Food, Review

experiments in raw vegan baking

photo (1)

I recently visited one of Copenhagen’s raw restaurants, Raw42 on Pilestræde, and was really taken by their raw desserts. They have these amazing mint layered brownies that are absolutely insane. Why eat raw desserts? In some ways they’re not a category of desserts to eat if you’re worried about eating light. They’re pretty heavy, as they substitute a lot of gluten and dairy items for rich fats and ample fruit sugars. Yet all things considered, healthy fats (nuts, nut flours, coconut oil) and fruit sugars (dates, berries) seem like a fine  way to construct a dessert. I’d rather eat desserts like these over the weird pseudo-food combinations found in the US (fat free Reddi-Whip, anyone?) as they’re more natural.

I experimented recently with two raw desserts. One is borrowed from This Rawsome Vegan Life’s book Rawsome Vegan Baking: An Un-Cookbook. The other is just something I created in honor of the Minnesota dessert bars of my college past, specifically the raspberry crumble bars we had in my college dining hall.

raw strawberry almond bars (raw, vegan, gluten-free, processed sugar-free)

crust: 3/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes, 1 & 1/2 cups almond flour, 1/8 cup tahini, 1/2 cup pitted soft dates, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

(combine with a food processor until you get a crumbly ball of dough. press into baking tray (8×8 max)

topping: 1 cup strawberries, 3/4 cup soft pitted dates, 1/3 cup water

(combine with a food processor and spread over the crust. freeze. top with sliced figs!)

tahini cups with coffee cream (raw, vegan, gluten-free, processed sugar-free) 

from rawsome vegan baking: an un-cookbook


shell: 1/3 cup tahini, 1/2 cup coconut oil

filling: 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled & 1 cup raw pitted dates (the super soft kind)


stir tahini and melted coconut oil together. pour half into the bottom of muffin tins, or tiny cup tins – whatever you have lying around that will give you the vague ‘classic peanut butter cup’ shape. place in refrigerator for 10 minutes, or until hardened.

use a blender, food processor, or hand blender to combine the coffee and dates into a uniform paste with no chunks. remove tins from fridge, spoon a dollop of filling onto each cup bottom. spread out but do not go all the way to the edge, otherwise your cups will end up more like little sandwiches as mine did.

use the remaining shell mixture to cover each cup. return to the refrigerator for 15 minutes. enjoy but remember: they will melt quickly if exposed to heat, so store in the freezer and enjoy pretty immediately after removing.

Food, Review

vegetarian and raw eats in stockholm

8t8 swedenborgsgatan 1

this cozy health food grocery store slash cafe boasts an impressive amount of specialty goods in such a small space. organic fruits & vegetables, condiments, chocolate, spices, teas, grains, alternative proteins – the list goes on and on. they offer a large collection of raw snacks, including chocolate, snack bars, and crackers. home-made treats change daily – the first day i walked in there were slices of raw carrot cake and raw energy balls, while the second time i visited they had made tropical mango chia seed pudding. for lunch they offer a rotation of noodle & salad bowls five ways, for around 100 sek – i tried the rice noodle salad with curried tofu cubes. it was topped with seaweed, sprouts, and came with a wonderful dressing. the best part was that they accommodated my love of spice and brought out a basket with oils, red pepper flakes, and other asian condiments. do not miss out on the freezer full of lily & hanna’s rawfood ice cream. you will be tempted to try them all. my advice: give in.

hermans vegetariska restaurang fjällgatan 23b

a vegetarian stockholm classic. they offer discounts for students so you’ll see a lot of young people eating at this all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet. sit outside and you’re treated to one of the best views of stockholm, overlooking the harbor area. (should normal seating prove not relaxing enough, they have hammocks, too.) i was impressed by their selection of well-seasoned dishes that span a variety of cuisines – mediterranean, indian, italian, etc. bland buffet food this is not. coffee & tea are included in the buffet price. check out their dessert area – it’s worth paying extra to try some of their home-made sweets. the raw cake was sold out when i visited, but they have a variety of vegetarian and raw desserts including cakes, cheesecake, muffins, energy balls, cookies, and bars. i’d recommend visiting the fotografiska museum afterwards: it’s open late and is located just down the stairs from hermans. lunch is around 110 sek, dinner is around 175 sek.

drop coffee wollmar yxkullsgatan 10

delicious small batch roasted coffee (micro-roast?) near mariatorget. you can get a tasting flight and sample several of their bean varieties. there are a few choice seats outside for people watching and maximizing summer sun, if you can manage to snag one amongst all of the strollers. inside is light, airy, and open – the perfect place to do some reading and watch the talented staff – it is an art form here. light sandwiches and food available as well.

