Inspiration

I generally prefer to use a recipe whenever I want a dish to turn out as I expect. However, there are times when I’ll go with the flow and spontaneously create from within. The latter especially occurs when inspired by whatever produce I may have on hand. Instances such as those can be the most fun, and actually often lead to the formation of new ideas and even recipes. I suppose one could call it a delicious cycle!

Just the other day, inspiration struck and I found myself experimenting with ingredients for a sparkling blueberry drink.

I had no real intention of seriously inventing anything, but surprisingly the result was quite tasty.

Always be open to allowing inspiration to flow in whatever direction it may lead.

Many times those adventurous and limitless occurrences can be fulfilling.


Raw Food Recipes by Marcy Denise: Bottoms Up

‘Bottoms Up’

An invigorating, sweet-tart concoction with a lovely high note of ginger.

Tart at first bite and then sweet, Pink Lady apples complement very well with fresh ginger root and parsley, the celery a cooling bonus. This tasty concoction is amazingly reminiscent of a spiced lemonade though, of course, sans lemon. I love presenting it in simple shot glasses as the sharpness is fun to enjoy in such doses. However, feel very free to indulge in sipping it via any glass of your choice. It’s great either way!

3 medium Pink Lady apples, cored and quartered (skin left on)
1 medium stalk of celery, any leafy tops left intact
1/3 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, stemmed and tightly packed
1/2-inch by 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger root (skin left on)

Process all of the ingredients through a juicer of your choice. Stir gently and serve!


A few tips…

To help limit your exposure to harmful pesticide residues and waxed coatings often associated with conventional produce, try to purchase organically grown fruits and vegetables as often as possible.

The listed ingredients should roughly amount to 12 ounces of juice, depending on how much liquid your apples, celery, parsley and ginger root piece yield. It is best to serve fresh juices soon after they are made due to oxidation and degrading of nutrients. However, they can be tightly sealed and placed inside of the refrigerator for short-term storage (a day or two).

While the final outcome will somewhat vary each time a juice is made, produce size (as well as quality) does play an important part. In the list of ingredients, I noted 3 medium Pink Lady apples, cored and quartered (skin left on). A medium Pink Lady apple would equate to an apple at least 2 and 1/2 inches in width and 2 and 1/2 inches in height. 1 medium stalk of celery, any leafy tops left intact: A medium stalk of celery would equate to at least 1 inch in width at its base and 12 inches in length.

Save the leftover pulp for adding to soups or as an ingredient in making breads or crackers. No need to throw that extra goodness away! The leftover pulp can last a day or two if stored in a tightly sealed container and kept inside of the refrigerator. If you are not able to use the leftover pulp in that amount of time, storing it inside of the freezer may be a better option.


Raw Food Recipes by Marcy Denise: Blood

‘Blood’

Purifying, tangy-sweet and energizing.

Blood

Beets are excellent for purifying the blood.

Combined with cranberries, lemon and kale, the detoxifying capability of the body is greatly increased.

Celery and apple also provide vital nutrients as well as nicely round out the overall flavor.

The perfect pick-me-up for when you need an extra boost!

1/4 cup fresh whole cranberries
half of 1 small Meyer lemon, with peel
1 medium red beet
2 medium stalks of celery, any leafy tops left intact
2 medium Red Delicious apples, cored and quartered (skin left on)
2 large leaves of Red Kale, stems left intact

Process all of the ingredients through a juicer of your choice, stir gently and enjoy.


A few tips…

To help limit your exposure to harmful pesticide residues and waxed coatings often associated with conventional produce, try to purchase organically grown fruits and vegetables as often as possible.

The listed ingredients should roughly amount to 12-14 ounces of juice, depending on how much liquid your cranberries, lemon, beet, celery, apples and kale yield. It is best to serve fresh juices soon after they are made due to oxidation and degrading of nutrients. However, they can be tightly sealed and placed inside of the refrigerator for short-term storage (a day or two).

While the final outcome will somewhat vary each time a juice is made, produce size (as well as quality) does play an important part. In the list of ingredients, I noted half of 1 small Meyer lemon, with peel. A small Meyer lemon would equate to at least 1 and 1/2 inches in width and 2 inches in height. 1 medium red beet: A medium red beet would equate to at least 2 and 1/2 inches in width and 2 inches inches in height. 2 medium stalks of celery, any leafy tops left intact: A medium stalk of celery would equate to at least 1 inch in width at its base and 12 inches in length. 2 medium Red Delicious apples, cored and quartered (skin left on): A medium Red Delicious apple would equate to an apple at least 2 and 1/2 inches in width and 2 and 1/2 inches in height. 2 large leaves of Red Kale, stems left intact: A large leaf of Red Kale would equate to at least 5 inches in width and 8 inches in length.

