Orange Dark Chocolate Raw Tart… decadence!

This is one of the most delicious cakes I have prepared so far, by sure!
The consistency is lighter and softer than other vegan pies I have tried, so smooth you’ll feel it melting in your mouth…. delicious!! Hope you enjoy=]

1 ½ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup raw cacao powder
½ cup raw carob powder
1 cup water
1 cup raw agave nectar
½ cup raw almond butter
3 avocado
2 ½ tablespoons orange zest
½ cup raw walnuts
½ cup raw pecans
½ cup raw almonds
5 dates

1.Crust preparation:: In the food processor process the almonds, pecans, walnuts and dates. Place in a brownie pan and mix in 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil. Press firmly until it becomes a compact crust.

2.Filling preparation:: Now process the avocados, agave nectar, water, cacao powder, carob powder and orange zest in the food processor. Once fully incorporated, add the rest of the coconut oil and almond butter and process until velvety.

3.Assembling:: Place the chocolate paste into the nut crust and even with a spatula. Dust a bit of carob powder on top or decorate with candied orange zest.

4.Setting:: Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours, it’s even better over night! Enjoy and nom nom…

Ninja Birthday Cake!!!

Ninja Birthday Cake!!

I think traditions matter. I don’t keep many but the few I keep are precious and having a birthday cake is probably, for me, one of the main ones… I’m also a Christmas sucker. I LOVE Christmas.
We take so much for granted. We take life itself, time, ourselves for granted. As we grow older we loose the spirit for celebration, we become practical and lazy, from the big birthday parties we had as children now we go out for dinner at a restaurant IF we do something at all. This is one of the aspects about India I love the most, they are BIG on parties, celebrations and traditions… and that IS an understatement! Sometimes I think the main reason for loosing the celebrating spirit is that somewhere along the way, we loose hope. We loose excitement and miss out on the magic and the real important things. Because they are “small” and there are “big” things like work and money.

Well… for me birthdays are big. Because I am big. So on my birthday I want to celebrate being alive. I want to celebrate people in my life. It’s more challenging than you think!! or maybe you know exactly how challenging it is, because birthdays are the perfect day for anyone to feel small. Finding meaning in something to celebrate it when you are “grown up” is hard… finding that in your own self, celebrate your self… even harder.

I think it’s about gratitude as well. Recognize the magic around and be grateful… another challenge for many of us.

Challenge accepted.
This weekend we celebrated Chris’ birthday. And there is so much to celebrate! So much to be thankful. If you are reading this post then of course you are on top of what we do and there is so much more behind scenes, those “small” things are the most magical. But before sharing some of it with you here’s the recipe for the BIRTHDAY CAKE:) …and it had to be a Ninja cake OBVIOUSLY.

This is based on the Vegan Chocolate Pie recipe just with a few modifications that makes it… well, I’ll let you try it and judge for yourself..

6 ripe avocados
1 1/2 cup raw agave néctar
8 oz unsweetened dark chocolate melted – careful not to burn it!
8 oz natural soft peanut butter
3 Tbsp sucanat
8 big dates
1 cup pecan nuts
1 cup almonds
1/3 cup coconut oil melted
2/3 cup natural shredded coconut unsweetened
2 Tbsp powdered cinnamon

1. Let’s start with the crust. On a food processor chop the pecans and almonds, not too fine that it ends up as nut flour, you want to still be able to bite it and feel it crumble in your mouth, but fine enough that you can mix with the other ingredients and shape it.

2. Now chop the dates really fine and mix with the nuts, shredded coconut, cinnamon and coconut oil, you should have some sort of hard paste with visible chunks of nuts, dates and coconut. Once it’s all integrated, press firmly into your cake mold including the edges. How thick you want to crust is up to you… I like it thick;)

3. Let the crust rest aside and in a blender blend the avocados with 1 cup of agave until smooth. Mix in gently 7 oz. of the melted chocolate and scoop into the crust in rough uneven scoops. Now add the peanut butter the same way, in rough uneven scoops and then smooth it all leveling the surface. Try to use as few movements as possible so you don’t blend the chocolate and peanut butter entirely, you want the marble effect.

