Recipe Artistry: Review of the Art of Raw Living Food

November 29th, 2009 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

The Art of Raw Living Food: Heal yourself and the planet with eco-delicious cuisine is a wonderful new recipe collection that just hit the shelves. If you are lucky enough to live in Costa Mesa, California you may have tasted the creations from 118 Degreesrestaurant first-hand. But, I live in Toronto so when I stumbled upon this beautiful book, recently released to celebrate the fresh and delicious items from the restaurants’ menu, I couldn’t wait to explore it. As you flip the pages, the colours of fresh, raw ingredients will entice you to visit local markets, or fruit and vegetable stands to find the most fantastic produce to create these tempting dishes at home.

The authors have been influenced by raw food chef, Matthew Kenney. You can detect his impact through the use of young coconuts, and impressive kitchen techniques. The results are an incredible array of recipes that create a fully-satisfying diet. Many of the recipes require a dehydrator and call for various superfood ingredients. Investing in the special selections such as maca, thai coconut meat or spirulina is a lot more affordable than planning a trip to Costa Mesa and you can enjoy the amazing meals on your couch, in pyjamas, if you want.
Here are some of the recipes I tried:

The Art of Raw Living Food includes a delicious selection of desserts: cookies, bars, ice creams and cakes. The authors provide base recipes for each, which then can be reinvented with different flavour variations. After drooling over many of the decadent options I decided to attempt the Apple-Cinnamon-Fig-Pecan Cookies. They are really easy and call for just a couple of ingredients (all in the title).
The most common concern I hear from those following a raw-food diet is the cravings they have for breads. The authors provide a varied selection of breads from pliable-wraps to crispy flat breads. The flavour combinations are reminiscent of typical favourites from bakery shelves. I made the Onion Poppy-seed Bread that reminded everyone of those onion buns you often find at local delis and sandwich shops. The base is a sprouted kamut which adds a hearty, chewy texture. Depending on dehydrating time this bread could work as a wrap or as crackers for dipping.
On a lighter note the authors provide a large selection of fresh juices to provide an express route for essential vitamins. There is a unique energy that comes from consuming a bright green glass of juice. I loved this Green Juice (kale, celery, cucumber, spinach and apple) combination.
The book contains an entire chapter of marinated vegetables: a combination of vegetables and spices from different cuisines. Each recipe requires a short stay on a warming tray in the dehydrator. This really broadens the options for raw food meals. I may use this technique to inspire an exploration of Ethiopian dishes. I tried the Latin Marinated Vegetables, the spicy kick was a delicious alternative to a big bowl of raw veggies.
One of my favourite meals was the Thai Spring Roll (as a salad) with Avocado-Lime Sauce. It was incredibly delicious. The bright flavours from the raw veggies were coated in the creamy green avocado dressing, creating a balanced bowl of fresh fuel. The salads in this book are beautiful. I look forward to exploring more of them when Toronto’s farmer’s markets resume in the spring. Our lack of local produce makes me less apt to pick recipes that focus on the quality and flavour of vegetables.
The picture is a bit blurry but the flavour of this Super Green Smoothie was a clear hit. It was luscious, sweet and filling. I could drink it everyday…if I had enough spirulina on hand.
Favourite Features: There are recipes and techniques in this book that I have not seen before. The authors play with combinations of nut cheeses and fruits in a unique way that makes me think of the delectable spreads presented at fancy holiday parties.

Tempting Titles: I hope to give the Bacio Creme Cake, Baja Burrito, and the Zucchini-Asparagus Carpaccio with Basil Cheese, a try in the coming weeks.

1 Comment

  1. Posted November 29, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Reading this made me notice for the first time your list of cookbooks – wow! And I thought I had a lot 🙂

    Thanks for the review, it's nice to hear thoughts on new books from a like-minded person.

Post Comment →

Post Comment