Friday, July 27, 2012

Smokey Sunflower Pate Canapes & 2012 Olympic Games

Anyone who knows me will agree that I tend to go a bit overboard with excitement when it comes to certain events and holidays. Next to Christmas, it's no doubt that the Olympic games hold a special place in my heart. I turn into a  little kid the second I hear Bob Costas and the Olympic horns - almost immediately being transported back to my childhood; watching sports with my brothers and Dad, on the edge of my seat during every competition.
To put plainly, the Olympics feels like home. I don't claim to be an expert on the games, I don't know a lot of trivia, but I do know that it had a substantial impact on my youth, playing a part in those simple, but very happy memories. I only wish that all of my brothers still lived in the same town as me so we could really cause a rukus... 
Yep, that's my mantle right about now.
I wish I had more time to write my thoughts out, but I've got a laundry list of things to do before 7:30 this evening, and making the following canapes is one of them.
Today's recipe is so simple and incredibly wonderful if you love smokey salty food. On the west coast of California you can walk into just about any bagel shoppe and find smoked salmon (or locks) and cream cheese as one of the most popular combinations on the menu. Today I decided to make my own version of this Pacific Northwest fav, specifically for the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies! 
Smokey Sunflower Pate Canapes
This recipe yields about 1.5 cups of Pate
Step 1.
Sunflower Seed Prep
1 c raw/unsalted Sunflower Seeds
  1. Soak seeds in warm water for 4 hours
  2. When seeds are finished soaking they will have expanded to 1.5 cups
  3. Dry the seeds and move on to the next step
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Step 2.
Making the Pate
Into your food processor add the following:
Sunflower Seeds from Step 1
1/4 c chopped Red Bell Pepper
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Date Paste //or// Grade B Maple Syrup 
1/4 tsp Kelp powder/granules //or// Dulse flakes
1/4 tsp Garlic Granules
1/4 tsp Onion powder
1/4 tsp Lemon Pepper
1/4 tsp 1/4 tsp Alder Smoked Sea Salt
 - Pulse/Puree your ingredients for about a minute -
While your food processor is on, proceed to stream in one of the following:
3 Tbsp Lapsang Souchong Tea Water
or
3 Tbsp Water
Let all of your ingredients blend together until whipped
Transfer to an air tight container and let the pate chill in your fridge so the flavors can come together.
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Final Step
Assembly
This is the fun and simple part...
Make one of the following tart crusts:
Nut Free Tart Crust (click here for recipe)
Raw Almond Flour Based Tart Crust (click here for recipe)
If you don't feel like assembling a bunch of little bite sized canapes, you can simply serve the pate on a shallow dish with a garnish of capers, dill and fresh cherry tomato slices. Accompany the pate with 
triangles of tart crust and encourage your guests to dig in! You won't have to tell them twice. 
And of because one kind of canape is never enough, I made two more...
For a nod to England...
Cucumber & (raw vegan) Cream Cheese Canapes 
Representing all of the other wonderful Countries...
And last but not least -- the official drink of the Olympic 2012 games (in my house at least); Iced PG Tips with a slice of Orange.
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! If you're looking for me I'll be in an Olympic Coma on my living room couch for the next 17 days...

xoxo,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mediterranean Summer Tart with Nut Free Crust

Things have been relatively mellow around my kitchen this week, and while my fridge may be stuffed to the brim with food I've felt a little lazier than usual. I'm okay with this -- in fact, it's a welcome change given how many non-food related things are bidding for my attention. On days (and weeks) like today I'm grateful for having a stock-pile of yummy raw food staples in my fridge, so even in spite of my laziness I don't have to sacrifice flavorful, tasty meals. 
I still have Mediterranean cuisine on the brain, so today's lunch naturally ended up being inspired by those crisp, fresh Summer flavors! 
Follow the simple directions to play copy-cat with my latest tart creation...
Raw Vegan Mediterranean Summer Tart with Nut Free Crust
First you'll want to have one of the following made:
Nut Free Tart Crust (click here for recipe)
Raw Almond Flour Based Tart Crust (click here for recipe)
For the spread I used AtV Sour Cream spiced with cracked black pepper and minced Garlic.
If you prefer a nut free spread I recommend making a pesto like this one, and simply use sunflower or pumpkin seeds in place of the nuts that it calls for.
A layer of thinly sliced Cucumbers is next on the roster...
Tip: pat dry the cucs with a towel to remove access water so your AtV sour cream spread doesn't get runny
Garnish your cucumber slices with minced fresh Cilantro & Mint leaves...
And last but not least, top off your Summer tart with sliced cherry tomatoes and sun-dried olives.
Of course, as usual - I recommend eating this in a sunny spot outside. Even better? Share it with a friend or loved one, because good food is so much more tasty when enjoyed with good company.

