Raw Essence – Recipes and Review

Recently a delightful new recipe book landed on my doorstep to review. Raw Essence is the  compilation of 180 genius raw vegan recipes and information by chefs David Cote and Mathieu Gallant who also own Crudessence restaurant in Montreal. I've heard wonderful things about their restaurant and would absolutely love to eat there one day, but for those of us who don't have the luxury of popping over to Montreal, we can at least make some of their delicious recipes in our own homes.

For me, one thing that really makes a recipe book is colorful photos, and lots of them. Raw Essence is packed with big beautiful pictures, in fact there is an image for every single recipe in the book. It's a feast for the eyes and inspiration for the soul. You will WANT to run to the kitchen and start making food - or at least that's how I felt upon reading through it.

I chose three recipes to try right away: Meatless Meatballs, Tortilla Chips, and Gazpacho - and I have many more bookmarked for later like Greek Salad, Hot Chocolate, Lasagna, Cheese Roll, Curry Sushi, Ice Cream Sundae, and Creamy Spinach Pistachio Soup, just to name a few.

The good news is that the publisher has allowed me to share three recipes from the book with you!

I normally wouldn't go for "meatballs" as a first choice but somehow this recipe caught my eye and when I did a savory dehydrator blitz recently I knew these were going to be on the menu. Their versatility also appealed to me. In the book the balls are served several ways: as an appetizer with a dip, bathed in a sweet teryaki sauce along with veggies to make brochettes, and in a the 'supreme tacos'. I was also thinking they would be great with zucchini noodles and sundried tomato sauce.

I've been eating these every single day for lunch since I made them. I start by mashing avocado onto a dehydrated veggie wrap then top it with romaine lettuce, sliced tomato, red pepper, five small "meatballs", arugula, and marinated mushrooms. I finish it off with a generous drizzle of spicy chipotle tomato sauce and wrap it all up! Super satisfying.

Meatless Meatballs, page 138*
Makes 22 balls

Soaking: 8 hours
Preparation: 30 minutes
Dehydration: about 12 hours
Equipment: food processor, dehydrator

11⁄4 cups            sunflower seeds            300 mL
2 tbsp            sunflower oil            30 mL
2 tbsp            apple cider vinegar            30 mL
1 tsp            wheat-free tamari sauce            5 mL
1⁄3 cup            grated carrot            75 mL
1⁄3 cup            diced celery (1 to 2 stalks)            75 mL
1             clove garlic   1
1⁄3 cup            finely chopped onion            75 mL
1⁄4 cup            chopped parsley            60 mL
3 tbsp            chopped dried chives            45 mL
3 tbsp            nutritional yeast            45 mL
1 tbsp            chili powder            15 mL
1⁄2 tsp            sea salt            2 mL
1⁄2 tsp            ground black pepper            2 mL
6 tbsp            ground sunflower seeds            90 mL

1.            Soaking: In a bowl, soak 11⁄4 cups (300 mL) sunflower seeds 
in water to cover for 8 hours. Rinse thoroughly and discard soaking water.
2.            In food processor, combine sunflower seeds, oil, vinegar and 
wheat-free tamari sauce and blend into butter. Set aside.
3.            In a salad bowl, combine carrot and celery with sunflower 
butter and remaining ingredients. Blend by hand to form a paste of 
even consistency.
4.            In palm of hand, scoop 11⁄2 tbsp (22 mL) of dough and form into 
small balls. Oil hands, if necessary.
5.            Place balls on dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 105°F (41°C) 
for 12 hours. The balls should be firm on the outside, but still tender on 
the inside.

Heathy's Spicy Chipotle Sauce

Drizzle this over the meatballs! I can only handle this in small amounts because Im sensitive to spicy things, but it really kicks up a dish! I'm big on sauces and this is one I've made several times and like to keep on hand in the fridge.

1/4 cup packed sun dried tomatoes
2 dry chipotle peppers
1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
or 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, or more

Soak the chipotle peppers in 1/4 cup water for 4-6 hours.
Soak the dried tomatoes in a separate bowl of water for 1 hour.
Blend all ingredients, MINUS the tomato soak water but include the chipotle soak water in a high speed blender until smooth.

Tortilla chips with a base of sundried tomatoes and flax seed was next on my agenda. I chose them because the "corn free" tortilla chip concept was refreshing to me! I'm not a fan of corn. Most of it has been genetically modified and I just don't think it's an ideal food. Rosemary transformed these into a taste of heaven and they smelled divine while dehydrating.

While they taste incredible, the texture is a flop. They just don't get crunchy the way a chip should be. Twice I've stuck them back into the dehydrator to crisp up but that lasts about half an hour - and I dehydrated these for 16 hours. So I'm not sure what the secret is - I used 1 cup of batter per teflex sheet and I spread them very thin as you can see in the photos. But they won't go to taste as I'll find a way to enjoy them (I'm thinking some kind of filling and sandwich them together so they become like a ravioli).

Gazpacho is a soup that I really love, especially during the summer months. I can eat bowls and bowls of it in the hot weather. I wanted to make one of the soups in the book and had all the ingredients for this one, so quickly and easily I was sitting down a bowl of this along with crackers. Lovely light meal. My photos look different from the image in the book but wow, this was absolutely delicious and I'd definitely make it again.

Check out these Spinach Ricotta Portobello Mushrooms - they look like a perfect party food!

And Island Lime Pie is another one that stood out to me. I'll have to make this in the future too!

Island Lime Pie, page 193
Makes 12 portions
Preparation: 15 minutes
Equipment: blender, food processor, pastry bag

1            recipe Coco-Macadamia Crust (see below)            1

Avocado Mousse
            Flesh of 2 to 3 avocados
3⁄4 cup            freshly squeezed             175 mL
            lime or lemon juice
1⁄2 cup            coconut butter            125 mL
1⁄2 cup            agave nectar            125 mL
1⁄2 tsp            alcohol-free vanilla essence 2 mL

1⁄4 cup            water            60 mL
1 tbsp            freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice 15 mL
1⁄2 cup            macadamia nuts            125 mL
2 tsp            agave nectar            10 mL
1⁄4 tsp            alcohol-free vanilla essence            1 mL
1⁄8 tsp            sea salt            0.5 mL
1 tbsp            coconut oil, melted            15 mL

1.            Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23 cm) pie 
plate with crust.
2.            Avocado Mousse: In food processor, combine all 
ingredients and blend to a smooth cream of even consistency. 
Pour into crust. Keep at room temperature while preparing frosting.
3.            Frosting: In blender, combine all ingredients except 
melted coconut oil and blend to a smooth cream of even 
consistency. This can take several minutes. If needed, add 
1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) more water. While blender is running,
 incorporate melted coconut oil.
4.            Place mixture in a pastry bag with a narrow nozzle.
5.            Trace a spiral of frosting on the pie from the center 
to the rim of the pie plate. With a chopstick, trace a dozen 
lines in the frosting at regular intervals from the center to the
 rim to resemble a spider web.

Coco-Macadamia Crust
1⁄2 cup        macadamia nuts              125 mL
1 cup            shredded coconut      250 mL
3                    chopped seedless 
dates                     3                      
1⁄2 tsp         alcohol-free vanilla          2 mL
1⁄4 tsp         sea salt      1 mL
1. In food processor, chop macadamia nuts to small pieces.
2.                  Add remaining ingredients and blend to obtain 
an evenly 
consistent crust that can be formed into a ball.

I hope you're inspired to order your own copy of Raw Essence!

Note: Excerpted from RawEssence by David Côté and 
Mathieu Gallant © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca 
May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Shared at Wellness Weekend, Healthy Vegan Fridays

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