Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Raw Vegan Coconut Cheesecake Bites

i want to be the girl with the most cake.
or just enough cake, really...
Raw Vegan Coconut Cheesecake Bites. 
Little bitty nutty miracle, this thing is.
will spare you from having to read yet another flowery blog post singing the praises of  cashew cheesecake. Its a damn miracle and we all well know it.  I have a few brief things to say on the subject and then you can get down to the very important business of making, and eventually eating, cake. There are a lot of fantastic raw cheesecake recipes out there, but almost all of them are for special occasion, party of eight, birthday-sized cakes. That's all well and good, but if you're not throwing a party or not in the mood to spend thirty dollars on dessert (all of those raw food components can get a bit pricey), those recipes aren't going to work. Also, I'll let you in on a little secret. Unlike your standard carb-y sugar bomb, raw cheesecake is healthy, nourishing and FILLING. So this recipe is on a mini scale. 'Cause a little goes a long way and 
'cause mini raw foods are adorable.
Oh and I almost forgot, you can eat them for breakfast.
Cheesecake. For breakfast.
So there's that.

This recipe is an adaptation from the always inspiring Choosing Raw.

Raw cashews, measured and ready for soaking.

Recipe notes:
I use a standard silicone 1" peanut butter cup mold, which yields 12 mini cake bites.
For slightly larger cakes try silicone mini or standard muffin cups or a small spring form pan.
You can also use a plastic mold, though the cakes might be more difficult to pop out.

Raw Vegan Coconut Cheesecake Filling
(makes 12 1" cake bites)
1/2c raw cashews
1tbsp agave*
2tsp raw coconut oil
1/4tsp vanilla extract
1/8tsp sea salt
2tsp lemon juice

*you can also use maple syrup, though it is not raw.

Date-walnut crust, fully blended.

Date-Walnut Crust
4 pitted dates
1/3c raw walnuts
2tbsp raw flaked coconut
2tsp raw flax seed meal

Extra flaked coconut for garnish

To prepare filling:
Soak cashews in filtered water for 2-3 hours.
Drain water and discard.
 Place cashews in a blender or food processor.
Add all other filling ingredients and blend
until smooth.
Set aside.

To prepare crust:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until mix is made up of only small crumbs
and holds together when pressed in your hand.

Coconut-topped medium sized tarts.

Press the crust into the bottom of each cake mold.
Spoon in cheesecake filling and shake to distribute.
Use a spatula to smooth out the tops then add extra flaked coconut for garnish.
Transfer mold to the fridge and allow to chill for 1 hour.
Once chilled, pop cake bites out of the mold and enjoy!
Store any extras in the fridge.

Yeah, they really want you.
They really want you.
They really do.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Raw Walnut Milk and Raw Walnut Alfredo

(better) late (than never) to the party...
Raw Walnut Milk
Raw Walnut Alfredo Sauce.
Freshly blended walnut-y perfection.


Walnut milk came as something of a surprise to me. Until about a week ago I had regarded walnuts as too precious a commodity to milk-ify. Oh, how wrong I was... Over the course of the last decade and a half I've tried (and tried making) just about every other kind of non-dairy milk under the sun. After all those years of mad-scientist experimentation, hemp milk became the homemade go-to in my household. It served it's purpose but, while I dig the taste of hemp seeds, I never quite fell in love with raw hemp milk. It lacked the creaminess of store bought and the taste was always a little... off.  But I dutifully made it each week and saved the pulp for raw crackers or cheese or sauce. Meh. Then last week I found myself hemp seed-less and a light bulb went off. Why couldn't I do the same with walnuts? So I did. And it was glorious.
Turns out raw walnut milk is pretty much perfection. Go figure.
And then there's the walnut pulp Alfredo...
Raw. Vegan. Alfredo.
Need I say more?

Soaked walnuts, ready to be blended.

Raw Walnut Milk
5c filtered water + extra for soaking
1c raw walnuts
2 pitted medjool dates
1/4tsp sea salt
1/4tsp vanilla extract
Place raw walnuts in a small bowl, cover with filtered water, soak for3-6 hours.
Drain soaked walnuts and discard water.
Place nuts, dates, salt and extract into blender or milk maker.
Add 5c water.
Blend until smooth or use set milk maker to raw.
Once blended, strain mixture through a cheesecloth or nutmilk bag, reserving pulp.
If using a milk maker, simply pour off milk and reserve pulp.

And then there was this...
Walnut Alfredo with whole wheat pasta, kale, artichokes and fried tofu.
Yes, it was as good as it sounds.

Raw Walnut Pulp Alfredo Sauce
(serves 2)
Reserved, strained walnut pulp (should measure about 1/2c)
3Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2tsp sea salt
1 clove garlic
1/4tsp nutmeg
1/2tsp ground black pepper
1Tbsp reserved walnut milk (more as needed)
Dash of dried oregano (optional)
Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
Add more walnut milk as needed for creaminess.
Serve over raw or cooked noodles.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Raw Coconut-Vanilla Chia Pudding

insert chia pet commercial joke here...
Raw Coconut-Vanilla Chia Pudding. 

Raw coconut vanilla chia pudding served with walnuts, sliced peaches and hemp seeds.

Being a child of the 80s made coming to terms with the whole chia pudding concept rather difficult. Until recently I had only ever experienced chia in pet form, gooey little seeds slathered onto a terra cotta sheep for novelty sprouting. But, in spite of what TV infomercials would have us believe, there is much more to chia than giving fuzzy green fur/ hair to ceramic animals and Mr. T heads.
Chia seeds are nutritional rockstars, ridiculously full of fiber, protein and vitamins, and they happen to make an outstanding pudding. The seeds thicken when soaked in liquid, giving them a texture similar to that of tapioca. Add a little sweetener, a little vanilla, a pinch of salt and you've got a crazy good (and good for you) pudding that can be enjoyed guilt-free any damn time of day.
Pudding for breakfast?
Don't mind if I do.

Maple syrup measuring time. 

Coconut-Vanilla Chia Pudding
(serves 2-3)

 1c light coconut milk
3Tbsp raw chia seeds
1" of a vanilla bean, scraped
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4tsp sea salt
1tbsp maple syrup
agave syrup

raw walnuts
coconut flakes
cacao nibs
sliced fruit
hemp seeds

In a medium bowl combine chia seeds, sea salt and maple syrup.
Split vanilla bean segment lengthwise and, using the backside of knife, scrape the seeds from inside the pod and
add to mixing bowl.
You can also drop the scraped pod into into the mix for a stronger vanilla flavor. Simply leave pod to soak with pudding then remove before eating.
Add coconut milk, whisk to combine.
Let sit for 5 minutes.
Whisk again, cover tightly and place in the refrigerator for at least three hours until thickened.
Serve with fresh fruit, nuts or seeds.

*Recipe Notes*

Read ingredients when shopping for coconut milk as many brands contain additives and thickeners. My favorite is Trader Joe's canned light coconut milk. It contains only coconut milk and water and is a great value at about $1 per 14oz can.
If you find that your pudding has become overly thick after setting,
add a bit more coconut milk and stir to combine.
Alternately, if it is too thin add a small amount of extra chia seeds to thicken it up.

More ways to eat chia pudding: with raw walnuts, hemp hearts and a sliced fresh fig.