Friday, January 28, 2011

Raw Brussels Sprouts & Enoki

This tasty little raw vegan entree of shredded brussels sprouts features little enoki mushrooms, lemon juice, nama shoyu, olive oil, black pepper, garlic, marinated in dehydrator at 105 for a couple hours to make the sprouts & mushrooms nice & soft.

  • 1 stalk of brussels sprouts - trimmed & shredded by knife for 1.5-2 cups volume
  • 1 package enoki or similar little mushrooms, ends trimmed
  • 2 Tb fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 Tb nama shoyu
  • 1 Tb sesame or olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Carefully cut up the brussels sprouts with a very sharp knife to the smallest shreds you can make without taking off a fingertip or fingernail.  
  2. Trim the little mushrooms - use as much of the package of mushrooms, to taste (and depending on the amount of veg!)
  3. Whisk together the lemon, nama, oil & garlic - taste & adjust.  If you prefer a sweet/sour, add a little dash of rice vinegar and agave.
  4. Toss the dressing with the veggies and put into a small gratin dish or other non-plastic low edge dish, warm in dehydrator at 105 for 2-3 hours til wilted.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I need a sous chef!

With work & other obligations, it's taken me a lot longer to put together this list of culinary delights than I expected:


  • zest & juice 9# of Bearess limes - freeze most of the juice & dehydrate the zest
This took the better part of 90 minutes just to zest & juice the limes - a lot of them were tiny!  I ended up with 6 cups of juice and nearly 2 cups dried zest.  Plus an hour for clean up (lime pulp got everywhere!)

  • kale & spigariello chips (dehydrator)
  • shredded brussels sprouts salad - little enoki mushrooms, lemon, nama shoyu, olive oil, black pepper, garlic, marinated in dehydrator at 105 for a couple hours
  • savoy cabbage slaw w/lime, ginger, olive oil, nama shoyu, red onion, cilantro, garlic, mango & topped with sprouted pumpkin & sunflower seeds
  • grated turnip & carrot salad dressed with agave/nama shoyu/lemon/white wine vinegar, liberal amounts of finely minced parsley & cilantro, red onion & garlic
  • fennel & grapefruit salad with jalapeno & cilantro
  • sprouted sunflower seed, cilantro & chile pate
  • sprouted pumpkin seed, sundried tomato & chipotle pepper pate
  • soaked cashew red pepper pate
  • buckwheat, sprouted almond & carrot pulp crackers
  • romesco sauce w/sprouted hazelnuts, cherry tomatoes & red bell pepper
This all took the better part of 5 hours, plus an hour for clean-up and a half hour to put together two plates with collard leaves stuffed with pate & brussels sprouts salad, and pate, romesco, sunflower sprouts & cucumber, and a quarter cup of three of the salads.  I'm very happy to have this all wrapped up - I'm going out of town this weekend for a mushroom foray/taxonomy trip in Mendocino and will have all my own foods ready to pack up and bring along!

The spigariello greens turned out great as chips - and I'm really more and more happy with my new Cuisinart - it can be a bit tricky to get the nesting bowls to lock properly, and I have noticed some food bits do get up into the part of the locking lid where I can't easily clean (long bristles from a bottle cleaning brush and running water seemed to do the trick, except for one tiny carrot bit).  Also - don't expect that you'll be able to use the slicing or grating disc and can get away without washing all the bowls as bits travel down the stem and get into the other bowls.

  • shelling Louisana pecans that I brought home in November to store in fridge
  • key lime pie (lime, young coconut meat & water, avocado) with pecan/mac crust
This is my "to-do" - after doing 4 hours of work, a couple loads of laundry, vacuuming, sweeping & mopping the floor.  I'm trying to think about how to make small "to go" sizes of the key lime pie so I can bring some with me on my weekend trip.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Raw Vegan Challenge - On the Menu This Week

Thursday's "mystery box" from Mariquita was full of wintery goodness.  A stalk of brussels sprouts, two gorgeous turnips, a bag full of multi colored carrots, spigariello greens, chard, three gorgeous red onions, a giant squash, savoy cabbage (bringing me up to 3 heads of savoy in the fridge!), cilantro, fennel and collards.  Ialso got 9# of  Bearess limes.

