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!

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!

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.

Stuffed Avocado, Raw Tomato Soup

Stuffed Avocad

Stuffed Avocado

Today was mostly fruit and salads (yeah, of course!) and very good they were too. I did, however, do a little (very little) preparation for a couple of dishes. The above Stuffed Avocado is one. This dish has been with me a while, over a year, since the first time I tried a Raw Food Diet (note those capital letters, my friends – it signifies how important I think this project is!). I saw the original recipe in Kate Wood’s Eat Right Eat Raw (and posted it with a photo on my Bean Vegan blog on Blogspot right HERE but of course, being me, changed it a bit right from the start, mostly by adding lime zest and lime juice. After that I started to do variations on the adaptation (as you see HERE).  The recipe lends itself to lots of experimentation and is not only simple but very forgiving.

STUFFED AVOCADO

For each avocado:
1 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds
1 medium carrot, chopped
4 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
1 tsp miso
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 slice onion
1/4 thai chili or ground cayenne to taste (you might want to adjust this down a bit – we like it hot!)
a shake or two of dried basil (or use fresh – I didn’t have any)
juice of half a lime or according to taste (or use lemon)
Garnish: handful of alfalfa sprouts, slice or quarter of lime, few strands of lime zest, whatever

Puree all ingredients except for the avocado and the alfalfa sprouts. halve the avocado, remove seed. Fill the hollow in each half with the mixture and then spread it across the avocado. Garnish with the alfalfa sprouts, top with the lime zest and add the lime to the plate for squeezing.

NOTE: You may have some of the stuffing left over – just refrigerate and use it for dip or sandwich spread or whatever in the next day. Delish.

VARIATION: Add a little Bragg’s Liquid Aminos/All-Purpose Liquid Soy Seasoning, skip the dried tomatoes, and/or use ginger as well as the chili. You can substitute an herb or herb mix of your choice for the basil – whatever. Just have fun with it – we do.

Raw Tomato Soup

Raw Tomato Soup

Now this Raw Tomato Soup is sinfully quick and easy – like making a smoothie. I got the orignal recipe from the same source, Kate Wood, and can only tell you that the soup is excellent. The only thing is that either she counted on very very large bowls to hold the soup or I had extraordinarily large tomatoes. (Well, I did have large tomatoes – humongous, in fact – but I could only use three of them instead of the twelve she asked for or I’d have soon run out of room in the blender. Best to guesstimate for yourself how many you need. I do wish she’d indicated by weight – or even cupfuls of chopped tomatoes. I shall weight how much is needed next time. I did make some slight changes to suit our taste and omitted the optional avocado (which Ms Wood said would make for a creamy texture). I didn’t think it or we needed the extra calories 😉

RAW TOMATO SOUP

12 tomatoes (but see note above re how many or how much really needed)
1 stick celery
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp raw agave nectar
3 Tbsp fresh basil leaves
2 or 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 or 2 dashes ground cayenne
2 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos/All-Purpose Liquid Soy Seasoning
8 fl oz water (or as little or much as you need to bring it to the right consistency)

Chop the vegetables and put everything into the blender and blend it until it’s smooth.

This soup was very very good – and we did finish the lot, despite it being twice as much as even these soup fiends would normally have at a sitting. I shall be working on the recipe to get it to our particular taste, but for this first time I made it reasonably close to the original (well, I upped the seasonings a tad) and would have been delighted to have it anywhere and anytime!

And now for my next meal . . . I have some portobellos in the fridge begging for something interesting to happen to them. I wouldn’t like to disappoint 🙂

Miso Ginger Mushrooms, Sesame Beans & Sweet Red Peppers

Miso Ginger Mushrooms

Miso Ginger Mushrooms

Today we thought we’d keep lunch (our main meal each day) simple, but somehow we ended up with four salads rather than the single one we’d planned 🙂 Not a bad thing!

In the photo above is my Miso Ginger Mushroom Salad which is mixed with a little Italian flat-leaf parsley, green onions, lemon zest  and grated ginger. At the last minute (so the mushrooms would stay crisp this time) I added a dressing made of dark miso, tamari (not raw, I know, but bear with me while I make the change to raw, okay?), lemon juice, a little rice vinegar, onion granules, garlic granules, salt and pepper – just enough to moisten the mushrooms without leaving dressing in the bottom of the bowl. Sadly, I didn’t keep track of the exact amounts used here, so will have to do that next time. The effect of the miso on the mushrooms was excellent, as was the fresh taste of lemon. It made a great accompaniment to the rest of the meal, including . . .

Sesame Beans & Sweet Red Pepper

Sesame Beans & Sweet Red Pepper

. . . this Sesame Beans & Sweet Red Pepper dish which turned out very blurry in the photo (sorry!) but was clean and fresh to the taste with a nice nutty under taste because of the sesame. I sliced the skinny green beans in about one-quarter inch pieces, diced some red bell pepper to about the same size and made a dressing to go over the lot. This was rice vinegar, a few drops of sesame oil, tamari , a dash or two of cayenne powder (some like it hot!), onion granules, garlic granules, and a little sea salt, etc.  I topped it with a sprinkle or two of garam masala and a teaspoon of sesame seeds, and the whole had a slightly south-east asian feel to it without upsetting the balance of the rest of the meal.  My husband pronounced it excellent, and I’ll be buying more green beans to perfect this recipe on Tuesday.

To accompany these we had a fresh Spinach Salad with Celery and Apple . . .

Spinach Salad With Celery And Apple

Spinach Salad With Celery And Apple

. . . dressed with just a little vinegar. And we had sliced Tomatoes & Basill to go with it – there are so many tomatoes out there this time of year that we have them at nearly every meal.

Tomatoes & Basil

Tomatoes & Basil

This salad was dressed simply – a little of this and that in the way of salt and pepper, a little crushed dried chilies, lemon juice and basil. The heirloom tomatoes have such wonderful flavour that we are going to feel devastataed when the season ends and we have to make do with ‘ordinary’ tomatoes from far far away.

At the end we more than satisfied, but we had saved a little space for some strawberries and blueberries – a lovely combination with a little cointreau to perk up their flavour.

Yesterday we did a re-run of the previous menu – the Terriyaki Zucchini Noodles and the Spinach and Thyme Soup and agreed, yet again, that Kristen Suzanne’s recipes are exceptional.

Here’s the noodle dish again, which had the red wine she recommends incorporated in the sauce plus the sweet red bell pepper of her recipe. This recipe rocks!

TeriyakiNoodlesPlated

And the previous day we ate the usual salads and marinated mushrooms etc. that I posted last time plus meals of fruit only. It suits us. But we do indeed intend to branch out a little (especially when all this lovely fresh produce isn’t so easily available). Preparing for that, I have ordered a couple of Kristen Suzanne’s books from Amazon.ca. What anticipation!

Tonight? Not quite sure. It’s that time and I think it will be a whole wheat tortilla wrap (not raw of course) with a filling of greens and maybe something else not raw (I still have some soy ham and cheese in the fridge). Baby steps!