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Top New York chef and restaurateur Matthew Kenney and his partner, Sarma Melngailis, had been thinking of opening a Moroccan restaurant. But one night they were invited to a raw food restaurant -- and it changed their lives. They instead opened Pure Food and Wine, a restaurant devoted to creative, tasty raw food, and it has been drawing rave reviews. Dishes such as Zucchini and Green Zebra Tomato Lasagne, Golden Squash Pasta with Black Summer Truffles, and Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart with Vanilla Cream have given raw food a sexy new appeal.The decision to go raw was shocking at first for these two ex-carnivorous chefs, but they soon found that preparing and eating raw food made them and their guests feel their physical best. Melngailis noticed a difference almost immediately -- "Light, clean, natural, and alive foods make you feel light, clean, and more alive. And sexy." This new way of life has changed their outlook on eating and cooking and connects them to the world around them. As Kenney says, "Raw foods and the lifestyle associated with it are so compelling and complex that we will be forever learning and growing. Already it seems that we have discovered some of the magic that life offers."In this lushly photographed book, Kenney and Melngailis share some of that magic -- and show that preparing and eating raw does not mean bland, unsatisfying, or impossibly time-consuming meals. Using dehydrating, Vita-Mix blending, a nuanced understanding of spices, and unprecedented creativity, they explore a whole new outlook on raw food that transfers beautifully and easily from their kitchen to yours -- no matter what your present diet. And you'll immediately begin to reap the benefits of healthful, delicious, life-giving raw food.
Sarma Melngailis is a head chef and co-owner of Pure Food and Wine.
Raw Food/Real World 100 Recipes to Get the Glow
Shiitake, Avocado, and Pickled Ginger Sushi Rolls
In this recipe, we call for young ginger, which is a pale almost pinkish color, and milder in taste than mature gingerroot. Along with untoasted [and toasted] nori, you can find it at Asian markets, but the more commonly available ginger will work well, too. The beet juice used in pickling the ginger that goes into the rolls is optional, but we highly recommend it because it looks so pretty. And if you really want to cheat, you can just buy pickled ginger, if you can find any without preservatives.
If you cant find fresh shiitakes, you can substitute another wild mushroom or thinly sliced portobello, or even use dried shiitakes that have been rehydrated in purified water.
Wasabi is a very spicy variety of Japanese horseradish -- fresh is best but it's hard to find and extremely expensive. You can buy powdered wasabi at most health food stores and Asian markets and mix with water according to the directions to make a paste.
Try other variations of sushi, using different vegetable fillings.
For the Filling
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps 1/4 cup nama shoyu plus 1/2 cup for dipping 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 large young gingerroots, peeled and sliced very thin on a mandoline 2 tablespoons sea salt 1 1/2 cups raw apple cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar 3/4 cup agave nectar 1/2 cup beet juice* (optional)
In a small bowl, toss the shiitakes with 1/4 cup of the nama shoyu and the olive oil. Allow to marinate for about 1 hour. Drain well and set aside.
Place the sliced ginger in a bowl and sprinkle generously with the salt. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Rinse well, drain, and squeeze out the water. Place about 2/3 of the ginger in one bowl with 1 cup of the vinegar and 1/2 cup of the agave nectar. Julienne the remaining ginger and place in another small bowl with the remaining 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup agave nectar. Add the beet juice [if using] to the bowl with the julienned ginger. Be sure the ginger is fully immersed in liquid -- if not, simply add more vinegar and agave accordingly. Cover both bowls and refrigerate for at least 1 day and up to 3 days. Drain well before using.
For the rice:
6 cups chopped jicama (roughly 1-inch cubes) 1/2 cup pine nuts 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sea salt 1/4 cup brown rice wine vinegar 3 tablespoons agave nectar
Place the jicama and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until chopped to the approximate size of rice grains. Press the jicama between clean kitchen towels or paper towels to remove all of the excess moisture.
In a large bowl, combine the rice with the salt, rice vinegar, and agave nectar and mix well. Gently spread the mixture onto dehydrator screens and dehydrate at 115° F for about 2 hours to remove additional moisture. Its a good idea to check the rice occasionally to make sure it is not getting too dry, and to toss it around a bit on the tray as the edges dry faster. If left too long in the dehydrator, it will start to turn pale brown, which is not really so bad, it just doesn't look as nice. If this happens, just add a bit more seasoning liquid, and keep in mind that the yield will be a bit less, and the texture not as soft. The rice will keep for up to 2 to 3 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. You should have about 4 1/2 cups.
For the assembly:
6 to 8 sheets untoasted nori 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly julienned 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced 1 small bunch sunflower sprouts or other long-stemmed sprouts 2 green onions, white and 1 inch of green, thinly sliced 1/2 cup wasabi 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds for garnish
Place a sheet of nori on a bamboo mat with the rougher side facing up; if you look closely, one side is usually smoother. Make sure the shorter side is closest n you (in art-school words, so that the nori sheet is portrait, not landscape). Place about 1/2 cup of rice on the nori and spread out evenly across the bottom third of the sheet, leaving 1 inch of space clear on the bottom. Lay some of the cucumber, avocados, shiitake filling, sprouts, and the pink julienned ginger across the rice. It's nice for presentation to let the leafy ends of the sprouts extend beyond the edges of the nori. Sprinkle with some of the green onion. If you like wasabi in your rolls, spread a small amount anywhere across the exposed nori before rolling (it is much easier to spread wasabi on the nori than to try to distribute it evenly with the rest of the filling, and it all ends up inside the roll either way).
Fold the bottom of the bamboo mat up and over the filling and roll the nori tightly. Wet the too edge of the nori with a little water to help seal it shut Hold the roll in the mat for a few seconds to let it set and seal. Gently unwrap the mat, and using a very sharp knife, cut the roll into 6 pieces, wiping the knife clean with a wet towel between cuts. It helps to cut it in half first, and then cut each half into 3 evenly sized pieces.
Arrange the sushi on a plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Garnish with a small pile of the pickled ginger slices and a bit of wasabi.
Excerpted from Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow by Matthew Kenney, Sarma Melngailis All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.