Sunday, April 11, 2010

A yummy chocolate dessert!

This one even passed the Gordon Taste Test!

What I love about raw food preparation is the way it magically transforms foods from the way we might normally encounter them, into something so different and yet, so yummy.

Credit for this recipe goes to Jennifer Cornbleet in her book: Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 people.

I was in the mood for something sweet today and wanted to explore. So I made a chocolate mousse with an almond torte crust.

I started by soaking 1/4 cup pitted dates in water (to be used for the mousse) -- they need to soak for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Then I began the Almond Crust.

In my coffee grinder I ground a little more than 1 cup of almonds.
I tossed them in the food processor with about 1/3 cup of pitted unsoaked medjool dates
and a toss of salt.

Gave 'em a whirl and pressed this crumb mix into two individual torte plates (with enough crumb mix left over to top off Gordon's yogurt tomorrow morning). Above you will see the crust pressed into the tart plates.

Then I emptied the water, leaving my dates a little moist and tossed them into the cleaned food processor bowl with 1/4 cup of maple syrup (or agave) to begin the Chocolate Mousse.

I gave it a whirl until smooth, and I added the following:
1 1/2 mashed avocados
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
and 1/4 cup of cocoa or carob powder

Another hearty whirl, scraping down the sides and whirling until the mixture gets creamy and dreamy.

Then I took the mousse and filled the two torte dishes, licking the spatula when I finished. Wow!

The dessert would be better topped with raspberries or strawberries, but we had just made fruit smoothies earlier in the day and had no berries left. So I sprinkled a tiny amount of the crumb mixture on top.

Gordon had his taste with whipped cream. (photo above)

If I were still in the mood for whipping up yet another raw treat, I could have added a Vanilla Cream Sauce made with:

1 cup soaked raw cashews
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave nectar
and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Blend on high until smooth. Chill for 30 minutes. Then delight in eating right from the bowl -- no, no, I meant, serve it lovingly over the mousse or berries.

Even folks who scoff at raw food will delight in this dessert.
I give it an A+ for taste
And it is pretty darn easy to whip up.
So why not?!!

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The Story Behind the Garden of Eden Vegan Blog

For those of you who knew me prior to December 30, 2009, I was a veteran of the fast food culinary institute. My son, when he lived with me would ask if I had ordered the "Shabbat pizza" yet as the sun was setting Friday nights.

My idea of a good meal was a McFish sandwich, fries with extra salt, and a medium diet coke.

Everything was better covered in a rich creamy sauce and the idea of a naked baked potato was as foreign to me as walking naked in Manhattan.

In June of 2009 I decided to formally become a vegetarian. Although I had dabbled with this, it was not until I read Skinny Bitch that the gauntlet was thrown.

Now being a vegetarian does not sign you up for good health. I was proof of that. Chubby when I started, I indulged in pizza, french fries, cheese, cheese, butter, cheese, pizza......and became very over weight, tipping the Toledos at 200 pounds at 5'4". And taking an assortment of meds for cholesterol and GERD and who knows what else.

As the decade was waning, and with my 60th birthday approaching in the year 2010, there was a perfect storm that snapped my beak and got me in gear. The same friend who gave me Skinny Bitch, turned me on to the John McDougall website. At the same time, there was a Grand Round lecture at the hospital where I work on the book Eat to Live, and at the same time, I was tired of how I looked and felt and needed to make a change.

I regret that I did not start this blog when I changed my lifestyle, but it is better late than never.

My weight is down about 35 pounds, my size has gone from a tight 16 to a loose 12. And I am on no meds, although my vegetarian doctor and I will review my blood work within this month to see if I need anything (like b12) boosted.

I began as a Vegan Minus. Or what I call a Garden of Eden Vegan.

As you know, a Vegan eats no animals nor animal products - none. But then I subtracted oil, sugar, and processed foods.

That is a big subtraction -- but it is this subtraction that helped with weight loss, lack of cravings, increased energy, health, and vibrancy.

Now I am dabbling in raw foods and have signed up to learn with Russell James (google him).

I like the taste and health aspect of raw foods, but worry about the increased calories. So I will (hopefully) use the raw creations as a supplement to my Gan (Hebrew for Garden -- I am in a Hebrew mood today) Eden Vegan lifestyle.

My doctor said that I should write a book about this since most of her patients need it. I said, "Who, or how many, would want to do this?" We shall see. It has been easy (no cravings) and exciting as life and energy unfold before me, just as it was meant to be. (It didn't unfold over a fried fish sandwich, extra tarter sauce.)

Join me or not. Walk with me the whole journey, day trips, part of it, or not. This is my 60th year -- buckle up life, here I come.