4. On a separate bowl, mix the remaining oz of melted chocolate with the 1/2 cup agave that is left until you make a glossy paste, distribute on the cake surface until everything is covered. Now sprinkle the sucanat on top and refrigerate for at least 3 hours… I challenge you to come up with a more decadent vegan chocolate pie!! 😀

 

Sweet!! … Now tell me, isn’t it easier to find reasons to be grateful with something like this melting slowly in your tongue?

And I am DEEPLY grateful for today. I am grateful for having you in my life. I am grateful for your sense of humor and silliness. For your hands and the spiders and the monkeys and the whole zoo that is our life. Thank you for every single day, every single night and for being the only person I know that I don’t get tired of. Thank you for showing me the amazing world of biking, for the desert and the beach… including mosquitoes! Thank you for your sweetness and patience. For your craziness and grumpiness too. For the hard lessons and the sweet desserts. Thank you for being such an amazing cook… AND dishwasher! Thank you for sharing… everything. For those evenings doing yoga with our Christmas lights and the big fogatas. For working so hard on becoming the man you want to be. A million times more, thank you for the amazing man you are right now.

Chocolate Nut Quinoa Muffins…

Chocolate quinoa muffin

Yes… that is me! Ja!
But seriously, don’t you sometimes need to leave everything out the kitchen and just enjoy a simple, easy, relaxed time? The world will be there tomorrow with all that is happening now…  but ‘now’ will not be there tomorrow so you need to enjoy it, well, NOW. Tonight I feel that way so we are having muffin night. We’ve been so busy with the Ninjapalooza, making Vinomio, etc. Sometimes having vegan muffin night has therapeutical powers!

1/2 cup each of grounded flax seed, amaranth and quinoa
1/2 cup spelt flour
3 Tbsp. almond oil
1 smashed avocado
2/3 cup soy milk
1/2 cup sucanat
3 Tbsp. cacao powder
1/4 cup each of dried cranberries, almonds, walnuts and pistachios
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the grounded flax seed, amaranth and quinoa I use a coffee grinder. You can also use a blender (although sustitute the amaranth for more quinoa since the blender won’t break the amaranth) or buy the flour already grounded at the store. I figure is  best to have the whole grain and ground it myself, some of the flour you find at the store is from grains that were grounded months ago and have lost a lot of it’s freshness by now and also I feel the difference in my body, homemade is always best, it’s time to re-define homemade!

Ok, start by heating the oven at 450 degrees, mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl until they are well incorporated. Now add the rest of the ingredients little by little mixing throughly, start with the oil, then the avocado (you can also use apple puree, silken tofu or vegan yogurt) and then the milk. Pour into an oiled 6-muffin tray and into the oven for 25 minutes!

One tip, you can sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and sucanat at the top to get a crumbly sweet crust! and have a coffee mug with some wise advice next to you, that also helps!!

A serious bean and rice recipe for not so serious folks=]

dark prepared chocolate

Here is a whoop diddly recipe for a beans and rice meal with a side of plantains cooked Havanna Style.

For the Frijoles/that means beans, start by sautéing a large onion in the bottom of the pressure cooker, in whatever oil shakes your shaker.  For this I used Oilve.  Add to this a whole head of garlic, the cloves minced, sea salt to taste, black fresh ground pepper and the dry hot chili mix we made a little while ago in Mulege.  The dry chili mix is basically an assortment of dried chillis, hot or not, slow roasted until they turn to ash over a period of usually three hours.  This blackened ash is then added to oil for an instant mouthwatering salsa, or added to dishes such as this for seasoning.

beans cooking with rice on classic stove
beans cooking with rice on classic stove

Add to this sizzlefest some tomatoes, paprika and tumeric… Once everything is nice and browned, add the beans and water to near the top of the pressure cooker.

Lastly, I added to heaping spoons of unsweetened prepared DARK chocolate, you could just as easily use non milk dark chocolate baking squares…

Now just wait…. in about 30-45 min you’ll have the best beans EVER!

