by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein
a world without stoves and ovens. Toss away the barbecue.
That soul-warming stew with a crusty loaf of bread? Forget
about it. Already a vegetarian? That’s nice but you’ll
still need to reset your brain and your stomach for the
world of raw and living food.
foods are as basic as that apple you just bit into, or those
lovely spring peas you just picked up at the market. Just
be sure the apple doesn’t bake into a pie, and the
peas better not meet anything hotter than 118º F.
enough. To live within the raw food rules, just eat a vegetarian
diet where nothing has been heated above 118º F. Anything
hotter will destroy the natural enzymes that assist digestion.
And, as, Raw co-author Roxanne Klein says, “without
[enzymes], there can be no cell division, energy production,
or brain activity. In addition, no vitamins or hormones
can do their work, nor can your immune system.” If
that stick of a statement doesn’t scare you into eating
raw, the carrot (no pun intended) in this case is a cookbook
entitled Raw, by Klein and Charlie
Klein’s subliminal admonition, there are plenty
of delicious reasons to eat raw. In fact, she also says,
“My raw cuisine is about discovering the inherent
sensuality of each ingredient in its natural state and then
highlighting it in the final dish.” So you see, while
this is all about a radical approach to healthy eating,
Raw is brought to you with great balance. Trotter
is devoted to the finest and freshest ingredients in his
cooking, but you will certainly find fully cooked foods
(including meat) on his menus. At raw food maven Roxanne
Klein’s former eponymous restaurant in Larkspur, California,
there are dehydrators and juicers and food processors, but
nary a grill, roasting pan, fish, fowl or otherwise.
is the natural intersection of these two formidable and
passionate talents. The dishes are complex, composed, big,
beautiful and vibrant with flavor. Trotter and Klein’s
efforts here are compelling. Start with Layered Morel Mushrooms
and Fennel with Two Vinaigrettes: Opal Basil and Mustard
Seed. The presentation is stunning and requires lots of
assembly: a ring of morel mushroom topped with marinated
fennel slices, then fennel purée, then a fennel frond.
Repeat twice. Then finish with the vinaigrettes. Greek Salad
here means you’ll need to make Almond Feta Cheese,
which entails a high-speed blender, soaked raw almonds,
Rejuvelac—a fermented liquid from sprouted grains,
nutritional yeast—and a dehydrator. There’s
lots of chopping and assembly again, but the result is beautiful
and delicious. It is a daunting task, to be fair.
you approach Tacos Three Ways with Mexican Vinaigrette,
keep in mind it is three times the challenge. The taco shells
you’ll make with flax and sunflower seeds, Rejuvelac
and the dehydrator. That’s a day right there. Then
there’s the surprisingly straightforward Mexican Red
Chile Sauce, Mexican Vinaigrette, and Guacamole. Then, each
of the three treatments requires its own filling of brunoise
cut, julienned, or minced fruits and vegetables.
an entirely new vocabulary as you might surmise. Get used
to working with coconut butter, golden flax meal, nutritional
yeast, dried seaweeds, wolfberries and Rejuvelac. A good
dehydrator is a must, as is a high-quality heavy-duty juicer,
a workhorse of a blender, a food processor and a spice grinder.
with Wild Mushroom Ragout requires the dehydrator three
times (for the polenta, the ragout and the mushroom bouillon),
as well as the blender and food processor. Stuffed Squash
Blossoms with Curried Parsnip Purée and Tobacco Onions—once more a
lot of work and a lot of equipment but, again, stunning
an ice-cream maker is also necessary—for such desserts
as Chocolate Cake Rolls with Chai Tea Gelato and Star Thistle
Gelato. The gelatos here are cashew milk-based, and the
results are beguiling. Star Thistle Gelato incorporates
gelatinous young coconut meat and distinctive raw star thistle
honey. Apple-Quince Pavé with Pecan-Maple Ice Cream
is stupendous, and the Pecan-Maple Ice Cream base requires
only pecans, maple syrup and water.
are fun just because they’re quick and inventive.
Combinations like Red Beet, Strawberry and Pineapple or
Cucumber, Mint, Apple, Celery and Key Lime really work.
So does Cranberry, Vanilla and Cinnamon. Coconut, Lemongrass
and Pineapple is a refreshing trip back to Southeast Asia.
is worth a serious look. It’s not easy and it will
require you to tilt your brain a bit. The good news is that
the recipes are well-written and referenced, detailed and
tested. If you do the work, the results are beautiful and
delicious. For some it’s simply about health, for
others it’s about a quantum shift in thinking. For
most, this will be another culinary adventure.
Reviewed by Kevin Schoeler