Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pumpkin Pecan Caramel Ice Cream Cake


We are on the verge of Autumn, but that does not stop me from enjoying ice cream.  I have talked about this before on my blog, but I am one of those people that makes ice cream just about every week, and always has some in the freezer.  Even when the weather starts to cool down.  So, since I am on a big pumpkin kick this week, I had to make some pumpkin ice cream.  But not just plain old pumpkin ice cream...an ice cream cake.  And, not just an ice cream cake...a Raw Pumpkin Pecan Caramel Ice Cream Cake!


I felt the need to go all out with this one.  First, I made a sweet cinnamon graham cracker like crust, per usual for the base (but that was the only thing per usual).  Second, and my favorite part, I made a spiced pumpkin ice cream filling. Laced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves to make it taste like pumpkin pie in ice cream form.  It was sooo good, and I can assure you I scraped the blender and ice cream maker clean and enjoyed every last drop left over.


Lastly, it needed some raw caramel.  I made my favorite raw caramel, laced with pecan butter.  It ended up in the middle layer of the cake swirled in and on top of the cake, along with pecans.  This cake was yummalicious!  Pumpkin love in the form of cake!


Pumpkin Pecan Caramel Ice Cream Cake
Makes one 6 inch round cake

1/2 cup finely shredded dried coconut
3/4 cup raw activated buckwheat groats (or raw oats or additional coconut)
1/2 cups ground flax seed
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup soft medjool dates, pitted (if not soft, soak in filtered water 30 minutes and drain well before using)


Ice Cream:
1 1/2 cups coconut water
3 cups young coconut meat*
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups chopped raw pumpkin or squash**
3/4  cup raw date paste or another raw liquid sweetener if you prefer
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 inch chunk fresh ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
seeds of one vanilla bean
1 1/2 tsp maple extract (optional, but makes it more caramel flavored)
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1/4 cup pecan butter
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid


Caramel:
10 large soft medjool dates
1 Tbsp raw pecan butter or other raw nut butter
filtered water as needed
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp Himalayan salt

1/2 cup raw pecans


For the crust, in a food processor, combine all ingredients but the dates, and process until fine crumbs.  Add the dates and process until starting to hold together when squeezed (if it is not, add a few more dates).  Remove from the food processor and press into the bottom of a 6 inch spring form pan lined with plastic wrap (for easy removal) and press out flat at the bottom.  

For the ice cream, add coconut water to a food processor, along with young coconut, bananas,   squash, nectar, maple, vanilla, pecan butter sea salt. Process until smooth, then with the processor running, add the coconut butter slowly and process until well incorporated, about a minute. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to directions. 
Meanwhile, for the caramel, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth (adding filtered water as needed until it is a desired consistency).  Set aside.
Once the ice cream is done churning, remove from ice cream maker, then pour half the ice cream over the crust. Drop some of the caramel by the tsp over it, then scatter 1/4 cup of the pecans over it. Swirl the caramel a little with a knife, then pour the remaining ice cream over that. Place in the freezer for about 6 hours or overnight until firm.  Once set, place the remaining caramel in a pastry bag (or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off) and drizzle over the top of the cake (you may need to thin it out with water first if too thick). Garnish the top of the cake with pecans, and serve!  Store extra cake in the freezer, and if it becomes too hard, let it sit out about 15-20 Minutes before serving.

*If young coconut meat is unavailable, you can substitute the 3 cups fresh coconut with 3 cups finely shredded, dried coconut and 1 1/2 cups coconut water.  But, you MUST have a high speed blender to do this or it will never become smooth.  Blend the coconut first until it becomes butter, using the tamper to press it into the blades until it is liquidy, then add the coconut water and blend until combined. Add this to the ice cream base in place of the young coconut meat.
**Sweet squash, such as kabocha or butternut works perfectly in raw recipes requiring pumpkin.  Carrot can be used as well, and you will not notice in the end product.  In fact, these are often sweeter than pumpkin, and this is a tick raw dessert chefs use, swapping for pumpkin.  




