Charlie Trotter's 'Raw' Recipes

Chef Charlie Trotter has created culinary magic since he was 28, and his latest cookbook shows just how much his wizardry has evolved in the kitchen. "Raw" is Trotter's ninth cookbook and, just as the title indicates, every dish in it is made with uncooked food.

For those of you who want to add raw food to your repertoire, here are a few suggestions for your Christmas list: a dehydrator, a juicer and a high-speed blender.

According to Trotter's cookbook, those three cooking gadgets (although not essential) "can produce utterly sublime results" when it comes to preparing raw and living foods.

The definitions are a little complex but basically what one gets from eating living and raw foods are foods that have all their enzymes- substances that aid in digestion - intact. Cooking kills enzymes so the body must work harder to produce digestive enzymes with cooked food. There are two basic problems with this scenario:

  1. "The body cannot produce enzymes in perfect combinations to metabolize your foods as completely as the food enzymes created by nature do. This results in partially digested fats, proteins, and starches that can clog your body's intestinal tract and arteries. "

  2. It is believed "eating cooked foods depletes our finite enzyme reserve" over time.


Trotter says "Raw" is not so much about following the recipes, but rather finding guidance in raw food preparation. He believes a study of how certain techniques bring out great flavor in foods (like soaking legumes and nuts for 8 to 10 hours and using their juice in a recipe) provides the foundation for creating very tasty recipes, even outside of the book.

The following are his recipes:

Bleeding Heart Radish Ravioli With Yellow Tomato Sauce

This dish, which can be an appetizer or a main dish, is actually quite simple to make. Diced yellow tomatoes, marinated in olive oil, act as the sauce and provide a complementary acidic note to the herbed cheese filling and crunchy radish. For a different textural effect, process the tomato sauce in a high-speed blender.

Ravioli

40 very thin slices peeled bleeding heart radish, each at least 1 1/2 inches in diameter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Celtic sea salt

1 1/4 cups Herb Cheese (see below)

2 large very ripe yellow tomatoes, seeded and cut into medium dice
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sherry wine vinegar
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons fresh opal bail flowers or micro leaves

To Make the Herb Cheese:
Yield 1 1/4 cups

1 cup Cashew Cheese (see recipe below)
4 teaspoons filtered water
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon large flake nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Combine the Cashew Cheese, water, shallot, lemon juice, yeast, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the basil and thyme until evenly distributed. Taste and adjust with additional salt, if needed. Use immediately, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

METHOD
To make the ravioli: Use a 2-inch ring mold to cut each radish slice into a perfect round. Rub the radish slices with the olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt. Place 1 tablespoon of the cheese in the center of half of the radish slice. Carefully place a second radish slice on top of the spoonful of cheese and gently press the outer edges together to create a seal. Repeat to make 20 ravioli in all.

Combine the tomatoes, chives, olive oil, and vinegar in a bowl and mix gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

ASSEMBLY - Using a slotted spoon, spoon one-fourth of the tomato mixture into the center of each plate. Arrange 5 ravioli over the tomatoes, overlapping them slightly. Spoon some of the juices from the tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with the basil flowers.

WINE NOTES: There are a number of good possibilities here. Sanigovese springs to mind because it is one of the few red wines that is not flabby when paired with tomatoes. Isole e Olena Chianti is light-bodied, fruity red. During peak season, when tomatoes are at their sweetest and ripest, a Barbera from Vietti or Dolcetto d'Alba from Pio Cesare would be a good choice.

Portabello Mushroom Pave' With White Asparagus Vinaigrette
Serves 4

The meatiness of the marinated portabellos is enormously satisfying, but the aromatic flavor of jalapeno, garlic, ginger, cilantro and soy are what pushes this creation over the top. The creamy white asparagus contributes richness and acts as the perfect cohesive element. Button or cremini mushrooms are suitable substitutes for the portabellos.

Pave'
6 large portabello mushrooms
2 1/2 cups filtered water
1/2 cup nama shoyu
1/4 cup minced, peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup minced shallot
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

White Asparagus Vinaigrette
2 stalks pencil-thin white asparagus, trimmed
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons grape-seed oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons raw tahini
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons filtered water
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Freshly ground pepper

METHOD
To make the pave': Remove the stems and gills from the mushrooms. Discard the stems and place the gills in a bowl. Add the water and let stand while you slice the mushrooms. Cut the mushrooms on the extreme diagonal into paper-thin slices.

