Thursday, November 25, 2010

Le fromage noix de cajou!

In the land of cheese and wine I finally got to have mine too.  Ha!

I made some raw cashew cheese using rejuvelac (see my previous post on rejuvelac) and a fermentation process. The base consists of blended cashews, rejuvelac, lemon juice and salt. You let the mixture ferment for 24-36 hours and from there you can add whatever flavor your heart desires.  I made three: garlic, herb, and curry.  They were all so delicious that I didn't even have a chance to take a picture before every last bit of cheesy-goodness was devoured.  If you have a little patience, I HIGHLY recommend experimenting with your own fermented cashew (or any type of nut) cheese.  The fruits of your labor will astound you, and whichever lucky people you share your creation with.

Because I don't have my own photo, I've borrowed one from for an example.  They coated the outside with pepper for a nice finished look:'s cashew cheese
If you need instructions and a recipe to make your own cashew cheese, look no further than the raw seed blog, where Meredith compliments written instructions and a recipe with a video that explains exactly how to make your own at home...and really, the process is quite simple! 

It's true, with the amazing array of creative, nutritious and delicious raw vegan recipes out there, you can really have your (cheese)cake and eat it too ;-).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Raw in Paris: Take 2

Last weekend I returned to Paris, ooo la la!  I spent the best Friday afternoon ever with Marie, a raw vegan chef and all around radiant person.  She's pampered me with a beyond delicious lunch that included a out-of-this-world seaweed salad and lavender honey homemade kefir.  As if that wasn't enough to make my day rawsome, Marie then had the brilliant idea to take me to a organic and wellness fair just a short walk away at Salon Marjolaine in Parc Floral de Paris.

The fair was truly a dream-come-true for anyone interested in anything natural/wellness/organic oriented.  There was everything from all natural handmade slippers to Peruvian maca to arts and crafts workshops. And it was impossible to not spend at least a little money, but I picked up a few special products that were very much worth it. 

First and foremost, Spiruline L'Algue Bleue des Andes from the Flamant Vert company.  This may look like your average spirulina, but rest assured, it is not.  It's absolutely delicious. Spirulina that tastes good?  I asked myself the same question when Marie told me she was addicted to the stuff. I've been taking spirulina in my smoothies and mixed with water for a while now, but I've never thought of it as something with a flavor that I crave. But this product is something special.  I'm literally eating it by the tastes that good.

Bee Pollen.  Another superfood that I never thought of as particularly delicious, but Pollenergie pollen is really something. (Yes, I eat and <3 bee products although I do call myself vegan). I could definitely eat it by the spoonfuls but I don't have as much so I'll try to keep it to one scoop a day.  I tried a few different types, but the châtaignier ronce (chestnut 'bramble') variety was the one that I decided to bring home.  Among bee pollen's many benefits, the châtaignier variety is supposed to help reduce stress and anxiety for a "zen" effect.  This might come in handy as the semester winds down and final exams commence. 
Vendor explaining the different qualities of the pollen varieties as I sampled to my hearts desire :)
Hemp seeds and hemp oil.  I really got a kick out of the L'Chanvre vendor from Lanrivain.  He was quite the character feeding the passerby's with his hemp oil and seeds.  Both the seeds and oil were exceptional in flavor.  He had his oil press right in his display, and I got a palm full of oil straight from the about fresh!  I've already used his products in a few of my salads and they completely pump of the flavor factor.  Yum! 
Can you see the funnel to the left of the vendor? That's the oil press
Garlic. It won't be long before this Agrocoeur award winning "fleur d'ail rose" (flower of rose garlic) from Les jardins de la Vère in Castelnau de Monmiral is gone. The "flower" is blended with extra virgin olive oil and celtic sea salt and makes an excellent paste to put on or in just about anything.  It's much more less pungent and spicey than a garlic clove itself, but just as full and flavorful.

It's really wonderful to see (and sample!) are so many exceptional raw vegan products in France...they just aren't labeled and advertised as "raw vegan", since most people in  France have no idea what eating "raw" means...much less vegetarian.  So, it takes a little more scouting that I'm used to in the States, but as you can see, fresh, organic, locally grown and artisan products are most certainly abound in France!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rejuvelac and other yummy things

My very own rejuvelac
This weekend I started some rejuvalac.  Rejuvelac is a fermented, sprouted-grain beverage that improves digestion due to its high probiotic and enzyme content. When consumed alone it has a (sort of hard to describe) subtle tart, wheat-y flavor.  However, it can also be added to recipes both for its digestive and nutritional properties and for its magical ability to simulate the flavor of cheese. 

I had tasted rejuvelac at Prana, but I had never made it myself.  Knowing I had plenty of wheatberries lying around I decided to give it a go and start a batch.  I taste-tested my rejuvelac today (after a couple of days of leaving it out to ferment)  and, yay it's perfect!  I want to get cashews to make some cashew cheese, but for now I'm enjoying it as a beverage and I also put it in the carrot-pumpkin soup I made for dinner tonight (why not?).

How to make Rejuvelac?  You can see a more complete set of directions and video here. But briefly, this is how I made mine: I soaked the wheatberries for a night, drained and rinsed them, and placed them in a strainer. At least twice a day, I gave the berries a thorough rinse, and waited until the sprouting tails grew about a quarter inch long.  That took about two days.  Then, I put the sprouted wheatberries in an old, but carefully cleaned almond butter glass jar, filling up the jar almost half way (I think a quarter full is fine) and filled the rest of the jar with tap water.  The tap water in Grenoble is really clean, but if you live somewhere where the tap water isn't great, you might want to use bottled water.  Finally, I covered the filled jar with a paper towel, secured with a rubber band, and let it sit in a dark place in my kitchen for two days. The longer it sits out, the more it will ferment.  The liquid will be a cloudy yellow/white color and there might be a white film on top.  That's it! It takes some time and planning, but the process is fairly simple.  And you can reuse the same wheatberries two or three times by adding more water to the jar.

