Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mini Raw Carrot Cake Cheesecakes


Carrot cake or cheesecake...that was the question.  The moist spicy carrot filled cake topped with luscious white sweet frosting...or the creamy rich melt in my mouth cheesecake. I was craving both, and it was a tough decision which to make!  I took a poll on Facebook from my friends but still couldn't decide! I love both, and I wanted to make both this weekend, but that was just a lot more work than I wanted.  So...I remembered a hybrid of the two I had recently seen on Without Adornment which was a carrot cake topped with cheesecake.  It was a genius brilliant idea, so I decided to create my own carrot cake cheesecake.



I wanted this to be a raw cake, since I am not into heating the oven right now in the summer and waiting for things to cool.  I kind of guessed when creating the cake part as to the amounts of pecans, coconut and carrots to use, but it turned out delicious!  I spiced it with fresh ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom, and sweetened it with vanilla, dates and maple syrup.  It would have been delicious just as was, but what is a carrot cake without raisins (golden in my case) and chopped nuts (pecans) mixed in?  



I was quite excited about the cake portion and could have just ate that before I had a chance to make the cheesecake part, but I knew as a whole it would be ten times more delicious!  



I used my usual raw cheesecake base sweetened with maple and spiced up with cardamom.  The flavor was just lovely!  It would be perfect with the cake base!



Once the cake was set, I topped it off with a layer of beautiful white frosting, because I just felt it was needed.  I was in a bit of an over the top kind of mood.



As I finally enjoyed one of the little cakes, what I tasted was better than I could have imagined!  Combining your favorite desserts when you can't decide which one to make is clearly a wonderful idea!



Mini Raw Carrot Cake Cheesecakes
makes four 4 inch cheesecakes

Cake:
1 1/4 cups pecans
1 1/4 cups dried shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 inch chunk fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dried)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
7 dates, pitted
2 cups grated organic carrots
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans


Filling:
2 3/4 cups raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp coconut water (or filtered water)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
2 tsp maple extract

Cream Topping:
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water
3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat* (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and seeds of half a vanilla bean (reserved from filling)
1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)

Lightly coat four 4 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the carrot cake, process pecans, coconut and sea salt in a food processor until the pecans are fine crumbs, then add the spices, syrup, vanilla and dates and process until well mixed.  Add the carrots and process until blended but not pureed (a few carrot flecks). Mix in the raisins and pecans.  Firmly press crust into the bottoms of the prepared pans, and set aside.


To make the cheesecake filling, drain the cashews and combine them with coconut water, lemon juice and syrup, coconut oil, sea salt, cardamom and vanilla and maple extract in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the cheesecake filling over the carrotcake, then place in the freezer until it is set, 4 to 6 hours, then once set store in the fridge.

To make topping, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, and set in the freezer about 30 minutes until a frosting consistency. Place in a pastry bag and pipe decoratively around the top of the cheesecake. Store leftover cake in the fridge.





Saturday, July 28, 2012

Raw Peach Crumble Timbale



I used to make crumble or crisp every weekend.  I looked forward to that hot bubbly fruit filled goodness emerging from the oven at about the point where I could barely stand the amazing aroma.  I would then wait only wait a few minutes for it to cool, pile on the ice cream, and enjoy its sweet jammy goodness with the silky ice cream melting into it to cool it down.   Times have changed however.  Of course I still love crisp, but I am not into hot desserts so much this summer, or heating the oven.  In fact, before this week, it had been about 6 months since I had made one! 


I was craving the flavors of a peach crumble but I did not want to heat up the oven.  So of course, the perfect solution was to make a raw peach crumble!  The filling still had to have the touch of cinnamon, maple and vanilla, and the topping still had to have crunch and pecans. 


