Archive for November, 2011

Level 2: Day 3

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

LEVEL 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine

Week 1

Day 3: Maybe I’m Not Famous in OKC? Calamari w/Tartar & Romesco Sauces, Thai Salad w/ Creamy Thai Dressing & Flavor Macadamia “Goat” Cheese 

Today, The City Sentinel story hit the newsstands in Oklahoma City!  For a second, I daydreamed of paparazzi swarming the place where I am staying anxiously waiting to take pictures of me and scream out questions like, “Hey Wendy, how do you Julienne those carrots so well?” Shockingly, nothing remotely close to that happened…oh well, I must not be famous in OKC after all.

If you’re interested in reading the second article I spoke of yesterday, here’s the link:  http://city-sentinel.com/?p=2016

Our first recipe for the day was:

Calamari w/Tartar & Romesco Sauces

For this recipe we used King Oyster Mushroom stems to make “calamari” from.  I was amazed at how much these mushrooms resemble the texture and appearance of squid.  The mushroom itself is mainly stem in fact approximately a 6″ long stem.  It kind of makes you giggle to look at this mushroom but it’s no laughing matter because the health benefits are wonderful.  It’s part of the oyster mushroom family and has lots of fiber, vitamin B1, B2 and many minerals and; it has been shown to boost the immune system and help with cancer treatments.

Following is a picture of the “calamari” tossed in a healthy batter of ground flaxseed, fresh herbs and spices:

 Time to go into the dehydrator for 3-4 hours

After dehydrating it’s time to plate and enjoy:

Looks & tastes SO good! And it’s healthy for you as well 🙂

Next, it was time to make our lunch:

Thai Salad w/Creamy Thai Dressing

For this salad we used thinly sliced coconut meat to include in the salad along with many other wonderful and nutritious ingredients.  Following is my plating interpretation for this recipe:

So good and so satisfying

Our final recipe for the day was to:

Flavor Our Macadamia “Goat” Cheese

After fermenting for just 24 hours, the macadamia cheese already had that “cheesy” aroma and was now ready for flavoring.  For this we were asked to do a basic cheese flavoring which includes nutritional yeast, lemon and salt.  Once those flavors are combined well into the cheese, it was time to shape it into a traditional “Goat Cheese” log:


Well, that’s all for today!  I’m looking forward to many more recipes and much more learning this week.  Thank you for engaging with me on this forum.

Have a wonderful evening!

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Level 2: Day 2

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

LEVEL 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine

Week 1

Day 2: I’m Famous in OKC! Red Beet Gnocchi w/ Sage Cream & Gremolata, Vegetable Stock Miso Soup, Aged Cashew Cheese & Macadamia “Goat” Cheese 

Today the day started out with a wonderful visit from Darla Shelden, the reporter for The City Sentinel in Oklahoma City.  Darla stopped by the Academy to hand deliver copies of the newspaper article she wrote that I was telling you about yesterday.  After looking it over, I was pleasantly surprised to find that she wrote TWO articles and I am mentioned in both articles!  It’s official – I’m famous in OKC! 🙂  This is the first time I’ve been in the newspaper and I must say it’s a bit surreal seeing pictures of me and reading my quotes.  Darla requested that both stories be put online and as of today, only one story is online and it’s the story about the Matthew Kenney Academy but in this story there is a quote from me.  If you’re interested in reading it, here’s the link:  http://city-sentinel.com/?p=2013

Hopefully tomorrow the 2nd story will be online and that story is a more in-depth interview with me.

After the excitement of my 15 minutes of fame wore off, it was time to begin making our first recipe:

Red Beet Gnocchi w/ Sage Cream & Gremolata Sauces

To make the gnocchi, we combined beets and jicama and processed them in the food processor.  We then placed the processed mixture into a nut milk bag and squeezed all the excess juice from this beet and jicama mixture.  After the juice was extracted, the dry mixture went into a blender and we added the remaining ingredients to create a gnocchi dough.

Next, it was time to form the gnocchi shapes.  For this, we employed a classic French shaping technique called quenelle.  Using two spoons to create a three-sided football shape forms a quenelle.  Like anything, it takes time to master quenelle making but once you’ve acquired the skill, it can be used to make many dishes and especially useful when plating ice cream or sorbet.

