On Saturday afternoon, I joined my friends G and Lana for a raw vegan “cooking” class at Karyn’s, a local cafe/market/resource for vegan and raw foods.
On the menu:
- "Blue cheese"
- Spicy veggie salad
- "Pizza bread"
- Raw Almond Joy
Much of raw vegan cooking involves soaking nuts (insert fourth grade boy snicker here) and blending them for use as a base for many foods.
Raw soaked cashews and pine nuts joined blueberries, rosemary, garlic and lemon for the cheese. This was served with crackers of soaked flaxseeds and “nacho chips” made from soaked, dehyrdated corn.
Cashews formed the base for the pizza crust, as well as the creamy white sauce for the pizza (along with some macadamias). The pizzas were topped with a tasty mixture of green and kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, and minced raw spinach.
Cashews blended with coconut meal and coconut oil to make a coconut cream, which was topped with raw almonds, cacao nibs and some natural sweetener. (Too much topping, not enough cream!)
Overall, it was nut overload.[did I mention I don’t like nuts?]
The recipe I enjoyed the most was the salad of raw zucchini and peppers with a spicy jalapeno-lime dressing. Everything else, while it tasted decent, was a little much for me.
I’m fairly simplistic when it comes to food - less is more. I think most things taste best when they are high quality and seasoned simply - a little olive oil, salt, pepper and maybe a squeeze of citrus or a dash of vinegar. I’m not a big fan of over-manipulated food, or trying to make one thing into something it clearly is not (unless, of course, I am eating at Alinea, then play all you want). Much of the raw vegan food struck me as over-manipulated.
That said, I am glad I went. As an avid home cook, I found the various methods very interesting, and I definitely took away some new ideas to incorporate into my repertoire - I would definitely use the coconut cream base from the Almond Joy and tweak the topping (probably go vegetarian so I can use real chocolate!). I would also make the pizza topping and use it on legit baguette for a healthy summery bruschetta.
Karyn’s puts on a number of classes and informational seminars (some free). Check out their schedule at http://www.karynraw.com/.