Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Vegan Mofo Day 10: Raw Vegan Private Chefs and Raw Wraps
Tonight Lance and I fixed our dinners and sat down to watch The Private Chefs of Beverly Hills. I love this show. I still watch non-vegan cooking shows to get ideas for my own food (and I love DVR because I can fast forward through some parts). Sometimes there are some really creative combinations out there that can translate really well to vegan and even raw vegan. Sometimes I just get to sit there and be a little bit horrified.
Tonight I watched Chef Jesse and Chef Brooke uncook for a crowd of people. They were so mystified by the whole thing! My husband and I were pretty entertained and I cringed as I watched them put their first courses together. I felt bad for them! You don't go to culinary school to learn how to appreciate a Vitamix, dehydrator, and food processor. And I just about died when I watched Chef Brooke make dehydrator sweet potato chips without any oil or the sliver thin cutting ability of a mandolin slicer. Sweetie, it happens to the best of us! I've made rubber chips too. I love, love, love Chef Jesse and was happy to see him succeed in the end, and Chef Brooke's dessert looked very fabulous. If y'all ever need an allergy expert who knows how to do funky things with food, look me up!
I don't understand why someone would hire professional chefs who spend their times cooking traditional, high-end meals to produce a raw vegan spread. The techniques are completely different and it takes a lot of experimentation to get the flavor combinations down. Flavors combine to trick the mind into thinking you're eating something you are not, and a lot of times the flavors you are combining sound gawd awful to the newbie. Things taste so different to me cooked than they do raw. Garlic, for example. It's almost sweet to me cooked and I can't get enough, but raw is a bitter, overpowering experience if you don't use a light hand.
I've spoken with a lot of people who are new to raw and frustrated with kitchen failures. It takes a lot of practice and a few throw outs, but after you get used to the basics, it's a breeze. I was strictly raw for about a year, and after the first couple months of experimenting, I moved on to accepting that things were different and appreciating foods in their whole state. Now I'm back to cooked vegan and loving that as well, but I try to keep a lot of fresh, whole, uncooked foods in my diet.
Some Easy Raw Wraps
Raw can be really easy - it's all about what kind of food you are craving at that minute. I really enjoy wraps because there's a nice, satisfying crunch and usually a rich sauce to combine with the wrap ingredients. Below are a couple quick recipes and wrap combinations I enjoy on a regular basis. I have to thank my friend, Catherine, for the miso spread recipe. She listed off some ingredients she likes to combine one day, and I ran with it.
Ginger Miso Spread3 peeled carrots, cut into 1 inch lengths
1/2 inch peeled ginger
2 Tb tahini
1 clove garlic
1 pinch salt
1/2 lemon, juice
1 heaping TB of Soy Free Miso
3 TB minced red onion
1 rib of minced celery
I was SO excited when I found out that soy free miso existed. I ate it for 8 straight meals - I kid you not. South River Miso makes an excellent Adzuki Miso that I highly recommend. It's a bit sweeter than a Chickpea alternative that I also love by Miso Master. Miso is probably not considered raw by purists, but tahini can be raw if it's slowly processed. There are commonly available brands, like Artisana, that are raw. You can also make your own if you have a slick enough blender and enough patience. As I've said before, I have zero patience.
I don't bother grating the carrots. I throw all of the ingredients except for the onion and celery into a Cuisinart Food Processor and just whir away until I have a well combined spread. This is a super tangy sauce and works well in lettuce bundles with cilantro, sprouts, and cucumber.
My favorite thing about raw? The prep time is non existent. I'm cutting and chopping and suddenly I'm eating. The cook time and waiting around is gone.
2 large avocados
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juice
salt and pepper to taste
Mash the avocado and then combine the rest of the ingredients, mixing well.
Remoulade/White Taco Sauce1/2 c macadamia nuts
1/2 c water
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin powder
pinch of dill
Combine the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Salsa1 beefsteak tomato, diced
1/2 Serrano chili
1/4 white onion
garlic clove chopped, optional
Throw the Salsa, White Sauce, Guacamole, and some sprouts on top of some lettuce leaves and enjoy! The less you think about raw preperation, the better the food will be. Breakfast today was a couple hand fulls of mandarin oranges (which will be better in a couple months...made a note to myself - they aren't quite in season yet, and you can tell).