It’s Raw Week here at Hot Knives, you know like the Discovery channel’s “Shark Week.” We dusted off the Dehydrator and started soaking legumes like weirdos. But even our inner Hippy is a snack freak. And one substance above all others is the crack of snacks: Cool Ranch.
Ranch is nasty. In a good way. It’s the combo of lots of fat with a slightly sour buttermilk-citrus zing, speckled with herbs and spices. We’ve found it’s addictive on onion rings, zucchini sticks and the like, even though eating too much of it makes you question your life decisions. Our friends in Portland refer to this basic precept as getting “ranch cramps.”
Last summer we routinely made the real thing, a dairy doozey, for all sorts of recipe play. This week, we found a way to whip it up using just vegan pantry staples and fresh produce. Paired with a crudite of crisp veggies and homemade raw crackers, we’re skeptical we can even attain ranch cramps on such a healthy diet. But maybe if we drink the whole batch in one sitting…
(Makes about 2 cups)
1 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cup filtered water
1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup chives (minced)
1/4 cup parsley (minced)
1/4 cup dill (minced)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Lots of sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. Combine the cashews with water in a plastic or glass container, then cover the with plastic wrap. Let soak for at least 6 hours, or as long as 24 hours, on the counter.
2. Once ready to make, drain the cashews over the sink and remove all excess water. Cashews should have nearly doubled in volume yielding you 2 cups soaked cashews. Add cashews to food processor along with half the almond milk and half the cider vinegar. Puree for one minute while you measure your oil and squeeze your lemon juice.
3. With the food processor still running, slowly drizzle in the oil and lemon juice. Mixture should form a silky smooth paste. Now slowly add the remaining half of the almond milk and cider vin (If you’re looking for a thicker texture, don’t add all of this. If you want a loose dressing for salads, add all of it and then some. Adjust as desired.). Add about a teaspoon of sea salt. Process until you have a thoroughly mixed liquid, the consistency of heavy cream.
4. Using a spatula, remove the liquid into a large mixing bowl. Add the minced herbs, yeast, paprika and cayenne. Fold in the new flavors with a spatula, or beat it with a whisk. Taste and add sea salt and lots of black pepper as desired.
5. Reserve in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
(Makes two dozen)
Requires a dehydrator. We agree with the Raw Food Community that these are the best.
2 cups whole flax seed (raw)
2 1/2 cups filtered water
2 handfuls green kale leaves (about 1 cup)
4 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 shallot (minced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 handful purple kale leaves (optional)
1/2 cup minced parsley, cilantro and dill
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Combine flax seeds with water in a glass or plastic container, cover with plastic and let sit for 6-10 hours on the counter.
2. By now the soaked flax should resemble puddy — or egg whites with seeds in ‘em. Dump half of the flax into a food processor. Add half the kale, half the tamari, half the agave. Puree the mixture for about a minute slowly drizzling in half the olive oil. Then remove to a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the remaining flax, kale, tamari and oil. Combine in the bowl.
3. To the bowl, add the minced garlic and shallot. Finely chop the purple kale and add along with the minced herbs. Sprinkle salt and stir to combine.
4. Spread the flax mixture carefully and evenly onto 2 dehydrator sheet trays, forming a perfect square. (If you only have porous sheets, you can cover with plastic wrap and spray with canola oil to keep from sticking.)
5. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 6 hours.
6. After 6 hours, remove the trays and carefully lift the cracker dough to remove plastic wrap (discard it) and flip the dough. Return to dehydrator for at least 10-12 hours.
7. After it’s done, cut into desired shapes. Toss in a large bowl with additional seasoning as desired. We like extra sea salt, nutritional yeast, onion powder and paprika (about 1 teaspoon of each).
8. Serve with vegetable crudite and ranch dip.
Beverage: St.Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition
Soundtrack: “Raw Ramp,” T-Rex