October 05, 2010

Raw Food Made Easy


Many years ago, My husband, youngest son and I spent 10 fabulous days in Barcelona, where my husband gave a talk at a conference. Barcelona was our base, and there was so much to see in the city we had no trouble filling our time, but we made a spur of the moment decision to take the train to Costa Brava for a little adventure. I made a list of hotel possibilities, and we set about calling each one, only to be told there were no rooms. Finally, we found a reasonably priced hotel with space, and we were off. The long, complicated hotel name was in Spanish, of course, but there was something so familiar about it; I just couldn't put my finger on what it was.

While we were on the train, it suddenly hit me where we were going, and at the moment of my recognition, my husband said, "I wonder if we'll find anything to eat." "I don't think that will be a problem," I answered. "We're staying at a Hippocrates Institute." If you don't know what that is (my husband didn't) it's a raw foods healing center. (Founded in 1956 by Ann Wigmore, the Hippocrates Institute has its main center in West Palm Beach, Florida, and I don't know if the one in Costa Brava was associated with the one in Florida, or not, but it sounded similar.) The hotel — large, old and slightly eerie — was perched high on a hill overlooking the city. The rooms were comfortable but vaguely hospital-like, and we may have been the only guests not walking around in thick, white terrycloth robes and receiving treatments, but we did attend all the meals. The food was a spectacular array of raw, vegan dishes — everything from massive displays of gorgeous fresh fruits, veggies and salads, to gourmet preparations of intricate raw food dishes. We were in heaven.

I like raw food, and would like to add more into my diet, but raw food cuisine beyond the basics of whole raw fruits, veggies and smoothies, can seem complicated and time consuming, which is why I was excited to receive a copy of "Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People," by Jennifer Cornbleet.

The author has chosen easy and delicious recipes "that can be made in minutes, that work every time, and that can be eaten every day." She's divided the book into sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, and has provided a list of equipment and pantry staples as well as a weekly shopping list, to make food preparation easier. There were so many recipes I wanted to try it was hard to pick just one, but I chose the Not Salmon Paté variation of Not Tuna Paté, partly because it sounded interesting, and partly because I had the ingredients. At least I thought I did. I didn't have celery so used parsley instead. The finished paté looked good and tasted great.


Not Salmon Paté (reprinted with permission) makes 1/2 cup, 2 servings
  • 1/2 cup soaked raw sunflower seeds (soaked 6 to 8 hours)
  • 1/4 cup soaked raw almonds (soaked 8 to 12 hours)
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons minced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill weed or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  1. Place the seeds, almonds, water, lemon juice and salt in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process into a paste. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  2. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and stir in the celery,onion and dill. Mix well.
  3. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
So what did I do with the paté? There are several suggested ways to use the paté in the recipe sidebar, and ironically, I decided to make sushi, which was one of the suggestions, though I didn't realize it. Ms. Cornbleet calls the dish Not Tuna Rolls, and I didn't look at the recipe. I wish I had. My nori rolls were filled with only paté, shredded carrots and baby greens, and were gorgeous and quite delicious, but hers also contained avocado, which would have made them even better.

My version of the rolls, using baby greens and carrots

Here is Jennifer Cornbleet's recipe:
Not tuna rolls (reprinted with permission) makes 2 rolls, 1 serving
  • 2 nori sheets
  • 2 teaspoons mellow white miso
  • 2 cups alfalfa or clover sprouts
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup not tuna paté
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • tamari for dipping (optional)
  1. Lay one sheet of nori, shiny side down, on a bamboo sushi mat
  2. Spread 1 teaspoon of miso in a single horizontal line anywhere along the the bottom third of the nori.
  3. Along the edge of the nori closest to you, layer the sprouts, avocado, paté, carrot and pepper.
  4. To roll, grip the edge of the nori sheet and the mat with your thumbs and forefingers, and press the filling back toward you with your other fingers. Using the mat to help you, roll the front edge of the nori over the filling. Squeeze it with the mat, then lift the mat away and continue rolling.
  5. Just before completing the roll, dip your finger in water and run it along the far edge of the nori to help seal the seam.
  6. Cut the roll into 6 pieces with a serrated knife. Make the second roll.
  7. Serve with tamari for dipping if desired.
note: For more detailed directions (with photos) on how to roll sushi, click here. The directions are for traditional sushi with rice but could be helpful if you've never made sushi before.

Full disclosure: The cookbook described in this post was sent to me free of charge by the publisher. No attempt was made by the publisher to influence my review, nor was I paid to write a review.

21 comments:

  1. I am sooooooo envious that you stayed at Hippocrates! When we went to Florida last year I looked into it but the price tag alone almost made my condition worse! Your nori rolls look wonderful. I've made something similar w/ a raw pate and yes, avocado is really delicious in them. :)

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  2. That sounds yummy! I bet staying at Hippocrates was a fun experience. To be honest, I don't know if I would have been able to only eat raw foods for that many days. If the food looked like the nori rolls you made though, maybe I wouldn't have minded!

