Raw Chocolate Ganache Three Ways, inspired by a journey HOME.

Some encounters bring you back home to what your soul is yearning for. This year has done that for me and my family. I have been around people and places that have made me feel like, I was coming home. One of those encounters inspired me to move my culinary creative juices back to Raw Foods. Raw foodism is the dietary practice of eating only uncooked, unprocessed foods. It only includes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Now I AM NOT A RAW FOODIST, VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN, but my diet is about 80% plant based. I believe eating whole foods is better for my body, mind and spirit. So, how did I come back home to raw foods? My best friend. She wanted to take a yoga class one morning and  I did have the time, I had so much work to do. I was behind schedule on several projects, I felt run down and just wanted to work and maybe catch a nap in.  However, inside of me, my spirit was calling from some release, so I went.

The funny thing is, as we were driving to the studio, it hit me where we were going, to my old yoga studio. The place I learned about the healing beauty of yoga and meditation, ironically another one of my best friends introduced me to this studio, 13  years prior. I got some teacher training here from some the best yoga teachers in the United States. I was very ill during that time, fighting kidney disease and trying to take care of a toddler.

The yoga studio was a place of love and great healing for me. As we walked into the yoga studio, there on her mat was the owner and one of my first yoga teachers. My heart felt so much joy. I felt like I was back HOME.  The class was amazing and I felt more energy in my body and spirit, plus so much peace.

My yoga teacher and I caught up and we talked about health issues. She shared with me her journey of healing and it hit me why I was there. Food has been a healing art for me. So of course, my best friend and Creative Marketing Director of my wellness company, mentioned what I had been up to lately with food. My yoga teacher was excited, she had been eating raw to heal, but she runs three businesses and doesn’t have time to prepare the food. She asked me to help her and of course it was my pleasure to say, YES. The yoga studio and her classes brought me so much healing and now I could give back. Life is always trying to bring us home, if we just take the time out to slow down and listen.

Here are three ways you can use my Raw Chocolate Ganache.

Raw Chocolate Ganache: You can use this for many other desserts

Ingredients:

1 cup maple syrup
1 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, pinch of sea salt

Directions:
Using your blender, mix together syrup and coconut oil until well combined. Add in your cacao powder and a pinch of sea salt, and process until smooth – scraping down the sides as needed. Use immediately, or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple weeks. If using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit, or roll out ganache truffles using a melon scoop. 🙂

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

1/2 cup black cherries, thawed out frozen cherries

 

3/4 cup Raw Chocolate Ganache

1 tbsp maple syrup

crushed pistachios and a black cherry

Using a blender Blend everything together, using a biscuit cutter, place on a sheet pan with parchment paper . Pour the ganache mixture into the biscuit cutter, almost to the top, leave room to add the pistachios. Add the pistachios and top with a black cherry. Put into the freeze and allow to set over night or for at least 2 hours to get it very firm. When ready to serve, allow to set room temperature for about 2-3 minutes, this will make it easier for you to push the torte out of the biscuit cutter. Gently remove, by pushing up from the bottom with a frosting spreader or the back of a spoon.

Serve and enjoy immediately because the base is made of coconut oil, it must be eaten immediately or kept frozen.

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte

 

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Ingredients:

1 pear cut in half and seeds removed

Raw Chocolate Ganache, in it’s liquid form. if using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit.

crushed walnuts

whole coconut milk

1 tsp cardamom and a little more to dust over the pears

1 tbs maple syrup

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Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Directions:

Super simple. I add a little lemon juice to the pears, so they would not brown. Dipped them  into the ganache. I dipped half of the pears here, added crusted walnuts, sprinkled with cardamom, you can also drizzle maple syrup, honey or agave over them for more sweetness.  Put the pears into the fridge for an hour or overnight so the ganache can harden on the pears properly. The coconut cream is also super simple.

Open up a can of coconut milk and remove the creamy top part and add to a bowl.  Using an electric hand mixer whisk attachment, beat the cream until fluffy and smooth. Add in maple syrup and cardamom.  Put whipped cream in the fridge to harden a bit, about 10 minutes. Remove the pears and whipped cream from the fridge. Add whipped cream to the pears and serve immediatley.

NOTE: This ganache has a coconut oil base so it will melt fast, so keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.img_4922

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

 

Last one, but oh so good.  My grandson helped me make these, notice the heavy handed areas of pistachios. Love it.

