Whether you are just starting out with raw food, or haven’t eaten anything warmer than 112 degrees (or 115 degrees, or 118 degrees…depending on who you talk to) in a long, long time, it can be intimidating to tackle raw food recipes. Almost nobody grew up with raw techniques, gadgets, or exotic ingredients (I have still not had durian, the darling fruit of many a raw foodie, and might not know it if I fell over it!), so many new recipes can be an adventure, at best. At worst…food for the compost pile.
I’ve been at it for nearly two years, and when I’m at a loss for inventing something on my own, and checking out new raw recipes or considering adapting cooked ones, I still get a little intimidated occasionally, especially by hard-to-find or tricky to deal with ingredients.
I only recently overcame my fear of baby coconuts, and I realize that wouldn’t have been possible except that, for some reason, my regular Shoprite nearby happens to stock them. But I’m so glad I did…they are too costly and time consuming to whip up coconut dishes every day, but once in a while – what a treat!! So don’t let yourself get psyched out of trying new raw preparations, or you could miss out on something delish.
Yesterday, I was flipping through some un-cookbooks, looking at soup recipes. Not something I typically make, so I was looking for a little inspiration, and I decided to try the Chicken-Less Noodle Soup in Matt Amsden’s “RAWvolution.” But ran into a few roadblocks, and still managed to come up a fairly tasty dish in the end, after several adaptations.
First, the recipe called for 3 ½ cups of daikon juice, from 2-3 daikon. My grocery store didn’t have any daikon…so I settled for a combination of juices…from 2 large golden beats, one little bag of radishes (probably about 8-10 small radishes), a small bunch of celery…and then several stalks of bok choy I had hanging around in the fridge. After all this, I only managed to come up with about 3 cups of juice…no worries! I just reduced the amount of water by a little (1 cup instead of 1 ¼, so there wouldn’t be too much dilution in the broth). Then the broth called for lemon juice…I’d just used the two lemons I had in a batch of homemade Gatorade…so, my broth would be missing a citrusy kick. My husband would never know! And if you don’t have a juicer? Who cares! Use your blender, and either strain out the solids, or enjoy a little more fiber!
The recipe called for 1/8 of a cup each of carrots and celery…I like to use my mandoline for slicing veggies, since it gives them a softer, more “cooked” texture, and it is barely worth dragging the thing out (and risking my finger tips!) for so little slicing…so I used at least ½ cup of each, and about a cup of the zucchini noodles, when the recipe called for ¼.
Finally, Amsden recommends adding sliced chanterelle mushrooms to the top of the soup…I’m not a huge mushroom fan, but I decided to give it a try…but the store only had dried chanterelles…and when I got them home, I realized the package said DO NOT EAT DRIED MUSHROOMS RAW. So much for that! (Although I did follow the package instructions to blanch the shrooms in boiling water, and put them in my hubby’s soup…he’s a fungi fan, and also isn’t worried about keeping raw).
And for all my substitutions, the soup resembled cooked chicken soup (sans the contribution from Mr. Purdue), and even had a bit of that familiar taste. And certainly, if you soul is craving a little chicken soup, this chicken-less soup will be even better for it!
In sum, here’s what I did…I recommend “RAWvolution” for the inspiration for this tasty treat and many others!
3 cups worth of juice (or puree) of veggies…I used 2 largish golden beets, about 10 small radishes, a small bunch of celery, and a bit of bok choy, which didn’t really contribute much anyway.
Add to that 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and give it a whirl in the blender.
Pour broth into bowls (this will make about 2-3 servings), and divide the following among them: ½ cup thinly sliced carrots, ½ cup thinly slice celery, 1 cup zucchini noodles, and a handful of chopped parsley (my addition, because I love it, and it also seems very soup-y to me). You can warm the bowls up a little in the dehydrator, if you like, or a very low oven (make sure to check frequently on the temperature - I don't know what happens when you cook beet and radish juice!), or you could leave the broth in the blender til it warms up a little.
Be prepared to serve this with something else…it really isn’t super filling, and truthfully is a lot of work for not a lot of food…and as I like to say…raw appétit!