Saturday, December 12, 2009


Our dear friend, Diane, is on a very successful health kick and came down from Wisconsin to see us this weekend. Miss Healthypants, Iwanski, and I always love our “Diane” weekends.

Pure, unalloyed pleasure.

Like I said, Diane has been on a healthy endeavor (and she looks incredible.) She knew that there were a couple of 'raw food' restaurants here in Chicago and wanted to try them. I knew of them as well, but they’re awfully expensive. For example, one offers a ‘raw food’ buffet, but it’ll run you close to fifty bucks.

Having recently experimented with the ‘raw food’ thing, I offered to make a complete raw-food meal for our dear friend. She was so excited about it -- and when someone is that happy about me preparing a meal, then that’s all I need.
I had ‘done’ a lot of the raw food recipes, but frankly, they were sort of utilitarian. Nutritious, yes, but not that appealing. This time, I wanted to ‘do’ a complete raw food meal and also have it be one of those ‘wow’ meals; raw food notwithstanding.
End result:
I was really happy with the meal and the way it turned out. (Most of all, I was just happy to have my friends around.)
If anyone might be suspicious that a 'raw food' meal might be nothing more than munching on organic broccoli, (preferably with dirt clinging to the root hairs) well, I've got news for you;
and some photos.
First courses:
1. Stuffed mushrooms:
Baby Portobello mushrooms stuffed with a mixture of chopped macadamia nuts, a puree of dried tomatoes, dates, garlic, basil and parsley, then dehydrated for six hours. *
(Lots of work, but they were really scrum-mum-tious.)

2. Tomato cups:
Organic tomatoes stuffed with chopped raw peanuts (that had been soaked in lemon-water for 12 hours) parsley, spearmint, cucumber and shallot.
Meh. Tasty, but won’t do it again.

3. Lettuce wraps:
Romaine lettuce stuffed with raw corn, avocado, dates, cilantro, and minced chipotle peppers.
It was a variation on guacamole, but I oomphed the raw corn component and added dates to the mixture.

4. Salsa Finta and Almond Polpetta
This is, basically, a 'raw food' form of pasta and meatballs.

The meatballs are made from ground almonds, cashews, reconstituted dried tomatoes, lots of fresh basil, garlic, then they're dehydrated for 8 hours. *
The sauce is a really rich conconction of pureed grape tomatoes, dried tomatoes, dates, lots of fresh basil, oregano, garlic, and olive oil.
The 'pasta' is shaved yellow squash, marinated in olive oil and lemon juice.
It's all served on a bed of baby spinach.
(This is really a fantastic recipe.)
Here are Miss Healthypants and Diane, in much mirth and glee over their dinners.
Smiles and laughter from my friends are, hands down, what I enjoy most about any gathering.

Here is Iwanski.
Mirth and glee is subtle, but it's there.

5. Dessert: Maca-Mango Ice Cream

A puree of frozen macadamia-nut butter and fresh mango, topped with pomegranate and raspberries.
(My own creation -- thank-you-very-much.)
I'll have to admit that the 'raw food' meal really was a success and I'm glad I did it. (This was not a cuisine upon which I was raised; and when embarking on unfamiliar culinary territory, you just never know.) This would be a meal that I would love to serve again. Not only because everything was uniquely and creatively made from 'raw food' -- but because everything was so incredibly tasty and appealing.
I can honestly say that I would love to be able to eat this way for the rest of my life, for it is extremely healthy. After all, when it comes to raw food, every item in every recipe is something you should be eating.
That’s pretty impressive.
* Note: About food dehydrating.
I don't have a food dehydrator and I'm not about to go out and buy one.
(After all -- Is anyone's monthly beef jerky bill really that high?)
Anyway, set your oven on the lowest possible temp.; make sure it doesn't actually stay on anything above 200 F (100 C) -- some older ovens simply heat up to 300 F (150 C) and stay there.
Leave the door open with a fan blowing in.
There's your food dehydrator. Works great.
Thank you.



At 10:05 AM , Blogger Al In The County said...

Those stuffed mushrooms look delicious! How awesome of you to put the time in to do something like this. I am in awe...

At 2:06 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

Dude, I loved the meal!!--thanks again so much for making it!! :)

I also enjoyed the company A LOT--so much fun! :)

At 3:28 AM , Blogger Lorraine said...

I'll bet if you deep fried that shit it'd be fantastic!

(Ok, seriously, it looks quite inviting and I'm thrilled you all had such a nice time. But WWND?)


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