Cajun-Spiced Portabellas – and so on.

Cajun-Spiced Portabella Mushrooms

Cajun-Spiced Portabella Mushrooms

Here is another episode in my ongoing Eating High Raw experiment – having skipped a couple of days or so along the way when meals were either eaten out (yes, raw, at our local vegan restaurant) or were leftover bits and pieces with predictable green salads. This mushroom recipe (yes, we’re mad about mushrooms) definitely deserved a pic and an enthusiastic comment! (I  hope you’ve noticed I’ve changed my spelling of these large cremini [also known as crimini, Italian, brown, etc.] mushrooms. While both Portobello and Portabella are supposedly okay, the Mushroom Council has adopted the spelling I’ve used in the caption above. I’m trying to remember to change.)

Yesterday’s mushroom dish was based on Kristen Suzanne’s “Cajun Portabellas With Wild Rice” recipe from her Easy Raw Entrees. Although I usually like to make a recipe according to the original the first time around, except perhaps for making a smaller quantity for just the two of us,  but in this case I nervously cut way way down on the amount of oil required for the recipe – and ran into a bit of a problem. I corrected it another way, but neglected to write down the exact amounts of ingredients, changes in procedure, etc. (I’m naming the dish slightly differently since I took liberties with the recipe.)

CAJUN-SPICED PORTABELLAS

Okay, here’s a rough idea of what this dish was about:

Portabella mushrooms cut into strips, salted and left to marinate in olive oil for a while. Chopped tomatoes. A mix of spices, onion powder, garlic powder, and various herbs. After tossing the drained mushrooms with the spice mixture, they were placed on dehydrator sheets for about an hour and a half, at which time I deviated yet again from the recipe and added the tomatoes, mixing them in with the mushroom slices, and dehydrated for about another half hour. A squeeze of lime finished it off. I doubt that they are like what Ms Suzanne intended, but they were very very good and I will make these again and write down exactly how I did it for this blog.

With the Cajun-Spiced Portabellas we had some old faves: Avocado and Strawberry Salad – which was these two remarkably delicious and compatible fruits dressed in a little raw cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar (not raw).

Avocado and Strawberry Salad

Avocado and Strawberry Salad

As you see, I simply heaped the avocado and strawberry mix onto baby spinach leaves. And we also had more of the thinly sliced Green Beans and Red Bell Peppers we enjoy so much.

Green Beans and Red Pepper Salad

Green Beans and Red Pepper Salad

We finished the meal with berries. Yum.

Berries - a good way to finish off.

Berries - a good way to finish off.

As you see, apart from the Cajun-Spiced Portabellas, the other dishes were reruns of dishes previously discussed here. We do like our meals fairly simple and we do have our favourite foods, depending on the season.

I should also point out (again) that not all my condiments are raw as yet, and I have no problem with that myself since I am aiming at ‘high raw’ (for me, about 80 to 90 per cent of daily calories raw), not at this time 100 per cent, although many days we have everything raw except perhaps the miso or soy sauce. There is such a thing as unpasteurized miso, but my health food guy is out of it right now, likewise unpasteurized soy sauce (nama shoyu), but I have had them highly recommended for their superior flavour too and will therefore persevere. Those who are 100 per cent strict about raw food should of course substitute their own raw seasonings and condiments for the non-raw ones they may see here ;)

Okay, more revelations (or whatever!) another time. Meanwhile, bon appetit!

Stuffed Creminis, Mushroom Soup, Red Cabbage & Apple Salad

Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms

Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms

In an earlier post I showed some wonderful Olive-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. Since I was making for only two persons I had, predictably, some of the stuffing left over. Well, it made a nice little snack on flax crackers, using it as a kind of pate, but there was still some left over and it was too good to ignore. Here came my Stuffed Creminis.

