cashews

Raw Spicy South African Cashew Bisque

A couple of years ago this August, I attended Living Light Culinary Institute in California. I had the best time of my life, having won the "Hot Raw Chef" Scholarship in 2015. I had an absolutely wonderful time, meeting new friends, cooking (or un-cooking) up a storm, leaning new tricks of the trade, renewing my knife skills, and coming up with many healthy recipes. 

This South African soup was the result of an assignment we had been given. I had great fun working with my partner Nadine, who had a discerning palate, a kind heart, and only supportive words to share.... I miss those times! I remember blending, tasting, adding something else in, blending, tasting...for almost 45 minutes! I'd close my eyes to taste the exact texture and flavors, and get it just right. Consequently, it's one of the LONGEST list of ingredients I've ever worked with, but I promise you that it's the perfect tribute to its cooked counterpart. And even healthier for you! 

Warming, soothing, with a hint of cinnamon and spice. Makes 4 cups, about 4 one-cup servings or 8 half-cup appetizers. 

Ingredients: 

2 zucchinis, peeled & chopped

4 red peppers, seeded, filed and chopped

1 cup water

1 cup cashews, soaked

6 dates, pitted & chopped

3 garlic cloves, microplaned

3 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons Tamarind Paste

1 two-inch knob of ginger, microplaned

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon onion flakes

1 teaspoon dehydrated tomato powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

 

Garnish: 

2 tablespoons cilantro, minced

2 tablespoons cashews, minced

2 tablespoons scallions, minced

2 tablespoons red pepper, minced

2 tablespoons cucumber, minced

2 tablespoons yellow pepper, minced

In a blender: blend zucchini, red pepper, water, cashews, dates, garlic, salt, tamarind and remaining spices until smooth. Continue to blend until the canister of the blender starts to feel warm and the soup begins to heat a little. Taste for seasonings; garnish each serving with the minced cilantro, cashews, and a concase of pepper,s cucumber and scallions. Enjoy! 

Raw Hazelnut Mocha Cheesecake Bites

I often think we're at war - with desserts. First, we love them, we crave them, we make them, we share them, we delight and ooh and ah over them and then it happens (for me, at least, and I know for many others..)....it's the "wow, I'm sleepy" post-dessert coma. For me, it's even with say two bits of ice cream or a date-rich raw brownie. Yes, I said it. All those raw desserts that we think are good for us in fact may not be so good for SOME of us, and I'm part of that population. Now, for someone coming from a binge of eating Dairy Queen and Ho Ho's, yes, raw desserts are a step up since they actually contain good fats from nuts, seeds, and even the dried dates have minerals and fiber in them that we need. But for some of us, even those dried fruits are too sweet for us. 

So I've created a preverbal white flag that (1) gets us what we want (that sweet goodness) and (2) doesn't put us to sleep. GET OUT, you say! But no, I'm not kidding. It's that good and in fact, it's even safe for people like me who have insulin resistance. Give it a whirl and see what you think. The best part is that these are good for ANYONE, even for those of us who may not need a nap after dessert. Kudos to you, and you should be proud if that's you! But for many of us, that nap, heavy feeling after dessert is a feeling we know all-too well, and well, it jus doesn’t feel good at all.

Oh, and yes, these do take some finesse and time and babysitting and you might say "but I don't have the time SHE has to make these". Let me tell you something, you. I don't have the time either! In fact, I don't have the time NOT to make these, since with one fell swoop (maybe 1/2 hour) I have dessert for the rest of the week. These are filling and rich and you don't need that much, honestly, to make your head spin with delight. Cook once, enjoy for a looooooong time. Promise. 

