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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Eat It Raw! Healthy Culinary Method Uses No Heat

This week we had a substitute teacher. Her name is Lydia Simmons and she is no stranger to our class because every week she assists our regular teacher, Chef Jennifer Brewer. Lydia is a graduate of Bauman College in Santa Cruz and she is a personal chef who specializes in preparing meals designed for you body and health goals. Lydia's company is called Mindful Meals.

Lydia tackled the very trendy subject of raw foods. There is a whole movement of people who believe that applying heat to food removes or at least reduces the nutritional qualities. Lydia showed us not only how to "cook" without cooking but make the flavors really pop. This first shot is of her posing with a spiralizer device which really turned out to be an integral part of two dishes we made.

As usual there was a plethora of fresh organic ingredients available for us to prepare our evening in the raw.

Tonight's fare included a very satisfying menu and absolutely no heat was applied.

1. Angel Hair Squash Noodles in Sun Dried Tomato Marinara
2. Marinated Veggie Kabobs
3. Save-the-Tuna Wraps
4. Oriental Noodles
5. Pecan Sandies

Jenny offers a quick lesson in chopping herbs as Bonnie and Bill look on.

The other spiralizing machine made delicate angel hair like shavings of our fresh zucchini squash. This process was fun and it illustrated how textures play an even more important role in raw foods.

Looking more like a tool you'd find in a machine shop this spiralizer literally turned raw Daikon into wide noodles for our Oriental Noodle salad with dates, fresh ginger, snow pea pods and a tahini dressing.

My group prepared the Angel Hair Squash Noodles in Sun Dried Tomato Marinara. It was all ready to serve but we waited to combine it until the last minute in order to keep the consistency right. We also made a faux Parmesan topping out of cashews, garlic and salt.

As our dishes came together this shot shows the faux tuna wraps, oriental noodles and marinated vegetables. I still cannot believe how much like tuna it tasted with just a mixture of apples, celery, onion, parsley, garlic and sunflower seeds.

No Natural Foods Chef Training would be complete without dessert. Even the world of raw foods has a solution for the proverbial sweet tooth. Our completely raw meal was capped with Pecan Sandies shown here in a close up shot.

So whether you go full raw and never light a match to foods again or just experiment with this unique preparation the benefits of eating enzyme rich food in it's raw state is worth considering. Our meal was certainly not lacking in flavors or satisfaction.

Our thanks to Lydia for showing us just how great food can taste in its natural state.

-That Carl Guy

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