Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fancy Dinner/Lunch

I got off work a little early today so I decided to get a little complicated with food.
I made a Raw Lasagna and a Banana Cream Tart. As per usual when I make up my own recipes I tend to have mixed success. With the raw lasagna I made a fresh bruschetta, with tomato, garlic, basil, onion and olive oil. I also made an almond based cheese. I think in the future I will skip almonds as a cheese base since they tend to taste a little sweet, no matter what you do. It turned out alright though. Soaked almonds, soaked sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, thyme, and water. I layered nut cheese, bruschetta, basil leaves, and orange bell pepper between thinly sliced pieces of eggplant. My initial idea was to dehydrate the eggplant into "chips" and then spread it with the cheese spread and pile bruschetta on top. Since I do not have a dehydrator I tried to use the oven but it was taking so long I finally gave up. I think I would use zucchini instead of eggplant for "lasagna" next time as the eggplant is SO fiberous it is hard to cut through. Actually next time I think I would prefer more of a savory lasagna to a fresh spicy one. It was pretty good but a sundried tomato sauce and some olives and spinach was really more what I was craving. It was a good fresh lunch though. If I were to use eggplant in this situation again I may try to break it down a little bit first by marinating it in some olive oil or something.  The Banana Cream Tart turned out much better. I used cashews and almonds with a little sea salt and about 6 dates to make the crust
I just processed it until it was a consistant texture and began to ball up. The only thing I would do differently is to make sure the nuts were completely dry from soaking before using them for a crust. I need a dehydrator! The cream filling is 2 Bananas, 1/2 cup cashews, some vanilla, and a tsp. of lemon juice. I processed with some water until it was smooth and creamy. Then I put strawberries and kiwi on top. Mostly I am just reading everything I can about preparing raw foods and am trying to learn how to put together recipes and try to get an idea of how combinations turn out so I am better able to make things up on my own. I have had varying levels of success but nothing has turned out "bad" yet. So that's a good thing. I am soaking some red lentils tonight in hopes of creating a dahl type soup tomorrow. Wish me luck!

The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Salting and then rinsing the sliced eggplant (known as "degorging") can soften and remove much of the bitterness. Some modern varieties do not need this treatment, as they are less bitter. The eggplant is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, allowing for very rich dishes, but the salting process will reduce the amount of oil absorbed. The fruit flesh is smooth; as in the related tomato, the numerous seeds are soft and edible along with the rest of the fruit. The thin skin is also edible, so that the eggplant need not be peeled.

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