Toronto is having a very odd – very mild – winter. I know I need to question the climate change implications of our above zero temperatures in January. But, I am so grateful for being able to walk to work without the frosty eyelashes of yesteryear. The other benefit has been that I’ve felt satisfied with a high raw diet and haven’t had many cravings for hot meals. The only exception is a couple evenings that found me cozying up to a bowl of lentil stew. Delightful.
Recently, I’ve been working my way through the books I’ve been asked to review for the Toronto Vegetarian Association. One of the books I finally got around to testing was Raw Food for Real People. I had flipped through this book a few times and wasn’t inspired to get creating.
Now I’m actually embarrassed to say that the layout had dissuaded me from diving in because the recipes I tested have all been FANTASTIC!!! The roster of recipes is relatively short in the book but they cover all the critical categories (breakfast, dessert, entrees, smoothies, breads/crackers, soups and salads). I think Rod has applied his experience as a chef and restaurant owner to discern the recipes that are easy to make, require easy to acquire ingredients and will truly appeal to a wide range of tastes. Luckily we can all benefit from his insights and creativity with the release of his cookbook (those of you in LA probably already know his restaurants
I wrote a full review for TVA but wanted to share some of the highlights here as well.
If you pick up this book and you’re not sure it’s for you, I really encourage you to give the recipes a chance to impress you. I will admit that I was incredibly surprised by the flavours that Rod introduced to my kitchen.
Beyond the recipes, Rod presents a honest and humble account of his personal journey to a healthful diet. He includes comments and advice from many of the raw food educators who are well-regarded in the field. He is definitely speaking to the reader from his heart and treats you like a friend who is a critical-thinker with a discerning palate.
I tested a number of recipes and found each one to be a new discovery in flavours. I’m not sure I can express how impressed I was with the dishes I prepared. Each one has become a new favourite version of some of my staple raw snacks.
Flaxseed Crackers: A spicy twist on standard flax crackers with fresh cilantro, carrot and curry powder.
Rocky Road Bananas: A simple dessert that kids (and this adult) adored.
Green Lean Scene Smoothie: Fruity, creamy and filling.
Mango Bread: A unique combination of ingredients that was a delicious breakfast delight.
Immuno Blastoff Smoothie: Lemon, ginger and banana. I cannot get enough of this combination.
Love Loaf: Fresh sage and raw sweet potatoes made this the perfect entree for a holiday meal. I enjoyed it with a miso tahini gravy (as in the photo above) and chopped up on top of salads throughout the week.
Without the opportunity to review this book I probably would not have invested in creating Rod’s recipes in my kitchen. I’m really glad I was encouraged to give them a try. The results were easy and incredibly delicious.
I know, don’t judge a book by its cover…but have you ever made the same mistake? Are there books in your library that you discounted before trying the recipes and were then shocked by the amazing results when you eventually tried something?