Thursday, July 5, 2012

Raw on the 4th of July

In years past, to celebrate July 4th we've barbecued burgers and hot dogs, and made giant bowls of potato salad  We drank beer, lemonade, sodas and sweet tea, and topped it all off with apple pie and ice cream.

This year the challenge was to enjoy a standard all-American Fourth of July feast, without any animal products, and without using a stove or barbecue. 

I asked my son how he would rate the meal compared to a standard July Fourth feast, and he said he would give it a 4 out of 5.  I asked him what would have made it a 5, and he said, "A bit more flavor in the burgers, crispier zucchini sticks, and less sweetness in the salad."

Hey, that's not too bad for a first attempt.  He's 11 years old but he can be a harsh critic.

Here are the recipes, with comments.

We started thinking about the buns a few days ahead of time.  We sprouted about a 1/2 cup of soft white wheat, and made some almond milk with one cup of soaked almonds, straining it through a nut bag and reserving the pulp in the freezer.  By the day before our feast, the grain had sprouted.  If you avoid gluten, you are probably aware of the many substitutions you can use instead of the wheat.

We used Russell James' recipe for raw vegan bread.  We had to change it up a bit due to a coconut allergy in the family, and also I forgot to add the lemon juice.  There are some variations in his recipe book, "Raw Nut Cheese."

This was started the day before the meal so it could dehydrate overnight:

Raw Garlic Burger Buns
makes about 3 - 4 buns

Almond pulp from 1 cup of almonds, (about 3/4 - 1 cup)
1/2 cup sprouted soft white wheat  (if you are avoiding gluten, replace with young coconut meat)
1/4 cup flax meal
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp garlic powder
1 date, minced
1/2 tsp salt

Some water, if needed.

Place the sprouts, minced dates and minced garlic in the food processor and process until very fine and well combined.  Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and process until  it begins to come together.  If it's too dry, add some water, but don't add enough that it becomes too sticky.

Divide into four balls.  Place on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate on low about 12 -14 hours.  Cut the buns in half vertically, and if they are too moist in the middle, dehydrate with cut side up for about two more hours.

Note:  The bread turned out delicious.  It's very worthwhile. 

This is not raw meat!  It's beets and carrots!

Carrot Beet Burgers
Makes nine generous burgers
Begin soaking the nuts the night before and then start the burgers mid-morning, so that it can dehydrate during the day.

Important:  there is a trick to this.  When you first chop and combine your ingredients you might not think it will come together.  Knead the mixture, massage it in your hands, and soon it will begin to take on a texture reminiscent of raw ground meat, without the meat.

This recipe came primarily from here with a few minor differences. 

The night before, soak 1 cup walnuts and 2 cups sunflower seeds.  To make it easier, they can be soaked together in the same water.  They will expand so cover with plenty of water.

1 cup walnuts, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
2 cups sunflower seeds, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed.
8 carrots
3 beets
4 cups of kale
2 stalks of celery
1 tsp Trader Joe's South African "Smoke" Seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder

(1/4 cup rolled oats, 1 tbsp organic almond butter)

Process the veggies until they are finely chopped.  Place in a large bowl.  Process your nuts in a food processor until they are very fine and start to get a bit creamy.   Add the nuts to the veggies with the spices. 

Mix the entire mixture with your hands, folding it over onto itself and pressing down much like kneading dough.

Note:  At this point, worried that it wouldn't come together, I added the rolled oats and almond butter.  As I kneaded this into the mixture, I was amazed at how the texture started to change.  Next time, I'm going to try kneading it a bit longer to see it it can be done without those two ingredients.

Form into patties exactly like hamburgers.  Place on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate for about 6 hours.

Also, next time we'll try it with fresh chopped onion, and something to add more depth to the flavor.  Maybe more of the South African smoke seasoning, and maybe something fermented for more punch, like nama shoyu or raw apple cider vinegar.  Or maybe we'll step outside the "clean food" world, cheat a tiny bit, and add just a drop of liquid smoke.

Raw Zucchini Fries

Susan Powers at Rawmazing came up with this wonderful recipe.

We made it pretty much according to the recipe except that we sliced the zucchini into larger sticks, maybe the size of large French fries.  We took about 6 zucchini, cut them up, drizzled them with olive oil, salted them, tossed them, and dehydrated them for about 24 hours.  They shrank up and became very chewy.  Next time we'll use less oil and take them out of the dehydrator sooner.  It was enough for four people.

Jicama Salad

This one was also inspired by Susan Powers at Rawmazing.

Soak the macadamias overnight.  The rest of the recipe can be made the day it will be eaten.    The leftovers are terrific on the second day.

8 generous servings

For the mayo dressing:

We made extra dressing, saving out 4 tbsp for the burgers.

1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts, soaked overnight
juice of one lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp agave nectar
3 tsp dried mustard powder
sea salt and pepper to taste

water and apple cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients in a high speed blender, adding additional liquid as needed until mixture reaches desired consistency and flavor. 

1 large jicama, cubed
1 small bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
1 chopped green pepper
a few thin slices of a large black radish, cut julienne-style
2 stalks celery
2 tbsp dried chopped parsley
paprika, turmeric and salt to taste

Toss veggie ingredients, stir in seasoning, then stir in the mayo dressing.  Serve cold.

Note:  Next time I want to try this with Daikon radish, some raw peas, maybe some red pepper, and a bit of nama shoyu.

We met the challenge!  We ate well, we didn't heat up the kitchen, and no one had stand outside in the heat over a barbecue grill!


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So what do you think? Have you tried raw vegan food?