Saturday, September 20, 2014

Raw Pecan Mocha Shortbread


The truth is I do not always know what I am doing when I start making a dessert.  Or, I think I do and then it turns out differently than I thought.  Sometimes a bad different...in which case it does not make it onto my blog to be shared, but instead laughed at by me and a story to tell.  Like the time when I tried making a sprouted lentil mushroom walnut loaf the first Thanksgiving I was a raw foodist.  I was all excited, I had all of the ingredients ready, and they were not cheap.  I was going to go all out since it was Thanksgiving.  I made the loaf, and I kept adding things to it thinking it didn't taste quite right...but it was no use, it was not getting any better.  So, finally I put it in the dehydrator thinking it would be better once it had "baked".  Boy was I wrong.  It was so disgusting, I threw it out and made a marinated kale salad, which ended up amazing!  I look back at it now and laugh.  Luckilly that rarely happens anymore because I pretty much know what works in raw food and what doesn't.


So what does that have to do with this shortbread?  Well the stuff turning out bad doesn't, but me starting out with a recipe then ending up something else does.  At least this one has a happy ending that doesn't end in the trash can.  I started out with the intention of making a raw pecan cacao macaroon.  I had added all of my ingredients to the processor and Thought it would turn out perfect as it usually does...except, I let it run too long and I ended up with a very fine dough.  Not macaroons at all...tasty, almost buttery cookie dough. It tasted exactly like shortbread dough that I used to make, so I went with it.  I added a little bit of coffee extract to make it pecan mocha, then shaped it into little shortbreads and popped them into the dehydrator to crisp them up.


 They turned out just as I had hoped too!  Buttery, crunchy, melt in your mouth delicious. I dipped them in raw dark chocolate, and they were wonderful.  I love it when I make a mistake and it turns out for the better!  This was one delicious mistake too!


Raw Pecan Mocha Shortbread
Makes 12

3 1/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup raw pecan butter
1/4 cup raw coconut butter (not oil), warmed to liquid
a pinch of sea salt
 1/3 cup raw coconut nectar, maple syrup, or raw local honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 tsp coffee extract
1/4 cup filtered water

1/2 cup raw pecans

1/2 cup chopped raw dark chocolate

In a food processor, combine the coconut, flax seed, cacao powder, and sea salt in the food processor and process until fine as flour and well combined. Add the pecan butter, coconut butter, nectar, vanilla and water and process until the mixture holds together (depending on the liquid sweetener you use, you may need to add a little more water just a tad, by the tsp. to get it to hold together). Add pecans and pulse until combined. Roll out on a foil lined pan into a 1/2 inch thick square and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Cut into 12 squares, and dehydrate for 8 hours at 115F or you can simply place them in the freezer (if you prefer them more delicate and doughy and less crispy) until very firm. Meanwhile, melt the raw chocolate (I place it in a bowl and melt it in the dehydrator).  When the shortbreads are firm, dip them into the chocolate and place on a foil lined sheet.  Place in the freezer for 5 minutes to set chocolate.  Store in the fridge.



Friday, September 19, 2014

Simple Tomato Lemon Thyme Pasta


I like my dinners fairly simple most of the time, especially when I have a few flavorful ingredients on hand that I want to be the stars of the show.  Like last night, when I got home and all I wanted was to enjoy some delicious tomatoes.  I had just finished drying a batch, and they were sooo good just plain. These are tomatoes from my Grandpa's garden, and to me, they are as good as dessert.  Or I crave them like they are.  So I threw together a zucchini pasta dish featuring them.  The dried, and the fresh, because I like a variety of textures and flavors.  I also added fresh lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and a bit of fresh thyme. Since I had some and it was a nice change up from my usual basil paired with tomatoes. I also added in some hemp seeds as well for a bit of protein and healthy omega 3s. I can not even begin to describe how good this was!  It was just what I was craving.  Light and flavorful, yet satisfying, since I was very hungry. I am really going to miss my tomatoes when they go out of season!


