Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cold Days - Warm Food

Waking up to freezing temperatures always gets me into the Thanksgiving spirit, and tempts my palate towards warmer foods. If you're like me, dinner time can often be a challenge when your diet consists of raw foods, especially when the climate gets colder. Today I'm sharing some food preparation tips and a few autumn themed recipes that I particularly enjoy. Hopefully you'll give one or two of them a try the next time you're scratching your head trying to think of what to make for dinner.

Much like roasting, "reducing" vegetables in your dehydrator (or oven on it's lowest temperature setting), really brings out the richness and complexity of flavors without destroying valuable enzymes, minerals and vitamins. Slice vegetable and toss them in a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper and within a few hours, you'll have a deliciously satisfying side dish or entree. Any of the following recipes could be additionally nutritious and filling if you serve alongside raw spouted or lightly steamed quinoa, millet or buckwheat.

Marinated Vegetables
Be sure when shopping to buy a colorful assortment of vegetables!

6 cups assorted, trimmed and cubed vegetables (such as....carrots, baby brussel sprouts, cauliflower, pearl onions, squash, bell peppers, broccoli, etc.)
1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar (optional)
4 small bay leaves
2 tsp Celtic sea salt
2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp fresh oregano
1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper

Mix together the marinade and thoroughly coat the vegetables, adding the bay leaves. Place in a dehydrator set to 135 degrees for the first hour, then turn down to 110 degrees for the remaining time, continuing to reduce and soften to your personal taste, approximately 2 more hours.

Fresh Green Beans with Garlic Vinaigrette

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans, sliced into about 1/4 - 1/8 inch pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
sea salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup raw, sprouted and dehydrated almonds, chopped

To prepare the vinaigrette, combine ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to blend well. Set aside.
To prepare beans, chop and toss the beans in a bowl with the olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread this mixture onto a dehydrator mesh sheet. Place in a dehydrator set at 135 degrees for the first hour, then turn down to 110 degrees for the remainder of the warming time, which is about 2 - 3 more hours. Once the beans reach your desired softness, dress the beans with the vinaigrette and toss in the crumbled almonds. Serve & enjoy.

Warm Spinach & Radicchio with Mushroom Vinaigrette

6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 1/2cups torn radicchio leaves (optional)
2 Tbsp scallions, sliced 1/2 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh sage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Nama Shoyu or celtic sea salt

3 1/2 Tbsp. Sherry wine vinegar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Agave nectar
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly cracked pepper

Combine green onion, mushroom, 1/2 tsp. olive oil, sage and nama shoyu. Spread out on a mesh dehydrator screen. Warm for about an hour at 125 degrees. Make vinaigrette, set aside. Remove the mushroom mixture and add the spinach, radicchio and other 1/2 tsp of olive oil, combining well. Return to the dehydrator for another 30 minutes - 1 hour to slightly wilt the greens at 115 degrees. Also place the bowl of vinaigrette into the dehydrator, as well. Toss the spinach, mushroom mixture with the warmed vinaigrette for a satisfying and hearty fall dish.
Honey-Curried Kale with Caramelized Onions

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. raw honey
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 bunch kale, tough stems removed, leaves chopped (should be 6 cups)
2 Tbsp. Nama Shoyu

Toss onions in a tsp. of olive oil until fully coated. Dehydrator 1 - 3 hours. Stir together remainder of olive oil, curry powder, honey, lemon juice, nama shoyu and kale. Add in the carmelized onions and return to the dehydrator for another 30 minutes.

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