Have I mentioned this? I’m going to try the raw food thing for a month! That completely immersive and beautiful dinner we had at Pure Food & Wine back in September left a pretty serious impression on me. It was so innovative, colourful, satisfying and, most importantly, life-giving. I didn’t feel like a half-drunk, belly-aching, lumbering bear clambering around in the streets afterward. Sometimes destination restaurant experiences have that sleepy after-effect, but not this time. We had three courses, cocktails, the whole bit, and just bounced right outta there afterward without missing ANY sort of beat. I’m pretty sure I observed out loud at least 7 times how awesome and vibrant I felt.
I’m not a stranger to raw foods or anything, but I wanted to give the lifestyle a very sincere effort for a lot of reasons. I feel like my creative nature might need a slight kick in the pants–just been in steady resting mode with foods and preparation methods lately. Certain constraints seem to reveal a whole new world more often than not–i.e. travel, changing careers, using twitter as a communication medium IN GENERAL etc. You can lose those everyday crutches and gain a new set of tools/capabilities once you decide that the lead-up actions are worthwhile. Any shred of personal growth is so valuable to me, so yep, I dug out the dehydrator and bought myself some lucuma.
It’s also a bit of a control readjustment thing. The house and its updates are kind of maddening/sad-party some days (but also really great in a future-thinking sense–not complaining, dudes). I’ve been reaching for what my man calls a “poor man’s mocha” more often than I’d care to admit (it’s like ordering a coffee and then asking that half of the cup be taken up by hot chocolate–I know sooooo sneaky). There’s a lot of hastily grabbed snack-y foods that are less than virtuous floating around. I figure a new mindset/mission is what I need to take the power back. I get to a point almost every day where I pause in the middle of some glamorous task like piling up smelly old floor boards outside, and I think “Aaaah, maybe I’ll just like, make sure I eat a salad before I go to work…?” That doesn’t usually pan out. It’s just an overall operating-at-75-percent kind of thing, in the efforts put forth and the results, that’s bothering me. I’ve never been a 75 percent-er, ever, so it’s time to change and work outside of my comforts a bit. Simple as that.
And the last obvious thing: it’s for my health, duh! I’m excited to feel a bit more in tune with my body and this magnificent, consistently humbling earth. It’s pretty crazy to think about the amount of energy you can just weave into the fibres of your being by simply eating. And the land provides! I’m excited to make beautiful things happen, and to feel a bit more spring in the heels. Also, no shame, a bit of this.
So yeah! Gonna try it all out, learn a few things, make some stuff. Just living and working with a bit more intention is all. This little snack came to me while I was flipping through Sarma’s amazing book. She has a version with jicama for the rice portion, which sounds really fresh and lovely. We have celery root everywhere and I love its lightly sweet, fresh, creamy celery-ish taste. I thought it would be mind-blowing all rice-d up in an autumnal nori roll (or sushi if you aren’t gonna be all crazy concerned about cuisine terminology usage) situation with some dressed carrots, dill and dijon. The combination was pretty solid–nice and crunchy, bit of chew from the nori and zing from the mustard. My dad grew some mighty fine carrots in his garden this year–so sweet and flavourful. The dill is vibrant and green out there too, despite negative temperatures at night. Thankfully, it all just grows and goes together. Nature, seriously!
See you next week with some more raw goodies, loves! xoxo
raw autumn sushi w/ celery root “rice”
with vegetable-based rice guidance from Raw Food, Real World
special equipment: A sushi mat! These can be had rather inexpensively.
serves: makes about 18-24 rolls, depending on how thick you lay the rice mix in
notes: I coat the celery root chunks in lemon juice pre-processing to prevent any sort of browning. Also, it’s fun to have the leafy bits of sprouts sticking out the ends of the rolls. Pretty presentation!
celery root rice ingredients:
3 cups diced (peeled!) celery root
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
splash of rice vinegar
splash of raw agave nectar OR raw honey
fat pinch of sea salt
1 large OR 2-3 medium carrots, peeled + cut into matchsticks
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp za’atar
little handful of fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt + pepper
3-4 sheets of nori (there are raw brands available, if you are concerned)
1 ripe avocado, sliced
extra dill sprigs + the little seedy flowers if you got ’em
big handful of sprouts (sunflower is my fave)
nama shoyu/coconut aminos to serve
Toss the diced celery root with the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Throw the pieces into the food processor along with the pine nuts. Pulse/run the motor until the nuts and celery root become rice-sized. Scrape all of that out into a medium bowl. Toss the “rice” with the rice vinegar, agave/honey and salt. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, toss the carrot matchsticks with the lemon juice, za’atar, dill, dijon, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Line up your nori sheets, sliced avocado, sprouts, dill bits and pour your coconut aminos/nama shoyu in a little serving bowl.
