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All the world is nuts about

    What's in The Nut Gourmet

The Nutty Gourmet

Vegetarians in Paradise
Title 24 Carrot Award

24 Carrot Award Trophy

In each issue Vegetarians in Paradise presents the 24 Carrot Award to an outstanding person or organization that endeavors to practice or promote education, natural health, wholesome nutrition, and ecology techniques for the mutual benefit of humans, animals, and the earth.

Vegetarians in Paradise proudly presents its 24 Carrot Award to Cherie Soria, founder of the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. Cherie Soria has been a guiding force in inspiring and training the current leaders in the raw food culinary movement.

What follows are the questions asked by Vegetarians in Paradise (VIP) and the answers by Cherie Soria (CS).

VIP: What initially turned you on to raw foods? What were the primary influences encouraging you to pursue a career in raw food? How long have you been a raw foodist?

CS: I went to Puerto Rico in 1992 to study with Dr. Ann Wigmore, after reading books about the amazing results she achieved using wheat grass and raw food to heal cancer and other terminal illnesses. I was curious about Dr. Wigmore's work and thought a vacation in Puerto Rico sounded like a good idea. I had no intention of trading my cooked vegan diet for a raw food diet, but after witnessing the amazing healings that transpired there, I came home a true believer in the power of the raw food lifestyle.

I knew that the majority of Dr. Wigmore's clients would return to their old way of eating, because her diet was designed for cleansing and healing. I understood human nature enough to know that most people would be bored to death if forced to eat that way the rest of their lives, because food has to feed more than the body, more than the emotions--food must nourish the soul. So, as soon as I returned home, I began creating foods that were delicious, satisfying, comforting, and nourishing. Foods like lasagna, burritos, burgers, spaghetti, pizza, brownies, and ice cream, are not easily forgotten. My goal became to make them raw, leading to the birth of the gourmet raw cuisine I teach today.

VIP: Prior to raw food what was your experience with vegetarianism and veganism?

CS: I became a vegetarian in the late sixty's after reading several books such as Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, and Survival Into The 21st Century by Viktoras Kulvinskas. Several of my family members had illnesses such as cancer and heart disease, and I had already concluded that eating meat had a negative impact on our health, but these books expanded to the interrelationship of all things. Adopting a vegetarian diet was very appealing to me, since I had witnessed the slaughter of my pet chicken at an early age and never felt the same about meat after that.

I read everything I could about natural health, including books by Walker, Bragg, Wigmore, Kulvinskas, Jenson, Shelton, Ehret, Hauser, Christopher, and Kellogg. Ultimately, however, my personal experience with Dr. Ann Wigmore was the catalyst that catapulted me from an 80% cooked vegan diet to an 80% raw diet. I had been teaching vegetarian cooking for nineteen years when I went to study with Dr. Wigmore. I loved to cook and I loved teaching classes about cooking, which I used as a forum to introduce my students to vegetarianism. I was active with PETA and EarthSave, was working on a vegan cookbook and had a large following of culinary students.

In 1992, when I went to Puerto Rico, I knew very little about Dr. Ann, as she was called there, but she soon became a huge inspiration to me. She was the most energetic woman of any age I had ever met. Just before I left Puerto Rico, she told me that I would be a beacon of light for her teachings. I didn't know if she told everyone that or if she really thought I was that special, but I went home and immediately began teaching raw vegan culinary arts-- first in my home, then through community colleges and vegetarian conferences throughout the country. In 1996, I published my first raw vegan recipe book, Angel Foods Healthy Recipes for Heavenly Bodies. Later, my friendship with Viktoras Kulvinskas motivated me to start Living Light Culinary Arts Institute.

Cherie Soria
VIP: What events led to the establishment of Living Light Culinary Arts Institute (LLCAI)? How did you come to select that name?

CS: Shortly after returning from Puerto Rico, I began catering the National Essene Gatherings at Breitenbush Hot Springs and become friends with Viktoras Kulvinskas. He and his wife, Youkta loved the gourmet cuisine I was creating with raw vegan foods and invited me to cater their yearly retreat for women in the healing arts. Viktoras was adamant that the style of cuisine I had created should be taught to the top chefs in the world.

