Good morning! I hope your week is off to a good start.
My Master’s Degree Project:
I am making some good progress on my master’s degree project which is the reason why I’ve had to cut back my blogging to twice a week for now. I generally wake up very early and work on that for at least several hours before getting started on my day. I expect that after a few more weeks of concentrated work on that project, I’ll be back up to blogging three times a week again. I miss you!
Vegan Mashup DVD Giveaway:
There were 86 comments on the giveaway for the Vegan Mashup Season One DVD. I loved reading your answers to my question about sources of inspiration for vegan cooking. I have a whole new set of blogs and books to look into now, so thank you for sharing!
The randomly selected winners of the DVDs are:
Billie Jean (comment #56) who said: “I love the entire vegan AND raw blogging world! There are SO many great blogs, especially yours! that I visit when I have the free time and have save and bookmarked probably a couple thousand recipes! Obsessed!”
Angie (comment #8) who said: “I just watched Forks Over Knifes the other day and was very impressed, so cool you got to meet the Dr.!”
Raw Strawberry Tart:
I can’t get enough of the fresh strawberries that are really coming into season now in California. Here is a picture of some that I picked up at my local farm stand this past weekend:
I made a raw strawberry tart last summer, but I used maple syrup in the crust and I kept meaning to make a crust using date paste instead (since dates are a whole food as opposed to a concentrated sweetener).
For the updated version I made this past weekend, I used pecans, oats, raisins, flax meal, currants, vanilla, and date paste all mixed together in the food processor:
I pressed it all into a tart pan and popped it in the fridge to chill and firm up:
Have you ever made date paste? I’ve seen various recipes for making it, but what I did was pit 8 Medjool dates (the big kind) and put them in a small saucepan with about 1/3 cup water. I then brought it to a boil and then simmered the dates and water until it turned into a thick paste. It took about 20 minutes.
The date paste made my crust mixture very sticky, but it also made it sweet and delicious.
The last step in making my tart was to mix together one pint of strawberries with some chia seeds to make a filling to spread over the tart, and then to top it all with the last pint of sliced strawberries:
I found a large glass bowl that fit perfectly over the entire tart while it chilled in the fridge (and did double duty to keep sticky fingers away from it, ha ha):
I was happy that the crust stayed together really well, even after I removed the outside of the pan:
This recipe does make for a very thick crust, but that’s kinda how I like it. Once I sliced the tart, the strawberries were a bit mushy, but the flavor was just incredible:
Here is the recipe:
- For the crust:
- 1½ cups unsalted, raw nuts such as almond, pecans, or walnuts
- 1 cup rolled oats (uncooked)
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- ⅓ cup dried currants
- ½ cup date paste*
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the filling:
- 2 pints fresh strawberries (use in-season, organic varieties for the sweetest flavor)
- 1 teaspoon ground chia seeds
- 1-2 teaspoons coconut sugar, if desired (this depends on how naturally sweet your strawberries are. If they are on the tart side, you might need the sugar. If your strawberries are very sweet, then leave out the sugar).
- Place nuts and oats in a food processor and process on high for about a minute or until a flour-like consistency is reached. Add raisins and process on high for another minute. Add ground flax seeds, dried currants, date paste and vanilla and pulse several times or until ingredients are combined.
- Wash one pint of strawberries and remove the stems. Add them into a medium bowl with the ground chia seeds. Use a fork to mash the mixture together and set aside for at least 10 minutes to thicken. In the meantime, wash the other pint of strawberries and slice them thinly.
- Pour the crust mixture into a tart pan and press evenly, including up the sides. Pour over the strawberry sauce from your bowl over the entire tart and then placed the sliced strawberries on top.
- Let tart chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.
- *To make date paste, place 8 pitted Medjool dates in a small saucepan with just enough water to cover (about ⅓ cup). Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the dates have reduced to a thick paste.
For those of you who use my recipe app, Vegan Delish, I uploaded this recipe yesterday:
I am thinking that this crust will work great come nectarine, peach, and plum season. Something to look forward to!
I was very sorry to hear about the events in Boston yesterday and my heart goes out to those affected. It makes me sad to hear about people hurting others.
Conclusion and Veg Week:
Next week, April 22-28 is US VegWeek where thousands of Americans pledge to eat vegetarian for those seven days. I’ve been vegan for almost 3 years now, but I took the pledge and will be offering my support for this worthy campaign. Make your pledge here and get all kinds of support for a week without meat. I love that this campaign kicks off on Earth Day, too. What better way to express our love for each other and the planet?
Until Friday when we meet back here again, I am sending out good vibes of compassion, gratitude, and happy, healthy eating.