Lay a nori sheet, rough side facing up, on your sushi mat. Make sure the lines are going horizontal. Spoon some celery root rice onto the bottom third of the nori. Spread it to all the corners, packing it down. You should have a solid layer of the rice with minimal gaps. In the middle of the rice, lay some of the carrot mixture down. Top that with dill, avocado and sprouts.
Now, grabbing the bottom edge of the sushi mat with your thumbs and simultaneously pushing the sushi filling in with your fingers, start rolling it up. After you’ve enclosed the center bits (carrots, avo etc), clamp down on the roll to firm it up a bit. Continue rolling, firming up the shape of it as you go. Moisten the last little edge of the nori with water on your finger before you completely roll it up, just to seal it a bit.
Cut the roll in half. Then cut those halves into 3 evenly sized pieces each. Repeat with remaining nori, rice, carrots etc. Serve it up with the nama shoyu or whatever you like.
Rather than bore you with details of the constant wallpaper scraping and other real-life, highly repetitive, and very zen activities of new home ownership (maybe I should blog about it?!), I’m going to talk about doughnuts instead. AW YEAH. Glazes and sprinkles and yums and AALLLLLL that. Let’s do it.
My bud Ashley from The Edible Perspective is an expert on the subject of doughnut making and even better, she knows her way around some higher vibe doughnut making as well. So she developed, tested and photographed a book‘s worth of content about it and the results are so, so great. I had a doughnut pan kind of languishing in the back of a cupboard for a long-ass time. I had bought the cookbook from a very high profile bakery with the hopes of executing their healthed-up doughnuts at home. So I bought the pan and tried the recipes out. Multiple attempts and total BS results each time. I’m not saying I’m an expert or anything (and neither would Martha apparently)(PS: COME ON), but I do know my way around a kitchen and some of the more freaky-funky-granola-type ingredients. I finally reasoned that the problem lied in the recipes themselves, and that some things should be left to the pros.
Then Ash sent me a copy of her book. Let’s talk about changing the game entirely. Her combination of flours makes for a pretty wonderful texture, without all the expensive gums that can be ubiquitous in gluten free baking. Her advice and approach comes from a place of experience, warmth and accessibility. I always appreciate her encouraging and authentic voice in blog land, so was really excited to see that translate in a real, printed work (high five, girl!). The potential for innovative flavour combinations is showcased to the utmost through the pages. There’s doughnut cakes, savoury treats, ice cream, and! She even thought of my sweet pup with a recipe for peanut butter and pumpkin doggie doughnuts. Cute right? I went with her vegan maple doughnuts and a version of her tahini maple glaze for toppin’. We were out of tahini so I went for almond butter and a complimentary fat pinch of sea salt to work its magic with the maple. So, so yummy.
Anyway, I’d like one of you to have some doughnut fun at home, so Ash is letting me give away a copy of her book, Baked Doughnuts For Everyone(plus a dope set of measuring spoons)! All ya gotta do is tell me what your favourite doughnut is in the comments. Mine? The grapefruit and candied ginger one from Pies ‘n’ Thighs in Brooklyn ranks pretty high. Prior to that, I was more of a classic raspberry jelly-filled kinda gal. But I promise if you bake me any of the goodies from Ash’s book, I’ll pretty much be your bestie for life. Yep, they’re that good. I’ll close the giveaway next Monday (the 28th), so tell me about your faves, people! (Note: giveaway is open to US, Canada + UK residents only) THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED, PEEPS :)
vegan + GF maple doughnuts with salted almond butter glaze from Baked Doughnuts for Everyone by Ashley McLaughlin
special equipment: a doughnut pan, silly!
serves: makes 8-10
notes: I went in with chopped pecans and pumpkin seeds to top mine (nature’s sprinkles!), but cacao nibs, chopped dried cherries or any other nut/seed would be lovely.
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
2 tbsp evaporated cane juice
2 tbsp almond meal
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp neutral oil (like sunflower or grapeseed)
2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
salted almond butter glaze ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp almond butter
2-3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
pinch of cinnamon
fat pinch of sea salt
+ chopped nuts and seeds to garnish if you like
Grease your doughnut pan(s) and heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, sweet rice flour, cane sugar, almond meal, coconut flour, ground flax, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk to fully combine.
In a small bowl, combine the almond milk, applesauce, oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk to fully combine.