Save the leftover pulp for adding to soups or as an ingredient in making breads, crackers or pâtés. No need to throw that extra goodness away! The leftover pulp can last a day or two if stored in a tightly sealed container and kept inside of the refrigerator. If you are not able to use the leftover pulp in that amount of time, storing it inside of the freezer may be a better option.


Raw Food Recipes by Marcy Denise: Candied Navel

‘Candied Navel’

Delightfully sweet liquid sunshine.

Florida Navel oranges are wonderfully succulent and an excellent source of vitamin C. They can be found starting sometime in November through January, so now is the perfect time to enjoy them. Dates, thought of by many as ‘nature’s candy’, are a great source of potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium as well as fiber. Oranges and dates in general are fabulous sources of healthy carbohydrates.

The two paired together make not only a nutritious combination but also a delicious blend.

2 large ripe Florida Navel oranges, peeled and quartered (seeded if needed)
4 large Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup pure water

Using a high-speed blender, process all of the ingredients until the oranges and dates have been completely broken down and the mixture is creamy.

Serve in one very large glass or divide between two medium glasses. Enjoy!


A few tips…

The listed ingredients roughly amount to 24 ounces of Candied Navel, comfortable for one very large serving, two medium servings or four very small servings.

This smoothie isn’t syrupy sweet. Keeping the smoothie ‘moderately sweet’ was my original intention. Depending on your individual preference, feel free to increase or decrease the amount of dates to your liking.

In the list of ingredients, I noted 2 large ripe Florida Navel oranges, peeled and quartered (seeded if needed). A large Florida Navel orange would equate to an orange at least 3 inches in diameter and 3 inches in height.

In the list of ingredients, I noted 4 large Medjool dates, pitted. A large Medjool date is roughly equal to just under a tablespoon. I chose to freely list the dates to make it easier, but you can go with the tablespoon measurements if you prefer. Medjool dates, same as other types of dates, can be found in varying sizes ranging from very small, small, medium, large to very large (or jumbo).

If your dates are not soft and pliable, you can soak them in a small amount pure water, just enough to cover the dates, for fifteen minutes or longer until they plump up enough for ease in blending. If you store your dates in the refrigerator, they will become stiff from the cold but will usually somewhat soften up after being left out at room temperature for a while. If they still seem hard, then definitely utilize the soak method.


Raw Food Recipes by Marcy Denise: Nite-Nite

‘Nite-Nite’

Creamy, flavorful and soothing spice blend, served warm.

3 cups Brazil Nut Milk, altered (see instructions below)
1 and 1/2 level teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 level teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/16 level teaspoon ground clove
1 large vanilla bean, scraped

The Brazil Nut Milk recipe can be found via this link. Alter the original Brazil Nut Milk recipe by adding to it 4 very large pitted dates and an additional 1/4 teaspoon of pink crystal salt. The listed amount for the Brazil nuts and the pure water remains the same. Follow the Brazil Nut Milk recipe instructions as written. The milk used in Nite-Nite will need to be as silky as possible, so be sure to use a tightly woven cheesecloth to separate the date fiber and nut pulp from the Brazil Nut Milk.

Using a high-speed blender, process the altered Brazil Nut Milk along with the rest of the ingredients until all of the spices have been well blended and the mixture becomes frothy. That could take several minutes, depending upon your machine—more power, faster process. When the color of the mixture changes from white to caramel, the ingredients will most likely have been properly combined. If you have a Vitamix or other type of powerful blender, you can simply let the mixture continue blending until it becomes warm. Divide the mixture between two large mugs and garnish with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Nite-Nite can most certainly be enjoyed on its own, although it is absolutely lovely paired with flavor-rich dark chocolate brownies or truffles. I tend to drink Nite-Nite in the latter part of the day as it is very relaxing (hence its name), but it can be served at any time. Enjoy!


A few tips…

The listed ingredients amount to two comfortable servings. Double or triple the recipe as needed.

Definitely do adhere to the ‘level’ ingredient measurements listed above. I have been making this spiced concoction often for quite some time and know through first-hand experience that too much cardamom or too much clove can ruin the batch.

Nite-Nite is best enjoyed freshly made. Any leftovers will not store particularly well for longer than a day as the spices will become further concentrated resulting in a mixture that tastes ‘off’ and quite bitter.

During the blending process, a substantial amount of foam may be created on top of the mixture. That is actually a good thing since Nite-Nite is pretty much a raw chai latte. Plus the foam is delicious! However, if you prefer less foam, you can let your blender run on the lowest setting for a few minutes to remove some of the air bubbles.

For information on how to use and store the leftover Brazil Nut Milk pulp, see this link.


