Monday, January 31, 2011

More Matthew

Leftovers from the weekend's pad thai were eaten in the form of collard green wraps for lunch today.  These were flippin' good.  (And yes, I do take make lots of goodies over the weekend, do a photo shoot in the daylight, and then pack everything up for the workweek. I am a weirdo. But a very prepared and well fed weirdo.)

I julienned (omg- I spelled that right on the first try!) carrots, red pepper and zukes to go along with the pad thai sauce and the cashew glaze.  I just love the versatility of collard greens.  (These are messy to eat, so keep an eye out for your favorite scarf as you snarf them down.)

The third weekend recipe I made from Matthew Kenney's Everyday Raw was Baked Macaroni and Cheese.  If I remember correctly (I was enjoying my weekend wine at the time), this recipe was simple to make.  One Vivian blend, a little Cook Help, and a tiny bit of time in the D (not necessary but fabulous) and this bowl of creamy goodness was ready to enter my mouth. 

A small serving was all I needed as it's pretty nut rich.  No, it doesn't really taste like the mac'n'cheese I remember, but it's a great substitute.  TH is not here so unfortunately I don't have a second opinion.  

And now, folks, let me admit once again my dessert problem.  (Keep in mind that my freezer is full of goodies.)  Last night I was scoping out Sweetly Raw and saw a new recipe for Dark Chocolate Mousse.  Quicker than my mom can log on to facebook, I was standing in front of Viv with the raw cacao bag.  W.O.W.  This recipe is amazing.  It calls for walnuts instead of the standard avocado that most raw foodies use in their mousse, and the difference is significant.  After I added a few chopped pecans and bits of chocolate caramel candies I was moaning with delight.  Even more exciting:  I was able to use of the last of some irish moss gel that may or may not have been starting to turn in the fridge.  (How do you know if irish moss is going bad?  It always smells weird so that doesn't help.)

Please excuse me, I must go taste this mousse again to see if I'm exaggerating. 

Question:   Do you collect anything interesting?  Or not interesting?  (I obviously collect desserts.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pad Thai-ish

I'm a sucker for new cookbooks, and I tend to buy them like I buy wine and books:  pretty labels/covers.  
image from

I've owned this recipe book for a while, but have done little with it but admire the gorgeous pictures.  Some of the ingredients are tricky to find, and the first recipe I made (potato salad) was kind of ehhh.

I pulled it off the shelf and jumped right in this weekend.  After making the chocolate chips yesterday,  I chose the recipe for pad thai.  Once again, major substitution was in order (olive oil for some of the sesame oil, lemon juice for lime juice, Tapatio for chiles, zucchini noodles for jicama and mung bean sprouts).  It still turned out delicious, and it was pretty easy to make. It made a huge amount, so I'll have lots of leftovers for work this week.

I also thumbed through another cookbook I haven't use in a while.  

image from

In the past I've made the:

  • Pineapple Icebox Dessert (delicious!)
  • Key Lime Bonbons (not my fave)
  • Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake (excellent)
  • Liquid Chocolate (hardens instantly when cold)
Today I made the Coconut Ice Kream.  (I meant to mix in some chocolate chips  at the end of the ice cream maker cycle, but the ice kream hardened too quickly.)

The flavor of this dessert is great, but the texture is kind of grainy.  I'm not sure if that stems from the cashews or the coconut flakes.  If I were to make this again I would add a tablespoon or two of sunflower lecithin in an attempt to gain a little creaminess. 

Question:  Does anyone know how to make raw ice cream without nuts or Thai young coconut meat?  

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Chocolate

I have been intrigued by Matthew Kenny's chocolate chip recipe from Everyday Raw for quite some time.  Raw chocolate chips.  Really??  The recipe looked like a pain in the butt, but it really wasn't!  I don't have a piping bag, so I used a Ziploc with a tiny whole cut in the corner.  (I think a piping bag would yield a prettier result).  The recipe made four D trays, which is exciting because they taste super delicious and hold their shape.

My first chocolate chip application was with Delightfully Raw's cheesecakes, which I found in the depths of the freezer.  Still yummy.  

Unfortunately I don't have all the necessary ingredients for Kenney's chocolate chip cookies (where does one find cashew flour?).  TH thinks that I should really read an entire recipe through before jumping in, to make sure I have all the ingredients.  I don't usually worry about this, as I am a highly qualified substituter, but I don't want to mess up a recipe involving my lovely chippies. 

Once again, my favorite part of this recipe was cleaning out the blender.  Warm chocolate anyone?  

Question:  Anyone know a replacement for cashew flour, that could work in raw cookies?  Coconut flour?  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Bad Case of the Januarys

It finally stopped snowing today, but I wouldn't know if it was anything but gray as we left for work in the dark and drove home in the dark.  One of our motion lights was turned off and while speedwalking across the porch for the outhouse (in the dark) I stepped on the base of a push broom and whacked myself in the noggin with the handle.  I want light back!  It's always this time of year that I feel January is never going to end.  I decided I needed to post bright, cheery pictures, in case any one else is suffering from the Januarys.

Question:  How do you feel about January?  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Whining about Winelessness

This week I decided to go back to my pre-Christmas break policy of wine only on the weekends.  I don't think it's all that great for my body to have wine each evening, especially not the ten second pour that TH serves.

Well, it has been harder than I imagined.  The teenage natives who migrate through my classroom on a daily basis have been significantly restless this week, practicing pre-mating rituals like Pencil-Grab-and-Hide and Everyone Look At Me Because I'm Doing Something Funny.

I've found myself wanting to break my self-imposed rules several times, but I've managed to hold strong,  in part due to replacing my wine glass with a bottle of kombucha.

I find it interesting that the entire bottle of Synergy only has 4 grams of sugar.  It tastes so sweet to me.  Does anyone know how to explain this?

Now that I'm not drinking workweek wine, I can actually remember what I ate all day (just kidding!!).  For breakfast I had my usual green smoothie, which looks a little purple due to frozen cherries and chard. 

Lunch involved Russell James's Nut-Free Bread, veggies, hummus, and olive tapenade (recipes from Raw Food Real World).  

My pre-P90X snack was buckwheat cereal (Raw Food Real World again) and Pacific Natural Foods hemp milk (didn't have time to make my own).  

(old picture)

While making dinner, I ate my weight in greens (in the form of kale chips). 

Do a post-munch teeth check if you are eating these in public. 

For dinner I ate my normal giant salad, this time covered in hemp dressing from Delightfully Raw.

I'm thinking dessert will be mango sorbet.  

Question:  What kinds of rules do you hold yourself to?  Are they hard to follow?  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Viv Goes to Town, Part 2

As I was saying, my kitchen was mayhem over the weekend.  I love experimenting with new recipes, and I was intrigued by Russell James's Tomato and Macadamia Mozzarella Linguine because:

a.  I relish every opportunity to say "mozzarella" in a thick, Italian accent (you know you want to...)
b.  It involved making veggie noodles (hello, Cook Help!)
c.  I could make a pasta tower!
d.  One must drink wine while eating (and making?) pasta.

This recipe was enjoyably creamy, but maybe a little bland.  I added a lot of red pepper flakes to compensate.  I also didn't have any fresh basil, which probably would have helped.  

The next thing I made was Cafe Gratitude's Coconut Curry Soup.  This recipe is a keeper.  It had that perfect Thai restaurant curry flavor, even though I had to substitute coconut flakes blended with water for the young coconut the recipe called for.   I had it again for lunch today over veggie noodles and it was really yummy.

For a dinner party dessert I knew I needed to make something fabulous and appealing to a mainstream group of eaters.  Here's how I got busy with the springform.

Layer 1:  Chocolate coconut crust from Pure 2 Raw's Grasshopper Pie
Layer 2:  Caramel sauce #2 from Sweetly Raw's Just Desserts 
Layer 3:  Nutless Chocolate Creme from Sweetly Raw's Just Desserts
Layer 4:  Whipped Cream from Sunny Raw Kitchen's Banana Chocolate Cream Cake
Layer 5:  Chocolate caramel candy bits: 
  • Spread a layer of chocolate (1/2 cup raw cacao, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup melted coco oil, dash of vanilla and sea salt) on wax paper and freeze
  • Layer Caramel Sauce #2 on top and allow to freeze
  • Add another chocolate layer, freeze, and chop to bits.