Following is a picture of my completed gnocchi:

Into the dehydrator the gnocchi go…

 After making the sage cream and gremolata sauces for the gnocchi, it was time to plate this entrée.  Following is my plating interpretation of this recipe:

Notice the color of the gnocchi deepen & intensify after being in the dehydrator

Our next recipe was:

Aromatic Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock Ingredients (Mire Poix: Carrot, Celery Onion), Tomato & Thyme

In raw food cuisine, vegetable stocks are created by juicing and/or blending vegetables, herbs and spices together.  To thicken these stocks, we use dehydration and/or we add pureed vegetables.  The stock we made today is going to be used as a foundation for a miso soup recipe we are making.  Following is a picture of the garnish ingredients we are using for this miso soup recipe:

Cilantro, tomato, pine nuts, macadamia nuts and kelp

Following is my plating interpretation of this recipe:

So easy, delicious and healthy for you!

Our final recipes for the day were:

Aged Cashew “Cheese” and Macadamia “Goat Cheese”

You might remember that we made “cheeses” in Level 1.  The point of making cheese again is to experiment with the fermentation and aging times of “cheese” making.  The longer a “cheese” ferments, the stronger it tastes.  Typically, cashew “cheese” is a soft cheese but by allowing it to ferment for two weeks, we hope to achieve not only a firm texture but a stronger taste.  Another point to consider in cheese making is to wait to add any flavor agents.  Basic flavor agents for “cheese” in raw food cuisine include: nutritional yeast, lemon and salt.  For the cashew “cheese” we made today, we will allow it to ferment for 48 hours and then we will add the basic flavor agents to the cheese and continue the fermentation process for 12 more days.

Following are pictures of the “cheese” making process:

Hand model CJ Beaman adding probiotic to the “cheese”

Hand model CJ Beaman adding filtered water to blend

After blending each cheese, we treated the fermentation process a bit differently for each cheese.  For the Macadamia “Goat Cheese”, we placed the “Goat Cheese” into a nut milk bag and placed it into a strainer with heavy weight on top for all liquid to drain out of it in the next 24 hours.  Following is a picture:

Tomorrow we will flavor the Macadamia “Goat Cheese”

(only a 24 hr fermentation process for this cheese)

For the cashew “cheese” we placed it into a nine pan and covered it to ferment:

See you in 2 days Cashew “Cheese” to add flavor agents 🙂

Well, that’s all for today.  Thank you for engaging with me on this forum.

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings…

Blessings to you and yours.

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Level 2: Day 1

Monday, November 28, 2011

LEVEL 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine

Week 1

Day 1: Course Overview, Nut & Seed Milks, Avocado Dragon Roll w/Chipotle Mayo, Candied Hazelnuts & Curried Cashews

Welcome back!  I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving week with family and friends.  I had a wonderful time in Maryland and it is wonderful to be back into the swing of things in Oklahoma and to see familiar faces in class.

While I was on vacation last week, I received a lovely email from a reporter for the Oklahoma City Sentinel.  After doing a Google search, she found my blog and asked to interview me for a story she was doing.  Well, as it turns out, the story made the FRONT PAGE of the paper and will come out this Wednesday.  I am SO excited because she is also including my blog address.  Hopefully, I can convert some of the folks in Oklahoma to try raw food cuisine 🙂

Today, we began the day by receiving a course overview and learning what is expected of us in Level 2.  This level will focus on contemporary raw food cuisine, including pastry and expanding upon the skills we learned in Level 1.  The first week, we will learn the elements of contemporary raw food cuisine, the building blocks of advanced raw food cuisine, the foundations of raw food cuisine (stocks, sauces, dressings, stabilizers and foams) and also learn advanced raw food recipes.

Nut & Seed Milks

Nut and seed milks can be a delicious alternative to dairy, soy and rice drinks.  Our first advanced raw food recipe involved getting an in-depth understanding of not only how to make, but also understand the different flavor profiles of nut and seed milks.  There are ten (10) of us in class and we were each given a different nut or seed with which to make milk.  All of us were asked to use the exact same recipe (the only variation being either the nut or seed).  The recipe we were given was created for a basic, simple milk.  This was intentional and provided us the opportunity to really taste each nut or seed in its basic form in order to build a strong foundation from which to build.  We were also asked to measure the amount of pulp each nut or seed yielded after it was ground in the blender in order to note how much flour we could make from this yield.

Pecan Milk

I was given 1 cup of pecans to make milk from and this amount yielded 1/2 cup of pecan pulp to make pecan flour for baking:

Photo taken by Chef Sean Murray

We also had an opportunity to taste the following nut milks: Pecan, Cashew, Macadamia, Walnut, Pistachio, Hazelnut & Brazil Nut

We also had an opportunity to taste the following seed milks: Hemp, Sesame, Sunflower & Pumpkin

My personal favorites are the nut milks and of the seed milks, I only liked the pumpkin seed milk.  All the other seed milks tasted too bitter or “rooty” for my taste.

