Cooked: Vegan Raaka S’Mores

S’mores… Who doesn’t love the flavor fusion of decadent chocolate with soft pillowy toasted marshmallow sandwiched between crunchy sweet graham crackers? It’s something I’ve missed for a very long time and I’m going to go so far as to say this vegan S’mores creation far outweighs any other I’ve had, vegan aside. I think the secret was in the chocolate. I recently discovered a line of chocolate that I’m absolutely smitten with! It’s a company called Raaka! They ethically source their cacao beans, never roast them to leave the true flavors intact as to honor the essence of what chocolate is… They are also here in Brooklyn and make their handmade bars in small controlled batches. I recently signed up for their chocolate of the month mailings: BEST. DECISION. EVER.  For this particular vegan S’more, I chose their 75% dark bar that boasts tasting notes of golden plum, rice wine and pistachio. It’s truly something to behold. Another great bar for a S’more would be their vegan Coconut Milk or the Bourbon Cask bar. Yum!   For the marshmallows, I can’t find anything better out there than Dandies! Definitely go with these as they are flawless puffed delights sans gelatin.   IMG_4526   Ingredients:

  • Vegan Graham Crackers (I used Erewhon brand)
  • 1 bar of Raaka chocolate (I used 75% Madagascar)
  • Several vegan marshmallows ( I used Dandies)

Directions: There are actually a couple ways to pull this off, if you have access to a flame and want to roast your marshmallows the old fashioned way, by all means — please do it! I went ahead and just set the marshmallows on the graham crackers with a tray underneath (just in case!) on broil in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the marshmallows began to brown slightly. Next, place a couple squares of Raaka on the warm toasted marshmallows and close with another graham cracker! This is about as close to camping as I get, and boy is it delicious!   To check out more of what Raaka has to offer: http://www.raakachocolate.com/

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Cooked: Quinoa Mac n’ Smoked Cashew Cheese

It’s been awhile. I know. I’m putting myself in time out actually. It’s been far too long since my last post so I’m going to try and make up for some lost time and post a few recipes this week! Here’s the first one and it’s something I adapted after tasting the baked artichoke macaroni at one of my favorite vegan restaurants here in Brooklyn; M.O.B. It has this yummy creamy smokey cheese with pecans and a side of broccolini. Such a comfort meal and very satisfying! M.O.B. doesn’t use the quinoa macaroni that I prefer. I like to go with quinoa since it’s gluten free and makes me feel like I ate a healthy grain. So here we go…

IMG_4931

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz box of quinoa elbow pasta cooked according to directions (you can use shells, rotini, etc if you prefer!)
  • 1/2 lb of broccolini 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (grade A or B)
  • a few handfuls of pecans
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Smoked Cashew Cheese (see below)

Smoked Cashew Cheese:

Combine the following in a high speed blender, except Olive Oil and blend while adding Olive Oil slowly to the moving blender. Add water to create the desired cheesy consistency.

  • 1 Cup Cashews (preferably soaked for 3-4 hours)
  • 1/3 Bell Pepper (yellow, orange or red)
  • A nice big pinch of smoked salt (or sea salt)
  • 1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • Water, as needed

Directions:

In a pan on medium heat add some olive oil and sliced broccolini, cooking for 5-8 minutes until bright green and semi soft.

Mix pecans with maple syrup and spread on a nonstick parchment sheet and bake in oven for 5 minutes at 350. Careful not to overcook as this will begin to burn and smoke up your kitchen if you leave it in too long.

Add smoked cheese to cooked elbow macaroni and mix well. Serve with the candied maple pecans on top and grilled broccolini on the side. Enjoy!

Raw: BLAT Wraps

I had made a delicious raw mock “tuna” and a Dijon mayo dressing sauce to go with it last week and I actually ended up with more of the sauce/mayo than the mock “tuna”. I was pondering what I could use the rest of the mayo for when it suddenly dawned on me… Raw BLATs! So, here they are, people! I had at least 5-7 of these babies tonight and I was so pleased with how they turned out!

BLATs

Ingredients:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Tomatoes (sliced)
  • Avocado
  • Coconut Bacon (I used the Phoney Baloney brand)
  • Raw Cashew Dijon Mayo

Raw Cashew Dijon Mayo:

Combine the following in a high speed blender and blend until smooth!

  • 1/2 cup raw coconut water
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 cup raw cashews (you may also use pine nuts or macadamia nuts)
  • 1/4 cup stone ground mustard

Assemble the BLAT wraps by taking one romaine leaf at a time and putting several slices of tomato down, cubed avocado and a small handful of coconut bacon. Top with Dijon mayo and devour!

Raw: Cheezy Kelp Noodles & Broccoli

broccheeze

This dish is sure to please anyone who formerly loved macaroni & cheese dishes, but this one is sans animal fats, cholesterol and guilt! This is like no other pasta dish you’ll try; the noodles are literally only 4 calories per serving! The cheeze has a savory and slightly spicy flavor which the broccoli perfectly compliments! Bon appétit!

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz package of kelp noodles
  • 1 bunch of broccoli (We prefer using baby broccoli/raab)
  • 1 recipe of ‘Cheezy Sauce’ (See below)

For the Cheezy Sauce:

  • 1 cup raw cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper spice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • water to blend
      Blend “cheeze” components in a Vita Mix (or other high speed) blender until creamy adding enough water until reaching desired consistency, you want to leave this somewhat thick. Rinse kelp noodles under water and use kitchen shears to cut them shorter over a large bowl. Add Cheezy Sauce mixture and broccoli. Use a wooden spoon to toss ingredients together. If desired, top with red pepper flakes. Enjoy!!

 

Why am I here?

Today brought with it some deep questions. Perhaps it was the murky post-monsoon weather that infiltrated Brooklyn this morning… Or maybe it was just time for me to “get real” and figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. At any rate, I arrived at this blog-creating destination with great enthusiasm! I think I could perhaps develop a following of sorts and this could be my outlet for sharing a lifestyle that I feel helps everyone while hurting no one. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? We’re each here to do something for others and if I’m being honest with myself, I’ve always had this magnetic affinity toward food. I guess because it tends to fill in those aching voids of hunger while deeply satiating the senses of aroma, taste, texture and even sound! In this country we feed ourselves approximately three times a day and therefore it’s a pretty important ritual, in my opinion. You can do a lot of damage with a fork and knife these days. The UN has even urged people to stop eating meat because it’s simply no longer sustainable and is contributing to vast global destruction. More and more people are jumping on this plant-based bandwagon and yet there still tends to be a lot of misconception about veganism (I used the V-word). I’m here to demystify it and show the benefits while proving its ease. That is my calling and I’m pretty sure of it at this point. Nothing really gets me as excited as working with new ingredients, creating something magnificent and watching the pleased faces at the dinner table devour sustainable nourishment I’ve created with my own two hands. It’s my humble art form that disappears quicker than it’s made and I’m delighted to share it with everyone.

Please watch the following video. These are the reasons I’m 100% plant based, happy about it, and urge you to do the same.

Animals Should Be Off The Menu Debate: