Durian the stinky fruit!

Daniel has always been my kid that likes to cook. Before he went away to college we used to watch several different cooking shows regularly. After he went away I had to stop watching those shows because it made me too sad to watch them without him. He didn’t do much cooking when he was at school unless you count microwaving ramen noodles. So the other day, after working all day, he decided to needed to stop by an Asian grocery store on the way home and buy a durian (I do not know what goes through that boys head.) Not an inexpensive fruit he shelled out $10 for the massive thing.

Anyone who watches Andrew Zimmern’s show Bizarre Foods, knows that this is 1 of only 3 foods from around the worlds that made him throw up and he eats some really nasty stuff. He compares the taste to “completely rotten, mushy onions.” Anthony Bourdain, a lover of durian, relates his encounter with the fruit as thus: “Its taste can only be described as…indescribable, something you will either love or despise. …Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.”

Here’s some more info from Wikipedia: The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust. The odour has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.

Which is why Daniel is cutting up the fruit outside, on the back porch.

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I am one of those people that find the smell to cause “intense disgust” so much so that my gag reflex was acting up, my stomach was turning and it was making me salivate (and not in a good way.) Daniel seemed to be able to move past the smell to the point that it didn’t bother him (at least that’s what he said, I don’t believe him.)

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When you cut into it, it has these strange pods that you can scrape the custard-like fruit off of.

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It was quite the messy procedure:

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Lucky us we ended up with quite a large bowl of this disgusting fruit. Which he then wanted to put inside in my refrigerator. Daniel tried to appease me by telling me that fruit was naturally organic since it grows 80-165 ft in the sky and nothing can penetrate its prickly shell. He then found a recipe online (coincidentally, from a RAW food blog that I follow) for Durian Ice Cream, ooh yum, NOT!

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So while I was gone to my art class he proceeded to make the durian ice cream, in the kitchen. Which led to several arguments between Dan and Daniel about the smelly fruit. Daniel has become quite defensive of the odiferous substance.

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While the ice cream looks pretty good and tastes ok it still smells rank, which completely ruins the taste for me.

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Daniel is trying to convince us that he actually likes it. But I’ve noticed that the massive bowl of ice cream is still sitting in my freezer untouched! So if anyone wants to come over and try Durian Ice Cream, we have plenty to share. (*Mom & Dad guess what you’re getting for dessert Sat. night!)

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RAW food restaurants


I was inspired by a friend, that is planning a trip to NY where there are a few raw restaurants, to search for a raw restaurant in Seattle for my trip next month. This is what I found Chaco Canyon Cafe.

I wonder who in my brave family will be going out to eat with me? The food looks and sounds so yummy, I can’t wait!


Review

Patricia Amaya, of Huffington Post, July 2008

Traveling Green From Now On

“Seattle has a restaurant treasure, The Chaco Canyon Café. It’s located in the University District, and is open 7 days a week, here are the hours. Truly environmentally conscious in every way imaginable, this eco-haven of fine dining collaborated with Tiny’s Organic to bring CSA pick ups back to Chaco Canyon in support of local agriculture and the environment. Chaco Canyon Café composts and recycles 90% of their total waste. Wireless internet is available while enjoying a cup of local fair trade, shade grown, organic coffee or tea. Offering a choice between a raw foods menu or vegan menu, you’ll find various dishes beautifully displayed, fulfilling and appetizing. Crowd pleasers and favorites are the Cilantro Pesto Pizza, Nacho Plate, Grilled Vegan Cheese and Soup and Hot Tunaless Melt to name a few. You will leave feeling well nourished and satisfied knowing you helped the environment, local communities and yourself.”

What I ate this week in my raw quest

Well I’ll start right off admitting I did not stay 100% raw this week. I’ve found that staying raw all through the day is no problem but when dinner rolls around it is very hard for me to resist some of the foods I cook for the rest of the family. I’ve also done fine when I’ve been eating at my parents or in laws houses I can just bring along something to eat and its not a problem but when I’ve gone out to restaurants again it’s hard to stick with just a salad. I don’t want this to be like a diet where I feel guilty for “cheating” so I let myself enjoy those meals that aren’t raw knowing that the majority of my food is raw and that is so much healthier than how I’ve been eating in the past. So besides my son who likes to point out that I’ll be going to hell anytime I eat something that’s not raw I feel ok. I think that since I’ve been a non-practicing Catholic for many years and the 100% raw goal for lent was more symbolic than a declaration of my return to Catholicism my soul is safe.

