by Maggie Shea
Local sourcing and planning ahead make for a successful raw food operation
cafeflora.com), raw food is more popular than ever as diners’ interest and understanding of vegetarianism has grown. “When we started, a lot of people didn’t know what vegetarian or vegan cuisine even was, much less raw food. We have found that, over the years, more and more guests are requesting raw food, especially in the summertime,” he says. Cafe Flora has been offering raw food menus as a supplement to its seasonal vegetarian and vegan menu for nearly four years. In addition to providing regular raw entrée and dessert options for diners, Cafe Flora offers a weekend market menu in the summer and fall, an all-raw, three-course, prix-fixe menu that showcases items Stratton-Clarke collects at local farmers’ markets during the previous week. “During those months, I’ll go to three different farmers’ markets each week: Columbia City on Wednesdays, the University District on Saturdays, and the Capital Hill on Sundays [www.seattlefarmersmarkets.org]. Our focus is trying to buy as much seasonal produce from local farmers as we can. I look at whatever the farmer has, and then we tag-team in the kitchen to create a menu that’s raw and really seasonal.”
the frying pan
Beyond a blender cuisine
hile few can resist the aroma of slow-braised pork or lamb shoulder or the airy crunch of a lightly fried fish fillet, more and more American diners are incorporating plantbased and raw foods into their diets—whether to boost their health, reduce their carbon footprint or just try something new. For operators like Nat Stratton-Clarke, owner of 20-year-old Seattle vegetarian and vegan restaurant Cafe Flora (www.
Raw—also called living—foods are foods that contain enzymes, which help us absorb and digest what we
White raisin shiitake dosas, Cilantro Cream and GinGer-tomato Chutney
Chef Matthew Kenney, from Entertaining in the Raw, www.matthewkenneycuisine.com; wine pairing by Marlene Rossman Chef’s note: To ensure the most desirable texture, the dosas are best served warm, directly from the dehydrator. Yield: 4-6 servings 1 1/2 c. flax meal 1 c. yellow squash, chopped 1/2 c. coconut meat, chopped 1 T. fresh lemon juice 2 c. water 2 T. raw agave 1/2 t. salt 1 t. cumin 1/2 c. golden raisins 1/2 c. warm water 1/4 c. ginger juice 2 c. shiitake mushrooms, sliced 1 t. ginger, minced 1/4 c. olive oil Salt and pepper, as needed 1/4 c. almonds, chopped Ginger-Tomato Chutney (recipe follows) Cilantro Cream (recipe follows) 1/4 c. almonds, chopped, for garnish Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Secret Ingredient: coconut meat Coconut meat is used often in raw food because of its versatility, Kenney tells Chef Magazine. He uses it in the dosa because it remains very pliable after puréeing, dehydrating and spreading thin. In the cream, the coconut meat adds a gelatinous texture, which helps stabilize it.
Method (1) Mix flax meal, squash, coconut meat, lemon juice, water, agave, salt and cumin in blender until smooth. Spread thinly into 6-7” rounds on dehydrator Teflex sheets. Dehydrate 5-6 hours until dry but very pliable. (2) Soak raisins in warm water with ginger juice. Toss shiitake with ginger, olive oil, salt and pepper; dehydrate 1 hour. Drain raisins; combine with shiitake mixture and almonds. (3) To serve, fill dosas with raisin-shiitake mixture, and gently fold closed. Place one dosa on each plate, top with Ginger-Tomato Chutney, and drizzle with Cilantro Cream. Garnish with almonds and cilantro. Ginger-Tomato Chutney 2 c. sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted 1/2 shallot, chopped 2 Roma tomatoes, diced 2 T. fresh lemon juice 1/4 c. olive oil 3 T. raw agave 1 T. salt 1 t. chile pepper flakes 1/4 c. ginger juice
Cilantro Cream 1 1/2 c. cashews, soaked 1-2 hours 1/2 c. coconut meat 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. lemon juice 1/2 t. salt 1/4 c. cilantro
Method (1) Blend all ingredients except cilantro in blender until smooth and creamy. Add cilantro, and blend for a few moments until well incorporated. (2) Serve or store in refrigerator 3-4 days. Wine pairing: An unusual, aromatic white wine, Garciarevalo Casamaro 2009 (Spain) is a full-bodied blend of two Spanish grapes— Verdejo and Viura—with a nutty flavor that will work beautifully with the nuts and coconut.
Method (1) Pulse-chop sun-dried tomatoes and shallot in food processor. Toss mixture with Roma tomatoes in bowl. (2) Blend remaining ingredients in blender until smooth; add to bowl. Stir until well combined.
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