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2009-08-09T11:59:44.061-07:00


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raw challenge - day 67 - almond milk

2009-08-06T06:58:49.006-07:00

Raw Almond MilkThis week I promise to keep it simple. Way back in early June, nut milk was one of the very first items I mastered and incorporated into my raw repertoire. Not only is it quick, easy and inexpensive to prepare, it’s actually downright delicious. I now prefer it to cow’s, soy or rice milk.In recent years, many consumers have been turning away from cow’s milk. With lactose intolerance a reality for 75% of the world's population, alternatives are becoming more and more popular. Since the 1990's, the dairy industry has been promoting the consumption of its products as an essential, calcium rich way to ward off the evils of osteoporosis. Yet today North America has one of the highest consumptions of dairy products, and also the highest incidence of osteoporosis. The pasteurizing process (where milk heated to 162* F for about 15 seconds to kill off harmful bacteria and enzymes) also removes up to 66% of the milk’s vitamins (A, C, D, E, B6 AND B12). Personally, I think that unpasteurized milk is a very exciting option, as its maximum nutritional value remains intact. Just one little problemo- it is illegal to sell raw milk in Canada. The only way around this regulation is to purchase shares in a real live cow, from a dairy farmer who is committed to offering such a unique product. It is possible to access, though certainly not easy.As for soy milk, that’s a whole other can of worms. Soy beans have been fermented and extremely processed by the time they have been transformed into actual milk. Soy also contains a chemical that mimics estrogen, which is concerning to some. Rice milk seems less controversial, as it requires less processing. With soy, rice and nut milks, there is a possibility that they may contain sweeteners and even polyunsaturated vegetable oil. As always, it’s easy to avoid unwanted ingredients by checking your labels. And last but not least, my new favourite….. the almighty (raw) almond milk. Almonds are rich in magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, and calcium. Making your own nut milk means you control what goes in it. It provides an opportunity not only to be in control of what you put in your body, but also to be creative with ingredients. And did I mention that it’s delicious?Raw Almond Milk(Makes 1.25 litres)1 c. raw almonds, soaked for 8 hours4 dates, soaked in warm water for 2 hours5 c. water (divided into 2 equal parts)2 T extra virgin coconut oil1 t vanillaGood pinch of sea saltIn blender add half the water plus all other remaining ingredients. Blend on high for 2 minutes. Strain all but 1 cup of this mixture through a cheesecloth bag, squeezing it by hand to quicken the flow of liquid into a juice jug (as if you were milking a cow!). Return blender to its base, with the 1 cup of milk mixture still in the bottom. Add the remaining water and blend for another 30 seconds on high. Add liquid to the mesh bag and squeeze into the juice jug. Add a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 1 week. *Tip- Dehydrate left over nut mixture to make ‘nut flour’ (for about 3 hours). Whirl to a flour in a food processor. Use in flax crackers, etc.[...]



raw challenge - day 60 - corn chowder with fresh salsa

2009-08-08T11:35:51.583-07:00


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Corn Chowder with Fresh Salsa

As I write this post, the wind blowing from the office fan is barely helping to cool my scantily clad, sweaty epidermis. Not that I’m complaining. Canadian summers are far too short. This week’s heat wave is a call to work less, swim outdoors, eat light and generally slow down the pace. These days, meals should be quick, fresh and simple. I’ve already made this soup twice in the last week and just packed the last of batch number two into a thermos. Though using frozen corn to make this soup provides delicious results, I can only imagine how much yummier it could be now that corn season is upon us..... so I'm off to the beach now, for a swim in the ocean and a bowl of summer soup.

Corn Chowder
(Serves 2)

1 c corn kernels (fresh or thawed)
1/3 c raw walnuts, finely ground
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
¼ t salt
Fresh pepper, to taste
1 T fresh lime juice
1 c water
Good pinch of chili flakes

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well, for about 60 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning (salt, pepper, chili flakes and lime juice). Ladle soup into 2 bowls and garnish with salsa. Then drizzle with 1/2 t of olive oil on each soup.

Salsa:

2 T diced yellow pepper OR tomato
1 T diced red onion
1 T thinly sliced green onion or chives
2 T fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Rind and juice of ¼ lime
Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and toss together.




