Thursday, February 25, 2010

Experimental Week

We've had a couple of fun things happen this week. First there was the olives. We're all quite the fan of the olive, especially since we went raw vegan. So we're always looking for good ones. This week we got in some kalabata olives and some oil cured ones. They're both great, and I like them equally well: the kalabatas for eating out of hand, and the oil-cured ones as an addition to my salads.

Another reason I had been looking for a pitted olive is because I wanted to make an olive tapenade. I wish I could say I had the time to sit around pitting olives all day, but I don't, so I was looking for a source for pitted olives. The tapenade I made using a combination of these 2 olives is FANTASTIC. I really have to use some willpower to not just eat it out of the bowl with a spoon. I know I don't need that much fat, even if it is good fat, in my diet.

I had purchased a tapenade, but it just didn't taste quite right; I was anxious to make my own. There is a spinach recipe I wanted to use it in:

Spinach with Olive Tapenade

mix together:

9 loose handfuls spinach
2 cubed avocados
handful of soaked and dehydrated walnuts or pecans
generous tablespoon olive tapenade
dice in a few Roma tomatoes
3 tablespoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
3 generous tablespoons maple syrup
pinch or 2 sea salt
cracked black pepper to taste
2 generous tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Also, tried these new olives in our olive spread. Man, that is some good stuff. Again, have to exercise some control...

The second fun thing was that we decided to experiment with another dessert. Everyone seems to do great with their salads, etc., but having the comfort foods desserts provide is quite another matter. Our friend Elizabeth brought this up to us again this week, so we decided to work on another dessert we could produce in large quantities like our other ones. We need a couple more so that we have a little better rotation. Not having a dessert for a couple of weeks makes it all the more enjoyable when we get it back, right?

Anyway, our search resulted in a great new dessert we are calling Rawky Road. It is a chocolate / raisin / coconut confection topped with a coconut cream. It is not dense at all but surprisingly light and very satisfying. We hope all of you like it. It wouldn't be possible without the wonderful raw cacao we were able to find about a year ago. It is incredible! If you like to make your own chocolate treats, we heartily endorse it. I sometimes "cut" its richness with a nice raw carob (carob found at health food stores is roasted), but for this dessert, I decided to go with the full monty!

The third experiment is a hard cashew cheese I've been working on. The final product is a small experimental batch, but it is quite tangy and delicious. I couldn't find my cheese press from back in our goat milk cheesemaking days, so I ordered another one off e-bay this week. Next week, I'll put up a gallon of cashew cheese in the press so that I can get an official cheese wheel. It is still a little more crumbly than a dairy cheese like cheddar, but I'm thinking if I use an official press, it may be more solid. I am really excited about this and have had it ruminating for a while. (Ha ha, I made a joke - ruminating about plant based cheese... well, if I have to explain it, it probably isn't all that funny.)

I also ordered some wax. I don't know if cashew cheese needs wax like dairy cheeses, so that will be an experiment as well. Fun stuff.

Enough of all our fun discoveries this week and onto the menus:

¡ Viva La Verde ! menu for week of 2/27/10

2/27/10 Saturday

dinner: Spinach and olive tapenade

2/28/10 Sunday

breakfast: bananas or whatever you can pickup before church
lunch: pineapple wedges, sliced bananas, orange wedges, coconut
dinner: Mexicali wrappers with unfried no-beans, shredded lettuce, tomato salsa, crema

3/1/10 Monday (Happy Birthday, Orion!)

breakfast: grapefruit / orange juice
lunch: Waldorf salad on shredded lettuce; additional avo mayo if needed
dinner: hummus, pita chips, baby cukes

3/2/10 Tuesday

breakfast: banana smoothie
lunch: tomatoes stuffed with no-net tuna on lettuce leaves
dinner: cauliflower soup

3/3/10 Wednesday

breakfast: Hawaiian granola with almond mylk
lunch: avocados stuffed with elote con crema; Mexican rice
dinner: collard wraps (good way to use up leftover veggies and / or salad toppings like the no-bean from the weekend) peanut sauce for dipping

3/4/10 Thursday

breakfast: apple / celery juice (1 head celery and a couple of apples run through the juicer)
lunch: shredded zucchini, slivered red pepper, julienned carrots, onion if you want it; sauce with peanut sauce
dinner: corn chowder

3/5/10 Friday

breakfast: bananas dipped in buckwheaties
lunch: pizza (everyday bread with cheese, marinara, veggies, "parm")
dinner: salad - lettuce, celery, carrots, tomatoes, raisins, sunnies, Ranch dressing

