eat. My nephew Nehemiah—who’s about to start school at the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute, a gourmet raw/vegan cooking school in Fort Bragg—came over Saturday night, declaring that he was going to prepare us a raw-food dinner.
I must admit I was just a tad skeptical; I mean, just how tasty could a meal be when nothing is heated over 120 degrees? Good cooking, after all, is all about chemistry—especially the interactions between ingredients based on heat—non?
Well, non, it turns out. What I failed to consider is that there are other important chemical reactions that affect food besides heat—most notably fermentation. (I should-a known better, given my recent thrill at making kimchee.)
Both dishes Nehemiah prepared included the fermented Japanese seasoning miso. But the miso he brought along was not your garden-variety kind: Rather, it was made from millet instead of the traditional soybeans and rice, and had a rich flavor as well as a wonderful, chewy texture.
The first thing he did was chop up a big bunch of deep green kale. Into a large bowl it went, along with a few tablespoons of the miso, and a light drizzle of shoyu and agave syrup:
Next he squeezed fresh lemon juice over the greens, and then tossed them with sesame and olive oils:
This then went into the fridge to “cook”—i.e., let the acids do their work breaking down the fibrous kale—for a few hours. The finished product was truly delicious! (See photo at top.) Complex, intense flavors, and full of umami.
For our first course, we had miso soup. But once again, not the plain-Jane soup that’s routinely served in Japanese restaurants in this country. I was put to work cutting and chopping: dicing the tofu, cutting the nori into strips (not pictured), shredding the zucchini (the very first one from our summer garden!), and slicing up a couple bright orange zucchini flowers for the garnish:
Meanwhile, Nehemiah heated water (not quite to boiling), to which he added the nori strips, the shredded zucchini, and a healthy dose of miso (did I forget anything, Nehemiah?):
I divided the tofu among the bowls,
and then Nehemiah ladled the soup on top.
I’ll never again say that raw food is boring. You just have to know how to make it right.
And now for something completely different:
Unicorns are apparently not “the other white meat.”
I saw this post today, and had to share it with y’all. The National Pork Board apparently sent a cease and desist letter to online retailer ThinkGeek regarding its alleged “infringement and dilution of trademark rights” by their use of the phrase “the other white meat” in an April Fools’ Day gag about tinned unicorn meat.
Turns out unicorn meat is really red—not white—with lots of little sparkles in it. Who knew?