raw challenge - day 53 - mushroom burgers and catsup

2009-07-29T16:51:18.061-07:00

I’m now over half way through the challenge. With 47 days left to go, how do I feel? Really not that different. The 5 pounds I lost during the first 2 weeks have stayed off. I look the same. I feel the same. (o.k.- I guess that I've never been more, er- regular) I think the same. No earth shattering changes to report and staying on track really hasn’t been that difficult . I think that most of us lean towards consuming more raw foods during the summer months, anyway. The weather is warmer. There is lots of fresh, local produce to eat. But there are still a few unexpected things that I miss. Mostly simple things like rice, hard boiled eggs and catsup….Someone once told me that food such as omelettes, hash browns, burgers and fries are really just a vehicle for catsup. And I couldn’t agree more. Back in my previous, non-raw life I’d been known to put great care into making a gourmet style sandwich or a fancy-pants frittata, only to douse it with a generous pour of sweet, saucy, tomato-ey catsup. As my inner white trash lives and breathes, I remain an enthusiastic fan of this deliciously diverse condiment.Just one problem- it’s cooked. Or perhaps it is not a problem at all, but merely a challenge. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you my proudest raw creation to date, raw ketchup. I am also sharing the accompanying recipes for raw mushroom burger patties and flax seed ‘buns’, but really….. aren’t they just the vehicle?Mushroom Patties 1 ½ T extra virgin olive oil1 ½ t apple cider vinegar2 c chopped crimini mushrooms½ c almonds, soaked 8 hours, rinsed and drained½ c pumpkin seeds, soaked 8 hours, rinsed and drained2 green onions, minced1 garlic clove, minced½ t ground fennel seeds½ c parsley, coarsely chopped1/2 t saltpepper to tasteIn large bowl, whisk together olive oil and vinegar. Toss in mushrooms and allow to marinate 15-20 minutes. Process almonds and seeds into small pieces in food processor. Transfer to large bowl. Process mushroom mixture with green onions, fennel, garlic and parsley until chunky. Transfer to same bowl. Add s & p and stir ingredients until well combined. Shape mixture into patties (about 1/4" thick). Dehydrate on parchment paper or Teflex screens @ 118* for 8-12 hours, until crust forms on outside, flipping over at around the 5 hour mark and removing the parchment or Teflex.Flax Seed Crackers1 c. flax seed (soaked in 2 c of water for 2 hours)½ c sunflower seeds1/2 c ground flax3/4 t salt1 tsp onion powder1 T poppy seeds2 T nutritional yeast2 T sesame seeds1 T apple cider vinegarMix all ingredients together in a food processor. Roll dough out between 2 layers of parchment paper or teflex sheets, peeling away the top layer when the dough is fully rolled out. Dehydrate at 114 degrees for 3 hours. Turn crackers over onto regular mesh screen, peeling away the 1 layer of parchment or teflex. Continue to dehydrate another 3 hours. Remove crackers from dehydrator and cut into ‘cracker sized shapes. Allow to dry on a cooling rack for 1 hour. Store in a tightly sealed container (at room temperature) for up to 1 week.Catsup1 c diced fresh, ripe tomatoes1 T apple cider vinegar½ t salt½ c sun dried tomatoes that have been soaked for 2 hours in warm water2 pinches allspice2 pinches ground clovesSqueeze excess liquid from the sun dried tomatoes and roughly chop. Add to food processor with remaining ingredients. Whirl to combine well. Stop and scrape ingredients down from the inner sides of the processor. Whirl some more, until mixture is smooth. At this point, you can serve the catsup as is (a little rustic in texture) or pass the mixture through a wider mesh sieve. This will make a smooth, glossy catsup that looks like the real thing.[...]



raw challenge - day 46 - sushi + pink pickled ginger

2009-07-17T16:10:25.019-07:00

If you ever need something rolled at a party, don’t look at me. And despite several determined attempts, I also remain a dismal sushi roller. But I shall continue to practice and, hopefully, sushi rolling mastery is soon to come. While my current maki creations are loosely rolled and full of air pockets, they are delicious none the less.To make sushi completely raw, cooked rice is not an option. But fear not. Substituting the traditional grain with Turnip 'Rice' (a mixture of minced turnip and rice vinegar) makes for a fresh and crunchy alternative (I ‘glued’ the turnip to the nori sheets with a thin layer of Ani Phyo's Garden Pate, but any spread will do). As for other fillings, raw vegan fillings include ingredients such as cucumber strips, avocado slices, sliced marinated mushrooms, bell pepper strips and arugula leaves. If you are open to including raw fish in your diet, try sushi grade raw fish and seafood, such as tuna, salmon and prawns. Before purchasing raw fish, talk to your local fishmonger and figure out which of their products are both safe and appropriate for raw consumption.It is said that we eat with our eyes first. Sushi is not only a great opportunity to experiment with wonderful ingredients, but also with visual presentation. Think of how it is usually served in a restaurant- dishware, garnish and décor all contribute to each dining experience. Even using a plain wooden cutting board as a serving platter can be a very attractive way to present your creations. Arranged with Pink Pickled Ginger, (coloured naturally with fresh beet juice), Nama Shoyu (soy sauce) and wasabi paste (or fresh grated wasabi root- if you can find it) home made sushi need not look ‘home made’ at all.Turnip ‘Rice’1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 2” cubes1 T water2 t rice wine vinegar2 pinches of sea saltWhirl turnip cubes in food processor until they form a rice like consistency. Place turnips into a bowl and mix in remaining ingredients.Garden Pate (Ani Phyo)1/2 c almonds, dry1 ½ t grated ginger1 garlic clove, minced¼ - ½ t salt2 carrots, peeled and chopped into large slices1 celery stalk, chopped into large slices¼ c red onion, roughly chopped1 T extra virgin olive oil2 t fresh lemon juice¼ c raisins (not soaked)Whirl almonds in food pro, until fine crumbs. It is important to do this first. Remove and set aside. Add all remaining ingredients to food pro and whirl well to combine. Great in wraps, on crackers….or in sushi. Pink Pickled GingerFresh ginger root, peeled and very thinly sliced (about ½ c)2 T rice vinegarPinch of salt3 T water1 1/2T agave syrup1 t fresh beet juiceIn a small bowl, combine all ingredients except for the ginger. Stir in the ginger. Place in a tightly lidded container in the fridge. Allow to chill and marinade for at least 4 hours.For Assembly:Nori sheetsGarden pateFillings of your choiceIf you’ve never made sushi before, I’d suggest checking out a ‘how to’ video on You Tube for help with technique (this one has rough camera work, but it’s helpful. Don't bother wetting your hands, as you are not using real rice). Lay each nori sheet on a bamboo sushi rolling mat (buy at any kitchen supply store). Spread a thin layer of pate on the bottom half of the sheet. Cover with a thin layer on the Turnip ‘Rice’ (about 3/8” thick). Add ingredients to your liking, but don’t add too much, or the roll will be difficult to form. When forming your sushi rolls, roll them away from you. If you are having trouble sealing them, dip your fingers in a cup of water and run them along the top edge.[...]



