Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Raw Adventure: Cleansing with Food

Raw food doesn’t mean uncooked meat!  Ok, so you knew that much.  But did you know all the health benefits that go with eating your veggies mostly raw?  Have you thought about all the nutrients we boil, bake and burn out of our seemingly healthy food?  On first glance, eating raw may seem boring, especially in the cold winter months when all you want is soup (still a good option, however …) eating raw can be exciting for your health and your palate with the right recipes.  Beyond the salad, “uncooked” veggie meals can be just as filling and heart-warming as a bowl of pasta and cheese - promise.  Try this fun recipe where you get to play with home-made nut cheese and the colors of local veggies like yellow squash and ripe tomatoes.  

For further raw reading fun I highly recommend 

RAW by Juliano Brotman 

Real World Raw (for the fancier recipes) by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngalis.  

Be warned, however, that the following recipe takes some prep work.  Read the recipe through, at least one full day prior to your raw adventure.

Zucchini-and-Green-Zebra-Tomato Lasagne with Basil-Pistachio Pesto
by Matthew Kenney of Pure Food and Wine

Ingredients
Lemon-Pignoli “Ricotta”
2 cups raw pignoli nuts, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional; available in health food stores)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Tomato Sauce
2 cups good-quality sun-dried tomatoes (dry-packed), soaked in water for at least 2 hours
1 medium ripe tomato, diced
1/4 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons sea salt
Pinch hot-pepper flakes
Basil-Pistachio Pesto
2 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup raw pistachios
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Lasagne
3 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
3 medium green-zebra tomatoes (or other heirloom variety)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Garnish: whole basil leaves
Cooking Instructions
Lemon-Pignoli “Ricotta”

Place the pignoli, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt in a food processor, and pulse a few times, until thoroughly combined. Gradually add 6 tablespoons water, and pulse until the texture becomes fluffy, like ricotta. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.

Tomato Sauce
Place all ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth.

Basil-Pistachio Pesto
Place all ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth.

Lasagne
Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, shave zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices, then cut in half crosswise. Cut the tomatoes in half, and each half into thin slices. Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with two layers of zucchini slices. Brush the zucchini lightly with olive oil, spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce over it, and top with small dollops of “ricotta” and pesto, using 1/3 of each. Layer on 1/3 of the tomato slices, and sprinkle with 1/3 of the oregano and thyme. Add another double layer of zucchini and repeat twice more with the tomato sauce, pesto, ricotta, tomato slices, and herbs. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic and let sit at room temperature for a few hours. Garnish with basil.

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