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105degrees, L1/W2/D5: truffles, cookies, burgers, tarts

November 5, 2010

Wow, this day was just jam-packed with good stuff. Before I get into all of it, I wanted to share with you the email that Matt sent me this morning. I gave him permission to use my Vitamix while I’m gone, and today he said:

“I’ll have you know that I made a chocolate and banana smoothie with water, frozen banana, cacao beans, almonds, maca, coconut oil, cacao nibs, agave nectar, and ice. It was good! I’m a pro now.”

Is that an awesome almost vegan boyfriend, or what?! I’ve taught him well. πŸ˜‰

This morning at 105degrees, we took out yesterday‘s cacao-cashew-butter chocolate mixture, now well-chilled and firmed up. We rolled small scoops of it into balls to make…truffles!

(Sorry for the fierce morning sunlight saturating that photo!)
I kept my coatings pretty straightforward.

I rolled some in cacao powder, some in coconut, and the rest in a blend of crushed cacao nibs and raw pistachios.

These melt in your mouth AND in your hand, but I’ve got no problem with that!

To keep myself somewhat safe from the truffles’ siren song, I only brought about a third of them home with me. (Which means that by tomorrow night, I may be all out.)

The chocolate parade wasn’t over yet, thoughβ€”yesterday‘s chocolate chips had firmed up in the dehydrator overnight.

We then made precisely what should be the vehicle for fresh chocolate chips:
chocolate chip cookies!

People, this cookie dough was utterly astonishing. Typically, I find that raw adaptations of “normal” foods taste great – often far better than their non-raw counterparts – but VERY rarely do I think a raw food tastes “just like” the cooked version. This cookie dough broke that mold. No, it shattered it with a sledgehammer.

Something magical must happen in the interplay of maple syrup, lucuma, and vanilla. When combined with fluffy oat flour and a blend of buttery nut flours, this tasted JUST LIKE the chocolate chip cookie dough I ate out of the mixing bowl (salmonella be damned!) as a kid. SENSATIONAL. I don’t understand it, but I’m thoroughly infatuated with it.

Then, of course, we went and added our fresh chocolate chips to the batter. ::Fans self::

You can’t comprehend how much it hurt me to have to leave these in the dehydrator over the weekend. Goodbye for now, sweet cookie mine. Until we meet again! (You know, on Monday.)

Ok, on to savory stuff. Yesterday, we’d each prepared a single hamburger bun.

Today, as those were finishing drying, we marinated and dehydrated a portobello mushroom.

With the additions of mashed avocado, raw ketchup, and more of Wednesday‘s caramelized onions, my burger was complete.

I’m thrilled with how well my bun came out!

Actually, the whole thing’s resemblance to a “real” hamburger is downright uncanny.

I haven’t tried my burger yet (it went straight into a container to bring home), but when I do, I will let you know how it is!

Lastly, remember yesterday‘s gobi palak (curried cauliflower and spinach) tart filling? Well, the timer on the dehydrator we all had our tarts in was not set properly, so they overdried a bit.

It didn’t harm the flavor (in fact, if anything, it concentrated it further), it just reduced the volume quite a bit, and made them a little less visually appealing. Garnishes to the rescue!

I made a fresh mango-tomato “chutney” and added it to the tart with some fragrant cilantro.

I also brushed the plate and lightly drizzled the tart with some curry oil I made. Three cute lil hot peppers completed the presentation.

I’m really proud of myself for going out on a limb and inventing this Indian-inspired tart filling on the spot.

This too went straight into a to-go box, but I’m quite antsy to give it a taste. Actually, I’m gonna have to let you guys go now…I think I have a date with the refrigerator…

Have a wonderful weekend!

54 Comments leave one →
  1. Celina permalink
    November 5, 2010 7:59 pm

    I am in awe at the beauty and complexities of your raw food! I am vegan and would most certainly love to eat more raw food:) keep up the amazing work and posts… Your meals look stunning!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 8:49 pm

      Thank you so much, Celina! What a sweet thing to say…so glad you’re reading and enjoying, and maybe collecting some raw ideas for yourself!

  2. welcome to our wonderland permalink
    November 5, 2010 8:07 pm

    wow those truffles look yummy!!!

    I’ve been wondering since your eating raw now does your stomach get messed up when you eat regular vegan dishes that are cooked?

