Monday, March 22, 2010

Hosting a raw Country BBQ is as easy as pie

Ever think about hosting a raw vegan barbecue? Although most people wouldn't think of putting "raw vegan" and "barbecue" in the same sentence, Jackie and Gideon Graff of "The Sprout Cafe" make preparing food for the event easy as pie, like this slice I whipped up after viewing their DVD (Thank you Natural Zing for sending a copy my way, check out the yummy pie recipes Jeff and Helen posted back in November, if you missed it).

Apple Pie with Nut and Date Pie Crust is actually one of the recipes they demonstrate in "Uncooking with Jackie & Gideon: Country Barbecue." They show just how simple "unbaking" your own pie can be, even giving substitutions and tips for making it look more like the traditional version. It is the perfect ending to their hearty menu.

That's right; this is one hearty buffet, full of Barbecue Nibs with Barbecue Sauce (it's a little spooky how they doctor up the nibs up to give them the look of "ribs"), Brunswick Stew (which also contains their barbecue sauce; I love it when recipes build off of one another), Squash Casserole (they sprinkle a certain ingredient on top to give it a "cooked" appearance) and the most decadent raw corn bread I've ever seen (it contains heavy "cream," whipped up out of raw macadamia nuts).

The corn bread, like many of their dishes, is made by "rawifying" (a term I use for turning a traditional cooked dish into a raw version) the original recipe. This is my favorite approach to raw "uncooking," as it makes you feel like you're preparing what you already know and love; it keeps the memories alive.

For example, to round out the menu, Jackie and Gideon also serve up a Green Salad with Ranch Dressing (what's a country barbecue without Ranch dressing?), Spicy Marinated Herb and Greens (my favorite; I like the texture of the very thinly sliced and marinated collards, which almost look like noodles. I even used this technique to top the olive dish featured in my post about Natural Zing), Cole Slaw, Avotato Salad (this is some rich stuff) and Corn on the Cob.

The best part of the DVD is how real it is; it's like you are right there with their live audience, sipping on freshly made Lemonade out of mason jars and enjoying the Deviled Tomato appetizers. The couple doesn't edit out the accidental additions to the blender that need to be fished out or the moments they don't agree about what goes in where and when; these are the takes that brought a smile to my face. It was really fun to watch.

The only criticism I have, if you can call it that, is concerning their excessive use of macadamia nuts, which can be pricey. During the Q&A session at the end of the DVD, one of the audience members asked the same thing. Jackie and Gideon responded with a nut substitution, but also reminded everyone that this menu is for a big event to impress your guests with your raw food know how. Feel free to go all out on this one or just offer up the dishes you like best. This is a menu worth celebrating. Check it out :-)


After making the slice of raw pie, I was surprised I didn't make it in raw cupcake form, as I am prepping to release my raw cupcake e-book. To get you in the cupcake mood, here is a blast from the past, a photo of my Gingerbread Apple Tart Cupcake (sorry that it is a bit blurry, as it was taken a while back with my son's camera). Enjoy!