Combine the shoyu, ginger, garlic, chile, cilantro, shallot, and lemon juice in a bowl. Strain the liquid from the mushroom trimmings, discarding the solids, and add the liquid to the shoyu mixture. Carefully dip each mushroom slice into the shoyu mixture and lay the slices in the bottom of a shallow container. Pour the remaining shoyu mixture over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Line a 4-by 2-inch pan with plastic wrap, allowing an overhang on 2 opposite sides. Remove the mushroom slices from the liquid and layer them in the prepared pan, overlapping the slices and continuing until you have used all the slices. Cover with the overhanging plastic wrap and press down gently with your hand. Top with another pan that fits into the rim, then place a 2-pound weight on the second pan. Refrigerate the pave' for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, remove the weight and the second pan, then invert the pave' onto a cutting board and peel away the plastic wrap. Cut into 4 equal pieces, reserving any juices that drip from the pave'.

To Make the White Asparagus Vinaigrette:

Slice the white asparagus into 1/4-inch pieces. Combine the asparagus pieces and mint in a bowl and toss to mix. In a high-speed blender, combine the grapeseed oil, vinegar, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, shallot, garlic, coriander, and water and process until smooth. Pass the puree through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl. Fold in the asparagus mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Measure out 8 tablespoons; reserve the remainder for another use.

ASSEMBLY: Place a piece of the pave' in the center of each plate. Spoon the reserved juices from the pave' around the plate. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the asparagus vinaigrette around the plate and top with pepper.

WINE NOTES: Pisoni Estate Pinot Noil offers an exciting contrast to the earthy flavor of the portabellos. Located in the Santa Lucia Highlands of California's Monterey County, Pisoni's estate vineyard is planted with ungrafted Pinot Noir vines that produce wines of incredible intensity and richness. These deftly balanced wines will also elevate the soy and sesame flavors of the dish.

Three Peppercorn-Crusted Cashew Cheese With Honeycomb And Balsamic Vinegar
Serves 4

This is a stunning combination of textures and flavors. First, there are the juxtapositions of the crunchy peppercorn pieces and the creamy cheese, the crispy Smoked Almonds and the chewy dried apricots, the erotic gooeyness of the honeycomb mounds and the elegant crispiness of the thyme sprouts. Then we have heat, sweetness, pepperiness, sourness, and acidity all rolled into one. The result is a complex, yet harmonious, enticement.

Smoked Almonds
1 cup raw almonds, soaked for 8 to 10 hours in filtered water
1/4 teaspoon smoked salt, crushed

1 cup Cashew Cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons green peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon pink peppercorn shells, crushed
1/4 pound honeycomb, broken into small pieces just before using
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
4 teaspoons 12-year-old Villa Manodori balsamic vinegar
8 teaspoons micro thyme sprouts
Celtic sea salt

To Make the Cashew Cheese:
Yields 3 cups

3 cups raw cashews, soaked for 10 to 12 hours in filtered water and drained
1/4 cup Rejuvelac (see below)
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

In a high-speed blender or a Champion juicer with the blank plate in place, process the cashews until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Rejuvelac and salt, mixing well. Line a sieve with a double thickness of cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Transfer the mixture to the sieve, drape the cheesecloth over the top, and leave in a warm place to ripen for 12 hours.

Remove the cheese from the cloth-lined sieve. Shape the mixture into a round, place in a covered container, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or until it firms up. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

The cheese can be purchased directly from Roxanne's restaurant; call 415-924-5004 or visit www.roxraw.com

To make the Rejuvelac:
Yield 4 cups

1/2 cup wheat or rye berries
filtered water as needed

In the evening, place the wheat or rye berries in a sprouting jar, and fill the jar with water. Let stand overnight. The next morning, drain the berries and spread them on a sprouting rack (a plastic or glass rectangular container lined with wet paper towels can be substituted). Leave them to sprout for 1 to 2 days, rinsing them 3 times a day. They are ready when 1/4-inch tails have emerged.

Place the sprouts in a wide container with at least 3-inch-high sides and add 4 cups filtered water. Let stand in a warm spot for 12 to 14 hours, or until liquid smells lightly fermented.

Strain off the liquid (this is the Rejuvelac) into a clean jar. Use immediately, or cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The same sprouts may be used 3 more times to make additional Rejuvelac.

METHOD
To Make the Smoked Almonds: Drain the almonds, place in a bowl, and toss with the smoked salt. Spread the almonds on a nonstick drying sheeting on a dehydrator shelf and dehydrate at 105-degrees for 24 hours, or until crisp. Remove the almonds from the dehydrator, quarter 4 almonds lengthwise, and coarsely chop 8 almonds. Reserve the remaining almonds for another use.

