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One Savory, One Sweet..

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thank the Universe for laptops and Wi-Fi!  I'm sitting at the airport in Las Vegas, waiting for mechanics to replace a part on the airplane I'm supposed to take home….and I've decided to use this time to share an experience…

Yay for high-resolution phone cameras...I even got some usable photos! :)

While on a business trip, I stayed with my best friend who was more than enthusiastic about learning to prepare some raw foods.  We had lots of fun making 2 - 4 dishes a day (!) and one of the days she had guests over so we even got to introduce others to the magic of this way of eating.

Truth be told, I had no idea whether they would even want to touch raw foods but I wasn't worried about it because my friend was planning on cooking a big pot of veggie soup as well… Except, she didn't end up to...

So, what was initially planned to be a "tea party", later changed to being a girls' night in with dinner, ended up being a raw finger food sampling experience...

Oops, new update, they've just announced that this plane can NOT be repaired, so I got plenty of time to give you this recipe, or at least, finish it sooner than later : )

So what did we make? As you know, I believe in keeping things simple. I don't think there is a better way to inspire people than showing them how easy it is to prepare delicious, healthy dishes. We made some savory bites and some dessert to top them off.

Savory Walnut Pâté Bell Pepper Boats
2 - 3 bell peppers (I like using red and orange but it would look really nice to have all colors, yellow and green as well)
2 cups walnuts (you may soak them if you have time)
1 small shallot (or half a medium size purple onion)
6 - 8 leaves of fresh sage
juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 tsp (or to taste) salt
few sprigs of parsley for garnish
optional: 1 clove of garlic and some parsley added to your ingredients

To prepare:
1. Place walnuts into the food processor and grind them until they're fine but not so much that they start becoming a nut butter.
2. Chop the shallot, the sage leaves, and the garlic and parsley (if using some in the pâté) really fine, into tiny pieces
3. Add the chopped ingredients and salt to the lemon juice, stir, and add the mixture to the walnuts.
4. Mix your ingredients well and add more lemon juice / olive oil to your pâté if it's on the dry side. Ideally, you'd like it to have a spreadable texture. Set it aside.
5. Cut up the bell peppers into quarters (try cutting along the veins, where the "dimples" are, that way you'll end up with "boats" that will hold the pâté nicely. Then cut the quarters in halves again.
6. Fill each pepper boat with a couple of spoonfuls of the pâté, arranged them alternating the colors you have on a plate or tray and garnish each with a leaf of parsley or other herb of your choice.
Serve immediately.

Note: This recipe can be made into a dip as well and served as part of a crudité. Add more lemon juice and/or oil of your choice to make it into a softer, more liquidy, consistency and serve it with a variety of chopped up veggies.

For dessert, I intended to make macaroons, because they're so easy but our guests were already there and starved when I haven't even finished the pâté so by the time I got to start on the sweets I decided to quickly roll them into balls and we served them right away as well.

2 cups dry shredded coconut (plus some extra to roll the balls in)
1/2 cup almond meal (or ground almonds)
1/2 cup honey/agave syrup/sweetener of your choice
1/4 cup coconut butter/oil (I used about half of each for a total of 1/4 cup)
1/2 - 1 tsp ground vanilla
tiny pinch of salt
optional: few tbsp of cacao powder to add to half the mixture if you wish

To prepare:
1. Grind the shredded coconut in a food processor so that it's finer
2. Combine the dry ingredients: the coconut, the almond meal, and the vanilla, in a mixing bowl
3. To melt the coconut butter/oil and honey (if necessary), place your jars in hot water. As an alternative, you can measure them in the unmelted form and place them all in a small bowl that is sitting inside another bowl with hot water in it. Stir your wet ingredients and the salt until melted and homogenous and add this mixture to the dry ingredients.
4. Combine everything till your mixture holds together and you are able to form balls by rolling a spoonful of it at a time between your palms. Roll each ball in the shredded coconut and place them on a serving platter. About half way through, add a few spoonfuls of cacao powder to the mixture (if you want two colors and flavors) and finish up making balls the same way.

It's probably not much of a surprise that all of the pepper boats and snowballs were gone in no time so they've been tested…you can make these for someone who might have not had a chance to try raw foods yet. They're quick, easy an delicious. What else would you need?

I just wish we had taken photos of all of us! We even had the honor of having a beautiful baby entertain us but no pictures…hmmm…oh well, next time.

Some Nutrition Facts 
The two main ingredients, walnuts and coconut, in the above menu, are both "brain foods". They both contain very healthy fats. Walnuts are high in Omega-6, and even more importantly, Omega-3 fatty acids. Coconut is high in saturated fat (yes, it's good for you!), is a good "hormone precursor", especially when it comes to the production of testosterone and progesterone, and coconut oil supports the thyroid and weight-loss.
Bell peppers are high in vitamin C and antioxidants. If you are using red ones you are getting more antioxidants, overall, more health benefits but it's good to eat a "rainbow diet" and include as many colors as possible, if not in every dish, throughout the day. Herbs (used in the pâté) are loaded with minerals and vitamins and sage is particularly known for improving memory and helping those with Alzheimer's disease (Did I mention coconut oil does the same? If you know someone who needs help in this department, I definitely encourage you to look into this and maybe give it a try, say, start with a  spoonful of coconut oil mixed into a breakfast dish, whatever that may be for you, or the person to be helped.) and it has high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities. How many foods / dishes are there that do all this? : )

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