustments (more salt, more lemon juice) the hummus was pretty freaking tasty.

Next was curry tempeh time! Curry tempeh time is fun because it’s quick and easy…and delicious! I sauteed some tempeh slices in curry powder, cracked black pepper, and grapeseed oil until they were nice and brown on both sides.

Now to assemble the sandwich. I toasted a couple slices of quality whole grain bread, slathered the spicy hummus on both sides, laid down the curry tempeh, and followed suit with sliced roma tomatoes, onions, and spinach leaves.

Great success! I got the kick in the pants I was looking for, but it wasn’t overpowering (thanks to the presence of the cool spinach and tomatoes).

Perhaps soon we will get in the habit of measuring when we cook, so that we can share recipes with you! : )

sweet tamari tempeh quinoa bowl

Rice bowl! errr.. Quinoa bowl! HOORAY! This particular bowl features broccoli, cremini mushrooms, cabbage, and tempeh cooked in a tamari-based sauce sweetened with agave. Sweet and savory, fast and filling, tasty and [un]tedious, its the perfect meal!

I boiled about 2/3 cup of quinoa with 4/3 cups water (1:2, quinoa to water). While that was going, I chopped my veggies and tempeh, laid down some grapeseed oil, and got to frying (I tend to keep the veggies and the tempeh separate, but in the same skillet). All that goodness was on autopilot and I mixed tamari, sesame oil, agave, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl and added to the tempeh side of the skillet. Cover. Wait. Patience. I SAID WAIT. Is the quinoa done? no? keep waiting. Check it again. Its done?? cool. Are the veggies/tempeh cooked? Yes? EAT.