Yesterday, I decanted the current batch of kim chee to make room for a batch of savoy cabbage sauerkraut.  The newest batch of kim chee is fuschia in color from the red cabbage, purple carrots, daikon, ginger, hijiki, green onion and habanero peppers.  I ended up with 1.25 gal of kimchee, and it is delicious.  I expect it will get hotter and more gingery the longer it sits in the fridge like the first batch has done.

An awful lot of greens all at once!  I still have a bunch of kale in the fridge, so decided to make up a new batch of kale chips with both the kale and the spigariello greens.

On the list of "to do" items for this afternoon and tomorrow morning, making up my menu for the week:

  • zest & juice 9# of Bearess limes - freeze most of the juice & dehydrate the zest
  • kale & spigariello chips (dehydrator)
  • shredded brussels sprouts salad - little enoki mushrooms, lemon, nama shoyu, olive oil, black pepper, garlic, marinated in dehydrator at 105 for a couple hours
  • savoy cabbage salad w/lime, ginger, sesame oil, nama shoyu, red onion, cilantro, garlic, mango & topped with sprouted pumpkin & sunflower seeds
  • grated turnip & carrot salad dressed with agave/nama shoyu/lemon/white wine vinegar, liberal amounts of finely minced parsley & cilantro, red onion & garlic
  • sprouted pumpkin seed & sundried tomato pate
  • fennel & grapefruit salad with jalapeno & cilantro
  • soaked cashew red pepper pate
  • buckwheat & carrot pulp crackers
  • romesco sauce w/sprouted hazelnuts, cherry tomatoes & red bell pepper
  • shelling Louisana pecans that I brought home in November to store in fridge
  • key lime pie (lime, young coconut meat & water, avocado) with pecan/mac crust
I'll be using the collards to roll up pates with sprouts, shredded carrot, cucumber & zucchini sticks, kim chee and other good combos.  The best thing about all the salads is that they last quite well in the fridge and the longer they  marinate, the tastier they become.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Raw Vegan Challenge 2011, update

It's now been over 2 weeks - I've lost almost 10 pounds.  I confess - the first week of January, I didn't do very much to push myself to get into the gym.  I did, however, get my refrigerator cleaned out and put together my workout regiment tracking sheet (this is not new - I've used some version of this for the last 10 years).

EXERCISE: My workout regimen - granted - it's getting off to a slow start and I'm lazy, is something like this:
  • Visit the gym (3-5x/week)
    • Ride my bike to the gym & back (4+ miles total)
    • 80 minutes on the recumbent bike - it's good for hamstrings & I can read my book!  I usually work out around 160-170 bpm for an hour, then step down from 150 to 100 in a 20 minute cooldown
    • Strength training
  • Crunches/push ups (2-4x/week)
  • Yoga (1-2x/week)
  • Hiking (1-2x/week) 
Yoga at home is different from going to a teacher-led class, that's for sure.  Cats interfere, space is limited and there are more distractions.  In December, I went to about 20 classes at Square One Yoga - and I love the space and some of the teachers were really great.  However, it reminded me that I really don't like Hatha yoga - it's too "busy" and fast.

I like iyengar for the precision, the slow stretching and the long held asanas that are more body weight training than yogaerobics I get in Hatha, Vinyasa or Ashtanga.  Also - as a swimmer, I value my shoulders and just a few weeks of Hatha had my shoulders crying "foul!" from too many repeated vinyasas.  I am going to go back to yoga with Stack Buss - she's a certified iyengar instructor and and very patient.

