Monday, July 09, 2007
Well, it only lasted a week. I set out to eat raw for the month of July, and only made it to the 6th day. My thinking was, July is the best month for fresh produce. Well, I was half right. All the good produce is delicious, but it also inspires thoughts of cooking and baking in my head. And it didn't help that I have a partner who cooked up a different delicious meal every night...
So here's my review of my week of raw: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
A trip to the farmer's market ensured that I'd have lots of delicious and fun produce to play with, like the ginormous radish above. There is a stall at the market that sells nothing but these guys, who as you can see in the above photo, are as big as my hand. Contrary to what their size might suggest, however, these radishes have a mild, sweet flavor.
I was also lucky to score a bunch of scapes and fresh peas in the pod.
Daiku created a wonderful dish out of fresh peas, scapes, and basil from the garden. He cooked up some sprouted wheat pasta (from Trader Joes- this pasta was so good, and definitely exceeded expectations) with chopped scapes, peas straight out of the pod, and basil that he had briefly sauteed. The pasta was topped simply with a generous dash of freshly ground black pepper. The garlicky flavor of the scapes combined with the basil made this dish taste like a fresh pesto.
(Ok, this will prove what an academic nerd I am: I am tempted to call this dish a "deconstructed" pesto- as in, it's all the elements of a pesto, but separate, not blended together. However, I have a big pet peeve about the use of the word deconstruction in everyday language- long story short, it doesn't just mean "taken apart." So as much as I want to call this a deconstructed pesto, I know I will be haunted by the specter of Jacques Derrida and thus will keep my mouth shut.)
A typical raw lunch for me: a plate of dates, cashes, bananas, raspberries, and cherries.
A typical cooked lunch for Daiku: a falafel sandwich on pita, topped with tomatoes, onions, alfalfa sprouts, and his special tahini/harissa sauce.
A typical raw dinner for me: avocado salad, lettuce, and flax bread.
I made up the flax bread from a bunch of raw recipes I saw online. I soaked some flax seeds overnight, then blended them with some onion and seasonings, and dehydrated it. At first, the bread was really savory and delicious. However, upon subsequent tasting, it was just too flax-y. I couldn't handle it and ended up only eating half of it. I like just about everything and never throw food away, so this was a really big deal for me. I think next time I'd consider adding some other grain to this, such as wheat or barley, to cut the flax flavor a little. If there is a next time.
A typical cooked dinner for Daiku: broccoli rabe sauteed with tomatoes and cannellini beans, seasoned simply with paprika.
A typical raw meal for me. Rather than a lot of complicated recipes, I found that what I liked most of all were giant salads. Here's a rather simple one: green lettuce and dried cranberries, topped with a cashew/basil dressing.
I bought 7 (count 'em SEVEN!) heads of greens from the lettuce lady for $1 each. Such a great deal, and they lasted all week. I bought: red- and green-leaf lettuce, Boston lettuce, romaine lettuce, escarole, kale, and broccoli rabe.
One great thing about being raw is that I put oft-neglected kitchen appliances such as my juicer to good use. And, I got to try green juice for the first time! I juiced two heads of kale. Daiku and I both thought it tasted like lawn clippings, but the addition of 2 grapefruits and 2 tangerines magically transformed the juice to a sweet creamy treat. I find that if I leave a lot of pith on my citrus fruit when I juice them, the result is a thick, creamy texture that I love. You'll notice that the above glass of juice is so big that I had to put my juicer on top of a book to reach the top!
Raw vegan ice cream: soaked cashews, frozen bananas, frozen mixed berries, some agave nectar, and a tiny amount of water made this treat. I got the idea from Diann, who got the idea from Amey. This ice cream is so great, I didn't even mind my soft magic bullet version and the fact that I don't have an ice-cream maker!
Finally, my favorite raw treat of the week. I saw these lemon macaroons on Kati's blog, and the recipe seemed so simple, that I just had to have them. You simply mix food processed soaked cashews, coconut, agave nectar, lemon juice and lemon zest and dehydrate. I used to love macaroons, but have never attempted a vegan version. Well, with this recipe I hit the jackpot: a vegan, raw macaroon, that is easy to make. If you have a food dehydrator, it's a must-try!
Final verdict on the raw foods diet (from my admittedly limited experience): I definitely like raw foods. I ate whole heads of lettuce in one sitting, and drank up green juice by the pint. I love fruits and veggies, and experimenting with new recipes and techniques. But, I found it to be too tedious, and in the end cooked foods were too tempting. Since, unlike veganism for example, there is no ethical or health reason to eat 100% raw, you'll have to pry my stove from my cold dead hands!