At another Essene Gathering, I met an inspiring woman named Dr. Janedare Winston, a professor and teacher of the living food lifestyle, who insisted that I should devote myself to teaching teachers, so there would be an army of people sharing the live food lifestyle with the world. "One person can only do so much," she told me. That was enough for me, and by the time I drove home from Oregon to California, I had decided to create a school for individuals, chefs, and instructors of raw living foods. The name came a few days later. I knew I wanted something that could endure without me, so I couldn't name it The Cherie Soria Raw Culinary Institute. I wanted it to reflect the interconnection of all things. Living lightly on the land, eating light and being in the light were all themes for me, so Living Light Culinary Arts Institute was born.

VIP: What are the goals and principal activities of Living Light Culinary Arts Institute? How many instructors are involved in LLCAI? Which courses do you personally teach?

CS: At Living Light we are committed to teaching individuals, chefs, and teachers of raw vegan culinary arts. We have a strong focus on teaching teachers because we seek to influence the greatest number of people. Individuals, chefs, and teachers are represented fairly equally at each training session. One-third of the participants attend because they want to add more delicious raw food to their own diets (and that of their families), 1/3 want to incorporate raw cuisine into their professional careers (or make a career change and become a professional chef), and 1/3 are passionate about raw foods and want to teach it to others.

Our Mission Statement is: Living Light Culinary Arts Institute educates and inspires people to reach the highest standards of leadership and professionalism in raw culinary arts while promoting balance and happiness in their everyday lives. Through training, personal support, and unconditional acceptance, we empower participants to share their gifts with others in joyous celebration of healthful living. Living Light Community is a family of conscious individuals devoted to excellence, connection, and transformation of body, mind, and spirit.

People who attend our trainings know that we are more than a business-- we are a family. Community building is as important to us as teaching raw culinary arts. Right now we have 12 staff, whom we consider family, plus several angels who attend to serve the community when we conduct our trainings and events. Eight of the twelve are outstanding chefs and instructors who make their living teaching and catering gourmet living foods. The students love having a variety of instructors and have the opportunity to work one-on-one with each of us.

As general rule, I am present at most of the classes we conduct at our Harbin Hot Springs location and I teach a large percentage of the classes. Teaching is my passion, and I love to connect with the students on a personal level, so I am a very hands-on director. My partner and co-director of LLCAI, Dan Ladermann is a certified Hippocrates Health Educator, and teaches most of the classes in raw nutritional science. Angel

VIP: Can you describe some of the courses you offer that would introduce newcomers to raw foods?

CS: Our entry-level course is FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods. We consider this to be the first step toward a new culinary awakening, because it opens a whole new world of raw cuisine to people who wouldn't have believed it possible. At Harbin Hot Springs this two-day course precedes the chef training, but it is also offered in many areas of the country as a one-day intensive. During this introductory workshop, students attend dozens of superb culinary presentations teaching a wide variety of raw, delicious easy-to-prepare appetizers, fruit smoothies, soups, sauces, salads, dressings, entrees, patés, wraps, rolls, nut milks, nondairy cheeses, dehydrated goodies, such as crackers, and amazing desserts. Included is how to use all the essential equipment and supplies necessary in a raw kitchen, and instruction in sprouting and kitchen gardening. Even though we consider it a basic course, it is so full of information that people who have been preparing raw foods for years are amazed at how much they learn.

Anyone who wants this class offered in their area and is willing to host us, can call our office and we will help them schedule classes.

VIP: If someone wanted to be certified as a raw chef, what training would the person need?

CS: Following FUNdamentals is our second level class, Essentials of Raw Culinary Arts, a 5-day hands-on workshop that expands on the FUNdamentals course. Students gain the confidence to transition to a healthy lifestyle and the foundation necessary to attend LLCAI's Associate Chef and Instructor Training. Students work one-on-one with a variety of the world's most outstanding raw food chefs and teachers, with a ratio of one instructor per five students.

In this workshop, students learn the secrets of gourmet raw food preparation. They gain an understanding of flavor dynamics, and some basics of raw nutritional science. They become skilled in knife technique and familiar with kitchen equipment and timesaving gadgets of all kinds. Students particularly love learning how to combine herbs and spices to create classic and ethnic flavors without using recipes. Recipe development, learning to balance textures and flavors within individual recipes or entire menus, creating raw variants of cooked food recipes, while learning to organize and manage a raw food kitchen, are all part of the curriculum that prepares students to go on to the next level, the 9-day Associate Chef and Instructor Training. By the time students have completed the chef training, they can confidently prepare everything from appetizers to desserts, create their own recipes, organize dinner parties, teach classes, and have fun while doing it!

