Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fresh Inspirations

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of taking the short road trip to Edmond, Oklahoma to be part of two raw food classes offered in the home of Chef Mandy Canistelle. Mandy is a raw food chef/instructor and is a graduate of the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in California. She is also the host of The Perfect Snack, which airs as a segment on Jordan Rubin's (the Maker's Diet) television series, Extraordinary Health. Recently learning that Mandy lives just an hour and a half from me, I was delighted to find that she offers certification courses, children classes, hands-on workshops, individual classes, and community gatherings for raw food preparation and dining. Lucky me and lucky Oklahoma!

The two classes I attended were a raw hands on workshop and a seated demonstration class. Mandy was joined by Peter Cervoni, professional chef and restaurant consultant. Peter is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked in New York vegan restaurants such as Angelica Kitchen and Quintessence. He has also been a chef at Hippocrates Health Institute. Peter currently works as a private chef and raw foods lecturer. Peter and Mandy both represents Chef Chad Sarno in his project, Vital Creations, Inc.

I was blown away by both Mandy and Peter. The taste and quality level of what they were preparing was easily some of the best raw food I've had anywhere in the country. Their passion, presence and positive energy flowed into the food and into those of us who were fortunate to be part of these amazing classes. If you ever have the opportunity to study with Mandy or Peter please do so. I learned new ideas and techniques, not to mention some really incredible new recipes. Without sharing too many of their secrets, I have to post one of the delicious and simple recipes here....and with Valentine's Day tomorrow, it is a perfect and easy way to seduce the palate of your lover!

Hazelnut Mocha Chip Truffles

2 cups hazelnuts, soaked and dried

3 cups Medjool dates

1/4 cup Mesquite powder, plus extra for coating

1 T almond flavor/extract

Pinch of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

1/4 cup cacao nibs

Place all ingredients, except nibs, into a food processor with an S blade. Process until finely ground. Remove mixture and fold in cacao nibs. Kneed dough until a smooth ball forms. Portion and roll into small ball truffles. Dredge in Mesquite powder and refrigerate until firm.


Dhrumil said...

dude, this looks awesome!

Linda Salas said...

lucky lucky you... I wish I had a nearby raw chef to learn from... alas... I will learn vicariously through your Hezelnut goodness truffles! Thanks for posting the recipe, and for the comment on my myspace pic... I tell you that guitar is possessed by the spirit of sexy Jimmy Hendrix, you can´t pick it up and not feel like a rock star!!!

Much love, Linda

Keely said...

ooooH! Yummy! Thanks for posting this. I can't wait to whip up a batch!!!

Anonymous said...

Lucky you Penni! How much fun to have been able to meet & learn from Mandy! I've seen her on Jordan's show. BTW: I met him at the Tulsa airport last year, when snowed in. He was the sweetest man & WOW! I must say, he looks even better in person, he absolutley glows! I know he's not raw, but he is a beautiful example of someone practicing what he preaches!

xo Gena

Wendi Dee said...

That sounds like a great time! I agree with everyone else...I wish I had someone close by to learn from, as well.

The recipe sounds yummy, too. I've been using hazelnuts instead of almonds (since it's difficult to get truly raw ones), so a recipe that focuses on hazelnuts sounds great!

Thanks for sharing and Happy Loving Day to you!

Wendi Dee

Penni in Tulsa said...

Hey WendiDee....That is exactly what they are up to as well...using more hazelnuts instead of non-raw almonds in their recipes. They also love macadamia and brazil nuts. Let's just hope the government will leave these delicious ones alone!

Thanks to everyone for your comments!

Ingrid said...

Hi Penni, those truffles look great! I've got all the ingredients sans the mesquite powder, but once I get that I'll be sure to make a batch. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Happy V-Day! Love the music BTW. :-)

Charissa said...

Just added your link to my blog, Penni! Hope that's ok. :0)

Your truffles sound divine! Sigh.

shannonmarie said...

Thanks for the recipe. Sometimes the simplest ones are the best tasting :-)

Kristen's Raw said...

That sounds like so much fun!

And, I love the bites you have on the left side of your blog. I subscribe to them by email...they're so much fun and full of great info!


Dea said...

Hey lovely dovey henni penni, sorry about the rhyme I love doing that.
Your experience with the raw food chefs sounds amazing. I actually have all of these ingredients so I think I will make these and give them out to my ESL students as a snack. love Dea xo

hannah said...

Made these and they are delicious, thanks for sharing! They taste so much like marzipan because of the almond essence, I might use a bit less another time to let the hazelnuts shine! And the mesquite adds such a subtle twist - lovely! Thanks again