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16 Mar

Raw Food Rage

Posted by Bikini Owner

Korrie Martinez,

We’re ravenous! But before you fire up the grill, why not whip us up something raw? No sushi roller or ahi needed—we’re talking about the category of raw food reserved solely for plant-based cuisine prepared without heat.

Sound bland, crunchy and… cold? Think again. Raw food had a bad rap of being stripped down and short on flavor, but that was before the culinary world adopted the farce as a phenomena. Today, chefs like Matthew Kenney, named Best New Chef by Food & Wine, are making raw food decadent and delectable.

At Kenney’s fully plant-based restaurants in Santa Monica, Oklahoma City, and coming this winter, Miami, he is bridging the gap between maintaining good health and enjoying delicious food. And at M.A.K.E., located in Santa Monica, that means a seasonal menu that’s completely raw. Dishes include a living food lasagna composed of zucchini and macadamia cheese, and sweet specials like pumpkin cheesecake.

But why raw, when the baked versions of these dishes seemed relatively adequate? The living food theory lies mostly in its name. The idea behind the no cooking craze is that heating food through traditional cooking methods eliminates the majority of essential nutrients and enzymes. By keeping vegan fare in its natural state, it delivers a serious dose of all that good stuff we need (and usually attempt to get through supplements and fortified cereal).

The raw food stigma has sizzled and in its place has risen a smoothie-sipping culture on board with everything from cold-pressed juice cleanses to dehydrated flax crackers. Think you’re ready to take the plunge? (Or maybe just dip your toes in the shallow end?) Let the pros show you how it’s done at a living food restaurant. If there’s no raw food dining close to home, pick up a cookbook and the essentials to experiment on your own. For at home preparation, Kenney shares, “My go-to ingredients in the pantry include avocado, citrus, almond, coconut products like extra virgin coconut butter, really good olive oil, sea salt, dark greens like kale, and every seasonal fruit that I can get my hands on.”


Gianduja Recipe (from Matthew Kenney's Facebook page)

Hazelnut and chocolate: the perfect marriage.

  • 1 cup cacao butter, melted
  • 2 vanilla beans, scraped
  • 1 teaspoon hazelnut extract
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey
  • 1 cup cacao powder
  • 1⁄2 cup raw hazelnut butter
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts

Blend cacao butter, vanilla beans, hazelnut extract, and salt in high-powered blender until smooth.

Then add the agave nectar, cacao powder, and hazelnut butter; blend until completely combined.

Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the chopped hazelnuts.

Lightly oil a 9-inch pan (preferably with a removable bottom). Pour in mixture. Store in the refrigerator to set.

Makes about 12 pieces.

Recipe from Everyday Raw Desserts