I’m not expecting many people, if any, to make the recipe on this post, but it was one of the best things I made on my own during my raw-food diet last week. It was hard—well, it was and it wasn’t—but I needed to lose a few pounds that the Tiny Kitchen had helped put on. I’d done the one-week cleanse program from 118° (thanks to Groupon and the encouragement of my personal trainer), a raw-food restaurant up in Costa Mesa, and it seemed to work. So, during my month-long cleanse I thought I should try it again.
The Husband encouraged me to buy the recipe book (can’t quite call it a cookbook) from the owner/chef of 118°, mainly because he has such unwavering faith in my ability to make anything in a kitchen. I think he also just thought it was a bunch of chopping vegetables, and forgot about the bread-style items that the restaurant provided, made from sprouted grains and using a dehydrator.
So I borrowed a dehydrator from a friend whose son who, although he had actually moved out, had one languishing in the spare room. Score! I didn’t want to commit to raw food so much that I actually bought a dehydrator. Storage is a problem, for one. And I’m glad I didn’t, because the recipe book was not always clear on ingredients or process.
And maybe it was my fault, because I was using a food processor instead of a blender. But why buy a blender when you have a food processor and a stick blender? I suppose some do, but refer to mention above of storage shortage. And then one recipe for “tortillas” called for squash. Squash. I don’t know if your mind is going to the same place mine is, but the question I had was: What KIND of squash? The Wikipedia list of squashes, which of course is neither entirely accurate or comprehensive, mentions at least 100 different kinds.
I chose butternut, and I wish I hadn’t. Well, what I really wish is that she had specified the squash type‡! Plus I didn’t measure the flax seed powder, and I think that was another mistake there. Suffice to say that the only things that really turned out well were the “slider buns” and the “tostaditas”, the latter being incredibly dry but tasty. I also helped the recipe along by adding my special spice mix (I’ll blog about this later) instead of plain chili powder. You’d think she’d be a little more creative in the spices, but her go-to was just cayenne.
The item that really got me through the week were walnuts I found in the bin section of Whole Foods: Sprouted walnuts covered in salt and pepper. I could have eaten a pound at a time, except that they are $20 a pound, which thankfully kept my consumption down. But overall I felt great on this diet, which is pretty worrying, because it’s decidedly dull. One gets bored of chewing all this crunchy stuff, and to be honest, I like hot food. And you’d have to be Gwyneth Paltrow to get through an English winter eating just raw food. Honestly, it makes being vegan a piece of cake.
So my last evening before my weekend break of raw food—back on tomorrow but with the 118° special offer, thank goodness—I decided to use her coconut-curry sauce and make some lettuce wraps. They turned out quite nice, if I so say so myself. That is, if you’re into that kind of thing.
The sauce is delicious on its own and would be great with a bowl of rice and steamed veggies and tofu, or cooked with chicken for an actual hot curry. You could even cook tempeh, tofu or chicken with the sauce and make lettuce wraps like that. I, of course, had only raw veggies to deal with, so here goes. And by the way, this is barely like her recipe, which I used parts of as a base for my sauce:
Raw Coconut-Curry Lettuce Wraps
First, get a screwdriver, a hammer and an apron, as you’re going to have to force your way into this coconut. Try to cut some of the white, fibrous material from the outside first, and try not to let all of the coconut water go to waste once you get into the thing. Scrape out the coconut flesh from the inside and put into your blender (or container for your stick blender).
Add the rest of the ingredients except the macadamia nuts, and only add one cup of the coconut water—preferably that which came from the coconut. Since I didn’t have a chili, I added some West Indian habañero sauce for some heat. Blend until smooth and well combined. Add the nuts and blend further; add more coconut water to get the sauce to the consistency you prefer. Keep it pretty thick for the purpose of the lettuce wraps.
1 yellow crookneck squash
1 small zucchini (“courgette” for the Brits reading)
2 green onions
1/3 cup sprouted beans (I used a mixture)
Gem or butter lettuce leaves for wrapping, washed and patted dry
Chop the squashes into smallish cubes, and slice the green onions finely. Put in a bowl with the sprouted beans and smother with curry sauce; stir to makes sure everything gets covered.
Add mixture to lettuce leaves, and depending on size, serve about two per person. I found that on this diet I got full quite quickly, and I don’t know if it was just because I got bored halfway through the meal, or if I just was full of the raw power. We may never know.
‡I just looked at her website for the restaurant, and she mentions “zucchini tortillas”. So, not only is that the answer to the squash question, but I could have saved myself a hell of a lot of time and money by buying them from the restaurant. Oh well. Live and learn.
*They’re the ones you see in the supermarket wrapped in plastic and cut in a strangely angular fashion.
**Some of this will come from the coconut itself.