raw asian 'noodle' salad with peas, mushrooms and arugula

Raw Asian ‘Noodle’ Salad with Peas, Mushrooms & Arugula

I made this for lunch yesterday and.... yee-ow!... it was yum. Super fresh and super light.

Asian ‘Noodle’ Salad with Peas, Mushrooms & Arugula


1 T tamari
1 c fresh mushrooms, sliced1 1/2 T water
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t fresh lime juice
1 t vinegar (balsamic or apple cider)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t fresh grated ginger
1/8 t chili flakes

1 small-medium zucchini, cut into noodles on a spiral slicer
¾ c fresh arugula, roughly chopped
½ c frozen green peas, defrosted at room temperature for 2 hours
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T black sesame seeds

In medium sized bowl combine all marinade ingredients. Add sliced and allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours. In a larger bowl add zucchini, arugula, green peas, olive oil, mushrooms and their marinade and toss all to combine. Serve on a large bowl or dinner plate. Garnish with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.


raw challenge - day 25 - d.i.y. sprouting + kitchen gadgets

Making your own sproutsMaking your own sprouts

Before and after: broccoli, red clover, radish and salad sprouts.

As week 4 of my '100 Day Raw Food Challenge' quickly approaches, my menu repertoire is finally beginning to solidify. I was clear from the onset that keeping proteins and carbs in my diet was going to be an absolute essential. While nuts, seeds and oils are certainly a cornerstone to such a diet, I was not willing to abandon my propensity for the complex carbs I have grown to know and love. But if I couldn't cook them, then how the heck was I going to eat them? It turns out that you can sprout things- a lot of things. It was news to me that sprouts are actually a living food, rich with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes. One of the most complete and nutritional of all existing foods, sprouts actually continue to grow and increase in vitamin content after been harvested, even as they sit in the fridge. So far, I have been enjoying great success with quinoa. Forty eight hours of sprouting on the windowsill (and rinsing twice daily) results in a delightful, crun-chewy flavour extravaganza that makes for a uniquely delicious salad booster. Chick peas take a full four days to sprout, though they are well worth the wait. When they are ready to use, sprouted chick peas can be tossed into a salad as is, or whirled up into an arugula hummus or a sun dried tomato dip. The next ingredients on my list of things to attempt sprouting are puy lentils and sunflower seeds. Click here to learn more about how to make your own sprouts.

The dried seeds to get you sprouting are readily available at most health food stores, as are 'sprouters' designed to house the process. After inspecting a few different options, I decided that the $20 being charged for such a kit was a waste of money, as one can easily be fashioned at home using a mason jar, some cheese cloth and an elastic band. That cash would be much better spent on more seeds or put towards other, more exciting kitchen gadgets..... Ah, the allure of the kitchen gadget. Most avid home cooks just can't get enough of these culinary toys. It seems a constant struggle to draw that defining line between what will actually be useful and that which simply looks like fun to play with. Making ruthless decisions early on will help to shut out future dust collectors destined to clutter up precious kitchen real estate.

I have to say, this raw business has made me a whirling dervish with many of my beloved gadgets….. the food processor, blender, dehydrator, juicer and now, my latest acquisition- a spiral vegetable slicer. At first glance, it appears less than impressive. Flimsy, cumbersome and fabricated from mostly 100% pure, genuine plastique- I was somewhat skeptical when first opening the box (instructions were also minimal, so I had to phone the store to figure out how to work the darn thing). But once up and running, what this baby does is pure magic. Beets, carrots, zucchini, daikon radishes and more are all transformed into spectacular lengths of pasta-like ribbons. Raw foodists often make 'pasta' by preparing zucchini this way and then topping it with a raw sauce, such as 'Marinara'. Any of these spiral veggies also serve as an extremely impressive addition to a salad, providing truly dynamic colour, shapes and textures to accompany greens, sprouts and so on. They also store well in the fridge for a few days, sealed in a tightly lidded container.