more raw 'ice cream' - with cherries from the backyard!

2009-07-17T16:10:25.020-07:00


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The cherry tree in our backyard is producing a massive amount of cherries this year- far more than usual. Even the birds can't be bothered to stay on top of the tree's fruit output. What do do? Put some in ice cream, of course. This recipe comes from last post's 'chocolate and banana + hazelnut'. Simply add 1 cup of pitted cherries at the same time as the nuts. I served this one right away like a soft ice cream, rather than returning it to the freezer to firm up. Trust me, it's a winner.




raw challenge - day 39 - chocolate banana 'ice cream'

2009-07-17T16:10:25.020-07:00

I Scream. You Scream. We all scream for ice cream!As far as food preferences go, I simply don't have much of a sweet tooth. Desserts always seem interesting to look at, but I'm rarely tempted to actually eat them. Case in point- it is at day 39 that I am developing my first dessert recipe (with the exception of the 'Rum Balls' I created back on day 11). And they really shouldn't qualify as a dessert, but rather a 'healthy energy ball'.So what ingredients does one have to work with when making a raw dessert? Nuts and seeds, dates and other dried fruit, avocados, cacao, vanilla, coconut milk and oil, fresh fruit..... to name a few. There really is quite a tasty assortment to work with. This 'ice cream' recipe uses only 5 ingredients and is dead simple to make. After peeling and freezing the bananas 8 hours ahead, the preparation time is less than 5 minutes. I've also started to experiment with other flavours such as 'Banana-Maple with Walnuts'. This 'ice cream' would also serve well in a milk shake, or as a filling in a raw nut crust that is then topped with fresh, seasonal fruit.Banana + Chocolate 'Ice Cream' (with Hazelnuts)4 bananas, peeled, wrapped in saran wrap, and frozen for at least 8 hours¼ c raw cacao or cocoa powder2 T raw honey1 t good vanilla1 pinch of salt½ cup raw hazelnutsRemove bananas from freezer and cut into ½” thick slices. Place in food pro and whirl well. Add cacao, honey, salt and vanilla and again whirl well, until thick and creamy. Add nuts and blend quickly, just until they are mixed through, but not ground too small (OR roughly chop them and reserve them until serving time, sprinkling them on top of each serving as a crunchy garnish). Pour mixture into a loaf pan and cover with saran wrap. Place in freezer. When serving, remove from freezer 5 minutes before. Scoop and serve, just as you would regular ice cream.As an aside, I wanted to share this Design Sponge post about Lindsay Laricks of ‘Fresher Than Fresh’. She has created her own nifty little business making and selling gourmet snow cones. One of the things that makes her concept unique is that she crafts all of the organic syrups herself, often sourcing ingredients from her own back yard garden in Kansas City. And the coolest part of all? She sells them out of her adorable 1957 Shasta trailer, complete with a ‘stick man mascot’ that lights up at night. I see no reason why this icy summer treat could not be emulated in a raw version by pureeing fresh fruit with agave or maple syrup, citrus juices, vanilla, fresh herbs etc. and then passing the syrupy liquid through a sieve. Raw snow cones- why not?[...]



more raw pizza

2009-07-17T16:10:25.020-07:00


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Here is another variation on raw pizza, made by using flax crackers as the crust. This option is adorned with thinly sliced radishes, avocados, arugula, 'Cheez Crumble' and fresh cracked pepper.