Our next recipe was:

Avocado Dragon Roll (AKA Caterpillar Roll) w/ Chipotle Mayo

For this recipe, we were given both Jicama and Parsnip to use for “rice”:

Such interesting looking root vegetables

After peeling them and using the food processor to grind them up, I put the “rice” into a nut milk bag and squeezed out all the excess juice/water from the Jicama & Parsnip vegetables in order to have a dry “rice” to place on my Nori sheet.  Next, it was time to place the veggies on top of the “rice”:

I also added marinated mushrooms as well – YUM!

Next, it was time to learn the advanced lesson – placing the avocado on top of the sushi roll.  First, take half of an avocado and thinly slice it (1/16″ to 1/8″ wide).  Then, fan it out onto a plastic wrap covered sushi mat:

Then, gently place your already rolled sushi roll on top:

Then gently roll the avocado slices on top:

Now, it was time to slice the roll using a sharp knife and a forward and backward sawing motion.  Once sliced, it’s time to plate it:

 Looks like a caterpillar 🙂

Our final recipes for the day were:

Candied Hazelnuts & Curried Cashews

For the hazelnuts, we used maple syrup, maple powder and salt and for the cashews we added the same ingredients as the hazelnuts but also added cayenne and curry powders.

Into the dehydrator they go to use in a salad recipe this week

Well, that’s all for today.  Looking forward to all the other things we will be learning this week.

Thank you for visiting and engaging with me on this forum.

Blessings to you and yours.

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Level 1: Day 20

Friday, November 18, 2011

LEVEL 1: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine

Week 4

Day 20: Level 1 Final Exam & Graduation

Today we took our final exam to complete Level 1: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine.  Everyone did well under pressure and honestly, the dishes not only tasted good but were artistically presented.  After everyone was finished, I walked around the academy to look at what everyone had created and I was amazed to see and feel the emotions expressed in every dish.

When the time came to present our dishes in front of everyone (including guests), we shared why we chose the dishes we made and we described the process in creating these dishes and the ingredients used.  It was fascinating to hear all the detail, thought and emotion that went into preparing these dishes.

The reason I chose to make Indian inspired dishes was because I wanted to challenge myself.  I reasoned, I came all the way to Oklahoma for two months to learn as much as I can and I want to make the most of this experience…but boy did I challenge myself!!!  At one point, I thought a curry sauce was going to do me in 🙂  Every spice I used, I ground with a mortar and pestle and all the spice blends I created are custom spice blends.  So, yes, I learned a lot, made mistakes, learned from those mistakes and in the end, I am very thankful for every moment.

For our final, we were restricted to creating only two of the three dishes we chose.  This was due to our large class size.  Following are pictures of my two creations:


Onion Bhaji

Onion Bhaji is traditionally a fried Indian dish.  I wanted to challenge myself by attempting to create a “fried” texture in raw cuisine and also capture the flavors and spices used in this dish.

But first, I wanted to provide my guests with a palette cleanser made of cucumber, pineapple, lime and mint juice:

Next, it was time for the FIRST and following is my interpretation of raw Onion Bhaji with a Spiced Mango Chutney:

SECOND (Main Course)

Kofta Curry

Traditionally for this dish, the Kofta balls are deep-fried and they are placed in a pool of curry sauce.  I wanted the challenge of creating the “fried” texture with the Kofta balls and then surround them with curry flavor by using sauces with different textures.

As a little extra treat, I made Warm Chai Almond Milk to enjoy after the Main Course:

Well, that’s all for Level 1.

We now have a week off for Thanksgiving break and I have SO much to be thankful for!

See you in a week when we start Level 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine.

Blessings to you and your families.

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Level 1: Day 19

Thursday, November 17, 2011

LEVEL 1: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine

Week 4

Day 19: Making Our Recipes for Our Final Exam

Today, I woke up just before sunrise, opened the curtains in my bedroom window and was greeted by this:

Today we were busy, busy, busy from the moment we arrived to the time we left.  Following is a picture of some of us taking a quick moment for a quick photo:

Well, tomorrow is the big day of our final exam and Level 1 completion.  Wish me luck on the taste, plating and the presentation I have to give for  each of my dishes.  I’ll show you pictures of my dishes tomorrow as well as let you know if I passed Level 1…keeping my fingers crossed XXX

Have a wonderful evening.

