Thursday, January 28, 2010

Entertaining In The Raw by Matthew Kenney – A review

This the book the hubby brought back from the restaurant for me. It is a nicely bound hard back book with beautiful glossy photographs on nice paper. The pictures of the dishes are visually stunning.

The recipes themselves use some ingredients that most of us don’t keep on hand, these are:

• Raw carrageenan
• Irish moss
• Young Thai coconut meat *
• Raw carob powder
• Raw cacao powder **
• Nonalcohol vanilla extract
• Nonalcohol almond extract
• Shichimi spice
• Umeboshi plum paste **
• Nut flours (which he gives instructions on how to make)
• Mesquite powder **
• Maca powder **
• Soy lecithin (it must be powdered, but he doesn’t specify in the recipe) **

* I found this in the freezer section of my local Asian market.
** I have purchased these at my local Wegman’s.

Additionally the author assumes that everyone owns a heavy duty blender and dehydrator. If you don’t own both machines this book won’t be very useful.

The instructions seem to be written for accomplished cooks that are also familiar with raw cuisine. This is something else to keep in mind before you buy the book. One thing that surprised me is that I noticed a few recipes didn’t give measurements on the soy lecithin. I have used this before so I will use the proportions from other recipes. But I think this is something that shouldn’t have gotten through editing.

I am pretty excited to make some of these dishes in the book. The cannelloni my hubby had on Tuesday is in the book so I will be making my own version of that soon. It appears to be one of the easier recipes in the book, which makes me happy since I am fairly new to raw cuisine. As I make these recipes I will try to give you an accurate assessment of how much time and effort they actually take. I will also let you know if I have any difficulty with the instructions, being a raw newbie I may run into a few snags.

I have a few ideas after reading the book. I need to make a list of all the recipes I am going to attempt to make. My short list includes:

• Pignoli “parmesan” crisps (page 28)
• Ginger cantaloupe “gelato” and watermelon granite with muscat honeydew puree (page 34)
• Frozen pumpkin flan, cinnamon foam and mandarin candy (page 78)
• Heirloom tomato pave and preserved lemon dressing with green olives and pine nuts (page 116)
• Creamy eggplant and hummus cream in almond tart with green olive tapenade (page 156)
• Golden and green cannelloni with sun-dried tomato-ginger marinara, mint-basil pesto, green zebra tomatoes, and pine nut and black truffle “ricotta” (page 160)
• Pine nut tartlet, basil “crème fraiche” and sweet tomatoes (page 162)
• Tomato tacos with citrus cream (page 190)
• Oyster mushroom seviche and bitter orange-lime sauce (page 194)
• Summer rolls and red chili-pineapple dipping sauce (page 196)
• Vietnamese pho broth with tofu (page 226)
• Fortune cookies (page 228)

Before I make a few of these I need to find a couple of the unusual products. When I find I source I will definitely let you all know what it is. I suspect I will need to order some of this on-line.

Don’t the recipes sound amazing? I love this kind of food. When we went vegan for health I thought I had to give up “all the good stuff” as I have been known to say. But this book may just be the answer to this foodie’s prayer. I will definitely keep you all posted on how things go using this book.

Here are a couple pictures from the book to whet your appetite.


  1. Oh how wonderful. I make lists of what I want to try too and also write out any special ingredients needed. Can't wait to hear how they turn out!

  2. Heather,

    You and I are so similar we should be related. ;)


  3. Those recipes do sound'll be fun to see all they all turn out.

  4. Rose,

    I think I may make one of these over the weekend, if I have all the necessary ingredients. I am particularly eager to try the pignoli "parmesan" crisps. Parmesan frico made regular appearances at our house pre-vegan.



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