Spiral Vegetable Salad with Sprouted Quinoa

Spiral Vegetable Salad with Sprouted Quinoa

1 medium zuccini, turned on the small setting
1 medium beet, turned on the small setting
1 c sprouted quinoa
1 cup mixed greens, roughly torn
2 T parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 c raw pumpkin seeds
1 tomato, medium dice
salt + pepper
1/3 - 1/2 c 'Green Goddess Dressing'

Toss all ingredients and serve immediately. There will be extra dressing leftover. Keep in a lidded jar in the fridge. You will be glad to have extra on hand when whipping up a quick salad.

Green Goddess Dressing

1/4 c nutritional yeast
2 T Tamari sauce
3 T apple cider vinegar
3/4 grape seed or canola oil
3 T water
1/3 c roughly chopped parsley

To blender, add first ingredients. Whirl to combine. While blender is still on, slowly drizzle in the oil and then the water. Add the parsley last. Whirl to combine.


fresh mint and strawberry 'sangria'

fresh mint and strawberry 'sangria'

Oh yeah! Keep cool this summer with a tasty herbal brew.

Nothing fancy to this, really. It's just a nice way to keep hydrated in style when the mercury starts to rise. Simply take a whack of fresh mint, place it in a large juice container and top it up with about one and a half litres of boiling water. Stir in honey or sugar to achieve desired sweetness. Cool and refrigerate. When serving, fill a glass with ice. Top up with chilled mint tea. Add diced fruit, such as strawberries and, finally, garnish with a sprig of mint. Cheers.


day 18 - cro-magnon raw with beef carpaccio

Market Meats

The view under glass at ‘Market Meats’.

Before I begin.... a warning to all vegetarians. The following content is likely to disturb and disgust. But if you are a card carrying meat eater, then why not get comfortable?

So here I am on Day 18 of my '100 Day Raw Food Challenge'. I had realized a month before starting this diet that I would need to sort out my protein sources. Normally, I eat an occasional, small serving of meat. Though it is usually of the organic, med free variety, it is meat none the less. In researching my options, it turned out that Vegans make for 95% of Raw Foodists, while raw meat, fish and (unpasturized) dairy consuming Raw Foodists account for the other 5%. When I learned that the slang for this fringing 5% was 'Cro-Magnon Raw', I new I'd found my niche. This was a chance to get in touch with my inner cave woman- if I had the stomach to follow through, that is. Eating cooked meat is one thing, but the very idea of swallowing it down uncooked left me wavering with uncertainty.

According to primatologist and anthropologist Richard Wrangham, the mastery of fire to cook was a key evolutionary turning point for proto-humans. In an excerpt from his book "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human" Wrangham writes "Cooking meant they could get dense, empowering nourishment. Then came bigger brains, a different body and — voila! — homo sapiens. Complete with a social structure built around that fire." And keep in mind- this was almost two million years ago. I was going to have to ease into this raw meat thing gently.

If you are thinking of consuming any sort of raw animal products, the first and most important thing to do is to find a good source. By 'good' I mean a reputable, hygienic, informative and consistent supplier that you feel a trust and comfort with- no different than how one chooses their other suppliers and services. Whether it's the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker..... it is always best to patronize those that we feel a rapport with, those that become a reliable fixture in our daily lives and in our communities.

For me, Market Meats is just such a place. Located in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood, this outstanding butcher shop / 'protein boutique' has been offering a top notch selection of quality products and exceptional service for over 13 years. All meat and poultry is chemical free, free range and as local as possible (mostly from B.C. and Alberta). Some, but not all products are organic. Just ask, and they will be happy to answer any of your questions and also to offer excellent recommendations. When I popped in one day last week and presented them with my new dietary challenge, we collaborated on 'Beef Carpaccio'. They firmed up a 4 oz beef tenderloin for 15 minutes in the freezer and then sliced it thinly (on their slicer, while I waited). As he prepared my order, butcher extraordinaire Spencer even suggested a Dijon, caper and olive oil dressing, which I ended up making to finish this dish. You are going to pay more to buy such products, but just like Mamma said, you get what you pay for. The 4 oz cut I purchased set me back $14, but it would serve four people as an appetizer. At $3.50 a head, it's a bargain at twice the price. Buying well and consuming smaller servings is healthier and need not cost the earth.....