We also offer classes in Food Design, Raw Event Catering, Elegant Entertaining and Gourmet Spa Cuisine & Recipe Development. In July, we offer a Raw Kids Camp designed and directed by a former Montessori school teacher and administrator. While their parents are attending the LLCAI Associate Chef and Instructor Training, the kids learn to prepare their own meals in junior raw food chef classes, and enjoy programs in arts and crafts, eco-games, story telling, and movement in the beautiful setting of Harbin Hot Springs.

VIP: We understand that LLCAI also trains raw food instructors. Could you give us the features of that training?

CS: We have a strong commitment to teaching teachers, and do everything we can to teach and mentor individuals who want to teach. The fact is, everyone who chooses to eat a high-raw diet will be asked questions about it and will share it with friends, so even those students who do not plan to teach classes to the public, will benefit from taking the course. The instructor training includes everything a teacher needs to confidently teach a culinary class, including planning and organizing, marketing tips, public speaking, and cost analysis. Once students have graduated from the teacher training, they are eligible to purchase our Instructor Empowerment Kits, providing everything they need to teach successful classes. We also advertise these standardized LLCAI licensed classes on our website to assist our graduates in marketing their classes.

LLCAI supports individuals in making life choices that promote health and well being in all aspects of their lives, including career changes. Many of our former students are now making a living teaching raw food classes and catering raw events.

VIP: In addition to your efforts at Harbin Springs in Northern California, you have been involved in activities around the world. Could you tell us about some of these events such as the Raw World Festival in Costa Rica?

CS: I have co-produced several retreats in tropical locations, including Jamaica, Hawaii and Costa Rica, as I love the beach, warm weather, and tropical fruits. This is the second year my partner, Dan Ladermann, and I have produced RAW WORLD International Festival of Raw Food Enthusiasts, located on a pristine stretch of beach in Costa Rica. It's a beautiful gathering of active, fun-minded people who want to experience a healthy vacation and eat some of the best raw gourmet cuisine in the world. We invite great chefs and speakers, including top leaders in the raw community. This is by far THE most awesome healthy lifestyle vacation ever!

VIP: LLCIA has inspired a number of books on raw food. What are some of the works that have been authored by your former students?

CS: Our school attracts people from all walks of life who are enthusiastic about learning to create delicious gourmet raw vegan cuisine and want to share it with others. Many of our students have gone on to become authors and write about their experience with raw food, sharing their recipes with others. Among Living Light's roster of outstanding graduates are:
Roxanne Klein, owner of Roxanne's and coauthor of RAW
Chad Sarno, author of Vital Creations
Elaina Love, author of Elaina's Pure Joy Kitchen
Renee Loux-Underkoffler, author of The Raw Truth
Sergei and Valya Boutenko, coauthors of Eating Without Heating
Suzanne Alex Ferrara, author of The Raw Food Primer and many more too numerous to mention

VIP: LLCAI has a distinguished roster of alumni. Who are some of the celebrity chefs trained at your institute?

CS: Roxanne Klein, of Roxanne's restaurant, is the most famous raw food chef in the world. Her restaurant has received rave reviews around the world. She was recently featured on the cover of Bon Appetite magazine as one of the 10 most innovative chefs of the decade. Rozxanne attended Living Light about a year before opening her now famous restaurant, Roxanne's.

Chad Sarno, now head chef for Spirit New York, spent two years training with me before going to work with Roxanne, helping with recipe and menu development.

Elaina Love, author of Elaina's Pure Joy Kitchen and Matt Samuelson, both full-time instructors at the school, teach classes around the world.

Jennifer Cornbleet, a celebrity chef in Chicago, is another of our esteemed instructors. There are many other internationally known instructors of raw foods who have trained with us -- some came as novices and others were already raw food chefs and teachers, but wanted an opportunity to work with me personally. These include people like the Boutenkos, Renee Loux, Rose Lee Calabro, and Nomi Shannon, to name a few.