I wanted, however, to ring a change on the original stuffing – changing the balance of flavours for, well, for a change. What I did was add quite a bit more carrot and celery, some lemon juice and crushed chilies, and another handful of fresh basil – plus some other spices which I forget for the moment. Blended together with the left-over olive stuffing, this made a delicious stuffing for some smaller mushrooms. Into the dehydrator with them for 3 or 4 hourse, and we had the foundation of yesterday’s lunch.

To accompany that I decided on a Red Cabbage and Apple Salad to use up the last of a head of red cabbage that was weighing heavily on my mind. I shredded the cabbage finely in the food processor along with a big red apple, a tiny bit of onion, a hint of cayenne, some rice vinegar, a little mirin (agave nectar would have worked just as well) and a dash of ground cloves. Just right!

Red Cabbage & Apple Salad

Red Cabbage & Apple Salad

Okay, so it is a blurry photo, but you get the idea :)

Before I go I want to mention a mushroom soup I tried for the first time out of Kristen Suzanne’s soup recipe book.

Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup

As you see, it was rich and creamy and absolutely wonderful. More about this and other soups another time! But first a peek at two of her recipe books, new on my shelves (well, here on a spare chair in my study!).

Two Recipe Books By Kristen Suzanne

Two Recipe Books By Kristen Suzanne

You’ll be hearing more about these too – especially as I am, some few weeks into this Raw Experiment, delighted with this way of eating. I wouldn’t have believed it, but I find raw foods not only delicious on the palate but also kind to the body. Others had told me I’d be ‘converted’ to raw if I tried it, but I was a skeptic. Not any more. I am not, obviously, one hundred per cent raw. For one thing, many of my herbs, spices and condiments aren’t raw. And we still now and then choose to have from ten to fifteen per cent of a day’s calories in non-raw form. Right now it suits both of us just fine!

Sunset Soup

Sunset Soup

Sunset Soup

I originally posted a similar recipe to this one for Sunset Soup on my Bean Vegan blog last year – with this photograph. This recipe is slightly different, using golden beets instead of squash. I think I like it better! Anyway, we had it at suppertime a couple of days ago and we’re planning on having it again soon. Great soup.

SUNSET SOUP

1 orange
1 cup chopped raw carrots
1 cup chopped raw golden beet
3/4 cup raw cranberries (I used frozen)
1 Tbsp grated ginger root
1-1/2 to 2 cups water (This is approximate. Fiddle around until it’s the right consistency for you.)
1 Tbsp white miso
1 Tbsp Braggs aminos/all-purpose seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
salt (if needed) to taste

Zest the orange, remove the white pith with a sharp knife and discard, slice and chop the orange flesh, removing seeds as you go.
Put all ingredients (including the orange zest, unless you want to reserve a few strands for garnish) into your blender and puree, adding more water if needed to get to the desired consistency.

Garnish if you like with some of the orange zest – and a few dried cranberries are pretty if you forgot to save some of the fresh ones.

Olive-Stuffed Portobellos, Quinoa Tabouleh, Mushrooms & Green Beans in a Cheesy Sauce

Olive-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Olive-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

These Olive-Stuffed Portobellos were the key dish in yesterday’s lunch. I found a recipe in (you guessed it) Kate Wood’s Eat Smart Eat Raw that I thought I could adapt to our particular needs (lower calorie, lower fat content, lower salt). This is what I made:

OLIVE-STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS

2 whole Portobello mushrooms, stems removed

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 medium stick celery, chopped

4 oz (in weight) pitted kalamata olives

3/4 oz (in weight) sundried tomatoes

3 Tbsp fresh basil leaves

3 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley leaves

3 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp flaxseed meal

1 Tbsp tahini

Put everything except the mushrooms in a food processor and puree. Place the mushrooms topside down and spread the mixture on the underside. Put in the dehydrator at 115 F for 4 hours.

We ate ours as soon as it was ready (I had prepared everything in the morning, so that it was ready to come out of the dehydrator by lunchtime), faintly warm and seeming for all the world like something cooked yet with better and fresher flavour than any cooked food ever has. We had a crisp green salad with these.

