Yale Club of Taipei’s “Yale Day of Fun!”

P1020561   The Yale Club of Taipei hosted a “Yale Day of Fun” at the beautiful law office of Pamir Law on Dunhua North Rd. Pamir partner, Nicholas V. Chen, visionary and self-professed gourmand invited Delicious Taipei to provide gourmet raw canapés for 60 of their guests. I was absolutely honoured for the invitation and very excited since I love my food projects so much. Nic’s company isn’t too bad either 😉 Pamir Law has the sexiest 12-meter long steel table that was constructed inside the building because pieces were too big, heavy and fragile to transport via crane. Ever since I first laid eyes on the gorgeous table, I have fantasized about teaching a workshop there or catering a cocktail party so when the invitation came, I was happy! In order to enhance the beauty of the table, I used plain glass trays which created the effect of the food just sitting on this vast, reflective surface. I decided to make raw beetroot and jicama ravioli with marinated shiitake mushrooms, a spicy cashew/ avo sauce and salted ginger as shown below: P1020556   P1020567

The beets and jicama are marinated in liquid amino and olive oil. The spicy cashew sauce had avo, ginger, garlic, chili, etc to create a sweet, spicy thick cream and the salted ginger added the final flavourful zing to this incredibly balanced and layered canapé. The second canapé was one of my favourites – macadamia nut pâté served on rounds of zucchini with cranberry chutney as shown above but here’s another angle:

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The pate is gorgeous with fragrance of fresh rosemary and the pungent delight of fresh garlic with the tart accompaniment of cranberry. Showstopper. These canapés got lots of compliments which was great as I was a bit apprehensive about Taiwanese’s preference for cooked food over raw. The full bursting flavours in raw food always wins people over.

Finally, for something wickedly sweet but healthy, I made raw chocolate chipotle brownies.

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Inspired by Susan Powers of Rawmazing, these brownies are made with dates, figs, cacao and the smoky gorgeousness of chipotle. It is subtle but warming and as always, when guests taste raw desserts, the questions about raw food in general start pouring in!

To accompany the food, local, women-run wine company, Wine Casa provided red and white Dormaine Auzias Cuvee Monsieur, with aromas of black berries and black currants.

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Ellen O’Neal on the right, of Wine Casa

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Betty Cheng from Pamir Law on the left, enjoying the jicama ravioli.

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More guests enjoying the ravioli.

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With Nicholas Chen, the man who made it all happen! Thank you, Nic and Yale Club for a lovely opportunity to showcase gourmet raw food.

Mood-Buster Spring Salad

Yesterday I had a few folks around the house, waving some cameras about while I put some ingredients that i got from the market into one believable dish. They were random things that aren’t easy to find in Taiwan – jicama, fresh fennel, fresh figs, watermelon radish and beets.

Shopping in the market with cameras following was weird but at the same time I was glad to be able to show people where all the best produce could be found. I didn’t have time to think about what I would prepare at home and didn’t take the producer too seriously when he said he wanted me to experiment and show viewers that experimenting with food is ok and that it doesn’t always turn out something wonderful but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the creating process. I thought I would be able to handle it easily but when we got home much, much later, I was stumped. My first instinct was to do a salad because we are enjoying salads almost in this rather hot weather and they’re so easy to put together. My boyfriend quickly changed that by saying that a salad was what everyone would expect when thinking about raw food. Do something different.

So, I made this:

jicama, beets with mint, basil and chili, macadamia nut pate, fresh fennel slice and fresh figs

jicama, beets with mint, basil and chili, macadamia nut pate, fresh fennel slice and fresh figs

I sweaty and nervous and worried that it wouldn’t taste good but what the hell, it was a second attempt as the first attempt at making jicama wraps had failed. The sun was going down and we had to get all the best shooting done while it was still light. Everyone tasted it and enjoyed it. I was surprised since the producer, director and assistant were Taiwanese and 9/10 times Taiwanese don’t like beets at all and raw food is not known here on any great level. Their smiles and enthusiasm was enough to know that I broke the Taiwan code!

With the leftover ingredients, I made this sassy salad:

jicama fennel, figs, watermelon radish zucchini mint basil chilioil balsamic, lemon salt

With the combination of tastes, colours and textures, the heat of the dressing, this salad is nothing short of a mood-buster (if like me, on rainy, heavy, humid days, your mood needs busting).

Recipe:

greens of your choice

half a zucchini, cut in 4, lengthways, then julienned

watermelon radish (the bright pink in the picture), sliced, then julienned

orange, skinned and segmented,

jicama, sliced then julienned,

fresh fennel bulb julienned

fresh figs, quartered, the cubed

handful of basil and mint, some sprigs of fresh rosemary

Combine, then dress with an emulsion of olive oil, dash of chili oil, balsamic vinegar, squeeze of lime, a pinch of salt and some water (taste as you go and whatever is out of balance, add more of that)

Enjoy!

Variation on a theme – Spring Salads

Yesterday I posted “Sweet Jaysus Jicama Beet and Avo Salad”, today I wanted the same salad but I ran out of avo so I made this instead:

jicama beet gorgonzola mint lemon dressing

Still with jicama, gorgonzola and beets but this time with a generous sprinkling of spring onion and an invigorating mint lime dressing.

Here’s the dressing recipe – as far as I can translate a splash and dab:-)

a handful of fresh mint

1.5 tblsp apple cider vinegar

2 tblsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup olive oil

a dash of salt

a dribble of maple syrup (optional – be aware of lime/ vinegar balance)

water

spritz everything in the blender until you get a well-incorporated emulsion

jicama beet gorgonzola mint lemon dressing (4)

Sweet Jaysus Jicama Beet and Avo Salad with Gorgonzola and Cumin Garlic Dressing

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This was a “What’s in the fridge?” kinda salad. I’ve been so busy with cheese orders that I’ve neglected to cook for my Beloved who’s working on two big architectural projects. I was feeling GUILTY! Nothing better than a gorgeous salad to repent with.

This is a jicama, beet, avo salad with garlic cumin dressing.

Jicama (the white vegetable in the picture) is a Spanish vegetable which is described as a cross between a yam and a turnip.

jicama

jicama

It’s crunchy, a bit sweet and very refreshing. You could just eat it plain and thoroughly enjoyed it as well. You can find jicama at every fresh vegetable market. If you didn’t see it, you probably just weren’t “looking” for it. I’ve not seen jicama in any traditional Taiwanese dishes so I’m always curious about why we have them so plentifully, here. Make hay, people. Make hay.

So to make this salad:

  • Slice jicama as uniformly as possible
  • Wash, peel and slice beets as uniformly as possible
  • Slice and core avo then rub each slice with lemon juice to maintain its colour
  • Arrange on plate as in the main picture.

Dressing

Can you see the bits of cumin powder, black pepper and garlic?

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  • Finely crush 3 cloves of garlic and put it in a bowl
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of freshly-squeezed lemon juice OR 2 tbls cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp of freshly-crushed black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt depending on how large your salad is. In this picture, I used 1 medium beet, 1/2 a medium jicama and 1/2 avo so added 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp powdered cumin and a few sprinkles of whole cumin for texture and bursts of cuminy-goodness

Lightly hand-whisk.

This dressing was inspired by one of my many searches which revealed Cuban chef, Marciel E. Presilla

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Finally, crumble well-aged gorgonzola on top.

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Disfrute!