Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick, are you ready for raw?
Looking for green food this St. Patrick’s Day? You can get much greener than the way some people are choosing to eat. I learned so much from meeting area raw foods enthusiasts. They all said that they gained a lot of energy from eating real food over processed junk. That sentiment is echoed by people in a new book.
“Raw food: A Complete Guide for Every Meal of the Day” by Erica Palmcratz and Irmela Lilja is filled with beautiful pictures of food and people. They aren’t all young model-quality beautiful. They’re real people of all ages who eat this stuff up. They make vegetable lasagna, and marinated salads look amazing, and who could go hungry with soaked buckwheat and fruit snacks and smoothies. I think people have forgotten what real food is and these authors are ready to make us healthy with wakame burritos, stuffed peppers and parsley tabbouleh.
I’m ready for summer where I could enjoy one of these recipes a day in the back yard.
Raw foodist heat food only up to about 104 degrees to make the most of nutritional value. They prepare — not cook — foods via soaking, grinding and sprouting. I’m starting with the following recipes, providing my lemongrass bush didn’t freeze.

Avocado Lemongrass Dip
A guacamole variation, good as a side dish, but equally yummy as a dip for carrots, cucumber slices and celery sticks.
1 avocado
1 lemongrass stalk
1/4 red chili pepper
Pinch of chili flakes
2 apricots, soaked
1 or 2 tablespoons of the soaking water from the apricots
1 teaspoon tamari
Put all ingredients in a food processor. Start by adding a little bit of the chili pepper if you don’t want too much spice.
Remove any remaining large pieces that have not mixed in well.

Sweet Breakfast Porridge
1 banana, chopped into large pieces
1 apple, chopped into large pieces
1 pear, chopped in to large pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
First put the pear into the blender, then add the banana and then the apple. Blending the fruit in this order prevents the mixture from getting too sticky.
Sprinkle the cinnamon and flaxseed over the mixture.

Raspberry Coconut smoothie
1/4 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 banana
1 cup apple juice
Fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon coconut flakes
Blend the raspberries, banana and apple juice in the blender.
Garnish with mint leaves and coconut flakes.

Green reverse
I’m thinking of my grandmother’s day as a young homemaker. After a quest to collect crystal-like glasses from deterrent boxes, could she have imagined an era where people would spend money for a cup that only looks disposable?
Copco makes a clear, reusable To Go Cup that holds your cold drinks and helps keep an average of 312 cups a person out of the landfills, makers say. I say this 24-ouncer has been my smoothie savior, because the straw has stirring paddles on the bottom and the non-slip grip feels so good with its BPA-free self. Look for it at Bed, Bath & Beyond stores for $7.99. 

Asian popcorn
I started my Oscar party the night before the ceremony, just to play popcorn. Black Sesame Mustard Popcorn is a perfectly good recipe from The Popcorn Board, but I was out of mustard powder, so I used wasabi powder instead. I used less butter than called for, and got flavor from the dark sesame oil, kosher salt and black sesame seeds. Results are attractive, and the photo shows some black-seeded popcorn in fancy glasses, as though they’re set out for a party. I just held my biggest mixing bowl in my lap and gobbled it all up.

Wine Wand
Glass jewels sound like their summoning fairies as they slide in the glass Philip Stein Wine Wand, a tool to aerate fine red wine in 2 to 3 minutes, saving the connoisseur hours of waiting. Just set the wand in the poured glass and let it do its stuff. The wand, a beauty even denuded from its leather case, replicates natural frequencies of air and oxygen, infusing them into the wine, which, makers remind, is “alive.” It sounds crazy, but I could tell the difference between the taste of a glass that had been wanded and one that had not. Another bit of wonder: the test glasses should be several feet apart on non-conductive surfaces (not glass or metal). I’ll bet you didn’t realize your wine was so reactive.
The wine wand is a perfect gift for your favorite onephile.

Perky Jerky
Everyone who got a taste of my Perky Jerky loved the flavor, the texture and just saying the name of it. It’s flavorful and juicy and so tender it didn’t even hurt my teeth. Billed as the world's first all-natural performance enhancing meat snack, the extra dose of energy comes from guarana’s caffeine for a “jerky experience you won’t find anywhere else.” I suppose it will keep you alert in the deer blind.
Development behind this fine product is told in the story, “Two Jerks in a Ski Lodge.” To shorten it, they spilled their energy drink on their peppered beef jerky and found it pretty good. We agree.
ddoiron@panews.com

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