a raw delight

8 octobre 2012  :  a RAW delight

yep... It's been months since I've sat down to stir up a post. don't know... Seems I'm always getting carried off by this or that current, caught up in that or the other swirling of spatulas.

Now that autumn has infused the air here in Paris with its trembling light, and weight of air as though full of pauses, I've found a stretch of low tide and so have sat to finally jot and catch up on some of summer's tales...
Have also made a resolution to avidly search out and find — once a week — ensuing low tides, calm stretches so as to continue sharing my culinary journey through the seasons with more regularity. a resolution I'm going to keep !

So let's see, I found myself in Tuscany this summer, high on a hill looking out over valley, cedar, grazed field, meandering route toward Monte Amiata, a lava dome of soft contours holding fort against the sky.
What a gift, the generous invitation from Anna, a passionate woman committed to all foods whole and teaming with life, to spend a week immersed in learning about raw cuisine and stirring up amazingly creative and sumptuous dishes under the gentle, inspiring guidance of Matthew Kenney and his cohorts: Meredith Baird and Vito Cortese. And we worked — morning and afternoon! We... that is to say eight wonderful women, a colorful tapestry of life experiences, energies, laughters, and passionate causes.

From soaked nuts, seeds and grains; coconut - milk, meat and oil; fruits, vegetables, and herbs lusciously fresh; zingy spices and a pinch of this and that "elevated" powder, we Vita-mixed, "spiralized," and dehydrated our way through the continents and cuisines : Mexican, Japanese, Italian, Thai, Middle Eastern. Corn tortillas made from zucchini, flax meal, and a store of other flavors and spices. Sushi rice made from cauliflower, chopped to a rice-y consistency and gently dehydrated... till sticky. a Sicilian pistachio nougatine with a raw chocolate glaze — to die for...

But what most excited me were the soaked raw nut and seed milks (enhances their nutrition and digestibility). I've been making almond milk twice a week since returning to Paris...  and use it instead of store bought grain and nut milks in my coffee — separates a bit...but, hey, so what — or on my cereals. And I use the leftover pulp to make tea biscuits. You'll find the recipes for almond milk and my almond-meal tea biscuits down below the photos...

Before... a few links :
 — Information here and there about soaking nuts and seeds. And, though I haven't read the book, while searching the web for information on germinating nuts and seeds, often came across people citing Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon... Might be worth a read.

—Interested in creating a bee haven, here's a great little bee toolkit. Was surprised to learn, while reading the toolkit, that bees need a water source — they get thirsty, as well. Duh! So simple and logical, but something I never thought about. Then a couple of days later I went to my neighborhood garden on a sweltering day to water the fall seeds I'd just planted, turned on the hose, and to my surprise — and glee — there were suddenly three or four bees snuggling up to where water was leaking from the hose connection and sipping away, their little behinds wagging a plenty!

— If you speak or understand French and want to watch yet another documentary on industrial farming, the alarming use of pesticides, etc... take a look at this : la mort est dans le pré.

— The awe inspiring spiral vegetable slicer (when you want to make beet spaghetti) : plastic ||  stainless steel

Here are some photos of dishes we created in Tuscany : 

raw taco spread
cauliflower rice sushi

sicilian pisthio nougatine
what's left of a raspberry smoothie 

morning kitchen almond milk

ALMOND MILK - makes a liter
- adapted from Matthew Kenney's cooking class 
200 gr / 8 oz whole almonds
1000 ml filtered water
4 - 5 dates, pitted and diced (optional)

— Add enough water to cover the almonds and blend at low then high speed until well broken up, a short minute. Add the remaining water and blend on high speed for 1 minute. (If using a Vitamix, you can add all the water at once and blend for 1 minute). Strain through a thin linen (or muslin) towel placed over a large bowl.. Tightly gather up the ends and edges of the towel and begin slowly twisting, tighter and tighter, pressing on the ball of meal that forms in the bottom of the towel as you go, until you’ve extracted all of the almond milk. If using the dates, return the milk to the blender jar along with the dates and blend on high speed for another minute or two. (You can also purchase one of many nifty nut milk bags. — Will keep in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

almond tea biscuits

humbly-crumbly ALMOND-MEAL TEA BISCUITS - makes a plateful

note 1 : If I'm going to make tea biscuits, I peel my soaked almonds. They make for a more delicate biscuit, and it takes but a few minutes as they do loosen during soaking. Put on a favorite album, sit in a nicely lit corner and firmly,  insistently, squeeze away...  Equally, when I make my blancmanger, I  use freshly blanched almonds to make my almond milk. So feel free to go that route. And if you wish to keep the skins intact, no problem. You'll simply end up with a bit more rustic biscuit (maybe add a pinch more honey, olive oil and lemon zest)
note 2 : Make these biscuits the same day you make the almond milk, as the meal has a propensity to sour rapidly.

peeled-almond meal left over from the almond milk (will be 25 -30 gr / about 1 oz less in weight)
55 gr light honey (do not melt if hardened)
2 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
small palmful of poppy seeds
zest of 1/2 lemon
three-finger pinch wild fennel seeds (optional)
pinch unrefined sea salt  

— Preheat the oven to 160 ˚C (350 ˚F). Line the bottom and sides of a lightly oiled thick baking dish with parchment paper (size at least equivalent to 28 x 22 cm / 11 x 8 1/2-inch). Very lightly brush with olive oil.
— Combine the almond meal, poppy seeds and a pinch of salt. Add in the honey and olive oil and mix until the honey is well incorporated. Add the lemon zest and wild fennel seeds.
— Spread the almond mixture out to a slight 1-cm / ¼-inch thickness, snuggling up to the edges of the dish, or if a baking sheet forming a neat rectangle. Brush lightly with olive oil.
— Bake in the oven at 160 ˚C / 325 ˚F for 15 - 20 minutes, or until turning golden around the edges. Gently cut into squares while still hot. Let cool in the baking dish on a rack. Gently slide the parchment paper out of the baking dish

1 comment:

  1. Alyssa BoyleOctober 08, 2012

    Lovely post Terresa! I hope all's well in Paris! I made some almond milk a few times this summer as well and then made some rosemary crackers with the pulp that lacked the crack in cracker-- they didn't crisp up. But your tea biscuits look delicious, I'll have to try them! I'm also intrigued by your raw adventures in Tuscany. Looks like things have been delicious back in Europe- take care and all the best! Bisous xx