Vanessa Sherwood is a personal chef and lives in Chicago IL. She discovered raw foods over 4 years ago and knew that it was just the thing for her. She didn’t seek it out for the usual health reasons, but instead the draw was the exotic ingredients and the sheer variety of things that you could do with fruits and vegetables. It opened up a whole new world for her and she has never looked back.
Beans and greens. Mmmm. One of the simplest, best tasting meals ever. And since I’m currently operating with three, count’em three stictches in my right thumb, my dinners this week have been dishes without a whole lot of chopping involved.
I’ve made lots of similar dishes in the past, but I’ve always used canned beans, since the thought of using dried beans always seemed like so much work to me. Then I came across this cookbook called ‘Super Natural Cooking’ by Heidi Swanson. In it not only is there a fabulous recipes for beans and green, but Heidi also mentions a company called Rancho Gordo that specializes in heirloom beans. I decided to order a few different kind of beans (there are so many amazing varieties) and am now totally obsessed over their giant Cannellini beans. Oh, and they are ‘kitty approved’ as well… :)
Yes, dried beans are a little more work, but with just a little planning ahead, it’s really not that difficult and sooo worth the extra effort. All you have to do is soak them in water before going to bed and then some time the next day, cook them up which takes about an hour to an hour in a half. In fact, you can find out all sorts of helpful tips and recipes at the Rancho Gordo website.
This decadent Blackforest Chocolate Cheesecake by Vanessa Sherwood drew quite a knockout reaction when she posted it on the forum. I’m sure you can see why. It is bursting with sweet cherries layered between a chocolate crust and a creamy chocolate cheesecake filling. Vanessa advised the members of the forum they can purchase raw cacao butter and coconut oil for great prices at Organic Living Food. She also said it can be replaced with a dark Green and Black’s chocolate bar. I know what some of you will be making your loved ones this Valentines!
with Macadamia Ricotta Filling and Cherry Tomato Marinara (raw)
If you don’t have a juice capable of homogenizing nuts, you could try using store bought raw Cashew-Macadamia nut butter. It has to be thick though, otherwise the ricotta mixture will be too runny and will leak out of the manicotti rolls.
I tend to use cherry or grape tomatoes in all of my recipes, except during heirloom tomato season. They taste the best and don’t have that mealy texture that most tomatoes have (even the organic ones) especially in winter.
This recipe was adapted from ‘The Soul of a New Cuisine’ by Marcus Samuelsson, an Ethiopian born, Swedish raised chef with a restaurant in NYC. Then, quite by accident, I came across an article in the food section of the Tribune with a recipe calling for ginger beer and rum called a Dark&Stormy. Ginger beer can be found bottled in some super markets and international grocery stores.
The spiciness can be adjusted by either adding more or less ginger. But don’t be fooled, this is a great thirst quencher during the hot summer months.
This decadent Blackforest Chocolate Cheesecake by Chef Vanessa Sherwood drew quite a knockout reaction when she posted it on the forum. I’m sure you can see why. It is bursting with sweet cherries layered between a chocolate crust and a creamy chocolate cheesecake filling. Vanessa advised the members of the forum they can purchase raw cacao butter and coconut oil for great prices at Organic Living Food. She also said it can be replaced with a dark Green & Black’s chocolate bar. I know what some of you will be making your loved ones this Valentines!
Nori Rolls with Pecan Paté, Spicy Miso, and Fresh Veggies (raw)
If you make the pecan pate ahead of time, it’s easy to make these rolls when the urge arises. The pate will last a good week or so in the fridge. I wouldn’t recommend making the entire roll ahead of time, because the nori will get soggy. But if you’ve pre-made the pecan pate, all you have to do is cut up the veggies, smear the miso paste on the nori and roll.
Coconut Persimmon Flan with Strawberry, Mango, and Banana Salsa (raw)
Young Thai coconut has to be my all time favorite ‘raw food’ ingredient. It’s so versatile; you can use it in sweet or savory recipes. I tend to have a sweet tooth, so I end up using it mostly for puddings, flan, or tart fillings.
The only thing I hate is the labor involved in hacking the coconuts open, scraping out the meat, and cleaning it. There’s just no easy way about it. Other that that, they’re great! I’ve experimented with several different knives. I destroyed my very expensive Viking cleaver- it worked, but the blade is too thin. I tried a couple of those cheap Chinese cleavers, but they don’t seem to be sharp enough. The guys at Northwestern Cutlery in Chicago (www.futurechef.com) came up with the solution- a heavy-duty cleaver that I think they use for chopping off fish heads (gross, I know). It was either that or a machete, and that would have just been too crazy.
True story: I got a call last week from the Food Network of all places. There is/was a contest going on called the Ultimate Recipe Contest- basically looking for the best recipe in six different categories (chicken, pasta, comfort foods, burgers, cookies and cakes). The casting director had come across my personal website www.somelikeitraw.net and thought that I would be able to come up with some pretty unique recipes for the contest and wanted me to enter some.
I have to admit I was a little flattered and a wee bit surprised. Yet another sign that raw food has hit the mainstream!! Anyways, I’ve entered my manicotti recipe for the ‘Pasta’ category and came up with a new chocolate cake recipe for the ‘Cake’ category which I am sharing with you today.
A lot of people ask where I get my ideas from. It does vary, but many times it’s just looking at a cooked recipe and trying to convert it to raw. This time I happened to have an old Gourmet magazine lying around with a fabulous photo of a chocolate-glazed hazelnut mousse cake on the cover. The light bulbs went off and I set to work on creating it ‘raw-style’. Hope you like it and wish me luck with the contest!
This really is one of the best combinations ever. Simple, elegant, and sensuous. Apparently there are over 400 varieties of mango worldwide. My favorite, from the three or four varieties I’ve tried, is the champagne mango. I’m seriously considering a trip to India just to sample mangos.
Dark Chocolate Orange Tart with Clementine Sorbet (raw)
I attribute my sweet tooth to my dad. He always carried a bag of goodies around with him where ever he went. He was like Santa Clause with a sack of chocolate, candy and cookies instead of presents. On my weekend visits with him, we’d go to the grocery store and stock up on anything that I wanted, i.e. Junk Food! We’d also frequent this ‘mom and pop’ ice cream store that had the best chocolate orange ice cream that I’ve ever had in my entire life. So I thought I’d come up with a ‘goodie’ of my own combining those two flavors.
Bad habits die hard, but with this recipe, you can indulge until your hearts content knowing you’re doing something good for your body. How cool is that.
Makes 4 individual sized tarts
For the crust:
1/2 Cup Dry Almonds
1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut
1 tsp. Orange Zest
2 TB Raw Cocoa Powder
2 TB Maple Syrup (Agave Nectar can be substituted)