On to the recipes, I’ve found that I really prefer simpler foods, like this raw slaw, which I love:

Raw coleslaw

½ head cabbage, finely sliced (with food processor)
3 carrot, peeled and finely shredded (with food processor)
½ yellow pepper, chopped
½ red pepper, chopped
1-2 cup bean sprouts (I used home-sprouted Mung beans)

Dressing (blended in food processor)

4 garlic cloves, minced
7 T extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil
3 T liquid aminos
2 T raw apple cider vinegar
1 T raw agave nectar
Grated fresh ginger

In a large bowl, toss the vegetables.

Blend the garlic, olive oil, liquid aminos, vinegar, agave nectar and ginger then pour over the veggies. Toss well and serve. (Let sit for at least an hour before serving.)

The original recipe can be found at the urban vegan

This next recipe turned out pretty good, it does taste kinda like an Alfredo sauce but I’ve decided that I’m not really crazy about sauces over squash noodles. I even bought the fancy spiralizing cutter but I’m just not that impressed with it. It seems to turn the squash into mush more than noodles. I need to try it with some other types of squash maybe. The original recipe came from Alive in 5, Raw Gourmet Meals in 5 minutes by Angela Elliott (of course I made some changes.)

Alfredo Sauce
1 cup nut pulp (I keep trying to find ways to use this up, I can’t wait to get a dehydrator)
1 tea salt
2 cloves garlic
¼ tea ground nutmeg
¼ tea ground basil or oregano
2 Tbls nutritional yeast

Blend in vita mix, adding enough water to blend smoothly (approx 1 cup) can use warm water and let blend for a minute or two to heat sauce up but not too hot.

Sprinkle with parsley and salt & pepper to taste
Serve over zucchini or squash noodles or eat with veggies.

I also tried Zucchini Linguine with Basil Pesto, it was just OK. I have a ton of pesto starter in the freezer from last year’s garden (we chopped up basil and mixed it with olive oil and garlic then froze it in ½ cup lumps.) Unfortunately, I’ve found that I’m really not crazy for pesto so this wasn’t my favorite dish.

And lastly for dessert I plan on making these Butter Ball Cookies today. I made them with some major alterations and they were just ok so I thought I would try the original recipe and see if they turned out better.

(Since I often am the only one in my house that will eat my experiments I have learned to make the recipes much smaller just in case they turn out to be duds and also so I don’t eat too much if they’re really good)

My version:
1 cup nuts (1/2 walnut, ½ almonds)
2 Tbls flax meal
1 Tbls dried coconut
2 Tbls cacao powder
5 figs (pitted)

Blend everything in food processor then add:
½ cup oats (pulsed in at the end)
2 Tbls water (to help it stick together)
Rolled into balls with coconut

My favorite snack:

an apple or banana dipped in raw organic almond butter with cacao nibs and goji berries. Yumm! I had been eating this with just apples but the other day I tried it with a banana and it was so yummy. For some reason I had never eaten bananas and nut butters together before, man I’ve been missing out! The only downside to this snack is how expensive raw organic almond butter is, $20 for 16oz, ouch! If anyone has any suggestions on a less expensive place to buy it I’d appreciate it.


Here are the raw “cookbooks” I’ve been reading this week

Alive in 5, Raw Gourmet Meals in 5 minutes by Angela Elliott

Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney (I love this book because almost every recipe has great pictures to go with. You can find it pretty cheap at half.com)

Raw Food Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis (this book is awesome and on my list to buy)

The Raw Food Gourmet by Gabrielle Chavez

Living in the Raw Desserts by Rose Lee Calabro

Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich (I’m dying to make Kimchee)

I miss my lattes

I grew up in Seattle the home of Starbucks and now I live in Grandview where there are at least 8 coffee shops within a mile of my house and we can smell Stauf’s roasting their coffee beans on a warm day. For the past several years I had been going to Caribou Coffee approximately 2-5 times a weeks for a white chocolate- mint latte or one of the several other varieties that sounded good on that visit. My mom, aunt and I would meet every Sunday morning for coffee and time to visit. If I had to go do something I didn’t particularly want to I would reward myself by getting a coffee. On the days I went to work I would get a coffee. Dan and I often walked to Caribou for morning coffees and some time alone. While I was studying for my State Boards I would go to Caribou every morning for a few hours to study and visit with my friend Paulita who was also at Caribou writing her novel. We may have spent more time visiting than working but I passed my boards and she finished her novel so we must have got some work done along the way.

