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from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo

Coconut Breakfast Cakes
2 c whole flax seeds, or 3 c flax seed meal
2 tbsp liquid coconut oil
1/2 c agave or maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 c water

Put flax meal, coconut oil, agave, salt, and water in a large bowl and mix well. Form four balls and flatten into a “pancake” shape, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

To serve, top with Cashew Coconut Pudding (recipe follows) and fresh fruit.

Batter will keep for four to five days in the fridge. Makes 4 servings

Cashew Coconut Pudding
2 c cashews
1 1/2 c water
1/4 c pitted dates
1/2 shredded dried coconut or fresh coconut

Blend the cashews and water until smooth. Add the dates and coconut. Blend until smooth.

Will keep for three to four days in the fridge. Makes 4 servings

We recently had some friends visit who are pretty into raw food, so I was more than happy to bust out this cookbook in order to whip up a breakfast treat. I chose these two recipes because not only did I have all of the ingredients on hand, but Cleo has been totes gaga over cashews lately. And pancakes. She doesn’t seem to mind the other ingredients either.
We ended up making these the night before; I say we, because I put my guests to work forming the pancakes. They were huge! (the cakes, not the guests). We ended up making 5, and had plenty. So much actually, that none of us were able to finish our servings. Except for my husband, who has a hollow leg- he ate the biggest pancake, and probably the most pudding, before we even got up. He did have an early morning that he needed fuel for. Not that I’m complaining… The recipe for the pudding made enough for me to bring a bunch to share with my co-workers, several of whom are interested in raw food. I think they were pleasantly surprised (here’s the recipe, as promised, RF!)
I mostly followed the recipe… I might have added just a pinch extra salt (and it might have been divine) to the pancakes, and we chose to go with the maple syrup. Be sure that you measure out the coconut oil after you melt it (if it isn’t already melted in your cupboard…); the measurements are different when solid and liquid. And if your ingredients are cold, like mine were, the oil will solidify again. Mine did, since I keep my flax meal and seeds in the fridge, as well as the maple syrup. I just popped it in the warm oven for a few minutes to warm it up enough to melt it. You don’t want to cook it though! That wouldn’t be fitting of a raw food adventure at all.
This was a breakfast that I was really surprised by. I kind of thought I’d be hungry when I got to work, but I actually stayed full for most of the day. It was actually a little creepy how unhungry I was.

from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo

Steak
4 portabello mushrooms, stems removed
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c Nama Shoyo (raw soy sauce)
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary

To make steaks, in a large bowl, coat mushrooms in oil, Nama Shoyu, and rosemary. Set aside for an hour or two to marinate and soften.

Brazil-Broccoli Mash
1 clove garlic
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 c Brazil nuts
2 c broccoli, chopped

Process the garlic, pepper, and salt into tiny pieces. Add Brazil nuts and process into a powder. Empty this powder into a bowl and set aside. Next, process the broccoli while slowly adding the Brazil nut powder back in.

Mushroom Gravy
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
3/4 c mushrooms, any kind
1/3 c water
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt

Blend olive oil, mushrooms, water, vinegar, garlic, and salt until smooth. Pour gravy into a bowl.

To serve, slice each mushroom into 4 or 5 thick strips and serve on top of a scoop of Brazil-Broccoli Mash. Drizzle with Mushroom Gravy, garnish with a sprig of rosemary before serving.

Will keep for one day. Store portabello steaks separately to keep for two days. Mash and gravy will keep for several days in the fridge when stored separately. Makes 4 servings.

I didn’t think it was possible, but I totally overdid it with the garlic on the mash in this dish. At least I know my limits now. It was sooo zingy! Still though, we ate this two nights in a row- it was a really great dish! I always feel so good after eating raw food. This is a really substantial dish. The mash has a really great texture and doesn’t scream broccoli, thanks to the Brazil nuts (oh how I love you so, BN). The steaks also add to the weight of this meal, with just the perfect texture- so juicy and flavorful! I started the marinade the night before, so it had a good chance to soak in all of that good flavor, and it kept really well until the second night for leftovers! Now let’s talk about the best part- the gravy! I will definitely be making it again and pouring it all over EVERYTHING. It was so buttery! I used shiitake mushrooms, and it was heavenly. I did use extra garlic in the gravy as well (you know me…), but it was perfect. I wouldn’t recommend using 4 cloves of garlic in the mash- trust me! It didn’t ruin the dish, but it sure tried. Now I know, and knowing is half the battle, right? Also, we won’t be getting sick for the next decade, right?

from I Am Grateful- Recipes and Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude by Terces Engelhart with Orchid

1 tbsp chopped garlic
3/4 tsp salt
3 bunches basil (leaves only)
3/4 c olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c raw almond butter
or
1 c hemp seeds

Place all ingredients except for the almond butter or hemp seeds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse and scrape down sides of bowl until all the ingredients have reached a pretty smooth texture. While running, add the almond butter or hemp seeds. (Some people like their pesto chunky. Use your own judgment as to when to add the butter or seeds.)

