Raw Foods Honey Lavender, Kiwi Strawberry Un-cheesecake Recipe

April 13th, 2011 yum Posted in Blog Event, Dairy Free, Egg Free, JM friendly, Raw Food, Rice Free, Soy Free, Sugar free, Vegan Option, coconut 19 Comments »


I had so much fun participating in Nicola’s detox January, I could not wait to participate in Brittany of Real Sustenance’s April in the Raw blog event. Lately I’ve been enjoying experimenting with raw foods, and her event offered the perfect opportunity to try some ideas I’d had for a raw cheesecake.

The entries for the first week of the event look amazing and I am greatly looking forward to see the other divine entries.

For my entry, I wanted to try to create a delicious cheesecake like the ones I’ve enjoyed at Cafe Gratitude, an amazing raw foods cafe based in the San Francisco- Berkeley area. They now have a small cafe in my local Cupertino Whole Foods, yay! I found a lot of interesting recipes online that provided the inspiration for my recipe, but I wanted to do something a little different. I was initially thinking of making a strawberry or blueberry cheesecake, but as I stepped out the door of my house, I happened to see the lavender plant that I planted next to the door. I love lavender and use it every chance I can, either in body products (I love Dr. Bronner’s)), or in my natural housecleaning supplies. I add a few drops of essential oil in the vinegar and water I use to mop the floor, and drip a few into baking soda to use as a good carpet or couch deodorizer. Not unexpectedly, I also love lavender in food, whether it is delicately flavoring sugar cookies, ice cream, or chocolate. It is yummy however you use it. And so, when I saw this lavender plant on my doorstop with its beautiful small purple flowers, I thought- how beautiful would a mini-cheesecake be, drizzled in a little raw honey and festooned with lavender blossoms. Although I was inspired, I’m a fickle girl and wanted an assortment of flavors, so I still went to the grocery store and picked up some fresh fruit.

I started the recipe last night by soaking almonds and cashews overnight. Even though it is difficult for me to plan ahead enough to do this, I always enjoy the process of setting ingredients out to soak. It makes me feel half like Laura Ingalls Wilder and half like a witch preparing ingredients for some magical potion. This morning I made the almond nut milk and set it in a carton in the refrigerator, after sipping a little as a treat. The box stuff has nothing on the homemade almond milk! I cracked open my bottle of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil that Tropical Traditions had sent me free as a promotion. Woo hoo! Yay for free coconut oil! Next I made my molds for the cheesecake. I didn’t have springform pans that would have made it easy, so what I did was tape removable tart bottoms to my english muffin rings. Then I ground up pecans and date and pressed them into the tart pans as the crust. I put the crust in the refrigerator, made my filling, and then started playing with my fresh fruit and local, raw honey and lavender blossoms.

Ultimately I ended up making a very fun strawberry-kiwi raw cheesecake, mango cheesecake, and a blueberry topped cheesecake with a surprise. I enjoyed each flavor, but the honey lavender cheesecake was my hands down favorite. Sometimes honey has a little too much personality, but since the same is true of lavender, when they are put together somehow they harmonize to make something much more mellow. I could eat this cheesecake every day, if it weren’t for the fact that it requires me to think ahead to soak the nuts. Eating fresh flower blossoms always makes me feel like I’m dining on fairy food. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Gluten-free Raw Cashew Cheesecake with Pecan Date Crust
Ingredients
1 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup soaked medjool dates
shredded raw coconut

Filling:
3 cups cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours)
1/4 cup pine nuts (soaked for at least 30 minutes)
1/2 cup freshly made almond milk*
1/2 cup raw honey or agave (for almost-raw)
2/3 cup raw coconut oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1-2 sun-dried vanilla bean, cut open and scraped out OR 2 or 3 tsp. vanilla (for almost-raw)
sea salt to taste

6 mini springform pans OR english muffin rings taped to cardboard or metal circles OR silicon muffin liners work too but give a less cheesecake-like shape

Directions
Sprinkle shredded coconut in the bottom of each small springform pan. Then put your pecans and dates in the food processor and process until you have a sticky, crumbly dough. Pat it into the bottom of your pans but not up the sides. Put your pans in the refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Drain and rinse your cashews and pine nuts. Put in blender with the rest of your ingredients and process until smooth. If you have too much in your blender for one batch, you can separate it and process it in two batches until smooth and then combine them. Pour the filling into your individual cheesecake molds and put the molds in the freezer to firm up- about 3 or 4 hours.

Variations:
Honey Lavender Un-cheesecake: Use raw honey as your sweetener for the filling. Sprinkle top with fresh lavender flowers or sprigs and dabs of honey as desired.

Strawberry Kiwi Un-cheesecake:
top with chopped fresh strawberry and kiwi

Blueberry Sauce Un-cheesecake:
after the cheesecake has been in the freezer an hour or two and is firm, use a knife so that it is no longer attached to the sides of the mold. Top with blueberry sauce and put back in freezer to harden. Reserve some sauce for drizzling later if you like.

Mango Un-cheesecake:
Top with slices of fresh mango.

*To serve, remove cheesecake from the freezer and carefully slide a knife around the edges of the mold so it is no longer attached to the side. gently remove from mold and then leave out at room temperature for 20 minutes or so (or put in refrigerator) until texture approximates cheesecake and is no longer frozen solid.