Pour the liquid components into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Fold it all together with a spatula until just combined (or until you don’t see dry flour bits anymore). Spoon the batter into your doughnut pan (or fill a ziploc bag with the batter, cut off a corner and pipe it into the pan). Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into one of the doughnuts comes out clean. Gently remove the doughnuts from the pan and allow them to cool thoroughly.
While doughnuts are cooling, mix up the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the glaze ingredients until you have a smooth mixture.
Once cool, dip doughnuts into the glaze and return them to your cooling rack so the glaze can harden a bit. Press any chopped nuts/seeds etc into the glaze at this point.
I found out that our new house was a done deal when I was at work. In the moment, I was thrilled and hugging basically everyone that entered my line of sight. The sorta stress-y negotiation bit was behind us and whoa! We would have a house soon. When my shift was done, I drove home down all of the empty country roads. I was getting ready for bed when I started feeling choked up and teary eyed. It wasn’t because of barely-containable elation either. I was overwhelmed at the thought that my life would be completely different, that the change in my day-to-day would be so great. Renovation projects would replace weekends away. Savings plans for anticipated future expenses would take precedence over any sort of prolonged travel (and certainly over a new pair of ankle boots). Our new, but seriously very old, home would demand some priority rearrangement.
That overwhelmed feeling washed away soon enough, pretty much right after a cry-fest where I told my mom that I didn’t want to “live like a gross hobo” because our creaky character home was going to bleed us dry. Everyone has assured me that these things take time and that it’s insane to try and tackle everything at once. I’m slowly beginning to accept their advice.
We got the keys last week and I’ve been working on the absolute terror of a garden/yard with my mom every day while the weather’s decent. We’ve made progress on the two years of wild neglect out there. There’s an ex-pond feature buried under piles of rocks, tarp and dirt. Grubs in the grass. Weeds that come up to my neck. Trees and shrubs so out of control. Lots of half-baked plans that need cleaning up and a fresh start. My mom is a serious badass, so we’re getting there.
There was a giant yew in front of one of the dining room windows. The house is starved for natural light and this thing was in ugly shape, so the plan was to take it down–maybe with the help of a professional. There were bees lightly buzzing around this thing when we rolled up to it one morning, so the possibility of a nest forming had entered the picture. So my mom starts trimming it down. The bees are stirring/swarming a bit more. Then she started laying into it with a hacksaw and a THIS ENDS NOW kinda vibe. I’m keeping busy cleaning up the branches when a bee lands right on my hand. Feeling the buzzz and seeing it’s little wing flicks, I yelped and leaped away, waving my hands around.
At this point my mother had sawed the entire thing down, glanced only slightly shamefully at my wussy ass, pointed a finger straight at my face, and said “You need to toughen up.” LIFE LESSON MUCH?! Told ya she was a badass.
This soup is only slightly related to the backbreaking insanity that I just described. It’s cooled off a bit, so the thought of hot soup and a crust of bread after some time spent outdoors is rather appealing. I love fennel with leeks and apples in a salad situation, all sprinkled with toasted + chopped walnuts, so I thought a warm version of that might feel just right. Turmeric is kind of an anti-bad-vibe shield for inflammation of all kinds, so a hefty spoonful of that went in for my achy muscles. It dyes the soup mustard-yellow, which is kind of cheerful in its own special way. I pre-toast the walnuts in the pan, simmer them along with the veg and purée them into the soup itself. Insane toasty walnut flavour comes through with all of the leeks, fennel and lightly sweet apple and makes the whole thing a touch creamier. Kinda awesome.
leek, fennel, apple + walnut soup with turmeric
notes: Have you cooked with turmeric before? Be careful, friends. It dyes any and all things bright, acid yellow–LIKE FOREVER.
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
3 leeks, white + light green parts chopped (discard green tops or use them for stock)
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves minced
1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped (reserve a few fronds for garnish)
1 medium apple, peeled, cored + chopped
1-2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
salt + pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
fresh black pepper
reserved fennel fronds
more toasty walnuts
Heat the grapeseed oil in a large soup pot over medium. Add the chopped leeks and thyme. Stir and sauté the leeks until they are a bit soft, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped fennel and apples. Stir everything up a bit. Add the turmeric and stir to coat all of the vegetables evenly. Sauté the vegetables until the fennel is starting to soften, another 4 minutes. Add the walnuts and stir them in. Season the whole thing with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable stock and stir.
Bring the pot to a boil and simmer until all of the vegetables/apples are very soft, about 12-15 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat. Carefully blend the mixture in batches until totally smooth. Check the soup for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Bring the puréed soup to a boil and serve hot with drizzles of maple syrup, fresh black pepper, fennel fronds and more toasted walnuts.