VIP: Your book Angel Foods has a spiritual quality along with some unique recipes and techniques of raw food preparation. Would you share the essential message of the book with our readers? Are you planning another book? Angel Foods

CS: I spent many years championing EarthSave and learned the importance of meeting people where they are. That is why my book is not 100% raw. It is 100% vegan and contains about 125 raw recipes and 125 cooked recipes. I feel my place is to help people move in the direction of healthy living without judgment about where they are or how far they want to go. I have a gentle approach and consequently I attract a lot of people who are not vegetarians when they first come to our school.

My book reflects my spiritual approach to life. I believe that love and appreciation are powerful creators, and I use prayer and intention as a means of creating a joyful life. It was inconceivable to me to separate my spiritual self and my work, even though I was warned that many health food stores would not carry a recipe book that included spiritual content. I have a second book in print that was written in Spanish, called Comiendo Pura Vida, which means "Eating Pure Life." I co-authored it with Rodrigo Crespo, a Costa Rican. Angel Foods will soon be published in German and I am working on a third book, Raw Inspiring Gourmet Living Foods, which will include lots of beautiful photographs.

VIP: How has your raw food lifestyle affected your relationship with friends, relatives, and associates?

CS: In the 60's, when I first decided to quit eating meat, my friends thought I was pretty weird, so I began teaching vegetarian cooking. I wanted to make friends with people who were interested in eating healthy food. Since then, as my diet evolved from vegetarian to vegan and then to raw vegan, I continued to attract friends who wanted to learn about creating all these great tasting, cutting-edge, healthy gourmet foods. I find I have more in common with people who eat the way I do, so it works out great. Now, most of my friends and associates eat a high-raw diet, even if they aren't 100% raw. I don't really focus on percentages, anyway. If they like raw food, they are raw food enthusiasts -- no matter what percentage raw they ate that day. As far as my family is concerned, they love my food, but don't want to make changes in their own lives. I honor their choices, just as they honor mine.

VIP: We notice the raw food movement has grown tremendously in the last few years. What do you envision for the future of the raw lifestyle?

CS: I believe the raw food movement is growing faster than the vegetarian movement did in its infancy because people don't have to give anything up. They can simply add more delicious raw foods to their diet. The more they eat the better they feel. Raw food is less threatening than diets that restrict certain foods. Also, it just makes sense to people that the more raw food they eat the better off they will be. And, don't forget, we have over 300 Living light graduates out there sharing this with people who are sharing with others, and so forth! It is exponential growth!

VIP: Could you give us some of the highlights of your education and career?

CS: I am completely self-taught. I never attended college or culinary school, which is a surprise to many people. I always had a natural talent for cooking and read cookbooks from cover to cover -- the way other people read novels. I grew up watching cooking shows on TV. My favorites were The Galloping Gourmet, The French Chef and the Frugal Gourmet. I also studied the textbooks from the CIA and other culinary schools and have attended classes with great vegetarian cooks like Olympic Gold Medal winners, Ron Pickarski and Ken Bergeron. In fact, I have had the pleasure of working with many great vegetarian chefs over the years.

I am a certified hypnotherapist and have a line of self-improvement/guided visualization and affirmation tapes. I have earned two Black Belts in karate and had my own dojo, which taught me a tremendous amount about dedication and discipline, empowering me in many ways. I was a hair designer for many years and taught hair design at shows all over North America. I also ran a large, successful salon in Sun Valley, Idaho and had an import export business. I feel everything I have done in my life has enabled me to walk the path I am now on, which empowers and motivates people to live healthier, happier lives.

VIP: What are some of the awards and honors you have received?

CS: My greatest awards come from people who write and tell me how much I have influenced their lives. No other award can be as meaningful.

VIP: Of all of your personal accomplishments, which ones give you the most pride and satisfaction?

CS: My devotion to teaching vegetarian foods for 30 years has saved the lives of countless innocent animals and that dwarfs any of my other accomplishments; I have personally certified over 300 raw food instructors, many of whom are now living their passion, teaching and influencing others; Each time someone shares that the information they have learned through the school, my books, or one of our graduates has helped them create a healthier, happier life; Being an early pioneer of gourmet raw vegan cuisine and helping to further this movement; Influencing the consciousness of people and helping them realize how their food choices affect themselves and the planet; Lastly, hearing from women who say that I am an inspiration to them. There are not enough female leaders for women to look up to. It is very gratifying and humbling to be considered an inspiration to others.

