Thursday, October 21, 2010

Raw Noodles with Misoshrooms, Rawcotta and Marinara

Detox 2: it’s time again for a hard reset. I dabbled with a detox last fall to try and cleanse my body and restart my energy. I followed the rules but ultimately felt like I was in a world of restriction. Don’t eat this, don’t eat that. This left me with very basic options. Of all people, I rave about the benefits of simple foods and think we unnecessarily try to mask the real flavor of food more often than not. However, my previous attempt at a detox felt too simple… um ok boring. Though I felt the need to reboot, I really didn’t want to be eating dreary dishes that only involve some chopping and a sprinkle of lemon juice. So I have turned to raw cuisine to rejuvenate my excitement around new foods and unfamiliar cooking techniques. A true venture.

Why detox? There are two very central elements to the person I have become: food and exercise. These are not the only components of my identity of course but they are huge and the core contributors to my health and when they fall off track, I’m in the shizzle. A combination of factors - starting a new job, traveling every weekend, living a busy life – impacted my sense of “comfort.” I turned to food to fulfill that sense of mental or spiritual satiety that was lost somewhere along the road. Not just any kind of food: snack food, candy, bread, wine, etc… (This is not an original story nor is this misdirected path uncommon.) My mind was telling my belly I had enough “room” to gorge on sweets, so my need for some sort of balance is what pulled my exercise out of whack. Exercise became a matter of offsetting indulgence rather than a boosting energy. I ran to run off the chocolate, I hiked to burn off a bread binge. Not a good cycle. So finally, after thinking about a detox, rather dreading it, it was time to reboot.

Rod Rotondi 's Raw Food for Real People is sort of an intro to raw cuisine. It gives the basics on sprouting, making raw cheeses and dehydrating. I’ll admit: this is a time consuming activity if you take soaking and dehydrating into consideration. But actual food prep is pretty quick. I have read a lot about raw foods, but this is the first that I have actually sucked it up, gone out and bought the basic necessities and plunged onward down the raw, raw road. No, I’m not “going raw” – but this is so much fun! I made almond cheese and stuffed cabbage leaves for lunch yesterday, yum! I’ve felt so energized after a few raw meals, now I don’t want to look at a piece of bread or peanut-butter filled pretzel (so I’m telling myself).

Here I combined and altered a few of Rod’s recipes – I couldn't strictly follow them of course. This is a very basic starter recipe that takes well to improvisation. Word of caution: if you don't plan ahead and soak the nuts, you're doomed! Just kidding, just boil some water and pour it over the nuts and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Of course the nuts will not be raw then because they are exposed to temperatures over 100 F, but the raw roodies don't know what happens in your kitchen. I have to admit though, once you start soaking nuts, there is no turning back. You’ll be wanting rawcotta for breakfast.

Raw Noodles with Misoshrooms, Rawcotta and Marinara
Makes: 2-3 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes


For the noodles
2 medium summer squash, yellow and/or green
1 butternut squash (optional)
Lemon juice

For the Misoshrooms
1 ½ cup brown mushrooms, chopped
1 ½ T. red or dark miso
1 ½ T. lemon juice
1 garlic clove
¼ - ½ c. pine nuts (soaked 2 hours and drained)

For the Rawcotta
½ lemon, peeled and quartered
1-2 garlic cloves
1 T. chopped fresh basil (optional)
1 T. olive oil
¼ c. cashews (soaked 2 hours and drained)
¼ c. pine nuts (soaked 2 hours and drained)
¼ c. water, more or less
½ tsp salt

For the Marinara
¼ c. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp mixed dried herbs (thyme, basil, oregano)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
¼ c. water, more or less
½ c. sundried tomatoes (soaked for 1 hour if not soft)
½ tsp salt


For the noodles: Cut the ends off and peel summer squash with a potato peeler or vegetable slicer. Place in a strainer and set aside. Cut the top end off the butternut squash and cut the squash at the base of the neck so that the straight part is separate from the bottom. Reserve the bottom for another use. Peel the squash and slice the neck with potato peeler or vegetable slicer in to thin strips. Place in strainer with summer squash. Sprinkle squash with salt and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Let sit while you prepare the toppings.

For the misoshrooms: Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until the mixture is very well chopped and in very small pieces. Transfer to small bowl and stir to make sure completely blended. Store the shrooms in refrigerator while you prepare the other goodies.

For the rawcotta: Combine the first 4 ingredients in food processor and process until well chopped into tiny pieces. Add cashews, pine nuts and 2 tablespoons of water. Process until mixture is almost creamy, adding water as necessary to reach a slightly chunky texture. Stir in salt and refrigerate while you prepare the sauce.

For the marinara: Combine first 4 ingredients in food processor and process until well chopped into tiny pieces. Add fresh tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of water and puree until mixture is smooth. Add sun dried tomatoes and pulse until desired chunkiness is reached or puree until smooth if that’s your thing. Add water as necessary and season with salt to taste.

To assemble: Squeeze moisture and juices out of noodles or pat them dry. Pile on 2 or 3 plates. Top noodles with a layer of shrooms, a scoop of sauce and a dollops of rawcotta. Garnish with fresh herbs for a real kick.

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