    I love portobella mushroom burgers! can’t wait to hear how it taste.

    you’ve been busy this week

    your a master at make your plates so pretty πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 8:54 pm

      I haven’t had much cooked stuff these past couple weeks, but my tummy actually handled it just fine. I do have kind of an iron stomach, though…I didn’t get into raw foods because of a weak digestive tract, that’s for sure πŸ˜›

      It has been a busy week for sure! Glad you like my plating πŸ™‚

  3. November 5, 2010 8:18 pm

    Those truffles could knock Godiva chocolates any day! I especially love that some of them are rolled in pistachios–I feel like it’s the forgotten nut when it comes to cooking sometimes! I tried pistachio butter for the first time last week, and I think went to nut butter heaven πŸ™‚

    Looks like another delicious day of baking and cooking (do you still call it that when you’re not actually “cooking” anything?!)

    Happy weekend to you!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 8:56 pm

      What a compliment! Thanks! Pistachios ARE too often “the forgotten nut”…but they’re one of the best! Their color and crunch is unmatched. πŸ™‚ I have never tried pistachio butter! Lucky you! What brand was it?

  4. November 5, 2010 8:32 pm

    That’s some fantabulous food photography you have going on there. It’s all making me so hungry. Mouth watering, stomach growling. πŸ˜‰

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 8:57 pm

      Thank you! My new camera and I get along quite well…and I’m SO SO glad I got it before coming here to 105.

  5. November 5, 2010 8:49 pm

    Wow Amber, you have outdone yourself with that burger, for sure!!!!

    Great resemblance to the real thing, totally!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 8:57 pm

      I know, right? It’s EERIE! πŸ˜›

  6. November 5, 2010 8:58 pm

    Words cannot express. You know how I’m not normally interested in pistachios, but like we were saying with the smoothies… add some fancy “superfoods” and I am SO IN. Particularly when pistachios and cacao nibs are involved! Amber, I am so proud of you and what you’re getting out of this! xoxo

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 8:58 pm

      You’re normally not interested in…? I have a feeling that was meant to be a different word. πŸ˜‰ I thought of you, once again, when I was rolling the pistachio-cacao nib truffles! Knew you’d like those πŸ˜€

      • November 6, 2010 11:05 pm

        I love that you know me well enough to even know when I’ve made a typo πŸ™‚ I meant “truffles” – bog-standard truffles are boring to me. But as I said, these? Whole ‘nother ball game πŸ™‚

        • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
          November 6, 2010 11:21 pm

          Literally! πŸ˜›

  7. November 5, 2010 9:56 pm

    Yum, yum, yum! I cannot believe all of the good stuff you are making! It all looks so good!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 8:58 pm

      Thank you! It tastes great, too!

  8. Matt permalink
    November 5, 2010 10:01 pm

    So you’re not mad that I used all of your food to make that smoothie? Whew!

    Those truffles and those cookies will have to be made again. I must eat them. It’s a moral imperative…

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 9:02 pm

      Unless you really put my whole bags of those ingredients in there and made a megasmoothie, no, I’m not mad πŸ™‚ I’m pleased!

      I should make the truffles at home sometime, and I ABSOLUTELY WILL be making these cookies…possibly lots and lots of them!

      Surprised you didn’t comment on the burger…

  9. November 5, 2010 11:02 pm

    Amber…your pictures make me drool!!! I wish I could come to school with you everyday! Curious…what made you decide to study to be a raw chef?
    Would love for you to check out my site sometime!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 9:06 pm

      Hi Sarah! I’m so happy you find my photos droolworthy πŸ˜€ If so, you’d probably love 105!

      As for why I’m becoming a raw chef, I gave a very quick summary here, but basically it’s just been a progression for me for several years now to get to this point. Vegetarian –> vegan –> blogger –> growing interest in raw foods…it just reached a breaking point, where I was spending more time food-blogging and cooking/baking/making food than I was anything else in my life. I was thinking about food every night as I fell asleep, and it was the first thing on my mind as soon as I woke up. I just couldn’t stay in life insurance anymore…I NEEDED to take this plunge πŸ™‚ Wish me luck establishing a career in this after school’s over!

  10. November 5, 2010 11:13 pm

    WOW! Raw Hamburger?? It looks fantastical. Waste not want not! Hope you like it lots!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 9:17 pm

      It’s great! I’m a little bit in love with that hamburger bun!

      • jenny permalink
        November 24, 2010 7:35 pm

        how did you make that bun look so much like a bun??? amazing.

        • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
          November 24, 2010 9:07 pm

          Part of it, I think, was just luck! I somehow shaped my dough really well. I think it needed to be just the right thickness. Proper dehydration time helped, too! πŸ™‚

  11. November 6, 2010 1:33 am

    Wow that burger is amazing looking. And the truffles, wow!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 9:18 pm

      Everything in this post tasted out of this world. πŸ™‚

  12. November 6, 2010 4:18 am

    I am very intrigued by the chocolate chip cookies….although I have to admit, waiting an entire weekend for such a thing does sound like torture (I assume Russell locks the doors very tightly….hehe). The burger is almost creepy in its resemblance to it’s processed and cooked distant cousin. I’m curious as to how to dehydrated portabella tastes….was it marinated? A friend of mine (remember Stephanie, from the Ethiopian cooking class?) is loaning me her dehydrator for my New Year’s experiment, so I’m making a list of what I’m willing to dehydrate and what I don’t think will be worth the time!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 9:34 pm

      It IS torture! I too assume the doors are well-secured πŸ˜› But seriously, I am so ridiculously excited to eat those. I mean, just think: if you get a batch started every day, then after then initial 2-day wait, you’ll never have to suffer like that again, right?! πŸ˜‰ I can already tell you it’s a recipe you MUST try.

      Re: the burger, creepy indeed! The mushroom was well-coated in olive oil and tamari, and “marinated” via dehydration. The end result was very firm and, well, “meaty.” Mushrooms aren’t my favorite food, so I’d say the flavor was “good,” but if you generally like fungi you’d probably love it.

      I was going to ask you if you would have access to a dehydrator. That’s great! What brand is it? I was just thinking today about how much I regret getting the smaller 5-tray Excalibur dehydrator as opposed to the 9-tray…if you find yourself loving dehydration, and you want a pristine, nearly-brand-new, highest-quality-brand model, I’ll just put out there that maybe I could sell you mine (for a price a bit below what I paid, of course) and get myself that 9-tray.

      • November 7, 2010 5:21 am

        I don’t know the brand….she said it’s a cheap one from Target from when she tried out the raw thing–too small to make raw bread (sp I think I’ll buy some premade), but good for fruits/veggies and making crackers. Also, she has a couple of un-cook books that she’s going to loan me as well. She said the thing that did her in was the prep time, which is why I’m trying so hard to get as much planned out as possible. We’ll see how much use I get out of the dehydrator….I might take you up on that offer!

        The good news is I already adore fruits, veggies, nuts, an fun guys–er, fungi. πŸ˜‰ So really a lot of this will just be learning different preparation methods.

        I will say that I am questioning my choice to do this in January when it will be cold. I do love my hot soups and stir-fries! Ah well….like I said, I’m not giving up tea ;).

      • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
        November 7, 2010 10:49 am

        Hm, yeah, good chance you’ll find yourself not lovin’ the Target-dehyd. There’s really nothing like an Excalibur.
        Maybe you could make bitty raw bread though! Like buns, or mold the dough into individual slices.
        Any idea which cookbooks she’s lending you? I have a library of inspiration you’re welcome to borrow from as well.

        I like that you’re thinking of it as just learning new prep techniques rather than overhauling your diet. That makes it fun and adventurous! A raw diet really does include so many foods you already eat anyway…just in different forms that you’re used to.

        I know what you mean about hot food in winter…it’s barely gotten chilly here and I’m craving a big pot of beans! If the dehydrator works ok, though, you can (with enough foresight) set things in there for 15-30 min to warm before eating.
        Which reminds me of another Q – what temp does her dehydrator dry things at? If it’s a cheap Target one, like a Ronco, it may only have one temp setting, often at 130 or 140 degrees, which means ::wince:: nothing you make in it would actually be technically raw.

        • November 8, 2010 11:35 am

          No idea what the dehydrator is….although, 130F is still a lot lower than my oven goes (200F), so worst case scenario I’ll just chalk it up to the “mostly” part of my “mostly raw” experiment. One cook book is the Juliano Un-Cook book. That’s all I know :). She has a baby so her time on-line is pretty limited.

        • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
          November 8, 2010 4:42 pm

          Ah, gotcha. If I remember right, Juliano’s book is pretty prep-heavy, even for raw… you should definitely check out Matthew Kenney’s Everyday Raw and Ani Phyo’s Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen. Lots of short ingredient lists and [relatively] little prep time.

  13. November 6, 2010 4:19 am

    Oh yes, and the truffles are beautiful!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 9:34 pm

      Thanks! SUPER-tasty, too!

  14. November 6, 2010 8:27 am

    I am loving your daily recaps and I can’t wait for you to start posting recipes. I’m drooling nonstop around here.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 9:38 pm

      So happy to hear you’re enjoying my posts, Deanna! I really appreciate you reading and enjoying them πŸ˜€ Though I can’t share these recipes (as they’re property of 105degrees) , you can bet I’ll be using them as springboards for recipe ideas of my own when I get back home.

