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California Rawlls

Friday, June 29, 2012

For seven years I made and delivered california rolls to a health food co-op. They were made with rice and tofu though. I hardly ever ate them myself, probably because I already had to make them constantly and didn't feel like preparing any for home.
Well, I had to come up with raw versions because they're so delicious and quick to make. This literally takes a couple of minutes as long as you have soaked nuts and have practiced the rolling itself. True, rolling up a pile that's about to fall apart can take some time to figure out but once you got it it's routine. Make it into a Japanese themed lunch by serving soy sauce/shoyu sauce and wasabi (Japanese horse radish you can find in a powder form and make a paste out of by adding water to it) on the side along with a bowl of miso soup.

Savory Nori Rolls
(For 2 rolls)
2 nori sheet
1 cup soaked almonds or other nuts ground for nut "rice"*
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 small carrot, shaven/shredded/julienned
2 green onions, split lengthwise
a handful of sunflower/alfalfa/other sprouts
little bit of shredded horseradish
1 small cucumber, sliced lengthwise
umeboshi plum paste**
forkful of sauerkraut per roll
anything else you like...

* Nut rice: You may grind up your soaked nuts with garlic, salt and herbs added to further enhance flavors. I used a mixture of almonds and brazil nuts, added a bit of hemp seeds, salt and garlic and ground them coarsely the size of half a grain of rice. Adding a few drops of water to the ground nuts and mixing helps them stick somewhat.

** Use the paste sparingly as it's quite high in salt.

Have a very sharp knife and a small bowl/cup of water ready to wet your fingers and the knife as necessary.
1. Lay out the nori sheets and spread a little umeboshi plum paste on half the area of each to help the nut "rice" stick better.
2. Take half of the nut "rice" and pack it down firmly and evenly with the back of a spoon.
3. Layer the vegetable shreds/slices you're using and top them with some sauerkraut and sprouts. Ready to roll?

4. Dip your fingers in water and dampen the upper 1-inch edge of a sheet and carefully lifting the other edge while holding down your pile of ingredients, start rolling it as tightly as you can manage. The wet end will serve as a seal. Make sure to press that edge against the other surface. Put this roll aside and repeat the roll-up procedure with the other.
5. Wet your sharpest kitchen knife and either slice the rolls into about 1-inch thick bites or cut them in halves diagonally.
6. If you'd like a dip, mix some soy/shoyu sauce with some wasabi. The wasabi paste is easily made by mixing some powder with a touch of water. For miso soup, look here.

Voilà, lunch is served. Enjoy!

Chill Out, Cherries Are In Season!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My dearest Grandma always made this for Summer-time picnics or on hot days at home when we were kids. She makes the best fruit soups, of course. I'm just trying to imitate or reinvent her recipes and make raw versions of her magical creations. She uses sour cherries, the really dark (and sour, as the label suggest) cherries that are ever-so-popular in Europe but not quite so easy to come across in the States. At least, I have never seen any at any of the farmers' markets or stores. Anybody out there has had any luck???

So using "regular" cherries this would probably come out sweeter, hence the lemon juice. It can be warmed up in a dehydrator or gently warmed on the stove top but for hot days such as we've been having here (106 °F /  41°C over the weekend) in the Bay Area, "chilled" is the name of the game for sure.

Chilling Cherry Soup
(Serves 2...maybe)
2 handfuls of red cherries (plus extra for garnish)
4-4 cups nut mylk (or ~3/4 cup nuts and 3 cups water)*
juice of 1 lemon
1-3 tbsp coconut nectar / honey (not vegan) or other sweetener
lemon zest
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch or two of ground cloves
optional: vanilla

* I recommend almond/cashew/macademia mylk (or using almonds/cashews/macademias and water) because they have a more neutral flavor. If you're using nuts and water you might want to make the mylk first by blending them and maybe even straining it if you prefer a really smooth mylk with no fiber. If you do not mind the nut pulp in your soup (I sure don't) then don't bother to make the mylk separately first. While almonds are better used when soaked for 4-8 hours beforehand, cashews and macademias do not need to be soaked at all.

