Archive for the ‘Raw’ Category

In Vancouver, we get about one month of summer each year. We spend our June-uary days in sweaters and jackets; I’ve even attended an early July fireworks celebration wearing a down vest and toque.

Just so you know, it’s not like this in all of Canada. We don’t live on ice floes with the polar bears. Many parts of the country, including other cities in British Columbia,  have lovely, sweltering summers.

When summer finally arrives here, it’s glorious – except no one has air conditioning. And I live on the second floor, where it becomes unbearably hot and airless. That means I avoid my oven like the plague and rely on refreshing salads like this one.

This cucumber salad is light and cooling, plus it only takes a few minutes to prepare, so I can spend more time languishing in the shade trying to beat the heat.

How often do you use your oven in the summertime?

Cool Cucumber Salad
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, soy-free, five ingredients or less

1 small cucumber
2 tbsp chopped green onion
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
salt to taste

Using a spiral slicer, mandolin or a sharp knife, cut the cucumber into very thin slices and toss them into a small bowl.

Add the green onion to the bowl, then drizzle the vinegar and maple syrup over the cucumber. Mix well, then sprinkle with salt.

Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Serves two as a side dish, one as a main.


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Raw kale isn’t for everyone. It’s a heartier, bitter green that most people prefer sautéed or tossed into stews.

I thought I didn’t like raw kale, but I was wrong. Turns out you just need to have it prepared in the right way. The trick is massaging the kale with lemon juice, which causes it to wilt as if you had lightly steamed it.

This salad is a beautiful mix of colours, flavours and textures. You’ve got the garlicky sweetness of the butternut squash combined with the lemony kale, along with tart cranberries. So fresh, so delightful.

Want to switch things up? Use sweet potato instead of butternut squash, or dried cherries to replace the cranberries. You could also use a different green, though kale is such a nutritional powerhouse I encourage you to try it just once!

What are your thoughts on kale? Do you like it raw, or can you only tolerate it cooked?

Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad
From The Taste Space

1 medium butternut squash (~3lb), peeled, seeded and chopped into one-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
couple pinches of sea salt

1 bunch kale, thinly sliced
3 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
pinch of sea salt

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar
¼ tsp sea salt, or to taste
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¾ cup dried cranberries

In a medium bowl, combine butternut squash cubes with the oil, minced garlic and sprinkle with sea salt. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Roast until fork-tender, but not falling apart (around 30-40 minutes).

Meanwhile, mix the kale, lemon juice and salt with your hands, massaging it together. It should wilt into half its volume after three minutes or so.

Make dressing by whisking olive oil, vinegar, salt, maple syrup and mustard together. Pour over kale, toss to coat.

When the butternut squash has finished roasting, remove from oven and let cool for five to 10 minutes. Add to kale and gently toss together. Stir in the dried cranberries. Season to taste.

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Looking for a quick and delicious way to use leftover pulp after juicing?

Head over to my guest post on the Making Love in the Kitchen blog for a yummy recipe!

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Despite its name, buckwheat does not contain wheat – it’s actually a fruit seed related to the rhubarb family.

Buckwheat is high in fibre and it’s great for your digestive tract, cardiovascular system and blood sugar levels. Though I’ve used buckwheat flour in the past, this was the first time I’ve tried it in its whole form.

This granola was beyond delicious. I loved the mild taste and crunch of the buckwheat, while the maple syrup created gooey, sticky and sweet clumps (which I love in raw granola).

When it comes right down to it, you could substitute any dried fruit, nut or seed in here. But I’d recommend that you try this recipe as is, because it’s wonderful – and I’m going to make double next time!

Choosing Raw Granola
From Choosing Raw

1 cup soaked and dehydrated buckwheat
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup gogi berries (optional, I had some on hand so I threw them in)
1/3 cup maple syrup or agave
1 tbsp coconut or flax oil
2 tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Whisk together the maple syrup, water, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt. Pour over dry ingredients and mix them well.