 

Crust Ingredients:

1 cup walnuts/brazil nuts mixed (you can also do just walnuts)

2 dates (that’s it!)

two pinches sea salt

2 heaping tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 heaping tablespoon of dandy blend powder (herbal coffee)

2 dropperfulls (you can even do 1.5) of hazelnut liquid stevia

1 tablespoon vanilla and/or hazelnut extract

1 tablespoon water

 

Creamy filling:

1 cup cashews, soaked, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 tsp hazelnut extract (may substitute vanilla extract)

1 dropperfull of hazelnut-flavored liquid stevia

 

Crust: In a food processor, process crust ingredients until they start to stick together between fingers when pinched. Don’t over process, or it will get oily. You want it just enough so it looks fudgy, but nothing more.  Feel free to use another tablespoon water to get it there. Plop out the dough onto a teflex sheet, wax paper, even a silicone baking liner and press it out using your hands (you can also do this with another wax paper sheet on top and use a mini-rolling pin). You want a uniform thickness, with tight edges. I find that ½ inch is a bit thick but ¼ inch is too thin and it breaks, so aim for somewhere in between. The end product should look like a rectangle.  Pop it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. After that, you may store it in the fridge.

Creamy filling: Combine all ingredients in a vitamix or strong blender until smooth. Pour out into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Cut the crust in two pieces (which will be the top and bottom layer of the cheesecake bites). Place the creamy filling onto one of the layers and spread to the edges. Carefully take the second crust and place it on top. Cut it into squares using a sharp knife. Keep refrigerated and enjoy.

 

 

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

This is probably one of my favorite go-to soups. In addition to eating high-raw in teh winter time, I really do enjoy a hot bowl of broth or soup to warm me up, and in some instances, really delicious creamy comfort food. This is one of the creamiest silkiest soups you'll find without all of the added guilt of cream, milk or butter! And it couldn't be simpler.

1/2 onion, fine dice

1 box mini bella mushrooms, sliced

1 box shitakes, sliced

1 small zucchini (optional), diced

cashew milk made with: 1/2 cup raw cashews blended with 4 cups water (do not strain)

You can make this an oil-free dish by simply sauteeing the onion, zucchini and mushrooms in a bit of broth or water until soft (or you can use a little bit of olive oil). Cook on low, covered, until the mushrooms release all of their juices and they're tender. Add in the cashew milk, and bring to a simmer to heat through. That's it - you're done! 

 

Raw Figgy Orange Cheesecake

In honor of our friend Frank who gifted us the most glorious bag of figs ~ thank you. We and our bellies thank you. 

Crust:

1 cup almonds

½ cup walnuts

½ cup pumpkin seeds

2 T coconut oil, melted

2 pinches salt

1 heaping tablespoons cacao

2 heaping teaspoons maca

1-3 figs, optional

Method: Combine the nuts and seeds in the food processor until it resembles rice.  Add in the oil, salt, cacao, maca and combine. If it's too dry (and doesn't stick together between your fingers when pinched), add in 1 fig, then 2, or all three until the mixture combines well together. Set aside. 

Cheesecake filling:

2 cups cashews

¾ cups fresh orange juce plus ¼ cup water

grated zest of 1 orange

pinch sea salt

tsp vanilla

¼ plus 1/8 cup coconut oil, melted

Method: Combine all the ingredients together until well blended in a high-speed blender. It should be super smooth. Set this aside.

 

Middle layer:

1 cup figs, pureed in a food processor

 

Extras:  I used about 28 halves of figs for the top, so 14 whole

Plus about 10 figs for the sides of the cake

 

Line a 7.5 inch removable bottom springform pan with plastic wrap, making sure there is excess that can drape over the sides. Fill in the crust on the bottom so that it’s even and in one smooth layer.  Pour in almost half of the cheesecake filling, covering the crust.  Add in the middle pureed fig layer and using a spatula, make sure it is even and smooth.  Now take the 10 figs for the side of the cake, cut them in half and having the middle of the fig facing out, layer only the SIDES of the pie mold – it will look like a wall of figs on the inside of the pie edge.  Then fill the rest of the pie with the cheesecake filling, using a spatula to smooth it over the figs as well.  Some of the figs might pop out of the cheesecake layer, but just push them back in, or don’t worry about it. We’ll cover it with figs anyway.

Freeze this overnight.

In the morning, cut the 28 figs in half and decorate the top.  Let it defrost just about 10-15 minute so it’s easy to cut but still semi-frozen to retain the shape well. To decorate, you can drizzle with honey, cacao nibs and coconut flakes. Enjoy!