VIP: What personal goals have you set for yourself in the coming years?

Living Light I want to create a permanent, full-time location for Living Light where we can have on-going raw vegan culinary arts classes and other programs for conscious living. We are focused on promoting community, permaculture and organic living, programs in personal growth, yoga and movement classes, meditation and guided imagery, performance art, various healing modalities, life coaching, programs for kids, and a lot more. We need a place where our staff can live and work together. Intentional community is an important goal for all of us at Living Light.

We are currently working with The Institute for Vibrant Living, a non-profit 501(c)(3) that was created for the purpose of building community and promoting a raw plant-based diet. The institute is interested in assisting us in realizing our dream for a permanent location and can receive tax-deductible donations to acquire a facility that will provide us with the space to manifest our vision. You can contact them about contributions at dan@vibrantliving.org

I also have a new book coming out in a year and plan to create videos and on-line education for people transitioning to a raw food lifestyle. We have lots of great ideas and a wonderful, talented, capable family of staff who is dedicated to our common vision.

VIP: What leisure activities and hobbies do you enjoy?

CS: My life is very full these days and I don't allow myself much leisure time, but I enjoy RAW WORLD, our winter vacation in Costa Rica, even though it is a working vacation. I like traveling and meeting new people and inspiring them. That really feeds me. I enjoy doing anything with my partner, Dan Ladermann. We walk or run on the beach nearly every day when we are at home. I like spending time with my friends and family. I like to ski and hike and play in the ocean.

VIP: What person or persons have had the most influence on your life?

CS: My father, Fred Soria, because of his passion for teaching, his ethics and honesty, and his altruism; spiritual leaders like Krishnamurti, Yogananda and the Essene teachings; teachers of the power of positive thinking like Earnest Holmes, Maxwell Maltz, Nathanial Hill, Alan Watts, the Seth material written by Jane Roberts and other writers of higher knowledge; and Dr. Ann Wigmore and Viktoras Kulvinskas for their tireless work spreading the message of raw foods to the world.

VIP: Have we overlooked anything that you would like to share with our readers?

CS: If you are in a position to help us create a permanent school for Living Light; have the kind of administrative ability to run a full-time culinary school; can assist financially or write grants, we can use your help. This is the seventh year our school has been in existence and we are ready to evolve to the next level. With more classes offered, we can reach even more people. You can also help to support us by telling others about our school and by shopping at our on-line store, which offers supplies, books and equipment for the raw vegan kitchen.

If you desire a more healthful and conscious way of life, want more energy and vitality, want to learn about environmentally friendly cuisine, and the benefits of raw organic foods for your health and for the planet, Living Light Culinary Arts workshops and retreats are perfect for YOU! Please call us at 800-816-2319 or 707-964-2420 or visit our website at http://www.RawFoodChef.com

Vegetarians in Paradise is pleased and privileged to be able to share some of Cherie Soria's recipes with our readers. Below are five exciting and delicious raw food recipes from her repertoire.

Hot Chocolate Brownie and Walnut Gelato Cake
Served with Maple, Chocolate, and Raspberry Sauces

Black and White Halvah

Banana Nut Brittle

Italian Pesto Almond Torte

Stuffed Mushrooms with Pine Nuts and Herbs

Here is the dessert that I demonstrated at the Women's Chef and Restaurateur Association National Conference. It includes brownies, maple walnut ice cream, and three sweet sauces--maple, chocolate, and raspberry. One could serve the brownie as a traditional, square-cut brownie for an after school treat; the ice cream could be served alone or with any of the sauces as a simple dessert; or the ice cream and brownie could be served together as cake and ice cream with one or two sauces.