raw challenge - day 32 - raw pizza

2009-07-22T18:26:26.063-07:00

Raw Pizza with Mushrooms, Cheez Crumble, Tomatoes and Arugula (and Hummus)Who among us does not love a good slice of pizza? If you are like me, you probably assumed that this hugely popular food item originated in Italy. Not so. The history of pizza is cloudy at best, with a variety of theories and speculation. But regardless of where it came from, it is a favoured menu item for so many walks of life, having enjoyed enormous popularity on our side of the pond since post World War 2 when American soldiers returned home from Italy, eager to replicate their memorable experiences of this tasty dish. Another huge contributor to the dish’s gaining popularity was the influx of Italian immigrants who had brought with them their rich and delicious food culture.The ‘Margherita’ (a classic pizza garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil, to represent the colors of the Italian flag) was created in June of 1889 by chef Raffaele Esposito to honour the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita Savoy. But long before this Naples based creation was first introduced, Babylonians, Israelites, Egyptians and other ancient Middle Eastern people used to eat a flat, un-leaven bread, which was cooked in mud ovens and had an appearance somewhat similar to the pizzas we eat today. So how the heck do you make a raw pizza? With an open mind and a little creativity, there are countless versions to explore. You are limited only by your imagination. I’ve made quite a few versions in the last 4 weeks, finding them to be a great lunch time item. Teamed up with a green salad and a ‘Rum Ball’ for dessert- I’m sated and fueled up until dinner time. Dehydrated flax crackers are the foundation for this recipe. Don’t be daunted by the labour involved to make them. Once you have made up a batch, they will store well for up to one week. The ‘Sun Dried Tomato Hummus’ for this version requires 4 days of sprouting but, again, once a batch has been made, it’s a very diverse, high energy snack item that will last in the fridge for up to one week. The ‘Marinated Crimmini Mushrooms’ and ‘Cheez Crumble’ toppings are dead easy to make and any leftovers are really yummy thrown into a salad or made into another pizza the next day. The point of using a dehydrator in raw food preparation is to remove the moisture from food items at a temperature below 115*, as a higher temperature will begin to kill the food’s natural enzymes. Though I was at first resistant to purchasing yet another bulky appliance, I must say that I am now glad to have it. In addition to crisping up my weekly crackers, it is also a great tool for making veggie meatballs, tortilla chips and other pizza toppings such as ‘caramelized’ peppers and onions. And I am well aware that I have yet to come anywhere near to utilizing this appliance's potential, not even having touched upon the world of desserts yet.....Flax Seed Crackers1 c. flax seed (soaked in 2 c of water for 2 hours)½ c sunflower seeds1/2 c ground flax3/4 t salt1 tsp onion powder1 T poppy seeds2 T nutritional yeast2 T sesame seeds1 T apple cider vinegarMix all ingredients together in a food processor. Roll dough out between 2 layers of parchment paper or teflex sheets, peeling away the top layer when the dough is fully rolled out. Dehydrate at 114 degrees for 3 hours. Turn crackers over onto regular mesh screen, peeling away the 1 layer of parchment or teflex. Continue to dehydrate another 3 hours. Remove crackers from dehydrator and cut into ‘cracker sized shapes. Allow to dry on a cooling rack for 1 hour. Store in a tightly sealed container (at room temperature) for up to 1 week.Sprouted Sun Dried Tomato Hummus 1 cup sprouted garbanzo beans (soaked in cold water for 4 days, changing water 2 x day)1/3 c tahini1 garlic clove, minced4 sun dried tomatoes, soaked for 4 hours½ t saltPepper[...]



raw asian 'noodle' salad with peas, mushrooms and arugula

2009-07-06T19:06:45.246-07:00


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I made this for lunch yesterday and.... yee-ow!... it was yum. Super fresh and super light.

Asian ‘Noodle’ Salad with Peas, Mushrooms & Arugula

Marinade:

1 T tamari
1 c fresh mushrooms, sliced1 1/2 T water
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t fresh lime juice
1 t vinegar (balsamic or apple cider)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t fresh grated ginger
1/8 t chili flakes

1 small-medium zucchini, cut into noodles on a spiral slicer
¾ c fresh arugula, roughly chopped
½ c frozen green peas, defrosted at room temperature for 2 hours
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T black sesame seeds

In medium sized bowl combine all marinade ingredients. Add sliced and allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours. In a larger bowl add zucchini, arugula, green peas, olive oil, mushrooms and their marinade and toss all to combine. Serve on a large bowl or dinner plate. Garnish with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.




