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105degrees, L2/W1/D5: nigiri, Mexi-salad, gelato

December 3, 2010

At the start of class today, Haylee gave each of us an aloe leaf.

Though I’ve taken my share of aloe vera juice or gel shots, this was my first time working with fresh aloe.

It’s…well, slimy.

What we did with it is pretty amazing, though.

We dyed it tuna-pink and made aloe vera nigiri!

It really does look a lot like tuna…

…and it makes for an impressive presentation.

I'm happy I got to learn and practice this technique…

…even if the taste of aloe vera is not my favorite!

Next, we put together some pico de gallo and a lime-herb vinaigrette, and we crumbled the red pepper-macadamia cheese we’d started on Tuesday.

We assembled these components into a confetti-colored Mexican salad.

So many different flavors and textures comprised this bowl.

Every bite contains something sweet, salty, tangy, crisp, tender, crunchy, and creamy.

You all know my disdain for salads, but just like with the massaged kale salad from Level I, I was determined to give it a try.

Deep breath, and…BITE!

I liked it! Er, everything except the leaves…but I have found that romaine lettuce seems to have the least-offensive texture to me. So I doggedly persisted, and my salad went from looking like this…

…to looking like this! The zingy dressing and medley of veggies certainly helped, but still, I’m declaring victory!

Lastly, we took out our frozen ice cream bases from Wednesday. We didn’t make ice cream, thoughβ€”we made GELATO! With the help of the PacoJet (a jaw-dropping $4,000 appliance that can mix and aerate food in its frozen state without thawing it), we created the dreamiest, creamiest gelato imaginable.

My flavor? Almond butter-banana-honey, like my favorite sammich.

Yeah, yeah, I know I utilized almond butter in my “horchata” ice cream in Level I, but a girl can never have too much nut butter in her dessert life!

Can you blame me for garnishing it with sliced banana, candied almonds, and a drizzle of raw honey?

Photos can’t even do justice to how lush and silky this gelato is.

Nope…you’d need a spoon to believe it.

40 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2010 11:27 pm

    Oh yummmmm to everything! I love the Aloe idea too, wow that is such an interesting idea. Did you like the taste? The only aloe I’ve ever used/touched in picking it fresh in my mum’s garden and breaking the leaf apart to put on my sunburnt skin, but I always thought it smelt like bad body odor LOL. So what was the verdict on the texture and taste? Also what did you use to die it? Beetroot juice? Very clever indeedy.

    PS Glad you’re not wishing your time away there πŸ™‚ xx

    • December 3, 2010 11:28 pm

      I mean *dye* it πŸ˜‰

      • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
        December 10, 2010 10:53 pm

        Hehe, happens to the best of us πŸ˜›

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 9:17 pm

      I’ll be honest – I did not like the taste. Aloe is just not my thing…this kinda confirmed it πŸ˜‰ But I still appreciated the exercise as an art project of sorts.

      Excellent call on the beet juice! Right you are. πŸ™‚

  2. December 4, 2010 12:01 am

    What a cool, creative thing to do with aloe! I have a plant here, and when I lived in HI we all had them all over. I liked them in smoothies, they’re magic on sunburns, but this is really super-inventive.

    And what a contrasting medley of different things you got to prepare today. Sounds like so much fun – a combination of direction and free rein to your creativity.


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 9:19 pm

      I too have used aloe on sunburns (though the jury is still out as to whether it really works on me or not). I have a gallon of aloe gel in my fridge that I try to take shots of whenever I think of it. Even though I have an iron stomach and digestive tract, it doesn’t hurt to give it something soothing now and again.

  3. December 4, 2010 12:10 am

    What a cool trick with the fake tuna. Beet juice to dye it?

    I don’t like certain lettuces either. Only red leaf most of the time. Not that into romaine unless the sauce is really good.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 9:20 pm

      Beet juice is correct!

      I think I do ok with romaine because it has so little flavor on its own (to me), and it’s particularly crispy.

  4. December 4, 2010 12:17 am

    Wow. I’ve also ever rubbed aloe vera on my sunburnt skin, so I’m having a hard time imagining eating it… but you *know* how much I’d kill for tha gelato. Oh holy heaven.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 9:21 pm

      When it comes to eating aloe, you’re not missing out on much…

      I must say, this is one gelato worth killing for! πŸ˜›

  5. December 4, 2010 8:35 am

    I’m amazed by the aloe nigiri…WOW. Did you eat it? I’m thinking that much aloe would have the entire classroom running to the toliet…LOL! It has a strong laxative effect on me anyway! And that almond butter gelato – I am in love.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 9:23 pm

      I passed on eating the assembled nigiri. I just admired it from afar (well, up close, that is)!

      Aloe’s never had a laxative effect on me (then again, nothing does), but I’ve heard that’s common!

  6. Tracy permalink
    December 4, 2010 9:53 am

    The Gelato and the Salad look Amazing!! I’m not to sure on the aloe though lol. It looked pretty interesting πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 9:24 pm

      Hehe, “interesting” is a good word for it πŸ˜› It’s more pretty than it is tasty!