One could also layer the ice cream and crumbled brownie mixture with the sauces in a parfait glass and use some whole raspberries on top for a beautiful effect. For the WCR event, I chose to take it a step further. I pressed the brownie mixture firmly into a very shallow rectangular pan, 1/2 inch thick, and froze it. I did the same with the ice cream. Then, I put the ice cream layer on top of the brownie layer, cut the entire thing in half, and placed one half on top of the other--creating a frozen, double layered cake. I served it sliced, in six layers, with all the layers visible, on a grid of sauces. In this form it would be titled:

Walnut Gelato Cake
Hot Chocolate Brownie and Walnut Gelato Cake
Served with Maple, Chocolate, & Raspberry Sauces

Hot Chocolate Brownies
Serves 8

    4 cups walnuts, soaked 8 to 12 hours, then dehydrated
    1/2 cup pitted soft dates, chopped
    1/2 cup dried figs, soaked 15 minutes, drained, and chopped
    2 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed to liquid
    1 cup cocoa powder
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    pinch solar-dried sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts, soaked for 8 to12 hours, then dehydrated

  1. Place the walnuts in a food processor and pulse until they reach the consistency of meal.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and continue processing until it is well mixed and sticky. The mixture should hold together when pressed into a ball. If oil begins to separate from the mixture, it is over processed. You may still use it, but it is not the desired effect.
  3. Press the mixture firmly into an 8- x 8-inch brownie pan. Cover and chill.
  4. Cut into 8 equal pieces. May be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer. Keeps in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 1-2 months.

Maple Walnut Ice Cream
Serves 8

    2 cups walnuts, soaked 8 to 12 hours
    1 cup cashews
    2 1/4 cups water
    1 cup pure maple syrup
    1/4 teaspoon maple extract
    pinch solar-dried sea salt
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts, soaked for 8 to 12 hours, then dehydrated (optional)

  1. Drain and rinse the walnuts.
  2. Put the soaked walnuts, cashews, and all remaining ingredients, except the chopped walnuts, into a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy. The mixture should resemble the consistency of a thick milkshake.
  3. Pour the walnut cream into ice cube trays and freeze until hard.
  4. Put cubes through a Green Life or Champion Juicer outfitted with the homogenizing plate.
  5. Stir in the chopped walnuts and return to the freezer for a couple of hours. Serve immediately or store in the freezer until ready to use. Keeps in the freezer, in a sealed container, for 1 to 2 months.

If you have an Italian ice cream maker, simply follow the directions to make your ice cream, then fold in the chopped walnuts when the process is completed or before returning the ice cream to the freezer.

Maple Sauce
Serves 12

    1 cup pine nuts, soaked 2-4 hours
    1/2 cup maple syrup
    1/2 cup soft dates, pitted
    1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid
    1 vanilla bean, soft center scraping or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon maple extract
    water to thin, as needed

Combine ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy, adding water if needed to create a thick drizzle.

Rich Chocolate Sauce
Serves 8

    2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded, and mashed
    1 1/4 cups water
    3/4 cup cocoa powder
    3/4 cup sucanat
    1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 vanilla bean, soft center scraping or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Add a little more water, if needed. The more water you add, the thinner the sauce will be.

Raspberry Coulis
Serves 8

    1 pint fresh raspberries
    1 1/2 cups soft dates, pitted
    water, if needed

  1. Put raspberries in a blender with a small amount of water, if needed, to puree.
  2. Pour the blended raspberry sauce into a mesh bag and strain to remove the seeds.
  3. Return the raspberry sauce to the blender along with the dates and blend until smooth.
  4. Store the coulis in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Will keep for one week in the refrigerator.

This version of Halvah is made with a wonderful, raw black tahini that has a natural smokey flavor, available online from Living Tree Community. Halvah is easy to make (only four ingredients), melts in your mouth, and is high in calcium. Best of all, it is delicious!

Black and White Halvah

Serves 6-8

    1/4 cup pure, raw coconut oil
    1/2 cup pitted soft dates
    1/4 cup raw tahini
    1/4 cup raw black tahini (or substitute regular raw tahini for blond halva)

  1. Put measured coconut oil in a sealed glass jar and place it in warm water to liquefy. Put liquid oil in the blender with dates, and process until smooth.
  2. Divide the date paste in half and blend half with the regular tahini. Add the black tahini to the other half and blend it well.
  3. Put both Halvahs in the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up. Remove after a few minutes, and kneed the two together to create a swirled effect or form the design of your choice.
  4. Refrigerate Halva until firm. Cut into small pieces. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

When the kids come home from school, they will love this crispy nut brittle that is good and nutritious. Make several batches at once and store it in a sealed container in the freezer. It will last for months.

