Planning a menu for a cookout, when one is raw, is both a challenge and a creative opportunity. Even though I am from a family of traditional meat eating, gourmet foodies, I do enjoy having healthy alternatives available for those who are interested or curious. When I first discovered the benefits of the raw diet, I was very much a charismatic zealot about spreading the message. But as the months went by, I started to yo-yo, like so many others do, and I ended up giving up my raw crusade, eating what the rest of everyone ate during social events. That led to more and more slipping with my diet and soon I started eating a higher percentage of cooked or processed foods again. Within no time, I found that I had gained weight, saw the return of my old symptoms and ultimately felt depressed. So from much dietary trial and error, I finally decided that I simply needed to plan to make my own diet a success for myself, not being concerned about what everyone else was doing or eating. Juice feasting for 90 plus days really gave me the added edge on this. You sort of get over the whole social connection of food equaling fun and you realize that you can truly enjoy social settings without hogging down a big plate of barbecued ribs, baked beans and potato salad. Besides the physical cleansing and healing aspects, this was probably the most important emotional lesson extended juicing taught me.
So, what was on the Father's Day menu? Since this is a raw food blog, I'll just share that portion of the menu and we won't focus on what was cooked by my husband, the grill master. Here is what you're really interested in......
- "Roasted" Red Bell Pepper hummus w/ flax-nut crackers and veggies.
- Pineapple-Jalapeño Coleslaw
- Marinated Portobello Mushroom burgers w/ heirloom tomato & macadamia feta
- Mixed Berry Compote w/ hazelnut creme
On the mushrooms, I blended together some olive oil, Nama Shoyu, crushed garlic, agave and cracked pepper. I then brushed the portobellos with the mixture and placed them into the dehydrator for about two hours. Because I didn't plan ahead to make bread, I simply used the portobellos as the bun and filled them up with typical burger garnishes.....tomato, butter lettuce, onion, pickles, nut cheese, etc. I also made a chipotle ketchup which totally brought all of the flavors together with an interesting southwestern flair.
And while everyone else noshed on mixed berry crisp & vanilla ice cream, I opted for a fresher version, mixing together local blackberries, blueberries, and peaches, topping it with a hazelnut vanilla creme. I got much of my inspiration from Matthew Kenney's latest book, Everyday Raw, except for the recipe below, which was modified from an old clipping I'd saved from Cooking Light. Everyone raved about this one:
1/4 cup fresh pineapple juice
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (or substitute apple cider vinegar)
3 tablespoons chopped jalapeño pepper
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 1/2 tablespoons flax or olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt salt
6 cups thinly sliced napa (Chinese) cabbage
2 cups grated peeled jicama
1 cup grated peeled carrot
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
PreparationCombine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Combine cabbage and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.