As for my Beef Carpaccio experiment, it certainly was not love at first sight. When I got home and opened the package, I realized immediately that it was going to take some thoughtful presentation to get me in the mood. After whisking up Spencer's recipe for 'Dijon Caper Sauce', I arranged the tenderloin slices on a dinner plate, all the while thinking of the petals of a rose. I even garnished the centre of the plate with a colourful mixture of greens from my garden and then finished the presentation with a sprinkling of freshly snipped chives. The first few bites did not win me over, but by slice number two, my trepidation had melted away and I found myself in a carnivorous Nirvana. I'm quite sure that my incisors grew longer (and sharper) and the hair on the back of my neck stood up just a little. It was primal and it was delicious.

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio with Dijon Caper Sauce

4 oz (200gr) fresh, raw beef tenderloin, thinly sliced
2 good servings of salad greens lightly tossed in extra virgin olive oil
right before serving
1 T chives, finely chopped


1 T Dijon Mustard
1 T capers, roughly chopped
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t balsamic vinegar
1/8 t salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 ½ T water

Whisk together the sauce ingredients. Assemble carpaccio by laying the meat slices onto a dinner plate, in a circle, in a single layer and leaving a hole in the centre (dividing the meat evenly between 2 dinner or 4 appetizer plates ). Drizzle the sauce around the meat slices. Pile one handful of greens in the centre of each plate. Sprinkle the chives on top of the greens and the meat. Serve with bread or…… when eating a raw diet….. flax crackers! Serves 2 as a meal, or 4 as an appetizer.


gourmet guerrilla grub

Todd of 12B

Artwork in the interior hallway of 12B.

I received a call from Misty Harris at Canwest earlier this week. She was interviewing people to gather information about their experiences in underground dining. Back in June of 08, I had a blast at Vancouver 'eatery' 12b.... Check out her story at canada.com

global peasant turns 2 years old today!


raw challenge - day 11- surviving with ‘rum balls’

raw diet fruit counter

My kitchen counter abundant with fresh ingredients.

Today marks not only my first blog posting at Metro News Canada, but also Day 11 of my ‘100 Day Raw Food Challenge’. When I first made my decision this past May, the prospect of a summer diet consisting of fresh, healthy uncooked food seemed appealing, exciting and downright daunting. Although I completed a professional culinary program last year, would I actually be able to apply some of what I’d learned about ‘cooking’ to creating raw dishes? Well, so far so good. I’ve clearly not starved yet. The food that I’ve been consuming during these last 10 days has been a pleasure to prepare and to eat. Well, for the most part, anyway. Monday’s effort at ‘Cream of Cauliflower Soup’ was just plain wrong. So was putting raw eggplant into veggie meatballs. Both experiments were bitter like aspirin. Lessons learned. Going into this challenge, I really had no idea if my new food options would be enough to sustain either my physical body or my demanding palette. Nor was I sure that it could fit into my current lifestyle. Granted, the first week was a flurry of kitchen activity and the learning curve enormous. I am no longer ‘cooking’ at all. Like learning anything new and wishing to excel at it, starting out demands a great deal of focus, determination and commitment. I am already starting to feel a rhythm with it all…..sprouting, soaking, marinating and dehydrating all require planning ahead and keeping an eye on both the clock and the calendar. Making hummus is no longer a ten minute operation. The garbanzo beans must be sprouted first, and this is a 4 day process. Flax seed crackers require a minimum of 4 hours in the dehydrator. Oatmeal for breakfast means soaking steel cut outs 8 hours before I rise and shine. Whirling up a litre of nut milk also means begin soaking the almonds 8 hours ahead of time.