DIET: Breaking one of the cardinal rules of good dieting and nutrition, I have not been keeping a food journal.  My basic diet is that the bulk of my meals should be high nutrient, low glycemic index vegetables, with some fruit.  Over the past couple of weeks, my diet has looked like this:
  • Breakfast:  decaf organic coffee (french press) with sucanat & So Delicious coconut milk creamer, carrot juice or green juice if feel like it, maybe 1-2 apples or a couple of carrots.
  • Green smoothie: my favorite is 3-4 leaves of kale, 1 small zucchini, 2 cubes of frozen persimmon puree or 2-4 frozen strawberries, brown rice protein powder and psyllium husk powder
  • Snacks have included:
    • "I Am Spirit" sprouted teriyaki almonds (from I Am Grateful)
    • Kale chips
    • "I Am Relishing" Buckwheat crackers & sprouted almond hummus (from I Am Grateful)
    • Flaxseed & carrot pulp crackers
  • Dinner varies, and I have skipped a few dinners after having a great big green smoothie late in the afternoon.  Dinner has looked like this:
    • Kale & fennel salad
    • Romaine salad with red pepper, avocado, carrots & dressed with lemon juice, salt, black pepper and olive oil
    • Green papaya salad
    • Raw cabbage salad/coleslaw
    • Raw enchiladas from I Am Grateful - the spinach tortillas came out a little thin, but delicious, and the two fillings I made were Red bell pepper & Cashew, Pumpkin Seed & Green Chiles with raw cashew sour cream (also from  I Am Grateful) and a nice spicy sauce leftover from kale chips
    • Cauliflower couscous - holy cow!  who'd have thunk?
    • Kim chee - I'm very fortunate that a friend passed on a 7.5 Harsch Gairtopf Fermenting Crock to me last summer for kombucha.  The kombucha mother lives on in the compost pile in the backyard and my first batch with green cabbage came out great! A couple of friends came over for a motorcycle mechanics tutorial and they helped me test it extensively!  For recipes check out  I Am Grateful and  Wild Fermentation - there are also plenty of resources on the web.
    • "I Am Authentic" Koi Teow soup, from I Am Grateful, a super delicious and easy miso based soup - equal parts miso, agave & lime juice mixed with hot water, add 1 cup of spiralized, shredded or julienned veggies, a bit of garlic & hot chile oil.
  • Herbal tea (unsweetened)
 My goal is to keep my caloric intake around 1000-1200/day, which - combined with my activity - should effect the weight loss by end of April.  Never fear - I eat appropriately for my activity level and weight loss goal.  My salads are quite big - a whole bunch of romaine with half a red bell pepper, a whole avocado, a carrot & 1/4 c sprouted seeds (sometimes).

SIDE EFFECTS:  Other than weight loss, there are definitely some side effects to switching to a raw diet.  Detoxing will happen when you cut out wheat anyway - but I was quite unprepared for some of the effects.  After the first week or so, I started noticing a few things.

First, a few sips of port tasted like cough syrup.  I tried having a glass of wine last week and again on Saturday and it just tasted sour - and not in a good way.  Late last week, I noticed that my eyes felt goopy - I was waking up with lots of crusty bits in the corners of my eyes, and for about two days - my eyes felt blurry and bleary, and I noticed a decrease in distance vision.  I had a few headaches, too, so I thought I was coming down with a cold or allergy attack but the symptoms passed after Saturday.  I also noticed that my skin has gotten a lot drier - and yes, I am eating avocados in salads & smoothies, in addition to nuts. 

Finally, I noticed that - well - I don't feel as "hungry" as I did before I started this regimen.  I don't have the desire to snack.  I feel pretty well satiated - after chewing through 3 bowls of kim chee, you get to mandibular workout  and enough nutrition.  I haven't had any unusual cravings (though tempted by the knowledge that Cha-Ya's expanded location is open to go get agedashi tofu!).

    Monday, January 03, 2011

    Raw Vegan Challenge 2011

    For the time being, there's a bit of a change of direction over here in the Live Green, Wear Black kitchen.  I decided to start off 2011 by going 100% raw vegan.  I was planning to do it for 1 month, but now I am thinking that I am going to extend it through April - a full 16 weeks.  Partly, I want to lose weight - the other goal is to experience the benefits of eating a live foods diet.

    Let's rewind to two years ago.  January 2009 saw me dealing with the sudden onset of a really bad kink in my neck - I fell asleep in a weird position and didn't move.  For two months, the pain was so excruciating, that I gave up swimming.  I quit taking the train and went to work and back via bus because the pain was so bad that I was having Anna Karenina fantasies.  I discovered restorative Iyengar yoga and ART chiropractic - and things began to improve.  I also started riding a motorcycle (hey, fun is always a good distraction) - and my bicycle started collecting dust.

    By June 2009, my neck pain was improved by going to yoga classes 2-4 times/week, and I was going to the gym 4-5x/week at lunch.  I was around 155 lbs.  My breakfast consisted of a smoothie (water, fruit, brown rice protein powder), and my lunch consisted of a big salad with lots of romaine, different raw veggies, ground flaxseed and some raw nuts, dressed with lemon & salt (usually around 500 calories with the nuts).

