This week I spent an evening with my very dear friend Lisa DeNiear. Lisa is also a chef and is exceptionally talented in the area of raw food. Raw food is following a diet that consists of unprocessed, raw plant foods that have not been heated above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Some clients of hers consume uncooked, unprocessed and mostly organic foods as a large percentage of their diets.
I have been become quite interested in raw foods recently after having a raw coconut yogurt that was out of this world. In the last several months I have experimented with a bunch of raw recipes and have found it to be extremely time consuming but well worth the effort. The best way to describe it for me is that you do feel not as weighed down after a meal but full and satisfied. The affect of a raw meal for me is “clean and refreshed.”
I called my friend Chef Lisa to further my education and give me some hands-on insight to what “raw” is really about.
Firstly, I wanted to re-create the coconut yogurt I had several weeks back. This entailed opening up and extracting coconut meat and the water from several young coconuts. It is important to buy “young” coconut as the more mature ones are the coconut meat that is harder to chew. The younger coconut contain a much softer meat and is far easier to extract from the shell. Opening the shell is another story when you are doing it the incorrect way. The first 4 nearly killed me. I used a hammer and screwdriver and cracked away. When my sister reminded me of the scar I have on my hand from doing this when I was much younger I decided to Google “how to properly open a coconut.” Who knew it could be so easy? Time consuming but overall better for my peace of mind and collection of scars I would not like to add to. Plus I now have (3) new glasses for my next Luau.
Drinking coconut water right out of a chilled coconut has to be one of the most refreshing beverages. It is expensive and you do have to watch for brands that pasteurize their coconut water. I still believe drinking lots of H2o is the way to go. Save your money for the young Thai coconuts in the supermarket and give yourself two treats in one for the same price.
So getting back to raw methods of preparation. Lisa and I made the following; a raw coconut yogurt with raw brazil nuts and hemp seeds, spinach and red pepper crackers, a strawberry and apple cobbler with coconut, pecan and date crumble, a raw Asian corn, mango and cucumber salad and a raw avocado and corn salad.
The crackers were unbelievable! They are pictured here in the dehydrator where they will be for 24 hours until properly set. The crackers are crunchy and taste of fresh vegetables. All the food we prepared was quite an experience and so much of a positive achievement for me to add to my repertoire. I feel of vast range of cooking skills are essential in our line of profession. Lisa has already asked me to work with her on several different catering events that involve raw food in the next several weeks.
Thank you Chef Lisa for letting me into your kitchen for the day! Catching up, cooking and talking food is something the two of us doing very well together for sure!!
The following is a raw salad I created on my own for dinner. It involves using my spiralizer. A food spiralizer is a gadget I invested in for the purpose of spiralizing vegetables and fruits for salads and fancy garnishes. This salad pictured is a raw beet, sweet potato and apple salad with fresh arugula and tarragon. A mustard-tahini vinaigrette dressed the salad perfectly. Pictured also is a black bean veggie burger. Black bean veggie burger recipe is in my book, It’s Just Personal (page 100.)
Happy Summer! Jersey tomatoes are on thier way!!
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