I spent quite a bit of time this week thinking about my mid-term menu on May 4th. We have to prepare a four-course meal for our instructors to critique and I’ve been finalizing the details. I decided to do a quiche as part of my entree since I love quiche and I think it looks great.
Below: A sample roasted vegetable quiche with basil-cashew cream sauce.
We kept rolling through our raw food classes with Chef Alicia. She showed us several raw preparations. One of the tasty treats we learned about was chia seed cereal. Chia seeds are pretty hot these days – they are high in omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and minerals. They are a bit pricey at about $9 per pound, but as I have said before you must prioritize your health.
Chia seeds can be soaked for hours, during which time they swell and become mucilaginous. If you grind them then soak briefly, they make a good sticky binding agent that’s similar to eggs in some respects.You can also eat the soaked seeds as a breakfast “cereal.” Toss in some dehydrated buckwheat groats and/or nuts for crunch, your favorite fruits, and you are in business. They’re a bit slippery, some might say slimy, but it’s a cool texture and I enjoyed eating them. It was kind of like a pudding texture.
Below: Soaked chia seed cereal with tiny buckwheat groats for texture.
Chef Alicia also showed us some amazing radish noodles that she made using a spiralizer. A spiralizer is a kitchen gadget that makes noodle cuts from hard vegetables like radishes or potatoes. Instead of eating a pasta with high calorie wheat as the foundation, spiralize some radish or zucchini for low-carb, high nutrient noodles. You might think the noodles would fall apart or taste strange but they were strong and really took on whatever sauce flavorings were applied. Chef Alicia used an amazing Asian sauce on the daikon noodles and a delicious Italian treatment on the zucchini noodles.
Below: Asian daikon noodles.
Another great technique for raw food preparation is the “sushi” roll. You can use a wide array of fillings and wrap them up in a nori roll. Chef Alicia made a cauliflower and root vegetable “rice” in a food processor that she included in the rolls to add that familiar texture.
Below: Raw “sushi” rolls with some fresh sprouts that we made in class.
Below: A daikon radish (left) with a zucchini (right). The radish was dense and crunchy – it made a great noodle.
Part of our raw classwork included study of fermenting processes. Fermenting happens when you introduce a yeast – such as dry bread yeast or a sourdough starter – to a wet mixture. Examples of fermented products include genuine sourdough bread, newly popular kombucha tea, aromatic cheeses such as parmesan and blue, and Korean staple kimchi. I have written a bit about the benefits of fermentation, but suffice it to say that fermentation imparts flavor and digestion aiding beneficial yeasts and bacterias.
Below: We sampled some kombuchas and kefirs in class.
Below: Some sunflower “cheese” fermenting in a basket. Fermenting seed paste imparts even more cheese-like flavor. Behind that, some quinoa fermenting in a jar with some water and probiotic powder – soon to become what’s known as Rejuvelac.
Below: Some pumpkin seeds fermenting in a bag.
Below: More coconuts were opened so we could use the water to make kefir.