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!
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):
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:
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:
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 (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
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
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.