Monday, May 30, 2011

Skip the Barbecue: I'm going Raw, Ma!

My family isn't happy I'm skipping the Memorial Day Chiavetta's Chicken barbecue... and it's not because my (deceased) father was a WWII vet, either.

But trying to eat healthier, and work ever more raw food into my diet, has left me with not as much patience for being served a perfunctory pasta salad (that I probably have to bring) or corn on the cob for dinner while most of the rest have a six course feast. My family is one third vegetarian, too, so we're pretty good about those BIG dinners... I feel for ya if you're having a harder time of it. That's why it's natural for us to hang together, or with "friend" families on holidays. With the people that want to share what you are, all the way down. Maybe even explore your serious interests.

So I'll make my own feast! Or just Sloppy Lentils on wheat buns with a chopped salad. It's close enough to barbecue for me, today. And I can always marinate tofu, Boca burgers or pepper strips in Chiavetta's marinade and griddle them. That stuff makes grilled onions like heaven. A beer, and some shade under the tree in the backyard... who needs the smell of chicken charring?

What was that about eating more raw food???, you're asking? It's a transition. Frankly I don't see us going %100 for good, in Buffalo. Even with Renee Underkoffler's tips about heating soup bowls to make a warming meal without heating the food enough to kill the nutrients/enzymes. I hope to get up to half raw, at least, and I'm hopeful that doing so will improve my health by more than half. If you are full raw, great. I don't see how having more raw than I used to can hurt me. Planning on firing up the dehydrator this week, and looking forward to the Kenmore Village Farmer's Market starting up soon.

I will say, I'm feeling like simpler is better for me-- trying raw cheeses made from nuts, fermented or not, and drying breads for 12 hours in the dehydrator is an experimental phase. In the end, I'll probably be eating just more fresh raw food mixed with smaller amounts of non-raw, non-vegetable (but always veghead) food. Let's keep an open mind, though. I might love starting meal prep 3 days in advance. Might. If you do, tell me; and about how you manage it.

Oh, quick note if you've ever read the first couple of posts; I have tried Ani Phyo's Rawmesan Cheeze, which is made with cashews.

Here's my take: The book notes that all nuts should be soaked before using, but mentions it almost in passing. Later, in a separate section, there are soaking times. There's not a word about soaking times or nuts being soaked in the recipe section, so I tried the recipe HERE, in several ways.

First I made it with soaked cashews, then unsoaked. then I blended even amounts of the two types, and that had the best flavor and texture by my taste. Make of it what you will. It won't stand in in a Caesar, I'm afraid, but we'll see. Since a good Caesar (sans 'chovies) is my favorite thing to eat in the world, and something I crave all summer, I am determined to find a perfect vegan and raw substitute.

Here's to starting the week off right, with sunshine! And speaking of starters, this is the recipe we've been eating for most of our breakfasts-- raw and an energy booster that kicks! From Renee, above; nabbed from a log ago issue of Vegetarian Times. Enjoy!

LIVING OATMEAL (4 servings)

2 C oats groats (steel-cut oats, often called Irish oats-- such as McCann's)
soaked 8-12 hours in cool water, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 C raisins, soaked 1 hour in water to cover, save soak water

2 C chopped fresh fruit such as bananas, apples papayas

1 tsp ground cinnamon

In food processor, combine oats, raisins and their soak water, and process until almost smooth. Add 1 c chopped fruit and cinnamon. Pulse 30 seconds to blend.
Transfer to individual bowls, top with the remaining fresh fruit and extra cinnamon if desired.

***Mari's notes-- we love this! It needs no sweeteners or milk. Our favorite mixture ( we make half the amount above) is half a banana and half an apple blended in, the rest on top with the addition of strawberries or peaches. You can also add some raw almonds that have been soaked overnight like the oats, then rinsed and drained, though I like them best soaked for a half hour. Pumpkin pie spice on top is good, also.

This recipe originally appeared in Vegetarian Times, June 1998; the author is Renee Underkoffler.

Look at these beautiful peppers from last year's market!

Just The Recipes!

From Robin Robertson's Fresh from the Vegetarian SlowCooker.


3 1/2-4 QT. size slowcooker

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red, yellow or green bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 C dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 14.5-oz can crushed tomatoes
3 C water
2 Tbsp tamari or other soy sauce
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 Tbsp light brown sugar or natural sweetener
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder and stir to coat.

Transfer onion mixture to the slowcooker. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low 8 hours. Serve on buns with a batch of fresh coleslaw.

** Mari's Notes-- I have found that I need to cook the lentils on high for an hour or so with the water first, then I turn to low, and add the rest as usual. But I also add about 1 C barbecue sauce, if I have it on hand, and 1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin, and 1 or 2 whole cloves.

Once lentils are somewhat cooked, add the other wet ingredients carefully, to keep the texture however sloppy you want it. You can also start with less salt and see what you need-- I add soy bacon or soy bacon bits on occasion. Yum.

Taste the mixture an hour before you want to serve it so you have time to adjust the seasonings to your liking. We like it over crusty buns topped with cheddar and hot sauce, or with dill pickles and mustard. Also good over mashed taters.


Ani Phyo's Rawmesan Cheeze: from Ani's Raw Food Essentials

SHE SAYS: "Sprinkle an extra layer of savory goodness on soups, salads, wraps, and pizzas."

Makes 1/2 C.

1/2 C raw cashews**, ground into a powder
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. Will keep for 5 days in the fridge.

**in a separate section of the book, Ani notes that all seeds and nuts should be soaked or even sprouted before use in recipes. The given soaking time for a cup of cashews is 4-6 hours. Drain and probably pat dry before use in cheeses. The remainder should be kept covered in the fridge, I believe, and will doubtless keep better dry.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Food for Quiet Thursday Thoughts...

Making fajitas-- whacked out fajita veggies!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coming Attractions...

Imagine waiting 3 months for your life to begin...
that's what not having a working computer is like for a writer. That has to wait that long for a new laptop. Like me. I can be a foodie without one, but a writer? Well, yes. But not a happy one.
I'm happy now. Take note; in the month of May, I have backlogs of restauant reviews, a favorite (tweaked!) cake recipe to share, and plenty of raw love. I could also use some help with my garden, if anyone has the time...
Now go buy your mom a card printed in soy ink on recycled paper, and tell her she's the best Mom ever. Even if she wasn't.
My Mom is, though. She's a peach.