Matt’s Cape House


Met up with the FussMan in Clifton Park for some seafood bites at Matt’s Cape House. It was lunch time, so I got raw clams on the half shell. 7 for $5.95.


Daniel B. was a bit skittish about the raw clams. I thought they were fine – briny, fresh. No ill after effects.


Also got a breaded clam strip appetizer portion for $4.95. I was happy with the size for five bucks. Imagine your hands cupped and filled, that’s probably how much this was, maybe a little more.

Thanksgiving – Cooked and Raw Food style

Happy Thanksgiving! This year I am thankful for many things. 18 years with the best furry Party Cat ever, is one of them. Were he still with us, he’d have been on that plate of turkey in no time. Glaring and chomping away.

As it was, we settled on a new tradition of dog fights and blood drawing (oddly enough not between any family members, and more the result of two big doggie ‘tudes in one small kitchen). This was joined with family traditions of yore, like my mom hosting Thanksgiving.

It’s been a heck of a year for the lass, and when she offered to host, we all happily accepted. My good in-laws also trekked over from Amherst for the holiday.
Ready. Set. Eat. My mom even made cranberry sauce from scratch – quite a step out in her culinary repertoire, and tasty, too. My sister’s raw feast can be seen in the background. She also ate some cooked vegan foods as well, which was quite nice for the family. No quibbling or teasing, everyone enjoying company of some sort.

Albany John brought some gluten-free bread (with dates, nuts, cranberries, and raisins). I helped him make dressing/stuffing (which means I prepped everything and made him do the assembly/seasoning).
The pooches post-fighting. Water under the bridge. Must be nice to have the memory of a dog, right? Funny part of the night – the little one ate more than the big one.
Dessert time! My sister made a raw apple pie (coz she ate the raw pie I made) on the left. I made the pumpkin swirl cheesecake at center, and Mama and Papa Amherst brought ice cream from Flayvors (Inez and Pumpkin, yum!).

Pumpkin cheesecake was stupid easy to make. Take some regular cheesecake batter, and mix it with pumpkin pulp. Then swirl in. Done! My cheesecake had three cracks, though. I was quite pouty. No perfect cheesecake for me. :/

Here is the raw pie I made that my sister ate. I only brought 3/4 of it. I had to sample it earlier, to make sure it was worthy of bringing. And then I had to sample a slice to my sister as well, to make sure it was truly acceptable to the person who most enjoys raw food. I mean, if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have made it in the first place, you know? I wouldn’t bring it if she thought it sucked.

What’s it made of?

Coconut cashew cream with pecans and cranberries, TYVM. On a sunflower seed chocolate crust.

Here’s what I like most about raw foods. You can pretty much wing it. No baking times means that many ingredients are flexible. A lot of raw crusts call for almonds, pecans, cashews, or other expensive nuts. I soaked sunflower seeds for the majority of this crust. Way more economical, and you can’t really tell it apart from any other soaked nut.

Chocolate Sunflower Crust Recipe:
1/4-1/3 C virgin coconut oil, melted (dehydrator, your hot little hands, hot oven, etc)
1 C sunflower seeds, soaked until soft (30-60 mins in hot water) then ground/minced
1/4 C cocoa powder
2 T liquid sweetener (I used maple syrup. I know it’s not really raw, but it’s what I had at home. Go for agave syrup if you’re gonna have a fit about it)
1/4 -1/3 C almond meal
Mix it all up, then press in a pan.

I liked lining my pan with plastic wrap. Made it easy to spread and take out to serve later.

Step two: filling. Coconut cashew cream. This is just plain awesome. You don’t need to like raw food to like this. I had a ton of filling left over, and boy did I enjoy each and every spoonful.

Coconut Cashew Cream Recipe
1 C cashews, soaked ~2 hours
1/2 of a fresh (dried) coconut. The brown kind of coconut that you have to crack.
1/4-1/2 C liquid sweetener
1/2 of liquid from coconut (as needed to blend)
1/2 C coconut oil

Blend together until it has a paste/pudding consistency. I put this in an electric blender for several minutes until it was smooth.
Then add in some chopped cranberries and pecans. You can add as many cranberries as you like. The richness from the coconut cashew cream will balance out the tartness. Go for about 1/4 -1/3 C to start.
All mixed together.
Then you just plop and freeze it all together. You can take it out of the freezer an hour or two before you want to serve it, or just serve it frozen. This holds up surprisingly well (when I brought a slice to my sister before Turkey Day, it kicked around in a tupperware in my car for a few hours with no ill effects or mis-shaping).

I wouldn’t say this is an extremely rich pie. If you’re used to cooked food, this is probably a fine and dandy pie on its own to you. If you’re trying to eat foods that are a little less refined, you will also like this pie. If you like creamy tasty fillings, oh holy moly, you will freaking LURVE this pie.

