Posts Tagged ‘Cafe Gratitude’

Wow, total blast from the past!

Thanks to Amy for sending this my way. My youtube site got censored back in 2012, and I didn’t know any of my old videos remained. Since my computer also got a new motherboard around the same time, I thought those videos were gone forever. Here’s a talk from way back in 2009 at Cafe Gratitude. Rather synchronous that this would pop up right now, as I’ve been considering a possible return to youtube or other platform for some videos on key topics in 2016. We shall see, but in the meantime, here’s the beginning of a longer talk from (nearly) seven years ago. Nothing in here is medical advice, diagnosis or prescription … just sharing things that have come through on the intuitive radar:

Raw Vegan Pizza and Italian Feast

Lazy Raw Foodist Disclaimer here: although yesterday’s post about Squash Blossoms was actual Lazy Raw Foodist fare, today’s post is not. It’s too pretty not to share, though. 🙂

We had this feast quite awhile ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting photos. It began with a desire to share the joys of Cafe Gratitude with people who had never been there. When I lived in Northern California, I always used to order the pizza there because I would “never take the time to make all those ingredients and the final product myself.” Well, that was almost true. It took four years anyway.

As you can see from the pizza recipe, it actually involves many more recipes:

I worked on this feast off and on throughout the week, texting my friend, Ingrid, status updates along the way. “Today is buckwheat pizza crust day.” “Today is olive tapenade and Brazil nut parmesan day.” Since my intended menu involved several different types of dehydrated goodies, plus juice and pulp, I needed to plan things in advance, both for dehydrator space and to spread the work out for myself. I used recipes from I Am Grateful (the Cafe Gratitude un-cookbook) and The World Goes Raw by Lisa Mann. I also invented some of my own dishes, highlighting fresh produce from our garden. Here are some of the components lined up on the day of the feast:

For an appetizer, I marinated portobello mushroom caps for two days in wheat free tamari, olive oil and garlic, then dehydrated them for three hours to intensify the flavors. I then topped them with a homemade, freshly harvested basil, nettle and purslane pesto and some of the Brazil nut “cheese.”

Pesto stuffed portobellos with Brazil nut parmesan and fresh parsley garnish

I followed the appetizer with Cafe Gratitude’s signature pizza dish, fresh greens and a homemade Italian salad dressing, compliments of olive oil, lemon and herbs from our garden. Sometimes presentation is everything. In this case, it helps, but I just love all the flavor combinations!

I Am Passionate, with salad and Italian dressing in between slices

We set the table with faery candlesticks David had procured on his many faery garden expeditions for yours truly:

And then filled it all with food:

Knowing that our friend Ingrid often sneaks in an inspired dessert that might take center stage, I opted for an Italian dessert that I could send home with our friends, just in case. I made chocolate-pistachio-cherry biscotti, adapted from Lisa Mann’s The World Goes Raw. It turns out the biscotti went well with Ingrid’s masterpiece:

Ingrid’s Chocolate Raspberry (all raw and vegan) Torte

Happy dessert companions with fresh peppermint garnish

I have to admit that I don’t normally eat this way. I’m a double smoothie a day plus a salad gal, and this meal was beyond rich. That didn’t stop us all from joining the clean plate club during each course. Ingrid doesn’t remember where she first saw this recipe, so if it looks familiar to someone, please let me know whom to credit. She found it somewhere online a long time ago, and this was her first attempt, with some tweaking to make it lower glycemic than the original:

Cacao Ganache and Raspberry Tart


1 Pint of Raspberries


1/2 C Almonds, ground fine
2 T Cacao
1 T Coconut Butter or Coconut Oil
1 Tsp of Yacon Syrup (optional)
1 Tsp of Vanilla Powder
A dash of Sea Salt


1/2 C Cacao Powder
1/4 C Sweetener such as Agave, but I use Grade B Maple Syrup
1/4 C Coconut Butter, softened
1/4 C Filtered Water

Oil ring mold with coconut oil and sprinkle with cacao powder. Combine all crust ingredients and pat 1/4 inch layer into the bottom of ring mold (I used a cylinder mold of 3 inches).

Then I make my Ganache and pour half of it into the mold and top with a layer of raspberries. Then I pour the rest of the Ganache on top and put on another layer of raspberries, and refrigerate!

The other recipes from this feast are either in Cafe Gratitude’s I Am Grateful book, Lisa Mann’s The World Goes Raw, or are a Lazy Raw Foodist hodge-podge of fresh ingredients from someone too lazy to measure or write things down. I hope you’ve enjoyed the virtual tour. It was a labor of love, not soon to be repeated, but definitely worth every ounce of effort!

