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Kelly & Alissa: Week 36

Kelly & Alissa: Week 36

I have finally passed the 200 recipe mark!  That means I’m 2/3’s done with all of the recipes in Alissa Cohen’s new book, Raw Food for Everyone.  Yay!  And with just 4 more months to go (I started in December) I am right on track to finish up all of the recipes in the book by the end of November.  Last week I made 12 different recipes, making it a very tasty week indeed. 

We started off the week by making a dinner of unroasted veggies (veggies that have been sliced and dehydrated for 6-8 hours), tossed with Spicy Cashew Sauce and served over a bed of greens.  It was an excellent dinner.  I made one slight adjustment to the ingredients for the Spicy Cashew Sauce, I harvested 3 cups worth of Thai chilies from our garden, so instead of using a jalapeno to make the sauce spicy, I used 3 Thai chilies.  It was delicious.  Rob requested this sauce again later on in the week.  This recipe has gone onto our “We Like & Quick List” that is handy to have around when you’re hungry and don’t know what to make.

Last Monday was my birthday.  And I wanted nachos and ice cream sandwiches for dinner.  (Calories don’t count on your birthday, right?)  To get another recipe done, I got Rob’s help in making Alissa’s Nopales Nachos.  I’ve always wondered why this recipe is in her Appetizer chapter instead of the Cheese chapter, but I’m glad I made it.  I’ve had nopales, the pads of the prickly pear cactus, before and thought they were delicious.  You’ll see them sometimes at authentic Mexican restaurants, the last time I saw them on a menu was at Gracias Madre, Cafe Gratitude’s Mexican food sister restaurant.  We had to hunt around to find nopales in Raleigh, eventually ending up at several Mexican markets.  Nopales tastes like green beans, so if you can’t find any, use green beans instead.  The cheese was delicious and we served it as Alissa suggests, with freshly made salsa (from homegrown tomatoes) and her Corn Chips.    (The ice cream sandwiches I made came from recipes out of Sweet Gratitude, Cafe Gratitude’s dessert book.  They were amazing.)

Another night, we had Alissa’s Lobster Mushroom Salad for dinner.  I posted a picture of this on Facebook and one of my cousins asked me if I cooked the lobster or just ate it raw.  How silly of her.  I responded that no water creatures were killed during the making of the recipe.  The salad is based on lobster mushrooms, not lobsters.  It tastes and looks like the classic New England lobster salad though.  I couldn’t find tomatoes big enough to carve them out and stuff the lobster mushroom salad into them as Alissa suggests, instead I just chopped the tomatoes and tossed them in with the arugula for the base of the salad.  It was yummy.  I’ve been on a seaweed kick lately, so I really liked the taste of the kelp that went into this salad.

The next night I made soup for dinner!  Rob wasn’t too happy until I told him it was only the first course and we’d have something more after.  That cheered him up.  I made a half batch of Vietnamese Coconut Soup.  This was the perfect amount for me and Rob to share so that we’d be hungry in an hour or two and it didn’t overwhelm Rob with the idea that he was only getting soup for dinner.  The soup was delicious.  I followed the directions and put in all the right amounts of everything in the soup, but felt that the star anise overpowered the flavor of everything else and made the soup taste like licorice.  Next time I make it, there will be a next time, I’ll use the Sichuan peppercorns that are suggested as a substitute instead.  I chopped up a little avocado and added some mung bean sprouts to our soup.  Delicious.

Later that night we had veggies with Thai Chile Sauce.  I really wanted to love Alissa’s Thai Chile Sauce, but… no.  The sauce was so thick with 2 whole cups of coconut meat in it and only 1/2 cup of coconut water.  I kept adding more and more coconut water to thin the sauce out a little, but even after adding an extra cup, the sauce was still thick.  I used fresh Thai chilies from our garden, this time I used 5.  It was all right in the end, but I won’t be making this one again.  :(

I made a few other treats for us to snack on during the week.  Apple Prune Leather and Kimchee.  The Apple Prune Leather was great because it really showed me that you can throw just about any kind of fruit puree into a dehydrator and you’ll have an awesome fruit leather to snack on.  We’ve got such a variety of dried fruit in our pantry that I can’t wait to see what kinds of magical and tasty creations I come up with.  I’m thinking dried apricots mixed with nectarines and a banana would be great, or maybe using up the rest of those dried prunes with fresh plums to really intensify the plum flavor and adding just a touch of vanilla extract.

Rob and I love Kimchee.  I really liked Alissa’s recipe for it, it only took a few minutes to make and a few days later I had a fermented treat.  I chopped everything very small so that it would ferment faster.  Next time, I don’t think I’ll chop everything as small as I really like to bite into big chunks of veggies.  This recipe is a great base and good place to start, alter the recipe as you see fit.  I plan on adding carrots and more bok choy and nappa cabbage next time.  I think I’d like to do something about the color of the kimchee, too.  I love to see bright red colors (meaning it’s spicy!), so I think I’ll add fresh diced Thai chilies, too.  I added habanero powder instead of red pepper flakes and our kimchee was HOT.  I warned Rob before he took a bite but he was still surprised.

And lastly, we had a party at our house on Saturday night.  I was only expecting 20 or so people to show up, but I think about 40 did!  I was a bit taken aback by all of the people, luckily we had enough food for everyone.  I felt pretty frazzled until everyone started eating and I could finally start to relax a little.  I did have quite a bit of help in relaxing though, because I had made a few of Alissa’s adult beverages.  :)

I only have one picture of one drink, which was too bad because there were several steps (and recipes)  involved to make those drinks!  It was a Mexican-themed party, so it only made sense to have Alissa’s Orangritas, like margaritas but with orange and grapefruit juice instead.  I started making this by first making a sake infusion, which Alissa calls Sakequila Infusion, I tasted it before mixing a drink and it really did remind of tequila.  And then I made her Rosemary-Infused Agave.  We have tons of rosemary all around our house, so it was nice to use some for the party.  You mix the Sakequila with a little of the Rosemary-Infused Agave, and add some orange and grapefruit juice and you’re done.  It tasted like a margarita to me!  (And three recipes done in one drink)!

The other drink that I made for the night was her Watermelon Mint Sake Cooler.  This was delicious and so easy to make, I think I ended up drinking half of what I made for the party by myself!  This is why there was only one picture of one drink, I took it before I started drinking the Watermelon Mint Sake Cooler.  I infused a jar of sake with mint from our garden and strained it during the party.  Everyone thought it was so fancy to infuse the sake.  I couldn’t help but laugh since it was so easy: pour a jar of sake into a ball jar, add whatever you want to infuse it with and you’re done.  You add the sake and watermelon juice to a cocktail shaker, shake it up and pour.  It was as easy as that.

So that was 12 recipes done in one week, which means I’ve done a total of 204 recipes!  Only 96 more to go.  My goal is to have 225 done by the end of the month.  I’ve got 12 more recipes on tap for this week, so hopefully this month I’ll actually make my goal, and maybe even get a little bit ahead.


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