My favorite raw cookbook is without a doubt Raw Food Real World. I am very lucky that my friend Carrie bought it for me when she was staying here a few years ago because it is pretty pricey and I wouldn’t have gotten it myself and I am so glad I have it. The only problem I have with the book is the title. It only works if by “real world” they mean “well-off New Yorker”. They use ingredients that I have never heard of which adds a whole challenge to the book but also makes it somewhat inaccessible especially when that is coupled with the huge amount of planning involved in making some of the dishes. Usually it starts with soaking something over night and then dehydrating for 8 to 24 hours. If you lived in a smaller city that doesn’t have a major Asian grocery store or a raw food community I think it would be pretty hard to come by some of the staples in the book like cases of young coconuts and date powder. But the weird thing is the recipes are almost always totally worth all the planning and searching. It should have been called “Raw Food Will Blow Your Mind” because that is how I feel about a lot of the things I have tried. None of my other raw books come close to the great taste, style, and photography of this book. And the authors do a very nice job of telling you what you could substitute for what. I like to seek out strange ingredients so the book is perfect for me and when I saw this recipe that called for Cuban Oregano I kind of kept my eye out for it. Years later, I saw some growing at the Natural Gardner and scooped it up and brought it home. Over the summer is has grown into an enormous and beautiful plant so I highly recommend picking some seeds up or take a cutting if you ever see it. It has great flavor. So with my Cuban oregano plant mature and the last of the summer tomatoes still to be eaten I decided finally the time was right.
So really this recipe is years in the making. It called for King Oyster mushrooms which I haven’t found but I saw a really similar looking kind at a Korean store so I picked some up. It also called for goldbar squash but I don’t know what that is either so I used an heirloom summer squash and I think it might be the same thing. Here is the recipe pretty much as it is in the book.
2 or 3 goldbar squash ends trimmed
2 Cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, stemmed & sliced in half
2 to 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
2 Cups king oyster mushrooms, stems removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons braggs liquid aminos
2 to 3 stalks rosemary, plus two teaspoons minced
1 shallot, minced
other herbs for garnish
toss the cherry tomatoes with half the olive oil & season with salt & pepper. Dehydrate cut-side down at 115 for 6 to 8 hours
separately toss the mushrooms with half the olive oil, balsamic, & Bragg’s. Add salt & pepper, rosemary stalks, oregano, and shallot. Toss well and place them on the dehydrator sheet at 115 for 3 to 4 hours until the mushrooms are soft. Get rid of the bigger oregano leaves & the rosemary stalks.
cut the squash into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Salt & put in a colander for 30 minutes to drain.
Toss everything together & season and serve with fresh herbs.
Overall for Raw Food Real World this was a really easy recipe, I only had to grow one ingredient and it was only 8 hours of prep time. And it was pretty good. Next time I would omit most if not all of the rosemary, it kind of overpowered the dish. And I think I would add some olives because I love them. And twice as much squash, too. The recipe didn’t yield very much food but overall it is a great recipe and the whole house smelled like tomatoes and oregano. Now that I have the cuban oregano and tomatoes growing I will undoubtedly make it again.