Raw Food Recipes by Marcy Denise: Ginger Citrus Salad Dressing

‘Ginger Citrus Salad Dressing’

Semisweet with a punchy flavor and light, creamy texture.

1/4 cup ripe avocado, tightly packed
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
1 teaspoon first cold pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
1 level teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
1/4 teaspoon grey sea salt (fine grind)

Using a mini-prep food processor or high-speed blender, blend together all of the ingredients until creamy, pausing periodically to scrape down the sides and help the mixture turn over. Store the finished dressing in an airtight container inside of the refrigerator and use within 3 days.


A few tips…

The listed ingredients roughly amount to five ounces of Ginger Citrus Salad Dressing. Double or triple the recipe as needed.

A microplane was used to finely grate the ginger root.

The ingredients can also be mixed by hand. With a little elbow grease, the end result should be fairly close to that of a blender or food processor. Use the back of a fork to mash the avocado until it becomes as smooth as possible. Next, integrate the raw agave nectar, olive oil, finely grated ginger root, and salt. Last, use a whisk to whip into the mixture the orange and lemon juices, small increments at a time, until the the dressing becomes fluffy.

This simple citrus dressing can also be used as a base for other creations. For a more savory version, add finely chopped onion and/or minced fresh herbs or dried herbs.


Raw Food Recipes by Marcy Denise: Brazil Nut Milk

‘Brazil Nut Milk’

Rich, creamy and an excellent source of selenium.

3 cups pure water
1 cup raw Brazil nuts, soaked (preferably 1 to 4 hours)
1/2 of one very large date, pitted
1/16 teaspoon pink crystal salt (fine grind)

Using a high-speed blender, first blend together the Brazil nuts and water until creamy. With either a tightly woven cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve, separate the Brazil nut pulp from the liquid and pour the milk back into the blender. Add the pitted date and salt and process until the date has been completely broken down. Separate the date fiber from the liquid and pour the Brazil nut milk into your choice of airtight container. The finished milk should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 3 to 5 days.


A few tips…

Double or triple the recipe as needed.

The Brazil nuts were measured before soaking.

In general, soaking nuts allows for greater availability of nutrients and less impact on digestion. Since Brazil nuts are fairly oily and have a very thin skin, I prefer to only soak them for a few hours (up to 4 hours). Plus, Brazil nuts will lose a bit of their bite and become relatively sweeter as they soak, which I believe deeply enhances the overall flavor of the Brazil Nut Milk.

Depending on the type of blender you have, the exact length of time needed to process the Brazil nuts will vary. When you first begin the blending process, the Brazil nuts will cause loud rattling, and as they become pulverized the rattling will lessen. It may take a bit of trial and error to gauge how smooth the pulp should be. If the Brazil nuts process for too long, the pulp will be superfine and require more time and effort to strain. However, if the Brazil nuts do not process long enough, the milk could end up watery instead of creamy. After you have made Brazil Nut Milk a few times, you will get the hang of it.

This milk is meant to be mildly sweet. In the list of ingredients, I noted 1/2 of one very large date, pitted. 1/2 of one very large date is equal to about 1/2 of one tablespoon. I chose to freely list the date to make it easier, but you can go with the 1/2 tablespoon measurement if you prefer.

If your dates are not soft and pliable, you can soak them in a small amount pure water, just enough to cover the dates, for fifteen minutes or longer until they plump up enough for ease in blending. If you store your dates in the refrigerator, they will become stiff from the cold but will usually somewhat soften up after being left out at room temperature for a while. If they still seem hard, then definitely utilize the soak method.

To ensure a silky texture that I prefer when making nut (and seed) milk, I use a tightly woven cheesecloth to separate the Brazil nut milk from the nut pulp as well as the date fiber. However, a fine-mesh sieve is also a good option.

You may notice the separation of nut fat from the water. Not to worry, that is completely normal. Just give the Brazil nut milk a gentle shake before you use it.

While it would certainly be easier to blend all of the ingredients in one go instead of through a two-step process, I prefer the latter as a plain, unseasoned nut (or seed) milk pulp is much more versatile and consistent.

The leftover Brazil nut milk pulp can be either used immediately or reserved for later. If you are not able to utilize the Brazil nut milk pulp right away, you have a few choices as to how to store it for future use. It can be stored in an airtight container and kept inside of the refrigerator for one to two days, or it can be kept inside of the freezer and thawed when needed. For long-term storage, the leftover Brazil nut milk pulp can be dehydrated until completely dry, ground into a fine flour, stored in an airtight container and kept inside of the refrigerator.

Use the leftover Brazil nut milk pulp for making breads, crackers, cookies, burgers, wrap fillings, etc. Using the pulp instead of ground whole nuts lends a wonderfully light texture to your creations.