Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Experimenting in Raw: Vegan Tacos and Gazpacho

We just spent a rainy/cloudy week in Seattle where we celebrated graduates, spent time with family, and went backpacking (photos below). We were intending to climb Mt. Baker, but the new snow created a high avalanche danger and the weather forecast was poor. Instead we headed to Leavenworth and hiked 10 miles up the Chiwakum Creek Trail. We awoke to blue skies and a chilly morning. After a quick realization that climbing any of the nearby peaks was not an option, we hiked out and headed to fake Bavaria for lunch.

We returned on Sunday to a heat wave in Aspen (not nearly as bad as Denver, but still hot).  Yesterday at 5 pm our downstairs was 82 degrees (it was probably 10 degrees warmer upstairs).  I made a swift decision to not turn on the stove.  Instead I tried a raw menu from Roost, one of my favorite food blogs, that has been enticing me for a few weeks.  I find the raw food movement to be inspiring and interesting.  While I love cooking too much to take it on as a diet, I think experimenting with raw recipes provides a way to explore creativity, especially with vegan cooking.  The dinner was delicious.  The best part was the walnut taco filling, which tasted real.  I of course found myself dreaming about how great it would be with toasted walnuts, but that is the mind of a cook.  Here are the recipes I used.  All are from Roost except the pico de gallo which is my own.   I will make the walnut filling again and use it in vegan (cooked) tacos.

Raw Walnut Tacos
  • 2 cups walnuts 
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili powder 
  • 2 ½ tablespoons coconut aminos (or Nama Shoyu) 
  • 1 head green cabbage 
  • Pico de gallo (recipe below) 
  • Mashed avocado (or prepared guacamole) 
  • Cashew sour cream (recipe below) 
  • 1 lime 
  • Handful of cilantro roughly chopped 
  1. Place walnuts, cumin, chili and coconut aminos in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles taco meat. 
  2. Peal off several cabbage leaves, and cut them in half depending on their size 
  3. Spoon walnut mixture, sour cream, avocado and pico de gallo onto leaf 
  4. Top with squeeze of lime juice and cilantro
Pico de Gallo
(makes 2 cups)
  • ½ jalapeno pepper 
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • Zest of 1 lime 
  • Juice of 1 lime 
  • 4 tomatoes 
  • ½ onion 
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves 
  1. Remove seeds and ribs from ½ of a medium jalapeno pepper and coarsely chop. 
  2. Combine jalapeno, garlic, lime juice and lime zest in food processor and process until finely chopped 
  3. Coarsely chop tomatoes and onion and add to mixture along with cilantro leaves 
  4. Pulse until tomatoes are approximately ¼ inch dice
Cashew Sour Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews 
  • ½ cup water 
  • ¼ cup lemon juice 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth
Spiced Melon Gazpacho
  • 2 ½ cups fresh cantaloupe 
  • ½ avocado 
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • Pinch of chili powder 
  • Cashew sour cream to garnish (recipe above)
  1. Combine all ingredients (except the cashew sour cream) in blender and blend until smooth
  2. Serve in small dishes garnished with cashew sour cream
And a few shots from Washington backpacking:

Greta the dog and me

Dad, me, Steve (Nor)

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