Come summer I am always so thankful for the fresh bounty readily available at our farmers markets. The array of colors and textures inspire me to spend less time cooking and more time enjoying food in its natural form. To kick off the season (yes summer has officially arrived here in Alabama) I got together with three of my dearest childhood friends for a raw fiesta in the garden. It was an evening of immeasurable laughter, sweet conversation and a healthful menu that left us full and happy.
First on the menu, raw tacos. Now before you shy away thinking I am about to introduce you to some new mystery meat, fear not; the filling in these tacos is simply ground up walnuts with spices. You get all of the flavors of a traditional taco filling without missing the meat.
The tacos were followed by a spice laden melon and avocado soup with a dollop of cashew sour cream. These chilled shooters are refreshing and only take minutes to make. Even if you are not a fan of cantaloupe I encourage you to give this a try because the blend of nutmeg and ginger with the tang of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice perfectly balances the strong flavor of melon.
To end the evening we stayed cool with watermelon mojito pops, made with honey of course. The watermelon, mint, fresh lime juice and hint of light rum brought me back to beaches of the Caribbean. A refreshing and fun way to conclude our girl's night!
As the temperatures climb and the farmers markets grow I encourage you to put your pots and pan away and enjoy summer's harvest as nature intended.
We are off to the beach this week...piles of books and mojito pops in tow!
Raw Tacos (makes about 16 small tacos)
- 3 cups walnuts
- 1 1/2 TBS ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground chili powder
- 2 1/2 TBS coconut aminos (or Nama Shoyu)*
- 1 head green cabbage
- pico de gallo ( I bought mine from Whole Foods)
- guacamole (I bought mine from Wholes Foods)
- cashew sour cream (recipe below)
- 1 lime
- handful of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
Place walnuts, cumin, chili powder and coconut aminos into a food processor and process until mixture resembles taco meat.
* Coconut aminos is a delicious alternative to soy sauce. Made from the sap of the coconut tree, coconut aminos is naturally raw and contains 17 healthful amino acids and mineral rich sea salt. Plus it has less sodium than soy sauce and other soy alternatives. You can find it in most health food stores or online. If you have a hard time finding coconut aminos you can use Nama Shoyu, which is unpaturized, raw soy sauce.
Peel off several cabbage leaves and cut them into small pieces (these are your taco shells).
Spoon the walnut mixture onto each piece of cabbage followed a dollop of cashew sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo.
Squeeze a little lime juice over the top and sprinkle with some cilantro. Fold the sides together and secure with a toothpick.
Cashew Sour Cream
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 TBS fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
Place all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
*This will make more than you need. I used the left overs in my spiced melon shooters below.
Spiced Melon Shooters (makes about 10 small shooters)-inspired by Matthew Kenney's Curry Melon Soup
- 5 cups fresh cantaloupe
- 1 avocado
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 TBS apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp nutmeg
- pinch of cayenne
- cashew cream cheese to garnish (recipe above)
Place all ingredients (except the cashew sour cream) into a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into shot glasses and garnish with cashew sour cream.
Watermelon Mojito Pops (makes 10 pops)
- 1 3/4 watermelon juice (blend just over 4 cups of watermelon and pour through sieve, or you could use a juicer)
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 2 TBS honey
- 1/4 cup fresh mint
- 1/4 cup light rum
- 1/4 cup club soda
Pour watermelon juice, lime juice, honey and mint into a blender and blend until you see tiny flakes of mint.
Pour mixture into a large measuring cup with a spout or a some kind of bowl with a spout (this will make pouring into the molds easier). Add rum and club soda. Stir to combine.
Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.