Monday, July 12, 2010

Strawberry-Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Cake

The first time I made a raw "ice cream" cake I was quite intimidated. Anticipating all the tedious steps and worrying that it would turn into a soupy mess. To my surprise, the cake set up nicely and I decorated it in fancy form. I was making the cake for a special occasion and was a little hesitant to share a first attempt. Having a visually appealing dish is over half the battle in my book, so I boldly served it to many. It was a hit, and by my second cake I scrapped the recipes and just went for it. It is easier than it sounds to make a raw cake, and hard to mess up completely when you are starting with such tasty fresh ingredients. The layered cakes look complex but the additional step is easy once you know how to make a good "ice cream" base. Next time I make this cake I will go for more chocolate, perhaps a chocolate crumble layer in between the strawberry and vanilla... any other ideas?

Strawberry Vanilla Icebox Cake Recipe

Coconut Almond Crust:

-1 3/4 cup raw almonds
-1/2 cup dried shredded coconut
-4-6 pitted Majool dates
-juice of 1/2 small lemon plus zest

Put nuts, dates, lemon, and zest into food processor and blend until a crumbly texture forms. The mixture should look loose and crumbly but stick together when pressed between fingers. If mixture is too dry add a couple teaspoons of water and pulse.
Set aside roughly 1/2 cup of mixture for decorative topping. Place mixture into 8" spring-form pan(I line mine with wax paper for easier removal) and press crust into bottom and build up onto sides a half an inch or so. Set covered into fridge or freezer while the filling is prepared.

Strawberry layer:

-2 pints of fresh organic strawberries(keep out a few for topping)
-1 cup raw cashews
-1/4 cup coconut oil
-1/4 cup raw honey
-pinch of sea salt
-squeeze of lemon juice

Place all ingredients into high speed blender(or food processor) and blend until a smooth creamy texture is reached. At this point I try the batter to see if it is sweet enough or needs a little something else... more lemon juice? Lastly, put the coconut oil in, pulsing it just to mix, as over blending the oil will heat it and do strange things to the batter. Pour this mixture over the crust and set aside(I usually don't put it into the freezer unless I think I am going to take a while on the next steps...)

Vanilla Layer

In reality this is more of a "banana layer" but the banana flavor is quite subtle when blended into a frozen sorbet with honey and vanilla bean.

-3 frozen bananas
-3 tablespoons of raw honey
-1 vanilla bean pod seeds
-3 tablespoons coconut oil

Blend frozen bananas, honey, and vanilla bean in high speed blender(or food processor) until creamy and smooth. Put in oil and pulse just to mix. Taste and add more honey if desired. This layer can then be poured over the strawberry. It is also fun to add a layer of nuts or fresh fruit between the two, but not necessary. The cake can then be decorated in desired fashion. I drizzled with a chocolate sauce made of roughly 1 tablespoon cacao,2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, and 1 tablespoon honey. A berry sauce would also be a nice option.

Cover well, and place into freezer over night. Before serving let thaw for at least ten minutes.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cauliflower Mishmash

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that I forget about for a while and then get a real craving for. This recipe came about after a peruse through RawVolution by Matt Amsden, as he showcases a "Cauliflower Couscous", a spin off of the Mediterranean tabbouleh. I so rarely follow recipes to pat, but found this inspiration enough for a similar cauliflower dish. This salad has a great texture similar to a rice or quinoa dish, but retains the distinct flavor of cauliflower, which some find unappealing.(If that's you, by-pass this recipe). I personally think the bold taste of cauliflower paired with loads of garlic, lemon, parsley, and olive oil are unsurpassable. I threw in some pungent diakon radish and sweet yams to balance out the flavors. Topped with some sprouted sunflower seeds, this was a substantial meal in itself. The yams can be omitted for a completely raw dish, many suitable raw substitutions abound!

Cauliflower Mishmash:

-I large head of cauliflower, finely ground in food processor
-1 green onion chopped
-1/2 small red onion diced
-1 medium yam cubed, steamed, and cooled
-1/2 cup diced diakon
-4 stalks celery diced
-1/2 head chopped parsley


-1 TBLS olive oil
-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
-4 garlic cloves minced
-2 tablespoons coconut vinegar

To prepare the cauliflower, first chop into small pieces and then proceed to place in food processor, pulsing until a fine rice texture is formed. Do not over blend, or it will turn into cauliflower mush. Place in large bowl and mix in green onion, red onion, diakon, celery, yam, and parsley. Set aside. In separate small bowl whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over cauliflower mix and combine thoroughly. Serve right away or within 24 hours, as finely chopped cauliflower does strange things when left too long. :)