Saturday, December 20, 2008

Twin Peaks and Raw Pizza...2 great tastes that, well, you know.

This entry is a little late being posted, thanks to the holidays...

I'm blessed. Yes, let's start with that. I'm truly blessed to have found a community of really cool people here in Raleigh. People that are into raw, but not obsessed with it. People that will willingly come over on a Friday night for Twin Peaks viewing and Raw Pizza tasting.

As my first experiment with raw pizza began on a Thursday night, I was uncertain as to what the results would be. And on the following Friday afternoon, when I came home on my lunch break to assemble the pies and put them in the D for the next 5 hours, I only knew that they looked great, but wasn't certain about the taste.

Ladies and gentlemen, I say with almost no humility at all...I rule. This is my favorite meal I've made thus far, and it came out far better than my expectations. I had three different crusts, three different cheeses, and a variety of toppings. The pizzas were scarfed down by my appreciative friends so quickly, I barely had time to remember to snap pics. So let's get your appetite whetted with a snapshot of love:

Now, for the recipes. I really did just take some basic raw crust recipes and alter them according to my available ingredients and personal taste. But I'll post the original ones and let you know what I changed up. If I can remember that far back. ;)

Let's start with the base.

Gourmet Crust from Alissa Cohen's Living on Live Food book
  • 1/2 cup sprouted barley
  • 1/2 cup sprouted wild rice (I used sprouted kamut berries.)
  • 2 dates, pitted and soaked
  • 1/8 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • dash sea salt

Toss all the ingredients in a food processor. Blend. It gets all doughy.
Then plop some dough in a ball onto a Teflex sheet on a dehydrator tray. I use an offset spatula, and then spread it around in a circle, leaving a thicker area around the edge for the crust. (How thick you want your crust is a personal preference. The one you see pictured in front was the gourmet. The one in the back is the "Easy Crust," recipe below, and I did it a big more thin.)

I threw it in the D at 125 for about an hour, then turned it down to 110. After about an hour, check it. If it's dry enough to peel off the Teflex, do so and put on the screen. I ended up bumping the D down to 105 and letting it go for the night, and the crust was perfect. Again, it's all personal preference. This crust, since I used kamut, was in need of a longer time in the D.

Easy Crust from Alissa Cohen's Living on Live Food book
(I doubled this to make two)
  • 2 cups sprouted buckwheat
(I added 4 cups of barley, too, when I doubled this, so it was 4 cups buckwheat, 4 cups barley)
  • 1 cup soaked flax seeds
  • 1 cup red bell pepper (I skipped the pepper and added 1/2 cup of soaked sundried tomatoes)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk (I skipped this)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
(I also added fresh rosemary)

Follow the same instructions as the crust above.

Sundried Tomato Marinara from Ani's Raw Food Kitchen
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped (I used Roma)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon, about 1 TBSP
  • 1 teaspoon pitted and soaked dates
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons sundried tomatoes, soaked

Blend tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, dates, herbs, and salt until smooth. Add the sundried tomatoes and blend until mixed well.

Ricotta Basil Cheese (Italian Pizza Cheese from Ani's Raw Kitchen)
  • 2 cups macadamia nuts, soaked
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cups water, as needed.

Put everything in the food processor (or blender), adding water as needed to make cheese creamy and fluffy. And YUMMY

Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese from I am Grateful, Recipes & Lifestyle of Café Gratitude
  • 1 cup Brazil nuts, dry
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Put in the food processor. Process. You won't believe how freakin' GOOD this is.

Vee's Pizza Alfredo Sauce
2 cups pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup almond milk or water
Nutritional yeast to taste
Sea salt to taste

Blend in food processor, tasting. Not just for the seasoning, but because it tastes groovy.

I basically took mushrooms, orange and red peppers, and tossed them in olive oil, garlic and a bit of lemon and sea salt. You can add whatever veggies float yor boat. Let them marinate and soften.

At this point, you may be thinking, "Hey, Vee, I don't have two weeks to make this stuff." But I promise you, once you have the ingredients all out, you can turn this all out in very little time. With the sauces and veggies prepped as the crusts dehydrate, it's just a matter of assembling them once the crusts are done. I spooned sauce on, then put cheeses on in varying degrees and combinations. Then put whatever veggies you like on, or sundrieds. I threw them in the D for 6 hours at 105 degrees and they were to LIVE for.

Have fun. Abondunzza and all that stuff.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holler! The Eyes Have It!