To Prepare the Cheese:
Press the Cashew Cheese into a ring mold 5 inches in diameter and 1-inch deep. Combine all the peppercorns in a bowl, stir well, and then sprinkle the peppercorn mix onto the top of the cheese. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Carefully remove the cheese from the mold and cut into 4 wedges.

ASSEMBLY: Please a wedge of the peppercorn-crusted cheese on each plate. Arrange one-fourth of the honeycomb pieces, dried apriocots, and Smoked Almonds in a line down the plate. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the vinegar around the honeycomb pieces, apricots, and almonds. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the thyme sprouts and salt to taste.

WINE NOTES: Abundantly scented Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley reflects the honey, apricots, and smoked almond flavors of the dish. The Cashew Cheese is generously crusted with peppercorns, which adds up to some spicy heat. Savennieres made by Nicolas Joly is a unique and complex wine that becomes more focused when it is paired with this course. Joly is also one of the most outspoken champions of biodynamic farming.

Wakame Sushi Rolls
Serves 4

This preparation is simultaneously earthy and refined. The flavors of the morels and the fennel work together harmoniously, and both are successfully offset by the accompanying vinaigrettes. The opal basil in one provides a clean, peppery, floral flavor, while the mustard seeds and the chile vinegar in the other add a refreshing and decisive bite that nicely harnesses all the flavors on the plate.

Fennel Puree
1 cup chopped fennel
1 to 2 tablespoons filtered water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Morels
12 large dried morel mushrooms
1 1/2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sliced Fennel
1/3 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Opal Basil Vinaigrette
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh opal basil
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Mustard Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chile vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard seeds, soaked for 10 to 12 hours in filtered water and drained
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper

16 fennel fronds, each 1 inch long
freshly ground pepper

METHOD
To Make the Fennel Puree: In a high-speed blender, combine the chopped fennel, 1 tablespoon water, and the olive oil and process until smooth and thick, adding more water if needed to create a thick, but not stiff, consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside about 3/4 cup to use for the layering of the morel slices. Reserve the remainder for another use.

To prepare the morels: Combine the morels, water, and olive oil in a bowl and let soak for 1 hour to rehydrate. Remove the morels from the liquid and slice each mushroom into 1/2-inch-thick rings. (Save the trimmings for another use.)

To prepare the sliced fennel: Combine the sliced fennel, olive oil, and lemon juice in a bowl and toss to mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the Opal Basil Vinaigrette: Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and basil in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the Mustard Vinaigrette: Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard seeds in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

ASSEMBLY - To layer the morel slices: Place a morel mushroom ring on a work surface and place a few marinated fennel slices on the ring. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the Fennel Puree over the slices and top with fennel frond. Top with a second mushroom ring, followed by a few marinated fennel slices, and 2 more teaspoons Fennel Puree. Top with a final mushroom ring and then a fennel frond. Repeat until you have 8 mushrooms stacks in all.

Place 2 mushroom stacks in the center of each plate. Spoon the Opal Basil Vinaigrette and Mustard Vinaigrette around the mushroom stacks. Top with pepper.

WINE NOTES - Morel mushrooms are a luxury food item, so why not pair them with a truly special bottle of wine? The feminine grace of Comte de Vogue's Musigny Vieilles Vignes makes it the quintessential Burgundy. The earthy, mushroomy, and anisey flavors of the dish call for a wine that has a bottle age to soften its hard edges. Lighter-bodied Pinot Noir from the village of Chambolle-Musigny, where the grand cru Musigny Vineyard is found, not only tastes like the soil in which it was grown, but also has the elegance and finesse to allow all of the flavors in the dish to be appreciated.

Mango, Coconut And Curry
Serves 2

1/4 cup chopped young Thai coconut meat
1/2 cup coconut water
1 mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for 8 hours in filtered water and drained
1/4 cup cashew milk
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Key lime juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup maple sugar
1 1/2 cups crushed ice
1 teaspoon Indian Spice Mix or sweet curry powder, plush extra for garnish

Combine the coconut meat and coconut water in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Remove half of the puree from the blender and reserve. Add the remaining ingredients to the coconut puree in the blender and process until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses and spoon an equal amount of the reserved coconut mixture on top of each glass. Sprinkle each serving with a pinch of spice mix.
  • Tatiana Morales

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