FoodBuzz 24,24,24,: Awesome Rawsome – A 5 course Raw Food Dinner


As celebration of FoodBuzz’s new Healthbuzz section, I wanted to discover the mysteries of the Raw Food diet.  This month, FoodBuzz selected my proposal for 24,24,24  I decided to invite a group of my friends and together we explored the beauties of eating raw through a 5 course meal. Does that sound Awesome Rawsome?  I think so.

This was probably one of the most challenging menus for me to think of — I mean eating RAW? I am use to the heat of the kitchen, the sounds of oil sizzling in a pan but no, not this time.  One of the main rules of eating raw is nothing is cooked above 118F, any temperature above that will begin breaking down the natural enzymes in fruits and vegetables. Now many of you are thinking — So what? but because of the degradation of these enzymes, it forces our bodies to generate the enzymes necessary to digest cooked food. Our bodies are unable to produce enzymes in perfect combinations to metabolize our foods as completely as the food enzymes created by nature do. As a result, starches, proteins and partially digested fats can cause blockage to your body’s intestinal tract and arteries leading to health challenges such as high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke.

I used Raw, a cookbook written by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein, as guidance through my exploration of raw foods.  They included this example about Eskimos and their raw diet:

The Eskimos are a remarkable example of the transformative power of enzymes.  The word Eskimo means one who eats raw. While living for centuries on a diet that consisted primarily of raw whale or seal blubber, Eskimos developed no arteriosclerosis and experienced almost no incidence of heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure.  Established nutritional doctrine would predict a high rate of these ailments given the diet, but even blubber will digest itself completely if it is not cooked since its enzymes are intact.  Once you heat even the finest olive oil above 118F, you will not be able to digest it completely.  More important, many authorities believe that eating cooked foods depletes our finite enzyme reserve.  Proof of this effect is that an eighty-five-year-old has only one-thirtieth the enzyme activity level of an eighteen-year-old.  In other words, your enzyme reserve is slowly exhausted over a lifetime of eating cooked foods.”


I found this compelling, I never thought about the importance of eating foods raw.  I mean in my mind, raw food meant leafy salads and those party veggie trays, — food isn’t meant to be eaten raw, right?  I guess that’s why I had so much fun with this proposal I had to think of a 5 course menu consisting of all raw foods, made in different ways and in clever combinations to make my guests say — Wait, this is RAW? I could eat this!

To do this, the most important thing would be to pick good quality produce and discovering the beauty of fruits and vegetables in their natural state and using them in way that would enhance their flavors. An interesting fact I also learned when reading Raw, was our bodies’ struggle with digesting unsprouted nuts and seeds — nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors that prevent them from sprouting into a plant or tree; however, if they have been sprouted (soaked in water), these enzyme inhibitors will degrade and then our bodies are able to digest them naturally.

Maybe it may not be practical to say– I will eat raw for the rest of my life! In the society we live in today many of us are not able to do that.  However, I’m going to make a personal commitment to improve the quality of foods I place into my body.  Maybe as a start, I’ll start eating raw a couple nights a week, or making my meals half cooked and half raw either way, incorporating raw foods into my daily diet would never be detrimental to my health and would only improve it.  Our health is one of the few things we are able to control in our lives through daily practices of healthy eating habits and exercise; our bodies will take care of us if we take care of it.

In all of the food we eat, (fruits, vegetables, meats), there are natural food enzymes that are present in their raw state.  These enzymes are a perfect combination and fit to help our bodies digest it completely.  Enzymes act as catalysts for every metabolic reaction in our bodies: cell division, energy production, brain activity, which are essential to our mental and physical well-being.