ecobaren @ centralbadet drottninggatan 88

if you’re willing to splurge a little bit, you’ll find ecobaren tucked into a leafy green courtyard alongside centralbadet, one of stockholm’s oldest bathing houses. take a seat outside or in, and you’ll probably be surrounded by relaxed spa-goers in white robes sucking down smoothies. they offer organic drinks and homemade juices as well as a variety of salads, classic scandinavian plates, raw entrees, and warm dishes for those that want more substance. the raw pad thai is good, and make sure to try the raw energy plate for 170 sek – a beautiful, colorful plate with lots of different vegetables, topped with a delicious tomato walnut pesto and homemade raw crackers. very filling!

Food, Review

Tomato Tart

This is a wonderful, easy, French-inspired summer tart — and it will be better when tomatoes are actually in season, but I couldn’t wait to start making it. It’s adapted from the Spring Hill Community Farm Cookbook, courtesy of a friend’s housemate who offered to sell it to us after I told him I was sort of obsessed with it. It’s full of community recipes, farm wisdom, seasonal stories, a few songs and poems, and general food happiness.

Tomato Tart

1 frozen roughly 8×10-inch puff pastry sheet OR 9-inch pie crust (puff pastry sheet is ideal, in this case I used pie crust and it was still delicious, but more thin crust pizza-like)

2 1/2 tablespoons either honey mustard or dijon mustard

1/2 cup either parmesan, gruyere, or gouda cheese, grated

3 medium tomatoes, sliced thin

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 tsp of all of the following: rosemary, thyme, oregano

pinch of salt, twist of ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Defrost puff pastry or crust according to the box. Unroll onto a pie dish or a normal cookie sheet (size doesn’t really matter here). Spread mustard over the surface. Layer cheese over that, followed by tomatoes (arranged so that the majority of them don’t overlap). Drizzle olive oil on top, followed by the spices. (Optional: sun-dried tomatoes also add a lot of flavor for this tart, either layered alongside fresh tomatoes or cut up and sprinkled on top.)

Bake for 15-20 minutes — it will be done when the tops of the tomatoes look slightly dried and the crust/pastry is browned.

Review, Uncategorized

butcher & the boar

There are times where I feel silly for not advocating for myself…to myself…enough. (What does that mean, girl.) Well, it means that during the course of my dinner this past Saturday at Butcher and the Boar, I didn’t take any pictures. I talked myself out of it. I got embarrassed at the thought of being another girl with an iPhone who was Instagramming her meal and taking pictures and being all teenage-y. In my mind, a 22 year old woman taking her friend out to dinner, looking wonderful and classy, should avoid food photographs.

Jury’s still out on that one. People may poke fun at recreational food photography, but at the end of the day I should have talked back to myself and said, “You’re going to want to write something about your meal, and you’re going to want photographs, by God, take a stupid picture! Maybe be a little sneaky, but take a picture!” Here’s the thing. Don’t let anyone tell you you shouldn’t commit a delicious meal to memory. Do not: take 100 photos, let your food get cold, take shitty photos & share them shamelessly, post 100 photos to Facebook, brag (too much), think that your food photos belong in God’s own Food Scrapbook. Don’t. But a few photos? Yes. If only for the personal satisfaction of looking back at them later and remembering what a delicious meal it was, indeed.

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Food, Review

Get your kicks at 10,000 Licks

What best captures the flavors of summer in Minnesota? There’s a strong argument for the State Fair, with its bacon, butter, cheese, and Twinkies. Perhaps it’s the hot, spicy street food from the numerous trucks that line city streets during lunch time. A cold pint of Summit? Fresh berry jam? The list goes on and on. How about another option for tasting a seasonal variety of local flavors: the popsicle. Specifically, a popsicle at 10,000 Licks.

10,000 Licks is the brainchild of Andi McDaniel and Sarah Newberry, who funded the project through a Kickstarter campaign last summer. The campaign received well over the original goal of $10,000, and the money funded, among other things, a proper freezer cart, biodegradable packaging, molds, and vendor permits. Currently 10,000 Licks is in its second season and Sarah can be found with the cart at various farmers’ markets, events, and private parties. This year, 10,000 Licks included an Ice Pop CSA, which meant that customers could pay to pick up a different box of flavors every other week. The best part about 10,000 Licks is that it sources many of its ingredients locally.

