Sorry folks, this week is a hectic one and therefore this post (and recipe) is a quick one. I am getting ready head up to Tremblant for my Half-Marathon and amidst the countless other things I have going on im my life, I still choose to make time to cook (or uncook in this case).
One week to go before the race, I decided that I would be very diligent about my nutrition and try to stick to 90% rawfood, see how I feel and evaluate how my training goes. Honestly though, I haven’t been very good lately. With lots of social events it is easy to get off track and indulge a little too much when eating out in all the fabulous restaurants Montreal has to offer… Icehouse, Kazu, Arepera and Qing Hua just to name a few…
Monday rolled around – 7 days until game day- and a plentiful CSA delivery that remained almost untouched. In that basket came a few turnips that I had no idea what to do with. I usually toss them into stews and soups, but this summer has been way too hot to even contemplate making soup.
Raw turnip? As if! but I had to try it. Out came the peeler. Out came the grater and I started shredding. I stuffed a little bunch of grated turnip in my mouth and discovered a surprisingly fresh, crisp peppery-ness that goes right up your nose the same way wasabi or some strong mustards do. Lots of character but in a good way – who would have thought that a humble turnip would have so much character! Attitude aside, dinner was served in no time flat .
Here’s the recipe for shredded turnip. I served it on top of a simple green salad with quinoa, but would be so nice on top of burgers or hot dogs for something different to try during these last BBQs of the summer.
Shredded Raw Turnip Salad
- 1 raw turnip
- 1/2 of a red onion
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp raw honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and honey until smooth. For these ingredients to be raw they need to be unpasterized and cold pressed in the case of the oil. These are fairly common to find, just make sure you read the labels carefully.
Peel the turnip and grate it. Thinly slice the red onion. Toss these ingredients with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve! You can aslo toss in some herbs to add some greenery to your salad, such as parsley or cilantro would work nicely. One turnip makes enough as a main ingredient to serve 4 people, or more if using it as a side or condiment.
There is so much talk these days about the best nutrition plan for achieving optimal physical performance. Recently the Globe and Mail published an article about the McRunner. So, some dude ran a personal best and finished in the top 30 at the LA Marathon, while sustaining himself only on a diet of processed food from McDonalds. The thought of this started to make my stomach churn but it did get me to thinking about the so-called “optimal” diet for all athletes at all levels and from all walks of life.
There are all sorts of diet books, performance formulas, gels and protein shakes out there, that it seems that we are playing a game of cat and mouse with our body and our nutrition. We constantly exchange tips, try other others’ winning recipes but ultimately the only thing that matters is what works for you and your body chemistry.
All I can say for myself is that I would much rather toy with natural ingredients and whole foods to come up with something that works for me. That is how these energy rolls came to be. So far I have only tried these pre and post training, but they are tasty, easy to eat and don’t require any prep before I run out the door. I hope you give these a try and if they don’t fit your training ritual then that’s okay too, At least at the end of the day you have a tasty treat to munch on!
Cacao-Nut Energy Roll
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 16-18 dates (depending on size and freshness)
- 1-2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp raw cacao nibs
- ¼ cup raw nut of choice, chopped (I used cashews)
- 3-4 tbsp raw nut butter of choice (I used cashew butter)
- Pinch of salt
In a food processor, finely grind the almonds and set aside in a mixing bowl. Combine the dates with 1 tbsp water and process until smooth. If your dates are a dry you may need to add another tablespoon water to help form a paste. Careful not to add too much water or else you will end up with a roll that is too soft to cut into discs.
Using a spatula, add the date paste to the ground almonds in the mixing bowl. Add the cacao powder, nibs and pinch of salt. Stir to blend well and ingredients should combine to form a stiff dough of sorts.
Place the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper and using a pastry roll (or a bottle), flatten out the mixture into a rectangular shape. Spread the nut butter and sprinkle the chopped nuts.
Using the parchment paper, roll over the dough to create a log. Tuck in the ends and press down to remove any potential air bubbles. Freeze for about an hour before slicing into discs about 1.5 cm thick.
I usually make this in large quantities, slice and keep in the freezer, so that I always have some ready to go – they only take a couple minutes to defrost.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you have any homemade training recipes, please share!
Every year my family gets together for a summer weekend party, filled with inside jokes, great food, fun in the sun and sometimes someone gets thrown into the water fully dressed. Lucky me, I come from a family of serious foodies. We all love to cook and experience with new recipes and ingredients. I am inspired by each and every one of them for all the diversity they bring to the table. Sure, sometimes it’s not easy to coordinate when you have about a dozen people contributing snacks, drinks and dishes – in the end it all works out.
The debate is always what to bring. The main is often planned well in advance (and there will be a special blog post dedicated solely to this main), therefore all that is left to do is put together salads, sides, apps, snacks, etc.
For a while I’ve wanted to experiment making a watermelon gazpacho, and now I had the perfect occasion to test out a recipe.
- 1 red onion, finely diced – about 1 cup
- 4 celery stalks, diced – about 1 ½ cups
- 2 cucumbers, diced – about 3 cups
- 3 large tomatoes, diced – about 6 cups
- 2 bell peppers, diced – about 1 ½ cups
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 2.5 liters of watermelon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp hot smoked paprika
- ½ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
So here it goes… this recipe easily feeds 12 to 16 people as an appetizer. Though I have included fixed measurements, what is important to note is the proportions so that you can cut the recipe is half or multiply it depending on how big or small your family is. When shopping for vegetables, go to your local farmers market so that you can get the freshest ingredients, and play around with colours and try using a variety of tomatoes – this really gives the dish a lot of subtle dimension.
