Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Apricot Jam and Canning 101

Fruit season is upon us! If you are lucky enough to be blessed by easy access to fruit trees or berry bushes, get out there and start picking! After you've had your fill of eating fresh fruit, channel your inner pioneer woman and make some jam!

Jam or preserves is the easiest of the preserved fruits, at least in my book. It usually does not require dealing with packaged pectin and involves very few ingredients. The basic premise is heating fruit to bring out its natural juices, adding sugar (to aid in the natural jelling process) and cooking until jelling will occur. If canning using a hot water bath canning method makes you nervous, you can skip that part and simply store your preserves in the back of your refrigerator. But honestly, canning is less scary than you think. The key is sterilizing your jars before filling them; if you have a dishwasher, one wash cycle is all you need. Check out this site for more information.

Canning does require some extra equipment, including specific tongs for lifting jars in and out of the hot water bath as well as a metal funnel for filling the jars, and the pot with the canning rack. If you decide to make these investments, your best bet for finding them is your local Ace Hardware store - much more economical than high end cooking stores.

While it seems a bit extravagant to buy new equipment for such a short time of year, trust me when I tell you that once you get the canning bug, you'll be hooked! Since becoming a canning fanatic years ago, I use my canning funnel every day and store all my foods - dry goods, leftovers, prepared lunches - in canning jars large and small. It's a great way to eliminate plastic from your life and know exactly what's in your pantry!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

White Pizza with Marinated Portabellos and Parsley Drizzle - Raw

Pizza really is my favorite food - it is comfort, it is sustenance, it is versatility, it is life. So when I realized that gluten really wasn't my friend, I started trying gluten free crusts, and while there are plenty to try, soooo few taste any better than sawdust. Once I started experimenting with raw foods, I knew raw pizza would be one of the first things I made.

I won't mislead you and tell you that raw pizza is better than cooked - for me, that is simply not true. However, the substantial crust along with really tasty toppings did sooth my pizza cravings in a way that gluten free crusts left me wanting. Since the crust is so different, it is more like a flatbread rather than a pizza crust, which seemed to make my inner-pizza lover happier.

As with any raw foods that require dehydration, this is not a 30 minute, throw-together meal. But I found it worth the effort! If you like eating cold pizza, you'll really enjoy raw style pizzas. I plan on doing lots more experimenting so stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Raw Chick Pea Parmesan

I did it! Finally, here's a raw entree, and it's my own recipe (pats on back!)

In gearing up to be more comfortable in making some raw food entrees I have been reading lots of cookbooks and blogs, and honestly was getting frustrated by the lack of creativity. Other than creative procedures for making wraps, breads or crackers, the food itself was not that inspiring. So I decided to look at my own food and rawify it and presto! Chick pea parmesan! This debuted at a recent dinner party and it was the star of the show

After reading lots of blogs, I realize that not everyone has a dehydrator and if you want the food to be live and full of the natural enzymes, you really need to prepare these patties using a dehydrator. So apologies in advance, but it's a necessary appliance for this meal. Of course, you could make the Vegan Version or the Meat Version. However you do it, make something parmesan, it's delicious!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chocolate Ganache Cake

Would you believe me if I told you that the best chocolate ganache cake I have ever eaten was made with...avocado?

No, really. It's true.

And if you're a connoisseur of raw desserts this is old hat to you. But still being a newbie I was bowled over - the creaminess, the mouthfeel, the chocolatey goodness. Really? No cream, no melted chocolate. The world is upside down!

Or perhaps right side up. This is undoubtedly the healthiest chocolate cake I ever ate or made. But that's raw desserts for you. Avocados, cacao powder, coconut oil, vanilla bean paste, and your liquid sweetener of choice, and Presto, Ganache!

I'm sure you're thinking, how is this healthy? Well, avocados and coconut oil are the "good" fats for you, which means they bring vitamins and minerals and do not stick to your ribs! Cacao, when raw, is a superfood, and with less than 1/2 cup of honey (which makes each slice have anywhere from 64-34 calories from honey depending on the size of your slice) this IS a healthy treat! So, go ahead, make this now and don't tell your diners and see if they can tell the difference!