I’m most thankful my sister was chill about me using maple syrup in the pie and not freaking out about it being a form of sugar and not being raw. And she sneakily ate the remaining 3/4 of it on Thanksgiving while cooking, and sheepishly admitted to it while we were serving up dessert and I was like “Hey, where’d the rest of mah pie go?!” . Now I’m starting to believe we actually are related. Sneakily eating almost a whole pie, and being cute about eating it all? Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

Thanksgiving #2

Albany John and I hosted Thanksgiving on Thursday this year. Much more low key than the 18 or so people we had last year. My mom, sister, Sistah, one of Albany John’s fraternity brothers, and one of my mom’s friends.

And just like that, an old dresser becomes a table, and the nook above it becomes a great place for library books and a box wine. The flowers in the vase were the last of the year from my garden. Some stragglers giving me something to be thankful for. A few canterbury bells, and some gai lan that had gone to seed.

Albany John was busy with all of his food preparation that day. I tried to make a few raw dishes for my sister, who’d said she’d eat some cooked stuff, but she’s got a nack for changing her mind and I wanted to make her some stuff to eat, so I became the raw food chef de cuisine.

Speaking of that garden, I pulled the last of the carrots out of the ground, too. Seemed fitting enough for Thanksgiving. I peeled and boiled them, though. Made them just a touch sweeter and just soft enough to lose their crunchiness. My sister ended up eating some veganly cooked veggies, carrots included.

Albany John made this rub for the turkey that was outta this world good. Garlic, last of the parsely from the garden, magic… I don’t know. Something like that. It was a perfectly sized bird for our gang. A 12 lb Murray’s Turkey cooked up in a few hours. Although next time I think Albany John will use the temperature probe you can leave in the turkey next year.

He and Sistah picked at the turkey and probably had a meal of their own before anything was set down.

I made… this… stuff for my sister. It was not terrible, but… um… I don’t know how you could pass up a turkey for this. Or even roasted butternut squash.

So I rented a bunch of books on raw food from the library to try and make my sister something really, really good. Most of the recipes are fairly flexible, so I just soaked some almonds and purred them with some dehydrated sweet potato chips, raw black sesame seeds, some carrot, some basil, onion… it was a real mish-mash of nuts, seeds, and while certainly edible, it wasn’t something that I’d ever have a desire to eat again. My sister really seemed to like it, though.

I’ll at least give it props for its flexibility. It doubled as a tabbouli-textured dip when wrung out, and became dehydrated patties, too.

I was all “Bye, raw food! Have a good Thanksgiving!” when I popped these babies out of the oven. Buns made with butter and milk. And slathered with butter on top. Some folks have an achilles heel, I’ve got a gluten heel.

And another raw food staple, zucchini noodles with raw “cheeze”. The raw cheeze was easy enough to make. Soaked cashews with some salt and a clove of garlic. Meh, it was okay for an every day meal, but I wish I could have made something more substantially impressive.

More food laid out! Raw side of the table on the right – spinach salad with some sprouts Albany John made, and then deliciously roasted turkey, sausage stuffing, roasted butternut squash, and mashed potatoes.

But the best part of dinner was the TEAPOT OF GRAVY. We couldn’t find a gravyboat (assuming we even have one), but Sistah and Albany John came up with this dynamite idea of using a small teapot to serve gravy out of. NEW FAMILY TRADITION, RIGHT HERE!

I must be getting old – I could only manage one plate. But I had to make room for the stuffing, so I scarfed the salad down quickly.

We had some pie, and then my mom made Sistah one of her measured drinks, which are basically flammable. In addition to bringing over some kick-ass mashed potatoes, my mom also brought about three bottles of wine, and a… cube of vodka for the festivities. Thus making it the year my mom tried to kill Sistah with a drink that separated after 20 minutes. I’m guessing she was also trying to kill the rest of us, but hey, now we’ve got a bunch of wine left, which is never really that much of a problem.
Sistah made this really good apple pie that tasted like there was caramel, but there was none in it. I don’t know. Magic, I’m guessing. I loved that she did dessert, though – totally let me off the hook for that one!

And then there was chocolate-banana sugar-free chia pudding soaked in pecan milk. Not baaaad, per se, but… y’know. Would have been awesome with a caramel drizzle and sugar. My sister seemed pretty psyched, so I’ll have to hear how it went over. This is something I’ll play with and eat. Likely so it’s neither raw or vegan, but still, good.

So how was your Thanksgiving, guys? I’m most thankful for the fact that my sister and I didn’t come to words and start throwing food at each other over our respective fooding habits.

Don’t Call Me A Sprout Lover

Albany John is a sprout master. Master of Sprouts. He finally spills some sprout trade secrets here:

I like the idea of growing sprouts. I think I was assigned to read a book on asian immigrants to the United States at some point in school. I remember her family ran a restaurant and grew vats of sprouts in pots in the basement. That’s the point of sprouts, from a home-made operation the harvest on sprouts from a small amount of seed is surprisingly great considering your only input is time, air, and water.

