Tuesday, January 19, 2010

cake that's not a cake

Sharing more yumminess. (Dedicated to Kaho.)

Okay, so this is a raw vegan recipe but I don't have a dehydrator so I've technically been cooking this cake, since my oven doesn't go low enough. But it is not only as healthy as dessert can be, it is also hands down the most awesome carrot cake I (and anyone I've made it for) have ever tasted. Note: I usually double the recipe as it keeps fabulously fresh and long in the fridge.

Raw carrot cake

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup pitted dates
2 tablespoons ground flax seed (or ground oats*)
8 tablespoons coconut
4 tablespoons ground cashews
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons agave (or maple syrup, or honey*)**
1/4 tsp salt
nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon to taste

(* technically oats don't qualify as a raw ingredient, nor does maple syrup or honey, but real raw foodies would know that anyway...
** In any case, I usually omit the agave/syrup/honey since the raisins & dates lend plenty of sweetness for my taste.)

Grind your cashews and then your flax seed with a mortar & pestle or in the food processor. Set aside. Process the dates until smooth (they'll clump up in a big ball most likely). Add all the other ingredients except a handful of carrots and the nuts. Process until everything is as finely chopped as it seems to want to get. Dump into a bowl with the last carrots and the nuts, mix well.

Now you form it into whatever shape you want. I tend to make smallish cakes or loaf shapes so it will 'cook' (ie, dry out) faster. Last time I pressed it into an oil-sprayed pie plate and then sliced it up and smoothed the edges of each slice with my fingers.

You're supposed to dehydrate the thing(s) at 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) for I don't know how long because I can no longer find the recipe by James on Gone Raw since they changed their system awhile back. I leave mine in the oven at the lowest it goes (170F) until I find it looks/feels dry enough, but I think it usually takes a couple of hours.

I always make the original icing, which is a cashew cream. You make this as so: Soak cashews in water for several hours. Drain and dry well. Process them with a smidge of vanilla and a couple of teaspoons of agave until it's a nice smooth paste. Spread it on rather lightly since it's very rich.

But if you, like me, are not a real raw vegan, you could just as soon put a cream cheese icing on it.

Bet it becomes your fav too.

the long-sought perfect pancake

So I'm just going to ignore the lack of comments on my last overly-pathetic post (thanks to MM for being ever exceptional, thanks to my best bud L & long-lost J for their mails, and to MB & RL for listening via Skype) and try and cheer myself up by sharing the first recipe for regular pancakes that has ever allowed me to achieve the light & fluffiness I have long sought.

Plain old perfect pancakes

1.5 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
1 cup milk

Melt the butter & set it aside to cool. Combine the dry ingredients with a whisk. Add the cooled butter & the egg, stir lightly. Add the milk & whisk briefly (don't over-blend). Cook in buttered pan or griddle at medium-high.

This morning I spread them with a very light coat of cream cheese while they were still hot and then drizzled them with some divine honey from the organic farm we order from. (See orig Honey & Jam post of this recipe if you prefer it with a blueberry maple sauce.)

Absolutely perfect.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

the beast

Today begins Day 6 of my third migraine since New Year's eve. One could say that for me, 2010 has so far certainly been a tiger -- a tiger with my head in its mouth.

So... I post this for two reasons. First, it is in lieu of toiling longer on all the e-mails I owe, for the light of the computer is not advisable, something recently proven by science. And also, to stir hearts, evoke empathy, draw warm tender thoughts from afar.

'Afar' being the key word, since those around me have trouble feeling empathetic towards the irritable, sunglasses-sporting ogre that I am. Colleagues cringe in my presence and Aran... well, though I am not an easy chore for certain, he is failing gravely in the pained brain-side manner department.

Let me tell a little story as an example of not just his shortfall, but of my state of mind as well, I suppose. How fitting a time to revisit my cheery childhood memories of abandonment and mistreatment! The latter is incidentally also now suspected as a formative cause to the development of migraines.

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my heartless witch of a foster mother took me along on a visit to another foster mother's house. As the two beasts chatted (no doubt commiserating about how little they were paid for the "care" of the children they were housing, or how these kids couldn't do household chores at a fast enough rate), I was dispatched to play with the wards of the house.

Somehow, one of my rascally counterparts decided to cartwheel a little too close to where I stood and a foot impacted my mouth. Blood flowed copiously from the socket of my now extremely wobbly right upper eye tooth.

"It's far from your heart," the evil one declared after I was brought to her, bawling. "You'll live."

Since that tooth grew crooked, causing my smile to be forever lopsided, making young me quite self-conscious, I have always remembered that simple dismissal that spoke such volumes.

I suspect she uttered something equally icy a year or so before that when I, hanging upside down on a jungle-gym, fell. I recall not being able to move my head for days and I also remember that we did not go to the doctor. However, though x-rays show that the impact of that fall permanently contorted my neck, I can allow that the root of her carelessness may have also involved (aside from her true cold-hearted nature) ignorance. For there was no blood that time, only invisible damage to soft tissue and spine.

Well, this true-life fable has meandered on and I have lost the ability to articulate the moral. Suffice to say, A's all I've got in the support and affection department and he seems at a loss, frequently uttering pat phrases that strike me as thoughtless and evoke that disgusting woman from the past.

Perhaps also I hope to alleviate as much of the ignorance out there as possible, for the sake of other migraineurs who might need empathy and understanding as they struggle with this beast of a neurological syndrome.

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