A delicious new spin!

I really enjoy it when I try to create a spin on something that used to be a favorite… and I end up totally loving it!  One of my all time favorite things used to be smoked salmon, and lately I have been craving it quite a bit.  Seeing as I am still on board with my February goal of leading the most vegan lifestyle I can, smoked salmon no longer holds a special place in my kitchen.  I figured, while passing some wondrous tropical fruits in the market this week, that I could make up… a mock salmon lunch. Something that would be equally as satisfying (and turned out to be way more so)….  something (primarily) raw, vegan, and with only a few simple ingredients.

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I was imagining an open faced sandwich I ordered once while on a trip to Quebec City.. I was instantly back on that little terrace, overlooking the beauty and culture in all the old buildings.  The power of memory! I tell you! The funny thing, there was nothing actually spectacular about this sandwich, it was very typical.  Bagel, cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion, capers..   the usual.  It was the romance of my surroundings that made it so special to me, that coupled with the flavors in my lunch to make such an incredible memory.

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I decided to make a nut cheese, but with macadamia nuts instead of my usual go to – cashews. Partially because I was going to be using a tropical fruit, and this buttery nut is the perfect companion seeing as it’s about 70% fat. I read somewhere a while ago that one pound of macadamia nuts is approximately 3500 calories.. Wowza!  But mostly I reached for them because I wanted to use something different.  It was going to be a spin on a classic, I might as well use ingredients I don’t always go for, right?!

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Grains of Paradise, one of my new favorite spices… Adding some floral and yet peppery kick to my macadamia cheese with these little gems, nicest combination ever! Not surprising that I would like them so much… being that they are related to cardamom. Grains of Paradise are native to the tropical coast of West Africa, so they fair well with my other somewhat “tropical” ingredients.  They’re such a beautiful seed, ranging from a rich chestnut color, to some that look even slightly purple…  then when ground they turn into a grey, almost white powdery dust. So gentle and wonderful, they certainly have an appropriate name!

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So it’s really very simple, nothing unusual if you’ve ever made a nut cheese…  a bit of lemon, both juice and zest for depth of flavor. Perfectly named seeds for some warmth and notable floral scent…  a wonderful combination. Really.

Macadamia Cream Cheese

1/2 Cup Macadamia Nuts – soaked for an hour and a half
Juice from 1/2 a Lemon
Zest from 1/2 a Lemon
1 Clove of Garlic
1/4-1/2 Tsp Fresh Ground Grains of Paradise
Pinch of Himalayan Salt
About 1/3 Cup Unsweetened Rice Milk
(Honestly.. I just poured it in without measuring, but it would be about that much…  And any dairy free milk would work!)

So simple! Toss everything in a blender, and whirl until smooth and creamy!

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One of my very favorite things about papayas – are the seeds. Maybe this isn’t such a shock because I do have such a strong love for spices.. for sprouting..  for planting… but seriously. The glow on those bad-boys is outstanding!  I personally find the medicinal benefits of papaya to be amazing, I wish that we had them more readily in Alberta! The one down side is that we typically get tropical fruits that are either so under ripe.. or so over ripe, (my assumption is) a lot of people don’t know what to do with the fruit in either state so they don’t try working with it.  I don’t like buying things that have had such a long journey… but they just pack such a healthful punch! They are a great tonic for the lungs in Chinese medicine, and are therefore really helpful for asthma. They’re ability to topically heal wounds is astounding, they are anti-carcinogen, anti-tumor. High in vitamins….  high in digestive enzymes.  Seriously, if that doesn’t sound like a superfood….

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Open Faced Papaya Carpaccio Sandwich
Serves Three

3 Pieces of Organic Super Dense Rye Bread
(use raw sprouted bread to be a completely raw meal)
Handful of Arugula
1 Papaya – Sliced Carpaccio style (thinly)
Handful of Alfalfa & Clover Sprouts
Macadamia Cream Cheese

Basically, build your sandwich with whatever you like! These were my choices, but something like lime juice, sprinkling of seeds, and spinach would be lovely as another option! I made some simple layers, covering the rye with a generous amount of the macadamia cream cheese, arugula, papaya, sprouts, and finishing with some of the papaya seeds for an extra bit of bite!

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