Your pesto is now ready to use. This stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes 1 1/2-2 cups.

A few years ago, I went to Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco with Shutterbean. I was a little taken aback by the question the waitress asked us: “What makes you courageous?” Oh boy. Good for Bean, she was pregnant, so she had a big deal of an answer: that she was bringing new life into the world. True! But lil ol’ me? I wasn’t about to tell this complete stranger about what I’d ever done to warrant such a title, so all I could come up with was my snap answer of “I wear red eyeshadow,” because Bean had mentioned earlier that I had guts to do such a thing. Laaaaaaaaame. The only thing that made it better was the menu devoted to delicious raw food. I couldn’t believe how rich and filling the carrot cake we shared for dessert was.
Well, fast forward to a few months ago, when I was browsing our local used bookstore, where I found this cookbook! All of the recipes start of with “I Am…,” which is really hard for me to get past. Some of the recipes will call for two, or even three of the other recipes, so it’s a little… tedious. But I found this pesto recipe, as I wanted something quick, easy and delicious, and it was just that. Especially the delicious part. I was really surprised at how much the pesto didn’t taste like almond butter! Of course I used extra garlic, and basil has its strong flavor… and the next flavor was lemon. Mostly the almond butter brought in texture, and let me tell you, it was divine. It coated our quinoa spiral pasta ever so lovingly. In the photo in the cookbook, it showed a ball of pesto, and I wondered if it was so solid as a result of using hemp seeds instead of the almond butter? Let me know if you try it!
I will never go back to pine nut pesto. But you already knew that.

from The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen

2 c whole raw cashews (not pieces, which are often dry), rinsed very well under cold water

Put the cashews in a bowl and add cold water to cover them. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Place in a blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth. (If you’re not using a professional high-speed blender such as a Vita-Mix, which creates an ultra-smooth cream, strain the cashew cream through a fine-mesh sieve.)

To make thick cashew cream, which some recipes in this book call for, simply reduce the amount of water in the blender, so that the water just covers the cashews. Makes about 2 1/2 cups thick cream or 3 1/2 cups regular cream.

Pictured above is the thick cashew cream. It’s amazing! I can’t believe I’ve never made this before… and I’m so excited about all of the possibilities! Whipped cream, cream sauces, sour cream, pancake and waffle toppings… all vegan! The texture is so good- like fatty yogurt. The flavor isn’t too nutty, so it’s a great canvas for other flavors. I don’t have a Vita-Mix; I have a KitchenAid. And it worked very well… I can’t imagine putting this stuff through a fine-mesh sieve! If anybody does it, let me know, would you? I’m curious.

from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo

Salad:
1/2 head read leaf or romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 bunch dinosaur kale (aka Lacinato kale), ribs removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
2 c red cabbage, chopped
1 c walnuts
1/2 c cherries, dried or fresh
Orange-Cucumber Dressing:
1 small cucumber, about 5 inches long, diced
1 medium orange, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c cashews
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic (I might have used 2… they weren’t huge!)
Juice of one lemon, about 2 tbsp
1 tsp sea salt

Place lettuce, kale, cabbage, and walnuts in a large salad bowl.

To make the dressing, place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

To serve, toss salad with Orange-Cucumber Dressing. Top with cherries for color.

Tossed salad will keep for one day in the fridge. Salad mix will keep for two days, and dressing will keep for three to four days when stored separately. Makes 4 servings.

Dang! This was even better than I expected it to be. It was like a fresh variation on the Caesar salad… with cherries and walnuts in place of the croutons. I was a bit worried that the kale would be too green tasting in here, but Mike said he didn’t really notice it when I asked him about it later. I think it mostly added texture… which made this salad so great. The dressing is heavenly; the cashews make it nice and creamy. I wonder if we would have tasted more cucumber had I resisted my garlic addiction? Perhaps next time I will have the strength. I can’t wait to make this for my family.