Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Inspiration, Raw and Otherwise

I had an amazing five-course raw dinner last night at a local restaurant. Visiting the restaurant meant visiting the next-door organic market and coming away with some fun stuff. My dining companions had excellent ideas about food as well. I feel inspired and so there are four creative challenges I hope to overcome as a result of my night out.

Chili-Lime Vinaigrette
The standout of the evening was definitely the Kale Salad with English Peas and Chili-Lime Vinaigrette. I eat kale pretty much everyday as part of my Green Smoothie, and I occasionally enjoy it steamed when I'm looking for a quick side dish, but this leafy green deserves more time as the main event.

Raw Wednesday is creeping up on me, so I may as well give it a go. I'm going to make some changes to the salad itself, but some of the ideas I have (golden raisins) aren't exactly raw. Maybe I'll do two versions.

The real item of interest though was the Chili-Lime Vinaigrette dressing. It reminded me of the Sesame Dressing from The Garden of Vegan. But it had a little kick and was limier (seems so obvious).

So my first challenge is to make my own version of this perfect dressing.

Chia Seeds
I've read all about them, I've eaten them, now I need to do something with them. They were on sale at the market and I've never been able to find them near me, so I seized the opportunity and the green bag and brought home some chia seeds. I'll have to figure out what to do with them and then do it tomorrow. Sounds easy enough.

Chocolate Chili
As we shopped, my mom told me about this chocolate chili recipe she veganized, and then we happened to stumble upon some Taza Chocolate Mexicano. In their latest issue, VegNews raved about it, so it was clearly fate for me to find it that evening. I bought the Vanilla and Chile varieties (all they had) and am looking forward to getting creative, but I think that I will first tackle this chocolate chili thing. It sounds totally revolting. But my palette has come to accept culinary adventures. This might have to wait a bit. I just ordered Viva Vegan!, so I'll have plenty of Latin side dishes to accompany the chili.

Chocolate/Cacao Smoothie
This challenge isn't a direct result of my night out, but it is a result of my growing awareness and knowledge of raw foods. So while I've made many chocolate shakes and smoothies in my life, I want to make one that I'll call raw-inspired. I want to use cacao nibs in it. I'll figure out the other ingredients later, but my focus is to get friendly with cacao. For some reason, it's a bit intimidating, possibly due to some failed attempts at Chocolate Avocado pudding, but I am confident that I can master this ingredient!

In my less immediate future, I'd like to do something cool with kelp noodles too. They were part of the dinner and weird, but good. I also need to use the mochi I bought.

I'll report back on how it all goes!


  1. Oh there is so much you can do with chia. You can make puddings or use it to thicken your smoothies. Yum!

    Don't fear the chocolate in your chili. It's really good stuff. I like to add raw cocoa powder to my raw chili all the time.

    Speaking of raw cocoa powder, it's actually different than just ground up cacao nibs. You might want to check it out to get the flavor you're looking for.

    Good luck with everything!

  2. I conquered my chia goal!

    I'm glad you pointed out the difference with the cacao. I need to look at mine closely tonight :)