Remove the pits from the cherries and throw everything in a blender. Gradually increasing the speed, blend it all until you have a very smooth consistency. Taste test and adjust ingredients. Give it a whirl again.
Serve immediately or chill for a while first. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with the remaining cherries, nut crumbs, maybe coconut sugar or maple crystals (not raw), etc.
Chill out...

It's Been a Year ~ Thank You!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

For lack of a real birthday cake and a candle.... a macaroon and a scape will do for now : )

Raw Food For Truth's first Birthday! Yes, it has been that long. A year ago yesterday I had enough courage to show this blog to friends and family. The six recipes I had put together up until then have since grown into 70some, the most popular one being "Real Raw Marzipan", which I would have never guessed! Life is full of surprises...
It has been a very exciting journey; I truly enjoy every moment of it. It is lots of work but incredibly rewarding and I'm really grateful for the experience. 

And so I would like to...

Thank Blogger to make this possible.
Thank my husband, for putting up with my insanity and my constant chasing of "new and better" (whatever that means). 
Thank my best friends, A.C. and A.B. for always being there for me.
Thank my sister L. for your honest input (both, compliments and harsh criticism) on my work.
Thank my family for understanding my turning down your wholeheartedly prepared cooked meals.
Thank my children, Ashton, Fiona and Lulu, for being patient and putting up with my typing away on the computer when I should be paying attention to you instead. 
Thank YOU, regular readers for your interest, support, and for coming back from time to time.
Thank all who visit my blog for ideas and using it as inspiration.
Thank all for your letters, e-mails, questions, comments. 
Thank all who decided my recipes were worth printing in magazines.
Thank Google for guiding people in finding this information and help them get healthier.
Thank all local farmers for their hard work in creating the wonderful food that provides me with a never-ending source of inspiration and delicious ingredients for recipes to create!
Thank you!

There's more to come so stay tuned! : )

~ June 16, 2012 ~

For The Sweeth-Toothed, Athletic Nerd

Monday, June 11, 2012

As if a nerd and an athlete had put their heads together to figure out what to make for dessert...
The brainstorming started when I got some Ginkgo Biloba. It's got a very strong aroma and I would never want to take it straight as a spoonful of powder, how boring! Well, what better way to "serve" it up than hidden in brownies? Not the classic way but when do I ever follow traditions??? The resulted "Super Brownies" earned their name based on the superfoods that would satisfy both, someone who eats them for brain power or someone who needs a before- or after-workout boost. Why is that? Ginkgo is famous for being a brain-booster (among other things, see below), cacao also increases blood flow to the brain, almonds and coconut oil provide healthy fats, good for both the brain and the active body. Coconut oil’s energy is very easily absorbed and dates (along with honey) provide instant energy when needed. Almonds are a commonly known brain-food and don't fall short in improving your performance either when you're training for the Olympics. And hemp protein along with spirulina...do I even need to go there? Both full of essential amino acids (spirulina being 100% complete), they are absolute superfoods that also provide you with perfect building blocks for protein.

Ginkgo Biloba*
Famous for its abilities to improve brain function (and that's pretty much all I knew about it, until now), the leaf extract is used for treating a myriad of other conditions as well. It may help improve your peripheral blood circulation and blood circulation to the brain, help treat Alzheimer's and senility, Raynaud's disease, weak eyes caused by poor circulation, or in general, conditions that may benefit from improved blood flow or better circulation.

Possible Side Effects
Dermatitis, irritability, restlessness, diarrhea and vomiting but supposedly, they’re rare.

