Thursday, January 12, 2012

Raw food

It's the new year and everyone is filled with resolutions.  Luckily, I am awesome pretty much year round, so I don't have to worry about new years resolutions (oh, that's rich!).  That being said, my roommate and I are trying a new food system this year.  We are trying to save a little money by sharing groceries and also cooking more meals together to promote healthy eating (and socializing, of course).  Part of our healthful eating is going to incorporate eating raw two days a week.  Our other roommates have some bets going as to how long we will last (one bet us $20 each that we won't make it until the end of January... the others agreed that that was a pretty horrible bet on his part).


Last night was a practice raw dinner.  We didn't to the whole day raw, but the dinner was.  And it was delicious!  My mom makes a killer gazpacho, so I did a variation on her recipe.  A typical gazpacho recipe will call for canned tomatoes, which we didn't have.  So to get the soup part of the soup down, we blended a portion of the veggies.  The soup has a bit of a kick to it with the raw garlic and onion but is just packed with veggie flavor and health, and the balsamic vinegar adds an awesome undertone of acidity.

Gazpacho 


Materials:
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion*
  • 4 juicy tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic*
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper


Method:
  1. Finely dice the cucumber, red bell pepper, and red onion.
  2. Chop of the tomatoes, keeping all the juices from it.
  3. Crush the garlic.
  4. Mix all of the vegetables together and add the balsamic vinegar.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Transfer about half of the mixture to a blender, and blend until it is mostly liquid, but with some chunks left.
  7. Pour the liquid part back into the other vegetables.
    • Now you have a soup, as opposed to a bowl of chopped vegetables.
  8. Enjoy either now or later, keep in mind this soup only gets better with a little of age as the flavors have time to develop and marry.
*You may want to keep some gum handy, with all the raw garlic and onion eating.


Now I know eating salad for raw food night is maybe a bit of a cop out, and as a vegetarian, I hate it when people assume all I eat is salad.  Maybe instead this should be called "Kale jubilee with an avocado emulsion." Mmmmm, emulsions.  Anyways, labels are for jars, not people salads.  All that you need to know, is that this salad was amazing.  The hearty kale, the sweet explosion from the strawberries, and the crunch of the walnuts all work together so nicely.  Not the mention the super creamy and flavorful dressing that coats every single morsel.  The hint of coconut in the dressing pairs well with the strawberries and the avocado matches the earthiness of the rest of the dish.  It is so incredibly flavor packed, you are going to want to sit down for this one.


Kale Salad with Avocado Dressing


Materials:
For the salad
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed, and torn into bite size pieces
  • 2 cups chopped strawberries
  • 2 cups roughly chopped walnuts
  • edible flowers
For the dressing
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method:
For the dressing
  1. Chop the avocado enough that it can fit in a food processor.
  2. Add the avocado and coconut milk to a food processor and process until creamy, and then stream in the olive oil until nice and smooth.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste
Note: Avoid just eating all of the dressing with a spoon at this point in time, lest you have nothing to dress your salad with!  
For the salad
  1. Toss the kale, strawberries, and walnuts with the dressing*.
  2. Top with a couple of edible flowers.
  3. Enjoy!
*If you don't think you are going to eat it all in one sitting, store the kale, strawberries, and walnuts separately from the dressing.

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