I suppose I could have just placed the peaches in a bowl, dumped the pecan crumble on top and scooped in my ice cream...but I wanted it to look a bit more pretty, so I decided to make a timbale. 
I figured, as well as being pretty the timbale would guaruntee that every bite would be filled with the pecan crumble topping goodness, as I placed a layer in the middle of the timbale as well!  I then served it with some peach thyme ice cream I had on hand.  It was delicious!  The sweet juicy peaches laced with cinnamon and the crunchy nutty topping...so heavenly!  I never would have though I could make crumble without the oven, and obviously I was wrong!  I have a feeling I am going to be making this a lot in the next couple months!


Raw Peach Crumble Timbale
makes 2

Crumble:
1 cup pecans
4 soft pitted dates
1/8 tsp sea salt or to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup coursely chopped pecans

Peaches:
4 ripe organic medium peaches, sliced
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Peach Thyme Ice Cream or your favorite ice cream

In a food processor, combine 1 cup pecans, dates and sea salt and process until finely ground.  Place in a bowl and mix in maple syrup and chopped pecans with hands until it holds together a little when squeezed.  Set aside. 
In a large bowl, combine peaches, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon, and mix well.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes. 
To assemble, place a 4 inch round ring mold on each of two plates (or I used the top part of my 4 inch springform pan.  You can also use a 4 inch wide can with the bottom cut out.)  place 1/2 of the peach mixture (dividing between the two molds) into the bottom of the molds, arranging the peaches so they are flat and pretty.  Top with half the crumble mixture, then the other half of the peach mixture then the remaining crumble mixture.  Carefully remove the molds, and serve with peach ice cream (or whichever flavor you like)!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pretty In Pink Ice Cream Sundae


Since I was a child, I have always been attracted to all things pink.  It is just a happy color!  Things have not changed now that I am 27.  I wanted a pink Birthday cake this year, and it was pink, inside and out!  So when I saw a challenge on Sweetly Raw to create a vegan ice cream sundae, I got to thinking, I need to enter this, and I thought a pink one would be lovely! 

I could make 3 different pink flavors of ice cream and top them off with delicious things!  There would be no bubble gum or cotton candy flavored ice creams...I was thinking more along the lines of pink fruit flavors! 



First off, raspberry lavender.  It is such a beautiful combination with the sweet tart berries, and the floral almost herbal lavender. I thought I could top it off with some fresh raspberry sauce as well to balance out the sweet ice cream. Second, a strawberry rosewater ice cream.  Since strawberries have a more delicate sweet flavor, I thought they would pair well with the delicately flavored rosewater.  It was the most beautiful light pink color, and I topped it off with a bit of red sweet strawberry sauce. Third, was a cherry almond ice cream.  I love this combination of flavors, as the sweet cherries and almonds work well with one another.  It was a little nutty and sweet, similar to a cherry nut ice cream I enjoyed as a child and ordered often at the local ice cream shop.  I topped it off with a bit of cherry almond sauce, keeping with the pattern of the sundae so far. 




Although the sundae would be delicious with just the ice creams and their sauces, I thought it deserved to have a little crunch as well, so I added some pistachios.  The green color was beautiful against the pink ice creams.  Also, some fresh fruit was needed!  Afterall...what is a sundae without a cherry on top?  Or some strawberries and raspberries!



I piled it all into one of my Grandmother's antique rose bowls because I felt the lovely pink was appropriate for such a creation.  I couldn't wait to dive in, and it was delicious!  All of the beautiful fragrant fruit flavored silky ice creams and sweet sauces!  I am not embarassed to say I polished off the entire bowl! 



Pretty In Pink Ice Cream Sundae


cherry almond ice cream:
makes 5 cups

3 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
2 cups organic cherries, pitted
3/4 cup agave nectar
2 Tbsp almond butter
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp pure almond extract
1/4 tsp sea salt

In a blender combine all ingredients, and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). Once processed, pour into a freezable container with a lid, and place in the freezer for at least 8 hours, or overnight to firm up for best results.

