Jan
30


An empanada is a Spanish and Portuguese stuffed bread or pastry, also known as “impanada” in Italy. The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanada is made by folding a dough or bread patty around the stuffing

Empanada with Tomato Relish

Adapted from “Entertaining in the raw” by Matthew Kenney

Pastry

Flax meal, 3/4 cup

Corn kernels, 3 cups

Water, 1 cup

Olive oil, 2 Tsp

Cumin, 2 Tsp

Re onion, roughly chopped, ¼ cup

Garlic, 1 clove

Salt, ¾ tsp

Fresh lime juice, 2 tsp

Makes 12-15 pastry circles

Filling: either “spicy beef” (find here), or portobello stew (find here)

Relish

Tomatoes, finely diced, 2 cups

Onions, finely diced, ¼ cup

Olive oil, 2 Tsp

Parsley, chopped, ¼ cup

Oregano, dried, 2 Tsp

Fresh lime juice, 2 tsp

Lime zest, 1 tsp

Pastry

Set flax meal aside. Place remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Stir in flax meal. Spread batter onto Teflex sheets using an offset spatula and dehydrate at 120 degrees F for about 3-4 hours, or until the sheet can be removed in one piece. Slide the sheets onto a work surface, cut out 3-inch circles and dehydrate for another hour, or until dry but still pliable.

Assembly

Spread filling on the side of pastry that is completely dry. Fold pastry in half and secure edges tightly by pressing with the tines of a fork. You may need to wet edges with water before pressing with fork. Place back on dehydrator screens and dehydrate for another 15-20 minutes until the outside is completely dry.

Serve with the tomato relish on the side and cashew or macadamia “sour cream”.

Jan
23

The following post summarizes my observations on the Top Chefs show and contestants’ experiences, views and comments when they were faced with vegetarian and/or vegan, raw food and healthy meals challenges.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan
16

I wanted to create a dessert that looks clean and attractive. I thought of dark  brown, black colors on a white plate–simple, clean and sexy. Browsing through “Entertaining in the Raw” by Matthew Kenney I found a recipe of Chocolate Cake with Sweet Cherries, Spiced Cinnamon “Ice Cream”, and Cayenne Cacao Syrup.

I already had some chocolates tartellettes left, so I decided to use them (recipe below). Since it is not cherry season right now, I had to use frozen cherries. I can imagine fresh ones would have been so much better.

Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan
09

Herb Part:

1 bunch of parsley

1 bunch of coriander

6 scallions

6 middle size leaves of Romaine Lettuce

1 cup of pomegranate seeds

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

Lemon juice, salt, black pepper to taste

Creamy Part:

1 small zucchini

½ cup of soaked cashews (at least for 2 hours)

1 ts of saffron soaked in ½ cup of filtered water

1 clove of garlic

2 Ts (or so) of psyllium husk

Lemon juice, salt to taste

Start by soaking saffron to get saffron water for the creamy part.

Chop finely herbs and scallions, chop coarsely Romaine lettuce, and mix with olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper and pomegranate seeds.

Use Vita-Mix to blend until creamy peeled zucchini, cashews, garlic, lemon juice, salt and saffron water (saffron threads removed). Taste, adjust the seasoning.

Fold in saffron threads and psyllium husk to have the texture of cooked custard. It should be creamy, but not runny.

Fold in creamy part in herb part.

Fill quiche tarts with Persian filling and top with extra pomegranate seeds and saffron threads for impressive presentation.

Keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days, after that the tart gets soggy at the bottom. If kept separately and assembled before consumption, the filling keeps well for 4 days, and tarts keep well in a cool place for at least 2 weeks.

Jan
02

My Love Letter to Quiche

My Dear Quiche:

I was happy and excited from the moment I met you.  There is something so heartwarming and appealing about you.  You are so elegant, yet simple.  Versatility is one of your outstanding qualities

I want you to know that I truly fell in love with you from the first sight.

I heard some Wiki people talk about you.  They say you are a pastry crust, baked in an oven with custard.  The custard can be made of eggs and milk, cream, chopped meat, vegetables, or cheese.  Sometimes they bake you a bit before adding the custard, and then they bake you again. Once you are out of the oven, I have seen people put you on a small plate, then surround you with tomato slices or pastry cut-offs.

But regardless of what anyone says, Wiki people or others, for me, you are more than just the collection of the ingredients.  Your whole is so much more grand and wonderful than the parts.  You are an inspiration.

I love to eat you any time. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You are my favorite any time of day.

You may sit on a bed of greens and be eaten in sophistication with silver, or you may be held in hand and eaten on the go.

You taste delicious warm or cold.
And I love dressing you up.  You inspire me to come up with great ideas, and sometimes I can’t even resist how great you look with my specially invented crusts and fillings.

Sometimes you are so cute and petite, and sometimes when I am really hungry for you, you are so kind to allow me to make you big enough to fill a full plate.

You find admirers with all tastes and all over the world.
I never heard anyone bored with you.

And when I smell you, and sink my teeth into you for the first bite, I am in heaven!

My dear Quiche, thank you for being my favorite…and then you for being so delicious and good to my body!

I love you so dearly, my Quiche!

Olya

Dec
26

I was meaning to make Fruit Cake for quite some time and even did my research on ingredients and different versions of it, but never came around till now. I must say ingredient list can look intimidating at first. So one needs to be in the right mood to tackle the challenge.