I always had lots of reasons why I deserved to stop and buy a $4.00 coffee drink. On the days when I didn’t go to Caribou I would make my own latte’s at home but they were never as good. Then I broke my espresso machine so that cut out the home lattes. About that same time I decided it was ridiculous to spend that much money on coffee drinks so I limited myself to 1 latte a week. When the New Year rolled around and I made my resolution to only eat raw foods until noon that eliminated any morning latte’s, then I decided to give up sugar and that wiped out the rest. So I have not had a latte since at least Feb. 7 when I gave up sugar but I don’t think I’ve had any since the beginning of the year. I’ve even walked with Dan to Caribou so he could get a coffee and I still resisted. I really miss my latte’s but I have found a replacement that I will have occasionally and while it doesn’t have the smell of coffee that I really love it does taste pretty darn good.

RAW hot cocoa:

Fill a coffee mug half way with hot water

Fill the rest of the way with raw almond milk

Put in a scoop of raw cacao (you can also add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, that surprisingly goes really well with the cacao, but don’t add too much)

Sweeten with a little raw agave nectar

This is really good and not as syrupy sweet as traditional hot chocolate.

While I was perusing the many raw cook books I’ve been getting from the library I saw a recipe for a Chai Latte and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. So I went to Whole Foods and bought some Tazo Organic Chai –spiced black tea- This is not the same as the premixed Chai latte that are already sweetened and processed, these are just tea bags.

Chai Latte

Brew a cup of the tea but again only fill your mug ½ way with hot water

After the tea was done steeping I filled the mug the rest of the way with raw almond milk

Sweeten with raw agave nectar

I nailed it, this tasted exactly like a Chai Latte from a coffee shop. It was then after my first sip that I remembered I really don’t like Chai. I like the idea of Chai, I like the smell of Chai I even like the first taste of Chai but after the first drink I really don’t like Chai. Bummer! At least I still have my hot cocoa.

This weeks RAW recipes

Well there have been some hits and misses this week. First off for the hits:

Raw Cacao Cookies

½ cup each walnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts

¼ cup agave nectar

1 Tbls coconut butter

½ tsp vanilla

¼ cup cacao powder

¼ cup raw oats (optional, pulsed in at the end)

2 Tbls cacao nibs (pulsed in at the end)

Split the nuts in half and process them first. Half of them ground chunky (then set aside) and the other half ground fine. Pulse in the chunky nuts at the end along with the cacao nibs and oats. After mixing everything in a food processor, scoop into mounds (or roll into balls if you added oats) and freeze. This will make them stiffer and easier to eat, otherwise they are pretty gooey.

These are so good! They definitely take care of my sweet tooth when I want something decadent!



I’ve been trying to sprout different seeds and nuts. The mustard seed didn’t really work, the sunflower seeds worked fine but I can’t decide if the slightly pink coloring is mold or if they’re supposed to look like that. But the Mung beans worked great. I started with 1 cup of dry beans and they expanded and outgrew the mason jar.

Mung Bean Sprout Salad

Salad:

2 cup Mung bean sprouts
1 cup chopped sweet peppers (red and yellow)

1 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup Fresh cilantro

Dressing:
2 Tbls Liquid Aminos
1 Tbls Olive Oil

1 Tbls hot sauce
1 Lime

Preparation:

Toss sprouts, peppers, carrot and cilantro in a bowl.

In a small dish whisk soy sauce, olive oil, hot sauce and juice of one lime.

Pour dressing over salad, place in fridge for and hour before eating to soak in flavors

This looked so pretty, it definitely could be taken to a potluck and appreciated by everyone. It is addictive, it is so fresh and crunchy, I could eat bowl after bowl. Dan really liked it also.