  7. December 4, 2010 10:13 am

    Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but I never knew you could eat aloe vera…I’ve only seen it used for soothing sun burns. πŸ™‚

    I used to love gelato, and yours looks amazing. Yum!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 9:38 pm

      Hey, at least you won’t get sunburned living under that rock! πŸ˜› Really, though, the taste experience of aloe vera is not something to covet, haha.

  8. December 4, 2010 10:17 am

    That is the most beautiful sushi I’ve ever seen, I also don’t care for aloe though.

    Your disdain for salads is hilarious to me, at least you’re a testament to the fact that raw veganism isn’t just salads for three meals a day!

    OMG gelato! That looks insane, one of my favorite flavor combos too.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 9:44 pm

      YES! I really do aspire to be living proof to anyone and everyone that being vegan (and, even more so, being RAW) does NOT mean you have to eat lots of salad – or any at all!

  9. December 4, 2010 1:41 pm

    What an awesome day of cooking! I had no idea that aloe was edible…and it does look amazingly like tuna when dyed red πŸ™‚ The gelato looks heavenly, too–I would have gone with the same flavor for sure!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 10:29 pm

      Aloe LOOKS great, TASTES…eh =X But it’s extremely healthy!
      I knew you’d appreciate my gelato flavor selection πŸ˜€

  10. December 4, 2010 2:15 pm

    That gelato looks dreamy!

    I’ve also only had aloe vera juice, but I think I would like the actual aloe. I like weird textures. πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 10:30 pm

      Aloe is definitely for you, then! πŸ˜›

  11. December 4, 2010 4:08 pm

    KILLING ME!! That gelato looks out of this world! Just before I read your comment I remembered the flavor but if you can so it again in another way, why not? πŸ˜€

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 10:30 pm

      Agreed! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  12. December 4, 2010 5:48 pm

    I love aloe vera. Glad you liked it too, love the idea of making a different color πŸ™‚ Glorious!! And I would love a bowl of that gelato, yum yum!! I wish I could take the bowl off the computer screen πŸ˜‰


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 10:35 pm

      Wouldn’t that be great? Oh, how I’d love to reach in my screen and pull out a cup of gelato whenever a craving hit…

  13. December 4, 2010 7:46 pm

    Cool to use aloe vera for nigiri! Wasn’t it extremely bitter though? Glad you are starting to eat salad! As for the gelato, I can imagine exactly how perfect the texture was. yum!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 10:36 pm

      Very bitter…and slippery-slimy…but artful, at least!

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m starting to eat salad…but, you know, it’s all about baby steps πŸ™‚

  14. December 5, 2010 8:02 am

    That is very creative.I wonder how that tastes? It looks good though.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 10:36 pm

      In short: not so great, haha. We did this more for the visuals than for the taste, I think.

  15. December 5, 2010 11:16 am

    I love these classes were one learns how to handle a plant or veggie in an original fashion! I thought the aloe vera trick was superb! even of the taste is not up to par, what a wonderful creation!
    Love that salad! as for the ice-cream I am gonna have to taste it!
    Lucky you ! Love all these experiments!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 10:38 pm

      Ditto! At the very least, wouldn’t this nigiri make a stunning garnish?

      There’s no doubt about that gelato, though; it was superb!

  16. gidgetnfroggi permalink
    December 5, 2010 3:57 pm

    another great salad I need to check out that picture more to see if you what is in it.

    want to hear something funny aloe vera breaks me out into a huge rash!!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 10:44 pm

      We dressed it with a cilantro vinaigrette and pico de gallo, and our veggies included fresh corn and avocado.

      How ironic about your aloe rash reaction! Aloe’s supposed to HEAL that stuff, not cause it!

  17. December 8, 2010 12:02 am

    Your food looks absolutely delicious the presentation is incredible. I just bought a raw food cookbook and cant wait to start making some of the recipes. Although none of them look as good as yours. How did you choose 105 degrees?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 8, 2010 10:47 pm

      Thank you for your amazing compliments, Kate! I’m really flattered!

      What raw cookbook did you get? If it’s one I have, maybe I could recommend some recipes.

      Choosing 105degrees wasn’t hard, really. Matthew Kenney is one of my favorite chefs, OKC is “only” 5 hours away from KC (a.k.a. driving distance, unlike California), and the short, intensive courses were a perfect fit for my schedule (and personality!).

  18. December 10, 2010 1:05 pm

    It’s so funny that you don’t like salad. I don’t know why it’s funny. I like romaine the best, too. I like it so much, I like to munch on it plain. πŸ™‚

    I tried to drink aloe juice, but wowzers – not good. Those are the cutest little wrapped “packages,” though!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 10, 2010 5:57 pm

      Hey, even I think it’s pretty funny πŸ˜›

      Totally with you on the aloe juice. But the nigiri, at least, have the cuteness factor!

  19. Conner Murphy permalink
    December 10, 2010 10:50 pm

    Nice Work! I do have a question though. If you dont like eating salads then how do you normally eat your greens? Smoothies? Juice?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 10, 2010 10:52 pm

      Good Q! Green smoothies are my go-to. I don’t seem to mind them in blended form. Some green juices are ok too (though I don’t have a juicer at home yet, so I don’t get them often). I’ve also found success with taco nut meat roll-ups using romaine!

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