raspberry lavender ice cream:
Makes 5 cups


1 cup full fat coconut milk
2 Tbsp dried lavender, divided
2 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
3/4 cup agave nectar
12 oz fresh organic raspberries or 12 oz bag frozen raspberries
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup lite coconut milk to a simmer and remove from heat. Add 1 Tbsp dried lavender flowers and stir in. Let cool, then chill in the fridge until very cold to let lavender infuse. Strain coconut milk, discarding lavender then add chilled milk to a blender, along with all other ingredients (except remaining 1 Tbsp dried lavender) in a blender, and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). Once processed, stir in remaining Tbsp lavender and pour into a freezable container with a lid, and place in the freezer for at least 8 hours, or overnight to firm up for best results.


strawberry rosewater ice cream:
Makes 5 cups


3 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
2 cups organic strawberries, hulled
3/4 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp rosewater
1/2 tsp sea salt


Combine all ingredients in a blender, and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). Once processed, pour into freezable container with a lid, and place in the freezer for at least a few hours, or overnight to firm up for best results.


Raspberry Sauce:
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract


Strawberry Sauce:
2 cups fresh organic strawberries
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract


Cherry Sauce:
2 cups fresh organic cherries, pitted
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp almond extract
For the raspberry sauce, puree all ingredients until nearly smooth, and set aside until ready to assemble. Repeat with remaining sauces.   


For assembly:
1/4 cup pistachios (each sundae)
fresh organic raspberries, strawberries and cherries
fresh basil leaves


To assemble, scoop 2 scoops of each ice cream into an obling bowl. Top with a bit of each fruit puree, pistachios, fresh fruit, and basil. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mini Raw Banana Caramel Cream Pies



I had a craving for banana cream pie this weekend and I was not going to ignore it.  But, the recipe I had made in the past just wasn't going to cut it.  Egg yolk and butter filled custard topped with mile high whipped cream!  I tend to eat a large amount when I make it so I wanted something a little more kind to my system this time.  So...I decided that I needed to create a raw version, and for some reason I wanted it to involve caramel! 


So I got to work creating my masterpiece!  I wanted to make an individual pie, since I know I will eat the whole thing.  So I scaled it down to a 4 inch.  Love my mini pie pans!


For the crust I used a simple pecan base sweetened with dates, since they both so lovely with bananas!  The filling was to be creamy and luscious, so I used a cashew coconut base with a touch of vanilla.  I blended bananas into it as well as layered them into the filling, since I wanted them to be very present...as this was afterall, banana pie! 


It had to have raw caramel layered into it as well, so I whipped up a almond date maple caramel with a hint of sea salt and it was delicious!  Of course it also had to be topped off with cream, so I used a coconut filled vanilla cream to top the pie!


It was decadent and delicious!  I was not missing the eggs and heavy cream at all!  In fact this was way better than the coconut cream pies I have made in the past!  And I thought I could never improve upon that one!



Mini Raw Banana Caramel Cream Pies
Makes two 4 inch pies

Crust:
2 cups pecans
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
7-8 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped




Filling:
1 1/4 cups raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight and drained)
1/2 cup young coconut meat (or additional soaked cashews)
1/4 cup coconut water (or filtered water)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
scant 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
1/4 cup plus 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
1/2 cup ripe mashed banana
1 sliced banana

Caramel:
1 cup medjool dates, pitted (soaked in filtered water for 30 minutes if not soft, then drained)
2 Tbsp raw coconut butter
3 Tbsp 
raw coconut nectar, maple syrup or raw honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp filtered water

Cream Topping:
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water
3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and seeds of half a vanilla bean (reserved from filling)
1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)



Line two 4 inch pie pans with plastic wrap. To prepare the crust, process pecans and sea salt in a food processor until the pecans are fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Firmly press crust into the bottoms and up the sides of the prepared pans, and set aside.

To make the caramel, puree all ingredients until smooth in a food processor except water.  Add water as needed if too thick. Set aside.
To make the filling, drain the cashews and combine them with coconut meat, coconut water, lemon juice, agave nectar, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Add 1 cup ripe mashed banana and puree until smooth.  
To assemble, arrange a layer of banana on the bottom of each pie.  Top with a couple Tbsp caramel, then half of the filling, then another layer of banana layers, then more caramel, then the remaining filling.  Place in the freezer until it is set, 4 to 6 hours, then once set store in the fridge. Before topping, lift out of pie pans using plastic wrap, and place on serving plates. 

