Raw Vegan Nutella Milk

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One of the hardest things about eating a live food diet was giving up grain cereals! I had grown up on a morning routine of a variety of different breakfast cereals, and it had never ceased being my absolute favorite meal of the day. Going raw changed all of that however, and it made it so difficult to go without something that was so near and dear to my heart. However, when I discovered the joy of buckwheat-based cereals, (sounds gross but it isn’t) I had to figure out a way to jazz up the “milk” component of my beloved bowl of cereal. Because frankly, raw almond milk was getting old. Enter hazelnut milk: the famed base ingredient for the cult-classic Nutella chocolate spread, hazelnuts are exactly what you need to make the morning indulgent again.

Supplies:

Blender
Sprouting Jar
“Nut Milk Bag,” Or other Strainer

Ingredients:

Hazelnuts
Water
Honey
Himalayan Pink Salt

Directions:

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Measure one cup of Hazelnuts and put them in a sprouting jar. Fill the sprouting jar with water until the Hazelnuts are submerged (they tend to float so really fill it to the top).

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Leave them to soak overnight or for 8+ hours and they will “activate” and release all of their enzyme inhibitors which turn the water brown. Drain, then rinse the Hazelnuts in the jar with fresh water and drain once more.

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Then, place the drained Hazelnuts in a highspeed Blender and fill the pitcher about three inches from the brim. Then, blend on your Blender’s highest setting for 20-30 seconds.

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Next, take an empty glass pitcher and place the Nut Milk Bag (or other Strainer) over the pitcher. Pour all of the blended liquid through the strainer and into the pitcher. If you’re using a Nut Milk Bag you’ll have to squeeze the remaining liquid out of it until all that remains inside the bag is pulp.

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Once completely strained, briefly rinse out your Blender and re-pour the Hazelnut Milk into the Blender’s pitcher. Now, add 1TBS of honey and 1/4TSP of Himalayan Pink Salt into the Hazelnut Milk and re-blend. Now that you’re done, pour it into your favorite glass bottle and enjoy by itself, in smoothies, or with a bowl of cereal.

Salted Chocolate Macadamia Crunchies

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Yesterday afternoon, I got the go ahead from my boss to bounce out of work a bit early to accomplish a secret mission: chocolate making. While I used to make chocolate all the time in college, work has now taken a considerable chunk out of my cooking life. Between the garden, work, family, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, raw food has been put on the back burner. Not for long though! As sad as I will be to leave my job, I must admit that I’m looking forward to spending more time in the kitchen.

This recipe however is the perfect compromise: simple, quick, and extremely delicious. Here’s what you need:

Supplies:
Ceramic Pan
Parchment Paper (or any non-stick surface)
Cutting Board or Tray
Whisk
Mixing Bowl
Large Fork

Ingredients:
Himalayan Pink Salt
Cacao Butter
Cacao Powder
Coconut Butter
Raw Honey (or agave, coconut nectar, etc.)
Macadamia Nuts

Directions:
Put a stove burner on VERY low. You want the ceramic pan to heat up, but still be warm to the touch, not burning. Place enough cacao butter on the pan to make 1/3C melted butter. Overestimate a bit because you can always let the excess re-solidify for later use. Once the butter has melted entirely, measure out 1/3C and pour it into a mixing bowl. Using your whisk, stir in 1/3C cacao powder until a smooth viscous consistency is achieved. Next, pour in 3TBS raw honey, but make sure to use the transparent liquid-like kind otherwise the chocolate won’t set correctly. Finally, stir in 2T coconut butter until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Next, take about 2 cups of raw macadamia nuts and drop them in the mixing bowl. Stir them around in the chocolate until everything is evenly coated. Take a piece of parchment paper big enough to cover your cutting board or tray, and place it on top. With the big fork, fish a few of the macadamias out of the bowl and transfer them to the parchment paper. Once you’ve placed all the nuts on the parchment paper, place them in the freezer for 15 minutes or more. Once they have hardened, remove them from the parchment paper and return them to the mixing bowl for a second coating. Once they’ve been evenly covered, put them back on the parchment paper using the big fork to help keep your hands out of the chocolate. Finally, take generous dashes of the Himalayan pink salt to dust the macadamias. Once everything has been salted, return the parchment sheet to the freezer for a final hardening.

If you can contain yourself, wait and hour or two before eating them just to give them a chance to really set. Once they’re done though, be forewarned that they will disappear faster than you think. *Note: In temperatures hotter than 70°-75°, they will melt!

Taco Plate at NYC’s Quintessence Restaurant

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This past week I finally decided to get off my lazy butt and walk ten minutes to New York’s Quintessence restaurant. Founded in the 90’s, this hole in the wall restaurant has been serving up delicious living food to the Lower East Side for many years.

Upon entering into the restaurant, a wall covered in pothos vines instantly sets the mood for this elegant, yet zen-like space. The walls are a bright orange, and are covered in photographs of Buddhist monastic life. A kind waitress welcomed me in and showed me to a seat. The menu is comprised of some pretty amazing food options, and they even have a breakfast and brunch section; rare for a raw food restaurant.

I decided that the taco platter sounded most appetizing, and I was intrigued as to whether or not they would make an actual taco shell. I’ve had other raw “tacos” that resort to an uninspiring romaine leaf to substitute an actual tortilla shell. The meal came with a cup of herbal tea, and a mesclun greens side salad with my choice of dressing. (I ordered the spicy fig!)

After a short 8 minutes the same waitress brought me my meal and I was happy to see that an actual taco shell was included. Although it was difficult to eat without getting messy, the mock taco “meat” was delicious and was topped with salsa, guacamole, “sour cream,” and a special chili sauce.

The salad was simple but refreshing as well, and the spicy fig dressing was a definite inspiration. I’ve never attempted using figs in the kitchen and now I’m hoping they’re in season. I’m trying to get back on the raw bandwagon this week so I’m sure I’ll be visiting Quintessence sometime in the near future. Like tomorrow. For 13 bucks, I got an amazing meal that made the rest of the day all the better.

Go visit! They’re on 1st Avenue and 10th street.