Thursday, September 30, 2010

God is Great, God is Good

I can't even begin to imagine where this is going to go this week as my brain is a blank canvas right now trying to get myself organized and done with everything I have to do.

Here's the results for our survey last week. Our personal overall favorite was the fajita mixture we placed on corn tostados with some cashew sour cream. Man, that was good. Our survey results gave it a 4.25 out of 5 as a couple of recipients weren't as crazy about it as we were. The highest scoring last week was the corn chips, the cumin flat bread, and the skinny mints with an average 4.5 rating. Greek dates were also up there with a 4.3; mac n cheese and corn tortillas both got 4's. Taboulleh, queso dulce, Caesar salad, salsa fresca, were in the high 3's, almost 4's while my beloved apple crisp only got a 3.25. Not unexpectedly, the miso soup and the down home greens only got 3's, which was the lowest score, thankfully.

We really are trying to give people lots of different choices to let them know how much is possible. People who try the beast box will definitely know that being a vegan or even a raw vegan is not about just eating salads and apples, oranges, and bananas. We are even trying to put more non-traditional fruits and veggies in the add-on boxes to give people what they might not buy themselves.

We've also reformatted our catalog; we're going to have a few staple things each week, and then items from the beast box can be ordered ala carte during the week they are available. We couldn't keep making all the things in our repetoire every week, and it was limiting how much we could experiment. Now, the sky is the limit!

I have "resigned" as head chef and turned the wheel over to Alicia. She is certainly capable of doing this, but that doesn't mean I like giving over the control. So far she hasn't worked me too hard...

We've got some new and different things in our beast box this week. Because some of the items were more expensive, and we wanted to keep the price the same, some of the veggies for the meals are included in the veggie box.

First off, there's some onion dip. One of our friends introduced this to us a few months ago, and we really like it. We are putting broccoli and cucumber in the veggie box to cut up to have with it. There's also some pita chips and or veggie crisps in the breads if people want to spread it on them.

We are also making a lasagna. This is zucchini noodles layered with marinated broccoli, marinated mushrooms, shredded carrot, baby spinach leaves, marinara sauce, macadamia ricotta cheese, and sesame parmesan sprinkled on top.

We are spiralizing some zucchini for the veggie box and preparing a sweet and sour sauce to pour over it. I love this with chopped pineapple, so we're putting a little bowl of that in the veggie box along with some slivered red pepper.

Something we don't have very often, but we wanted to include in our beasts every 6 weeks or so is a raw vegan veggie patty. Generally these are a combination of a few kinds of nuts; we are using walnuts, sprouted sunflower seeds, and almonds. These are combined with tons of veggies and some seasonings to make things interesting. We are also doing a great barbeque sauce to put on top. We have some carmelized onion to put on top too. I can't wait to see how people like it. I love them on top of a side salad so that I get a bite of salad with each bite of burger. Hence we are including the makings for a side salad in the veggie box. The vinaigrette included in the beast is for the side salad. No french fries though...

On a side note, I've seen where some raw fooders cut up jicama or a similar vegetable into french fry cuts and call them french fries. Wait a minute, my fake food blog was last week...

Our soup and salad this week is carrot raisin salad with a yummy mayonnaise made from cashews along with a squash soup. We'll be getting our vitamin A this week! I really love squash soup and look forward to it every fall when the winter squashes make their debut. We're not sure how it will hold over in the beast box as we always eat it when it is first made.

Greek salad is a delicious way to end the day. We're providing lettuce in the beast box, and in the veggie box are some extra veggies if people want them. We've got some delicious kalamata olives to sprinkle on there along with scoops of feta cheese. This is not the little cubes of feta like they have at the store. I make a cheese from cashews, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts, and mix it with onion, garlic, cilantro, oregano, and marjoram to give it some classic Greek flavor. It can then be scooped onto the salad and mixed in as it being eaten. (I had some last night with the leftovers, and it was delicious!) We've got a nice lemon herb vinaigrette to pour over the top.

Our snacks this week are two veggie ones: kale chips and tomato chewies. Both are marinated first and then dehydrated; we find them both irresistible. Our first dessert is a banana coconut cream pie with a nice chocolate crust. Our next dessert was pure inspiration. We made up a baklava filling for dates a few months ago, and we were thinking, "How would this taste layered with apples?" You can taste the result this week. In my humble opinion, it is sublime...

For my recipe this week, I'm going to post a paté. I really didn't know what these were when I first read about them. This one is called "Sunny Paté" and is from Nomi Shannon who wrote Raw Gourmet. These are an easy way to add variety to your salad meals.

Sunny Paté

3 cups sunflower seeds soaked 8 to 12 hours and sprouted 2 to 4 hours
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup roughly chopped scallions
1/2 cup raw tahini
2 tablespoons nama shoyu or 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
2 to 4 slices sweet onion, cut in chunks
4 to 6 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
2 to 3 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste (optional)

In a food processor, process the sunflower seeds, lemon juice, scallions, tahini, nama shoyu, onion, parsley, garlic, and cayenne to a smooth paste. Adjust the seasonings to taste. The paté will develop a stronger garlic flavor after a few hours, so don't overdo it at the beginning. This recipe tastes better if allowed to sit in the fridge for a few hours.

I'm not feeling too philosophical this week, so I guess I'll call it a day. I've got some apples I need to go layer. I think one of the reasons I love raw food cookery so much is there is plenty of time for peeling off my own layers while I peel, slice, and chop. Nearly all of our menus involves handling living food the earth has offered up for our enjoyment. Gabriel Cousins calls it "Conscious Eating" - thinking about what we eat and what a miracle of creation each substance is. What a loving Father to give us so much variety and deliciousness. How could anyone not see Him as generous?

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