raw challenge - day 25 - d.i.y. sprouting + kitchen gadgets

2009-07-06T19:06:45.247-07:00

Before and after: broccoli, red clover, radish and salad sprouts.As week 4 of my '100 Day Raw Food Challenge' quickly approaches, my menu repertoire is finally beginning to solidify. I was clear from the onset that keeping proteins and carbs in my diet was going to be an absolute essential. While nuts, seeds and oils are certainly a cornerstone to such a diet, I was not willing to abandon my propensity for the complex carbs I have grown to know and love. But if I couldn't cook them, then how the heck was I going to eat them? It turns out that you can sprout things- a lot of things. It was news to me that sprouts are actually a living food, rich with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes. One of the most complete and nutritional of all existing foods, sprouts actually continue to grow and increase in vitamin content after been harvested, even as they sit in the fridge. So far, I have been enjoying great success with quinoa. Forty eight hours of sprouting on the windowsill (and rinsing twice daily) results in a delightful, crun-chewy flavour extravaganza that makes for a uniquely delicious salad booster. Chick peas take a full four days to sprout, though they are well worth the wait. When they are ready to use, sprouted chick peas can be tossed into a salad as is, or whirled up into an arugula hummus or a sun dried tomato dip. The next ingredients on my list of things to attempt sprouting are puy lentils and sunflower seeds. Click here to learn more about how to make your own sprouts.The dried seeds to get you sprouting are readily available at most health food stores, as are 'sprouters' designed to house the process. After inspecting a few different options, I decided that the $20 being charged for such a kit was a waste of money, as one can easily be fashioned at home using a mason jar, some cheese cloth and an elastic band. That cash would be much better spent on more seeds or put towards other, more exciting kitchen gadgets..... Ah, the allure of the kitchen gadget. Most avid home cooks just can't get enough of these culinary toys. It seems a constant struggle to draw that defining line between what will actually be useful and that which simply looks like fun to play with. Making ruthless decisions early on will help to shut out future dust collectors destined to clutter up precious kitchen real estate.I have to say, this raw business has made me a whirling dervish with many of my beloved gadgets….. the food processor, blender, dehydrator, juicer and now, my latest acquisition- a spiral vegetable slicer. At first glance, it appears less than impressive. Flimsy, cumbersome and fabricated from mostly 100% pure, genuine plastique- I was somewhat skeptical when first opening the box (instructions were also minimal, so I had to phone the store to figure out how to work the darn thing). But once up and running, what this baby does is pure magic. Beets, carrots, zucchini, daikon radishes and more are all transformed into spectacular lengths of pasta-like ribbons. Raw foodists often make 'pasta' by preparing zucchini this way and then topping it with a raw sauce, such as 'Marinara'. Any of these spiral veggies also serve as an extremely impressive addition to a salad, providing truly dynamic colour, shapes and textures to accompany greens, sprouts and so on. They also store well in the fridge for a few days, sealed in a tightly lidded container.Spiral Vegetable Salad with Sprouted Quinoa1 medium zuccini, turned on the small setting1 medium beet, turned on the small setting1 c sprouted quinoa1 cup mixed greens, roughly torn2 T parsley, roughly chopped1/4 c raw pumpkin seeds1 tomato, medium dicesalt + pepper1/3 - 1/2 c 'Green Goddess Dressing'Toss all ingredients and serve immediately. There will be extra dressing leftover. Keep in a lidded jar in the f[...]



fresh mint and strawberry 'sangria'

2009-07-01T18:38:22.188-07:00


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Oh yeah! Keep cool this summer with a tasty herbal brew.

Nothing fancy to this, really. It's just a nice way to keep hydrated in style when the mercury starts to rise. Simply take a whack of fresh mint, place it in a large juice container and top it up with about one and a half litres of boiling water. Stir in honey or sugar to achieve desired sweetness. Cool and refrigerate. When serving, fill a glass with ice. Top up with chilled mint tea. Add diced fruit, such as strawberries and, finally, garnish with a sprig of mint. Cheers.




day 18 - cro-magnon raw with beef carpaccio

2009-07-06T19:06:45.247-07:00

The view under glass at ‘Market Meats’.Before I begin.... a warning to all vegetarians. The following content is likely to disturb and disgust. But if you are a card carrying meat eater, then why not get comfortable? So here I am on Day 18 of my '100 Day Raw Food Challenge'. I had realized a month before starting this diet that I would need to sort out my protein sources. Normally, I eat an occasional, small serving of meat. Though it is usually of the organic, med free variety, it is meat none the less. In researching my options, it turned out that Vegans make for 95% of Raw Foodists, while raw meat, fish and (unpasturized) dairy consuming Raw Foodists account for the other 5%. When I learned that the slang for this fringing 5% was 'Cro-Magnon Raw', I new I'd found my niche. This was a chance to get in touch with my inner cave woman- if I had the stomach to follow through, that is. Eating cooked meat is one thing, but the very idea of swallowing it down uncooked left me wavering with uncertainty.According to primatologist and anthropologist Richard Wrangham, the mastery of fire to cook was a key evolutionary turning point for proto-humans. In an excerpt from his book "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human" Wrangham writes "Cooking meant they could get dense, empowering nourishment. Then came bigger brains, a different body and — voila! — homo sapiens. Complete with a social structure built around that fire." And keep in mind- this was almost two million years ago. I was going to have to ease into this raw meat thing gently.If you are thinking of consuming any sort of raw animal products, the first and most important thing to do is to find a good source. By 'good' I mean a reputable, hygienic, informative and consistent supplier that you feel a trust and comfort with- no different than how one chooses their other suppliers and services. Whether it's the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker..... it is always best to patronize those that we feel a rapport with, those that become a reliable fixture in our daily lives and in our communities. For me, Market Meats is just such a place. Located in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood, this outstanding butcher shop / 'protein boutique' has been offering a top notch selection of quality products and exceptional service for over 13 years. All meat and poultry is chemical free, free range and as local as possible (mostly from B.C. and Alberta). Some, but not all products are organic. Just ask, and they will be happy to answer any of your questions and also to offer excellent recommendations. When I popped in one day last week and presented them with my new dietary challenge, we collaborated on 'Beef Carpaccio'. They firmed up a 4 oz beef tenderloin for 15 minutes in the freezer and then sliced it thinly (on their slicer, while I waited). As he prepared my order, butcher extraordinaire Spencer even suggested a Dijon, caper and olive oil dressing, which I ended up making to finish this dish. You are going to pay more to buy such products, but just like Mamma said, you get what you pay for. The 4 oz cut I purchased set me back $14, but it would serve four people as an appetizer. At $3.50 a head, it's a bargain at twice the price. Buying well and consuming smaller servings is healthier and need not cost the earth.....As for my Beef Carpaccio experiment, it certainly was not love at first sight. When I got home and opened the package, I realized immediately that it was going to take some thoughtful presentation to get me in the mood. After whisking up Spencer's recipe for 'Dijon Caper Sauce', I arranged the tenderloin slices on a dinner plate, all the while thinking of the petals of a rose. I even garnished the centre of the plate with a colourful [...]



gourmet guerrilla grub

2009-06-12T18:26:38.913-07:00


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Artwork in the interior hallway of 12B.