Simple Tomato Thyme Pasta
Serves 1


2 medium zucchini, spiralized or cut into thin noodles by hand
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked in water until soft, then drained and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 fresh large tomato, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
juice and zest of two lemons
1 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt to taste
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
3 Tbsp hemp seeds


Place all ingredients into a large bowl, and toss together.  Serve!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Raw Pluot Thyme Cheesecake


Although I am anxiously awaiting Autumn, there are still some delicious summer fruits that I am enjoying.  Pluots for one.  They are so flavorful this year!  I can not remember them ever being so sweet and juicy in the past.  Not only that, their vibrant color is beautiful!  And so I thought, before they go out of season, I better make the best of them and create a dessert featuring the lovely fruit.  


I thought about simply making a crumble, but the raw cheesecake obsessed girl that I am got the best of me.  I envisioned a cake topped off with beautiful pluots in a circular fashion with a creamy cheesecake below and some pluot puree swirled into the middle layer of it. That was going to happen.  But I wanted to add another dimension of flavor as well.  Vanilla was a given.  Maybe almond?  No...not interesting enough for me.  Fresh thyme!  I am loving herbs with sweet fruits and desserts lately, so that sounded perfect to me.


I also ended up adding a hint of lemon to the creamy cheesecake filling, and it was delicious with the sweet, jammy pluots.  This cake tasted like summer. Fresh, light, creamy cheesecake with an herbal note thanks to the thyme covered in delicious sweet pluots.  Well balanced and something I needed to go back for seconds of right away!


Raw Pluot Thyme Cheesecake
Makes one 6 inch cake

 
Crust:
2/3 cup raw sprouted buckwheat groats (or additional coconut)
1/3 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup dried finely shredded coconut
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
10-12 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped (if they are not soft, soak them in water until they are and drain them well)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Filling:
4 cups young coconut meat*
1/4 cup coconut water
2/3 cup raw coconut nectar, raw agave nectar or raw honey
1/2  teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean
juice and zest of one organic lemon
1/4 cup fresh organic thyme leaves
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid)**

Pluot Puree:
1 large organic pluot
3 soft, pitted medjool dates
a pinch sea salt

2 organic pluots, sliced for the top of the cake
fresh organic thyme for garnish

Lightly coat a 6 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process flax, coconut, buckwheat and sea salt in a food processor until fine crumbs, then add the dates and cardamom and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates). Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set aside.
To make the filling, in a high speed blender or food processor, combine coconut, coconut water, coconut nectar, sea salt, vanilla lemon and thyme in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. With the processor running, add the coconut butter and and process for a minute until blended. 
To make the pluot puree, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and process until smooth.  
To assemble cheesecake, 1/2 of the thyme filling over the crust, then drop some of the pluot puree over it by the tsp over that and swirl with a knife. Then pour the remaining filling over that, then drop more of the jam over that and swirl with a knife. Place in the freezer for 4 hours or until set.  When ready to serve, cover the top of the cake with pluot slices, drizzle with the remaining puree and garnish with thyme.  

*If you are unable to get young coconut meat, you may substitute 4 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours and drained and filtered water instead of the coconut water.
**If your coconut meat is very soft and watery, you may need to add a few More Tbsp coconut butter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Raw Almond Joy Energy Bars


The combination of coconut, almonds, and cacao is simply heavenly in my mind.  At least as an adult.  Funny, because I always gave away my Almond Joy candy bars from my Halloween candy stash.  I think it was the sweetened coconut that I couldn't stand.  I was not fond of coconut until later in life when I had the real stuff. Just unsweetened, dried nothing added coconut.  Once I tried that, it became one of my favorite things as you can probably tell from my recipes since I use it in a lot of things.  So, if Almond Joy candy bars had been made with good coconut I think I would have loved them.


 I often combine the flavors of an Almond Joy in my desserts, but this week I decided that they would make a delicious energy bar.  It was all there...the coconut, cacao, and almonds, plus lots of add ins that I consider to be perfect energy and protein foods.  Chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds, all good sources of omega 3 oils which I consider important parts of my daily meals and snacks.