The Rice

Start by sauteing an oinion until it starts to brown, then add two carrots chopped lengthwise and sideways so that you have thin sticks.  Add raisins, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, tomato rough chopped, Habanero minced, thyme, oregano and lastly the rice.  Lower the heat and saute it ALL for a bit, until the rice browns slightly…

Now add water, keep the heat low and wait, when you see that almost all but a 16th of an inch of water remains or slightly less in the bottom of the pan – usually around 30 min, all relative though, turn off heat and keep covered.

rice cooked with carrots, raisins, onion, thyme, oregano, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper

Plantains

Get yourself a cooking banana, the darker the skin the better, cut it into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices, elipses more than just circles and fry in skillet with about a 1/4 inch of oil.  Make sure the oil is very hot but not smoking when you add the banana slices.  They will be ready on each side when it becomes a golden brown…

Niurka cooking plantains as done in Cuba

Almond/Lavender Chocolate truffles… nom nom…

Hemos estado algo apachurrados últimamente. El fin de semana dimos otro taller de cocina vegana, esta vez de postres… nom nom nom!!…  hay veces que algo dulce ayuda cuando nos entercamos en ver el dia amargo, cierto? así que les comparto esta receta para trufas de almendra. En lugar de almendras pueden usar otro tipo de nueces, la nuez de la India da una consistencia suave y cremosa, la nuez pecana algo un poco más seco y también podemos experimentar con otras hierbas, qué tal menta o cardamomo?

3 tazas de almendras

2 tazas de dátiles picados y sin hueso

1 ½ tazas de chispas de chocolate amargo

2 cucharadas de petalos de lavanda

2 cucharaditas de extracto de vainilla

  1. En un sartén colocar las almendras con un poco de agua y calentar a fuego medio hasta que la piel se suavice. Escurrir y una vez enfriadas retirar la cascara con los dedos.
  2. Licuar finamente las almendras con un poco de agua y colar hasta conseguir una pasta suave y ligeramente firme. La leche de almendras sobrante puede guardarse hasta una semana en el refrigerador.
  3. Mezclar la pasta de almendra con los dátiles, vainilla y lavanda. Formar bolitas de dos centímetros de diámetro y hornear durante 20 minutos.
  4. Una vez ligeramente doradas, dejar enfriar por completo. Una vez frías colocar en el congelador por dos horas.
  5. Derretir el chocolate a baño María y cubrir por completo las frufas.
  6. OPCIONAL: se pueden espolvorear con coco, almendras molidas, etc. para decorar.

Felices monchis!…

Hemos estado algo apachurrados últimamente. El fin de semana dimos otro taller de cocina vegana, esta vez de postres… nom nom nom!!…  hay veces que algo dulce ayuda cuando nos entercamos en ver el dia amargo, cierto? así que les comparto esta receta para trufas de almendra. En lugar de almendras pueden usar otro tipo de nueces, la nuez de la India da una consistencia suave y cremosa, la nuez pecana algo un poco más seco y también podemos experimentar con otras hierbas, qué tal menta o cardamomo?

3 tazas de almendras

2 tazas de dátiles picados y sin hueso

1 ½ tazas de chispas de chocolate amargo

2 cucharadas de petalos de lavanda

2 cucharaditas de extracto de vainilla

  1. En un sartén colocar las almendras con un poco de agua y calentar a fuego medio hasta que la piel se suavice. Escurrir y una vez enfriadas retirar la cascara con los dedos.
  2. Licuar finamente las almendras con un poco de agua y colar hasta conseguir una pasta suave y ligeramente firme. La leche de almendras sobrante puede guardarse hasta una semana en el refrigerador.
  3. Mezclar la pasta de almendra con los dátiles, vainilla y lavanda. Formar bolitas de dos centímetros de diámetro y hornear durante 20 minutos.
  4. Una vez ligeramente doradas, dejar enfriar por completo. Una vez frías colocar en el congelador por dos horas.
  5. Derretir el chocolate a baño María y cubrir por completo las frufas.
  6. OPCIONAL: se pueden espolvorear con coco, almendras molidas, etc. para decorar.

Felices monchis!…