Monday, April 28, 2014

A Lovely Salad for Brunch or RAW Diet

Fresh RAW Corn Salad
Many years ago, I spent nine months doing a completely RAW diet. In effect, it was also vegan for the most part, as I ate no kind of meat or cheese or eggs or even honey. I truly believe that going totally RAW is a great thing for anyone, most particularly if you have aches and pains in joints or a tendency to edema, or even diabetes. I had all of these. They disappeared within 2 weeks. 

Fresh Baby Arugula
It is amazing how many wonderful recipes I learned during this period, and how to circumvent many beliefs we have about foods or how they "must" be prepared. I guess for whatever reason, I never realized you could eat some vegetables raw. Corn, for instance is one I like almost better raw than cooked, as it is so sweet. I have a lovely recipe for a Fresh RAW Corn Salad that is excellent in the summer when fresh corn is plentiful and delicious. Another salad that is just perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner on a RAW diet, or for a nice lunch or patio brunch is an Avocado Mango Salad. Simple as it sounds with ingredients that go together quickly, it is a combination of mango, avocado and a little red bell pepper for color, dressed simply and served over a bed of greens. I love arugula for its peppery bite. It makes a wonderful counterpoint to the sweetness of the mango and the smooth creaminess of the avocado. Serve it over any greens you choose, or none, if desired. This salad is a pure delight, and also very pleasing to the eye as well.

This recipe will serve one person for a meal if you are on a RAW diet, or 2 if you are using it as a first course to a meal.

Avocado Mango Salad

Avocado Mango Salad

Serves 1 or 2

1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon agave syrup (or honey or other sweetener of choice)

1 red bell pepper, seeds & membranes removed, sliced thinly
1 mango, peeled, sliced thinly
1 avocado, sliced thinly
4 cups mesclun, arugula or baby greens
1/2 cup fresh herbs of choice: basil, cilantro

Whisk together in a small bowl the dressing ingredients. Combine in a large bowl the bell pepper, mango and avocado and pour the dressing over. Toss gently to combine. Set the greens onto a large plate and pour the salad over. Garnish with herbs of choice.

These are both really wonderful salads, once I ate very often as they were particular favorites. Being on a RAW diet does not mean all "rabbit food". At least it is possible to make fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables into some great foods that do not resemble a typical salad. I used one of Ani Phyo's cookbooks (Ani's Raw Food Kitchen) to start with and made some of her Black Sesame and Sunflower Seed Bread. It was so marvelous with guacamole, and I used it with some smoked salmon (smoked at under 115 degrees) and fresh tomato slices one morning for breakfast. It is thinner than bread, and obviously it is not real bread as we know it, but it is delicious and satisfying. I used her recipe for poblano chiles stuffed with cashew "cheese" but found her recipe for the mole sauce completely wrong. Having spent my formative "learning to cook" years in Guatemala, this recipe did not resemble anything I ever knew as a mole sauce. So, I made up my own, calling it Guatemalan Mole in the RAW. I love this mixture and it can also be made sweet and served over fruit if desired. I created soups regularly, using my Vita Mix blender for smooth consistency. 

Guatemalan Mole in the RAW

Serves 2 - 3

1 tomatillo, cut in quarters
½ red bell pepper, cut in chunks
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 dates
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cocoa powder (RAW, preferred)
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder,or other hot chile, to taste
¼ cup water, as needed
1½ teaspoon unhulled sesame seeds
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 inch whole Mexican cinnamon (true cinnamon), OR 1 teaspoon ground)
2 allspice berries
½ teaspoon annato powder (sold in some specialty shops)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

If using a Vita Mix blender, place all ingredients into blender and puree until very finely ground, adding the water as needed to make a thick gravy-like sauce.

NOTES: If using a standard blender, place all ingredients in the blender except the whole spices and seeds. Using a spice grinder or a small bullet blender with flat blade, grind the spices and seeds until very fine, then add to the blender and process until well pureed.

1 tomatillo, cut in quarters
½ red bell pepper, cut in chunks
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
½ cup dates
2 packets Sweet Leaf Stevia
1 tablespoon agave syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil (can substitute Walnut oil)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (RAW, preferred)
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder (or other dried hot chile, to taste)
1 cup water, as needed
1½ teaspoon unhulled sesame seeds
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1½ inch whole Mexican cinnamon (true cinnamon), OR 1 teaspoon ground)
4 allspice berries
½ teaspoon annatto powder (sold in some specialty shops)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Follow same directions. May add 2 - 3 bananas to the blender and use this as a pudding, or use the sauce over other fruit, as desired.

If you are interested in getting healthier, try the RAW lifestyle. There are hundreds of recipes all over the internet with great recipe ideas from the mundane to the sublime. There are more "cookbooks" than I can count that will help you to discover all that is possible on a RAW food lifestyle. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.