Monday, February 13, 2017

Sexy Raw Vegan Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Beet Appetizer

A popular proverb has it that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. On Valentine's Day this is true for everybody provided your food looks sexy and has ingredients that work on all the senses. Don't forget the ambience!

Aphrodisiacs have been used in many cultures for thousands of years and their use is fairly well documented. With an addition of some herbs and spices, any meal can be turned to a sensual experience. Raw food is not different.

There are a few simple rules to follow when you want to excite the senses. Color, shape and texture of used ingredients are as important as the spices and herbs you intend to use. If you are not well experienced with spices, start with very small amounts. You can always add more if you think a dish needs it. Use spices and herbs that harmonize and complement one another. You should create a complex gustatory and olfactory experience that is sensual and mysterious, not something that would kick your partner out of his or her socks at the first bite.

~ Heart Shaped Beet Stacks ~

  • 3 medium large beets
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 tsp cayenne
  • 1/3 tsp pink Himalaya salt
  • 1/3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp maca powder
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch cardamom

  • Wash and peel the beets. Using a very sharp knife or a mandolin, cut beets into thin slices.Use the cut outs to make a juice or in a salad. Don't waste anything.
  • Using heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out hearts out of beet slices. I used three sizes of cookie cutters to add a little more dynamic to the dish. Set the beet hearts aside. You may want to keep them covered with a slightly moist tea towel to prevent them from drying out.
  • Toss all remaining ingredients into a food processor and pulse blend until well combined. The cranberry filling should not be too thin, but must be creamy enough, or you will have a hard time in assembling the beet stacks. 
  • Adjust the taste to your personal liking. You may want to add more cayenne or more cardamom. It is up to you. The amounts I used were perfect for me. 
  • To assemble the beet stacks divide your hearts into three groups. (Using different sizes of cookie cutters helps a lot.) Place a dollop of cranberry mass (about 1 tsp) on each heart and flatten it a bit with the back of a spoon. Put another beet heart on it and add another dollop of cranberry mass. Flatten it with a back of the spoon and place another beet heart on top of it. You can make the stacks taller, I stopped at three. 
  • To garnish the beet stacks you can use a small amount of cranberry mass and edible red heart confetti. You do not need to eat them, but they look nice.
  • Arrange the ready made heart stacks on a large platter and serve as an appetizer (for up to four people) or as a main course for two. Whatever you decide, these delicious beet hearts make a wonderful part of any sensual Valentine's Day dinner. Enjoy in good company!

Wishing everybody a wonderfully sensual Valentine's Day! While you are having fun, remember to celebrate love every day! - In radiant health, passionately raw - Dominique

Dominique Allmon@2017


Saturday, January 28, 2017

8 Ingredients Raw Vegan Yu Sheng Salad Or The Prosperity Toss

Have you ever dined in a Chinese restaurant in Singapore during the Chinese New Year and wondered about the activity at the table next to yours? 

If you did you were probably amazed by a group of people sitting around the table engaged in vigorous tossing of a salad in a large bowl placed in the center of the table. This is a slightly strange picture since most of us grew up hearing that it is not good to play with your food, especially in a restaurant. But Yu Sheng salad, also known as a Prosperity Toss, is an exception. If you want to prosper in a New Year, you better toss.

Traditionally this New Year's dish includes thinly sliced raw fish. If you are an omnivore who loves raw fish you may want to try the original ancient recipe that has its origins in South China as far back in time as the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). If you are a vegan, try my version of it that is just as tasty. 

Yu Sheng means raw fish, and the pronunciation sound like growing abundance (increase in abundance). This is why this salad is served around New Year.

I reduced the number of ingredients to eight. Eight is considered to be a lucky number in Chinese culture since the Chinese word for "eight" (ba) is pronounced almost like the word for "prosperity" (fa).

  • 1 daikon radish
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 beet
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 pink grapefruit or pomelo
  • 1 hot chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw peanuts or macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup Chinese plum sauce

  • Wash and peel the vegetables. Using a julienne slicer, shred the veggies into long thin strips. You can also spiralize your vegetables if you prefer. 
  • Arrange the vegetable julienne in a large round bowl. Set aside. 
  • Using a very sharp paring knife supreme the grapefruit. If you do not know how to make citrus supremes follow my tutorial. It teaches you how to supreme a lime. Just follow the steps with your grapefruit. 
  • Arrange grapefruit supremes on top of the vegetable julienne. Squeeze grapefruit juice out of the membranes that remain after supreming into the salad bowl. Do not waste anything.
  • Pour the plum sauce into a small bowl. Add sliced chili pepper.
  • Use another small bowl to serve the chopped peanuts.  
  • Place the salad bowl in the center of the table. Add chopped peanuts and the plum sauce. After the condiments had been added, exchange greetings for the New Year. Using chopsticks start tossing the salad until all ingredients are well combined. Rise the chopsticks as high as you can. Do not worry about the mess. This little "ritual" is real fun in a company of a few good friends. It allows you to symbolically toss your worries away and welcome the good fortune.
  • Once the salad is nicely mixed and everybody is merry,  serve it onto individual bowls and enjoy!

  • To decorate my salad bowl I used crushed chili pepper. I dipped my finger into the plum sauce and spread it around the rim of the bowl, then I sprinkled chili flakes on top of it making sure they stay fixed. 
  • I used very hot pepper in my recipe. The burning sensation is to symbolize the fire - one of the Five Elements that is also describing the current zodiac animal, namely the Fire Rooster.
  • My vegan Yu Sheng salad turned out really good, but you can try some variations of it. You may want to use seaweed, julienned red bell pepper, julienned yam, sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, Chinese five spices powder, ground white pepper, and pickled ginger. Instead of plum sauce you can use a dressing made out of rice vinegar, lime juice, honey and sesame seed oil. Experiment! It is fun.
  • By all means use a large, round bowl. Roundness symbolizes fullness and is more auspicious for the New Year. Large bowl also makes the tossing easier and prevents a big mess on the table.


Wishing everybody a very happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Fire Rooster - in radiant health, passionately raw - Dominique

Dominique Allmon©2017


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