To make topping, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, then scrape into a bowl and place in the freezer about 30 minutes until a frosting consistency. Place the topping in pastry bag and pipe decoratively around the top of the pies. Store leftover pies in the fridge.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Raw Chopped Taco Salad



I am still on a kick where I don't care to use the oven or stove.  I mean it was over 100 degrees on Monday!  Plus, I work in a hot kitchen all day with a hot chefs coat, so cooking food is not appealing when I get home for dinner.  But, I still want to eat good food, and I don't want to have to eat out all the time.  So...raw food is becoming more of a frequent thing in my kitchen. A few nights ago, I wanted taco salad.  However, I did not want to cook beans or turn on the oven to crisp tortillas.  So, I decided to make a salad plate with the flavors of a taco salad with fresh raw ingredients.  




I had bought some local corn and zucchinis and I thought they would be delicious chopped up with a bell pepper, some shallots, and a chili lime dressing.  I also made some taco "meat" instead of having beans out of walnuts seasoned with nutritional yeast and taco spices. It was so delicious I could have eaten it on its own, but I knew it would be a perfect component to my salad. To finish it off I made some fresh salsa from some heirloom tomatoes I had bought as well and guacamole as they are both a must when Mexican food is served at my house!   Once I threw it all on top of a bed of greens, it was quite delicious!  As I was enjoying the last morsel, I was glad I hadn't caved and turned my oven on or bought take out.


Raw Chopped Taco Salad: 
serves 3-4

Salsa:
1 jalapeno, minced (seeded if desired)
2 medium organic heirloom tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup packed fresh organic cilantro, chopped
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
juice of one lime
sea salt to taste

Guacamole:
3 medium organic avocados
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped organic cilantro
juice of one large lime
sea salt to taste

Taco "meat":
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp chipotle powder, or to taste
1 garlic clove
sea salt to taste
2-3 Tbsp filtered water (or as needed)

Salad:
2 ears of fresh organic corn
1 organic yellow zucchini, cut into small dice
1 organic green zucchini, cut into small dice
1 yellow or red bell pepper, cut into small dice
1 large shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/8 tsp chipotle powder or to taste
juice of 2 large limes
1 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt to taste

Lettuce of your choice to serve
hot sauce to serve (optional)

To make salsa, combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 
To make guac, with an immersion blender in a tall measuring cup, puree until smooth (or if you like chunky, mash in a bowl).  Set aside.
To make taco meat, combine all ingredients in a food processor (except water) and process until well chopped, but still chunky.  Add a little water at a time until the mixture starts to clump together.  Set aside. 
To make salad, remove kernals of corn from the cobs and add to a large bowl, along with all other ingredients.  Toss until well combined. 
To assemble, place some lettuce on each plate, then top each with some salad, salsa, taco meat, and guacamole.  Drizzle with hot sauce if desired, and serve!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fruits of Summer Ice Cream Sundae




Sitting out on picnic table in the sunshine, eating ice cream after running through the sprinkler.  This was an important part of summer to me when I was a kid.  I loved any kind of ice cream...peppermint bon bon, sherberts, cookie dough, strawberry, peach, chocolate...I ate them all!  I would even scoop them all into one bowl if I had the option to!  I loved to load them up with toppings as well.  I can remember being at my Dad's house when I was about eight making myself an ice cream sundae.  I grabbed everything and anything ice cream related or that could be used as a topping and started crafting my masterpiece.  I scooped 3 different ice creams into a bowl.  Peppermint Bon Bon, Strawberry, and Moose Tracks. I then loaded it up with fudge, caramel and reddi whip.  Not to stop there however, I topped it off with M&Ms and chocolate chips.  It was a monster bowl of ice cream, and I ate it all!  Looking back on it, it sounds way too sweet and kind of disgusting to me now, but I was in heaven at the time!
 