Raw Vegan Thai, Tiramisu and Key Lime Pie

As I mentioned in early May, David and I both have May birthdays, and we planned to stretch those celebrations across the entire month. We both love to eat, especially wild foods and raw vegan goodies. I’ve got a backlog of photos, but today I thought I’d share a surprisingly synchronous feast we shared with our friends Brian and Ingrid.

We had planned to make a light, easy Thai themed dinner for them: Bok Choy Salad with Dulse, Cucumber-ACV-Berkano (our nickname for birch sweetener), and Coconut Red Curry Basil Kelp Noodles. For dessert, I prepared some Tazo Thrive Green Tea — which includes licorice, chicory, spearmint and rose hips — then blended it with lucuma powder, a tiny bit of coconut oil and some vanilla stevia. We froze this in ice cube trays the night before and intended to blend it into a “Green Tea Gelato” to cap off our meal.

We got everything prepared, but Life threw us what turned out to be a fun and fortuitous surprise. Our central air had broken before we left for my birthday road trip and we figured it would all be fixed by the time we returned five days later. Um, not quite. No problem the first night, but last Sunday was a scorcher in Madison. As we watched the temperature in the coolest room of our house climb higher and higher, we decided that experience wasn’t guest worthy. Change of plans. We ended up bringing some meals on wheels to Brian and Ingrid, initially feeling bad to have invited them over for dinner and then invited ourselves over to their place. Little did we know, Ingrid had been secretly hoping for such a switch! You’ll see why later, but first, some photos of the initial part of our feast:

Red Curry Basil Kelp Noodles

This was super easy to prepare. We just soaked kelp noodles in water during the rest of the food prep time, then cut them into manageable pieces with kitchen sheers. David cracked two young Thai coconuts, put the water and meat into the Vitamix, and blended with a huge handful of fresh basil, and some Thai Kitchen Red Curry. The seasoning’s not raw, but it’s pretty clean as far as store bought seasonings go. Plus, it’s super yum.

Cucumber Salad and Bok Choy with Tahini, Tamari and Dulse

The salads had simple, light dressings. David gets the cucumber sliced so nicely with an OXO mandolin that can make match stick slices. I’ve never tried it because I don’t use “the big people knives,” but we have various veggie shaping options in our kitchen for those who dare. 😉

Our Light Raw Vegan Thai Dinner

The food tasted refreshing on such a sweltering day, and it felt like a Thai restaurant experience in Brian and Ingrid’s elegant dining room. Here’s where the meal got interesting, though. Just as I got up to prep the dessert into Gelato, Ingrid said she had a small confession to make. She had been trying to figure out how to shift the invitation for us to go to their place instead of them coming to ours, because she didn’t know how to transport her creations. As a birthday surprise she had made not one, but two raw vegan desserts from the Cafe Gratitude Sweet Desserts (un)cookbook. Not just any two desserts, either! She went all out and made the multi-layered, multi-textured, and multi-day-prep-time Tiramisu, as well as a super delicious Key Lime Pie. I got a little bit excited!

Ingrid Recnik and Laura Bruno with Key Lime Pie

Cafe Gratitude uses a fair amount of soy lecithin in their desserts, and Ingrid’s quite anti-soy. I asked if she used sunflower seed lecithin, but the way she explained lecithin to me, I can see why she opted to experiment on her own. Without using the lecithin, she needed to keep adding and whipping and whirring until things reached the right state of fluffiness and firmness. I don’t know how she did it, but she did. Both the desserts were amazing and completely indistinguishable from their more traditional counterparts.

Ingrid’s Key Lime Pie

Ingrid’s Raw Vegan Tiramisu


Needless to say, we were too stuffed for Green Tea Gelato. We left them with the cubes and instructions on how to make it later. We ended up making the Gelato the next night and I’d have to revise my original instructions to say, let the ice cubes melt a bit and then maybe add a bit of maple syrup or agave nectar (which I don’t normally use, but it would be tasty here) before blending. Ours was good with a bit of water to loosen things up, but I think the bit of extra sweet and stickiness would be extra yummy.

But back to the Tiramisu and Key Lime Pie … we were truly blown away. I’ve eaten both before at Cafe Gratitude, and I have to say that these even surpassed my experiences there. Perhaps it’s because they were made with extra love especially for my birthday. Perhaps it’s because Ingrid completely rocks. In any case, super yum. I am so grateful to have such wonderful friends and gorgeous, delicious food. And a special thank you to David for all the photographs and for his part in our portion of this evening’s meal. Mmmmmhmmmm, a blessed extended birthday, indeed!