I received a call from Misty Harris at Canwest earlier this week. She was interviewing people to gather information about their experiences in underground dining. Back in June of 08, I had a blast at Vancouver 'eatery' 12b.... Check out her story at canada.com




global peasant turns 2 years old today!

2009-06-12T08:34:51.021-07:00


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raw challenge - day 11- surviving with ‘rum balls’

2009-07-06T19:06:45.247-07:00

My kitchen counter abundant with fresh ingredients.Today marks not only my first blog posting at Metro News Canada, but also Day 11 of my ‘100 Day Raw Food Challenge’. When I first made my decision this past May, the prospect of a summer diet consisting of fresh, healthy uncooked food seemed appealing, exciting and downright daunting. Although I completed a professional culinary program last year, would I actually be able to apply some of what I’d learned about ‘cooking’ to creating raw dishes? Well, so far so good. I’ve clearly not starved yet. The food that I’ve been consuming during these last 10 days has been a pleasure to prepare and to eat. Well, for the most part, anyway. Monday’s effort at ‘Cream of Cauliflower Soup’ was just plain wrong. So was putting raw eggplant into veggie meatballs. Both experiments were bitter like aspirin. Lessons learned. Going into this challenge, I really had no idea if my new food options would be enough to sustain either my physical body or my demanding palette. Nor was I sure that it could fit into my current lifestyle. Granted, the first week was a flurry of kitchen activity and the learning curve enormous. I am no longer ‘cooking’ at all. Like learning anything new and wishing to excel at it, starting out demands a great deal of focus, determination and commitment. I am already starting to feel a rhythm with it all…..sprouting, soaking, marinating and dehydrating all require planning ahead and keeping an eye on both the clock and the calendar. Making hummus is no longer a ten minute operation. The garbanzo beans must be sprouted first, and this is a 4 day process. Flax seed crackers require a minimum of 4 hours in the dehydrator. Oatmeal for breakfast means soaking steel cut outs 8 hours before I rise and shine. Whirling up a litre of nut milk also means begin soaking the almonds 8 hours ahead of time.And thank God for counter space! I am blessed with a sizable horizontal surface to really spread out on and to craft my concoctions. I suspect that, unless one is uber organized, trying to operate within the confines of a small apartment kitchen would quickly become cramped and cluttered. I am also so very fortunate to have a backyard space that has been transformed into a sizeable kitchen garden, just this past Spring. It was a heap of work to get up and growing, but now only requires a daily watering and the occasional tugging of pesky weeds. It’s time to enjoy the fruits and vegetables of my labour, to pick produce fresh and incorporate it into the raw meals that I am enjoying…. kale, spinach, assorted lettuces, arugula, radishes, Swiss chard and parsley so far. Still to come are beans, peas, zucchini, fennel, onions, leeks, tomatoes, eggplant, beets, and nasturtiums.It took me a few tries to get this one right, but I think I finally perfected it. As far as I'm concerned, it would be completely uncivilized to participate in a raw food challenge without planning and preparing some strategically placed culinary treats. An after lunch sweet really hits the spot these days, even more so than when eating my regular diet. Having these 'Rum' Ball's' on hand really rounds out a meal, while also pleasing the palate. Though there is actually no rum in this recipe, I call them 'Rum Balls' anyway, as they do have a slight 'rummish' flavour to them, though I have absolutely no idea why.’Rum’ Balls3/4 c almonds, soaked for 8 hours, then rinsed and drained3 medjool dates1/4 c cacao powder½ t vanillaPinch of salt1 ½ T coconut oil, warmed so that it is liquid¼ c ground coconut1 t fresh orange zest- optionalGrind nuts in food pro. Add remaining ingredients exc[...]



raw challenge - day 9 - scrumptious cream of wheat

2009-07-28T16:52:17.393-07:00


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Raw Cream of Wheat with Date & Prune Puree.

Didn't think it was possible, did you? How could a bowl of raw wheat actually be 'scrumptious'? I must admit that, when I took my first shot at this dish, my hopes were not particularly high. That'll learn me. This recipe is creamy, so yummy, dead easy to make and you can really go to town as far as the toppings are concerned. Try it with fruit, nuts, seeds, ground flax, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and so on. I'm adorning my breakfast bowl these days with a date and prune puree, plus a good glug of homemade nut milk. If you like your porridge or cereal, I highly recommend giving this recipe a whirl.... whether you are eating a raw diet or not.


Raw Oatmeal

1/2 cup steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons raisins
3/4 cup water
pinch of salt

Soak oats and raisins in the water for eight to twelve hours in a 2 c measuring cup or yogurt container, left on the counter. In the morning, blend the soaked ingredients until creamy, using a hand held blender. Serve in a bowl and top with whatever your heart desires.

