Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sweet Ricotta Macadamia Nut Cheeze, Raw Cannoli, and Vegan Beet Raviolis

Lately I've been experimenting with a lot of different foods and textures. Some cooked, but mostly raw, and mostly vegan. Recently I was craving raviolis and decided to make a vegan ravioli using yellow beets and homemade nut cheese. I started by making the nut cheese first. I thought if I used macadamia nuts I could create a much nuttier, sweet flavor, which compliment the beets.




By the way, yellow beets can be pretty bitter I found out. That's when I decided to cook them down a bit. I sauteed them in some macadamia nut oil and then dried them off before using them for the ravioli recipe. This worked great!

After making the delicious ravioli dish, I had plenty of nut cheese left over. So I decided to make raw cannolis. It was the perfect sweet treat to compliment the ravioli dish. It also makes a great spread for raw and baked breads, or as a topping on a raw or cooked vegan burger. (Tip: you may want to make the cannoli shells prior to starting your recipes, as there is dry time necessary involved). I know you'll enjoy these recipes. They are quick and simple to make, and super delicious. The recipes follow. Enjoy!



Sweet Ricotta Macadamia Nut Cheeze.
Ingredients:
2 cups raw macadamia nuts (ground)
¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt
1-2 T agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
1 cup water

Preparation:
Place ingredients in a high-speed blender, or in a food processor and mix until super smooth and thick. Blend till super smooth and thick. Keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. This will also allow for the cheese to set-up, making it easier to use as a spread.


Vegan Beet Raviolis, with Sweet Ricotta Macadamia Nut Cheeze.
Ingredients:
3 yellow beets (washed well, roots and leaves removed)
prepared Sweet Ricotta Macadamia Nut Cheeze
sea salt and ground pepper to taste
ground nutmeg to taste
1-2 T macadamia nut oil

Preparation:
Preparing the Beets:
Slice yellow beets into thin rounds. Place oil in pan and heat on low. Add beet slices to the pan and saute until beets appear pliable, turning them over at least once during the cooking time. Add about a 4th cup of water to the pan and heat a little longer. Remove from pan and dry on sheets of paper towels to remove the excess oil and water. Sprinkle sea salt, pepper, and nutmeg over the beet slices. 


Preparing the Raviolis:
Using a spoon, scoop a dollop of the nut cheese and place on top of one beet slice. Place another beet slice over top of the cheese. Carefully press down on the ravioli in an attempt to seal it. Place it aside. Do this with the remaining beet slices. Save leftover nut cheese for cannoli recipe. Serve raviolis with a plate of fresh greens and sprouts. Consider topping them with some fresh raw or cooked marinara sauce, and dollops of the nut cheese. Store leftover raviolis in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, saute raviolis in a pan with some macadamia nut oil or coconut oil, then serve. Raviolis also taste delicious cold.


Raw Cannoli, with Sweet Ricotta Macadamia Nut Cheeze.
Cannoli Shell.
Ingredients:
1 cup walnuts (ground)
½ cup finely shredded dried coconut
3 dates (soft)
2 T agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
1 T water
1 T raw cacao powder
few drops chocolate flavored SweetLeaf Sweetener Liquid Stevia
¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt
1 average sized banana

Preparation:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until super smooth and thick. Remove from food processor. Using a large spatula, scoop a big dollop of the mixture and form a thin pancake-like round on dehydrator non-stick sheets/tray. Create as many rounds as possible. Depending upon the size of the round will depend on how many cannolis you can expect. (I was able to make about 6 fairly large cannolis). Place trays in dehydrator and set temperature to about 115 F. Dry for at least 8 to 10 hours, maybe more if necessary. Do not turn the rounds over or place on mesh tray - not necessary. You want the rounds to be dried all the way through, but very pliable.


Carefully remove rounds from sheets. Immediately roll-up the rounds forming large-mouth tubes. Place cannolis back on dehydrator trays and let them dry an additional 2 to 3 hours. They should be firm and holding their shape.

Cannoli Filling.
Ingredients:
leftover prepared Sweet Ricotta Macadamia Nut Cheeze
1/4 cup or more agave (or other liquid sweetener)
1/4 cup or more vegan chocolate chips
1-3 T raw cacao nibs

Preparation:
Place ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir until all ingredients are well incorporated. Taste mixture and adjust sweetness accordingly. (Note: You may want to place mixture in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set-up prior to filling the cannolis).

Assembling the Cannolis:
Place filling inside a pastry bag, and carefully pipe mixture into the cannoli shells. Do this for all the shells. If you don't have a pastry bag, try using a plastic storage bag and cut off one corner making a tip. You could also carefully unroll cannoli and spoon the mixture inside, then roll it up again. Be careful not to crack or break the cannoli shell in the process. Cannolis are ready to serve. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days.