xoxo,

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sadness & Gratitude

My heart is heavy today. 
It's so true that tragedy can make even a big Country like mine seem small. As most of the Nation is still processing the horrible event that took place in a Colorado movie theater late last night, today I'm spending some time in memory of those who've suffered and lost -- reflecting upon my own life with gratitude. 
It's too easy these days, to get caught up in small things that frustrate me, like; "Arg! My facebook app is so slow!", or "Why is this driver going 10 miles under the speed limit?!". 
Today I saw friendly faces, I ate good food, I was loved by my family and my puppies - and I'm so grateful for all of it...even that slow driver who allowed me to take my time and enjoy watching the clouds break over the bay.
I hope we can all have more moments of gratitude in a time where we seem to be so easily fixated on the negative. Don't forget to be kind and compassionate not just to others, but to yourself as well.



xoxo,
Sarahfaé - AtV

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nut Free Raw Tart Crust or Flat Bread & Appetizer Board

As promised, today I'm sharing with you a Nut Free version of my raw almond flour Tart Crust. I'm especially excited about this crust/flat bread because it totally exceeded my expectations in the flavor and texture department. Even if you're not nut-sensitive I hope you'll give this recipe a try...it's definitely going on my raw food Staple Recipe list.
Important Notes About This Recipe
About the Seeds: While this is a nut-free recipe it definitely isn't low fat due to the seeds it calls for. I'm not afraid of healthy fat at all, so this doesn't bother me one bit. If you keep the dough thin (noted in below) you won't have to worry too much about the fat as you will only be consuming a few tablespoons of seeds in each large crust serving.
Grinding the Seeds: The recipe calls for *ground Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds. *To grind the seeds you have two options: Use your food processor //or// use a spice/coffee grinder. It's up to you - the only difference is the price of the kitchen appliance that you use. 
Seed Options:  Even thought this recipe calls for Sunflower and Pumpkin, if you prefer one above the other you can use just Sunflower seeds, or just Pumpkin seeds. It's up to you!
About the Coconut Flour: I'm always skeptical when using this particular type of flour because of its natural coconut sweetness and somewhat chalky consistency when used in certain recipes. I'm happy to say that after my first taste-test of this crust I forgot about the coconut flour completely - you can't even tell it's there. The subtlety of the Onion powder is part of this wonderful happenstance, and the nuttiness of the seeds helps as well. I'll definitely be using coconut flour in future bread recipes now that I know this is possible.
About the Dough: You'll notice the dough is quite heavy, and this is totally normal. For a light trust I recommend flattening the dough fairly thin before drying (less than 1/4'') -- this is easy because the dough is fairly pliable. At the very least it may break apart while rolling it out, and you might have to try a few times before achieving the right thickness. Don't get discouraged -- the end result is too tasty to miss out on!
 