My tastes have drastically changed and I am no longer into that overly sweet stuff.  I much prefer things which are made sweet by fruit instead of just sugar, and I am in love with coconut milk based ice creams instead of the dairy I used to indulge in all the time.  And so recently when I was looking through photos of the ice cream on my blog, I thought, wouldn't it be lovely to create a sundae featuring fruit and herbs? 
I had recently made lemon basil ice cream and it was so refreshing that I knew it would be perfect among the other ice creams in the sundae.  I also whipped up a batch of raspberry lavender and peach thyme.  They were all wonderfully fragrant and just sweet enough, but not overly so. 
 

I spooned them into one of my Grandmother's antique dishes, and topped them off with a bit of fresh raspberry sauce, crunchy pistachios, and a mixture of fruits I happened to have on hand. 
 

It was the most beautiful sundae I had ever layed eyes on...almost too pretty to eat!  You may be wondering if I ate this concoction myself or shared, as it was a rather large bowl.  I ate every last bite myself!  It was too good to share...that bowl at least.
 

Luckilly I had enough ice cream leftover to share some.  Who says ice cream sundaes have to be overly sweet and dripping with gooey sauces?  Light and refreshing is so wonderful especially when it is near 100 degrees and you don't want to be feeling heavy. 
 

Fruits of Summer Ice Cream Sundae


peach thyme ice cream:
makes 5 cups

2 Tbsp fresh thyme
3 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
3/4 cup agave nectar
2 medium fresh organic peaches, diced
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt

In a blender combine all ingredients, and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). Once processed, pour into a freezable container with a lid, and place in the freezer for at least 8 hours, or overnight to firm up for best results.

raspberry lavender ice cream:
Makes 5 cups
1 cup full fat coconut milk
2 Tbsp dried lavender, divided
2 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
3/4 cup agave nectar
12 oz fresh organic raspberries or 12 oz bag frozen raspberries
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup lite coconut milk to a simmer and remove from heat. Add 1 Tbsp dried lavender flowers and stir in. Let cool, then chill in the fridge until very cold to let lavender infuse. Strain coconut milk, discarding lavender then add chilled milk to a blender, along with all other ingredients (except remaining 1 Tbsp dried lavender) in a blender, and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). Once processed, stir in remaining Tbsp lavender and pour into a freezable container with a lid, and place in the freezer for at least 8 hours, or overnight to firm up for best results.


lemon basil ice cream:
Makes 4 cups

3 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
3 Tbsp organic lemon zest
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). Once processed, pour into freezable container with a lid, and place in the freezer for at least a few hours, or overnight to firm up for best results.

Raspberry Sauce:

2 cups fresh raspberries
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Puree all ingredients until smooth.

For assembly:
1/4 cup pistachios (each sundae)
assorted fresh organic fruit (I used raspberries, blackberries, peaches, and strawberries)
fresh basil and thyme leaves

To assemble, scoop 2 scoops of each ice cream into an obling bowl.  Top with a bit of raspberry puree, pistachios, fresh fruit, and herbs.  Enjoy! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Raw Pretty in Pink Birthday Cheesecake


Yesterday, I turned 27.  However, I still feel as if I should be 21...as 27 is getting so close to 30!  This will not stop me however from acting younger than my age.  I never want to be boring, and I still like to do things like wear hello kitty kitty band-aids, run through sprinklers and have a pink birthday cake.  




Yes, I had to have a pink Birthday cake!  I have been asked by so many people in the last week, "Shouldn't someone else make your cake?"  or "You shouldn't have to bake on your Birthday!"  My answer to that was, no one I know would be able to create the cake I wanted the exact way I wanted it.  Plus, making cakes is something I enjoy and shouldn't I enjoy myself on my birthday?  Plus...technically I wasn't baking it because it was a raw cheesecake.  




I didn't spend my entire day on it however, I also took the time to celebrate with family and a good friend going out to dinner at La Belle Vie, one of my favorite restaurants!  



