Tag Archives: almonds

Original Elisen Gingerbread

GingerDSC_8483Northern Europe, knows a large variety of gingerbreads, they originate from the honey breads and pepper cakes, also called Lebkuchen in German. You can choose from the Nordic pepper cake style such as the Swedish ‘Peparkaka’ or the Hamburger Braune Kuchen. A simpler dough is used for Gingerbread houses (Pfefferkuchenhaus). Then there are Pfeffernüsse, the chewy round sugar glazed balls. Around Aachen you can find Printen, bare or chocolate glazed ‘logs’ of rock sugar studded very hard gingerbread. A very old variety is the diamond shaped spicy Magenbrot. Simple Supermarket ‘Lebkuchen’ are chewy floury dough stars and pretzels, also jam filled hearts, and ‘Domino cubes’ covered with dark chocolate. And then there are Elisen Lebkuchen. Continue reading

Raw sweets

TrufDSC_6198.1RAW foodies have a sweet tooth. When looking at some recipe books recently, I noticed salads, appetizers, dips & sauces and snacks, and then… come the desserts. I flipped back, did I miss the entrees? Don’t expect to find a real heavy traditional main dish in RAW recipes, entrees will look like beautiful appetizers and they are likely very filling.
Here are some little truffles, RAW (or quick vegan). They are  less chocolatey, think of the answer to commercial marzipan potatoes and tadaa…the most indulgent way to eat a carrot…
If you care to make this recipe truly live, you will look for unpasteurized RAW almonds, as all domestic (U.S.) almonds require pasteurization and are likely blanched as well. You may find imports from Spain, which need lots of soaking and may have a higher content of bitter almonds in the batch, but they should even be able to sprout. See recipe

Nutty schmear

SchmearDSC_5858What will go on my bread? If you don’t do cheese, cold cuts or liverwurst, you may wonder what will go on your bread. While you can make your own cream cheese or paté, even ajvar in summer, I recommend to experiment  with a wide selection of nut and seed butters.
Europeans grew up with chocolate noisette creams, such as Nutella and Americans have their Peanut butter. Real peanut butter, technically not a nut butter, but a bean butter, is avoided by some because of high aflatoxin and allergy risk. Stores readily sell alternative butters from ‘real’ nuts and seeds, some are even made from peas.

With a food processor, you can make some fresh butters yourself with ingredients of choice, which may also qualify as RAW food.
Doing it yourself  also brings you awareness of how highly concentrated food a butter is. See 1/2 cup of tree nuts turn into concentrated spoonfuls of delightful butters that will be gone quickly. For example hemp butter, which also adds healthy Omega3’s. See recipe

Mexican milk alternative

HorchaDSC_5835

Mexican restaurants and food trucks sell horchata; Asking about this variety of ‘agua fresca’, we learned about the variety of ‘rice milk.’
Horchata originated in Spanish speaking countries, and Latin America has several different traditions for horchata.
The refreshing milky drink is usually ice cooled, tastes of cinnamon and has a tan color unless you use white rice and white sugar. The satisfying milk alternative can easily replace a meal. If you do it yourself, you can influence details such as what sweetener is used, use brown rice and raw nuts. Use more almonds than rice, to achieve a richer, less chalky taste.
While the original recipe includes soaking the ingredients overnight, you can also make a quick horchata in an instant, blended and strained in modern kitchen equipment. Horchata recipe and horchata chia pudding

The one that didn’t make it…

BSproutDSC_5151Thanksgiving has to include a brussels sprout… I had this unusual recipe but did not have time to include it this Thanksgiving. It requires cutting the little heads in half and then deliberately slicing them to fine shreds. For this side dish, had to make a couple of changes as I did not have cranberries or pistachios at home. Pistachios do well with the sprouts, several recipes list this combination, instead I used sliced almonds and vegan parmigiano. Also, instead of cranberries, I used soaked raisins, chopped even smaller. Although a bit more work, this variation on brussels sprouts recipes is well worth the effort. See recipe

Indian Rice

CurryDSC_3171.1Wild Rice is native in North America and China. The long grain has a dark, chewy outer skin with a delicate inner core and a nutty vegetal taste. It is a cousin to white rice, but is higher in protein than other grains and has recently gained popularity as local gluten free speciality in the US.

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Bars and Balls

PowerDSC_3128Some time during the 80’s, there were aerobics, and then there was the advent of power bars. I remember the first ‘Muesli Bars’ sold before my time in college. We ate several ones during breaks, convinced they were healthy and got quite addicted. Then we noticed weight gain as the contents were just a tad nicer as in regular candies. Today, there are so many different bars; bars for athletes, for meal replacement and weight loss programs and Vitamins, even once a ‘Snooze bar’. Most of the commercial ones taste stale, rancid or sticky. But when you find out how easy you can make them fresh, there is really no reason to put up with ‘saw dust and sugar’. The ones I made, were handy when we skipped breakfast today before the snow storm and are a great snack during meetings. Just be aware that it is very concentrated food, a small bite would be more than double the size of nuts and fruits to eat. See recipe

Seasonal baking

Traveling along the Moselle, visiting the German wine country a year ago, we quickly adapted to a southern speciality called Nussecken ( Nut Triangles ) that I haven’t seen in the North yet. Back here I tried a recipe and then forgot about it, now with new baking energy in Advent season I am veganizing existing recipes. Nut triangles need a big amount of nuts, a blend of almonds and also hazelnuts. The triangles have two layers of dough and are filled with jam and are finally dipped in very dark chocolate. See Recipe

Crunchtime

Recently I started liking biscotti.  Some centuries ago, the hard Italian, twice baked cookie was a non perishable food staple for Roman Legions, today it is a popular coffee dipper. Perfect with a Veggechino!
As often, I am curious to know what I am eating, and it happened that I found a recipe. Continue reading

Valentine’s Chocolate Marzipan

Is there such thing as a healthy Marzipan? According to the History of Lübeck, the German town known for it’s marzipan, the sweet paste was invented during a famine when flour was not available, with a recipe most likely from the Middle East. A good German style marzipan has at least 50% almonds and 50% sugar and spices. Do not buy if sugar or other sweetener is first on the ingredient list. Continue reading

Decadent Valentine’s

Have you craved Mousse-au-Chocolat lately? If you thought, you can never eat such decadent dessert again, as real mousse contains raw egg, butter or alcohol, here is good news: This vegan version is superior to what I have tested in years! It also won’t collapse as easily as a regular mousse does, plus you don’t need such a difficult dance in cooling time. You will however, need a food processor, as the mix is too dry for a regular blender. Tip: Make some more, the small amount I listed barely makes it out of the machine… Now you just have enough prep time for Valentine’s recipe

Functional Foods

Brendan Brazier, professional Ironman Triathlete from Vancouver, BC  is also vegan. His early research in the nutritional field has been circling around how to improve performance with nutrition, by minimizing the stress that ordinary and high acidic foods may cause to the body. Brazier moved to a diet that uses naturally ‘functional foods’. Continue reading

The cure for the common Christmas cookie

Butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. The regular Christmas cookie is a bomb. Four Sundays preceding Christmas are celebrated as Advent, when many traditional baked goodies and sweets are consumed. They might leave you feel stuffed and cranky for days and will eventually settle on your hips.  Continue reading

Better Sweets

Ah Truffles – I have been craving sweets. Lucky if you have a food processor, that can process sticky dry mixes such as truffles. If you are not so lucky, there are ways to trick an old fashioned blender into doing the job. Try to chop everything separately in dry condition and do the soaking and blending part later by hand. Continue reading