It’s finally cooled off here!
I really can’t stand the heat & humidity combo. My favourite temperatures are 15C – 25C during the day with a good drop to 10C – 15C in the evenings for a comfortable sleep. Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, maybe it’s because I’m a knitter and just love what I call “Sweater weather”? I don’t know. But honestly, to me, a humidex of 37C sucks! It appears that I may have the same melting point as my coconut oil…
Not only that, but late last year we moved from the sweltering high humidex summers of the Greater Toronto Area to an island off the East Coast. An island known for fishing, whales, icebergs (and Screetch). It’s also Canada’s windiest, foggiest and cloudiest city, and apparently has “cool-to-warm summers and relatively mild winters”. Unlike Toronto, very few homes have air conditioning, and even fewer have pools (another testament to the cool-to-warm summers). So the past few days of unusual sweltering heat without air conditioning or a pool had me on a mission.
The mission was to prepare a nice Friday-evening dinner and dessert without turning on the stove, oven, slow-cooker, indoor grill, or even the BBQ. And since I’m studying nutrition, why not try to find some “raw” recipes? Eating raw food has its benefits. It is often vegetable-based and the rawness helps to maintain some of the water-soluble vitamins and plant enzymes that often leach out of cooked veggies. We don’t eat that much raw food, so this, for me, is a welcomed opportunity.
The great news is that we still had a few leftover herb roasted chicken thighs in the fridge… Next to find a satisfying raw side and raw dessert.
I surfed the net and found that it’s easy to come across a lot of raw recipes on blogs. Many are fruit or vegetable based which is great, but are lacking in protein. Today I’m specifically looking for something that is satisfying enough for dinner, but not too heavy because of the heat. And something that uses up some of my stash of raw organic nuts.
Note about nut protein: Nuts have a low lysine:arginine ratio, which can help to promote herpes outbreaks. So, if you’re prone to cold sores, you may want to eat nuts and seeds in moderation (animal proteins have higher lysine, which can help to reduce outbreaks).
I also found a raw nut-based recipe for Julian’s favourite dessert – Banana Cream Pie.
But, before I prepared those dishes, I soaked the hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, and almonds in a solution of filtered tap water with some sea salt. According to Sally Fallon‘s Nourishing Traditions cookbook, soaking these nuts in salt water will help to activate some of the latent enzymes in the nuts to degrade some of the anti-nutrients (such as phytic acid) that are inherent in most nuts, seeds & grains. Here is a great how-to video on soaking almonds by the Healthy Home Economist.
Cashews can get a bit slimy if they’re left to soak too long, so they go into their salt water last.
The cold leftover chicken thighs and carrot hazelnut soup were a nice combo. The orange colour and addition of the apple, ginger and cinnamon was reminiscent of a autumn pumpkin dish.
The banana cream pie recipe was very filling and actually made 8 small servings for me. I also made a few “tweaks”:
- For the crust, I substituted 1 cup almonds for the brazil nuts (since I’m anaphylactically allergic to brazil nuts – yep, I was probably the only grade school kid in the 80s with a life-threatening nut allergy!)
- For the filling, I totally forgot to add the coconut flesh and lemon juice! Also, instead of coconut water, I used coconut milk. I substituted honey for agave, and 1 tsp vanilla extract for the vanilla bean.
- When I tasted the filling, I thought it was a bit too coconuty, so instead of slicing the 2nd banana and stirring it in, I blended it together with the rest of the filling.
- I also decided not to make the chocolate topping which would have surely been a lovely touch.
The cold dinner was definitely a nice addition to a very hot few days, and the nut recipes were quite filling.
My mission was accomplished, and I think that I should venture to incorporate more non-salad raw foods into our diets.