This past week has been chalked full of "firsts", excitement, and extensive learning. For those who aren't aware, I am currently undergoing a month-long raw food course at famed raw author and restauranteur Matthew Kenney's 105 Degrees Academy. I've been so fortunate to be given the opportunity to immerse myself in learning/experiencing a variety of new raw recipes, techniques, and overall nutritional value of this lifestyle. I'm hoping this blog will be a good avenue to not only journal these experiences for myself, but also for those who are interested in the raw lifestyle!
I'm already a week behind, but hopefully I can remember half of what we have learned so far...
Almost every time I mention that I am attending a "raw food culinary class", I am asked what raw food is. Most people identify the phrase "raw" first with "sushi"... The raw food diet is one that is based primarily on raw vegetables, fruit, and sprouted nuts and grains. Nothing is heated over the optimal temperature of 105-108 degrees in order to preserve the naturally occurring enzymes contained in the food. This then allows our bodies/intestines to more readily absorb the nutrients from these foods since our livers no longer need to work over-time to provided the bile and enzymes necessary to break them down.
The primary presupposition that I have encountered when discussing raw food with people is that it is "boring"... What can you really do with raw fruits and vegetables? Well, here is a bit of "food porn" to whet your appetite (these photos were kindly forwarded to me by one of the other students in class...)
Above is a raw zuchinni hummus with eggplant "chips", raw walnut toast crostini and aged cashew cheese w/ an arugula fig salad, and a raw spicy sushi roll...
All of which are absolutely incredible and dripping with flavor!
Above we have a Sicilian Pistachio Nougatine, Orange Marmalade, Dark Chocolate as well as the Cinnamon Trio: containing the Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Creamsicle, Spiced Brigadeiro, Panna Cotta with Green Fig Compote!
This is the raw sushi roll again as well as the raw lasagna (my grandmother's favorite entree at the restaurant!).
Today we learned how to prepare our own Kombucha! I'm so excited to begin making it for myself instead of spending 3-4 dollars/bottle at the health food store. I will definitely go in to more detail on that tomorrow. It's so much easier than I thought and totally worth doing it yourself!
Other things we covered this past week have been using spices and herbs not only to flavor but for their healing properties, seaweed (recipes and nutritional value), knife skills, fermentation (raw cheeses and yogurts and kombucha), raw shortbread cookies, and beautiful salads, dressings, and marinated/dehydrated veggies! I'm sure there's more, but I'd need to go back over my notes.
I'm hoping to start reflecting more on a day-by-day basis... I'll post more photographs and recipes tomorrow!