18 days: Raw Entertainment with Mr. Matthew Kenney!

February 17th, 2010 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

Today is a rest day. After last night’s speed work I’m pretty excited about having a little bit of time away from my running shoes. Instead of a running focused post, I’m going to share a recent feat from my other passion…food.

On Sunday, after my long run I spent most of the afternoon in my kitchen preparing a raw feast for my friend’s surprise 60th birthday party. In the past, she had asked me to do a cooking class on raw sushi so when I was invited to her shindig I knew what I would bring as my birthday offering.

On Jae Steele’s blog Domestic Affair a-k posted her review of the Millennium cookbook. I remember early in my vegan journey I worked hard to tackle a number of Eric Tucker’s intricate, complex recipes. In more recent years, I have found a new muse. Matthew Kenney‘s raw creations from Raw Food Real World, Everyday Raw and Entertaining in the Raw are works of art. The plates in his books are beautifully composed and the flavours are incredibly interesting. If you’ve ever doubted the diversity of a raw, living foods diet I suggest you flip through Entertaining in the Raw. You will be blown away. However, even when fancy recipes intrigue me I still need a good excuse to pick up rare ingredients and spend hours crafting a meal. Sunday was the perfect collision of all of these key factors. So…my ode to Matthew Kenny began. I decided to make his raw Elephant Maki Rolls and Pearl Balls with Spicy Mango Salsa.

The adventure started with preparing the jicama rice. I had two slightly different versions to create for the  two recipes but the process was the same. Peel the jicama and then pulse it in your food processor until a “rice-like” texture is created. Dry it off, mix it with other ingredients and dehydrate it for 1-2 hours.

The pearl balls are formed by covering a center (the dark balls above) made from marinated portobello mushrooms, walnuts and spices with the the jicama rice (post dehydrator). Each ball is decoratively topped with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds

They were a huge hit. I had extra centres so I plated them as well. The flavours were amazing. Everyone thought jicama was an Asian rice variety. I kept trying to explain that it was a raw vegetable. I guess that’s the truly impressive part. I couldn’t convince people that it was raw!

The mango salsa was simple to make in my blender. Just a couple pulses and I had a brilliant complement to the rich flavours of the portabello mushrooms.

The Elephant Rolls contained a similar jicama rice base. I used my sushi mat, topped raw nori with jicama, marinated mushrooms, scallions, red pepper, lettuce and a raw cashew chipotle mayo. Then I rolled it all up tightly.

Lovely, right?

When I arrived at the party I sliced half an avocado into super thin slices and draped each piece of maki with a slice.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I also prepared raw pickled ginger. I sliced fresh ginger root super thin and marinated it in raw apple cider vinegar and agave. I highly recommend you try this out at home. It is hot and sweet and delicious.

The rolls disappeared almost as quickly as the pearl balls. The feedback was unbelievable and unsolicited. The guests kept thanking me for coming and bringing such an amazing array of food. People were asking about ingredients and were shocked that the dishes contained no animal products, grains or soy. I love it when people leave a party thinking differently about what “vegan” tastes like and how delicious it is to live a cruelty-free life.

What would you make to impress a group of strangers at a party? Is there a cookbook or a certain chef whose recipes you completely trust? Have you ever hosted a raw dinner party? I’m really thinking about giving it a try soon.

Today’s Totals:
Walk: 2 hours
Run: Zero, None, Notta
Fun: My Mom learned how to comment on my blog! But for some reason her name shows up as Lisa.


  1. Posted February 17, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    I've been interested in Matthew Kenney's other books (I have Raw Food Real World, with which I have a bit of a love/hate relationship, but more love lately). I love jicama and should totally make rice out of it… yum! Thanks for posting your creations, they look really wonderful and how awesome to hear that everyone loved it 🙂

  2. Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Wow! That looks awesome!
    My fave Kenney recipe is his mac-n-cheeze..so creamy, so good.

  3. Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    His recipes are really rich and call for a lot of expensive ingredients but the pictures are so beautiful. I spend a lot more time admiring the recipes than making them. However, every time I have made one the results have really impressed my skeptical friends. For that I love him.

    Saint Francine,
    Ohhh…that recipe has intrigued me but it sounds pretty heavy. I bet it is incredibly creamy and comforting. I'm intrigued by his raw tofu recipes.

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