There’s a lot of literature on sprouts, but a lot of authors tend towards the romantic view of natural eating. I love the taste, but please don’t call me a “sprout lover”. The first guidebook I read was called “The all-about-sprouts book” subtitle; A manual for the (sigh) sprout lover. It came with a “Kitchen Crop” sprouter I bought, a flimsy plastic tub with spindly cd sized trays. This manual warns “Remember, however that the seeds will expand tremendously when wetted and will occupy approximately four times their initial volume.” So I had a non-fiction source for the magic of sprouts.

The problem with this setup was it was a pain to clean. The trays all had siphons that you needed to clean, and you had to empty the basin at the bottom twice a day. I switched to a jar with a screen on the top. Low-tech, but it definitely works.

  1. You sort out the split or damaged seeds, and rinse once in cold water.
  2. You soak the seeds in a one quart sprouting jar. (just double the amount of seeds if ½ gallon) at a ratio of two tablespoons seeds with three times as much water as seeds. Soak overnight.
  3. Drain water, rinse seeds in lukewarm water and drain again. try to keep seeds well drained.
  4. Rinse and drain twice a day.

Really don’t mess with sprouting seeds more than that unless it’s really hot outside. Then maybe rinse a third time. It’s kind of like cooking an egg, you don’t want to work on it until it’s ready to flip. At the Schenectady Green Market I saw a farmstand selling sprouted almonds and other unusual sprouts. I found out I can do more sprouting without a trip to a health food store. Beans will sprout using exactly the same method, just make sure to give them the longer soaking time, seeds only really need 5 hours. Mix ½ cup for a quart jar.

My other suggestions. Don’t try recipes from manuals to sprouting kits. There is no way that eating alfalfa sprouts on a hot dog is more appetizing than it sounds.

– Albany John

Raw Zucchini & Carrot Salad. Kind of.

Summer time seems like a good time to venture into the world of raw foods. My sister’s a raw food vegan who doesn’t eat tomatoes and waffles on nuts, which means ‘cooking’ a meal for her can be a pain in the ass sometimes. I say that with love. More power to you if you love the raw food diet, but I don’t like restricting what I eat. TASTY FOODS ARE MY DIET. Raw, cooked, whatever, it’s all good to me.

Some things I find to be a bit silly with raw food, like not cooking your food, but some recipes say it’s okay to heat things as long as they don’t reach past 110 or so degrees. Either cook it or don’t right? Oh, and dehydrators are okay, too? I mean, I get where they’re going with it, but it seems like an awful lot of wasted energy for food that doesn’t change all that much… m foray into raw food (beside sashimi) is going to not be 100% raw. I have way too short of an attention span.

I mean, I also love using my microwave and will never stop using butter, so it’s not like I’m perfect to raw food peeps either. OH MY GOSH, and COOKIES. WHAT ABOUT COOKIES?! I JUST REALIZED COOKIES ARE BAKED!!! Raw foodies, I will fail you at every turn. Look, agree to disagree, ‘kay? JUST BE HAPPY WITH MY BABY STEPS.

I made a raw zucchini and carrot salad. Those components were raw. I just used my vegetable peeler to make the long ribbons. Very little waste. And my sister would be happy to know I used zucchini from the co-op, so I won’t turn my brain into stupid-goo with pesticides. I’m kind of convinced she thinks it’s gonna happen.

Any way, so carrots and zucchini. Then a sauce. I called up the co-op to see if their tahini was raw. It’s not. They always sound so apologetic when they have to say no. “I’m sorry, none of our tahini is raw. We can’t find any. I’m sorry.

Whatever! I just want this to taste good, so I did tahini, sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, shiro miso, and some water. So I pretty much covered it in a ton of non-raw things. I think this is okay because they were in my pantry, so I’m not running out buying new, expensive things that I’m not gonna use that often. I bought some raw almond butter to use in a recipe for my sister, and GOOD LORD that stuff is expensive. And not that tasty. Not much flavor at all. It was like $6+ for half a pint.

Then I tossed it with some sunflower seeds for a texture contrast, and pulled some fresh cilantro out of a window container.

Raw zucchini noodles are tasty. I thought it would have a dry, bitter mouthfeel like eggplant, but cut up into thin strips, it was vegetally refreshing. However, if they were just plain raw zucchini “noodles”, it would get boring quickly. Sauce was definitely necessary, and I really recommend the cilantro to brighten things up if you have it. Just add the sauce ingredients to taste – it added some zip to everything and made it feel more like a dish. I wouldn’t say a meal… I used 2 zucchinis, and it was like a really big but unfilling appetizer for Albany John and me.

I’d bring this for a summer side dish to a picnic or something. It’s not like you’d have to worry much about it since it’s uncooked and all.