I still can't get over how beautiful those little broccolini flowers are (see my soup). They're so stunning I almost can't eat them...maybe next time I'll just make a broccolini bouquet and put it in a vase ;).  And speaking of beautiful vegetables, do you see that little tomato? The colors are incredible.  That's Grenoble's produce, for you...
Carrot-pumpkin soup with flowering broccolini taking center stage
Tomato...or is that an apple?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Raw Chocolate

The final product: our very own home made raw chocolates!
Today I met up with Ville, a raw foodie from Finland who's also living and studying in Grenoble.  We faced the rain and windstorm and went to the market at Place Saint-André to buy some local, organic produce for lunch. I blended up a yummy soup, and afterwards Ville prepared some amazing raw chocolate for dessert.  Ville has been studying the recipes of Finlands top chocolate alchemist, Jaako Halmetoja, and clearly he's learned a thing or two because the chocolate came out great.  I've gotta do this more often!   All it takes is some cacao butter, coconut oil, honey, salt and of course cacao. We also added in some lucuma and maca, and flavored half the batch with cayenne.  (I definitely preferred the spicy cayenne batch).  The preparation takes some finesse, chocolate can be tricky, but Ville took care of that, and if you want to learn the techniques, this site has instructions. 

Ville filling the ice cube molds with the chocolate mixture
One thing that Ville taught me: never eat chocolate cold.  The flavors of chocolate come out when it is warm, or room temp.  So if your chocolate has been sitting in the fridge, take it out and let it sit for a little bit before you take a bite :).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Raw in Paris

Oof, it's been a long time since I've written a post.  But that doesn't mean I've stopped raw-venturing.  Last weekend I returned to Paris, and this time I got to look around a little...

Bob's Juice Bar
Karma kombuch & smoothie
I started off by going to Bob's Juice Bar. Everyone had told me about it, so I knew I had to check it out.  They didn't have enough greens to make the green juice I was craving, but they did make me a sweet green-mango smoothie, and I found kombucha and raw chocolate too!  I haven't had kombucha since August, so this was quite the find.  I checked the label and Karma Kombucha is made in Paris.  Nice! Local and delicious.

Pousse-Pousse's chocolate cake!
The following day I went to Pousse-Pousse, a raw and not raw vegan restaurant in the 9th arrondissement.  Cozy yet elegant, Pousse-Pousse was just the raw haven I had hoped for.  Finally, I got my glass of freshly squeezed greens, and the highlight of meal was definitely dessert: a raw chocolate cake, YUM!  I also met some friendly expats, which made for some fun table-side conversation.  I will definitely return to Pousse-Pousse the next time I'm back in town.  

Carrot-ginger soup
In more recent news, I took a stab at making a carrot-ginger soup WITHOUT my beloved Vitamix blender.  Much to my surprise, the carrots gave way and I succeeded in making a very tasty soup.  No, it wasn't as creamy as it could have been, but the flavor was just right and the texture was...well, soupy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunshine, smoothies and pumpkin pie

Today was a gorgeous, sunny day in Grenoble. Two day's worth of clouds and rain cleared away to unveil the newly snow capped Swiss Alps.  It was the perfect weather to sit outside and enjoy the view with a green smoothie...and so I did, beneath a big tree in my front yard, facing the mountains.  Shoes and socks came off, and I practiced some "grounding" by placing my feet right on the earth, skin-to-skin so to speak.
smoothie and sun below the tree
view of the Alps..not to shabby, eh?
apparently  I wasn't the only one enjoying the sunshine :)
Later this afternoon I met up with some of the other exchange students and brought my pumpkin pie.  It was fun to share and see their reactions.  And as far as I can tell, the pie was well received.  As Jeffery said, "it tastes like Fall".  I used chia seeds to give it a thick consistency since I don't have sunflower lecithin or irish moss around, which worked quite well.  The only thing I would change next time is to go easier on the ginger.  What a perfect pie for a raw Thanksgiving :).  Thanks Tara for the recipe and inspiration!
pumpkin pie topped with "candied" Grenoble walnuts

Monday, October 25, 2010

It just keeps on getting better

Curried cauliflower
Today was so abundant with raw food goodness:  Much to my surprise, there was a package full of raw food treats (including my favorite, KALE CHIPS) from my dad waiting for me at the post office.  I also started a fab pumpkin pie recipe (pictures to come), and I made a "fierce" (as my bestie Emily would say) salad and curried cauliflower dish.  I think I burned out my blender in the process of concocting the pie filling and creamy curry sauce...but it might have been time to upgrade from a mini blender anyway.  (Anyone have a food processor or blender they want to lend me through January?).  Finally, to top it off, my friend Stephanie tried an avocado for the first time.  And liked it.  Does it get more monumental than that?  One more person has experienced the joy of avocado...the world is a better place.

Fierce flowering salad
Sometimes veggies deserve a close up.  Flowering broccolini!
Perhaps last night Stephanie kicked off today's raw creativity.  She had the brilliant idea of hanging apple slices from the ceiling to make some dried apple rings.  Stephanie told me that's the way her grandma does it...I'd never dried anything without a dehydrator and at first I was a little skeptical, but it's only been 24 hours and those apples are drying beautifully! 
Freshly suspended 
24 hours later