Raw Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios 

Ingredients:
3 tbsp cacao
2½ tbsp raw virgin coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
small pinch sea salt
2 tbsp crushed pistachios
1 crushed soft peppermint stick

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Raw Dark Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios

Instructions
Whisk together melted coconut oil, raw cacao and maple syrup in a small bowl until completely smooth.
Add a pinch of sea salt and combine well.
Add nuts and peppermint

Line a cookie sheet with non stick parchment paper.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined cookie sheet and spread out evenly using the back of a spoon, spread it thick so you bark doesn’t melt so quickly when eating it. 🙂 Add the goodies on top.

Place the container in the freezer for 30 minutes until the chocolate is completely hard.
Break up the pieces and serve immediately.
Store in the freezer.
PSA
Since the base of this bark is coconut oil it will melt at room temperature, so please keep it in the freezer, until ready to serve. Eat immediately.

 

Caramelized Pears with homemade Granola and Mascarpone cheese

Breakfast and brunch is my favorite time of the day to eat. I love everything about a good breakfast and brunch. I feel, it’s the most creative time of the day to combine savory with sweet. You can have eggs, grits, muffins, toast, cakes, salmon, meat, chicken, juice, coffee and champagne, all at once. So, you see why it’s my favorite time of the day to eat.

I love having fruit for breakfast, but sometimes you want more than a raw apple or a banana. Sometimes, you want something decadent, rich, but also nutritious. I came up with this pear recipe when I got a little to happy in the produce department and bought tons of pears. I ate several and put several in salads, but there was just a few left over and starting to look a little too ripe. I am standing over my counter thinking, what will I do with these pears?  Hmm… sauté them!! Yes!!

I sautéed these pears in coconut oil and I sprinkled a little coconut sugar over the, to give them a nice caramelization, but the coconut sugar also gave them this wonderful nutty flavor. I made homemade granola the night before and thought this would be fantastic over the pears. But, here’s the decadence. I topped them off with little mascarpone cheese with lemon zest. OMG!! I hope your mama is not near, because you would want to slap her. LOL 🙂  Now, if we are going all out healthy , yogurt would be perfect. But sometimes you need to indulge a little, or a lot, depending on the day.  This makes an amazing dessert as well.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Oh yeah, remember to Set the Table with Love.

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Caramelized Pears with Granola and Mascarpone Cheese

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons coconut oil
4 medium Bosc pears, pitted and halved
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 cup granola,  homemade or bought tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, 1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup blueberries or  your favorite fruit
Drizzle of honey

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Sprinkle each pear with coconut sugar just enough to over lightly cover the pears, you will have some left over.  Melt the coconut oil. and then add the pears, cut-side down, cooking until they are slightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the remainder of the coconut sugar and continue cooking until caramelized, 4- 5 minutes, depending on your stove top.

Mascarpone Cheese with lemon zest. 

Add the mascarpone to a bowl and add the lemon zest and gently stir, until the lemon zest is incorporated into the cheese. If you are using yogurt, just add the zest into the yogurt or just add honey to the yogurt, if you desire.

Plating

Divide the pears, 2 pears to a plate. Add the homemade granola, a dollop of mascarpone cheese, drizzle of honey, add the berries all around the plate and a little shake of cinnamon and it’s the bees knees.

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Caramelized Pears with Granola and Mascarpone Cheese

 

 

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

WOW!! So my amazing friend Paula gave me a challenge to make a brownie for her son that hid cauliflower inside and it taste good. Well here is what I came up with.  This was an experiment and may need a little adjusting, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in my comment box. But I am not bragging, these bad boys were pretty tasty.

Ingredients:

First things first, the cauliflower puree.  You can serve the rest as a side dish or convert it into a soup. But that’s another blog. You will only need one cup for the brownie recipe.

1 head cauliflower, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

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Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

Instructions:

Pull the leaves off the cauliflower and cut out the core in a kind of cone-shaped section. Then pull the florets off the head with your fingers, using a knife when you need to. Break or cut the florets into smaller, regular pieces (about 1 1/2 inch) and put them in a steamer insert. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in the steamer pot, add the insert, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until you can poke a paring knife into the stems and you can feel that there’s still a little texture there. Save 1 cup of steaming water.
In batches, put cauliflower in a food processor to puree. If you are having problems getting the cauliflower to puree add a little of the cooking water but as little as possible. With the motor running, add oil and salt.

