Raw plant based beet brownie with chantilly and kumquat

Hi Everyone!

This is just a quick post of the recipe of my final project dessert at Matthew Kenney Culinary. I have just finished the course, and this dessert, which my husband found so amazingly good, is definitely worth a quick post here, because Valentine Day is coming… And some of you might want to make something, that is stunning, delicious, decadent, and leaves your body light after eating it….. you know, for the rest of the night 🙂

So here it is.

Beet brownie

Walnut / Chantilly / Kumquat

_dsc5186-2

This dessert has more components, you decide which parts you want to add . The beet brownie itself is rich, relatively sweet, chocolate-y.  The chantilly cream goes really well with it, the sauce adds some bright fruity flavor and the kumquat chips, which are my favorites deliver crunch, tartness, so a bit of a punch.

Beet brownie

  • 1 C walnuts (+1 Tbsp chopped to mix in)
  • 1 C soft medjool date
  • 3 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 3 Tbsp grated, dried beet. If you have no time to dry in the dehydrator, make sure you squeeze it very well with a paper towel
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Combine ingredients  (except for 1 Tbsp of the walnut, grated beet and the cocoa nibs) in a food processor until sticky and still has a bit of texture. Do not blend to smooth.  Blend in leftover cocoa nibs, grated beet and chopped walnuts.  Transfer dough into a tin, press it down and refrigerate.

For the ganache

  • 1/2 C dark agave
  • 3 Tbsp  melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup raw caco powder
  • pinch of salt

Mix agave well with coconut oil and slowly mix in cacao powder, constantly stirring until fully incorporated. Spread ganache evenly on top of chilled brownie and put back in the fridge, or freezer so it cools really well so you will be able to cut. It is a soft brownie so you need proper cooling.

 

Chantilly cream

½ C Soaked cashew
½ c coconut meat
¼ C Almond milk
¼ C agave
Squeeze Lemon juice
2 tsp Vanilla extract
½ Vanilla bean
pinch of salt
¼ C Coconut oil

Blend all the wet ingredients except for coconut oil until smooth. Gradually add coconut oil to emulsify. Keep it in fridge and either pipe, or simply scoop for plating.

Kumquat chips

Slice kumquats starting at both ends. Kumquat has the seeds in the middle of the fruit. If you slice them from both ends, you will be left with the middle part with the seeds which you can use for the puree.

Place kumquat slices on the mesh sheet and dehydrate overnight, until crispy.

Kumquat, blood orange puree

  • 1/4C chopped kumquat
  • 2-3 Tbps blood orange juice
  • 1 tsp coconut nectar
  • 1 T lemon juice

Blend kumquat with orange juice and coconut nectar until smooth.  Put in dehydrator for an hour. It will thicken, without actual cooking. Before serving push it through a mash strainer if you want a really smooth texture.

To plate put some kumquat puree on the plate, place small brownie cubes, alternated with Chantilly cream on the puree and decorate with lots of kumquat chips.

 

ENJOY!

 

Beet and sprouted lentil falafel

So finally I decided to broaden my horizons, and after learning to be a chef at Le Cordon Bleu, attending bootcamps on farm to table cooking at the Culinary Institute of America, I am back to school. This time at Matthew Kenney, learning to be a raw, plant based chef.

This might be a weird choice for some, knowing I am not vegan. But most importantly I am a chef, one that always wants to learn, loves and craves challenges and eventually strives to be diverse and current.

So here I am more than half way through Level I in Raw Cuisine. And I already faced a challenge, which I am actually quite excited about. Produce challenge means I can use whatever I have in my fridge, 3 spices, 1 cup nuts, and just a couple of extra raw pantry ingredients. I must tell you, in a way I was lucky. I got to the assignment just after making a vegetarian dinner party for friends, making beet gnudi with goat crema, beluga lentils and pickled beets. So I had lots of raw and  pickled beet left in my fridge. A few days ago I bought sprouted lentils at the market to make a pate, so I was really keen on using some of that too.

_dsc3770

First I wanted to make a ravioli, or lasagne. These are so basic and typical dishes in raw plant based cooking. There are many vegetables that are perfect vessels just as they are, to become raw ravioli or lasagne sheets. Just like beets, kohlrabi, daikon just to name a few. But then I started thinking… this is a challenge. Make it a bit more difficult for yourself.