Because although I made my cake, I didn't want to cook dinner on my birthday, and their food is excellent!  It was a wonderful time, and we all had a lot of fun!  






Back to the birthday cheesecake...it had a pistachio crust, and the filling was vanilla rosewater scented with a layer of vanilla with lavender, then strawberry, and last raspberry.  It was beautiful naked, but since it was a birthday cake, I decided to pipe cashew coconut frosting around the cake to make it even more beautiful!  




It was delicious as well, fragrant and rich...just as cheesecake should be.  I much enjoyed it, and it made me happy just looking at it knowing it was exactly the birthday cake I had dreamed of creating, plus even better!  Since I am not the type of person who wants a boring white birthday cake full of bleached flour and white sugar.  Real ingredients are what I find truly delicious.  




Whoever made the rule that you can't make your own birthday cake probably just didn't feel like making one or didn't know how to...making my own birthday cake is an experience I much enjoy, and will repeat for many years to come!



Raw Pretty in Pink Birthday Cheesecake
Makes one 6 inch cake

Crust:
3/4 cup shelled pistachios
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3-4 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped


Filling:
2 1/2 cups raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight and drained)
1/2 cup young coconut meat (or additional soaked cashews)
1/2 cup coconut water (or filtered water)
1 tsp rosewater
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
1/2 cup fresh organic strawberries
1/2 cup fresh organic red raspberries
1 Tbsp organic lavender

Cream Topping:
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water
3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and seeds of half a vanilla bean (reserved from filling)
1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)



4-6 fresh organic raspberries
 
Lightly coat a 6 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process pistachios and sea salt in a food processor until the pistachios are fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set aside.


To make the filling, drain the cashews and combine them with coconut meat, coconut water, lemon juice, rosewater, agave nectar, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Remove the filling from the food processor, and divide evenly between 3 bowls. Place 1/3 into the food processor and add 1/2 cup of strawberries. Puree until smooth and scrape back in the bowl. Add another 3rd of the filling to the food processor and add 1/2 cup raspberries, and puree until smooth. Add the lavender to the third bowl and stir in until combined.

To assemble the cheesecake, pour the vanilla lavender filling over the crust, then smooth to the sides.  Then the strawberry, then the raspberry. Place in the freezer until it is set, 4 to 6 hours, then once set store in the fridge.

To make topping, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, then divide into 2 bowls.  Place one half back in the food processor and throw in about 4-6 raspberries, and blend (to tint pink).  Place back in the bowl and and set bowls in the freezer about 30 minutes until a frosting consistency. Place the two frostings in pastry bags and pipe decoratively around the top and bottom of the cheesecake. Store leftover cake in the fridge.



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vegan Black Bottom Coconut Cream Tartlettes



Little black dress?  No, I would rather have a red one.  A white t-shirt?  But pink is so much prettier.  Ok, so you get the point, I love color, and you will never find me wearing black and white (with the exception of my chefs coat I wear at work) as I feel like color suits my personality far more.  However, there is one exception... black bottom desserts.  I once had a black bottom pie as a child and it was amazing.  Decadent chocolate at the bottom, and silky creamy custard on top!  So heavenly, it left a lasting impact on my taste buds.  Sadly though I had never made any kind of black bottom pie or tart myself, until last weekend. 



I was going to make coconut cream pie, but instead I decided to make coconut cream tartlettes.  I was thinking that a little chocolate would be a nice addition as well, however, which is where the black bottom came into play. 




I thought a nut and chocolate crust, topped off with a decadent, rich coconut ganache would be the perfect base for the coconut cream filling to rest on!  It was perfect...a nice contrast to the light, creamy airy coconut crunch studded filling, and fluffy coconut cream topping! 



I decided to top off the tarts with more crunchy coconut flakes, because I simply couldn't resist! So beautiful for something black and white!  I guess sometimes a little black and white is ok, when it comes to desserts!  