In a large bowl, combine the finely diced red onion with the lemon juice and a couple pinches of salt and set aside for about 20 minutes or while you prep the remainder of the vegetables. When prepping the other vegetables, cut them up into a small dice and more or less the same size. Strain the juices, keeping only the onion. Combine all the diced vegetables, crushed garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and spices.
Slowly add the watermelon juice until the mixture is as chunky or soupy as you desire it. To make the watermelon juice, cut up a melon and process the flesh in a blender until liquid. You shouldn’t have any problem blending the fruit. If you do, simply grab a large wooden spoon and smash the watermelon a bit before turning on the blender.
Once all the ingredients combined, refrigerate and allow the flavours to mingle for at least an hour before serving. You can also make this up to 24 hours before serving. Serve cold and garnish with chives or croutons.
As the evening progresses, wine glasses are filled, dishes are passed around, tasted and recipes discussed.
Finally the night falls, a campfire is lit, the acoustic guitar is played, we all sign along out of tune, and so begins the marshmallow roasting competition…
I am a very physically active person, always have been and likely always will be. I often say that I run in order to eat anything and everything I want. That is only partially true… I need to run, my hyperactive personality drives me to train and set physical goals for myself. As a side-effect, I can eat anything and everything – but realistically, I don’t. I try to be very conscious of what I am putting into my body.
A lot of my time this summer will be dedicated to training. I am training to run the Half-Marathon in Mont-Tremblant on August 14th, the Canadian Sprint Triathlon (750m swim, 30k bike, 5k run) in Ottawa on September 3rd, and the Montreal Half-Marathon on September 25th.
With this new quest on cutting out processed foods and achieving a 60% raw and vegan diet, it is not always easy to find the right kind of fuel before or after your run. Before I used to rely on bagels and cream cheese before my long runs, and Gatorade during. Honestly not the best choices for me; I did not always feel the greatest during my training sessions and the taste of Gatorate often nauseated me. Now, when you are going au naturel, finding the right sources of energy, sodium, potassium and electrolytes is not easy. I am still trying to figure it out…
While I’m figuring it out, I have managed to do some things right and sneak a few tricks up my sleeve. Two of my favorite things to fuel up and recuperate pre and post training include: coconut water (I have a glass prior, bring it with me during long runs and have a glass after), and this Avocado Chocolate Milkshake that really sets the stage for a swift recovery (and an über tasty treat).
Add drinking lots of water and that’s what I’ve come up with so far. I am hoping to share more about my training foods, fuels and experiments over the next few months. If you have any suggestions for me, I’m all ears!
Avocado Chocolate “Milkshake”
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 dates, pitted
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp honey (or agave, or maple, etc…)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups of milk of your choice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 pinch of salt
- A couple of ice cubes
Scoop of the avocado and discard the pit. Use a milk of your choice: I suggest using a nut milk for a raw and vegan version, but you can also just as easily use regular low-fat milk. Begin by using only a cup of milk and add more while you blend to adjust for desired thickness of the “milkshake” until it reaches that perfect consistency. The salt helps round out and bring out all the flavours, and will help restore sodium and electrolytes for this great post-training treat.
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy.
It seems that I am always returning to the same dressing recipes. The same ones that are mixed up in a second and I never have to think twice about it. Sometimes I want to explore flavours, combinations and experiments but at the end of the day I always end up with the same ones. Many weeks ago, I put together a new dressing recipe that has made its way into my regular cycle. This curried dressing easily became a habit and opened up new salad combinations. See how to make it here and it pairs really well with sweet, so go ahead and try adding pears, grapes, apples, mango, pineapple or even dried fruit to your salads.
Recently I was in the mood for something creamy, garlicky and that certain je ne sais quoi, that umami flavour that sets off cravings for, in this case, for the ultra-fatty-not-so-healthy Caesar dressing. I thought about how to make one without all that egg or mayo or any other ingredient I would rather not know about (I’m talking out standard run-of-the-mill store-bought kind). I was also invited over to a friend’s house who is a rawfoodist, so thought it would be nice to bring a small hostess gift of homemade raw dressing for her. And so, a new dressing recipe is born.
A new favorite ingredient of mine is shiromiso. I used it to make soups and broths, especially good if cooking for vegetarian/vegan crowd – vegetable broths just don’t pack as much flavour. It is a great base for marinades, dips, spreads and dressings. Shiromiso is a white miso, a Japanese condiment that is made by fermenting rice and/or soybeans, and as a result falls into the living food category. When buying miso in general, watch out for preservatives and added sodium (it is naturally salty in flavour) and try to find organic. The kind I buy costs about $5 and last up to two months (and I use it all the time!). When making broth, I use about 1 tbsp per 1.5 cups of water.
Raw Caesar Dressing
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 tbsp shiromiso
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until creamy – yup, it’s just that easy. Pour over any salad and fresh vegetable combination. As you can see in the picture above, I combined lettuce, pears, tomatoes, celery, avocado and a sprinkle of blue cheese. I have also used this dressing as a creamy dip for grilled asparagus, that was awesome!
On another occasion, I brought this dressing with a large container of arugula to my office for a potluck lunch and it was a real hit with my colleagues! On the plus side, you do not have to worry about any ingredients sitting out for a prolonged under that hot summer sun.