Super Brownies
(Makes 8 bars)
12 dates (I used Medjools, unsoaked)
1 cup almonds (I sprouted and dehydrated mine before using) 
1/4 cup cacao powder
1 tsp coconut oil
3 tbsp hemp protein powder
1/4 tsp Ginkgo Biloba (always start with just a little bit when using a new-to-you herb)
1/2 tsp spirulina
optional: honey (not vegan), cayenne pepper, pinch of salt, vanilla, cinnamon (as a topping)

1. In a food processor, take several minutes to grind the almonds very fine. You can't overdo it so if almond butter starts building up on the edges, even better. Scrape the walls every now and then to achieve an even consistency.

2. Add the dates and process further into a crumbly, dough-like, even mixture.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients, process, taste test, and add whatever else you think it may need to satisfy your taste buds. The final mixture should stick together when pinched in between fingers.
4. Grab a flat-bottomed dish (I use a square glass dish usually), line it with plastic wrap if you like, and press the mixture into it as firmly as possible. Refrigerate for a couple of hours for firmer brownies.

Serve it à la carte topped with tons of cinnamon (my way) or topped with a scoop of ice cream. Take a slice or two to work or school for an afternoon pick-me-up. Take some with you to eat before hitting the gym or when leaving the gym starved. Ahh, so much pleasure for just a few minutes of work. It's almost unfair. We have it too good, don't we? Have a brownielicious, smart, energized day!  

The Way of Herbs, by Michael Tierra

Featured in Funky Raw, UK's raw food magazine

Got Kale?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Somehow I never get enough. Not because I don't like it. I love it, but romaine just goes down easier, much easier than dark greens. So when I make salad I usually reach for lettuce. One way to make kale easier to eat is marinating it. Make the salad but give the greens some time to break down. It's quick to fix in the evening for next day or make it in the morning for lunch or dinner. And as far as seeds go? Truth be told, I eat way more nuts than seeds so I thought it was about time to give seeds some attention as well. Here's what's combined to make a quick and simple meal.

Simple Kale Salad*
(Serves 2-3, maybe) 
1 bunch green kale (you may use purple or dino kale, of course)
4 stalks green onion or 1/2 red onion
handful of each pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
(you may substitute hemp seeds, pine nuts, sliced almonds, or walnuts )
2 -3 tomatoes

~ For the dressing ~
Combine just about equal amounts of the following:
juice of 2-3 lemons will do for a bunch of kale
olive oil
coconut aminos/soy aminos/shoyu sauce/soy sauce**
optional: 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to add some heat

*Obviously, you can make this as complicated as you wish. Add vegetables, herbs, even sliced apples, nuts, etc. if you like.

**With the exception of the coconut aminos, all of these contain soy and most are not necessarily raw unless they state it. Look for "raw" and/or "unpasteurized" on the label if you follow a strict, 100% raw, diet. Be aware that coconut aminos are pretty sweet, soy and shoyu are pretty salty, and any liquid soy aminos are somewhere in between. Depending on which you're using, you might want to add less or more or adjust the flavor of your dressing with some sweetener or some salt accordingly. I never make anything without tasting it once or twice during the process. Just have fun with it!

1. Remove the stems of the kale if you prefer and chop the leaves into bite-size pieces. Slice the onions as thinly as you can and place the kale, onions, and seeds you're using into a bowl and mix.
2. Make the dressing by whisking together the ingredients, taste test and adjust the proportions to your liking.
3. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and mix well, maybe massage with your hands for a minute. Let it sit and place it in the fridge if you will not serve it till hours later. Just before serving, add chopped tomatoes to it, quickly toss again and enjoy! You got kale today : )

... And what does kale have in store for you?
Very high in vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals such as manganese, copper, and calcium, this dark leafy green is also a very strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. This type of nutrition profile provides protection from cancer, helps maintain good vision, and keeps your bones strong. Still think it's too tough or too much work to chew? Salad is not the only way to consume it. Add kale to a smoothie, make it into a soup, or blanch it if you really need to. The possibilities are endless...