Sunday, August 24, 2014

Matthew Kenney's Online Raw Food Academy Week 2- Thoughts, Photos and Spicy Beet plus White on White Salad Recipes

Kimchi Dumplings

Just half way there, and I already feel like I can confidently put a fully raw food meal on the table... for an everyday meal, or even a special occasion.  And considering I was totally inexperienced in raw food cuisine just two short weeks ago, this, is a foodie miracle. 

So, in case you haven't heard, I decided to take a four-week online raw food culinary class with Matthew Kenney's Culinary Academy out in Santa Monica (read more about week 1 here).

And there are several things that I can say have become my truths at this point... two weeks in.

Shitake Anchovies

First, I'm liking more and more that I haven't been cooking with meat.  And don't even get me started on how refreshing... and cool it is (literally) not to be working over a hot stove all day 

And, aren't these shitake mushrooms posing as anchovies cute?  We used them in this tasty Caesar salad, complete with crunchy rosemary croutons and Parmesan cheese.  Yes, I said Parmesan cheese, which is one of my favorite things in life, and I still can't believe how similar this dairy-free version is.

Kale Caesar Salad with Anchovies, Parmesan Cheese and Croutons

 Second, I've come a long way from my first coconut opening hack job (if you follow me on Instagram, you'll know just what I mean).  And I'm now producing beautiful dishes like this Coconut Peach Ice Cream, using fresh coconut water and the meat.  Plus, the most inventive and gorgeous dish I've ever seen Chef Kenney make- Kimchi Dumplings (see mine up top).  This was truly the highlight of my week, and I'm somewhat of a coconut opening Ninja now... except with a cleaver instead of a sword.

Coconut Peach Ice Cream

And third, there really are raw food recipes to satisfy all of my cravings.  From pizza, with my favorite toppings...

Corn, Cilantro and Red Onion Pizza

 to Asian noodles dishes, complete with ginger and sesame seeds.  And the most delicious, crunchy, sweet and spicy Tamari Almonds to round it all out.

Sesame Noodles with Tamari Almonds

Tostadas... with all the important layers of coleslaw, salsa and guacamole.  And don't even think about holding the sour cream or mole sauce (Mmm raw chocolate).  Mexican food is my weakness, and now?  No guilt. 

Tostada with Cabbage Slaw, Pico de Gallo, Sour Cream and Cacao Mole

And some of my favorite types of salads using fresh fruit- this one with oranges and apples, and a delicious orange dressing.  And a new favorite ingredient, wakame seaweed.  This was my first time trying it, and I couldn't get enough.  Especially when displayed so beautifully... 

Seaweed Salad

and especially when shared with a friend (not sure if he's here for the companionship or for the food).

Ocean (aka Ocean's 11) 

As you can see, this was a very busy week!

Week 2 Summary: 

In these two weeks, I've not only learned how to cook beautiful dishes, plus new and exciting ways to use ingredients. But, I've also seen how this type of eating could easily fit into my daily life.  With all the recipes, but especially with these salads that I made for this week's produce challenge.

Challenge?  Yes, I'm always up for a challenge, and this one was tough. We had to create a recipe using only the produce (plus limited extra items) that we had on hand, in just one hour.  And that included figuring out the recipe, cooking it, and plating it.  A mini Chopped, if you will.

And of course I created two dishes, as I thought they'd perfectly compliment each other with their sweet and spicy flavors and colors.  And I liked them.  I liked these salads so much, that I've made them again, since.  They've even become part of our weekly lunch and dinner lineup. 

Simple to make, filling and incredibly healthy (just make sure and cover your cutting board, plus wear food-grade gloves when you're cutting the beets to save a lot of time on clean-up).

So, next week?  It's our sweets week!  From chocolates, to cookies, and even pancakes.  Make sure and check back to see how they all turn out.

White on White Salad with Coconut Macadamia Nut Cream and Spicy Beet Salad with Orange Dressing

White on White Salad with Coconut Macadamia Nut Cream

¾ c. macadamia nuts
¼ c. water
½ c. coconut water
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt
A pinch of white pepper
½ tsp. cinnamon, plus more to garnish on top
½ fennel bulb, sliced thin on a mandoline
½ large apple , julienne
¼ jicama, sliced thin

Combine the nuts, both waters, honey, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cinnamon in a blender, and blend until completely smooth. In a medium bowl add cut up fennel, apple and jicama. Pour the macadamia nut cream over to combine. Sprinkle with cinnamon once plated.