“Nature in her never-ending perfection sees that all food, whether flesh, fruit, or vegetable, decomposes and returns to the earth from which it came.“ Roxanne Klein


Menu for Awesome Rawsome

Appetizer

Gazpacho Granita

relish of cucumber, red and yellow bell pepper and red onion

Soup

cream of corn soup with tomato basil lemon oil

Salad

heirloom tomatoes with arugula served with lemon tahini

Entrée

jicama ravioli with avocado crema and southwestern corn slaw

Dessert

watermelon medallions served with a tropical salsa in a chilled mango soup

Ingredients for Gazpacho Granita: (serves 4 to 6)

Granita

  • 2 pounds ripe sweet tomatoes, peeled
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp coarsely ground pepper
  • ¾ tsp salt

Dressing

  • ¼ cup cold pressed olive oil
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

Salad

  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • ½ red onion, finely diced

To make granita: Quarter tomatoes and puree in a food processor with sugar and garlic. Strain puree through a sieve to discard seeds. Stir in basil, lemon juice, pepper, and salt. Let mixture chill in refrigerator at least 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Pour the granita mixture into a wide and shallow container, such as a stainless steel baking dish (the shallower the container, the quicker the granite will freeze). Cover with a lid, foil, or plastic wrap. Freeze the mixture 1 to 2 hours, until it is solid around the edges.  Take the container out of the freezer and scrape the ice with a fork, mixing it from the edges into the center.

Repeat this scraping and mixing process every 30 minutes or so (at least three times) until the entire mixture has turned into small, sequined ice flakes.  When ready to serve, scrape with a fork to loosen the granita and spoon into serving dishes.

To make dressing, whisk together all ingredients until blended.  To assemble salad, in a large bowl combine all ingredients; add dressing and toss to coat.  Spoon granita on center of serving dishes.  Arrange salad evenly around each.

Ingredients for Cream of Corn Soup: (Makes 4-6 servings)

  • 4 cups sweet corn kernels
  • 2 cup filtered water
  • ½ avocado
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Place ingredients in a large bowl and using a blender or hand held blender, puree until it is a smooth consistency.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove skin of kernels and taste with salt and pepper.


Garnish for Corn Soup:

  • ½ cup sweet corn kernels
  • ¼ cup julienned jicama
  • ¼ cup microgreens
  • 4 tsp tomato basil lemon oil


Ingredients for Tomato Basil Lemon Oil:

  • ½ pound ripe tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups cold pressed olive oil
  • ¾ cup packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp lemon zest


Slice the tomatoes in half crosswise (through the equator) and gently squeeze out the seeds; discard them.  Working in a large bowl, rub the cut sides of the tomatoes across the large holes of a metal grater so that the flesh is coarsely grated but the skin remains intact in your hand.  Discard the skin.

Combine the tomatoes, oil, basil, garlic, and pepper flakes in a large bowl.  Place at room temperature for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight, before using.  Strain and spoon the oil off any juices into clean, dry jar.  The oil will keep in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month  Bring to room temperature about ½ hour before serving.

To assemble soup, pour corn soup into bowls and garnish with jicama and corn mixture.  Drizzle with tomato lemon basil oil and top with microgreens.

Ingredients for Heirloom Tomatoes with Lemon Tahini: (Makes 4-6 servings)

  • ½ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • 8 medium heirloom tomatoes, washed and cut into ¼ inch thick slices
  • 3 cups Arugula
  • 1lemon,, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • Freshly ground pepper


In the bowl of a food processor, place tahini, half the lemon zest, and lemon juice; pulse to combine. With the motor running, add 7 to 8 tbsp cold water and continue to process until mixture is thick and smooth. Add salt to taste, and refrigerate until cold.

Bring tahini to room temperature.Place arugula on a large platter and arrange tomatoes on top in a tight overlapping pattern; drizzle half the tahini over the tomatoes.  Scatter remaining lemon zest on top.  Tuck lemon slices around and between tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Serve remaining tahini on the side.