This pie, which I am calling "Are You Kidding Me?!", was devoured after a blissful sauna.  I barely escaped the raving fork-wielding mob with a piece intact.   Seriously fabulous.  

Question: Do you have a recipe that you rely on consistently as a crowd pleaser?  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Viv Goes to Town, Part 1

Sometimes I wonder if Viv ever gets tired.  I made her earn her keep today!  (TH wants to buy me earmuffs,  to protect my ears.  I made him happy by wearing my earplugs.)

We had lovely smoothies this morning, chock full of chard, frozen bananas, mango, mandarins, spirulina, protein powder, and coconut oil.

Then Viv and I did our thang, getting yummies ready for the workweek and for dinner at a friend's this  evening.

I have good news to report.  The bread that I was so worried about yesterday tastes a lot better with toppings.  

Russell James's Nut Free Bread
Delightfully Raw's Tomato Sauce 
Russell James's Macadamia Mozzarella
Olive Tapenade from Raw Food Real World
Shrooms marinated in Bragg's, garlic, and EVOO

I also made two new-to-me kale chip recipes.  BBQ (yummmm) from Raw Candy and Wasabi  from Affairs of Living.  I was looking for something nut free and delicious and these two recipes delivered the goods.  I think I will use more wasabi powder for the second recipe next time.  (I know liquid smoke and wasabi are probably not totally raw, but neither am I!) 

Of course I took full advantage of the opportunity to make dessert for raw curious friends.  I went with the springform mode once again, layering a chocolate crust with caramel, avocado chocolate mousse, whipped cream, and chocolate caramel candies.  I think it's too soon to remove the springform, so I will return with a full bite by bite report tomorrow. 

I need to head out the door, so Vivian's escapades will be continued at another date.  Have a lovely evening!  

Question:  Have you ever accidentally started your lidless blender (full of liquid) with your husband sitting in exactly the wrong place?  

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Raw Bread: Too Good to be True?

TH was out running errands this morning so Scott Simon and I spent some time in the kitch, making "bread".

(Secret:  I have a major crush on the NPR Weekend Edition host.  I've always avoided looking at an actual picture of him, just in case he's not my type.  In my imagination he is an older, distinguished gentleman, with wavy salt and pepper hair, crisp blue eyes, a coy/smirky smile; pure elegant ruggedness in a fisherman sweater, relaxed khakis and sensible shoes.)

The recipe, Nut Free Bread,  was from Russell James's website.  The ingredients dominated my FP, and I had to add items, process to make room, and then add more ingredients.

Now, I am willing to take full credit for doing something wrong, although this was a rare occasion where I followed the recipe (basically) to a T.   Russell advises putting the bread dough in the D overnight, so one is not tempted to eat it before it is done.  Don't have to worry about me getting the raw-bread-dough-munchies, Russell.  The dough tastes a bit like sundried tomato flavored chalk.  

I'm really hoping this tastes better to me when it's done, because it filled three trays. I have no more freezer room for recipe disasters that "maybe someday will taste better".  

On a side note, when Scott Simon invites me to the NPR Christmas party I am going to have a dress commissioned, inspired by this stalk of rainbow chard.

Question:  What do you do when a recipe isn't too your liking?  Do you try to fix it by adding different ingredients, or do you give up and feed it to your hubby disguised in layers of cheese?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Filled to Capacity

My freezer is full of chocolate bliss! 

But I felt like something a little lighter this evening.  (Might have something to do with the pound of roasted Brussels sprouts I inhaled alongside a mountainous salad for dinner.)  I had a pile of softening mangos and a bitchin' ice cream maker at my disposal, so I opted for mango-banana sorbet.

Into Viv I tossed:

2 mangos
1 banana
a couple squirts of agave

That mixture went into the ice cream maker and fifteen minutes later I was sharing a bowl of the tropics with TH.  

Question:  How often do you have dessert?  Once in a while, once a day, once a meal?  


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How Do Mermaids Have Babies?

Just had to share the research question posed by one of my students today.  

The Veggie Hemp Burgers from Delightfully Raw I made yesterday received rave reviews from TH. (Served with RAWvolution's raw ketchup (yum!), spinach, and onions, sandwiched between raw crackers.)  Carmella- you have made my "Me want meat!"  hubby a raw food enthusiast.  I was so excited to have one for lunch today.    It was everything I wanted from a veggie burger:  hearty, moist, flavorful.  

After work I snacked on nori crisps, which put the fun in funky (looking).  I cut nori sheets into squares and topped them with a little Raw Goddess dressing (posted by yasi on Raw Food Talk).  I put them in the D at 105 for about 6 hours, and then tried to save some for later.  The tang of the vinegar, bite of the garlic and the nuttiness of the tahini go really well with the nori.  

Dessert will be green and brown this evening.  If you prefer treats on the minty, not-so-sweet side, then stop by my cabin because I have plenty to share! 

Question:  How DO mermaids have babies?  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Viv Likes Irish Moss

I am excited to say that success was mine in my first ever Irish moss experimentation!  I followed the directions from Delightfully Raw to make a gelatinous paste.  Basically it involved a lot of rinsing, soaking and blending.  (Not the most water saving ingredient.)  Mixed up with the Irish moss was a lot of sand, some dirt (?), a little fishing line, and tidbits of anchor rope.  What the heck?  You would think for the price someone could at least pick out the inorganics before mailing it to me.

Anyhoo, I decided to try out my wad of paste (which, unfortunately, looks like something that could get a girl pregnant) in Raw Grasshopper Pie from Pure 2 Raw.  I'm loving this Irish moss business.

The crust on this pie was delish.  I was happy because it was nut free, and tasted like chocolate cookie crumbs. 

The banana cream layer was lovely, but I was kind of "eh" about the mint layer.  I had to add a little sweetener as it didn't call for any and my sweet tooth did not approve.  All together, with a little improvised raw chocolate chips (1/2 cup cacao, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, dash of vanilla and sea salt), the pie was yummalicious.  Thank you Pure 2 Raw!  

It warmed up to -10 today, so we set out on a walk to feel the sun on our faces. 

A little dehydrated quiche warmed us right up post-walk.  It's actually quite rich- I ate the missing wedge and then had to revert to raw veggies.  

Question:  Do you think Irish moss is stinky, or that it smells like fresh, salty, sea air?  

Monday, January 17, 2011


When I woke up this a.m. the thermometer outside my house read -20.  That gave me the excuse to lie in bed reading until 10, and then to make some goodies.  I love days off.

I flipped through Raw Food Real World with my morning smoothie and decided to make a few new recipes.  First I made Flatbread Pizza, using some cracker/pizza wedges I had in the freezer.  I thought the cashew hummus was a little bland, but when combined with the olive tapenade, olives, tomatoes, and cukes, the overall effect was magnificently Middle Eastern.  TH and I had a slice each for lunch, and promptly decided to have it again for dinner.

Combined with the Warm Cherry Tomato and Sweet Corn Salad (also from Raw Food Real World) and the last piece of layered chocolate pie, a more delicious dinner I could not imagine. 

Hope you enjoyed the holiday!  

Question:  What would you do on a day off if it was -20 outside?   

Sunday, January 16, 2011


(Have I mentioned that I really want to be one of those clever individuals who thinks of cutesy names for raw food?)

My eats today felt un piccolo Italiano.  I was in the big city visiting a friend, so I made my customary stop at Freddie's to hit the olive bar.  

I also had pasta with zuke noodles and sauce from Delightfully Raw

Yesterday my girlfriend and I were at Natural Pantry in Anchorage.  When I go there I let myself choose one raw snack food item to sample, as they are so pricey and I think I make pretty darn good snack foods myself.  This time I bought granola bars made by Two Moms in the Raw.  We were really hungry and quickly tore into this bag.

My non-raw friend thought they were lovely, and my verdict is the same. The bars somehow tasted hearty and light at the same time.  The sweet/salty ratio was also enjoyable.  Nice job Raw Moms! 

Up until last week I'd been on a hiatus from P90X.  I was able to run and do yoga daily while in Mexico, and then I enjoyed a week of skiing/yoga when we returned.  My X comeback has been hard!  Today during legs and back I had to go to my happy place to get through iso toe lunges.  

Question:  What's your favorite way to exercise?  How do you get through hard workouts?  

Ta-ta, I'm off to my to my happy place!