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105degrees, L2/W1/D4: guacamole & pho

December 2, 2010

Look at these beautiful heirloom tomatoes Haylee gave us to work with in today’s class!

We sliced them up alongside some cucumbers, and vacuum-sealed them in a flavorful marinade to use later.

For the first time in Level II so far, we completed TWO dishes in one day. The first was this fork-crushed avocado (a.k.a. guacamole) with some of the spicy Mexican crackers we prepared yesterday.

We each made up own own guac recipes, but one common magic ingredient we all used was preserved limes. Betcha haven’t had preserved lime guacamole before!

I love how thick and hearty these crackers turned out.

I even went a little wild and did two different platings!

This second one, the Tower O’ Guac, is probably my favorite.

Don’t you just want to munch on these crackers?

It was tough waiting till the end of class to devour this.

In the meantime, though, we had another dish to prepare.

The Vietnamese classic: PHO! Though it’s traditionally made with beef stock, that didn’t stop us from creating an incredibly complex, excitingly nuanced raw vegetable-based broth.

The ingredient list was about half a mile long, but man, it was so worth the effort.

Our pho included a tangle of kelp, zucchini, and yellow squash noodles, plus veggies like red bell pepper and scallion.

We’d also prepared some raw tofu like we did in Level I, as well as some honey-glazed curried cashews, and included those as well.

I can’t rave enough about this raw pho. It may be my favorite thing we’ve made in Level II so far.

Psst! Russell James, my Academy Level I instructor, is having a major sale ($161 off!) on his How To Be Your Own Raw Food Chef homestudy DVD course. From what I understand, there are only a few left at this point, so be sure and take a look!

26 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2010 11:48 am

    Oh my gosh! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I think food presentation is one of the most beautiful art forms 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 6, 2010 11:07 pm

      Thank you! 😀 This is almost as much of an art class as it is a food class!

  2. December 3, 2010 12:02 pm

    Wow! Beautiful dishes! I’ll take some of each, please.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 6, 2010 11:08 pm

      Comin’ right up! 😛

  3. December 3, 2010 12:42 pm

    That Pho looks incredible! And I bet the flavors are crazy complex and just delicious! I love raw dishes like that- the sauce is usually a pretty long list of ingredients but usually worth it. 😉

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

      The pho broth was very complex! You’re right, though; in dishes like this, the work it takes to gather all the ingredients usually pays off.

  4. December 3, 2010 1:27 pm

    Yes, I want those crackers for sure! And that Pho…I am sure that tastes pretty amazing!

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

      Thanks! It was pretty rockin’.

  5. December 3, 2010 2:03 pm

    The pho does look wonderful – and I love the noodle medley concept. Guac with preserved limes – I’ve come pretty close, I have to say but I’m so impressed that that’s what you’re up to. And those crackers look most enticing.


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 6, 2010 11:13 pm

      I enjoyed the “noodle medley” in the pho, too.

      I’d never worked with preserved limes at ALL before, so I especially loved getting to use those in the guac!

  6. December 3, 2010 2:42 pm

    Oh whoa, I had cooked pho last night because I really needed it. I have made Ani Phyo’s pho and it just wasn’t right. This looks a lot better. Sometimes a more complex ingredient list is worth it.

    Your plating is so pretty on the second guac plate especially! I want to dive in!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 6, 2010 11:18 pm

      Are we on the same page, or what? 😉 I’d never made pho before, raw or non-raw, so I don’t know about Ani’s recipe, but this one was truly superb.

  7. December 3, 2010 4:53 pm

    Isn’t avocado just the most perfect food ever? And I used to hate them as a kid! Guac with preserved limes is pretty intriguing, I must say.

    That pho is amazing! My first instinct was to say “Wow, it looks real!” But I realize that it is real, it’s just raw, but a very convincing pho nonetheless!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 6, 2010 11:20 pm

      Avocado and coconut are very high on my list of Most Versatile Foods Ever 🙂

      Haha, I completely understand the instinct to say that something “looks real,” even though you know it IS, of course, real!

  8. Matt permalink
    December 3, 2010 4:55 pm

    Those tomatoes look so vibrant. I bet they tasted amazing. And I definitely love the guac tower. I’m not the biggest fan of the guac but the fact that you made it into a pyramid is awesome. Egypt would be proud. ;-P

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 6, 2010 11:24 pm

      Little did you know you’d end up eating those tomatoes for dinner on Saturday. 😉

      You would’ve loved MY guac. 🙂 Promise.

  9. December 3, 2010 5:33 pm

    Oh my gosh, I love PHO! I need to find a vegetarian recipe for it b/c yours looked soooo good!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 6, 2010 11:25 pm

      I don’t know a good cooked veg pho recipe offhand, but I’ll let you know if I come across one!

  10. December 3, 2010 5:48 pm

    Seriously I need to stop reading your blog before dinner 😉 I want everything off this post!! YUMMMMMMMMM


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 6, 2010 11:28 pm

      Hehe, wish I could’ve sent you the leftovers!

  11. Shameaka permalink
    December 3, 2010 6:22 pm

    I’ll be moving to the KC area soon (found that out right around the same time that The Raw Food Chef shared your blog with everyone), so I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with all that you’re learning.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 6, 2010 11:34 pm

      Thanks, Shameaka! Welcome to KC, in advance! Hopefully, I’ll bring raw food to KC in some form or another when I’m done here at 105.

  12. December 4, 2010 12:19 am

    I definitely like the tower arrangement best too 😉 But I’m such a pho lover that I’d pass up all the raw crackers in the world for one bowl of that amazingness.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 6, 2010 11:35 pm

      I had a sense you’d feel that way 😉 Good choice!

  13. December 5, 2010 4:38 pm

    Yum! Paying catch-up on the blog here, and wouldn’t you know it I just ordered some kelp noodles that happened to be on sale (does Whole Foods carry these? I haven’t bothered looking yet). I was pretty jazzed to include a squash/kelp spaghetti in my January adventure, but this might have to be included as well!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 12:36 am

      Yay for kelp noodles! What was the sale price? I haven’t seen them at our WF…Ijust found some in Springfield over Thanksgiving break for $3.49/pkg, which is the lowest I can recall ever seeing them. I grabbed 4 of them, but one of these days I’ll probably break down and mail-order a case.

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