Raw Ranch Dip

This was a miss that tuned into a hit:

This recipe comes from The Complete Book of Raw Food by way of pepper paints:

1 1/2 cups raw cashews (I used macadamia nuts because that what I had)

Juice from 1 lemon or 2 1/2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon onion flakes

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon basil

Blend the cashews, lemon juice, sea salt, onion and garlic powder with 1/2 cup water (more if you want it like a dressing) until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl.

Add the dill, Italian seasoning and basil leaf by hand. Store in fridge up to 2 weeks.

I tried to use only nut pulp (left over from making almond milk) but it was way too grainy. I hated to throw it all out so instead I took ½ cup of the nut pulp mixture that I made and added it to the recipe in place of ½ cup of raw cashews. Also I tried to use my food processor the first time and it just didn’t mix it as smooth and my blender. So the second batch was blended in the vita mix. It was so much better, Dan and I both loved it!

Simple Curry

This recipe was from: gone raw, sharing raw, vegan recipes and advice

Sauce

1 medium ripe tomato
2 T. raisins
1 T. sesame seeds
1/3 c. cilantro (I use stems)
juice from 1/2 a lime
1/2 t. tumeric
1/2 t. cumin
curry to taste
1/2 inch slice of ginger
1 clove garlic
2 green onions, sliced

Salt

Preparation:

Soak the seeds and raisins if you have time.

Throw it all in the blender with enough water to make it move. I added water before I started blending which was a mistake as it turned to runny, so I added a handful of almonds to thicken it up. Next time I’ll start blending first & only add water as needed.

Serve over chopped vegetables of choice (I julienned (very thin) a butternut squash with my mandolin (it was like angel hair pasta) and some cherry tomatoes. It would be good over shredded cauliflower also.


Toppings of choice (sunflower seeds, raisins, cilantro etc.) I used some of the Mung Bean Sprout Salad as a topping.

Yum, this was very good and spicy! Don’t use too much garlic, raw garlic is way stronger than cooked garlic!


And last and most definitely least was my battle with the coconut (I had some awesome pictures of Dan breaking it open but when I was downloading them off my memory card they were all mysteriously erased. )

I bought one of the brown coconuts that you see at the grocery store (mine was from Giant Eagle) I have since learned that there are actually 3 different types of coconuts and what I bought was the least desirable and most likely to be rancid. Dan split it apart & drained the liquid into a cup and got all the pulp out for me. I tried a bite and thought it was pretty gross but hoped that it would be better in a recipe (I don’t know why I thought that, boy was I wrong.) I made a chocolate mousse with about ½ of the pulp and the liquid. I blended it all together in the vita mix and it looked really good. I tried a bite and it was disgusting, very grainy and just gross. So I put it in the freezer hoping that once it was cold it would be better. Then I put away the rest of the coconut for later. The next day I thought I would make a coconut milk, so I blended the rest of the coconut with water until it turned white and creamy, then I strained it through my yogurt bag to remove any left over pulp. It looked really good and smelled fine, I put it in the fridge to chill. Later that day I was starving and thought a smoothie with fresh pineapple, coconut milk and some other goodies sounded great. I blended it all together took a drink and had this gross burning acid like taste in the back of my throat, kinda like when you throw up a little in your throat. So I dumped the smoothie and tasted a little of the coconut milk to see if it was the culprit. It was, so I dumped the milk and the frozen chocolate mousse. I’m assuming this was just a bad coconut; I’ll try one more time with one from Whole Foods. I noticed theirs are refrigerated and don’t have the brown skin, so I think they are younger coconuts.

As you can see I’ve added some variety this week. Once you get the hang of cooking this way the meals are really quick and easy to prepare. It just takes a little getting used to.

Raw for Lent

I decided that for Lent I would go all raw. I’ve been pretty successful; I’d say I hit 95-100% every day. There have been a few rough days, like when I really needed to go grocery shopping and had absolutely no fresh veggies, fruit or nuts in the house (and was trying to wait until pay day to go to the store.) That day I used frozen spinach and veggies and had 3 green smoothies with a few date/ nut balls but nothing else. I kinda feel like I’m on one of those allergy elimination diets where you start out with one thing in your diet and slowly add more.

