Monday, February 23, 2009

Rawberry Bento

Ok Rawberry isn't the best description, I designed this gluten free menu around fruit. So that means fruit plays into each of the components. I ran across this great "raw" cherry tart, hence the Raw in the title. The seed was the entree and the dessert, so I had to fill out of the box with items that still fell in the fruit category. Surprisingly, this was somewhat difficult to accomplish without straying into the gluten side of the world. Ultimately, I remembered that the strict definition of fruit included all "vegetables" that have seeds :).

The main entree was mango tomato chicken over quinoa. This was interesting in that the quinoa preparation this time around was a little different than I've done previously. It included soaking and cleaning the quinoa until the bitter saponins. It's a natural covering that disuades birds from feasting on the crop. This made a pretty big difference in the outcome. 1) more tender quinoa 2) a less bitter dish. I do like the texture of the "less soaked" version, but the clean tasting quinoa no longer took away from the main attraction which was the chicken and fruit. Also, the quinoa was a lot more fluffly and light in texture. I think both versions have their place but the new cooking method is cleaner.

Next a quick fruit salad consisting of blood and navel oranges, strawberries with a pomegranate vinaigrette. The colors of the blood oranges really gave this a vibrant attractive color to contrast the lighter colors of the other dishes. It's too bad fresh pomegranates weren't in season, I think a bit of the pomegranate seeds would have been a welcome addition.


For a soup, I leaned on the definition of fruit and produced a Cream of Squash soup. This was absolutely delicious. I was really surprised that the recipe called for whole slices of lemon. I figured the bitterness of the pith would actually detract from the dish. I decided to trust the folks that created the recipe and went with it. To my surprise, yes the bitterness existed, but it was a very nice offset from the richness of the cream. Surprisingly it didn't require much in the seasoning just some salt pepper, and a quick grind of nutmeg. I cut the fat with cream instead of heavy cream (I know a minor savings but we must cut where we can).

Finally dessert: Raw cherry tart. Cherries aren't quite in season, so I didn't adhere to the "raw" in that I used can cherries, but we didn't set out on this blog to be raw. The crust comprised of hazelnuts, dates and other mixed fruits ground together. The filling is made of well soaked cashews infused with pomegranate juice. The description from various books on raw food on similar desserts is a creamy custard, maybe I didn't have enough liquid, perhaps I didn't blend it long enough. I'm not sure how they got their consistency, it was more like a blended tofu. I topped the whole thing with some canned bing cherries. Although, the texture was "different" everyone still loved the dessert.

This turned out to garner high accolades with my eaters. I enjoyed my foray into raw cooking I might have to experiment some more.

Box Contents
  • Mango Tomato Chicken over Quinoa
  • Orange-Strawberry Salad with Pomegranate vinniagrette
  • Cream of Squash Soup
  • Raw Cherry Tart

No comments: