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!

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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!

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!