I’ve got the green smoothies down, I usually have one every morning for breakfast. And date/ nut balls, those fill my need for sweets and fill me up when I’m a little hungry. Then I added raw muesli with fruit and home made almond milk (yum!) Next was the “cheesy” nacho dip with veggies. Today I’m going to try some type of dessert with a coconut I bought. We’re going to my MIL for b-day dinners tomorrow and I need to bring a few things along so I can stay all raw surrounded by tons of cooked foods and desserts.

My family thinks I’ve gone a bit far with the healthy eating, they are definitely not on board with my changes. So now I get to make 1 traditional meal, 1 vegetarian meal and 1 raw meal. I try to merge the 3 as much as possible. It will be easier when the garden is going and were getting stuff from the CSA. Then we can have huge salads to cover the raw (me) and vegetarian (Beth) with something grilled on the side for the carnivores (also known as the boys.)

Even with all the difficulties I really like this way of eating. I can see myself sticking with this even after Easter.

Some of my favorite raw blogs and books so far:

http://greenandcrunchy.blogspot.com/

http://kristensraw.blogspot.com/

http://rawgoddessheathy.blogspot.com/

Eating in the Raw by Carol Alt

Living in the Raw Rose by Lee Calabro

Complete Idiots Guide to Eating Raw

getting the hang of RAW “cooking”

Something about this transformation to raw cooking has been really tricky for me. I’m a pretty good cook, and I’m great at following recipes. 🙂 But really getting all the concepts behind raw cooking and just having it flow naturally has had me stumped. But this morning I had one little break through, so I’m hopeful.

First off the easy part: Almond Milk
soak 2 cups of almonds overnight
In the morning drain off the water, blend the almonds with 4 cups of fresh water, and 2-4 pitted dates. Blend for 1-2 minutes, it will turn white and creamy just like regular milk. You can do this with a variety of different nuts. Cashews make an especially creamy milk. I haven’t ever strained the milk before but I thought I would try it this time. So I poured it into a cheese bag that came with my yogurt maker and squeezed through all the almond milk. I ended up with a nice jug of milk.

I love this recylced glass jug, it came with egg nog in it this past winter. The almond milk filled the jug perfectly.

I saved the nut pulp for a future recipe.

Then I followed pepper paints suggestion for Museli. I found some Organic Oats (Raw fresh rolled) online. Oats were another raw thing that had me stumped. As far as I can figure steel cut oats are the least processed of the traditional oats you can find in a store but then I found these on line, “they are cold rolled in small batches using special equipment to retain nutrients and flavor.”

In a large glass container I dumped in my oats, organic dried cranberries (not sweetened,) organic raisins, chopped raw walnuts, raw sunflower seeds, scoop flax meal, smaller scoop of cinnamon and mixed it all together.

A scoop of that with some bananas and fresh blueberries with almond milk was so yummy. This is better if you let it sit with the almond milk so the oats soften up. I actually made a bowl for breakfast then decided I wasn’t very hungry so I put in the fridge until lunch and it was even better. I REALLY don’t like soggy cereal, but this doesn’t get soggy. I did have to add a little more almond milk since the oats had soaked it all up but it was really good and not soggy at all.

This is where my breakthrough came in to play. I still had the nut pulp in the fridge and I really didn’t know what I would use it for. I figured I could always use it in the date/nut balls if nothing else came up. But I kept seeing posts for a “cheesy” nacho dip to eat with veggies (or dehydrated crackers but i don’t have a dehydrator… yet) that had me intrigued.

The recipe I followed was from Kristen’s Raw blog.
(I put my alteration in parenthesis)

CHEEZY HEMP NACHO SAUCE

By Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com

Yield approximately 1 1/2 cups

1/3 cup water

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 red bell pepper, seeded, rough chopped (approximately 1 cup)

1 cup hemp seeds (I didn’t have hemp seeds so I used my nut pulp, yeah!)

2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (I only used 1Tbls, I wasn’t sure if I would like the taste)

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons tamari, wheat-free (I was out of Tamari so I used Bragg Liquid Aminos)

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. This can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.


It looks good, it tastes good and I made a successful substitution in the recipe. Yeah! It is pretty spicy, so if you don’t like spicy food adjust the seasoning. I’m thinking this would be yummy with some cut up avocados and sweet peppers!