The best part about these is not just that they are packed with nutritional goodness, but they are delicious as well!  Dessert, snack, and re-energizer in one, and they will keep you going throughout the day!


Raw Almond Joy Energy Bars
Makes 12

2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or your choice liquid raw sweetener
1/2 cup soft medjool dates, pitted (soaked in filtered water for 30 minutes if not soft and drained well)
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid
1 cup finely shredded, dried coconut
1 cup ground flax seed
2 scoops raw protein powder (I used Garden of Life Raw Vanilla)
1/4 cup raw, shelled hemp seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat groats
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs
1 cup raw almonds, chopped
1 cup finely shredded dried coconut

Chocolate Drizzle:
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup raw coconut oil
1/4 cup raw coconut nectar, or agave nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
a pinch sea salt

In a food processor, combine the coconut nectar, dates, sea salt, banana, almond extract, vanilla extract, and coconut butter and process until smooth. Add the cup coconut, flax seed and protein powder and process until well combined.  Add the seeds and buckwheat groats and process briefly just to incorporate (so that there is still texture).  Remove from the processor and knead in almonds, raw cacao nibs and coconut (the mixture may be a little sticky, but that is ok*).  Spread out on a lined dehydrator tray 1/2 inch thick in a square (using a bench scraper to shape the sides and an oiled rolling pin helps).  Cut into 12 bars, and place in the dehydrator.  Dry for about 12 hours at 115F until dry but still chewy. Or, alternatively, you can just place in the freezer until firm (about an hour) but they will be not be as firm, or keep as long.
Once the bars are ready, to make the chocolate, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Then drizzle over the finished bars (I like to put mine in a pastry bag and drizzle it).  Place in the freezer for 5 minutes to set the chocolate.  Store finished bars in the fridge in an airtight container.

*Note: if you do not want to dehydrate these, add more flax meal, a little at a time until they are not sticky, kneading it in, then refrigerate them to firm up.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Raw Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Jalapenos


 More jalapenos?  Why yes!  I apologize to any of you that do not like hot peppers for all of my spicy pepper posts lately, but I love the little guys and I have been given a lot of them lately.  I make a lot of hot sauce, but I have been a little more inspired to make actual recipes with them too.  The latest of which was Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Jalapenos.  To be honest, I have been wanting to make something of the sort for over two years now, or since I went raw really.  Every time I would hear about jalapeno poppers or stuffed jalapenos, I would say to myself...I need to make some raw ones.


Well, now was the time.  I know the classic raw recipe for stuffed jalapenos uses a cashew cheese, but I try to limit my nut intake (because I can not always tolerate lots of them and they are spendy) except for special occasions or times when I want to splurge.  So, the solution was a coconut cheese.  Before you go thinking that sounds weird, and too sweet...it is actually a wonderful cheese base!  I have been experimenting with it a bit lately, using probiotics  to give it a tang as well as make it healthy for my gut.  So, I used some of this raw coconut cheese I have been experimenting with laced with a bit of nutritional yeast to make it cheddary for the filling.  I mixed in some of my home made sun dried tomatoes, and it was as simple as that!  These were yummalicious savory goodness!  Cheesy and spicy, but not heavy.  If you have fresh peppers from your garden, first off I am envious of you lucky duck!  Second, you should try these out, you will be happy you did!


Raw Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Jalapenos
Makes 24

Creamy Cheddar Cheese:
2 cups finely shredded, dried coconut
1 cup young coconut meat
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
a pinch turmeric
a pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp probiotic powder

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped

12 jalapenos, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed

To make the cheese, Add the coconut to a high speed blender* and blend until a smooth butter.  combine all ingredients in the blender, and blend until smooth. Place in a bowl, cover, and let sit on the counter in a warm place for 12 hours until it starts to become a little tangy.  Place in the fridge until it firms up a little (to the consistency of spreadable cheese, you want to be able to pipe it).  Stir in the tomatoes.  Place the cheese in a pastry bag or a ziplock back with the corner cut off, and pipe into the prepared jalapenos. Serve!