I had huge plans to do a 4-5 day juice feast/fast this week, I was almost treating it like no big thang. I’ve done it before and it felt like my body was kind of hankering for it. “We have tons of greens in the garden and a tree full of apples. I’ll only need a couple things. It’ll be sooooo easy.” I had ramped up my consumption of raw fruit and veg in order to ease into it and then… it was the weekend.
Lots of driving around with Mark for new house stuff, lining all the things and services up, road snacks + coffees, thoughts of demolishing the kitchen completely and follow-up, dread-tinged thoughts of assembling IKEA cabinets with an Alan key and hopefully a beer nearby, stressing about the heap of things to move and the mere existence of the heaps of things. I’ve purchased a preparatory economy-sized bag of chia seeds, a party box of wine glasses, various hydrangeas, and a new food processor. We still don’t have a bed. Packing up your life and moving onto a new thing. Throwing work into the mix and all of those other weird things like trying to get an adequate amount of sleep. It’s a lot. One week from today until it’s really real. Five days of liquified vegetables have to wait.
And, kind of hilariously, I’ve been beating myself up over it. Every snack and meal has been inwardly justified by a need to build up some energy stores (or whatever you’re building up when you’ve been eating hella chocolate-covered raisins). We managed to get a lot of things checked off the list over the weekend, but there was still plenty of salty snack eating while we marathoned The League on the couch. Oh, and that night I came home way past my usual dinner time after spending a whole day road-snacking and made myself a huge bowl of pasta and promptly went to sleep afterward. Totally not my style. Totally was thinking about my dashed plans for juicy-ness, mostly guilt-tripping myself over it and not getting any closer to that “Whooo-ey, so detoxed and vibe-y” feeling.
All of that stuff is so dumb though. It’s just life happening at the pace of life. Sure, a juice fast might help me rule the world a little bit more, but knowing when and how to prioritize certain things is going to keep me in a better spot long-term. So I stopped believing my own bullshit and started focusing on being here and being completely okay with being right here. This article from Kate Bartolotta, guys. Pro tip: read it.
I ate something like this when we were in NY (along with, yes, lots of excellent green juices). It was a little starter/small plate, but it was easily my favourite thing of the whole trip. Just perfectly steamed cauliflower with a super refined coconut-milk curry sauce at the base of the plate and crunchy bits on top. I knew I could fix that up with ease at home and add a few personal preference-driven changes. I bust up the romanesco into large-ish pieces and roast them for a bit of golden crust. I fix up the curry sauce portion like I normally would, but strain it out to keep it easy on the eating front. The pieces are bathed in that rich, fragrant, and lightly golden sauce. As you cut them up, you can kind of drag the pieces through the curry sauce, maybe throw some cooked grain into the mix if you like. Anyway, it’s easy and warming. Total feel-good eats for right now.
roasted romanesco curry with lemongrass + marcona almonds
serves: 3-4 as a main + maybe 6ish as a side?
notes: If you decide to steam this for that more pure + virtuous vibe, place them in your steamer basket and let ’em go for about 9-11 minutes. Remove them from the basket and give the pieces a nice sprinkle of salt and pepper before you pour the sauce around.
1 head of romanesco, busted up into large-ish pieces and florets
grapeseed, coconut or other heat-tolerant oil
salt + pepper
decent knob of coconut oil
1 sliced shallot or 1/4 cup sliced red onion
1 mild hot pepper, halved + seeded
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled + sliced
peel of 1 lime (remove as much pith as you can)
handful of cilantro stems
1 piece of lemongrass, bashed up a bit with your knife
1-2 tsp ground turmeric
1 can of full fat coconut milk
2 tsp coconut sugar
big handful of marcona almonds
+ cooked quinoa/rice/millet for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and place the romanesco pieces on top. Brush all of them with oil and sprinkle salt + pepper on all of the pieces evenly. Roast the romanesco in the oven for about 25-35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
While the romanesco is roasting, start making the curry sauce-y bit. Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots/red onions and sauté them until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the hot pepper and ginger. Stir it about. Add the lime peels, cilantro stems, lemongrass and turmeric. Sauté and stir the whole mix for a few minutes to cook out the raw-ness of the turmeric. Pour in the coconut milk and stir to evenly mix the turmeric throughout. Stir in the coconut sugar. Bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer it for about 10 minutes. Season the whole thing to your liking and then strain out all of the chunky bits.
To serve, arrange the roasted romanesco on a serving platter or individual plates. Pour the curry sauce around the florets. Garnish with the marcona almonds and chopped cilantro. Serve with cooked grains if you wish.