Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Just "rawify" it

I get a lot of recipes e-mailed to me in my inbox each week, usually from Peta's VegCooking or Vegetarian Times. Although they are rarely raw, I sometimes opt to try one anyway; I just "rawify" it (like with the Martha Stewart Hot Coffee Ice Cream recipe a couple of posts ago).

For example, Vegetarian Times recently sent me this Pureed Cranberry Soup recipe. I adored its vibrant color so much (and I just happened to have some cranberries in the fridge; I'm always planning my meals around what I have on-hand), that I decided to make my own raw version, which required a number of tweaks to make it work (but well worth it).

To start, I didn't measure anything (What else it new? My mom freaked when she learned that I used to bake that way on occasion) and I reduced the recipe down to yield only one serving (something I do quite often, especially when experimenting; who wants to be left with a weeks worth of something that bombed?).

Then, I kept the fresh cranberries the same, swapped out the cherry juice for whole cherries from my freezer, used diced apple and agave nectar in place of the sugar, lecithin to replace the cornstarch (which wasn't really necessary) and dried cherries (no sugar added) instead of dried cranberries (I didn't have any at the moment). I, of course, skipped the cooking it to death part, pureed it in my food processor and topped it off with some macadamia nut cream and mint leaves (I forgot to mention that I also added a little mint, since your garnish should reflect what's in your dish).

The result was a little chunkier than the original cooked version, but I think my heartier taste-buds preferred it that way. I also was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the hint of cherry, which I carried over throughout the rest of my meal.

I served this soup alongside some marinated green beans with mushrooms and dried cherries, and a slaw made out of shredded cabbage, a touch of carrot shreds, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, agave, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic, poultry seasoning (a last minute add-in that really made this dish), a sprinkling of almonds and, you guessed it, more dried cherries (sometimes I like having a theme).

This just goes to show that you can almost always find a way to satisfy your cravings for cooked food in a raw way. There is no need to toss your old cookbooks, recipe e-mails and/or food magazines, because you can take those same recipes and "rawify" them.

Just check out all the recipes the Two Raw Divas were able to collaborate on recently. They made crab cakes (nothing fishy or in this case "crustaceany" here), sesame chicken (minus the actual chicken), a slue of desserts and other raw masterpieces, and Carmella (from the Sunny Raw Kitchen) even recreated her cheesy ravioli in rose sauce.

Now, with all those heavy delicacies, they also drank their share of fruit fruit/veg juice made by Don, the "Juiceman" (Carmella's husband). That reminds me of the Juiceman infomercials my hubby and I used to watch when we first started dating. I actually own one of those machines now; we just had to get one to see it juice a whole cantaloupe, rind and all.

I juice on occasion, but I prefer my smoothies. Everyone is different, as I saw on Kendall's Raw American Life post this morning. She blogged about the green smoothies in her fridge, although she prefers juice.

Which brings me to my next raw blog reference, Blaqberry (by the way, if you are reading this, "Hi. How have you been? Haven't seen you on Gliving's site in a while) from Hi-Rawkus just posted an article on her blog about the possible future pasteurization of leafy greens. First almonds and now greens. What is next?

Now I am just rambling, so I'll sum up this post with some answers to my last post's comments. Alissa, I like both the Juliano and the Raw Food Gourmet, but for different reasons. Juliano's book has gorgeous photography and can sometimes be a little challenging. It is also the first raw book I ever purchased and the start of my raw journey.

As for Gabrielle Chavez's book, it does not have pictures (you'll have to use your imagination) and the recipes are much simpler and less intimidating.

Liz, I really prefer to start my day out with a green smoothie and eat rather simply. However, it is always fun to experiment with more gourmet meals on occasion, and I even allow myself some cooked foods (usually just steamed veggies) when it is all that is available, I need something warm while out this time of year or I am indulging on a special treat (I went to Sticky Fingers Bakery, a vegan bakery in D.C., twice this year, but I didn't touch the stuff at the Green Festival in October; I surprisingly chose carrot "tuna" from the Yabba Pot and live kale instead).

I like that Natalia Rose is all about slow transitioning and is not as strict as some of the raw food authors. I think anything you can do to start living this lifestyle is a step in the right direction. Don't beat yourself up if you're not 100 percent.

Speaking of Natalia Rose, Anne of a Raw Yogi Journal II has also posted about her recently and I thought of you. The Very Creamy Tomato Soup and Hearty Corn Chowder with Portobella look wonderful for this time of year.

The Thrive Diet book is also great for transitioning. Some recipes are cooked, while others have a raw option. My favorite recipe is is Recovery Pudding. It is a simple blended recipe. He (Brendan Brazier) also has an even easier version in the original Thrive book, which calls for tofu (I replaced it with avocado to make it completely raw); I made it almost everyday this summer.

I also like to give both of these recipes an extra nutritional boast by adding a small handful of greens. Too bad they could eventually be pasteurized.


Creot said...


i'm all about not measuring too. this drives my boyfriend crazy :)

shannonmarie said...

In my opinion, anyone can follow a recipe, measuring each ingredient for the best results. It takes some guts to just go for it and give it your own personal flare.

Kristen's Raw said...

Hi Shannonmarie,
I adore your blog, your attitude, and your shining personality. You go girl!

Have a lovely day!

Liz said...

You need to write a "rawify" it book (or e-book) about how to make all the right subs to make a regular recipe "raw."

I do love the Thrive Diet recovery pudding! Thanks for the insight!

shannonmarie said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I love hearing from you.

A "Rawify" it book or e-book sounds like a great idea. I just don't know how many people would be interested in it. I'll have to see what I can do.

Robin said...

Hi Shannon, I know this post is an older one but I wanted to throw a comment out there. I am so enjoying thumbing through your blog! I've been researching raw off and on for about a year, but think I'm ready to dive in - gradually from my pescatarian lifestyle. :) As such I appreciate the part you wrote above about not having to do this 100% right off the bat. Thanks for that little bit of encouragement!

shannonmarie said...

No problem. Glad to help. Baby steps is the best way to discover if this way of life suits you. Even if you are not 100 percent, including fresh raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds into your diet is still very beneficial. Good luck :-)