24 September 2013

Thai Food Raw Style

Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines, so when I started eating vegan raw I was afraid that would be the end of my love affair with Thai food, but I have learned how to have my cake and eat it too! I started experimenting with the basic ingredients of Thai cuisine and have come up with some recipes that satisfy my taste for Thai.
One of the main stumbling blocks to creating authentic Thai dishes that are vegan is that so many of the dishes use fish sauce in them. To omit the fish sauce in Pad Thai wouldn't leave much as far as taste goes, but I have come up with a recipe for vegan "fish" sauce that has all the taste of the sea, but is 100% vegan and raw to boot! The sauce requires a little forethought since it needs a day or so in the fridge to assume its full character. It is a good idea to make it at least a day ahead, when time allows, to let it mellow a in the fridge before using.

Raw "Fish" Sauce

1/3 cup shredded seaweed, ( I use a combination of Wakame and Dulse)
1 1/2 cups water
2 fat cloves of garlic
1/1/2 tsp.peppercorns
1/2 cup Nama Shoyu or Braggs, or Tamari sauce.
1 Tblsp. Miso, red miso or barley miso
 Juice of 1 lime
1/1/2 tsp. organic sugar, (or comparable amount of alternative sweetener)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger or 1 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. garlic granules
1/4 tsp. chili powder
2/3 cup shitake mushrooms, fresh or dried and soaked
Srirachi sauce, chile paste or cayenne powder to desired level of heat
Soak the seaweed in the water, if using dried shitake then add them to the soaking water as well. When the seaweed is hydrated, pour into a blender and add fresh shitake, ( if using dried shitake, when they are softened by the soaking water cap them and discard stems, then add to blender), blend to make a thick slurry. In a small personal blender place peeled and mashed garlic cloves, peppercorns, your choice of soy sauce equivalents, miso, lime juice vinegar, sweetener, and spices. Blend together to a fine paste, then add to the mushroom/seaweed mixture and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Refrigerate and allow to mellow a few days before using.

With the "fish" sauce problem solved I went on to convert some of my favorite Thai recipes to raw/vegan and invited friends to dinner to test my recipes. The dinner started off with Thai Tomato Coconut Soup, then we had Thai Spring Rolls with dipping sauces and Pad Thai. The meal went over well with our friends and I was happy with the results. As with any foods that are converted from cooked to raw, there is the whole "but this food isn't hot" thing to get past, but then the raw food begins to speak for itself... it is clean and fresh, the textures are interesting, the flavors complex and the colors vibrant. You are getting all of the food's nutritive value, satisfying your mouth and your stomach, you can eat until your heart is content and have no guilt or fear for your waistline... Seems like a pretty easy trade off to me!

This coming Tuesday I will be giving a demonstration for the preparation of a raw Thai Food meal at a raw food group I belong to. I am posting all the recipes for the demonstration here on my blog so that you and anyone who attends the meeting can have access to the recipes if they want to try them at home, so this post will be a little longer than usual.

Raw Pad Thai
2-3 servings
1 pkg. Gold Mine raw kelp noodles, (available at Earth Fare or Amazon.com)
Happy Pho brown rice noodles with seaweed, (available at Whole Foods)
1 cup bean sprouts
1 tsp. Sriracha or other chile paste, (optional but adds character)
1 Tblsp.Nama Shoyu, (soy sauce or Braggs depending upon your preference)
1/2 tsp.Chili powder
1 Tbsp. Uma Plum vinegar
1 scant tsp. sesame oil
1-2 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 tsp.garlic granules
2-3 green onions, cut into thin strips
2 large Medjool date, pitted and soaked in scant 1/4 cup water
2 Tblsp. tamarind
Several sprigs cilantro
Juice of one lime
Carrots, shredded
Zucchini, shredded or julienned
Broccoli cut into small pieces
Red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
Peanuts or almonds chopped
1/3 cup "Fish" sauce
2 Tblsp. almond butter

  Combine the "fish" sauce, the tamarind paste, Sriracha,(optional), chili powder, fresh and granulated garlic, sugar, vinegar, Nama Shoyu or equivalent. If you are using the Happy Pho Brown rice noodles, soak 3 balls of noodles in 115 degree water for at least an hour. Drain well. If using the kelp noodles, drain well. Toss the noodles with half of the Pad Thai sauce and reserve the rest. Refrigerate several hours to allow the noodle to absorb flavors. Right before serving, toss noodles with remaining sauce, the carrots, zucchini, broccoli, and then top with bean sprouts, green onion strips, red bell pepper strips, cilantro and chopped nuts.

