This is my first attempt at an entirely raw meal, recipes courtesy of Ani's Raw Kitchen. I wanted to get in at least one decent shot at a full raw meal from this book while fresh, local produce is still available.
I want to preface this by saying that I'm actually not all that great with raw vegetables. Those of you who have been reading my blog for years are well aware that I am a known Salad Hater and I really dislike that about myself because I really and truly believe that the less cooking you do the better the nutritional integrity of the meal. It's been proven time and time again and I would never dream of disputing it. I'm just a baby when it comes to the taste of a lot of raw vegetables, so I advise you not to take any of my personal opinions on taste as any sort of fact or even any sort of typical reaction to something. If you like raw vegetables, you will love this meal. That's all you need to know.
One of the really strange things about this meal is that it took me well over an hour to make it. All the peeling and chopping, oh my word! I need a sous chef if I continue on this raw journey. The actual time in the kitchen probably doesn't differ all that much from meals that are cooked, it's just that the hands-on time required for it is much more demanding. This really isn't a problem though; it only becomes one in our demanding modern world. Good food isn't really meant to be ready super quickly.
The reason this meal takes so long is because it's actually a combination of four separate recipes. Tiny, little recipes that take up about a third of a cookbook page each, so I didn't think anything of it. It was a Sunday afternoon, though, so I really had nothing but time to fuss about with my chef's knife.
First up, I made the Mexican "Squash" Rice" (click for recipe, half a page or so down) and I'm doing this one first because this absolutely did not work for me. I've never had raw squash before and I think it was a bit too ambitious for someone who is very timidly exploring raw foods. Again, this would probably be delicious to lots of raw foodies out there and I don't want to deter anyone from trying the recipe - it was just too adventurous for a known Salad Hater like me.
Next up, the raw taco "nut" meat and this we both liked a lot (click for recipe, first on page). It's made by pulsing raw almonds and raw walnuts with spices, soy sauce and extra virgin olive oil. Savoury and delicious, it was!
Then, the Raw Pepper Corn Salsa (I can't find the exact recipe, but the one listed here is pretty darn close). I'd never eaten raw corn straight off the cob before - it's so sweet and juicy this time of year, cooking it almost seems wasteful!
And finally, the Baja "Cheeze" (click for recipe), made with brazil nuts, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro and lemon juice. It was also pretty good - would probably make a great sandwich spread for those that aren't completely raw.
And now I come to my next fatal error - using cabbage leaves as the wrap, as opposed to pretty much any other leafy entity.
I hate cabbage. But for some reason I keep forgetting just how much I hate it. Like a stubborn child, eating it makes me gag profusely. It's probably all psychological, stemming from the torture I thought I was experiencing growing up in a Croatian house with cabbage rolls on the menu at least once a week. Regardless, as an adult, in order for me to tolerate it, the cabbage has to be in a tiny amount and not at all the main flavour of the dish. I think I thought it wouldn't be a problem because I usually find raw cabbage more palatable than cooked cabbage, but still, it was just too much. I should have used collards or maybe even bok choy in an effort to not stray too far from cabbage without having to actually consume cabbage.
If you like raw vegetables you will love, love, love this recipe. I can't state that enough. I think I just got a bit over zealous with what I could handle and I should have stuck to vegetables that I actually like. Except squash, which I normally love, but evidently do not care for in its raw form - it tastes kind of like carving a jack-o-lantern smells. Does that make sense? It's just too much for a girl who just a couple years ago lived on nothing but french fries and white pasta. Baby steps are required, here.
Much thanks to everyone who sent in comments, facebook posts and tweets! We had 28 entries. Each entry was assigned a number and into the Random Number Generator they went!
And the winner of two boxes of New Moon Kitchen cookies is...
Fatally Yours, of The Spooky Vegan, who entered via blog comment!
Congratulations! Contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address and the chocolate chip and ginger snappers will be in your hands shortly!