A Raw Food Cookbook Delicious Enough For Skeptics

By Kristin Donnelly Posted June 29, 2007

We recently tested recipes from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by chef and cofounder of SmartMonkey Foods, Ani Phyo, including her Black Olive Hummus and Angel-Hair Squash Noodles in Sun-Dried Tomato Marinara. While we’re ever skeptical of the raw-food diet, all the staff comments about her recipes were positive and never included the disclaimer “for raw food.”

I’ve been flipping through Ani’s book for the past few weeks at home, engaged by her easy, encouraging style. While she strictly follows a raw-food diet, she doesn’t expect her readers to be so dogmatic, simply hoping her book inspires people to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

After too many cocktails last Friday night, I woke up Saturday morning ready for a detox. First, I munched on a bacon sandwich. Then, I planned out the next 24 hours of eating raw.

At the farmer’s market, I stocked up on fruits and vegetables, everything from mustard greens to blueberries. Then I headed to the health food store for avocados, ginger, miso, walnuts and sunflower seeds. The raw-food cheezes and mylks (made to imitate the real thing with ground nuts and seeds) didn’t appeal to me so I started with a huge, leafy salad in a ginger-miso dressing. I also tried Ani’s uncooked Garlic-Walnut Soup, pureed simply with olive oil and water and topped with avocado and dill. Chilled, this delicious garlicky soup was so rich it seemed almost buttermilky, and I’ll definitely make it again this summer (fresh breath be damned). Of course, I couldn’t help thinking: This recipe might be better if the garlic was roasted and the nuts were toasted. I knew then that the raw-food detox was over and made myself a batch of biscuits, 10 tablespoons of butter and all.  

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