Spring Rolls
Happy Pho Brown Rice Wrappers, (can be purchased at Whole Foods or online at Amazon.com)
Shredded, Carrots
Shredded, Zucchini
Kelp noodles or rice noodles
Napa cabbage, shredded
Pickled daikon radish
Bell pepper, cut in thin strips

Place a container of  warm water near your works surface. Take one of the rice wrappers and soak in the warm water until it begins to soften. Place wrapper on clean work surface, smooth out until completely flat. Add small quantity of carrots, shredded zucchini, Napa cabbage,pickled daikon, basil, cilantro and bell pepper. On side of the wrapper closest to you, arrange the vegetables evenly over 1/3 of the wrapper, starting in an inch from either end to allow room to fold ends in. Add small quantity of kelp noodles to the vegetables if desired , then fold the side in over the vegetables. Carefully fold the side closest to you over the top of the vegetables and begin rolling the vegetables up "egg roll style"  in the wrapper. Keep a gentle but firm grip on the roll and tuck the vegetables in as you roll to keep things tight. If using the Happy Pho brown rice wrappers it will be necessary to soak and wrap the roll in a second wrapper, since the whole grain wrappers split fairly easily. If using regular rice flour wrappers, only one wrapper is necessary since there is no bran to make it less elastic.  Right before serving cut roll in half on a diagonal and serve with dipping sauces.
"Peanut" Sauce

 1 cup raw almond butter
1/4 cup coconut milk, make your own, (go here for recipe, or you can make it from young fresh coconut pulp(not quite as rich as milk from mature coconuts), or if you aren't concerned about it being 100% raw, you can find canned coconut milk and coconut creme in most grocery stores.
1/3 cup water
Juice of one large lime
2 Tbsp. Nama Shoyu or soy sauce
\2 tsp. "fish" sauce
1 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup cilantro
2 tsp. Srirarchi, chili paste or heaping tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. Uma Plum vinegar
In a blender, blend all ingredients well. Refrigerate.

Spring Roll Dipping Sauce 

1 red chile, (fresh cayenne or ripe red jalapeno)
1 Thai bird chile
1 Tblsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup organic sugar, or comparable quantity of sweetener of your choice dissolved in
1/4 cup 115 degree water
1  Tblsp. "fish" sauce 
1/3 cup vinegar. (equal parts Uma Plum vinegar and rice wine vinegar)
1 large mango

Blend ingredients well in a bullet blender and serve with Thai Spring Rolls.

Thai  Tomato Coconut Soup

This is a great way to start off a Thai dinner. This creamy soup only takes a few minutes, but it has a complex flavor and just enough "heat" from the chipotle to make you feel  like you are eating hot soup!

Serves 4 as first course or 2-3 as dinner

3 cups cherry tomatoes
3 Tbsp.coconut oil
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup cilantro
1 Tblsp.agave, maple syrup or honey
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tblsp. tomato powder, (optional but really adds something to the soup! You can find dehydrated tomato powder here, or make your own using sun dried tomatoes blended to powder in a bullet blender.)
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup chipotle en adobo or 1-11/2 tsp. chipotle powder
1/2 cup basil shredded thinly, (reserved for serving time)
1/2 avacado, cut in cubes, (reserved for serving time)
1/2 cup chopped cucumber, (reserved for serving time)
1 Tblsp.agave, maple syrup or honey

In a blender, combine all ingredients with 1/4-1/2 cup of water, (depending on the consistency desired. start with 1/4 cup water and ad up to 1/4 cup more if needed), and blend until smooth and creamy.  Divide avocado and cucumber into individual bowls, spoon soup into bowls and top with basil strips.