      Also, you might check out my instructor Russell James’s site at – in addition to recipes belonging to 105, we’re also making quite a few of Russell’s own recipes, many of which he’s posted in his blog.

  15. November 6, 2010 10:21 am

    That burger is uncanny. Nice fix on your tart, I’d have never known.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 9:39 pm

      It really is!
      And thanks re: the tart; glad I was able to cover up the error artfully. πŸ˜›

  16. November 6, 2010 12:24 pm

    You are very good with presentation!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 9:40 pm

      Thank you! It’s like a food AND art class rolled into one. πŸ™‚

  17. November 6, 2010 9:54 pm

    I love so much about this post. I”m, first of all, reminded of what an amazing experience you are having. Those truffles look so fun; I want to make those for a party. And I can’t believe the chcocolate chips! And the bun and the burger and the tart! So fun!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 6, 2010 10:41 pm

      Thanks Jenny πŸ˜€ The truffles would make great party fare!
      Every day I’m here, I keep thinking it can’t possibly be as awesome as the day before…but it just stays amazing!

  18. November 7, 2010 12:14 am

    So how did you like the burger bun? The truffles were really good, oh my god… yes the white centers are the same recipe with no cacao powder-really good.
    Loved your quiche plating πŸ™‚
    Tomorrow at 7pm Sunday Supper at 105, you coming? see you there?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 7, 2010 12:42 am

      I think the bun would’ve been even better if we could have dehydrated them another hour or two, but I still liked it quite a lot. I enjoy raw breads in general, though.

      Thanks for the invite to Sunday Supper! I may try to make it. I do want to eat some dinners/brunches at 105 in these next two weeks – there are several dishes (and desserts) off the [regular] menu that I want to try while I have the chance.

  19. November 7, 2010 5:00 am

    What an amazing post! I have to try and keep it in order in my head so that I can comment coherently πŸ˜‰

    Congrats to Matt – that’s awesome, and congrats to you for trusting him with your vita (I know it would be hard for me!)

    Truffles are stunning, and I think the pistachios are an especially great idea. Don’t know if I can handle oats, but gf chocolate chip cookies have been my downfall a couple times – so ‘moreish’ – incredible that it can be done raw. What a wonderful gift that keeps on giving, to have learned to do that!

    Being gf and non-meat, I’ve never eaten a burger, but those buns and the fixin’s look uncannily close to the ‘real’ thing. I wonder how it feels to eat? (I’ve never been attracted to burgers but my husband obviously loves them.) Loved your gobi palak filling, and love that pragmatic but aesthetic ‘garnishes to the rescue’ – what a beautiful plate. That’s what I’d be wanting to try too!


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 7, 2010 10:44 am

      Hehe, it IS hard to leave my Vitababy with…you know…a MAN… πŸ˜‰ But I know he’s taking good care of it.

      We made the oat flour by grinding raw oat groats (so, no rolled/steamed oats involved). “Moreish”-incredible is an excellent descriptor for CC cookies! Especially these babies.

      Eating that burger did feel like, well, eating a real burger. Same size, shape, weight…maybe that’s why it wasn’t one of my favorite things we’ve made, haha. I was more partial to my gobi palak “quiche” tarts – but then again, I’ll eat (and love) just about anything curried!

  20. November 7, 2010 12:55 pm

    You make me want to go there to 105 degrees more than ever! I am so happy for you

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 7, 2010 1:21 pm

      Thanks, Angela πŸ™‚ I hope you get to come here someday!

  21. November 8, 2010 2:59 pm

    i love coming here seeing all these amazing raw food dishes you are creating. this must be your true calling ❀

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 8, 2010 4:43 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that, Rachel! And you really think it’s my calling? Aw, that gives me warm fuzzies… πŸ˜› I hope it is!

  22. Jenn permalink
    November 8, 2010 9:32 pm

    Are you allowed to share some recipes? ie. the Cookies????

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 8, 2010 9:35 pm

      At the moment, I cannot 😦 BUT I did some playing around with the recipe as I was making it, so once I get home, I think I’m going to work out a modification of it, and then post my version!

  23. jenny permalink
    November 28, 2010 11:49 am

    i’m very confused about the chocolate chips….don’t they melt in a dehydrator? how does that work then?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 28, 2010 1:25 pm

      Actually, they don’t! There’s no cacao butter OR coconut oil in them – the fat component is just cashews. The only liquid they contain is maple syrup, which condenses in the dehydrator,so they firm up enough to hold their shape (though they’re not “hard” like real chocolate chips).

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