Nut Free Raw Tart Crust or Flat Bread
This recipe yields roughly 16 to 24 tart crusts depending on how you score them. If you think that's too much then you can divide this recipe in half, or you can make it in its entirety and freeze half of the tart crusts after you've dried them
Step 1. 
Nut Free Tart Ingredients
Dry:
2 c Sunflower Seeds *ground into a course or fine powder 
2 c Pumpkin Seeds *ground into a fine or course powder
1 c Coconut Flower
1.5 tsp Salt
1 tsp Onion powder
Wet:
1/3 c Flax seed Meal + 1/2 c water - mix the Flax into the water, let it sit for 10 minutes until the flax becomes thick and gelatinous
3/4 c Water 
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Step 2.
Making your Tart Crust
In a mixing bowl combine all of your dry ingredients from Step 1 and mix together evenly:
Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and add the Flax/Water mixture from Step 2.
While your mixer is on, proceed to slowly stream in 3/4 cup of water (from Step 2)
I did this in 1/4 cup increments to ensure even mixing
Your finished dough will be thick and very heavy - this is good!
Let your dough sit for a few minutes to the ingredients that absorb all of the water
 Divide it into four quarters and get ready to flatten it out...
Once you've flattened/shaped all of your crust proceed with the following:
Drying your Tart Crust
Choose one of the following Raw Vegan Warming Methods noted here
Proceed to warm/dry the tart crust for 1 hour
After it's finished warming/drying let it cool on the counter for an additional 30 minutes
Note: For a crisper crust let your dough dry an extra 30 minutes to 1 hour


Always store your crust/flat bread in the fridge after you've dried them. 
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Now that you've got  your crust/flat bread made how about assembling an amazingly flavorful appetizer board? Here's my recommendation:
Sliced up some seedless Watermelon and Cucumber. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of your favorite sweet unfiltered/unpasteurized vinegar. I am in LOVE with Napa Valley Natural's Golden Balsamic. Never had vinegar on Watermelon before? You have no idea what you're missing out on!
Pick out a few different fresh herbs - I used Mint, Cilantro and Dill.
Slice a chunk of your favorite raw vegan cheese....
This is my current project:  Raw Vegan Aged Creamy White Cheddar Cheese. Ohmygoodness, it's really good. I can't wait to share the deets on it! 
To do a quick search through my raw vegan cheese recipes: 
Go to the "search box" located on the upper right hand side of this page (right below the photo of me) 
Type in the keyword "cheese, cheeze, or raw vegan cheese" and hit search 
You'll instantly get a yummy list of links to my cheese recipes! Yay!
I also had some amazing local raw cured Olives on the side, courtesy of Henry's Olives. I'll be heading out to my Farmers Market tomorrow morning to pick up more of these tasty olives. I just can't seem to get enough of them!
Enjoy a fancy appetizer board with some of your favorite people, and don't forget to savor every single bite...it'll be gone before you know it!

xoxo,

Monday, July 16, 2012

Nut Free Raw Food Recipes & Important Things to Me

Yesterday I got hit with quite a bit of inspiration while in the kitchen. I love it when that happens!
Thanks to an overwhelming request for more nut-free raw food recipes (a big hello to those of you with nut allergies!) I'm planning on doing some kitchen experiments in the coming days, and possibly weeks. 
Somethings that are really important to me where my recipes are concerned is keeping them simple with a reasonable execution time-frame. The easier a recipe is to make, the more likely it is to be made, right? The other thing that's just as important is the flavor and texture of the food I make. I'm always coming from a cooked food perspective where raw food recipes are concerned. I don't want to eat something that's just good for me, I want it to taste out-of-this-world because I want it to appeal to anyone -- not just raw foodies. I love good food, period. So as I go into more nut-free territories with my recipes I'll be keeping all of these things in my mind. Only the very tastiest for you guys!
Instead of a recipe today I'm gonna tease you with my latest kitchen experiment; Nut-free Raw Tart Crust!
Stick around, because I'll be back on Wednesday with a gorgeous plate of food, featuring the recipe for this truly wonderful tart crust! 
For those of you wondering - I'm also planning on making nut-free versions of my AtV Sour Cream, as well as some really good (and tasty) raw cheese recipes too.
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram: addicted_to_veggies

xoxo,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Raw Food Kitchen Prep for Kids!

