A couple of weeks ago, Jasmin Singer of Our Hen House, and her partner Mariann Sullivan, shared on Facebook that they were going to begin a 10-day juice cleanse because they felt the need to “reboot” their systems. Jasmin welcomed any and all to join them in the venture. Over the course of the following few days, the idea intrigued me more and more because I’d never experienced such a thing. Having always been somewhat curious about fasting/cleansing, I decided that I’d jump in with both feet and commit to the experience.
It wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined it would be. Yes, I missed hot food and the textural quality of meals, but when I reminded myself that I was treating my body to a rich source of exceptionally digestible phytonutrients, thereby giving my digestive system a breather, things just didn’t seem quite so austere. It also helped my will-power tremendously to know that I wasn’t alone in the undertaking. The interesting results were that aside from losing five pounds, there were no physical manifestations that I could detect. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there weren’t any, I just didn’t experience any of the usual detoxification symptoms such as crankiness, headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue or skin blemishes. I suppose that it could be a testament to just how cleanly we have eaten this past year since we cut out all processed foods and animal products. I know that I certainly feel better since we embarked upon our own food revolution, and I’m quite sure that Heather does as well.
In one of the last video logs of her juice cleanse, Jasmin remarked that she and Mariann would like to start incorporating more healthy raw foods into their diets. From my perspective, this was a fabulous thing to hear because it afforded me the opportunity to thank them, in my own particular way, for allowing me to tag along on the journey, and for all the support and community they provided along the way. Simply because I didn’t manifest any outward symptoms of a cleansing doesn’t mean that I didn’t learn anything from the experience! And so, Jasmin and Mariann…I raise my fork to you both in gratitude by dedicating the creation of my very first raw entrée to you. I wish you and yours good health and vast happiness.
Raw Asian Mushroom Stroganoff with Blackberries
I purposefully chose the Asian pear, lemon zest and Brussels sprouts to add sweetness, bitterness and a touch of refreshing acidity, respectively, in order to cut through a very rich mushroom sauce which would otherwise become quite monotonous. [I never could eat an entire plate of Fettuccine Alfredo for this very reason.] Adding a variety of textures to a dish is also very important to me when considering ingredients. The Asian pear “noodles” add a softness that is more familiar when thinking of a “noodle” dish than the interestingly crunchy texture of kelp noodles. I also chose Brussels sprouts because Jasmin mentioned that Mariann was rather fond of them. If you don’t share this love of the cruciferous, you could easily substitute with thinly sliced endive.
1 bag raw kelp noodles [I used Sea Tangle’s ]
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours [I put them into a container with water the night before and placed it in the refrigerator]
1 Asian pear, spirally sliced [Alternatively, you could certainly use a vegetable peeler or box shredder to create shreds]
4 Brussels sprouts, cut into a chiffonade
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 T ground mushroom powder [I simply took equal parts dried maitake and shiitake mushrooms and ground them into a fine powder using a spice grinder]
2 oz enoki mushrooms
1 T freshly-squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest, plus some for garnish
2 tsp fresh thyme, plus some for garnish
¼ tsp sea salt
⅛ tsp white pepper
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blackberries
crushed red pepper flakes
Place the dried shiitake mushrooms into the water and allow to rehydrate for at least 30 minutes. [You shall be using this soaking water later, so do not discard] Squeeze out any residual water and reserve. Remove the stems and then slice into thin strips.
Drain the cashews and toss into a blender. Add ¾ cup of the reserved shiitake soaking liquid, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Add the mushroom powder. Continue blending until the mixture is silky smooth and creamy.
Slice the Asian pear into spirals or shreds and place in a bowl containing acidulated water [A good squeeze of lemon juice will do the trick]. Rinse the kelp noodles under cold water to separate. Place both “noodles “into a colander together and drain well.
Transfer to a large bowl and add the Brussels sprouts, sliced rehydrated shiitakes and enoki mushrooms. Add as much of the creamy mushroom sauce as you wish and mix well. [I ended up using a tablespoon per serving]
Garnish with the blackberries, lemon zest, thyme and crushed red pepper.