So gave myself proper time to think. What can you make with sprouted lentils and beets? And than I thought, falafel. OK, but will it hold? And beet and lentil only? So decided to add some soaked cashews, not as much as I wanted to, because I was restricted…. And also put some flaxmeal in the mix, which is a binder in vegan baking. So I ended up with a raw beet, lentil flavor. I seriously needed spices, herbs. Along with salt and pepper, I added chopped parsley, chive, cayenne and cumin and some apple cider vinegar to balance the sweetness of the beets and harmonize the flavor. Finally the flavors were right, and texture did hold, after squeezing out the juice.

_dsc4436

For the sauce I had a definitely easier job. I did make horseradish cashew cream before. In this case though I added some pickled golden beet juice, fresh grated horseradish, pepper, salt, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice to the blender. As usual, the sauce was amazing. I really love horseradish, and it goes so well with a cashew cream. The sauce had depth, sweetness and spice.

Finally the only thing I needed for a complete dish was some green, crunch and maybe acidity. I diced to add some of the pickled golden beets to the dish and because I only had pea shots in the fridge I added those with a simple lemon vinaigrette and used beet powder for garnishing. The beet powder was homemade too. After juicing beets, I dehydrated the pulps and once it was completely dry and cooled, I ground  into powder.

_dsc4439

After tasting the dish, I was pretty happy about it. My husband, not that much…. He did love the sauce, but he didn’t like the raw sprouted flavor in the falafel. It is a very specific flavor, but those who eat a raw vegan diet, or occasionally eat raw food are definitely familiar with it. Next time I will add smashed garlic and finely chopped shallots to the falafel to make it a bit more close in flavor to traditional falafels.

_dsc4453

Beet brownies

Beetroots

They are warm in both color and taste. Sweet, earthy and really beautiful. There are three different varieties always available at the markets here in Southern California. The golden beet with its orange color, the red beet with its dark, purple red meat and the chioggia which is a white red striped beet.

_DSC2613.jpg

A few days ago I used all three different varieties in a beet salad with walnut and rye bread crumbles and a buttermilk, sheep ricotta foam. Roasted the red and orange beet and left the chioggia raw to show off its amazing beauty.

_DSC2632.jpg

I was left with lots of red beet. Once I saw a brownie recipe from Georgina Fuggle, who is a British chef, and she used beet in her brownies. So I thought to give it a try, because I really love brownies. There is nothing different than in any other brownies, except for adding grated beets. It turned out really good. In certain spots you can actually taste the beets, and it is a really rich, gooey yummy brownie.

I made a small portion, as you can see in this loaf tin. Because of the richness of the brownie I think this is easily good for 6-8 portions. Especially if you follow my lead and serve it with an eggnog (or vanilla) ice cream and a caramel sauce 🙂

_dsc2662

Ingredients for the above size:

  • 4.5 oz good quality 70% dark chocolate
  • 3.5 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp of instant good quality espresso coffee
  • 1/4 lb cleaned, grated raw red beetroot (about 2 smaller ones)
  • 2 eggs, beaten to very good foamy state
  • 7 oz caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch of salt

_dsc2682-2

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 360 F.
  • Butter a loaf tin, line it with parchment and butter the parchment too.
  • Melt dark chocolate, coffee granulates and butter on low heat, very gently.
  • When completely melted, mix in grated beets, sugar and well beaten eggs.
  • Sift in flour and cocoa powder and a pinch of salt
  • Combine very well.
  • Pour batter into the tin.
  • Place on middle rack in the oven.
  • Turn down heat to 350F after about 5 minutes.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes, but keep checking. Exterior should be crunchy, inside gooey.
  • Let it cool completely in the tin.
  • Serve it with eggnog ice cream and caramel sauce for the holidays 🙂 or just with fresh red fruits. The first version will be a pretty heavy dessert option.

_dsc2674

TIP:    You can make caramel sauce by caramelizing cane sugar in a heavy bottom pan, and adding heavy cream to it and melting them together. Or just simply adding brown sugar to heavy cream, bringing all to a boil and cook it for a little while.