Blog Hops this post is linked to:
Clever Chicks Blog Hop #53

18 September 2013

A Day at Heart's Ease Cottage

The weather is cooling and the outdoors beckons...I love the fall. I hate to miss a minute of it by having to be inside, but there are lots of things that need doing this time of year, so this day was spent inside. I tried to make the inside feel like it was outside by opening all the windows and doors so that the cool breeze could waft through and the bird song could keep me company while I was working. My husband worked from home so that he would be available to help out with the "heavy lifting". It was great fun to work together!

We recently went on a trip to the mountains, while we were there we picked up a bushel of apples. The apples are beautiful this year! All the rain we got made the large and juicy. We bought 1/2 bushel of Zestar, a tart/sweet crunchy apple, that is good for pies and dehydrating, and 1/2 bushel of Honey Crisp, a sweet, juicy firm apple that is great for eating out of hand. Our first task of the day was to get the Zestar apples pared, cored, sliced and in the dehydrator. Fortunately, we have a handy dandy tool that does all of that in one operation! Da welded the apple gizmo while I soaked the prepared apples in citric acid for a few minutes and loaded them onto the trays.

Some of the apples were too soft to use as apple rings, so I made them into fruit leather...yum! I will post a "how to" and a recipe for Apple Pie fruit leather on another blog entry, so if you are interested check back in a few days!

The next task on the list was to make some spiced purple sauerkraut. I have been wanting to test out a recipe I thought up months ago, but I wanted to wait until the fall when all the produce I needed for it was in season. The technique for making raw sauerkraut is discussed in depth here, so for this post I will not repeat most of the instructions for making sauerkraut, but I will show you what it looks like and give you a recipe.
Da is squeezing the cabbage for me.

This is what the cabbage should look like when it is ready for you to add the other ingredients.

Spiced Purple Cabbage Sauerkraut

4 pounds of purple cabbage, shredded
1 tsp. salt per pound of cabbage
2 apples cored and shredded
1 red beet scraped and shredded
1/2 tsp. ground alspice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp.Turkish  Garam Masala ( any Garam Masala will work fine, or if you can't obtain it you can omit it, or make your own).

Prepare red cabbage, (follow the directions on my tutorial for preparing the cabbage and putting the prepared kraut in the jar to ferment.), once the cabbage has been prepared, add the apples, beets and spices. Work the added ingredients into the cabbage until uniformly distributed, then pack the 1/2  gallon capacity jar (or two quart sized mason jars), with the kraut mixture as directed in the above link to the tutorial. Pace jar in a bowl or other glass or plastic container, I often use a plastic shoe box, no lid required), to prevent an overflow mess. Gasses being released during fermentation may carry some of the liquid out of the jar as they go. The kraut will be ready 5-10 days after fermentation. Check at 5 days, if the kraut isn't sweet/tart enough for you then leave until you get the desired level of tartness. Refrigerate once you have reached desired flavor to prevent further fermentation.

Serving ideas:
Top your salad with the kraut and skip the dressing
Make a raw salad of cubed apples, thinly sliced celery, craisins, chopped walnuts, and the kraut.

If you eat cooked food and meat, this sauerkraut would be a tasty side dish, for broiled turkey keilbasa, with baked apples and pumpernickel bread. It would also be great in a mushroom or turkey Reuben, with Honey Mustard dressing instead of Thousand Island dressing and Pumpernickel bread instead of Rye bread.

So with the sauerkraut on to ferment and the house smelling deliciously like baked apples, (the scent of dehydrating apples and fruit leather), I am on to my next task... tending my indoor garden, which today includes rinsing clover sprouts, starting another batch of Kefir for my hubby, checking on the progress of a batch of Kombucha I started a week ago, and fermenting another batch of pickled Daikon radishes.
My kitchen counter is always in use to produce the sprouted and fermented foods we eat every day. The things that are growing may change from week to week, depending on what the menu for the week is, but you can always find something sprouting or fermenting to add nutrition, interest and probiotic goodness to our diet!

Well, it was a busy and happy day, but now I am beat... I hope that this post will encourage you to try making your own fermented foods to add to your diet! Have a great day!

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