Although it is now officially fall and summer is in our rear-view, with the 80 degree days persisting in Georgia I still find myself going back to my collection of raw food cookbook’s for inspiration. Surprisingly, many of them like Ani’s Raw Food Essentials by Ani Phyo offer unique and creative ways to use fall’s gourds to make filling and appetizing meals.
From the start I was impressed by the size of Ani’s Raw Food Eseentials. With over 300 recipes I hardly knew where to start. So, of course, when you don’t know where to start you should start at the beginning. There I found that Ani offers several real-world practical solutions for the budding raw foodist or individual trying to add more raw foods to their diet. Ani also gave me exactly what I’d been looking for – a way to convert a typical oven or convection oven into a dehydrator. Although I tried her methods, they did waste a lot of energy (as she said they would) so I guess I’ll have to continue putting away $1 a day until I can afford a dehydrator of my own.
Although I loved the majority of the recipes in Ani’s Raw Food Essentials one flaw that I have found over and over again in Ani’s food is that she uses a ridiculously huge amount of salt. I was excited to try her eggplant bacon (mostly because it was my first chance to try her alternative methods of dehydrating). After waiting hours to dehydrate the bacon down I pulled my first strip of eggplant bacon out the convection oven, took one bite and immediately had to spit it out and rinse my mouth out. It was basically a salt lick. I think my blood pressure went up 10 points from that bite alone. Keeping this in mind I cut the salt down by ¾ in all of her dishes and found that it made them much more palatable.
Although this book has a fair amount of recipes in it that do not require a dehydrator many of them are just components to dishes that do require a dehydrator so if you have not yet invested in one this isn’t the book for you yet. If you do happen to have a dehydrator lying around the attic then haul that sucker down the stairs and start whipping up some raw tacos, burgers, pizzas, and crackers immediately from this book! Considering that this book is has 300 recipes it was hard to pick just 5 recommended recipes but then again when I find a good book it is always hard to decide which 5 recipes I just can’t live without. Without further ado, here are my top 5 recipes from Ani’s Raw Food Essentials (in no particular order):
Ginger Lemon Martini (because what’s raw food without a little spirits)
Chinese Chickenless Salad
Make with marinated spinach and “peanut” sauce