Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Raw and the Cooked: Curried Chopped Veggie Salad

Last year, I tried raw food for the first time.  Technically, of course, I'd been eating raw vegetables since I could knaw on them, but the "raw revolution" had just reached Flemington sometime during the spring, and everywhere we went, it seemed, we ran into the local guy who was starting a raw food restaurant and catering business.  Steve and I dubbed him "Raw Guy," and decided that he really was a little "out there" when we found out that he was married to "Hula Hoop Girl," whom we saw at any number of outdoor events with her long translucent skirts, hawking her brightly taped hula hoops and swaying, trance-like: a willow in the breeze.  (Little did we know that hooping was on the verge of becoming the next fitness craze.)

Like anything having to do with healthy food, I found Raw Guy (who, in real life, calls himself the Raw Foodist) oddly fascinating.  Hm, I thought.  Eating nothing but raw?  What would that be like?  I read up on the new cafe he planned to open in Frenchtown, pored over recipes and diets online, trying to figure him out.

I had to confess, the food that Raw Guy brought to his "tasting" events was pretty good.  And the Raw Revolution seems to have plenty of acolytes, all claiming that they've found the Fountain of Youth.  But going completely raw seemed a little "over the top" healthy to me then, as it does now.  I like my twice-baked biscotti, thank you very much.  (Steve is very glad about this, incidentally; he expresses concern--nay, dismay--that I still talk about Raw Food Guy.  "You're obsessed," he chides.  "Not really," I respond, defensively.)

Still, while I'm not giving up my stove any time soon (after all, the title of this blog is "half BAKED"), the idea of incorporating more raw foods into the American diet also appeals to me, because it reminds us to get back to our roots, to eat the things that our great-grandmother would recognize as food, rather than eating the things that come in plastic shrink wrap (we don't eat much of that sort of thing in our house anyway, but the point is still important).  I happened upon Rawmazing's blog one day through a link at foodgawker (which just seems to have more inspiring photography and recipes than Tastespotting these days), and saw this salad.  Though I'm not a big parsnip fan, it looked so bright and colorful that I thought it was worth a shot.  I decided I would not pretend that it was stir fry, because ... well ... it's not.  But as a salad, it's actually delicious.  Rawmazing, even.

Spicy Veggie Chopped Salad

2 c. Chopped Parsnips
2 carrots
1/2 c. pine nuts
3/4 c. broccoli, chopped
1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced

Finely chop parsnips, carrots, and pine nuts and place in bowl. If you are using a food processor to do this, you will want to do each separately. Combine with chopped broccoli and sliced mushrooms.

1/4 C olive oil
1/3 C sun dried tomatoes (soft)
1 t. chili peppers (or to taste, dried)
1 1/2 t. curry powder
1 T nama shoyu (or just soy sauce if you're not a strict Raw Foodist)
1 T agave (optional; I used about a teaspoon)

Combine all ingredients in food processor, process until well combined. Stir into the veggie mixture.  Lick the spoon.  Seriously.
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