For a while I wanted to make Fruit Cake but never came around to it until now.  I have been busy doing my research on ingredients and different ways of making it.   I must say ingredient list can look intimidating at first. So one needs to be in the right mood to tackle the challenge.

With the Holidays at the door, my willingness to get on with the job had a boost. Fruit Cake is one of those desserts that appeal to us during Xmas and New Year because it is rich and satisfying and looks very festive.

Another undeniable advantage of investing time and efforts in making it is that Fruit Cake (especially raw vegan version of it) had very long shelf-life:  ingredients like nuts and dried fruits are your pantry ingredients that, when kept cool, stay in good condition for quite some time.

Generally, Fruit Cake is a mixture of fruits and nuts with just enough batter to hold them together. Traditional, non vegan, non raw version of it, when wrapped in cloth and foil, saturated with alcoholic liquors regularly, and kept in tightly closed tins, may be kept for months or even years.

I haven’t searched for raw vegan recipes of Fruit Cake so I wouldn’t be able to tell if there are any recipes out there. Using my own instincts and culinary experience and my understanding of the basics, I was certain that I could come up with a recipe on my own.
I used my favorite nuts and dried fruits in it. The beauty of the cake is that by using different nuts and dried fruits you can get numerous versions of the dish. Just bear in mind the necessity of having at least 4 tastes (salty, sweet, sour, spicy) present in the dish, and I am sure you will have fun experimenting.

To make it more nutritional I have used super food ingredients: flax seeds and hemp seeds. I have ground them myself, but you can buy those seeds already powdered.  In addition to nutritional benefits, those ingredients have practical usage: hemp seeds add oiliness and a nutty flavor, and flax seeds bind ingredients together.

As for spices, I used a rather traditional mixture of spices that are associated with the Holidays: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. I also used anise star to poach figs and apricots. Of course it goes without saying that to keep in the spirit of everything-fresh-in-raw-food, I grind my own spices (except for cinnamon in most cases) to use them fresh and fragrant.
You don’t have to poach figs and apricots. I have poached figs and apricots since they are quite hard when dried and I wanted them to be little pockets of moist, tasty, and bursting with flavors of aromatic wine and spices bits that you find throughout the cake.

I used reduced Gewurtzraminer wine, to get rid of alcohol and condense wonderful aromatics that this grape variety has. Traditional Fruit Cake is made with infusion of Bourbon.

I also used sage. I just love sage: it is one of my favorite herbs. In this particular dish, sage brings it to a new level, adding savory quality and complexity.

The final result:

Dried fruits part

Black Mission Figs, 1 cup, poached in Gewurtzraminer and Rum with anise star and cloves, diced finely

Kalamata Figs, 1 cup, poached in Gewurtzraminer and Rum with anise star and cloves, diced finely

Apricots, 1 cup, poached in Gewurtzraminer and Rum with anise star and cloves, diced finely

Prunes, 1 cup, diced finely

Cranberries (version that is sweetened with apple juice), 1 cup

Raisins (mix of dark and golden), 1 cup

Batter part

Dates

Walnuts, 3 and ½ cups, soaked for at least 5 hours

Orange juice, 1 cup

Nama Shoyu, ¼ cup

Lemon juice, ½ cup

Agave, ¼ cup

Golden flax seeds meal, ½ cup

Hemp seeds meal, ½ cup

Spices and Herb part

Orange zest, 3 tsp

Lemon zest, 2 tsp

Orange essential oil, 10 drops

Vanilla extract, 1 tsp

Cinnamon, 2 Tsp

Nutmeg, 1 tsp

Allspice, 1 tsp

Cloves, ½ tsp

Ginger, powdered, 1 tsp

Nut part

Hazelnuts, chopped, 1 cup

Brazil nuts, chopped, 1 cup

Optional

Poppy seeds, ½ cup

Hazelnut oil, ¼ cup

Sage, fresh, minced, 2 Tsp

Cashew Glaze

Cashew sour cream, ½ cup

Coconut oil, melted, 2Tsp

Raspberry Glaze

Raspberries, fresh or frozen and thawed, 1 cup

Coconut oil, melted, ½ cup

Lemon juice, 2 Tsp

Agave syrup, 2 Tsp

Pumpkin pie spice mix, 1 tsp

Start by poaching figs and apricots in advance. Reduce 1 cup of wine and ½ cup of rum to ½ cup all together by boiling them. Add a couple of anise star, 4-5 cloves and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add dried fruits, turn off the heat, close the lid and let them sit in the liquid for one hour or so, gently pressing them down from time to time.

To make batter mix all ingredients, except for walnuts, flax seeds and hemp seeds meal in Vita-Mix until smooth. Put walnuts and date mixture in a food processor, blend until it is almost smooth, leaving it a bit chunky. Mix walnut-date mixture with flax seeds and hemp seeds meal in a big bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Add chopped nuts, dried fruits, poppy seeds, hazelnut oil and sage.

Line bundt cake mold with plastic and fill it up with the Fruit Cake mixture.

Dehydrate for about 5 hours at 135°F. Flip over straight on a dehydrator shelf, peel off the plastic, and dehydrate for another 12 hours at 105°F.The cake should be dry to the touch.

Decorate with the glaze and lemon zest.

Enjoy!

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