Ingredients for Jicama Ravioli: (serves 4-6)

  • 1 ½ medium-sized jicama, washed and peeled
  • 3 cups raw walnuts, sprouted
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Celtic salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Finely chop the walnuts and mix with chile, cumin powder and salt pepper to taste. Set aside. Take peeled jicama and cut into paper thin slices using either a sharp knife or mandoline.  Place in a large bowl of water with some fresh lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

Ingredients for Corn Salsa:

  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • ¼ cup jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • 1 tsp cilantro, minced
  • Celtic salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and taste with salt and pepper.

Ingredients for Avocado Crema:

  • 1 ½ avocado, pitted
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • Celtic salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Puree and strain ingredients into a large bowl, adjusting the consistency according to your preference–  if it’s too thin add more avocado, if it’s too thick add more water.  Adjust the flavors to your taste.

Take jicama slices and using a round cookie cutter, cut into desired sizes.  Lay one jicama round and spoon walnut mixture in the middle and top with another jicama slice.  Make 3-4 per plate and top with Corn Salsa and Avocado Crema.  Serve immediately.

Ingredients for Watermelon Medallions in a Chilled Mango Soup: (serves 4-6)

  • 4-6 Watermelon pieces cut into 4″ rounds 2″thick

Slice watermelon into 2″-thick slices and using a 4″ round cookie cutter, cut out 4-6 rounds.  It would be preferable to use seedless watermelon so it is easier to eat for your guests.

Ingredients for Chilled Mango Soup:

  • 3 Champagne Mangoes
  • 1 ½ cups filtered water
  • 1 tsp agave
  • ½ vanilla bean

Peel and slice the mangoes, discarding the pit, and place in a large bowl with water and agave.  Using a blender or hand held blender, puree ingredients until nice and smooth.  Scrape vanilla beans from the pod and allow soup to chill for at least an hour.  To make mango stars, pour some of the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze for 1-2 hours.


Ingredients for Tropical Fruit Salsa:

  • ½ pineapple, small-diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 mango, small-diced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, crushed
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and allow fruit to macerate/marinate overnight. You may add a little agave or honey if the fruit is not sweet enough.

To assemble the dessert: place watermelon rounds in bowls and spoon chilled mango, filling bowls ¾ of the way.  Top with tropical fruit salsa and garnish with mint and frozen mango ice cube.

43 responses to “FoodBuzz 24,24,24,: Awesome Rawsome – A 5 course Raw Food Dinner

  1. Wonderful job, Joy! These look scrumptious and wholesome. That gazpacho seems really interesting… I may try that one out.

  2. Joy! I am impressed!….wow…it looks great… I’m an unhealthy food fanatic and you made this stuff look edible! When are we going to cook together?!?!

  3. Thank you for highlighting the many reasons that we should incorporate a raw diet. These dishes look so refreshing!
    I’m going to definitely try to make the jicama ravioli and watermelon medallions in the mango soup. Great job!

  4. There are so many things to love about this post. Congrats on an awesome Foodbuzz 24×24. I’m especially likin’ the corn soup. Fresh!!
    LL

  5. This is pretty awesome. I am not sure I can even come up with a RAW menu. Very very good job.

  6. Gorgeous post, I am fascinated with raw food! All your dishes are amazing!

  7. What an outstanding meal! You did a terrific job and your photography is beautiful.

  8. this is, seriously so good everything you’ve made – you are truley so talented joy

  9. Wow..this is a fantastic 5 course raw food dinner ! Healthy to the dot and your photography is great. Love the composition 🙂

  10. I have to say every single dish looks awesome! But I know I will always reserve room for the lovely dessert.

  11. My mouth is watering… I’m so sad I missed my lucky chance!! Awesome 🙂

  12. Wow – what a spread! everything looks amazing.

  13. Queen of Cuisine

    Great post- wonderful raw menu. Corn soup looks amazing!!!

  14. Just beautiful, it all looks amazing and delicious!

  15. Joy, I have one word for you girlfriend…AMAZING!!! 🙂

  16. That is what I call a delicious meal. It sounds delicious and I would have loved to be invited for that dinner!

  17. This is pretty impressive, it ALL looks so wonderful!

  18. tastyeatsathome

    What an amazing 24,24,24 idea. And I agree – raw food is great for the body and digestive system. I’ve been working to incorporate raw food in as many meals as possible. Your photos are always what gets me though – AMAZING.