Earlier in the week, I had wanted something to go with the last of the falafel I had made earlier. (It made too much for us to have, so I froze around half of them – worked fine.) 

Falafel

Falafel

Here you see the falafel drizzled with a tiny bit of tahini and served with lemon wedges.

Tabouleh seemed  like an obvious match for this dish, but of course there was what I perceived as the grain ‘problem’. Then I thought of quinoa. (If you don’t know this wonderful grain – a grass, really, but works just like a grain and stands in for all sorts of things like couscous, rice, etc., do seek it out – it’s pronounced keen-wah. In addition to being a near-perfect protein it has a delightful flavour, not too strong, which complements so many dishes and, wonder of wonders, it can be cooked in about 15 minutes. All hail quinoa! We love it!!)

But where was I? Oh yes . . .

I soaked some quinoa for a short while – around 3 hours then sprouted it for about a day until it started to grow cute little tails. I used this instead of bulgur wheat in the tabouleh – see below.

Quinoa Tabouleh

Quinoa Tabouleh

This was was pretty simple: Cilantro with a little parsley (finely chopped, a tomato in a small dice, a little finely chopped onion, a little finely diced red bell pepper, lemon juice, crushed chilies (they seem to get into a lot of things around here), salt and pepper. (Everyone has their own tabouleh recipe and mine varies from time to time. I’d have used some mint, but didn’t have any.) The tabouleh was a great success with the falafel and I also added some mushrooms and green beans in a ‘cheesy’ miso sauce.

Mushrooms & Green Beans In A Cheesy Sauce

Mushrooms & Green Beans In A Cheesy Sauce

The mushrooms were cut to bite size and the green beans cut across in 1/4-inch slices. The sauce was simply miso, tamari, rice vinegar, mirin, pepper, and  nutritional yeast. Another success :)

I also have a couple of delicious soups to tell you about, but that’s for another day. Happy munching!

Buckwheat Blueberry Scones, Dulse Crackers

Buckwheat Blueberry Scones

Buckwheat Blueberry Scones

These Buckwheat Blueberry Scones are from Brigitte Mars’s Rawsome recipe book (2004) under her more imaginative title of Berry Good Scones. I made half of her recipe (a habit of mine when I try something I wouldn’t normally make). This made around a dozen scones, and I certainly need to work on the shaping of these! They were supposed to be ’rounded triangles’ but I got something, er, quite other.

I sprouted a cup of buckwheat  for three days, used one banana, and something like 1/3 cup of soaked dates, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cardamon, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 cup fresh wild organic blueberries.

Leaving out the blueberries, I pureed the rest, mixed in the berries and put the mixture in spoonfulls onto dehydrator sheets for 4 hours, turning them over half way through.

These are delicious – and my husband, even wilder for buckwheat than I, ploughed into them with enthusiasm!

Dulse Crackers

Dulse Crackers

Now these Dulse Crackers are a different proposition altogether! Savoury and salt, thin and tempting, they are a good accompaniment to the kinds of snacks we like to indulge in before our evening meal and sometimes instead of a ‘regular’ evening meal.

This is one of Kate Woods’s recipes, from her Eat Smart Eat Raw book. I need 1/4 pound of oat groats, which I had to then soak overnight. I put these in the blender the next morning with 1 oz dulse (which is the lovely red seaweed which tastes like heaven. This doesn’t sound like a lot of dulse, but think: my packages of dulse come in 2-oz lots, which means half a pack, which is more than I usually use at once. Anyway, onward. 1 small onion, chopped, and 1 Tbsp miso. For this I used the red miso, but I think just about any kind you particularly like would work for you. A cup of water added to the lot in the blender and you’re off and running.

I spread this onto the dehydrator sheets in around 5 inch rounds, very thin, and dehydrated 6 hours, turned ‘em, and left them there for another 6. After complete cooling, I broke the rounds into 3 or 4 pieces each and stored the arty looking shards in an airtight container. They didn’t last long!

And now on to more experiments with the dehydrator!

Flax Crackers & Hummus, Portobello Salad & Green Beans

Flax Crackers

Flax Crackers

Here you have my first-ever Flax Crackers made in my new dehydrator! This was really a thread, because I thought they’d be harder to make (nope, sinfully easy), I thought the recipe was wrong (from Kate Wood’s Eat Smart Eat Raw book and it wasn’t),and I thought the wretched things wouldn’t turn out nice and crispy  (but they did). Miracle food – lovely rawncrackers with a minimum of effort and absolutely minimal ingredients!

Last evening for the FLAX CRACKERS, I used a little less water (about three cups) than the recipe called for (which was four) because I was nervous, and I soaked my raw sesame seeds for the better part of an hour rather than a quarter hour. Instead of the kelp in the recipe, I added a tablespoon of those kelp granules thata come in a shaker pack like salt or pepper. When all was nicely gluey from sitting, the mixture was spread over three non-stick sheets on the dehydrator trays and left for six hours and 115F, flipped over and left for another six. Below you see them after they’d cooled a little.

Flax Crackers (whole and broken for storage)

Flax Crackers (whole and broken for storage)

I broke them into random pieces when they were cooled and put them in a couple of air-tight containers until needed.

Today we had them with some Raw Hummus as you can see in the photo below.

Raw Hummus With Raw Flax Crackers

Raw Hummus With Raw Flax Crackers

This was a lovely combination. The RAW HUMMUS was simply a raw version of the hummus I have made for years – although this was a plainer version without chopped herbs. I used sprouted (for a couple of days) chickpeas, fresh lemon juice, a spoonful of tahini (can’t buy the raw kind), garlic, onion, paprika and cayenne – all pureed like mad until smooth as, well, as smooth as smooth. We really enjoyed this!

And for a main meal we had some lovely Portobello Salad with (click in here) Sesame Beans and Sweet Red Peppers which I posted a little while  ago.

Portobello Salad With Sesame Beans

Portobello Salad With Sesame Beans

The PORTOBELLO SALAD was portobello mushrooms marinated (in miso, tamari, rice vinegar, mirin, balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, garlic, green onion, chopped cilantro/coriander leaves, and ginger with cayenne) atop a green salad of spinach, English cucumber, celery and onion. Simple – and, by varying the ingredients in the marinade slightly and/or the proportions of them, it’s never quite the same but always good. Raw mushrooms are, I think, highly underrated!

And that, plus fruit (lots and lots of fresh raspberries and blueberries added in today) was my day of adventures in raw. Easy as anything, delicious beyond belief and fun to make!

See you tomorrow ;)

Falafel, Golden Beets & Carrots

Falafel (Raw Version)

Falafel (Raw Version)

This dish came as a surprise to me. I do so enjoy falafel, but I haven’t made it very often for some reason or other. Now going ‘raw’, I figured that would definitely be a dish which would be off the menu. Not so.

Thanks to Kate Wood’s Eat Smart Eat Raw Falafel recipe and my new dehydrator, my husband and I enjoyed falafel with a fresh green salad at lunchtime today.

The recipe required sprouted chickpeas, which I had prepared ahead of time, and some time in the dehydrator (I did them overnight), but otherwise was quick and easy. It used the chickpeas, tahini, a little olive oil, a bunch of cilantro/coriander leaves, a little tamari and lemon juice. The photo above shows them as I brought them out of the dehydrator this morning, and the one below shows my plate. Lovely!

Falafel as part of a salad meal.

Falafel as part of a salad meal.

The recipe made 20 of the little falafel darlings, as promised, and although I clearly have to work a bit on the shaping of them they were otherwise unproblematic in preparation and digestion. Lovely things!

