I recently got to experience a first at The Chopping Block – a class where the stove and oven were not turned on once and no pots, pans or grills were used. The class was Raw Food Made Easy with Guest Chef Jennifer Cornbleet. As someone who quite enjoys cooking with fire, I was skeptical but intrigued. A couple of my family members had eaten a raw food diet for a few years, and I remember feeling sorry for them and their diet of undressed salads and carrots juice every day. So I observed Jenny with interest to see if she was able to do more interesting things with all those fruits and vegetables.
She prepared four dishes for the demonstration class from her book:
Breakfast: Jenny made a Green Smoothie similar to this one. She tossed some bananas and apples into the Vitamix blender and I thought that sounds good. But then she stuffed that thing full of kale and spinach. I mean packed. We passed out the vitamin packed smoothies and the students downed them. I somewhat reluctantly tasted it and was quite surprised at how palatable it was. I thought, I could do this! It’s such an easy way to incorporate those dark leafy greens we always hear are so good for us.
Lunch: Speaking of dark leafy greens, Jenny prepared a Mediterranean Kale Salad next. We had thinly sliced a large bunch of kale before class, and Jenny added some olive oil, lemon juice and salt and “massaged” it into the kale for a couple minutes, in order to fully coat the greens and marinate them. She added some pine nuts and golden raisins for a surprisingly tasty way to, again, eat those dark green leaves.
Dinner: I was most skeptical of this one. Jenny made a dish she calls Not Tuna Pate, which is meant to resemble Tuna Salad. She put almonds and sunflower seeds that had been soaked in water into a food processor and blended it up. The nuts absorb the water and causes them to blend up into a very fluffy texture. She added some lemon juice, salt and pepper, minced celery, onion and parsley, and served it with sliced veggies for dipping. I couldn’t believe how tasty it was, and how it did actually taste like tuna!
Dessert: Jenny used only three ingredients for her Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe. She combined walnuts, pitted dates, and unsweetened cocoa powder (and a little water) in the food processor until it formed a thick paste. She turned it out on a plate and formed it into the shape of a round cake. She topped it with fresh raspberries and we sliced and served. It was sweet and chocolatey and a perfect way to end the meal.
While I don’t have any plans to start eating a raw diet, Jenny’s class did inspire me to think more creatively about how to eat more raw fruits and especially veggies in a way that actually tastes delicious!
How do you incorporate raw fruits & veggies into your diet?