Set a side.

Brownie Ingredients:

Dry
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup ground organic raw cane sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips ( cacao chips)

Wet:

1 cup cauliflower puree
1 Tablespoons flaxmeal
3 Tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup oil, canola oil

Directions:

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Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

Brownies:

Over a double boiler, on low heat, add the dark chocolate chips into the bowl and stir,until melted. Once melted set aside.  In another bowl add cocoa powder, chocolate chips, sugar, oil and mix together.

In a small bowl mix flaxmeal in the warm water and vinegar and let sit for few minutes about 3-4 minutes, this will be part of your egg, substitute. Add the flax meal mixture to the cocoa powder mixture.
In another bowl, combine all the remaining dry ingredients, stir and add to the cocoa powder mixture. Mix to combine well. Gently fold half of the melted chocolate into the mixture, you will use the other half as a glaze on top of the brownies.  If the mixture is too wet, add a little more cocoa powder. If too dry fold in more melted chocolate.
Spread the mixture into a parchment lined or greased pan. Press and even it out, using a spatula.
Bake 30-32 minutes at 375 degrees F. Bake till the toothpick an inch from the edge comes out with a few crumbs. Do not over bake as the brownie, it will dry them out and make them hard.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cooled remove from the parchment lined pan and cut brownies in squares.  Add the remaining melted chocolate on top of each as a glaze. You can also add more chocolate chips if you like.

Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple and Potato Tart

This tart says, Fall. Apples. Lentils. Potatoes. Comfort Food. It’s hard and so very delicious. I love the sweetness the apples brings to this recipe. The crust is flaky and it’s vegan. I used coconut oil in this recipe, instead of butter. The coconut oil must be solid and not melted. So put it the fridge, the cold water will keep it solidified. If you do not want to go Gluten Free or Vegan you can easily buy pre made bake pie crust pastry dough.

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart

THE TOPPINGS

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, extra for drizzling over the tart

2 large organic red apples, cored and diced

3 small red potatoes, washed and diced

1 cup french lentils,  cleaned, soaked over night and drained

1 /2 cup onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp fennels

1 tbsp dried parsley

sea salt and black pepper

Gluten Free herb bread crumbs ( optional )

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart

Directions:

Cook lentils according to directions on your packaging. I soaked mines overnight it makes the cooking time shorter.  Once cooked, set aside.

In a sauté pan, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your pan. Sauté your onions and garlic, until soften. Add your diced potatoes and cooked until soften. Add your diced apples. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add your cooked lentils to the sauté pan. Stir everything together. Next, add your seasonings, parsley and fennel. Stir everything together and set aside.

THE CRUST

6 tbsp. chilled coconut oil, MUST BE CHILLED, YOU CAN ALSO USE VEGAN BUTTER, BUT I AM ALLERGIC TO PALM OIL 🙂
1 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill, 1:1 Gluten Free Flour mix
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4-6 tbsp ice cold water

DIRECTIONS:

To prepare crust, add gluten free flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Add in the cold coconut oil, one dollop at a time. Work gently with a fork. Don’t overwork your dough, just get the coconut butter incorporated in the flour.
Next add ice cold water a little at a time. I like using a wooden spoon to stir my water into the dough.  You are adding enough water to allow the dough to come together.
When the dough as come together, place it on a piece of plastic wrap and work gently with your hands to form a 1/2 inch thick disc. Wrap it firmly and place it in the  refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. When you are ready to use the dough, allow it to get a little of the chill off of it, so you can work with it, easily.  Do not let it get soft, because it will be hard to work and the coconut oil will start to make it oily. If it is dry, add more cold water, a little at at time.

To roll out the crust, unwrap the disc and place it between two sizable layers of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Use a rolling pin to gently roll it into the shape of a rectangle, press the sides up so you can have a wall border about haIf an inch high. This will allow your filling to not fall off. If the dough cracks some, just use your fingers to pull it back together and reform it. Be gentle, using taps to pull cracks back together. Poked holes in the pie crust with a fork, so it will not rise.  I also pressed some of the gluten free crumbs on the side of the crust, to get an extra crunch once baked.

Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Line the pie crust with foil (not heavy-duty) and fill with pie weights, beans or rice. Bake until sides are set, about 20 minutes. Remove the pie crust from the oven. In another pan, sauté the gluten free bread crumbs in a little olive oil over a medium heat, until  golden brown. Set aside. Once the crust is done, brush the crust with olive oil.  Add the vegetable and bean topping and add your sautéed gluten free crumbs.

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart

Spaghetti Squash Thai Noodles with a Cilantro Lime Peanut Sauce

I do enjoy this time of the year because of all the wonderful squashes that are available to us. I love to make soups, sautés and pastas from these squashes. My most recent recipe was from last nights dinner. This wonderfully sweet and spicy Spaghetti Squash Thai Noodles with a Cilantro Lime Peanut Sauce is divine. Okay, love the adjectives, but this will make you want to slap some body, so eat it alone, LOL. You have been warned.

Spaghetti Squash Thai Noodles with a Cilantro Lime Peanut Sauce
Spaghetti Squash Thai Noodles with a Cilantro Lime Peanut Sauce

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy and Remember to Set the Table with Love.

* Read this recipe through first in it’s entirety and prepare the dish as follows:

The Noodles:

1 medium Spaghetti Squash ( cut in half and deseeded)

1 1/4 tbsp olive oil (1/4 tbsp to cover the cookie sheet with)

pinch of salt

parchment paper to cover the cookie sheet

Instructions:

Place a little oil on the cookie sheet and line it with the parchment paper. Take the squash halves add the remaining olive oil over top of  the squash with a little sea salt. Lay them cut side face down on the cookie sheet and allow to bake for about 40 minutes until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork. Let cool for about 15 minutes, or until squash is cool enough to handle. With a fork, scrape out the spaghetti-like strands and place on your serving platter or plate if you want to eat it all yourself. 🙂  I like to drizzle a little olive oil over the squash and gently toss to loosen them up.

The Fixings

1 tbsp coconut oil ( to sauté veggies)

1 cup snap peas ( washed and patted dry)

1 cup carrots ( peeled and cut in small circles)

1 cup portobello mushrooms ( cleaned and diced)

1 cup red bell peppers ( diced)

1/4 cup cilantro ( chopped, as garnished)

lime zest as garnished

Instructions:

Add oil to a sauté pan over medium high heat. Sauté snap peas and carrots for 2-3 minutes, you want them to still have a crunch. You will cut up the portobello mushrooms and peppers and keep them raw for the dish. The cilantro will be your garnish with a little lime zest (optional). Add the Fixings on top of the squash noodles.

The Cilantro Lime Peanut Sauce

1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled + rough chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp sriracha
2 tbsp peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1 lime, peeled + chopped
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup grapeseed
Dash of salt to taste
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Once blended add the sauce over top the veggies and noodles.  Add cilantro garnish and a little lime zest and Enjoy!

Atlanta and Company today/Sweet Potato and Apple Hashbrown

One of my favorite recipes from my new cookbook Set the Table with Love. Check it out Set the Table with Love

What an awesome time on Atlanta and Company today. I enjoyed my demo and interview with Christine Pullara. We did this recipe. Check it out.

Click on the link below and watch the video. 🙂

Sweet Potato and Apple Hash brown  Live Demo and Interview

1 extra-large sweet potato [peeled and shredded] 1 medium gala apple ( peeled and shredded) 1/2 tbsp ginger (peeled and shredded)
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. gluten-free flour
1/4 tsp. ginger powder
1/4 tsp. of cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp. coconut oil for frying

1. Wash and peel sweet potato and apple, then shred them. Using a colander, rinse the sweet potatoes until the water runs mostly clear. Squeeze the rinsed potatoes to remove excess water and empty them into a medium bowl with the shredded apples and ginger.
2. Add flour and all the spices to the vegetables and ginger, mix everything well.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to a cast iron skillet or regular skillet and heat on medium-high. Test the pan by tossing in a couple of sweet potato shreds — if it crackles, the pan is ready. Use a 1⁄4 cup to measure the hash brown mixture into the pan and then use a spatula to flatten them out into a nice circle.
4. Cook for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for 2 more, you may need to adjust time based on your stove. When golden brown they are ready.
5.Remove them from the skillet and allow them to cool for a few minutes on a paper towel-lined plate.

Makes 6-8 small hash-browns

 

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