Awesome Rawsome Newsletter Archive
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The newsletter is late this month because I have been working my fingers to the bone, getting my More than a Nut Milk Bag Recipe Collection ready for the printer. The proof arrived yesterday! What a rush, to hold an actual book that I myself assembled in my hands.
The thrill of creation is a familiar one to us chef types. Every meal we serve has two or three dishes in it that embody sustained and conscious care based on experience. But a book is like a feast. This "slim volume" has more than 40 recipes in it, plus a wealth of information about how to make preparation as easy as possible. My kitchen partner Meagan Ricks and I didn't hold anything back.
The book starts with a thorough investigation of raw food tools, ingredients, and techniques. The recipes don't start until page 33, but then . . . Star Anise Green Tea Nectar . . . Cashew-Brazil-Hempseed Milk . . . Asian-Thai Inspired Soup . . . Bloomed Quinoa (more about that in a bit) and Spinach Wraps . . . a Nacho variation on Cashew-Brazil Nut Cheese . . . Marinara Sauce . . . Easy Seed Energy Bars . . . Meagan's signature Cheese . . . an invitation to join me in cyberspace (you'll just have to get the book to find out what that means) and a fabulous index . . .112 pages that present just about everything I can think of to do with my wildly successful Nut Milk Bags.
As much as I would like to say this book is perfect, the fact, as my editor keeps reminding me, is that no book is, and especially not one that's in its first edition. More than anything, to make this book everything it can be, it needs testers. Who better than you, my faithful newsletter readers?
I want to get a few dozen of these first edition books into the hands of raw food folks from every level of experience and with as many different kitchens and access to as many different resources as possible, and given the wide geographic distribution of this newsletter, that would be YOU. Mike, my wonderful CPA husband, advises me not to send out dozens of free copies, but he thinks it's a good idea to send the first batch out to willing reviewers at cost, so I can get the review ball rolling.
Send a check for $7.50 made out to Rawsome Creations at this address
Saint Helena, California 94574
and I will mail your copy as soon as they arrive from the printer (I expect to have books by July 27th). In addition to the book, your package will include an offer I hope you won't be able to refuse to send me your feedback and get a reward.
Well, it's summer, and any time I'm not in the kitchen or teaching you'll find me in our luscious garden, where the results of mineralization (see the May 2012 newsletter) are astonishing: riotous yummy greens and squash big as baseball bats! But the ongoing static in the background is all about the efforts of the food-like substances industry, abetted by a bought government, trying to shove genetically modified (GM) products down our throats without our knowledge.
You may be tired of me harping on this subject, and I promise I'll stop as soon as we pass California's landmark Label GMOs initiative in November. But the basic issue here is that it should be criminal to sell food to a busy, trusting public without telling them exactly what it contains. If people insist on eating food full of pollutants -- just like they insist on smoking cigarettes -- then at the very least they should be informed –- the way we're informed about the dangers of nicotine and the content of carbs, fats, and sodium on food labels now. This is a major public health issue, and one that could, given the Supreme Court's decision about the Affordable Care Act, become a huge public expense, worse even than the costs of caring for the results of tobacco addiction, which already kills about 5 million people around the globe, and costs an estimated $70 million in the US alone annually. Hiding the possible risks is simply head-in-the-sand stupid.
There is a wonderfully positive side to this story. You probably know that many countries, including the whole European Union, Japan, and even Russia already have strict "truth in labeling" laws, and 20 states have either implemented them or are considering them. California's law will be one of the strongest and, from the corporate disinformation perspective, when compared to Vermont (where the law is already on the books) the California market is huge and compelling. And in the places (the EU and Japan) where the labels have been telling the truth for a few years, retailers have simply stopped stocking "contains GMOs" foods because consumers refuse to buy them when given a choice. (For a neutral and scholarly treatment of this subject, see www.agbioforum.org.)
In the lead up to the November election here in California, there will be a crescendo of "information" about GMOs, much of it willfully misleading. One expected refrain: "there really isn't that much GMO food in the marketplace; they're a fraction of the food budget." Take the word of a board-certified doctor of internal medicine, who writes, "If [a product] contains Corn, Soy, Canola, or Sugar (unless cane sugar as 90% of sugar is GMO sugar beets), and is not labeled 'organic' or 'verified non-GMO', or contains chicken, turkey, beef, pork, or farmed fish (which are eating the above ingredients) and not labeled 'organic' or 'verified non-GMO', -- 90% (PLEASE READ 90%) is likely sprayed with Monsanto's Roundup several times or has a built in pesticide (Bt corn) in every bite."