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  3. The way some people say they could follow a vegan diet if they had someone to prepare their meals for them, I often think that I could switch from vegan to raw with the same caveat. This all looks wonderful.
    P.S. I know I couldn't be disciplined enough to really follow a raw diet, but I've been impressed by almost everything I've had thus far!

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  4. Well that was a spot of luck Andrea. Of all the hotels you could have ended up at.

    My friend Adam follows a raw diet and his food is always amazing.

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  5. This looks yummy! I could think of all sorts of good uses for it.

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  6. Ricki,
    The Florida Hippocrates is too expensive for us, too. Darn. Someday I want to go eat there, though! Avocado just just makes everything taste better.

    Kiersten,
    We were in Spain for 10 days, but at Hippocrates for only one or two (can't remember). The raw food was great but I know what you mean.

    Abby,
    I know exactly what you mean. I'm trying to decide if it seems like too much work because I'm not used to doing it, or because it really IS too much work. Plus, I crave cooked foods as the weather cools.

    Jacqueline,
    Yes, a switch from our usual kind of luck. I didn't tell you about our travels to and from Spain. :D

    Carbzilla,
    It IS yummy, and I can think of lots of good uses for it, too, but most of them didn't involve raw food. (There's something about a sandwich in a lettuce leaf that doesn't seem quite right.)

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  7. Those nori wraps are beautiful; so colorful, fresh, and delicious looking, and those pates sound so tasty.

    I'm interested in making more raw food recipes too; thanks for these recipes/ideas.

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  8. So colorful and fresh! I feel rejuvenated just by looking at them! :D

    Thank you for sharing the recipes. I would definitely eat more raw foods if they were all quick and simple. *sigh*

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  9. Your Not Tuna Rolls are so flipping pretty--I can see that adding avocado would have made them even tastier, but I doubt they could be more attractive. This kind of a nori filling would never have occurred to me; well, thank heaven for the Internet!

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  10. Rose,
    Thanks! I was so pleased with them I made another variation today. I think I'm most interested in raw food in the summer, but it would be nice to increase my raw food intake year round.

    River,
    Do you think they're really harder to make than cooked foods or just less familiar. I'll have to make more recipes from the book and see how it goes.

    Zoa,
    I think the red cabbage against the dark green nori with carrot accents was the key. Today I made them with avocado and carrots but no salad mix and they still looked pretty, but not as dramatic. I liked the taste a lot, though.

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  11. I love your story about Barcelona - how amazing that you were staying at a raw foods healing center!

    Both of those recipes look great, by the way. I'll have to check that cookbook out for sure...

    PS Thanks for the "welcome back" on my blog :)

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  12. Raw nori rolls are something I can easily see getting into- We serve something similar at the restaurant I work at, but we always sell out so quickly, I never get to taste them! I love how colorful yours are... Looks like another cookbook I'll have to check out now. ;)

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  13. Those nori rolls looks so vibrant and tasty.
    How cool to end up at a raw foods place.

    So did you find it hard to eat vegan in Barcelona? We are going in a year or two and would like to get as much info as possible.

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  14. I have Cornbleets dessert book, but this sounds great, too. Thank you for sharing those recipes.

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  15. JD,
    Barcelona was pretty cool, and finding ourselves at Hippocrates in Costa Brava was a wonderful surprise.
    And, you're welcome.

    HAnnah,
    It sounds like the restaurant needs to make more of the raw rolls so more people have a chance to taste them. :D

    dreaminitvegan,
    When we were there, vegan restaurants were pretty scarce. We found one cafeteria-style restaurant not far from our hotel that we ate at a lot! Now, though, vegan and vegetarian food is much more popular, and I think there are lots of choices.

    Mihl,
    You're welcome. I'm interested in seeing her dessert book, after reading about it on so many blogs.

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  16. looks delish. I love sushi w/ fillings that are more inspired than plain cucumber.

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  17. Bethany,
    Me, too. But sometimes ... well, you know ... cucumber is better than plain nori.

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  18. That is some of the most beautiful raw sushi I've ever seen!

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  19. Mo,
    Thank you. Coming from a creator of such beautiful food, that's a real compliment.

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  20. So I'm trying to switch over to a vegan diet. I just bought a food processor because of this recipe and just used it for the first time. I've got to admit... the pate itself is reaaallly boring. I'm also VERY new to cooking so I'm trying to figure out a new way to spice it up. I don't have the time or resources to make your gorgeous rolls. Any other suggestions? :)

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  21. Heather,
    Depending on what foods you are used to eating, vegan foods may seem bland until your palate adjusts. If you've been eating animal foods, you may need to add more salt and other seasonings to compensate for the much lower salt content of plant-based foods. What flavors do you like? If you like spicy food, you could pump up the flavor with hot sauce. Try adding more herbs, or even more minced celery, which has a lot of natural salt. Add soy sauce. If you're not worried about the food being raw, you could toast the almonds to add flavor. Feel free to increase the seasonings in recipes to your level of preference, so that you enjoy the food! Once you become accustomed to a new way of eating, you can try to gradually cut back on on salt, fat and sugar. Baby steps. Thanks for writing.

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