Chef Carol Kopp’s raw creations are a new holiday tradition. Enjoy these in place of fatty, sugary, chemical ladden fare! Here is one sweet and one savory recipe from Fresh Start’s website.  As our guest writer Carol shares her favorite recipes and photos. For more on Fresh Start click this link.    http://healthretreat.ca/newspaper/view.php?title=newone

Avocado tart is sinfully creamy

Tart and Towers By Carol Kopp

 When it comes to preparing raw foods, many of us feel a little out of our element. All those learned, matter of a fact processes: pre-heating the oven; sauté the onions no longer apply, we are left feeling… well, a little out in the cold.

It doesn’t help that our minds like to take the simple and make it difficult. Giving us the option to opt out maybe?

Too many new things to learn, it’s just too hard. Too hard! Nothing could be further from the truth, at least when we are talking about tart shells.

 How simple it is to process some almonds, add a few dates, a pinch of salt and a little vanilla. You don’t need the rolling pin, just lay some plastic wrap over your tart pan or a shallow muffin tin, portion and shape the dough to fit into the cups, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Once frozen, remove from pan, store in freezer, separating each one with a small piece of parchment. Now it is simply a matter of pulling out a few tart shells and filling them when the occasion arises.

Marinated Mushroom and Spinach Tart

Marinated Mushrooms

3T lemon juice

2T chopped parsley

½ tsp salt

½ cup olive oil

1garlic clove

2 cups of mushrooms

Combine lemon juice, parsley and salt in medium bowl, add oil and blend thoroughly.Lightly crush garlic clove with the back of a chef’s knife, spear with a toothpick and add marinade.Wipe mushrooms clean, slice and add to marinade. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or Overnight, discard garlic clove.

Crust

½ cup walnuts soaked 4 hrs

½ cup of sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in warm water a couple of hours, roughly chopped

¼ tsp salt or to taste

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Dry excess water from walnuts and tomatoes. Beginning with the walnuts,chop finely in food processor, add tomatoes, salt and chilli peppers. Process until dough comes together in a ball. Fill tart shell, refrigerate while you make the filling.

Filling

1cup cashews soaked 8 hrs

1garlic clove

1small shallot

Juice from ½ lemon¼ cup of marinated mushrooms

½ cup of spinach

In food processor, process the garlic clove and the shallot add the cashews and the lemon juice, process until nuts take on a fine texture. Remove half the mixture from the food processor and set aside. Into the remaining portion add the ¼ cup of mushrooms. Pulse until mushrooms are well mixed in. In a small bowl mix spinach with a tsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Rub oil into spinach to soften, mix with remaining nut mixture. You can further chop spinach or process it with the filling, depending on the how fine you’d like it. Into your tart shell place a layer of the mushroom mixture, followed by a layer of the spinach mixture. Top tart with marinated mushrooms and serve on a bed of fresh spinach.

Sweet Tarts

Crust

1.5 cups of almonds

4 dates soaked

¼ tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp of salt

Add almonds, half the dates, vanilla and salt to food processor. Process until nuts are finely chopped, add remaining dates and process until it comes together in a ball. Divide dough into six portions and press into small tart or muffin tins covered with plastic wrap. Refrigerate.

Avocado Chocolate pudding

1 ripe avocado

6 tablespoons unsweetened raw cocoa powder

1/4 cup agave syrup, maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Combine the avocado, cocoa powder, agave syrup and thevanilla extract and cinnamon in a food processor, process until smooth. Fill chilled or frozen tart shells.

With only a couple of months left of 2010, maybe some entertaining will be your in future.

With the end of 2010 in sight –happy holidays and all a good night!–Carol