Wednesday, August 18, 2010

last Superstore cooking class of summer

I recently taught my last Superstore cooking class for the summer. For a last taste of summer, I wanted to demonstrate some late August inspired recipes (giving us one last chance for some summer inspired flavours and ingredients). I returned to two staple recipes for me, the Cucumber-Almondaise Appetizers, Lemon-Coconut Bars, and introduced a new recipe as well; Papaya Avocado Salad. This salad features the sweet taste of payaya flesh, as well as the bitter inflections of the seeds. Yes, payaya seeds are edible, but are most preferable if chopped or blended, as in this dressing. If you do not have any agave, you can substitute the sweet component of the dressing with some raw sugar (coconut/palm) or honey, if you are so inclined. 

Papaya Avocado Salad
Serves 6-8

1 head of romaine lettuce
1 ripe papaya (papayas are ripe when they have turned yellow)
1 large avocado, peeled and sliced
red onion slices

Papaya Seed Dressing
¼ cup agave syrup
½ tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. Salt
2 tbsp. papaya seeds
½ cup white wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar
½ cup salad oil/ olive oil
2 green onions, finely chopped

Wash and dry lettuce. Tear into bite-sized pieces and place in salad bowl. Halve and peel papaya. Scoop out seeds and save 2 tbsp. (30 ml) for the dressing. Combine dressing ingredients in a blender until seeds have the appearance of ground pepper. Store dressing in refrigerator. Just before serving, add papaya, avocado, and red onion slices to lettuce. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Dressing will keep for two days in the fridge.

Overall, the class had a great turnout, and everyone seemed to enjoy the recipes. A fantastic end of summer class with a wonderful, enthusiastic group of attendees.  For my next classes, I will be in the Mississauga area in the coming months, and am looking forward to teaching some fall-inspired recipes. I just love eating with the seasons, don't you?!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

another get together with the raw food girlies

A few weeks ago (has it been that long already?!), I had the pleasure of joining in on a raw food kitchie get together with Miss Nelly, Miss Camille, and Miss Lisa (and a certain Peanut Gallery-you know who you are!). While I wasn't able to spend the whole day with them (unfortunately-boo!), I was fortunate to join them for a delightful meal in the evening. These girls spent the whole day perusing, purchasing, and preparing a sumptuous dinner, as well as multiple raw desserts, and they invited me to join them - what an invitation!

Some of the highlights of the meal were a delicious Kale Salad with Pakistani Mango dressing (check out Lisa's blog post for the recipe), Baked Sweet Potatoes tossed with capers, parsley, et al, a savory mushroom sautee and the multiple, and I mean multiple raw dessert creations. These girls mean business when it comes to raw food desserts! I could hardly believe my eyes when I walked into the kitchen; I was a veritable raw vegan girl in a candy store: an Excalibur dehydrator, a Vitamix, Irish Moss silently soaking away, I had to do a double take with it all :) So fun:

I have never left a dinner party with so many wonderful goodies. Nelly bestowed upon me the most wonderful sampling of Heathy's Coconut-Vanilla grawnola (which I ate most of the next morning - so yum), plus some Irish Moss (which I have never used before).

Mark with his trophy (Hi Mark!!)

As if that wasn't enough, I also took home slices of the girl's Blueberry Lavender Cheezecake, White Chocolate Raspberry Cheezecake, and a sampling of the Mango Pudding, Peach Ginger Icebox Dessert, and an assortment of the infamous Toronto's Raw Trio's Apricot Macaroons. Needless to say, I gladly tucked into these goodies for brekkie over the following week. Here is the recipe for the girl's interpretation of Matthew Kenney's raw version of French Macaroons; Apricot Macaroons, excerpted from Lisa's blog:

Toronto's Raw Trio's Apricot Macaroons (to make 12)

1 cup cashew flour
1 cup cashew flour
1 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup lucuma powder
2 TB apricot puree (about 3 apricots and a TB of water blended)
1 TB carrot juice (optional)*
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
pinch of salt

1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup of pitted apricots
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
pinch of salt


In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients then stir in the liquid. You want a light dough consistency that holds together enough to form into balls. Use a small ice cream scoop or 2 TB measure to portion out each cookie onto a Teflex-lined dehydrator tray. Create small circular mounds flattened slightly with your palm. Dehydrate the macaroons at 110 degrees for 4-6 hours. The outside should be crispy but the inside should remain chewy.
*We added this in an attempt to brighten the orange colour. It wasn't very affective.