*Note: this will not work if you do not have a high speed blender strong enough to turn the coconut to butter.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Raw Tomato Basil Cheesecake


I know what you may be thinking...tomatoes and basil in a cheesecake?  Aren't those savory items fit for things like pasta sauce or salads?  Well, yes they are but...they are just as equally delicious when used creatively in sweets.  I love tomatoes and basil, so much that I wait all year for them, and I do not buy tomatoes at the store, I wait for the ones from my Grandpa's garden.  I grow my own basil in a pot on the patio as well, and nothing compares to those two ingredients combined, fresh and home grown.  Most often I like my tomatoes just with a hint of sea salt, with a little torn basil.  To me that is like dessert.  Savory dessert.  But tomatoes do have a hint of sweetness that can be brought out for a sweeter dessert. Like this Tomato Basil Cheesecake!  



 No, I am not crazy.  This is how the idea came about.  I have been wanting to try making a basil cheesecake for a long time, years in fact since I saw a recipe for a baked one that intrigued me. I love basil and I love cheesecake, so why not?  I have actually made sweet tomato desserts before, caramelized tomato ice cream and a tomato spice cake so I knew that tomato would work in a dessert.  I decided to combine the two by swirling a caramelized tomato jam throughout the cake. Tomato is a fruit after all, and it is wonderful in a jammy state.


This cake was freaking amazing.  The marriage of flavors that are usually savory with sweet. My kind of dessert.  Something outside of the box. If you don't believe me I wish I could invite you over to try it.  Simply heavenly and a perfect use of the end of the summer tomato and basil harvest!


Raw Tomato Basil Cheesecake
Makes one 6 inch cake

Garnish:
2 smaller tomatoes (preferably local and organic), cut into quarters
3 Tbsp maple syrup (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
a pinch sea salt


Crust:
2/3 cup raw sprouted buckwheat groats (or additional coconut)
1/3 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup dried finely shredded coconut
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
10-12 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped (if they are not soft, soak them in water until they are and drain them well)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Filling:
4 cups young coconut meat*
1/4 cup coconut water
2/3 cup raw coconut nectar, raw agave nectar or raw honey
1/2  teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean
1/2 cup fresh organic basil, packed 
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid)**

Caramelized tomato jam:
3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked in water until soft, and drained***
1/3 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup maple syrup (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch sea salt

For the garnish, toss the tomatoes with the maple syrup and sea salt and set on a dehydrator tray. Dehydrate overnight, about 12 hours until the tomatoes have shrunken and flavors are intensified but are not completely dry.  Set aside in the fridge.  
Lightly coat a 6 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process flax, coconut, buckwheat and sea salt in a food processor until fine crumbs, then add the dates and cardamom and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates). Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set aside.
To make the filling, in a high speed blender or food processor, combine coconut, coconut water, coconut nectar, sea salt, vanilla and basil in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. With the processor running, add the coconut butter and and process for a minute until blended. 
To make the tomato jam, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.  If it seems too thick add a little more maple syrup or water.  
To assemble cheesecake, 1/3 of the basil filling over the crust, then drop some of the tomato jam by the tsp over that and swirl with a knife. Then pour half the remaining filling over that, then drop more of the jam over that and swirl with a knife. Pour the remaining basil filling over that, and then drop more jam over that. Once the pan is full, tap the bottom on the counter to level, and swirl with a knife in a spiral from the outside in to the center, then a toothpick if you want more intricate swirls.  Place in the freezer for 4 hours or until set.  When ready to serve, garnish with dried caramelized tomatoes, and basil.  

*If you are unable to get young coconut meat, you may substitute 4 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours and drained and filtered water instead of the coconut water.
**If your coconut meat is very soft and watery, you may need to add a few More Tbsp coconut butter.
***To make sun dried tomatoes, cut your tomatoes into wedges (about 4 for smaller and 8 for larger), and dehydrate on a lined tray at 115F for 24 hours or until dry.