Dehydrate at 115 degrees for about 10-12 hours, or until granola is sticky but adhering firmly. Refrigerate till ready to use; this will help maintain crunch and texture.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, put the granola on a baking sheet in the oven at 250 degrees F for about an hour, or until it’s dry and crunchy.

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Raw chocolate is something I’ve wanted to tackle for awhile now.

But it seemed too intimidating, difficult, elusive. And – more importantly – expensive. There’s nothing worse than throwing out a costly, failed experiment that tastes horrendous.

I recently got a part-time job at a local health food store in my neighbourhood called Health on the Drive. I decided to treat myself to some raw cacao butter with my staff discount, which made concocting raw chocolate a little more affordable.

This recipe was surprisingly simple and the results were delicious. It really tasted like store-bought dark chocolate. Now that I’ve got the basics down, I can create a broad range of variations using chopped nuts, vanilla, orange zest, dried fruit, coconut, nut butters, mint. Any other ideas?

I put some of the chocolate into molds and the rest into a loaf pan. If you don’t have any molds, you could use a large baking dish and then chop it up later.

One thing I noticed is after the chocolates cooled, the bottoms turned slightly whitish. For the raw chocolate experts out there, any thoughts on why this happened? Was it the cacao butter crystallizing because I didn’t melt everything together thoroughly?

And if you’re experienced in making raw chocolate, please share tips and hints in the comments!

Homemade Raw Chocolate

120 grams cacao butter
70 grams cacao powder
50 ml maple syrup (or any sweetener you fancy)

Fill a small pot with an inch or two of water and bring to a simmer. Put the cacao butter, powder and maple syrup in a glass or metal bowl and place on top of the pot to create a double boiler.

Gently stir the ingredients until they melt. Then spoon into molds, or pour into a large baking dish lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for two hours, or until set.

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Can something taste exactly like sour cream when it isn’t?

Apparently, it can.

I was skeptical that these chips would have a traditional sour cream and onion flavour, but they completely did. They’ll bring you back to the days of junior high and summer camp (or whenever you used to eat sour cream and onion potato chips).

I’d advise having a toothbrush and toothpaste handy when you eat these, because they are so onion-y you’ll want to clean your mouth afterward.

Definitely not a pre-makeout snack, so consider yourself warned!

‘Sour Cream’ and Onion Kale Chips
From Chef Douglas McNish

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 to 3 hours
3 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp sea salt
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1 head of green kale
¼ to ½ cup filtered water

Tear the kale leaves into approximately two- to three-inch pieces.

In a blender, combine the soaked cashews, lemon juice, vinegar, onion, salt and 1/4 cup water until creamy and smooth. Sauce should be the consistency of a thick salad dressing. Add more water if necessary.

Toss the sauce with the kale until thoroughly combined and lay out on dehydrator sheets. Dehydrate at 105 degrees F for approximately 12 hours or until crispy.

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I was not a fan of cherries until I sampled some a few years ago at the farmers market and they rocked my world. Now I would eat them every day in the summertime, except they’re expensive for a daily treat.

Then last week I was thrilled to find a screaming deal on cherries at the market (less than $2 a pound). The first thing on my list was to make this smoothie.

This tastes exactly like a milkshake and you’ll think it’s far to decadent to be healthy – but it is! And it filled me up for several hours, too.

One thing I’d do next time is chop and freeze the cherries overnight, because the smoothie was room temperature and I prefer mine on the chilled, slushy side.

What’s your favourite summer fruit?

Raw Chocolate Cherry Malt
From For the Love of Food

¾ cup almonds (soaked overnight)
1 ½ cups pitted organic cherries
3 tbsp organic raw cacao powder
½ cup water or as needed to create smoothie consistency
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 ½ tbsp coconut oil or raw cacao butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean powder (optional)
dash sea salt

Add all ingredients to a food processor and enjoy!

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