Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mexican Gazpacho

I bought a young coconut this afternoon and was set on making some sort of raw soup out of it. First, I was thinking Thai curry... but I didn't have curry seasoning, noticing the vegetables I did have on hand lend nicely to a fresh Mexican sort of soup. As of late I am making massive vats of soup which I consume within a couple days. It's the perfect meal at work, being filling and easily assimilated. It's also great after a long day to have a glistening jar of fresh soup waiting in the fridge. This soup has a great balance of sweet and spicy, perfectly refreshing on a summer day. As I always note, this recipe can be easily adapted to your liking, if your using fresh, organic, and seasonal produce you can't go wrong.

Mexican Fusion Soup:

-1 young coconut meat and 1/2 water
-2 large carrots
-1 pint of sweet orange cherry tomatoes (red are OK too)
-1 large cucumber
-2 green onions
-2 stalks celery
-1 red bell pepper
-juice of one lemon
-juice of one lime
-1/2 bunch cilantro
-1 teaspoon cumin
-pinch of chipotle(optional)
-pinch of cayenne(optional)
-3/4 cup water
Topping: avocado, green onion, diced mango, shredded carrot, etc..

Place coconut meat & water, carrots, cucumber, celery, red pepper, lemon juice, lime juice, and water in high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Add tomatoes, cilantro, and spices and pulse very gently/quickly as to leave chunks of tomatoes and not turn the soup green from cilantro. Chill soup for at least one hour, top with desired ingredients, and serve in chilled dishes.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cacao-Berry-Nut Towers

I am not usually one to find a recipe and then seek out all the components hither and yon, especially when each ingredient can be very expensive on its own. having a small surplus of staple ingredients, like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and fresh fruit allows for impromptu concoctions. I instead get excited over single ingredients that a recipe could revolve around. The ingredient this week is one I wait all year for, and this year has been weeks late to ripen... wild northwest blackberries! It's a bad year for these precious gems, as bizarre spring and early summer weather threw them off. However, the berries I have managed to pick are not in vain, and I am cherishing their beauty more than ever. This recipe is rich and decadent, and the pairing of intense dark chocolate, bursting berries, and rich coconut and cashew butters make for a divine combination. The berries could be substituted for any seasonal berry, preferably a similar cane berry such as raspberries, marion berries, or blackcaps.

Cacao-Berry-Nut Towers:

-1 cup sprouted buckwheat
-1 cup shredded coconut flakes
-6 majool dates
-1 teaspoon water

Pulse buckwheat, coconut, dates, and sea salt in food processor until a crumbly mixture forms that holds together when pressed. Add water one teaspoon at a time if needed. Press in the bottom of a greased 8 inch square dish and set aside.

Nut-Butter layer:
-1 cup Artisana cashew butter(or one cup walnuts processed in high speed blender)
-1/2 cup shredded coconut
-10 medjool dates soaked at least an hour

Place all ingredients into food processor and blend until a very creamy mixture is formed, It should be thick but spreadable. Spread mixture over the buckwheat crust evenly with a spatula, and set aside.

Berry Layer:

-1 cup fresh blackberries

Mash the berries slightly with a fork, while leaving some berries whole. Spread this layer over the nut butter and set aside.

Cacao Layer:

-3/4 cup raw cacao powder(carob can be substituted)
-1/2 cup shredded coconut
-10 medjool dates soaked at least an hour
-1/4 cup manuka raisins
-1.4 cup coconut oil
-pinch of sea salt

Place cacao, coconut, dates,and raisins, in food processor and blend until well mixed. The raisins should be well blended and appear as flecks of black throughout. Now add the coconut oil and blend until creamy fudge texture is reached. Spread this layer over the berries and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to set. They can also be kept in the freezer but it is easier to cut the bars before they are frozen.