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Level 1: Day 18

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

LEVEL 1: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine

Week 4

Day 18: Smoked Shiitake Mushroom Soup & Recipe Testing

Today we started out the day by making:

Smoked Shiitake Mushroom Soup

It was a nice change to make a warm soup.  We placed the chickpea miso broth with coconut butter in the dehydrator for 30 minutes to warm it up.  Then we added the avocado and shiitake mushrooms.  It was warm and delicious.

Next, it was time to get into our recipes for our final exam this Friday.  We spent most of the morning and afternoon testing our recipes and I did get an opportunity to test my main course but it still needs a little tweaking…wish me luck!

Have a wonderful evening!

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Level 1: Day 17

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

LEVEL 1: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine

Week 4

Day 17: Croutons, Cream Corn Chowder w/ Jalapeno Pesto & Recipe Testing

Today we started out the day by checking on our croutons:

I took the liberty of adding garlic & onions to mine – YUM!

Our first and only recipe for today was:

Cream Corn Chowder with a Jalapeno Pesto

Following is my plating design interpretation for this recipe:

Recipe Testing & Tasting

The remainder of the day, we spent tasting the recipes we made yesterday and creating/testing new ones today.  I am happy to report that my creation with garbanzo beans yesterday came out lovely – YAY!  No pictures yet…until Friday.  The first three days of this week are all about testing our recipes and tasting them.  Friday, I will have pictures for you of my final dishes.

Have a wonderful evening and again thank you for following my blog.

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Level 1: Day 16

Monday, November 14, 2011

LEVEL 1: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine

Week 4

Day 16: Chia Pudding, Croutons & Recipe Testing

Today we started out the day by making a breakfast food that has now become one of my favorites:

Chia Pudding


For those of you that don’t know, chia seeds are an ancient superfood.  Following are some quick facts about the wonderful health benefits of consuming chia seeds:

Chia seeds have:

  • Two times the protein of any other seed or grain and it is a complete protein
  • Five times the calcium of milk & the trace mineral boron to help our bodies absorb this calcium
  • Two times the potassium of bananas
  • Three times the antioxidants of blueberries
  • Three times more iron than spinach
  • Great source of vitamins B3, B6 & B9 & omega fatty acids
Next, it was time to make:
I didn’t take a picture of the croutons today because they are still in the dehydrator.  I will take a picture tomorrow.
Recipe Testing 
Our finals for Level 1 are this week and as I mentioned, we each have to come up with our own three course menu.  I chose to do Indian food because I wanted to challenge myself and today, we had three hours to begin testing our recipes.  The first recipe I am testing involves working with chickpeas (garbanzo beans).  I had fun sprouting them:
Look at all those sprouts (tails)
Before testing recipes, I was warned by one of the instructors that many people shy away from working with raw sprouted chickpeas because they tend to have a bitter flavor when they are raw.  But I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so, I decided I would at least give it my best to see if perhaps I can come up with a delicious recipe!  It took me two tries and I now have a recipe “brewing” in the dehydrator for taste testing tomorrow.  So, tomorrow will be the true test – wish me luck 🙂  If it works, I will gladly share my recipe 🙂
Have a wonderful evening and more pictures are forthcoming tomorrow.

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Level 1: Day 15

Friday, November 11, 2011

LEVEL 1: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine

Week 3

Day 15: Yogurt Parfait, Buckwheat Granola, Gazpacho w/Basil Sorbet, Cheeses & Garlic Bread

Today we started out the day by making one of my favorite breakfast foods:

Yogurt Parfait

For this recipe we used the Coconut Cashew Yogurt and the Buckwheat Granola we made to layer.  We were also provided with fresh raspberries as well. Following is my interpretation of this recipe:

I glazed the raspberries with honey and vanilla extract to give them that shiny look

Next, we made:

Basil Sorbet

I never thought basil, lime juice, coconut oil and sweetener could taste so good.  This sorbet was used to top the Gazpacho we made yesterday.

Our last project for the day was to plate and present the cheeses we’ve made this week.  We each were given creative freedom to flavor our cheeses as we wanted.  Following is my plating interpretation of this recipe:

Our plating included just a small piece of each cheese we made

The cheese above was inspired by the flavors of Italy

Well, that’s all for today.  Thank you for visiting my blog and engaging with me.  Have a wonderful weekend!

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MKA Classmates

This post is dedicated to my Mom who in her sweetness and wisdom has a way of putting life’s most important values into perspective when she said, “honey those pictures of the food you’re making are nice but what I really care about are the people you are sharing this experience with.”  So, with this sentiment in mind, today, I took pictures of some of my classmates along this culinary journey:

This is all 14 students on our first day of class

(the folks wearing the black hats are our instructors)

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