    That summer, I experienced a lot of very stressful life changes - not the least of which being that I left my job, had a couple short term temp jobs and then transitioned to working from home at the end of the year.  I also stopped going to the iyengar studio due to differences with the owner.  The biggest change was basically cutting out the 2-4 miles/day that I walked between home/work and public transit, walking around in an office (I often took stairs if it was fewer than 2-3 floors), trading the bicycle for the motorcycle, and not having the routine of wanting to escape the office to the gym at lunch time.

    In a year, I went from a 32C size 8 to a 36D size 10 - at 5'10" - most people insist I look "great" - but if I cared what other people thought about how I look, I'd probably wear make up, maintain a hair style and put more effort into my wardrobe.  I got back into the pool last spring - and the neck problem flared up again, so I would swim and back off periodically.  I went back to the gym and I spent a lot of time hiking (both mushrooming and regular hikes).  I was in pretty good shape by the time I went to Kauai for my solo backpacking trip in April 2010, but not thrilled with the size of my backside.  Actually, I was doing pretty well until I injured my knee in July 2010 and was basically on my butt for 3 months.  Bye bye, summer!

    After 3 months of physical therapy, I found motivation to get back into the pool and the gym.  To be honest - I love fried food and desserts.  Hanging out with people who ride motorcycles often means lots of beer - and long motorcycle rides in Northern California don't burn calories like bicycle rides.  Often the destinations don't have a lot of healthy options for vegan dining (Barstow, for example).  As a vegan, I have to make sure I bring my own food or I end up eating french fries & beer for lunch, or some wilty horrible looking salad.

    To be brutally honest - this is the most I have ever weighed in my entire life.  And yet, I'm only about 10# over the weight of the average woman in the US, and 5 inches taller.  Blame it on vanity, blame it on being cheap (seriously - who wants to go buy all new clothes? I hate shopping!) - I'm determined to get back on track.

    A raw vegan diet is something that has always interested me.  I adore the food at Cafe Gratitude - but as many friends are quick to point out: there are lots of nuts in their dishes.  Nuts, it would seem are a great way to gain weight if you over-rely on them.  They are just as much a convenience food as bread & pasta.

    I spent about 3 months doing a lot of reading up on various raw vegan diets, including "high fat," "low fat," the 80-10-10 (calories should come from 80% carbs, 10% protein, 10% fat), green smoothies vs juicing, fruitarianism and more.  Some basic findings include:
    • Reduce frequency & don't graze.  People do not need to eat 5-6 meals a day.  This does not copy patterns found in nature and results in obsession with your diet & feeding yourself.  Eat 2-3 times a day, fast every so often (ie, skipping a meal if you aren't hungry).
    • Know when you are hungry.  Most people don't really know when they are hungry - they eat because they are bored (ie, entertainment) or they eat because they are thirsty.
    • Protein is synthesized by our own bodies using the amino acids in the food we eat.  Eat lots of different leafy greens and other colored veggies -- you'll be fine.  No need to obsess.
    • Raw, sprouted nuts are not as fattening for you as unsprouted or roasted/toasted because they contain the enzymes our bodies require to properly digest the fat in the nuts.
    • You can't eat too much kale.  I am not kidding.  It is just about the most perfect vegetable.
    • Raw fermented foods are essential to the raw diet.  They provide bacterial cultures that promote digestion and taste yummy.
    • Smoothie or juice - concentrated greens every day are also critical.
    • Water - early and often.
    Of course, standard diet advice applies: don't be too hard on yourself, if you fall off the wagon, get back on.  Also, if there is one thing that is outside the diet that can be reasonably included - indulge.  A diet is not about punishment.  My exception is decaf coffee with coconut creamer & sucanat in the morning.

    My library of raw cookbooks includes:  I Am Grateful: Recipes and Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude, Sweet Gratitude: A New World of Raw Desserts, The Complete Book of Raw Food, Entertaining in the Raw.

    The web is incredibly helpful and I have found tons of great resources for information about nutrition & recipes.

    My goal is to to lose at least 30# and get back to 32C (bras are so expensive and I like the collection I have in that size!).  I already eat a lot of raw food - I love salads of all sorts, I use my dehydrator to make flaxseed crackers and kale chips (among other things).  The main changes for me in this diet are the elimination of wheat (including beer), fried food, refined sugar and other convenient snacky type items.  Actually - you can see it's not nearly as "radical" as it might sound at first.