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A Whole Lotta Raw – swell

A Whole Lotta Raw

Coconut Rainbow Salad

Coconut Rainbow Salad

You wouldn’t believe it was -2F this morning and we might be getting 4 inches of snow tomorrow, would you?  I can’t hardly believe it either, which is apparently why I’m pretending it’s summer with colorful food!

For some reason, eating (mostly) raw is really easy and exciting for me this time around.  Which is strange considering last time it was June and not eating cooked food seemed more pleasant than it would in early January.  I feel really excited about the food and have been un-cooking more spontaneously by feel and inspiration largely, which is how I usually approach food.  I’m actually a bit sad to start having to cook again once my ladyfriend returns!  Not that I can’t still eat a lot of raw, but dinner is likely to become a cooked affair once more.

The Vita-Mix is really changing a lot of this for me.  I am seriously still using it at least twice a day!  Making whole juices and shakes in addition to the smoothies is a great way to use up over-bought produce, and tastes so good!  Here is a Fig and Grape Cleansing Shake from Raw Food Real World that I made once before, though it was fluffy and smooth this time around!

Fig and Grape Cleansing Shake

Fig and Grape Cleansing Shake

I also have been reading this book called Detox Your World that was written by Shazzie, a UK raw foodist.  I made a couple recipes from the back of the book, the first one being a Melonmelon shake (just cantaloupe and lemon zest):

Melonmelon Shake

Melonmelon Shake

Isn’t that color gorgeous?  It kinda matches this Squash and Kumquat Soup from the same book… I think there were some ingredients in strange amounts (1 tbsp of coconut meat and a cup of almond milk) but overall it was a very satisfying soup that I ate for lunch at work a couple days in a row:

Squash and Kumquat Soup from Detox Your World

Squash and Kumquat Soup from Detox Your World

Shazzie was a bit of an inspiration for my second attempt at a raw cheesecake, and my first attempt at a nut-free cheesecake.  Well, I tell a slight lie: there are nuts in the crust, but sometimes I am a little freaked out by a nut crust topped with more nuts!  So this has frozen bananas as the base of the “cheese” and it’s also got blueberries, kumquats, vanilla, cardamom, and a little coconut oil in it.  I froze it for a couple hours and topped it with a blueberry-cashew cream (I stopped being freaked out by the nuts I guess) and fresh fruit.  Not bad for a first try, but being made from bananas it’s just not as creamy as other cheesecakes (but that’s sometimes a good thing!).  Here it is, in all its purple and orange glory:

Raw Blueberry Kumquat Cheesecake

Raw Blueberry Kumquat Cheesecake

One of the best things about my job, despite the problems I have with it, is access to free organic produce that the store can’t sell.  Sometimes it’s too far gone, but usually you get perfectly ripe and ready-to-use treasures.  I’ve restocked my smoothie banana supply this week for free, for example, and scored three half-pints of fresh blueberries.  Also for some reason, there have been tons and tons of bell peppers – and not just the nasty green kind!  I love red and yellow and orange bell peppers, but usually only buy one at a time, occasionally, because they’re so pricey.  But I’ve amassed about 7 or 8 this week that have gone into various soups and things, and into a delicious salad that was a combination of almost every kind of produce I had in my fridge today.

While it takes inspiration from Thai food, I can’t really call it a curry, and because of how many delicious and colorful ingredients I used I am calling it Coconut Rainbow Salad.  It’s basically a bunch of julienned vegetables covered in coconut-pineapple-chili sauce and garnished with cilantro, scallions, basil, bananas, and blueberries.  And it is delicious!  The fruit might sound odd, but I was a lovely contrast to the crunchy, spiced vegetables.  I am posting the recipe for anyone who is interested, and I think the ingredients could be played around with and even made non-raw if that’s how you roll (rice noodles for the daikon, say, and canned coconut milk instead of fresh).

