Archive for April, 2010

April 12, 2010

Moon Pie adventures

Whenever I get the chance to visit New York City, one of my first stops is always Sarma Melngailis‘ famous raw restaurant Pure Food & Wine, and the attached One Lucky Duck juice bar and takeaway. While the food at the restaurant is totally mind blowing, and perfect for a big night out, the takeaway is smaller and really great for grabbing a juice and a snack more quickly — usually, in my case, while out and about shopping. And my absolute favourite snack is the Moon Pie – a raw, healthy take on the classic cookie-marshmallow-chocolate delight. Raw foodies everywhere rave about One Lucky Duck’s moon pies.

Moon Pie from One Lucky Duck

Moon Pie from One Lucky Duck

So you can imagine my interest was piqued when Heathy came up with her own recipe for the Moon Pie, and decided to hold a Moonie Pie making contest! Obviously, I had to enter. The rules are that contestants must make the moon pies, blog about them or email photos, and we have the option to vary up to two ingredients.

I thought it would be fun to add berries into the recipe somehow. (I was inspired by some brand of cookie I’ve seen that has a red berry jelly-like layer, with marshmallow and chocolate. For the life of my, I can’t remember the name of this cookie. Any ideas?) So I grabbed some raspberries, and started experimenting, and… well, let’s just say the experiment fizzled! I blended up the raspberries with some irish moss, in search of a firm, jelly-like texture, and it did not go as planned! Once I had partially assembled the treats, with the chocolate brownie layers, raspberry layer, and cream, I realized my concoction was not meant to be. So I ditched the raspberry gunk, and somehow managed to salvage the rest of the components. I redid the cream layer, this time adding in strawberries. Much tastier! For your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of the process and the finished result. I have to keep them in the freezer to thwart the temptation to devour them all at once!

April 10, 2010

Birthday dinner at Rawlicious

I turned one year older this week, but I didn’t get much of a chance to celebrate on the actual day of my birthday due to an unfortunate incident involving my bicycle, my left knee and the hard, hard pavement. Ouch! The injury is on the mend, but it kind of put a damper on birthday festivities (that, and the fact that it’s exam time). But I made up for it last night with a trip to one of Toronto’s best raw restaurants: Rawlicious.

I had only been to Rawlicious once before – on a visit to Toronto last year before actually moving here – but I loved the food. Their focus is on simple dishes, prepared with fresh, raw and organic ingredients. The restaurant is in an on-its-way-to-hip neighbourhood known as The Junction, and has a relaxed and slightly zen-like vibe, with beautiful hardwood floors, calming decor, and some great artwork. It also has some super-comfy cushion seating and lovely backyard patio seating for warmer weather.

We sipped on a big pot of Nourish Green Tea, and ordered the Nori Rolls to start. They were delish! Using alfalfa sprouts instead of rice, the nori sheets enclosed veggies, avocado and marinated mushrooms.

I tried the Pasta Bolognese for my main course, and loved it. With zucchini noodles, a marinara sauce, pesto and crumbled walnut meat, it incorporated very authentic Italian flavours and really hit the spot. The Pad Thai was also super — kelp noodles with a creamy sauce, romaine lettuce, and veggies.

Neither of us ran out of room after the mains, so dessert was next. I indulged in a piece of Pecan Pie, which I loved. There was a nutty crust, and then the pie layer, topped with whole pecans. I think dates and pecans were the main ingredients in the pie layer, so it’s totally an easy-to-make-at-home kind of sweet. On the other side of the table, a chocolate brownie was enjoyed, topped with a layer of coconut cream. If I had to guess, I’d probably say it was simply agave and coconut butter. My lovely dinner date found the coconut icing a little thick, but I loved it.

It was a great belated birthday meal! I can’t wait to get back to Rawlicious once the weather heats up and patio season begins – the backyard patio truly is magical.

In other news, I’ve been working on some delicious moon pies for Heather’s Moon Pie Challenge, and I’ll be blogging about this in the coming days, complete with mouthwatering photos, I hope. Until then, have a great weekend!

April 4, 2010

“Barbequed” veggies

Torontonians have lucked out in a major way this week — the first few days of April have been unseasonably warm, sunny and simply gorgeous! With temperatures in the 20 degrees + range, it’s been hard to sequester myself indoors to study for exams (the only downside of spring). Thoughts inevitably turn to strolling in the sunshine, drinks on patios and picnics in the park.

Speaking of eating outdoors, the summer-like weather also reminds me of barbequeing. I enjoy grilled veggies and potatoes on occasion, but this week I tried a raw recipe from Sarma Melngailis’ Living Raw Food. (Yes, I know I talk about her books a lot. I love them!) The recipe was for skewered veggies, dowsed in raw barbeque sauce and dehydrated for a few hours to impart a cooked-like texture and flavour. I chose to use different veggies than the ones called for in the recipe, and I didn’t make the coleslaw side part of the dish, but it was delicious nonetheless.

The barbeque sauce itself was incredible. You know the indispensable smoky flavour created by barbecuing food? The sauce recreated this element by using an amazing ingredient – lapsang souchong tea, which is essentially smoky-tasting black tea. I had been keeping my eyes open for lapsang souchong for awhile, and finally found some at one of my favourite health food stores. Blended up with sundried tomatoes, olive oil, and a little touch of sweetness and sour, the barbeque sauce came out eerily like the real thing.

I scored some baby pattypan squash at Whole Foods (aren’t they adorable?), and chopped them up with some zucchini, carrot, red pepper, and asparagus. Mix in some sauce, dehydrate for a few hours, and voila! My new favourite way to eat veggies, and a delicious raw take on a summertime classic.  If you can’t find lapsang souchong tea, a few drops of liquid smoke would also do the trick.

In other news, I welcomed some new plants into my home this week: a pink orchid, pink and yellow begonia, and a tiny mint plant! The flowers are pretty, but I’m really excited about the mint. Mint grows like crazy, and as soon as I know it will stay warm enough outside, it’s going on my rooftop patio to get big and help feed my After Eight smoothie addiction for the summer. I’m really excited about gardening this summer. I have a community garden plot, and I’m going to grow as many kinds of vegetables as I can on my patio. Any suggestions for patio-friendly plants? Does anyone else garden, and what do you grow?