The flavors are unlike anything you’ve tasted in a popsicle before, and while certain classics will appease the shy and the unadventurous (strawberry rhubarb, coconut) I would recommend going a little out of your comfort zone – you’ll be rewarded. When I visited the stand they did not have Vanilla Beet (which I was curious about) but they did have Sweet Corn and Cantaloupe Ginger. The Sweet Corn, which Sarah told me raises a lot of eyebrows, was perfectly creamy, and the corn tasted so natural as a sweet flavor that I didn’t think twice about it. It was like tasting a corn bread & vanilla ice cream milkshake. Does that sound weird? There’s really no way to correctly describe how delicious and at the same time unprecedented the flavor is. Similar to this garlic ice cream, take my word for it or try it yourself! The Cantaloupe Ginger was tart, and very gingery. I love ginger, and I was happy to discover that this popsicle did not scrimp on ginger’s spicy kick.

For $3, you get the perfect treat with which to wander around shopping on a sunny Saturday morning. The flavors change every time the cart is out and about, and you can rest easy knowing that like Minnesota’s countless outdoor markets, these pops, too, are naturally delicious. For more information on 10,000 Licks, including where to find the cart, check out the website here.

Food, Review

MN Food Truck Fair: high attendance, some kinks, delicious food & beer

This afternoon I headed to downtown Minneapolis to partake in what was billed as the city’s “first annual Food Truck Fair.” I had seen a deal for half off of an entry ticket ($7, down from $15) which would give me general admission. The event was also selling various levels of VIP passes that ranged from $30 t0 $80, giving you unlimited food truck samples, a whiskey tasting, and mini jucy-lucy sample. (For those who don’t know: a jucy lucy is a cheese-stuffed burger that originated in southern Minneapolis. It is beyond delicious.) I decided to grab a friend and go. The event cost me $20, which included parking and the two discounted passes.

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Recipe, Review

Shake it Right

When I lived in Pennsylvania as a child, there was a pharmacy right by my house. This pharmacy was pretty standard for a local pharmacy: wizened pharmacist in the back along with medications, followed by rows of outdated perfumes, discount chapstick, hair products, and hand mirrors that were collecting a thin film of dust. But this pharmacy was also a pharmacy in the old-school sense: the front of the house boasted a small diner with a long formica counter, ’50s Coke advertisements, and shiny metal diner stools. To this nine year old, who could barely climb a stool by herself, the pharmacy was a place of wonder: it had all of the Americana foods, from the Wonder Bread grilled cheese (delicious, if a bit flat) to New York egg-creams. (It was a sad day indeed when I finally tried an egg cream only to realize it was not the custardy, creamy goodness I had imagined, but essentially chocolate syrup and soda water, with a splash of milk.) On the rare occasion we were allowed to get dessert, my sister and I knew exactly what to order: proper milkshakes, with whipped cream and a canned cherry on top. Out came the milkshake, and out came the silver blender cup. Ah, the silver blender cup. If you happened to finish your “official” milkshake, then there really was no being fancy about it – it was time to break into the reserves. The silver blender cup was my salvation. So what if it always put me a little too much past full, every time?

Alas, that pharmacy closed years ago. While I have almost broken my blender from use at college these past three years, I don’t buy many milkshakes these days. McDonalds? Perkins? It’s too disappointing.

Let it be known that chivalry is not yet dead. At The Malt Shop in south Minneapolis, they still do right by you and your shake. They have a veritable army of shake flavors, ranging from the common (vanilla, chocolate) to the intriguing (fig, cantelope, orange) to the outrageously rich (peanut butter, apple pie, butterscotch). You can combine flavors, but a single flavor will only set you back around $5 with tax. If this sounds a little expensive, let me remind you: it comes with the silver cup, no questions about it.Recently, my spoon scraped along the side of a mint milkshake, which has to be one of the most refreshing flavors there is. The Malt Shop lets you order your milkshakes with ice cream or frozen yogurt, and I found that my frozen yogurt shake seemed to be a little thicker and creamier than the ice cream version. The following is a recipe for a Malt Shop-inspired shake. Fig and banana is a beloved flavor of theirs, and I made my own Mediterranean-style treat.

Banana Date Milkshake
Serves 1

4 medjool dates, pitted and diced
1 tablespoon honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 banana, sliced in small pieces
1/2 cup almond milk (lactose-free milk such as soy, coconut, or almond yields creamier shakes)
3/4 cup Greek frozen yogurt (try Ben & Jerry’s, Adonia or make your own)

Combine all ingredients in a blender, adding more fro-yo or milk to achieve shake consistency. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and enjoy.

(Originally posted on SKC.)