Me, with my Mom , Dad and two of my four brothers.
Um, isn't my Dad's beard SO awesome?! Seriously.  I have no words.
This is a different post for me, but it's so important - because it's concerning our future!
Something a lot of people don't know about about me is that I come from a large family of home-schooled kids. I'm actually the only one of the bunch who graduated fully home-schooled and I owe this to my awesome and super intelligent Mom. Thanks Mom!
Some of my favorite memories growing up involved food, and how often us kids were allowed be in the kitchen. My oldest brother and I were always responsible for post-dinner clean-up but doing it together was always the fun part. My Mom would petition us to help make salads, and stir big pots of yummy soup, or cheesy sauces. Being apart of the food that was made in our home was a huge responsibility to me, and made the act of eating it even more enjoyable. I was also more apt to "trying new things" when my little chubby hands were involved in the making of it. 
My only "real school" experience was a brief stint at our local public elementary school.  Even then our  lunches were homemade and exciting. You can't see in this photo, but I had an awesome Snoopy Lunch-pale, and my big Brother had a Star Wars one. I'd also like to note my ruffles of awesome-ness.
Now I'm older with a hubby and a home of my own, and even though Mr AtV and I don't plan on having children we certainly like being the "cool" Aunt and Uncle, and we love our friends kids. I feel so lucky to be able to call upon those childhood kitchen memories of mine, to inspire and encourage other parents and parental figures to bring their kids into the kitchen with them! 
Sure, some of my recipes might be intimidating at first, and having little helpers might draw out the execution time, but the reward you get is certainly priceless: building memories!
Knife-Free Raw Food Kitchen Prep for Kids
  This list is specifically for those of you who have younger "big kids" in your life. 
A BIG hello and thank you to my AtV readers who are parents/parental figures! I know there's a lot of ya!
As your kids get older you can expand upon the level of skill that is required for kitchen prep, i.e.: using a food processor, high speed blender, and proper knife skills. 
  • Washing Organic Leafy Greens like Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Etc: Get the young ones involved with washing and drying the leaves. If you have a double sink fill up one half way with water. Instruct them to “dip one leaf at a time into the water”, set each “clean leaf” into a “clean pile” and when the washing has finished move on to drying each leaf with either a clean cloth or paper towel. Have more than one little helper? Set up a “line” for them – have one do the washing and one do the drying. Team work can really be a lot of fun!
  • Juicing Citrus (Lemons/Limes/Oranges/Grapefruit) by hand: Fresh Lemon and Lime juice is a huge staple in my kitchen and I always do this by hand. I usually make a batch of Lemon juice once a week, using 6 to 8 lemons. Bonus Tip: Teach your kids about "the zest" of the citrus, have them grate it with a fine tooth grater before they juice the fruit.
  • Dates - Removing the Pit: Soak the dates in warm water until they have softened through. Have your little ones use a fork to open into to date and remove the pit. 
  • Shucking Peas! This needs no explanation.
  • Grapes: Remove them from the stems for easier eating, and prepping for use in recipes like my Grape Green Smoothie!
  • Cherries: Buy a cherry pitter and let the kids go crazy.
  • Cookies: Purchase one of those super cool cookie scoopers (that look like ice cream scoopers) and get your kids shaping some cookies! This is especially great if you're making big batches as I often do, to stay well stocked up on healthy sweets like Chocolate Crumble Cookies, or the very popular Coconut Lemon Meltaways.
  • Shredding Veggies: (This can apply to the veggies that you enjoy in salads or the veggies you need for making other recipes): Set your kids up with Carrots/Zucchini/Parsnip/Daikon/etc and let them shred while you move around the kitchen getting other food prep done. Recipes that call for shredded veggies:
  1. Harvest Pumpkin Stuffing
  2. Shredded Cheesy Zucchini
  3. Creamy White Cheese
  4. Butternut Squash Cheese or Mozzarella-Parm Cheese
  5. Loaded Creamy “no pasta” Salad
  6. Smokey Sweet Carrot Mash
  7. Holiday Mashed Parsnips with Corn, Scallion and fresh Parsley
  8. Mexi-Coleslaw
For more recipes that include “shredded” veggies go to the search box found on the upper right hand side of the home page, type in “shredded” or a veggie of your choice and hit search! 



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This is an on-going list. As I add to it I will let you know, so be sure to stay tuned for more kid-friendly raw food kitchen prep tips!
xoxo,