The day after I returned from my culinary adventure at the 105degrees Academy
, I was having lunch with a few fantastic bloggers and Ricki
mentioned “April in the Raw
” a fun new blog event that was in the works. Well, as a freshly minted, “certified raw chef” I was pretty excited to participate.
launched this fun affair on April 1st with an incredible, decadent 16 layer cake
. Since then, everyday a different blogger has posted their own great tips and recipes to celebrate eating food in its most natural state – fresh and raw! You can check out the entire schedule here
And today is my turn!
One of the most amazing things about eating raw is enjoying seasonal produce at its best. But in Toronto, in April, there are pretty significant limitations on availability. Our seasonal markets won’t open for another month, the ground is still frozen, and stores of preserved produce are starting to dwindle.
In the Summer and Fall, I pick and freeze or dehydrate as much fresh produce as possible. But by April, my stock of local berries has almost disappeared. The recipes I’d like to share with you today, use ingredients available year round in Toronto – sometimes fresh and sometimes frozen. During the depths of winter there is nothing more satisfying then the taste of a sweet, fresh berry. In that bite is the promise of summer. Frozen vegetables and fruit retain the majority of their nutrients and provide a great compliment of nourishing vitamins during winter and early spring in colder climates.
So, on to the recipes!
I’m not sure why, but I was inspired to create a meal with a French flair. (I think it was seeing the name Brittany over and over). But unlike traditional French cuisine these dishes are incredibly simple and quick to prepare. I know there is a perception that raw food takes a lot of time. And…it certainly can. But, there are lots of ways to create beautiful, gourmet meals that celebrate fresh produce without days of toiling in the kitchen.
Vegetable pastas are a simple twist on a traditional salad. With a vegetable peeler or a spiralizer you can create noodles from lots of different ingredients, including: zucchini, summer squash, coconut meat, carrot, daikon radish, beets, sweet potato etc. Once I picked up a spiralizer (for $25) it was hard to restrain myself from turning everything into stringy, springy noodles.
Pâtes au Printemps (Spring Pasta)
(makes 2 large or 4 small servings)
1 large zucchini, peeled or spiralized into noodles
pinch of salt
1/2 cup asparagus (I bought them fresh, sliced them and then froze them)
Peel the zucchini. Using a vegetable peeler (the results are more fettuccine-like noodles) or a spiralizer prepare a large bowl of zucchini noodles. Sprinkle the zucchini noodles with salt and let them sit
In a blender combine the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.
Remove the asparagus and peas from the freezer and place them in a large bowl. Boil a kettle of water. Pour the hot water over the asparagus and peas and let them sit for 1-2 minutes. Drain the water and add the vegetables to the zucchini noodles. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss to coat.
After all that blending, tossing and noodling…I’d say you deserve a treat.
Blueberry Lavender Tart
(makes 2-3 small tarts or 1 medium tart)
1 cup cashews, soaked 2 hours
1 TBSP agave syrup
1 cup water
1/2 tsp agave syrup (optional)
Combine the nuts in your food processor and pulse into a fine meal. Add dates (briefly soaked in warm water if they are hard) and salt, pulse until the dates are well incorporated. Press the batter into small tart shells or one medium tart pan. Use your fingers to press the batter evenly across the base of the tart pan and to create an even crust around the sides. Place the tart shell in the freezer or refrigerator to firm up.
In a blender, combine the filling ingredients. Blend until smooth. Add the filling to the tart shell and return to the freezer for 30 minutes.
Remove the frozen berries from the freezer and toss with agave.
Remove the tart shells from the freezer and top with a few spoonfuls of blueberries.
*I soaked these nuts and dehydrated them before using. You can do the same or just use dry nuts instead.
Je l’aime cru! Et tu?