marinated zucchini noodles with tomato basil sauce, dried baby tomatoes & garlic portobello meatless balls

Today is an exciting, calm, warm, cool day. It is merely overwhelming. For the first time in weeks it is raining gently outside the office window and I can see the driveway and our enormous twin cedars getting showered lightly. I slept in and woke up to the bountiful gray skies and pitter patter of raindrops. Then I had a lavender bath which has now placed me in a meditative-like, contented emotional state. I am also listening to cathedral music and that only helps to ground my spirit more.  Sipping lemon chili water, skin moisturized with vanilla-scented coconut oil, mind in a perfect place - I am where I want to be on this glorious day.  

What makes me even more blissful is that I get to share these photos and this recipe with you! Can't deny that I am very pleased with the photographs. But of course I can't take much credit - when you have beautiful life to photograph and the lighting is just right, your photographs will show beautiful life. That is what happened yesterday while I made my dinner. I began preparing the meal at around noon because it required some drying of food (specifically portobello meatless balls and baby tomatoes).

Although it takes several hours to dry the meatless balls and tomatoes, altogether there's hardly any hands-on time. All you need to do is whip up a sauce and slice your zucchini into noodles. This recipe is great for anyone to try: seasoned raw foodists, whole food veggie people, skeptics of raw veganism, even my cat was trying to snag some. The dish is absolutely bursting with fresh flavours and you can taste how nutritious ever bite is. The food speaks to me! Maybe I should call myself the vitamin C whisperer. 

Most of the ingredients came from my family's garden (tomatoes, basil, onion and garlic) or the farmer's market (zucchini) and this makes me smile. Local, organic plants grown with love are the best foods you can give your body and your self; and they are best at keeping healthy our animal friends and terrestrial home. 

The photo directly above is one of my favourites I have ever captured. I can't really say why - perhaps because of it's immediate appearance of simplicity and softness; but the hidden implication of the complicated and intense journey it took to exist here now. Of course, I suppose you could say that about all photographs. Or going further - all that is! Our world is full of light and darkness because without one, the other cannot be. Evil and good, right and wrong, love and hate - all necessary parties in this great game of life (and death). 

The acknowledgement of the equal importance of good and bad in spiritual traditions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism show humankind's ancient awareness of the beauty and need of earthly and universal balance. Understanding and remembering this reality helps to keep me calm, of clear mind, and euphoric. Although I don't believe we should promote the undesired suffering of others, or negativity in general; we cannot ignore that there will always be suffering and negativity. Remembering that without them happiness and positivity could not exist, can help you appreciate the vastness and harmonic simplicity and complexity we live in. It personally gives me peace and, as they say in Buddhism, brings me back to opening my heart for emptiness

Now, on to dinner.

marinated zucchini noodles with tomato basil sauce, dried baby tomatoes + garlic portobello meatless balls 

portobello meatless balls:
1/4 cup walnuts
1 portobello mushroom
1 very small onion
1-2 dates  
Dash of coriander
Salt + pepper, to taste

dried baby tomatoes:
3 cups halved baby tomatoes (approximately) 
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt

marinated zucchini noodles:
1 large or 2-3 small zucchinis
1 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil 
Pinch of salt

tomato basil sauce:
1/2 cup of your dried tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped zucchini (I use the leftovers after making my noodles) 
1 tablespoon tahini
Small handful fresh basil leaves 
1 date
1 garlic clove
Salt + pepper, to taste

To make the portobello meatless balls: process the walnuts into powder in a food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients and process until it becomes a grayish mush. Not very appetizing in appearance but it smells great! If your mixture is too wet, add some ground flax seeds and let it sit for a minute or two. Form into balls and dehydrate (or bake at your ovens lowest temperature) until they have darkened in colour and hardened on the outside (about 5 hours), or until you want to take them out. 

To make the dried baby tomatoes: cover your hands in the olive oil, then rub down all the tomato halves until they evenly coated. Sprinkle them with salt and mix 'em up. Dehydrate the tomatoes for about 5 hours until they have lost most of their moisture but still have some juice in the middle; or until you want to take them out. 

To make the noodles: slice your zucchini(s) on a mandolin or spiral slicer to create noodles. Rub the noodles evenly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Let these sit out for 30-60 minutes so they can soften and develop flavour. 

To make the sauce: put all the ingredients in your food processor and process until smooth and saucy, adding whatever else you like. 

Assembly: I think you can handle throwing everything together but... toss the noodles in the sauce then top off with the meatless balls and baby tomatoes. Use some fresh tomatoes too for extra noms!