Snacks and desserts:

pumpkin pie
key lime pies (these turned out so delicious this time; I think the flavor of the citrus affects it, and maybe the avocados, too...
crispy treats
rawky road

ball park sunnies
soul dates
zucchini chips (good with ranch dip as well)
carrots with ranch dip
celery sticks with honey almond butter
apple wedges with honey almond butter
banana bark
corny chips and salsa
olive spread and / or olive tapenade with crudites and / or pita chips

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This week 2/20/10

While I just may be the worst blogger in the history of blogging, it is a small comfort to think blogging hasn't been around all that long, so to be the worst, well, there's plenty of time for that to be a lot worse than it is now!

To redeem myself, I thought I'd post my family's weekly menu here instead of sending it out in a newsletter format. That way those who might be interested can come here to read it. It also serves as an archive since each edition has recipes. They wouldn't have to be repeated each time they appear that way either. See how methodical I am!

I have my doubts that the e-mails actually get read based on my own expertise at hitting the delete button. I feel seriously guilty each time I do it since I know how much effort goes into my own mailings, but I don't have time to read all the mail that crosses my path, and I seriously doubt anyone else does either. So we selectively choose which things we open and take the time to consider.

Of course the next step in this logical sequence is wondering what criteria the average reader uses to make this determination. It has to be something we are seriously interested in. Hopefully we can fill that criteria for at least some of the people we meet weekly that ask us about the raw vegan lifestyle.

This week's menu (week of 2/20/10) (Please keep in mind that we tend to have our heavier meal in the middle of the day. Many of you will want to switch lunch and dinner if this is not your practice.)

Saturday dinner: "rice" pudding (no rice! Just mix sweet cashew creme with shredded apples and raisins.)

Sunday breakfast: we actually don't eat breakfast on Sunday usually as we head out to church pretty early. We usually grab some bananas as we head out the door if we are hungry. They are good car food.

Sunday lunch: We decided that since we don't have breakfast on Sunday, we'd like a fruit lunch, so we're going to slice up pineapple and serve it with sliced bananas and orange wedges.

Sunday dinner: corny chips, guacamole, and tomato salsa

Monday breakfast: bananas dipped in buckwheaties

Monday lunch: (one of our favorites) avocado boats stuffed with elotes con crema atop ensalada

Monday dinner: collard wraps with sprouted garbanzo bean hummus and cucumber strips

Tuesday breakfast: Hawaiian granola with almond mylk

Tuesday lunch: super nachos - bed of salad greens topped with unfried no-beans, tomato salsa, and crema

Tuesday dinner: broccoli cheese soup, Alicia crackers

Wednesday breakfast: banana mambo - sliced bananas topped with honey almond butter and raisins; smoosh it all together. I also like to sprinkle some sunnies on top.

Wednesday lunch: mashed no-taters, marinated mushrooms, and "braised" spinach (wilt spinach with a little salt, lemon juice, and olive oil)

Wednesday dinner: sweet kale salad - 1 head of kale washed and thinly sliced; 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup honey, 1 clove garlic, minced; 1/2 cup raisins, 2 tablespoons pine nuts

Thursday breakfast: pina colada from Raw Food Real World by Kenney & Melngailis - 1 cup coconut meat, 1 1/2 cup coconut water, 3 cups diced pineapple, 3 tablespoons agave nectar, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, squeeze of lime juice, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, pinch of sea salt; puree all in the blender.

Thursday lunch: Viva la Verde salad (greens, shredded celery, shredded carrots, raisins, ball-park sunnies, dulse, diced tomato and cucumber if desired) ranch dressing

Thursday dinner: cauliflower soup - 2 cups cauliflower florets, 2 - 3 cups water, 1/2 cups nut of choice, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, sea salt to taste; all blended til thick and smooth and a little warm; serve with Alicia crackers

Friday breakfast: banana smoothie - 2 cups rejuvelac, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup agave nectar, 1 quart frozen bananas, handful of whatever greens are leftover for the week; blend well

Friday lunch: chili mac - chili con crema served over shredded zucchini

Friday dinner: sammies - everyday bread spread with avo mayo and topped with sliced avocado, sliced tomato, and a few pea shoots

desserts for the week:

chocolate cheesecake
pumpkin pie
apple crisp


ball park sunnies
soul dates
zucchini chips (good with ranch dip too)
carrots with ranch dip
celery sticks with honey almond butter
apple wedges with honey almond butter
banana bark
corny chips with tomato salsa

Well, that's all folks. Until next week!