Spicy Beet Salad with Orange Dressing

¾ c. red cabbage, sliced thin
¼ c. red onion, sliced thin
1 large beet, sliced thin on a mandoline and then julienne
½ jalapeno, finely diced
Juice of 1 orange
½ tsp. dried coriander
1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. fresh grated ginger
¼ tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
¼ c. pine nuts, rough chopped

In a large bowl add the cabbage, onion, and beet.  In a small bowl add the jalapeno, orange juice, coriander, parsley, honey, olive oil, ginger, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour dressing over the vegetables. Add in ½ the pine nuts to combine, and sprinkle the rest on top after plated.

*This blog post was not compensated, nor solicited and I paid for the program myself. All opinions and photographs are my own. (Which should be a given, but as a blogger, we are required to state this.)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Matthew Kenney's Online Raw Food Academy Week 1- Thoughts, Photos and a Mango Smoothie Recipe

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Raw food cuisine is the most beautiful culinary expression of food in its purest and truest form.  As art, creativity... and mainly for health. 

To me, there's nothing more challenging, more enriching and more fun, yes, I said fun, than going to school... especially if it involves food. And especially later in life, as I've gotten so much more out of my classes now. Yes, it is never to late to find and live in your true passions... and calling.

Surfing the cookbooks on Amazon about a month ago (what else is new!), I came across one of Matthew Kenney's raw food books. I was immediately drawn in. I couldn't believe how colorful and beautiful his food is... it especially spoke to the designer in me. And after doing more research and watching his TEDx Talk, I knew I wanted to learn more. And I knew I had to learn from the best.

So, I found Chef Kenney's website and was thrilled to learn he has an online program. Now don't get me wrong, I would have loved to take the program in person (Santa Monica!)... but this online thing made it so much more cost-effective, convenient, and allowed me to start right away.

And I did. I began the program the very next week, and I've been loving every minute since.

Kale Chips

The thing I love most about this program, is that you are provided with detailed shopping lists, lessons that include videos and printable materials. Plus constant input from your instructors (even Chef Kenney), and your fellow classmates. And my classmates are from all over the world. How exciting to see the interpretations of the dishes from people with such diverse backgrounds.

And then there are the recipes. And I'm not talking your run-of-the-mill raw food recipes, but recipes so beautiful and delicious, that even the pickiest gourmet meat-eater, would be pleased... and satisfied with them.

So, our first recipe was this Beet Ravioli. And, yes, I am a serious raw beet lover now (I'd only had them roasted before... and didn't know what I was missing).

Beet Ravioli

 Followed by this Heirloom Tomato Lasagna, that made me never want to make cooked tomato sauce again.  No really... when it's made raw there's a sweetness and freshness that just can't be beat. And seriously... just look at those colors.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Vegan Parsnip Date Cardamom Tea Bread #SecretRecipeClub

When I first heard about The Secret Recipe Club, I knew I had to be part of it.  It kind of reminded me of my favorite Nancy Drew Mysteries books growing up... but with food.  And what could be better than that?  Yes, this month, my first month, was an extremely tasty month.

And today, the mystery finally unfolds.

This club is just like it sounds. You're secretly assigned a fellow blogger each month, and you get to try out one of their recipes of your choice.  And the best part is that you don't know who's making your recipe, or which one they'll pick, and vice versa.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

{Video} Petit Vour Unboxing July 2014- Luxury Vegan and Cruelty-free Beauty Products

I think I've found my subscription box soul mate.

It's elegant... and pink.  It contains amazing products, that I don't have to think twice about what's on their ingredient list.  And it was named after one of my favorite confections ever... petit fours.

I stumbled across a blog post a few weeks ago reviewing this box, and my first thought was... all this for just $15?  And my second thought was... I need to check this out, now.

And a week later, a box of "small & temptingly luxurious cruelty-free products" (just like the small and decorated petit four dessert- with the F changed out for V for vegan) arrived at my door.  And yes, it was love at first sight.

Watch on to see my unboxing and even more tips and thoughts on the products...

Petit Vour Luxury Vegan Beauty Box- $15/mo.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

{Video} 3 Quick Vegetarian Dinners 7/23/14- Lasagna Petals, Roasted Veggie Pasta, Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Casserole #3DinnersAWeek

This week I decided to switch it up a bit and focus on three vegetarian dinners... and they did not disappoint.  

My newest Lasagna Petal recipe offered a sweet richness that came together quicker than your typical lasagna.  And it was fun experimenting with roasting green beans, something I'd never tried before.  And just like other vegetables, roasting really brought out their flavor.  And finally, the Spinach Artichoke Quinoa was a nice change from our regular rice... and a whole lot healthier than spinach artichoke dip.  Even my guy loved it and went back for seconds.

So, watch on to see how these all came together, and to learn more about 3 Dinners a Week, click here.


Day 1:
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