  19. Congrats on the 24, 24, 24! And I’m loving the title 🙂

    You are so gosh darn creative! Love all the unique raw dishes and your plating is gorgeous! I wanna be just like when I grow up 😉

  20. Congrats on the 24, 24, 24! And I’m loving the title 🙂

    You are so gosh darn creative! Love all the unique raw dishes and your plating is gorgeous! I wanna be just like you when I grow up 😉

  21. How inspiring! I’ve learned so much from your post and the recipes are just beautiful. I too will try to eat raw more often after reading this.

  22. Your Rawsome really looks very awesome. I can’t wait to try mango soup.

  23. what a fantastic idea. I must say, this is superb. Your menu is great, the settings and the pictures as well. Great Job!

  24. Beautiful creations! Raw food is so intriguing to me, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it look so gorgeous!

  25. Wow…that is stunningly beautiful and very creative. Congratulations on a great effort!

  26. Joy! Thanks for having Vicki and me over for this wonderful meal. We still talk about how delish it was when we go out with friends 🙂 All of it tasted even more amazing than they look in the photos!

  27. Great work with the creative raw menu! I can’t say I am one to eat raw often, but given the option to partake in your food, I would fight for the chance. 😉 The heirloom tomatoes make me long for summer…

  28. I’ve thought about doing a 100% raw dinner party, but I have yet to challenge myself to do it. It is hard to make food that is healthy, beautiful and appealing to all your guests tastes, but it looks like you did a fantastic job. That tomato dish looks exceptionally divine. wow! Great job on the 24×24!

  29. Simply amazing !! VERY well done…
    All my admiration!

  30. the choice of ingredients, the colors, the texture and composition is absolutely beautiful. Truly the work of an artist

  31. I am always amazed at the ingenuity behind raw dishes. If you make it appealing, people will eat it. And this food definitely looks delicious. I can’t wait to make some of these dishes! Thanks

    http://gogingerbaby.wordpress.com

  32. your post is lovely….. what a delicious post!

  33. Lovely! I’ll have to try some of these!

  34. Amazing – brilliant concept, recipes and presentation and stunning images as usual! I admit when I saw ravioli on the menu I thought ‘oh she cheated’ but then I read on and oh no you didn’t – brava!

  35. I just found your blog from foodbuzz. This is an incredible idea for a dinner party. I try to incorporate raw meals into my eating a couple times a week. Beautiful food and pictures!

  36. I am very interested in raw food and you make it look so, so good! Awesome Joy!

  37. Pingback: Pan Seared Mahi-Mahi with Cucumber Slaw «

  38. I was dubious about this entry when i went to look at it but everything looks absolutely delicious! Great post

  39. This is absolutely gorgeous. I’m going to try a couple of these recipes since I try to keep about 65% or more of my diet raw. I would recommend a ceviche and/or sashimi dish for those of who crave animal protein. And don’t forget that the Eskimos – along with many other civilizations – also fermented a lot of their foods for enzymes lost when other foods were cooked. I love raw … fermented is, um, an *acquired* taste, lol.

    • Ah yes I am pretty okay with most fermented foods (except fermented meat, it’s a lil much for me) I completely forgot those are considered raw too, I will have to remember to incorporate some of that into my diet! Thanks for the kind words, I hope you enjoy some of those recipes 🙂

  40. This is one of the most excellent post on raw food & enzymes. Nicely put. And I never knew that about eskimos and whale blubber (not that it sounds appetizing, but it was interesting).

    And your menu… awesome! I can’t wait to try the soup and salad.

    I live on a high-raw diet. My husband is a serious meat & potatoes man… Well not so much anymore. The other day he said, “I don’t even want a steak. What have you done to me?”. LOL.

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