Banana Nut Brittle
Banana Nut Brittle

Serves 12

    2 1/2 cups pitted dates
    8 bananas -- peeled
    3 cups almonds -- roughly chopped
    3 cups dried, shaved coconut
    1/4 cup flax meal

  1. Blend bananas, dates, and flax meal until smooth.
  2. Stir in nuts and coconut.
  3. Evenly spread 4 cups of mixture on a dehydrator tray lined with a teflex sheet. Score into the size and shape you want. (I like 4 x 6 to create 24 rectangles.)
  4. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 12 hours, then flip them over and continue dehydrating for another 12 hours or until crispy.
  5. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 4 months.

This pesto torte, made from soaked almond cheese, is always a showstopper! I have taught it to thousands of people since I created it in 1990. One taste of this and people understand that raw food does not mean just salads. I guarantee that if you make this for your guests, they will not guess it is raw and will doubt it is vegan.

Pesto Almond Torte
Italian Pesto Almond Torte

Serves 12

Almond Cheese

    2 cups almonds, hot soaked and peeled
    2 tablespoons light miso
    1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
    1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
    Chlorine-free water, as needed

  1. To make the almond cheese, blend ingredients in a blender until creamy adding as little water as possible.
  2. Pour almond batter into a cheesecloth-lined colander and allow it to ferment on the pantry shelf or in a cupboard for 10-12 hours. Place a weight on top of the cheese after about 2 hours of fermenting.
  3. When the fermentation time is completed, place the cheese in a tightly covered container and refrigerate for another 8-10 hours or until well chilled and firm. Remove cheesecloth and serve as desired. (See assembly directions, below.)

Basil Pesto

    1 cup basil leaves tightly packed
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup pine nuts
    1 clove garlic
    1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt

To make the basil pesto, place the ingredients in a food processor using the "S" blade and puree, leaving it a little bit chunky. Chill.

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

    1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (1 cup = 2.5 oz), soaked 3-4 hours
    Reserved tomato water, if needed
    2 soft dates, pitted
    1 clove garlic
    3 tablespoons red onion, chopped
    1/4 cup pine nuts
    1 Roma tomato, seeded and chopped
    4 leaves chiffonade of fresh basil
    1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt

To make the sun-dried tomato pesto, place the ingredients in a food processor using the "S" blade and puree, leaving it a little bit chunky. Chill until needed.

To assemble the torte

  1. Prepare a mold by draping it with damp cheesecloth.
  2. Evenly pack 1/3 of the almond cheese into the bottom of the mold.
  3. Next, create a layer of sun-dried tomato pesto using all of the tomato pesto. Firmly pack pesto into place.
  4. Evenly pack another 1/3 potion of the almond cheese on top of the sun-dried tomato pesto.
  5. Next, using all of the basil pesto, gently and firmly place a layer of basil pesto on top of the cheese. Firmly pack pesto into place.
  6. Finally, spread the remainder of the almond cheese evenly on top of the pesto. Press gently.
  7. Invert the torte onto a plate and remove the cheesecloth. Serve with crudités, sliced cucumbers or sliced apples.

Note: The torte may be stored in an enclosed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

These savory stuffed mushrooms can be prepared as appetizers, using small button mushrooms, or as a main course using medium size portobello mushrooms. They may be served warm or cold and are always a hit.

Stuffed Mushrooms
Stuffed Mushrooms with Pine Nuts and Herbs

From Angel Foods Healthy Recipes from Heavenly Bodies by Cherie Soria
Serves 6
    1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu or wheat-free tamari
    1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1/4 cup olive oil
    18 large mushrooms, wiped clean
    1 1/2 cloves garlic, crushed, optional
    3/4 cup pine nuts, soaked, minced
    1/4 cup parsley, minced
    1 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves, minced
    1 tablespoon unpasteurized light miso

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients and toss with mushrooms. Allow them to marinate for at least one hour.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients and use to fill mushrooms.
  3. Place in the food dehydrator at 105 degrees for 2 - 4 hours, or until they reach the desired texture. Serve warm.

Recipes by Cherie Soria, Director Living Light Culinary Arts Institute
707-964-2420 *
http://www.rawfoodchef.com * info@rawfoodchef.com

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