I’m back with more about our adventures near Walla Walla, although this time it will all be food talk! Yippee!
First off, I want to start with a photo that really belonged to my previous post, but hey, what can you do? These things happen. *shrugs* I was mentioning how our hosts live right in the heart of apple country. During one of our walks in the orchard across the street we found the odd apple still in the trees. Among them was probably the largest one we’ve ever seen! The pesticide coating was so thick (yuck!) that we had to rub it energetically to make it nice and shiny.
While we walked we noticed how some of the trees in each row were bearing teeny miniature apples that hadn’t been picked at all. Brian explained that the main purpose of these is to act as pollinators.
Apples, big and small
In Matt & Dawnen’s Sunny Kitchen
As I was saying before, Matthew and Dawnen have been experimenting with raw foods for a good while. Often times when we stay with folks, we’re the ones who end up sharing a lot of our knowledge. This time it was my turn to be in the apprentice’s position and learn a bunch of new tricks and techniques. In the coming weeks you can expect to read feature posts on how to grow micro-greens, make Coconut Yogurt and assemble Matt’s famous Hot & Cold Salad.
We happened to be there for Dawnen’s birthday, so we all got together for a little feast.
Me with the birthday girl
One of the challenges of living in a trailer is the lack of sufficient light. Like me Matt is a sucker for having his working space very well lit, so he’s come up with the perfect solution: a head lamp. Actually once you get used to seeing so clearly you sort of get addicted; now Matt wears his lamp pretty much all of the time! he he
Closely watching Dawnen preparing a Dipping Sauce for veggie rolls. Notice that she’s wearing a head lamp too; it’s contagious I tell ya!
Whizzing up our raw soup du jour. And nope, that’s not a head lamp near my forehead. 😉
For the main course we assembled our own veggie rolls with both rice paper and nori sheets.
Matt making sure everything is looking good.
At some point Brian got hold of Matt’s super duper camera and took all sorts of shots throughout the evening.
… looking very much relaxed, as usual. 😉
Feasting at Vedra & Merle’s
We were invited for lunch a couple of weekends ago by Dawnen’s mom and step-dad. They eat fairly healthy to begin with, since, as members of the 7th day Adventist Church, honoring the temple of our bodies is particularly emphasized. I certainly didn’t expect to partake in such a raw feast, though! Vedra really went all out in whipping up a bunch of yummy stuff!
See for yourselves…
A nut based Chili
Cauliflower and Jicama Rice
Dawnen and Matt contributed lots of goodies for salad, including freshly harvested micro greens as well as a curried quinoa dish.
Don’s ginormous pile! It looked like a LOT of food (and it was!), but he didn’t come anywhere close to beating Matt’s 3 servings! lol I’m still not quite sure how can so much food go into such a thin man? 😉
More of Vedra’s handiwork: 2 kinds of sweet nut balls.
Giving Thanks in Good Company
We walked over to Matt & Dawnen’s trailer on Thanksgiving day to share a lovely meal. On the menu was a soup concoction of Don’s, a large salad with Peppercorn Ranch Dressing, Neat Balls, mashed potatoes freshly harvested from their garden, and Miso Gravy.
Most of the salad ingredients also came from their garden. So vibrant in both colors and flavors!
The Neatballs recipe came from Gabriel Cousens’ Rainbow Green, Live-Food Cuisine. I thought that they had a nice flavor from the herbsbut they were a tad too salty for my taste.
From Gabriel Cousens’ Rainbow Green, Live-Food Cuisine
Recipe posted here
1 C almonds, soaked
1/2 C walnuts, soaked
1 C olive oil
1/4 C leeks
2 celery stalks
1 T sage
1 T marjoram
1 T thyme
2 t Celtic salt
Homogenize nuts with oil.
Finely chop and stir in leeks, celery, herbs and salt.
Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and dehydrate for 2-3 hours at 140F.
Matt’s Mods: He used only 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 cup of leeks and 5 celery sticks.
The recipe calls for serving these with Marinara Sauce but Dawnen opted for her own rendition of Gravy made with cashews, veggie broth and South River miso.
