I often find myself dreaming of living in Southern California. When Toronto is experiencing blizzards and wind chills I am easily enticed by talk of sunshine and surfing. In my mind, Los Angeles has a Trader Joe’s on every corner and the word vegan on almost every menu.
Today, my virtual restaurant tour continues with a lovely lunch at Real Food Daily. If you saw something called “Living Paradise” on a menu, you would order it right? I want to live in paradise – so this seemed like a thoughtful step forward with in my plan.
Okay, fair warning with this recipe, there are steps…quite a few. But that’s the delightful difference in playing with recipes created for restaurants rather than the home kitchen. Since restaurants are focused on making food, rather than analyzing social policy, they set aside time to make special items, like cashew cheese.
I think recipes with instructions that include letting things “set” for a day or two is what intimidates many people from attempting gourmet raw food. But I have found it just requires a little forethought and some counter space. Otherwise, creating great raw meals allows me to continue on with my daily routine unencumbered by culinary obligations.
Once you learn how simple it is to make cashew cheese I can imagine you’re counter will look like this quite often (plus – soaked cashews can also become ICE CREEM!!)
This Raw Food Dailyrecipe also suggested that I play with one of my favourite gadgets, my spiralizer (found on Craigslist years ago). If you don’t have one, you can use a vegetable peeler to make curly veggie noodles.
If I was enjoying this roll on the patio, in Los Angeles, I’m pretty sure I would feel like I was living in paradise. It has a beautiful balance between the crisp veggies and the creamy cashew cheese. It taste light and fresh but is actually quite filling. I highly suggest you roll your own.
Living Paradise with Raw Tomato Dipping Sauce
Raw Cashew Cheese
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked 2 hours)
1/3 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
Combine the drained cashews, water, garlic and salt in a food processor. Blend until very smooth (5 minutes). Transfer to a small bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 24-48 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use. The cheese will keep for five days in the fridge.
Raw Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 cup water
2 plum tomatoes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/4 cup basil leaves
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Combine the sun-dried tomatoes and water in your blender. Let soak for 2 hours or until the tomatoes are soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve at room temperature.
Living Paradise Rolls
1/2 cup Raw Cashew Cheese
1 (4 inch) piece diakon radish, peeled
5 cups hot water
8 rice paper sheets
2 cups fresh arugula
1 cup julienned English cucumber
3/4 cup julienned yellow squash
2/3 cup julienned red bell pepper
1/2 cup julienned green onion
1/2 cup julienned peeled carrot
1/2 cup julienned zucchini
1 1/2 cups Raw Tomato Sauce
Put the cashew cheese in a piping bag or small ziploc bag with and cut-off one corner (or you know, use a spoon).
Using a spiral slicer cut the diakon into long, curly strands. Pour the water into a large bowl. Dip 1 sheet of rice paper in and soak for a few seconds, until pliable. Place it on clean, moist towel.
Transfer the rice paper to a large plate or cutting board. Place one-eighth of the argula, radish, cucumber, squash, zucchini, pepper, onion, and carrot across the centre of the rice paper. Pipe the cashew cheese over the vegetables.
Fold the sides of the rice paper over the ens of the filling. Starting at the long side, roll into a cylinder. Continue with each rice paper. Serve with tomato dipping sauce. The spring rolls will keep for 8 hours, covered and refrigerated.
Included with permission from The Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry, copyright © 2005. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
And so it continues, the amazing Vegan MoFo, we’re just nine days in. I have already discovered so many amazing bloggers. I hope you’ve found some new favourites as well. Blogs and restaurants often inspire me to give new ingredients or new techniques a try. Has a recent meal out or online encouraged you to try something new?