And thank God for counter space! I am blessed with a sizable horizontal surface to really spread out on and to craft my concoctions. I suspect that, unless one is uber organized, trying to operate within the confines of a small apartment kitchen would quickly become cramped and cluttered. I am also so very fortunate to have a backyard space that has been transformed into a sizeable kitchen garden, just this past Spring. It was a heap of work to get up and growing, but now only requires a daily watering and the occasional tugging of pesky weeds. It’s time to enjoy the fruits and vegetables of my labour, to pick produce fresh and incorporate it into the raw meals that I am enjoying…. kale, spinach, assorted lettuces, arugula, radishes, Swiss chard and parsley so far. Still to come are beans, peas, zucchini, fennel, onions, leeks, tomatoes, eggplant, beets, and nasturtiums.

raw 'rum' balls

It took me a few tries to get this one right, but I think I finally perfected it. As far as I'm concerned, it would be completely uncivilized to participate in a raw food challenge without planning and preparing some strategically placed culinary treats. An after lunch sweet really hits the spot these days, even more so than when eating my regular diet. Having these 'Rum' Ball's' on hand really rounds out a meal, while also pleasing the palate. Though there is actually no rum in this recipe, I call them 'Rum Balls' anyway, as they do have a slight 'rummish' flavour to them, though I have absolutely no idea why.

’Rum’ Balls

3/4 c almonds, soaked for 8 hours, then rinsed and drained
3 medjool dates
1/4 c cacao powder
½ t vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 ½ T coconut oil, warmed so that it is liquid
¼ c ground coconut
1 t fresh orange zest- optional

Grind nuts in food pro. Add remaining ingredients except for the coconut and whirl until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Form mixture into 1” balls. Roll in ground coconut. Store in the fridge in a tightly sealed container.


raw challenge - day 9 - scrumptious cream of wheat

Raw Cream of Wheat

Raw Cream of Wheat with Date & Prune Puree.

Didn't think it was possible, did you? How could a bowl of raw wheat actually be 'scrumptious'? I must admit that, when I took my first shot at this dish, my hopes were not particularly high. That'll learn me. This recipe is creamy, so yummy, dead easy to make and you can really go to town as far as the toppings are concerned. Try it with fruit, nuts, seeds, ground flax, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and so on. I'm adorning my breakfast bowl these days with a date and prune puree, plus a good glug of homemade nut milk. If you like your porridge or cereal, I highly recommend giving this recipe a whirl.... whether you are eating a raw diet or not.

Raw Oatmeal

1/2 cup steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons raisins
3/4 cup water
pinch of salt

Soak oats and raisins in the water for eight to twelve hours in a 2 c measuring cup or yogurt container, left on the counter. In the morning, blend the soaked ingredients until creamy, using a hand held blender. Serve in a bowl and top with whatever your heart desires.

Date & Prune Puree

6 prunes, pitted
6 dates, pitted
1 ½ c H2O

Place dried fruit in a bowl, along with the water and allow to soak for 8 hours. Whirl up all ingredients in food pro, adding more water until desired ‘sauce-like’ consistency is achieved. Press sauce through a sieve. Store in the fridge in a sealed container.


first from my garden

I've been waiting for this moment since mid February.... the experience of eating food grown with my own two hands. Ironically, the seedlings started last winter were not the first to yield sustenance. It was the radishes and salad greens planted outdoors, straight from seed some 5 weeks ago, that grew most rapidly. So far, the harvest tastes as you would expect: fresh, crisp and gloriously flavourful.

my homegrown radishes


raw challenge - day 3 - kreamy avocado soup

Kreamy Avocado Soup by Ani Phyo

The first 3 days of my raw food challenge have proven to be both demanding and incredibly rewarding. I’ve certainly spent a great deal of time in the kitchen….. recipe testing, inventing, note taking, photographing and tasting. This avocado soup from Ani Phyo was part of tonight’s dinner. Tasty as it was, I found it quite rich. You may want to serve it as a starter, as opposed to a meal sized serving. I have altered a few of her quantities and ingredients to my liking.

Kreamy Avocado Soup

1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 T miso paste
Sea salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 t chipotle
2 T basil leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
1 3/4 cups water- plus more as needed
¼ c tomatoes, small dice (garnish)

Place all ingredients, except for the tomatoes, into the blender and whirl until creamy. While blender is running, pour water into the avocado mixture. Add more water, if needed. You are trying to achieve the same consistency as you would with a conventional cream soup. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Garnish with diced tomatoes and a sprig of basil. Serves 4 as a starter.