Monday, June 21, 2010

I've been "Chopped"

Or have I? I think I succeeded in this battle, but I'll let you be the judge.

Although my diet is mainly raw vegan (I'll admit to some cooked here and there), I'm strangely drawn to watching the Food Network's "Chopped." I love the concept on being given a mystery basket of unrelated food items (there is usually at least one curve ball in there) and a time limit in which to whip up something harmonious out of them.

For example, unsure of what to make for today's post, I pulled out a few random items from Natural Zing and tossed them in a basket for inspiration. I had some raw cashews, Bali cocoa powder, lucuma powder, maca and kelp noodles. I have to admit that the kelp noodles were the kicker.

Luckily, my son was around to help me out with that one. Hearing the word "chopped," he automatically thought of Spongebob and his karate chops. Of course, I wasn't surprised when he also thought the noodles should be put in a kelp shake, something that was quite popular in an episode of that cartoon.

I was a little hesitant at first, as I don't recall anyone using these noodles in any other fashion than as noodles (like in this extensive list of recipe ideas). But, since they don't have an overwhelming flavor that would compete with the others in a beverage, I thought, "why not give it a try?"

Besides, I already had a coffee alternative idea in mind, due to the cocoa powder and maca being in the basket. Cocoa and maca always give me energy when I need it most, and this particular cocoa powder actually smells and tastes a bit like coffee, as I found out while making these mini raw cupcakes for a friend.

This idea was perfect, especially after reading a post by Alicia Silverstone on The Kind Life site about a certain coffee chain now offering its Frappucinos "however you want it" by giving customers the opportunity to select their coffee/tea (or you can go coffee-free), milk or soy (one day maybe they'll offer a raw alternative), flavorings and toppings. Until it includes some raw options, here is what I'll be making how I want it in my kitchen. I like to call it My Mocha Kelppucino.

My Mocha Kelppucino
4 ounces (1/3 of a bag) kelp noodles, rinsed well and chilled
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in fridge
1 cup cold water
1 Tbsp. lucuma powder
1 Tbsp. maca powder
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of sea salt
1 frozen banana, chopped (and/or ice)
2 Tbsp. Bali cocoa powder
*date syrup drizzle (optional)
*sprinkling of cacao nibs (optional)

In a high speed blender, blend the kelp noodles, cashews, water, lucuma, maca, vanilla and sea salt until smooth. Add the frozen banana and/or ice (I like to use banana to add sweetness and a smooth texture; if you just use ice, you might want to sweeten it up a bit with some dates, agave, yacon, etc.), and blend to incorporate.

Remove some of the mixture (maybe about 1/8 to 1/4 cup) and set aside for the topping (this makes it look like a cappuccino).

Add the cocoa powder to suit your taste (I went with 2 Tbsp. to really perk me up, but you can use less if you want), and blend. Pour it into a mug or glass, and top with the cocoa-free mixture. Garnish with a drizzle of date syrup (as seen in this Raw Chef video) and a sprinkling of cacao nibs. Enjoy!

Just as a word of caution, this stuff is a little thick like a pudding, but that's how I like it. It doesn't melt as it gets warm. Feel free to add extra water and ice, if you'd like. Remember, this is your personalized drink. Don't be afraid to swap the banana for strawberry, eliminate the cocoa, add some green tea, or perhaps spirulina to give it a kelp shake appearance. Have fun :-)

Shannonmarie, a.k.a. "Rawdorable," also posts on her blog of the same name,


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Pam said...

I love that show...nice cupcakes..mmm!