Monday, July 6, 2009

Back to basics

From time to time, the Barefoot Contessa will do a "Back to Basics" show, where she makes classic recipes with a subtle tweak. For instance, she once made a traditional French potato leek soup by roasting the potatoes and the leeks first to make it extra special.

So, why am I posting about roasting on a raw site? Although you can mock "roast" raw veggies in a dehydrator, this post has nothing to do with roasting after all. In fact, this basic recipe is about as simple as it gets.

There's just something comforting about getting back to the basics. They never get old, like the classic kale salad most raw foodies know all too well. It's usually one of the first recipes to perfect, is included on most raw menus (Java Green has a really yummy one; I think it has mango in it) and can be found at just about any raw potluck.

The best part about kale salad is its simplicity. Just fill a bowl with some kale, avocado, tomato, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and a bit of cayenne to taste. Then, use your hands to massage it into an almost cooked-like consistency. It's the original scrunch and munch.

The other day I had a craving for this basic bowl of greens, but decided to jazz it up a bit with a little carrot, some kalamata olives, a hint of garlic and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. That really hit the spot.

While preparing for the baby to arrive (as well as once she gets here), I'm definitely focusing on making easier meals that require less time in the kitchen, so this one truly fit the bill.

And, lucky for me, Sarma looks to be simplifying some dishes, as well.

You see, I came across her new book, "Living Raw Food," at the store this past weekend and decided to salivate over all the dishes I wouldn't have time to be making myself (the food photos in this and her previous book are amazing). To my surprise, the first half of the book is dedicated to quick and easy recipes, while still leaving the second half for more elaborate cuisine.

My favorite raw food books have always been the ones that provide recipes from restaurants and places I'd love to go. I can flip through the pages and let the photos/text whisk me away to these locations without ever really leaving my house.

It is especially nice when I can take the time to recreate these tastes in my own kitchen, like when I attempted to make Pure Food and Wine's Mallomars (thanks to my buddy Rawbin, I actually got to try a real one). Even better is when I actually have the recipe.

Obviously, with the baby on the way, I won't be going to Pure Food and Wine any time soon, so hopefully I can satisfy my cravings with the pages from this book. Don't worry; I won't eat the pages, but perhaps the food inspired by them.