Yum, yum. I'm going back out into the garden to see what's for dinner.
You may remember my horror when I discovered the salt content in a can of Trader Joe's beans in May 2011. Discovering that TJ was using salt as a preservative set me to noticing other strange anomalies in cheap products on the shelves of my once-favorite staple source. Now it seems that the news is out that TJ and its parent company knowingly use genetically modified ingredients in their products without any effort to label them. Joe, tell me it ain't so! The good folks at the Institute for Responsible Technology -- now THAT's a good idea! -- are sponsoring a "Shopping for Truth at Trader Joe's" on the last Saturday and Sunday in July. Learn more and use your Facebook presence to enlist your friends starting at this FB page.
The news about the Trader's GMO addiction got out because of a fascinating 2010 article in Fortune magazine that can be found here. Who knew that this quirky little company staffed by smiling folks in Aloha shirts is wholly owned by a secretive German family named Albrecht? Why does their vendor agreement insist that companies that manufacture TJ's branded products -- biggies like Pepsico and Danone -- keep their involvement secret?
Nowadays I won't shop at TJ's if I can help it. Too bad, because here's another case of well marketed, well thought-out mega-company exporting our home grown dollars.
What's green, about two feet square, and has four six-inch holes in it?
That's right: A Rawsome Creations Template. (We have wracked our brains for just the right name for this product and, as you can see, we came up empty.)
This is a very special device for those of you who make wraps, tortillas, and other round dehydrated food goodies with your Excalibur Dehydrator. If you're a member of this select club, you're going to love this gem. Beginners who are struggling to make neat round disks of uniform thickness will love the fact that the template helps produce a perfectly circular, uniformly sized disk every time. Experienced chefs in the production mode -- and who ever needed just four wraps? -- will find their work going much faster: a perfect wrap or tortilla in under a minute every single time. You scoop in a quarter cup of your dough, flatten it out with an off-set spatula . . . and move on to the next one. When you are finished on the dehydrator tray, you gently lift off the template and put it down on the next tray, ready to spread out four more.
You can find the Template in the product section at the RawsomeCreations.com website.
One of the most exciting recipes in my new Recipe Collection is a novel way of processing quinoa, a South American grain, so that it can be used as the backbone of a number of wonderful raw food recipes. (The book contains three: Spinach Wraps, Mexican Wraps, and Garden Blend Crackers or Bread.)
Many of us love grains -- oatmeal in the morning, rice with Mexican or Asian foods, and that ever-present wheat found in our favorite breads and pastries. In the raw food world certain grains are still a part of our cuisine, but we treat them differently, using culinary legerdemain to keep them as healthy and close to their natural state as possible. A raw version of oatmeal is one of my family's favorites in the morning. Bloomed wild rice, zucchini, cauliflower or cabbage rice can be used in Mexican or Asian dishes. And with a little magic in the kitchen, some breads, scones, or muffins can be made with what we are calling bloomed quinoa. Not conventionally "raw" in that the blooming process raises the grain's temperature to 145°, but it's closer to a raw version than the boiled counterpart, and so it's still full of protein. My body loves it, and that's always my gauge.
A big Thank You to my creative partner Meagan Leila Ricks for bloomed quinoa. She's been playing in the kitchen for some time to perfect this new culinary technique and finding all sorts of ways to use it. Rinsed thoroughly, bloomed quinoa will last in the refrigerator for up to one week so it's available for quick salads or inclusion in your favorite recipe that might be calling for that something extra. Adding a bit of texture if not completely blended and a bump of protein to round things out, bloomed quinoa adds no noticeable flavor so it can become whatever you like.
Enough for now! I've got to get this news into your inbox before July is over. I would truly love your input for the second edition of my More than a Nut Milk Bag Recipe Collection, so let me know as soon as possible if you'd like to be a "recipe tester" and I'll get a hot-off-the-press copy to you. It's been a thrill to create for these past few months.
It's in the book! And on the book's brand new Readers' Website. There won't be much there until the feedback starts coming in, but this month, for Readers, there are full-sheet kitchen PDFs of the recipes for Bloomed Quinoa and Spinach Wraps. All you need to know to see them is the username and password you get when you buy the book.
Starting in August, I have a busy travel schedule, and might be visiting in your area soon. Look for my travels at my ever-improving website.