Cookbook review: Eat Raw, Eat Well, by Douglas McNish! »
When Vegansaurus gave me the chance to review Douglas McNish’s new cookbook, Eat Raw, Be Well, I consented enthusiastically and chomped at the bit until it arrived. I love making raw, vegan, gluten-free food (obviously) that isn’t too complicated or hard to prepare. In my opinion, overly intricate raw food cookbooks do more harm than good for the aspiring raw food chef. Sure, the pictures are nice, the descriptions fanciful, and their promise of gastronomic decadence enticing—but once casual chefs attempt some recipe with a mile-long ingredient list and super-complex instructions, they often grow discouraged that they drop raw food preparation altogether. I think that’s so sad!
When it comes to feeding myself, my friends, my family, and my dearest, I prefer recipes that favor simplicity and easy-to-digest combinations. I heard that this cookbook focused on easy-to-prepare recipes that don’t go overboard with ingredients required to make everything. Eat Raw, Eat Well recipes range from super-simple, three-ingredient raw cauliflower popcorn (nutritional yeast! salt! cauliflower!) to dishes that will take a bit more time to prepare.
This book has tons of recipes for the very beginner chef, including some great tips on how to make them on the left. Before reading this book, I reached into the knife drawer at my communal household in Glendale and pulled out whatever seemed cleanest. Now, I often search for the pairing knife that we keep sequestered in a special drawer when possible, because Mr. McNish says it’s good to do that and I think he’s right! Now I cut with ease and confidence, bitch.
The publishers gave me permission to post one of my favorite recipes in the book, the Pesto-Coated Carrot and Parsnip Fettuccine (page 236).
This dish is a great way to get as many healthy ingredients into your body as possible without having to sacrifice any of the things you love. The softness of the root vegetables makes it reminiscent of traditional al dente pasta.
Makes two servings
3 large carrots, peeled
3 large parsnips, peeled 3
1 Tbsp. cold-pressed (extra virgin) olive oil (15 ml)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided (60 ml)
1 1/2 Tbsp. fine sea salt, divided (22 ml)
3/4 cup cold-pressed hemp oil (175 ml)
1/2 cup raw shelled hemp seeds (125 ml)
3 cloves garlic
3 cups chopped fresh cilantro leaves (750 ml)
1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots and parsnips into long, thin strips, dropping into a bowl as completed (see Tips) Add olive oil, 1 tsp. (5 ml) lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) salt, and toss until vegetables are well coated. Set aside for 10 minutes, until softened.
2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process hemp oil and seeds, garlic and remaining lemon juice and salt, until somewhat smooth but the hemp seeds retain some texture. Add cilantro and process until chopped and blended, stopping the motor once to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Add pesto to fettuccine, toss well and serve.
Substitute an equal quantity of parsley leaves for the cilantro.
Toss the fettuccine from Step 1 with another sauce, instead of the pesto.
Peeling the vegetables lengthwise produces the long, thin strips required for this recipe. For best results use a Y-shaped (slingshot) vegetable peeler. When using a regular peeler, you can glide down the length of the vegetable to make one long, thin strip.
If you prefer, combine the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl before tossing with the vegetables, to ensure even integration.
I am not a big fan of agave and kind of think it’s gross, so I was happy to see the desserts go light on them. In general, Eat Raw, Eat Well's recipes are nutrient-rich and focus on using low-glycemic, healthful ingredients. There are better books out there if you're just getting into raw food. Raw Food for One and Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine top my list for raw beginners, but I think this book would be a very good choice for the beginning to intermediate raw food chef. Happy uncooking to you!
Vegan MoFo: Lemony white bean salad! »
I made this salad for dinner the other night, and it was good, but when I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day, I almost had an orgasm right there at my desk, because it was that much better. So maybe let it sit a bit before you eat it?
Also everything’s awesome when it’s swimming in olive oil.
This recipe is “adapted” (i.e. copied with a couple minor changes) from Big Vegan, a cookbook I’m trying to use as much as possible so I can review it for y’all.
Lemony white bean salad!
1/4 cup minced fresh rosemary (or less, b/c that’s a shit ton of rosemary)
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil (shit yeah, olive oil!)
red pepper flakes to taste
2 lemons’ worth of juice (around 2 Tbsp.?)
2 14-oz cans white beans (Or 2 cups dried, cooked in your pressure cooker. You do have one of those, right?)
2 large carrots, chopped
1 tsp. salt
Chopped parsley (up to 1/3 cup, or whatever you’ve got)
Cook the beans if you’re not using canned. This is less fast but cheaper, tastier, and more sustainable b/c you’re not shipping around cans and water.
Rinse and drain beans, pour into serving bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the garlic and rosemary in the oil on medium-low until they’re warmed through and the garlic starts to change color a little.
Add the red pepper and heat another minute.
Pour the oil mixture, lemon juice, and salt on the beans.
Put the carrots in the same oily saucepan, and add water to cover about halfway. Bring to a simmer and cover for about 5 minutes, until the carrots are tender but still have a little bit of crunch.
Add the carrots and parsley to the bowl. Toss. Let sit a bit. Devour.
What’s this? Oh nothing, just some soup I invented, drowning a be-Earth-Balanced whole wheat sourdough biscuit.
Here’s the recipe. It’s insanely easy, you’ll love it.
(note: all the measurements are approximations, as I was freestyle-souping)
3 Tbs. Earth Balance
2 small onions
4 cloves garlic
1 Yukon Gold potato
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup baby carrots, or equivalent in regular-size carrots
1/2 inch fresh ginger
5 cups vegetable stock
Zatarain’s! [Ed.: Ooh la la!]
toasted sesame oil
Preheat your big soup pot to a low-ish setting, and throw in the Earth Balance. Dice the onion and throw it in the pot. Peel the potatoes and chop into small-ish cubes. Chop the carrots into roughly same-sized pieces. Dice the garlic and ginger, and zest the tangerines. Juice the tangerines (always zest before you juice!)—you can add the juice to the stock for the time being.
Once the onions are soft and clear, add the potatoes, carrots, garlic, ginger, tangerine zest, and spices. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Then add the tangerine juice and stock, cover, turn the heat up to high, bring to a boil, and let simmer for a while. Maybe 20 minutes or so, I guess.
Once everything looks nice and mushy, turn the heat off. If you have an immersion blender, I am envious of you. Also, this is the time to use it. Otherwise, you had better let the soup cool a bit before pouring into your regular blender/food processor and turning it into something approximating the above. Then put it back in the pot and reheat.
If the soup’s too thick, add a bit more stock. Finish with a dash of toasted sesame oil, for extra flavoring, and pepper if wanted (I didn’t). Something I recently learned: cooking black pepper for very long will turn it bitter! So, only add it toward the end. Eat it with fresh breadstuffs for A-plus number-one enjoyment.