So, you may have read that a lot of raw vegans notice changes in their eyes as they delve into their new eating habits. Some see whiter whites and brighter brights...wait, am I thinking about laundry or eyes?

Anyway, after a month or so of eating raw, I noticed yesterday that my eyes are becoming more clear, with a lot more green, and a totally different color of green. This could also be due to the copious amounts of cocaine that I've been ingesting every day, but I think it's the raw. Any of you noticing changes in the eyes?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Today's Lunch

Simple kale salad with pine nuts.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Rawkin Out in Austin (or Rawstin)

Hey, peeps! I hope everyone had a safe and fantastic holiday. I'm back from visiting a good friend in Austin, and I thought I'd check in since I've been woefully behind on blog posts.

The past few weeks have been a blur of activity, many of them centered around raw food, or at least including it. I've been spending tons of time in the kitchen, and am continuing to love creating new dishes.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I got to Texas. Sure, Austin is known for its weird factor, and it's a funky, awesome town. But smack dab in the middle of meat country, I didn't have a lot of high hopes for finding raw vegan food, or even vegan, at that. Boy, was I rawng. Get it? Wrong? I'm squeezing too much mileage out of word puns with raw, aren't I?

Suffice to say, my friend Chris must receive huge props. He checked out some possibilities for me and gamely went along with my strange food preferences.

I started out the journey less than prepared. Brought some flax seed crackers on the plane with me. Then proceeded to have 3 or 4 glasses of wine with Chris, and no food save an apple. Yeah, I can hear the Greek chorus of "duh" from here. The next day, Thanksgiving, I ate some fruit for breakfast and then we went to the home of a really nice couple that's friends with Chris. They had a full Turkey Day meal, and we were all sitting down to it. So I luckily had some food choices, and made some that weren't so great, like mashed potatoes. Not one to kick myself after being 100% for weeks, I instead relished the fact that I wasn't off the wagon. In fact, cooked food really didn't do anything for me except give me that full, logey feeling I hadn't been missing while eating raw.

Friday morning, we went to Austin's new (and only) raw restaurant--The Daily Juice Café. That link, by the way, only mentions their three juice locations, not their new restaurant.

The Daily Juice Café Meditation/Chill Room

I got a fantastic smoothie with strawberry, peach, grapefruit, ginger and fresh maca root. Whooot! I spoke with the owner and walked around checking out their well-stocked cases of live foods. I like that they make their food based on the principles of less ingredients, lots of taste. They don't use a ton of nuts or massive ingredient lists.

The lovely interior...mmmmmm, young coconuts.

The newest location of Daily Juice is a repurposed gas station.

Next stop was the Whole Foods Mothership. It's the first WF in the country, if I'm not mistaken, and the largest. Walking into this bohemoth was overstimulation at its finest. In a way, I walked out feeling as though I had been brainwashed with weeks of food porn. However, the saving grace of the day was when Chris grinned and pointed to one of the mini island restaurants...Live Foods. A whole case of prepared live foods, and behind it, a wall of raw products.

You can live it up at the Whole Foods Raw Bar.

Yummy raw goodness. Holiday style.

The wall of raw.

Sure, had I bought everything I wanted, I would have to mortgage my house, and I'm a renter. But seeing that many resources available made me realize that Austin has it going ON in the raw department. As well as the artsy, funky, cool department. If someone could just explain why mullets are considered trendy there...

Friday night we went back to Daily Juice for a dinner that was exceptional. The entire staff is so friendly, it was packed, and the food was phenomenal. I had the raw lasagna and a side salad that included little strips of young coconut. Delish. My cohort had the raw tacos and some pumpkin soup, which was insanely good. I got a piece of chocolate banana cream pie to go and it was the bomb diggedy.

Deeelicious side salad.

Rawsagna. Phwargh, it was good.

Raw tacos and pumpkin soup.

Saturday I walked to Daily Juice and grabbed myself another gorgeous smoothie, as well as one for Chris. To live within walking distance of a raw restaurant would be both dangerous and wonderful. We ventured over to the Austin Farmers Market downtown, which was small, awesome, and full of organic choices.

Austin's downtown Farmers Market.

I've heard rumors of an even bigger organic market six miles out of town. Saturday night I chowed down on a raw dinner compliments of Whole Foods. Everything was really amazing, and I packed myself a to go lunch of raw leftovers for the plane ride home on Sunday.

My dish on Austin? Raw Heaven. Lots of organics, very green living, fantastic raw resources, and to top it off, a fun, artsy, funky town. I give it 10 Durians out of 10!