Notes
*I made a batch of almond milk by soaking 1 1/3 cup of raw almonds overnight, rinsing them and blending with 2 cups of filtered water until you have a smooth creamy liquid. Then I strained the liquid in tea straining bags (or nut bags, if you have them) and added some (optional) vanilla scrapings. Delicious, and you’ll have more than you need for this recipe!
Blueberry Sauce with a secret ingredient
Ingredients
1 1/3 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen, defrosted and rinsed)
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla
Directions
Combine in food processor, blend and chill. Serve on vegan nut cream or raw cheesecake.
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Gluten-free St. Patrick’s Day: Leek Kale Cabbage Colcannon Recipe

March 17th, 2011 yum Posted in Dinner Party, Kale, Nut Free, Party Food, Potatoes, Rice Free, Soy Free, St. Patricks Day, Vegan Option 9 Comments »

I have to admit, I have never had green beer. Back when I was a college student, they hadn’t come out with all the wonderful gluten-free beers that are out today. Root beer was my brown bottled beverage of choice, and I never got my ID checked to buy it, which somehow takes all the fun out of it. And, even more of a shame is the fact that despite all my travels, I’ve never been to Ireland. I hear my family has some Irish ancestry, though. And, given my pale skin, hazel green eyes, and intolerance to gluten, I can believe it. This might be why I love the idea of St. Patrick’s Day, and love the idea of having a dinner menu that celebrates a culture halfway around the globe from us. You know me, I’ll take any excuse to explore an international cuisine!

Previously I’ve made a delicious vegan pot pie and dill bread to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I love these recipes, but this year I wanted to do a little something different, so I started searching online. Once I came across an Irish dish called Colcannon made from potatoes, cabbage, or kale my mission was clear. I needed to make this lovely dish in celebration of my deep love for that most healthful of emerald-green veggies, kale. But I also needed to make it a bit rich and naughty so my green-leafy veggie reluctant husband would enjoy it too. Thus I used copious amounts of butter and salt, and even dipped into Baby Yum’s organic whole milk, to create something rich enough to qualify as celebration fare. If you are feeling a bit more health conscious than I am, or have a more greens-enthused family, feel free to cut down on the butter (or use a vegan substitute such as margarine or coconut oil) and use the salt more sparingly. Keep in mind that the seasonings on the green flavor the plain potato as well, and go forth and experiment. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do, and as much as I suspect my potato-obsessed Baby Yum will tonight for dinner.

I’m cooking at my in-law’s house in Boulder, Colorado this week. It always feels like a holiday cooking at someone else’s house- as long as they have the gluten contained. (My in-laws are very careful about keeping gluten away from us, bless them!)

I don’t think I cook with cabbage near enough. It is surprisingly tasty in Japanese okonomiyaki, savory cabbage pancakes/ pizza, and equally good with an Indian spiced-treatment of caramelized onions and golden cabbage. I’ve even had it in a delightful raw sesame oil salad- so yummy and good for you! You can’t even see the cabbage in the end product. Good for cabbage-haters!


Looking for more gluten-free vegetarian recipes for St. Patrick’s Day?
*Colcannon Puffs at Fat Free Vegan
*
Gluten-free Irish Coffee Cupcakes at Simply Gluten-free
*Elana’s Gluten-free St. Patricks Day Recipes, including one for Irish Soda Bread (yummy) and Peppermint Patties
*Vegan Spinach Pie Recipe from the Book of Yum
*Karina’s Delicious Gluten-free Irish Soda Bread Recipe
*Vegan Colcannon Casserole at Manifest Vegan
*Dairy-free Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream with a surprise from Gluten Free Easily

Vegetarian Colcannon with kale cabbage and leeks Recipe
Ingredients
8 small potatoes, washed with eyes removed
3 tbsp. butter (or Earth Balance margaarine for vegan)
3 leeks, green tops removed, with white part sliced in half horizontally, soaked in water and then drained and chopped into 1/4 inch crescents
1/4 small cabbage, quartered and then thinly sliced
handful of de-veined kale, cut into bite size slices
copious amounts of salt and pepper
Generous glug of the highest fat milk in your house (hey, this is holiday food)- unsweetened plain non-dairy soy, almond or rice milk for vegan

Sunny Paris or other shallot-or-onion + dill herbal blend (optional)

Directions
Quarter potatoes and boil in a pot for 30 minutes or until soft enough to mash

Heat one tablespoon of butter in a pan on medium and add about 2 leeks worth of chopped crescent shapes, sauteeing until softened. Add your kale and an additional 1/2 tbsp. of butter. Sautee for a minute or so. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then add a dash of water, covering the pan and lowering the heat. Let cook on low for 10-20 minutes, covered, or until kale is buttery soft and leeks are nicely caramelized. Remove to a bowl. Melt another tbsp. of butter in the pan on medium heat and add your remaining leek crescents. Sautee for a minute or two and then add your thinly sliced cabbage. Cook your cabbage for about five minutes, and then add your remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter, generous amounts of salt and pepper to your taste, lower heat and cover until you have nice caramelized leeks and very soft, buttery cabbage with light browning. You may wish to turn the cabbage once during this.

While the cabbage mixture is cooking on the stove-top, mash your potatoes with a masher and add your glug of rich milk. Fold the leek-kale mixture into the potatoes gently. When the cabbage-leek mixture is done, you can add it to the potatoes as well. Don’t over-stir; you want the potatoes to have a slightly lumpy, rustic presentation.

Sprinkle with a dill-onion type herbal blend and serve.

Serve in a pretty piece of pottery as a side dish for a St. Patrick’s Day themed feast!

Notes
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