Date & Prune Puree

6 prunes, pitted
6 dates, pitted
1 ½ c H2O

Place dried fruit in a bowl, along with the water and allow to soak for 8 hours. Whirl up all ingredients in food pro, adding more water until desired ‘sauce-like’ consistency is achieved. Press sauce through a sieve. Store in the fridge in a sealed container.




first from my garden

2009-06-06T11:05:57.142-07:00


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I've been waiting for this moment since mid February.... the experience of eating food grown with my own two hands. Ironically, the seedlings started last winter were not the first to yield sustenance. It was the radishes and salad greens planted outdoors, straight from seed some 5 weeks ago, that grew most rapidly. So far, the harvest tastes as you would expect: fresh, crisp and gloriously flavourful.

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raw challenge - day 3 - kreamy avocado soup

2009-07-06T19:06:45.248-07:00


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The first 3 days of my raw food challenge have proven to be both demanding and incredibly rewarding. I’ve certainly spent a great deal of time in the kitchen….. recipe testing, inventing, note taking, photographing and tasting. This avocado soup from Ani Phyo was part of tonight’s dinner. Tasty as it was, I found it quite rich. You may want to serve it as a starter, as opposed to a meal sized serving. I have altered a few of her quantities and ingredients to my liking.


Kreamy Avocado Soup

1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 T miso paste
1 T EVOO
Sea salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 t chipotle
2 T basil leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
1 3/4 cups water- plus more as needed
¼ c tomatoes, small dice (garnish)

Place all ingredients, except for the tomatoes, into the blender and whirl until creamy. While blender is running, pour water into the avocado mixture. Add more water, if needed. You are trying to achieve the same consistency as you would with a conventional cream soup. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Garnish with diced tomatoes and a sprig of basil. Serves 4 as a starter.




going raw for 100 days

2009-05-31T09:31:19.975-07:00


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Photo by Lex Illustrator.

I have an announcement to make….. starting tomorrow, I will be eating a diet of exclusively raw food for 100 days. I mean to say that, until September 8, no food shall pass my lips that has been brought to a temperature higher than 118 degrees. According to Wikepedia, foodism is “Raw foodism (or rawism) a lifestyle promoting the consumption of un-cooked, un-processed, and often organic foods as a large percentage of the diet. If 75-100% of a person's total food consumption is raw food, he/she is considered a raw foodist or living foodist.” The idea is to consume living food at a time when it still has all of its natural enzymes, the same enzymes that are killed off during the cooking process. Once these enzymes are gone, the body must in turn create its own enzymes to assist the body in proper absorption and digestion. Click here to learn more about enzymes.

While researching this cuisine, I learned that most people seem to embrace a raw food lifestyle as a last ditch effort to overcome some sort of chronic illness. Cancer, obesity, diabetes, celiac, depression, candida…. There are countless testimonials of healthy people whose lives have been transformed through a permanent or long term raw diet. As for me, I have no health complaints. I have a very healthy diet and an extremely harmonious relationship with the food that I eat. So why have I decided to make such a culinary commitment? I’m curious. I want to know what it feels like to eat only living foods for a significant stretch of time. Will I think differently? Will I have more energy? Will I look 5 years younger and be 5 pounds thinner? Will my skin glow like a super model and my tresses flow thick and glossy like a show dog? Time will tell.

In all honesty, I am most drawn to the idea as an exciting opportunity for innovative culinary expression. I anticipate that a summer of raw food eating will quickly become an incredibly inspiring time to explore and showcase fresh, locally grown food in its most elevated form….. as nature intended it, but with a twist. I want to make locally driven (when possible) raw food that is imaginative, flavourful and appealing to the eye. I want to mess with colours, textures and unorthodox applications of ingredients. I want to have a lot of fun with this. So join me as I play with my dehydrator, blender, turning slicer, micro-plane and forage in my own backyard garden for the freshest, most local ingredients possible. Raw-k on!




chicken stroganoff with beer

2009-06-06T11:06:16.505-07:00


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Tonight's feast for 4..... served with Lemon-Basil Basmati Rice and steamed asparagus. Oh yeah!


Chicken Stroganoff

Olive oil
Salt and pepper (to taste)
2 slices of bacon, diced
½ onion, peeled and diced
1 large green pepper, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
½ orange pepper, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
4 c mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced

1 ½ lbs skinned and de-boned chicken thighs, cut into 2” pieces
1 ½ T flour
1 ½ c chicken stock
1 c beer
1 T Dijon mustard
1 t Worcester sauce
½ t hot sauce
2 bay leaves

½ cup sour cream- add very last!
1/4 c fresh chopped parsley for garnish- if desired

Bring a large pot to medium heat. Add 2T olive oil. Saute onions and bacon for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peppers and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove all ingredients from pot and placeto side in a medium bowl. Add 1 T olive oil to same pot plus the mushrooms. Cooked mushrooms until lightly brown, until all extra liquid is gone. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove from pot and add to onion mixture.
Working on a dinner plate, lightly salt the chicken pieces and then sprinkle them with the flour. Add 2 T olive oil to the same pot and brown chicken in batches, setting the pieces aside as they are cooked. When all chicken has been cooked and removed from the pot, add the chicken stock, beer and remaining ingredients except for the sour cream to the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes with a loosely fitting lid. Return all vegetables to the pot and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Right before serving, add the sour cream and heat through, but do not allow to boil. Serve with rice or pasta. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.




veggie lemon quinoa with basil chicken

2009-06-06T11:06:16.505-07:00


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If you haven’t explored quinoa yet, I highly recommend it. Nutty in flavour and full of protein, quinoa is a delicious departure from rice or potatoes. Plus it’s just as easy to make. The chicken component of this meal was inspired by bbq leftovers from last night. I don’t know where the heck those busty birds came from, but they sure did have a lot of meat on them. Two breasts yielded 3 cups of meat.


Veggie Lemon Quinoa
Make sure to rinse the quinoa (to remove bitterness) before starting the rest of this dish.

2 T olive oil, divided
½ onion, diced
½ orange pepper, diced
3 c kale, washed and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ t salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ c quinoa, rinsed and drained in a sieve
3 c water
½ c frozen green peas
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
1/3c fresh chopped parsley
3T toasted pumpkin seeds

Bring a large pot to medium heat and add 1 T of olive oil. Saute onion for 3 minutes. Add orange pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir in kale and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir in for 1 minute. Add the drained quinoa and stir occasionally, until grain is dry and smells a bit ‘toasty’. Add the water + salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 17 minutes. Add peas, lemon, parsley to pot and return lid. Cook for 3 more minutes. Toss in pumpkin seeds. Serves 4 as a side dish.


Basil Chicken Breast

2 c cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 tomato, diced
2 T fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.
4 T crumbled goat feta- optional

In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients. Serve with the quinoa. Serves 4 as a side dish. If desired, crumble 1 T of goat feta on each serving. Yum!




lobster bisque

2009-05-19T08:32:27.710-07:00


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This is actually part 2 of an earlier post….what started out as ‘lobster sandwiches!’ resulted in some left over shells. It would be a crime to through them away. Roasting said shells and making them into a flavourful stock is time well spent- trust me. Last night I opted to transform the stock into a bisque. Smokes! That’s good soup…..tres elegante and almost free to make.

Lobster Bisque

1 T olive oil
1/2onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 T butter
2 T flour
1 litre of lobster stock (approx)
½ t salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 dashes of paprika
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 pinch of cayenne

Garnish: Crème fraiche + chives or parsley.

Bring a large pot to medium heat and add olive oil. Next add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add celery and carrot, continuing to stir. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Melt in the butter and then sprinkle with flour. Stir for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Continue to simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour soup into a blender in batches, filling blender about 2/3 full each time. VERY IMPORTANT: Before blending, remove cap from inside of blender lid, leaving a hole exposed in the middle. Cover this hole with a tea towel (preferably one that is not your favourite, as it will get some soup splashed on it). The reason for this is to allow the hot steam to escape safely, so that you do not make a big mess and get a nasty burn. Strain blenderized soup through a sieve and return to pot. Serve immediately (and garnish), or allow to cool, refrigerate and serve later.




lobster sandwiches!

2009-05-18T13:58:04.671-07:00


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My super awesome friend, Peter P, came by yesterday to help me with a plethora of computer issues. Quite frankly, I don't know where I'd be without him. I certainly wouldn't have this blog. He has been a quintessential part of global peasant's lay out and functions since even before its first post back in the summer of 2006. Heck, he even taught me how to write HTML code!!!

Not only did he spend half of his Sunday helping me out, he brought a fresh lobster with him....all the way from P.E.I. Suddenly dinner was a no-brainer. This isn't even a recipe, really- more like an assembly. Consuming it is messy (no cutlery and lots of napkins) and delicious.....even more so with the addition of a frosty, tall glass of beer. I love you, Peter!

Lobster and Tomato Sandwiches

1 lb lobster, cooked and meat removed from the shell*
2 T melted butter
juice and zest of 1/4 lemon
good pinch of salt

*Save the shells and roast them on a cookie sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes @ 350*. Put shells in 5 cups of cold water with 1 t salt, 8 peppercorns and 4 bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook for about 25 minutes. Strain through a sieve (into a bowl) and allow to cool. Use lobster stock to make lobster bisque (stay tuned for recipe).

2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/8 t Tabasco sauce
1 T parsley, finely chopped
1 T olive oil
2 t balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

6-8 slices bread, lightly toasted (I used spelt, but any light bread would do)

Shred the lobster meat into a small bowl and combine with butter, lemon and salt. Combine tomato mixture in a second bowl. Assemble the sandwiches by first spooning some of the tomato onto a toast, then topping it with a spoon of the lobster. Garnish with whatever visually floats your boat (I used micro arugula from my garden).




seedling update

2009-05-18T12:55:20.688-07:00


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Tomatoes growing in the sun room.

It seems like forever since mid February, when the tomato seeds were first planted into their tiny little peat filled trays. Gardener's Delight, Black Krim, Kootenai and Green Zebra are the 4 varieties that are growing almost right under my eyes. Nurturing duties include daily watering, trimming back the leaves (to build hardy stalks and encourage a higher yield of fruit) and multiple transplants. Last night's upgrade was to roomier 8" pots plus heaps of extra (and super stinky) amending soil..... and they still have a long way to go. They will not be planted outside until sometime in June. Just when will be determined by how chilly the nights are. But lookie there! That yellow blossom holds the promise of good things to come. I can hardly wait.....