Now yesterday was a pretty quiet day in our kitchen. What we did was have more salads and fruit, and for a change prepared a Golden Beet & Carrot dish to have atop a bed of baby spinach and some strips of Portobello mushrooms. Here’s my plate:

Golden Beet & Carrot Salad

Golden Beet & Carrot Salad

I should add that the dressing for these included ginger, freshly squeezed orange juice, a little vinegar and a very little sesame oil.

(If you’re wondering, I took the photo below to show that not all my breakfast smoothies have to be green. Yesterday I decided to keep it light – bananas and blueberries only. Frankly, I think I prefer my usual version of a breakfast with the green leaves, spirulina and flaxseed meal added, but a change is nice too.)

PinkSmoothie

And did I say I was eating fruit, fruit and more fruit? Believe it!

Already I have something purring away in the dehydrator for tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes. Back in a little while!

Tomato & Avocado Soup, More Salads, Dehydrator

Tomato Avocado Soup

Tomato Avocado Soup

This Tomato Avocado Soup is more or less a re-run of the one we had three days ago (see here), with a couple or so small changes. Kate Wood’s original recipe did indeed call for the avocado included here  but skipped by me in my first making of the soup. It really does make a big difference – makes it beautifully creamy and absolutely delicious! Also, my husband (whose endeavour it was this time) substituted maple syrup (not raw) for the agave nectar and added a little extra. A couple of tablespoons of Bragg’s raw cider vinegar also went in along with a little more basil than called for and an extra shake of cayenne. This one’s a keeper – just the way we had it today!

The rest of today’s meals were re-runs also: a red cabbage and apple salad with a sprinkle of raisins, heirloom green zebra tomatoes with lemon juice and garam masala, and mushrooms in a spicy cheezy sauce (which I’m busy perfecting and should post exactly one of these days). Here are some quick snaps I took.

CabbageAppleSalad

Mushrooms&Tomatoes

Well that proves it – still eating and enjoying raw! And oh yes we had a bowl of berries for dessert.

Now about that dehydrator I mentioned in the subject line above this post: We decided to take the plunge and get one sooner rather than later, and this Excalibur 2400 arrived yesterday afternoon.

New Excalibur Dehydrator

New Excalibur Dehydrator

It is pictured here with its door removed in order to show the four-tray setup. I have it on the corner of my kitchen table (I have a big table) – and my kitchen mascot has already confirmed acceptance of it by perching on top. (Gotta keep the kitchen gods happy.)

Today was frantic all round, almost busier than yesterday, hence the salads rather than something more adventurous from the dehydrator. We have promised ourselves to experiment with some recipes over the weekend, so stand by for good news or whatever.

And that wraps it up for now, except to confirm that breakfast was, as usual, a smoothie and a little more fruit. Isn’t the fruit wonderful in the northern hemisphere at this time of year!

Red River Raw Borscht, Avocado & Strawberries, Portobello Green Stack

RedRiverRawBorscht2

Red River Raw Borscht

This Red River Raw Borscht is my own recipe, adapted from my cooked borscht recipe (previously published on my Bean Vegan blog). We had it today for the first time in ages, and it surprised us both by being even better than we remembered. The fruit flavours blend beautifully with the beets, and the whole is fresh and summery in feel. Here you are:

RED RIVER RAW BORSCHT

3/4 pound red beets, peeled and chopped
1 large clove garlic
Two large handfuls of fresh spinach (I’d have preferred beet greens, but it’s late in the year for that)
1-1/4 cups cranberries (I used some I’d frozen earlier)
Zest, juice and chopped flesh of 1 orange (blood orange, if you have it)
4 sundried tomatoes, soaked and chopped (soaking liquid reserved)
Large handful dulse, lightly rinsed, chopped (other sea vegetable would be good, but I was keeping with red.)
1-1/2 tsp miso
2 or 3 dashes cayenne (optional, but it gives it a nice extra zip)
Enough water to blend the ingredients and to reach the desired consistency

Set a few cranberries aside for garnish, if you wish, and put the rest of the ingredients with the soaking liquid from the dried tomatoes and a cup or more of water into a blender. Puree well, adding more water as needed. Add any extra water to bring to your preferred thickness. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Regrigerate until needed, for a cold soup, or serve at room temperature.