Afterwards we just hung out for a while. Almost as soon as Don and I got settled on the couch Mr. Bean hopped on so that he could snuggle between us. Awwwww! It seems that every time we come over he feels more and more comfortable in our presence. 😉
Beanie was all chilled… until Dawnen got dessert out: raw vegan pear ice cream freshly made in their fancy ice cream maker. He was so thrilled at the prospect of this treat that the poor fellow tripped while coming down from the couch. It’s not easy to maneuver around when you’ve lost the partial use of two of your legs! ;-(
Matt played around with our Sony a-57 camera for a while and captured this nice shot of Dawnen drinking her tea.
Meet the Matt-Man
During our stay Brian came up with the brilliant nickname of ‘Matt-Man’ for Matthew, partly inspired by the latter’s quirky old Subaru which was instantly dubbed the ‘Matt-mobile’. he he Anyhoo, one afternoon we all climbed into the Matt-mobile and went grocery shopping in Walla Walla. It turned out to be quite the funny expedition. Not sure what had gotten into him that day, but Matt-Man sure was being a goofy guy!
Nice hat, Matt!
But the funniest bit was when he managed the considerable feat of getting (most of) himself and Mr. Bean into one of those kiddie buggies. Mr. Bean seemed to enjoy the ride, especially when Matt beeped the horn. 😉 The tough part, though, wasn’t so much getting in as getting out of the thing afterwards! lol
One thing is for sure, Matt is a super interesting character! 😉 He knows heaps about all sorts of topics. Oh, the fascinating (and long!) conversations that Don and Matt had! I also spent a good deal of time hanging at their trailer, picking his brain and soaking up all kinds of helpful info.
Matt likes to amp things up; his motto? The more the better! When Matt does something, he likes to “go all the way, including the postage.” For instance a few weeks ago he made such a huge amount of sauerkraut that I could barely lift up the bowl. It filled something like 9 two-quarts Mason jars. 😉
One Sunday Dawnen and I took over her mom’s kitchen and turned it into a raw chocolate factory. Woo hoo! We had several recipes on our to-make list, but it all went very smoothly. Even so, by the time we finished cleaning up our mess it was nearly 7 hours later. Eeek! Call it the ‘Raw Choccie Marathon’! 😉
We worked with two basic chocolate recipes: the one featured in Matthew Kenney’s Raw Chocolate book as well as Pamela Vinten’s Recipe #1 from her Amazing Guilt-Free Chocolate. We also experimented with different kinds of sweeteners – maple syrup, agave, honey and coconut nectar – although neither of us thought of taking notes of what was in what. Ooopsie! We also kinda lost track of which choc recipe we used for some of our goodies. Ah well, as it happened all the variations turned out marvelously well! 😉
Both of us felt drawn to certain recipes from Matthew Kenney’s book, so we each played with those individually. In the end we split all of our goodies anyways. Yay! I thought that the lighting wasn’t the greatest for some of the pics I took that night, so I got more shots in daylight, hence the double pics.
Marzipan Stuffed Choccies
Mint and Candied Nibs
Hazelnut Almond Chocolate Bars
As a matter of convenience we used the dehydrator method for melting the cacao butter and paste, as recommended in Matthew’s book. We did end up returning the chocolate mixture to the D while we were working on other recipes. I’m not 100% sure how that affected the tempering process but most of our choccies did turn out nice and shiny, except for a couple of recipes. I’m actually thinking that the molds might have been the culprits for these.
Walnut Maple Chocolates
We both really like Cafe Gratitude’s Coconut Almond Joys which we’ve prepared on a number of occasions. And so we split up a batch between us. I think that the last time I made these I worked on a picnic table at a California campground under Kylo’s intense scrutiny. How he used to love chocolate! Not to worry though, we never let him indulge in this compulsion. One time he ate several artisan organic chocolate bars that we’d made the mistake of leaving in the vehicle with him while we continued our shopping. When we returned he had wolfed them down, wrapping and all. He didn’t even so much as burp. hehe
There were a little bit of left over coconut filling which Dawnen turned into these gorgeous treats.
My intention was to also tell you about a potluck that we recently attended with their local health group, but this post is already getting long. How about I save it for another time, eh?