An Almost But Not Quite Raw Dinner

August 12, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

Today was an odd day. Having finished my book, beaten my video game, and taken care of most of my Toronto packing, I was at a loss for what to do. Start a new book? Start a new game? Start packing for a new trip? (Wait, that last one doesn’t really make sense.) I even slept in, until the double digits (just about). Anyway, I ended up going for an hour-long bike ride (which was awesome), doing some Rosetta Stone (which was thankfully not too tough after not doing it for so long), and basically just lounging around. By the time dinner came, I was actually looking forward to cooking. Except tonight it was more like non-cooking!

So I’ve actually been wanting to make my parents some a raw meal ever since I got back. However, it hasn’t been easy. First, I’m no raw foodist myself, and I don’t think my repertoire or experience is up to the challenge. Second, my dad says that civilization began when we started cooking food, so if I’m really going to turn them on to the raw lifestyle I want to do it right (which may just mean taking them to a raw food restaurant to begin with). (Side note: My mom rebuts that civilization began when we started making art.) So tonight I thought I’d settle for a compromise: an almost-but-not-quite raw dinner. What does this mean? Well first, it means sushi!

Sushi Set Up

It’s kind of funny that the first food nearly anyone would think of when you say “raw food” doesn’t actually cut it by raw food standards. Even still, sushi is rawer than most other foods, and knowing my parents’ love of all facets of Japanese cuisine, I knew it would be an easy sell. The fillings included tofu (from Albany’s Asian market), avocados, and cucumbers…

Sushi Veggies

…with peanut meal and flax seed meal to top ’em off!

Sushi Meals

Unfortunately, I still have yet to master the fine art of sushi rolling, and I wasn’t really happy with how the rolls turned out (though I really should’ve made more rice). I made a few standard ones and couple temaki style rolls; and here’s what looked like:

Sushi 1

Sushi 2

Sushi 3

The good thing about this (and the reason why I’ll never stop making sushi) was that no matter how inept my sushi-rolling skills are, these rolls always come out tasting delicious. Obviously having a visual appearance to match the palate experience would be nice, but I am perfectly happy without it. I think I will probably make a few more for lunch tomorrow!

I think I will also be having more of the side dish I prepared, zucchini pasta with raw marinara sauce!

Zucchini Pasta

Look like too much marinara? Wrong, because this marinara is absolutely amazing, and I think I could just eat it by itself and be happy. The recipe came from who else but Gena (by way of a recent Soap & Chocolate post), and it is divine (and super simple). Unfortunately, this dish also fell short of 100% rawness, as I chose to saute the zucchini for a few minutes before serving. I did this for two reasons: because of the aforementioned worries I had about how my parents would respond to 100% raw food, and because I worried that non-spiralized zucchini would be too thick to eat raw. This dish came out great and was a crowd pleaser, so I was happy.

As I was doing all my semi-raw (non-)cooking this evening, I realized something else great about raw food (besides how good it makes me feel inside): it makes dinner prep so much less stressful! No more worrying about timing everything so all your dishes are hot and ready at the same time; no more fussing over stovetops to decide when what you’re cooking is done; just simple, at-your-own-pace preparation. And that alone I think is a good reason for anyone to try out raw food.

Also, exciting news! I found out today through Dreena’s blog about this awesome website and association: the Toronto Vegetarian Association!  Now how perfect is that? Not only does their website have an awesome directory of all the vegetarian and vegan restaurants and food stores in the Toronto area (what a godsend!), the association is hosting their 25th Annual Vegetarian Food Fair September 11th through 13th!! I am so excited. Unfortunately, the website doesn’t have too many details about this food fair other than the date, time and location, but I can only imagine that it’ll be filled with three days of vegetarian wonderfulness. Not a bad time to come up to visit, either…

Finally, let me post a little about a special dessert my mom picked up at the store for me today.

Tofutti Bars

I had never seen these Tofutti bars before, and if the box art is any indication, maybe that’s no surprise as they look like they’re straight out of 1983. Yet I was intrigued by the prospect of a vegan fudgsicle. And that’s basically what I got:

Tofutti Bar

I can’t say I’m the biggest fudgsicle fan, but this seemed like a pretty convincing substitute for the real deal (oh the wonders of Tofutti). Of course, the real deal isn’t very real to begin with, so maybe it’s just that tough coming up with its vegan ersatz sister, but I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll eat another one any time soon (again, I’m just not the biggest fudgsicle fan), but I thought it was worth the report.

I am quite looking forward to the other special treat my mom picked up for me, though:

Purely Decadent Ice Cream

Yes, yes, I know it’s going to put me into a sugar coma, but it’s irresistible. Plus I think the peanut butter flavor might not be as sugary as some of the others we’ve tried (What was that super sugary one? Cinnamon something?). But I’ll have to wait to a little later tonight when I’ll inevitably be hungry again to see…

Until we eat again,



  1. Wow that looks like an amazingly delicious dinner! I’m pretty jealous! (I had leftovers from when you came over last)

    I am going to have to be a little nit picky about one thing though. I don’t think you know this, but I love fudgsicles or, as I call them, fugikles. I love them a little too much. It’s just the same with creamsicles, but I digress. This is why I never buy them. Was your pop a vanilla ice cream bar covered in a hard chocolate shell? This is not a fugikle. Wikipedia’s definition serves me well in this distinction: “This frozen dessert is chocolate-flavored and creamy, with a flavor and texture somewhere between a water ice pop and ice cream. Fudgsicles are also available in 100 Calorie Bars, Low Fat Bars, No Sugar Added Bars and Sugar Free Bars.”

    Sorry, I just had to be clear about one of my favorite, oh-so-bad-but-oh-so-good frozen desserts. Also, in looking up this definition I learned that national creamsicle day is this Friday. This means that we should without a doubt get creamsicles at some point on Friday evening/night. Really. It is our duty as real Americans. Aaron Pierce said so.

  2. […] Sweet Pepper Marinara! Long time readers of this blog may remember that I did try making this once before, but let me tell you, this time came out even better! (Probably because, from what I recall, I […]

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