Blend all the ingredients together in a high-powered blender until smooth.

Allow the cookies to cool before trying to add the filling. A piping bag will really help to portion out the filling on each cookie. We used a plastic bag with one corner cut off. Top half of the cookies with the filling and then gently press the other half on top to create the perfect French macaroon.

 assembling the macaroons: I love this photo!

the cream filling

the finished macaroons 

Nelly was also whipping up some Caramel Bars, but they were so labour intensive that they required many more hours in the Dehydrator. If they tasted anything like her Caramello Moonie Pies, they must have been AMAZING! Do check out the girl's wonderful bloggie posts about the evening; much more detailed than I. It was so nice to see photos from the day's earlier adventures at the market-great produce finds.

I feel so blessed to have met these wonderful, fun, kind girlies, and I can't wait to see them again soon. Next time, dessert is definitely on me! :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

a trip to tobermory part 3

Here are some final glances at my time in Tobermory. These pictures are from a wonderful hike we took in the Bruce National Park, home of the infamous grotto! There is just so much to see and explore in this natural wondrous park; at one point, we even ventured under some overhanging cliffs which were formed from thousands of years of erosion. Amazing land formations, and I love the Marr Lake (in keeping with my namesake, of course):

the grotto

the beauty of the Georgian Bay

me, atop the overhanging cliffs

For raw vegan friendly food options in Tobermory, I suggest checking out A Mermaid's Secret (which, for some reason, I kept calling The Blue Mermaid!?). A vibrant restaurant-cafe just on the side of the downtown, this restaurant features some delicious salads and smoothies as well as live music. My fave was the Big Salad, which actually lived up to it's name (note: nothing gets my goat more than an item listed as a 'Big Salad' on a menu, and the serving size is far too small!). This salad featured dried cranberries, sprouts, greens, yellow bell pepper, carrots, almonds, sunflower seeds, and I opted for the Teriyaki dressing - so yummy:

One morning, I tried their AMAZING Chocolate Yerba Mate tea - if anyone has suggestions as to where to purchase Choccie Yerba Mate, please let me know. I really enjoyed the unique pottery and teapots at the cafe:

A snippet of A Mermaid's Secret interior: quite eclectic!

And there you have it, a little window into some time well spent in Tobermory; a little get away from the everyday!

Monday, August 2, 2010

a trip to tobermory part 2

Although Tobermory is a small town with a permanent, local population of 3,436, it is rife with places to stay, eat, and little shops to peruse. If you are traveling to Tobermory, I highly recommend The Big Tub Resort, located on the Big Tub Harbour; an approximately two minute drive from the heart of  'downtown.' Here, you will find wonderful rooms, service, and a complimentary continental breakfast. This photo was taken one morning just down the road from the hotel, at the Big Tub Lighthouse located on the edge of the Big Tub Harbour and the Georgian Bay:

As I've mentioned before, Tobermory is also known as one of the ends of the Bruce Trail; there is even a Visitor's Centre in town that explains some of the details about the trail more in-depth. This 'conceptual' exhibit allows visitors to stand on two rocks, one taken from each end of the trail (Queenston, Niagara and Tobermory):

standing on both ends of the Bruce Trail at the same time - whoa!

Another beautiful attraction we visited was Singing Sands Beach. Named for the sound of the sand washing up on shore, Singing Sands water is quite shallow, so much so that you can walk out approx. 200 metres (the length of two football fields) in the shallow, shallow waters atop a sandy-smooth bottom. We caught some sunshine rays here, and I even conquered my pseudo-fear of open waters by swimming here. It was alot of fun, although I had to get used to some minnows swimming around my ankles (eek!) :):

An additional way (not on foot) to see more of the Bruce Penninsula is by taking one of the many boat tours offered in the area. We opted to take a Sunset Cruise, which departs at 7:30pm (on clear nights) from the Little Tub Harbour (right next to the Beaver Tails dessert 'cafe') and tours the coast of the Georgian Bay; you can take in the sights of the Bruce National Park, the infamous Grotto (a swimming hotspot), underneath a twilight sky:

some of the cliffs from the Bruce National Park

It was amazing to be in between the sun setting and the moon rising at the same time on the Georgian Bay; you will find some of the most luminous sunsets up in Tobermory (due to a lack of bright city lights and wide open skyscape):

the sun vs. the moon

All in all, this was a wonderful way to finish our first full day in Tobermory. Next up, is hiking through the Bruce National Park.

Stay tuned :)