Garnish with cranberries and, if you like, fresh herbs, etc. Serve with freshly ground black pepper.

And – oh yes, the name of the soup? My very first taste of borscht was in the late ’40s and came from the kitchen of a lady who had migrated to Manitoba from the Ukraine. The soup was strong (not raw and not, I recall, vegetarian), chunky, full of many wonderful things, and was like no soup I’d ever eaten before. I loved it! This soup is named in honour of that long-ago hospitality. Thank you, Mrs B.

Avocado & Strawberry

Avocado & Strawberry

This Avocado and Strawberry combination was served plain except for a tiny sprinkle of balsamic vinergar and the same amount of mirin. It was delicious.

The above dish accompanied another mushroom dish:

Portobello Green Stack

Portobello Green Stack

This was really just a glorified salad, but the combination of different greens amused me and I decided to photograph it for this blog.

I started out with a large portobello sprinkled with lemon juice, Bragg’s Liquid Soy (Liquid Aminos), and a few flakes of crushed chilies. Then I put layers of each of: basil leaves, sliced heirloom green zebra tomatoes (which are still green when juicy and ripe), slivers of onion, thin rounds of green bell pepper, and more of the tomatoes on top, interspersing the layers with more lemon juice and a little (very little) more of the crushed chilies.Thin slices of English Cucumber are around the edge of the plate.

The earthy taste of the mushroom and its chewy texture complemented the freshness of the green vegetables beautifully. It was not only tasty but fun to make and eat.

This raw adventure keeps getting better and better!

Curried Spinach, Tomato & Onion Salad, Green Breakfast Smoothie

CurriedSpinach2

Curried Spinach

The idea of a Spinach Curry (raw, of course) won’t be a surprise to anyone who has been following my other blog – Bean Vegan. My love of spinach is well known, although I don’t attribute as much power to it as Popeye. With me, it’s simply the lovely flavour of this vegetable that encourages me to eat it in more than many other greens. And spices, especially Indian spices, have for some years been included on a daily basis in our household. This continues now that I am trying out the raw way of eating.

There’s really no recipe for the dish above. What to say? I took about a bag and a half of fresh spinach (around 12 ounces in weight) and turned it into a puree along with garlic and onion powder, cayenne, cummin, coriander and garam masala.

Tomato and Onion Salad

Tomato and Onion Salad

To go with that we had – you guessed it – a chopped Tomato and Onion Salad in lemon juice and seasoned with a little cayenne and a good sprinkle of cardamon. Other combinations of spices would no doubt work very well too – I must work on this.

Afterwards we enjoyed a wedge of cantaloup. Excellent.

But while I’m on the subject of spinach, it’s time to ‘fess up to the smoothie we have most mornings here.

Morning Smoothie - Spinach, Banana, Blueberry

Green Smoothie

Call us unimaginative, but we enjoy this version of a Green Smoothie and find it kickstarts our day like no other. We use one banana, a cup of blueberries (frozen works just fine), a couple of handfuls of spinach, 2 cups of water, two tablespoons of flaxseed meal, two tablespoons of spirulina, a little stevia liquid (others might like to use raw agave nectar), and a few drops of coconut flavouring.

As you see, the combination strong of colours in the ingredients turns this smoothie into something that looks out of this world.

What’s on the agenda this evening? Our evening meal tends to be light unless we are dining out. Tonight, therefore, it looks like more Tomato Soup along with a salad either on its own or with a slice of something not-raw. Oh and some fruit. Always the fruit.

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