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Cheesecake, Call It No Bake, Some Call It Raw

Sorry, no photos, I ate and shared the cheesecake before I even thought photos.

When people comment on how skinny I am, I often reply “I am just a cheesecake away from being a size larger.” Really, eating on my elimination diet doesn’t offer too many opportunities to worry about gaining weight. I have not had cheesecake for around 3 years. Most non-dairy and vegan cheesecakes use tofu. Thanks to the raw food movement, I am enjoying cheesecake! Google “raw cheesecake” and so many options appear. Personally I am triple interested in the Double Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake out there. But it will have to wait until I can have chocolate.

With so many options, I decided to start with a blog that gave me step by step generic instructions. Thanks to Carmella at the Sunny Raw Kitchen for walking me through how some cashews could turn into something so decadent. Obviously I could have had my cheesecake sooner, her post is from 2007. However, life is all about learning to ask the right questions. If I ask the right question, Google giveth many answers. My next question – can cashews really turn into cheesecake? I had to try it for myself.

I have made modifications to the Tropical Raw Cheesecake recipe based on what I am allowed on my eating plan. The crust I made was good, but could still improve. Also I didn’t measure the ingredients for the crust. So I will have to update this info as I make this again. The filling is basically the same with one substitution.  Topping can be based on whimsy and play. Maybe I added honey to berries because the honey jar was still on the counter.

Crust
Blanched Almond Flour (Honeyville) – est. 1-1/2 cups
Coconut Butter (Artisana) – est. 4 Tbls (softened, but not melted)
Vanilla Extract (Flavorganics) – 1-2 tsp
Coconut Oil (Nutiva) – a drizzle (liquid but not warm)

Place almond flour into a bowl. Add coconut butter and vanilla extract. Using a fork, press coconut butter into the almond flour. Drizzle a little coconut oil into the paste to soften it a bit.  Press into a spring-form pan or plastic container lined with cling wrap. I used the plastic container method.

Filling (I cut this recipe in half for my first experiment)
3 cups raw cashews, soaked in filtered water for 6 – 8 hours (or overnight)
1/2 – 3/4 cup honey (or agave)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (Braggs preferred for flavor) (or lemon juice)
2/3 cup Coconut Oil (liquid, but not warm)
1 tsp vanilla, or 2″ piece of vanilla bean
1/4 cup filtered water (add this last, you may not need all of it)

Blend. Use a high powered blender or food processor. I have a Blendtec blender and used the ice cream button. No problem. Some equipment may need rest to cool the motor, so I have read.

Place in freezer for couple of hours. Keep in refrigerator because it is the coconut oil (chilled) that keeps this decadent treat firm.

Fruit Topping
Cherries or berries
Honey

Drizzle honey over berries, spread over cooled cheesecake.

Future experiments
Reduced Topping – I like this cheesecake so much I don’t want to hide it under full berry flavor, so I may puree a little fruit with it’s juice, thicken with arrowroot powder, and drizzle over cheesecake.

Flavors – Goal – Key Lime Cheesecake. I can now add lime juice to my diet, so I will use lime juice instead of apple cider vinegar and add some lime pulp to the filling.

Crust – Goal – give it more flavor. Use half almond flour and half hazelnut meal, so the crust has it’s own personality.

Re-purposed – Goal – a cheesecake popsicle – blend some berry juice into the cheesecake filling and freeze into popsicle makers.

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Peach Smoothie Popsicles

I couldn’t resist the idea of popsicles for a summer treat. So on a visit to Sur La Table, I bought some cute small popsicle makers that looked quite sturdy. Sadly, I don’t see this item on their website to provide a link. I love the small size, less than 3 ounces. My next A summertime afternoon treat!goal for these cuties is to make a raw cheesecake recipe and freeze up something really yummy.

Ingredients
1 Qt sized bag of semi-thawed peaches
1-1/2 Cup Coconut Keifer Plain (So Delicious)
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
5 drops Stevia
1/4 Cup Honey
2 Tbls Coconut Butter, softened (Artisana)

Instructions
Blend. Pour. Drink any that didn’t fit in popsicle holders. Freeze. Enjoy.

Just Add Sauce – Quick Dinner

It is easier to grab a product to simplify “What’s for dinner?,” instead cooking from scratch. Easier still is blogging about a quick product than writing or editing a recipe to post. Today I took the easy road to present you with my latest Thursday night quick dinner.

I love a meal that takes less than 20 minutes, start to finish. My favorite starts with a bottle of sauce. This week I used Cilantro and Coconut Cooking Sauce from Stonehouse 27. I look for sauce without gluten, dairy or soy and find I am left wanting. There aren’t many. Did I mention I also prefer no HFCS. Then again, if they use HFCS, they manufacture with the cheapest ingredients and almost always use vegetable oil (includes soybean oil). This product uses Canola Oil and Agave Nectar. Sweet! I will often try a jar of sauce that meets my ingredient standards, even if I cannot imagine how it will taste.

That said, Cilantro & Coconut sauce is yummy! Though I have never heard of British Indian Cuisine specifically, I can say I felt I was eating a mild dish that might be Indian, but the not quite like what I have had before.  Earthy, warming, with the hint of lemon and ginger. Although I didn’t detect the green chili or the turmeric, I suspect this provides a little zing to avoid boring the taste buds. I liked the Jasmine rice with this dish, because the sauce is mild. BTW: I purchased my jar at Sunflower Market, but I am sure many places carry it. I like slow cooked rice with canola oil and a little salt, it just tastes better than quick white rice. I think it has a lower glycemic index too. You can check it out at http://www.glycemicindex.com/

Ingredients
Cilantro & Coconut Cooking Sauce (by Stonehouse 27)
Oil, (EVOO, canola or your preference)
Chopped veggies (purchased chopped, or chop your own)
Frozen uncooked shrimp (thawed in microwave)
Jasmine Rice (or Basmati)

Directions

  • First, start cooking the rice, per directions. I prefer my rice cooker.
  • Heat oil on medium-high.
  • Add chopped veggies, giving them a head start over the shrimp. There are some nuances about adding hard veggies first so they cook a little longer, but this is a quick meal. Add leafy green veggies last (chard, spinach, etc.)
  • Cook veggies for a couple of minutes.
  • Add shrimp and guide it to the bottom of the pan. Cook until shrimp looks almost cooked. Shrimp over cooks easily and will finish with sauce in the pan.
  • Add sauce, stir. Cook until the sauce starts to bubble. Then cook a little more.

Takes about 10 – 15 minutes. Hopefully the rice is done before the sauce.

Tips: keep an eye on the vegges so they don’t loose their crunch. If the veggies sweat out a lot of liquid, use tongs with a paper towel to soak it up and throw it out. This is stir-fry not steaming or boiling. If the shrimp gets chewy, it is overcooked. I have made countless bottle, meat, veggie, rice dinners. It takes a few tries to get the timing down and to know how cooked you like your veggies.

Time to walk the dog. Happy eating!