Coconut Rainbow Salad

Coconut Rainbow Salad

Coconut Rainbow Salad (serves 2-4):

For the sauce:

Meat from one Thai young coconut (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 c fresh coconut water

1/2 c fresh or frozen pineapple chunks

1 knob fresh ginger (about 1 tbsp)

1/4-1/2 red chili flakes, or to taste

Julienned vegetables:

1 1/2 c green cabbaged, julienned

1 1/2 c fresh spinach, julienned

1 lg or 2 sm bell peppers, julienned

1 daikon radish, peeled into noodles or spiralized

2 carrots, julienned

To garnish:

4 scallions, sliced

1/2 bunch (or to taste) fresh cilantro, chopped

6-7 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

1 banana, sliced

handful of blueberries

Place all sauce ingredients in Vita-Mix or blender and process until smooth (if you do not have a high-speed blender, you may wish to grate or mince the ginger first).  Set aside.

Combine all vegetables in a large mixing bowl to mix evenly.  Arrange on serving plates and pour the sauce over the vegetables.  Garnish with the scallions, cilantro, basil, bananas and blueberries and serve immediately.

16 Responses to “A Whole Lotta Raw”

  1. Shelby says:

    Every single picture looks so yummy! I love the colorful smoothies and that amazing salad. Ooo and cheezecake, delish!!!

    I don’t like eating raw in the winter but maybe I’ll give it a shot.

  2. wow all that stuff looks that great but that cheesecake looks outstanding!

  3. windattack says:

    That cheesecake picture is gorgeous… as are all the others.

  4. vegancowgirl says:

    Love the update on your recent rawcation! The cheesecake DOES look gorgeous and I love the salad recipe. I am so jealous of your free produce supply. Thanks for the info about the detox book – will check it out for sure!

  5. melisser says:

    Oh my, you’re making raw look SO good. That melonmelon looks fab!

  6. JessieG says:

    Everything looks great, but I especially love the coconut salad. It looks so delicious and healthy. Great pictures too!

  7. Your raw stuff always looks so amazing! I wish I could hire you as a personal chef when I do my raw days. :-)

    I know what you mean about nut on nut raw cheesecakes. I made one once with a macadamia/walnut crust and the inside was filled with a cashew-based filling. Super good, but damn, that’s a lot of nuts. It cost like $20 to make! I’ll have to try a banana based filling next time.

  8. DJ says:

    Those pictures look amazing – and I hope Vitamix are paying you a commission because I’m like, totally sold on getting one (eventually.. !) after seeing all those gorgeous smoothie pix!

  9. Courtney says:

    Wow–everything looks great! Especially that fig and grape shake and the Raw Blueberry Kumquat Cheesecake–holy cow!

    And I am super jealous of your free produce! That is an awesome perk!

    Hope you have a good weekend!


  10. ms. diddy says:

    i can’t wait to get a vita-mix! all these recipes look so good i wanna try them all! i just bought a juiceman jr, because i’m a poor college student and hopefully it will do a decent job. i’m just trying to get some more veggies in my life :) anyway, i’m rambling, but i LOVE your blog and i hope you don’t mind if i add you to my faves.

  11. shellyfish says:

    That salad looks so yummy – and so does the MelonMelon. I think Shazzie rocks pretty hard. I wish nuts and produce weren’t so expensive. I can’t even afford cashews anymore…grr…but I’ll lust after your food porn!

  12. jd says:

    Mm, mm, mm!

    As usual, everything here looks delish!

    I love the little design that you made on the cheesecake dish – it’s really pretty… And that salad (with its fruit & veg combo) sounds soo good, too!

  13. mmg says:

    If I don’t get a Vitamix soon, I think I will die. (Nope, not at all dramatic!) :-)

    This all looks amazing!!

  14. Kala says:

    That cheesecake is so pretty!

  15. Vegan_Noodle says:

    That raw cheesecake looks simply amazing!

  16. MDF says:

    I’m gonna steal dat Vita-Mix when you aren’t looking. And that cheesecake, too. If you haven’t already eaten it. Which is unlikely.

    I reacted on a cellular level when I saw the pictures of the smoothies.

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