Vegan Black Bottom Coconut Cream Tartlettes
Makes 2


Two 4 inch removable bottom tart pans


Crust:
2 cups pecans
1/4 cup cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp maple syrup
a pinch of sea salt


Ganache:
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
3 oz vegan bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp coconut oil


Filling:
3/4 cup full fat chilled coconut milk (the thick part only from the top of the can)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 cup toasted shredded unsweetened coconut


Topping:
1/2 cup full fat chilled coconut milk (the thick part only from the top of the can)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 cup large flake coconut, toasted


To make the crust, add all the ingredients to the food processor, and process until smooth and holding together.  Press into the bottoms of two four inch removable bottom tart pans (sprayed with non-stick spray).  Set aside in the freezer to firm up. 
For the ganache, heat the coconut milk to scalding in the microwave or on the stove, and pour over the chocolate in a small bowl.  Let sit a minute, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth, then whisk in coconut oil.  Pour the ganache into the bottom of the prepared tart crusts, and set in the freezer until ganache has hardened, about 1/2 an hour. 
Meanwhile, whisk the 3/4 cup coconut milk until smooth and fluffy, in a chilled bowl with the maple syrup and vanilla to blend.  Fold in the toasted small flake coconut.  Spoon the mixture over the chilled ganache. 
In another chilled bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup chilled coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla until smooth and fluffy, and top off the tarts with this mixture (if not chilled enough, place it all back in the fridge until the coconut milk is a whipped heavy cream thickness before topping off the tarts).  Sprinkle the tarts with the large flake coconut and serve!







Friday, July 13, 2012

Black Forest Martini



I have a delicious cocktail recipe for you all, as it is Friday, but first...
Yesterday, I decided that I needed to escape the usual scenery of the cities and head up north to Duluth and Gooseberry Falls State park for the day.  I hate driving in the car for more than an hour mind you, but it was worth it.  The perfect day, the sun was shining, and hardly a cloud in the sky.  It was wonderful to see the beautiful sights in Gooseberry and just take in the beauty of nature God had created there. 




Afterwards, on the way back down towards Duluth, I stopped for dinner at Nokomis, and enjoyed a glass of wine outdoors next to Lake Superior.  Nothing beats wine and beautiful scenery.   I wish I had that kind of a view from my patio at home!



Although this has not been a stressful week for me, I still thought I would post a wonderful martini recipe I had recently made in case you did.  But, I believe just the fact that it is Friday alone calls for a martini whether you had the week off or worked your butt off.  The weekend is here! 



The "Black Forest Martini" was created because chocolate and cherries were sounding really good, and so was the flavor of the classic cake, but I didn't want cake.  So I made a drink with the same deliciousness factor.  A layer of chocolate fudge at the bottom and on the rim, topped off with vodka laced with cherries and a touch of sweetened coconut cream...it was heavenly!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 




Black Forest Martini
Makes 1


1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp cocoa powder


6 ice cubes
1/4 cup fresh organic cherry puree
4 oz  prairie organic vodka (or your favorite)
2 Tbsp agave vanilla syrup*


2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk from the top of the can, well chilled
a dash pure vanilla extract
a dash agave nectar


2 fresh organic cherries


Whisk together the cocoa powder and agave nectar until smooth and chocolate sauce consistency.  Place a little on a plate, and dip the rim of your martini glass in it coating it on the edge.  Turn glass right side up and spoon about 1 Tbsp chocolate sauce into the bottom of the glass.  Set aside.  In a martini shaker, combine the ice, cherry puree, vodka, and vanilla syrup.  Shake until well blended.  Pour the mixture over the chocolate sauce in the glass.  Whisk the coconut milk with the dash of vanilla and agave nectar until smooth and spoon a top the drink.  Garnish with a couple fresh cherries, and serve!


*To make vanilla agave syrup, combine 1/4 cup agave nectar with 1/4 cup filtered water in a small jar.  Add one vanilla bean, slit lengthwise, place the top on and shake.  Let sit for a few days to infuse.  Store in the fridge.