Originally published September 7 2009
Cherie Soria Part III: A Virtual Cooking Class and the Great Greek Salad
by Kevin Gianni
(NaturalNews) This interview is an excerpt from Kevin Gianni's Rawkathon, which can be found at http://www.Rawkathon.com. In this excerpt, Cherie Soria shares a fantastic raw food recipe called the Great Greek Salad.
Rawkathon with Cherie Soria . Cherie Soria teaches raw food "cooking" classes and is the author of The Raw Food Revolution Diet.
Cherie: Today I'm going to be exploring some of the dishes that we prepare in our deli that are ethnically linked to the Mediterranean. So we're going to be doing a dish that I particularly love. We call it the great Greek salad, and what it really is is it's pretty much the same as dolmas, except that we don't take the time to roll the dolmas. So it's a much faster and easier way to serve the dish, and it has all the flavors, including the grape leaves.
None of these ingredients take very long to prepare. This is all wild rice, and wild rice is something that is wild crafted. It's wild crafted in marshland, usually by Indians, and it's done in the traditional way. Because of the fact that we don't cook, what we do is that we soak it, and different wild rices take different amounts of time to bloom. When I say bloom, what I mean is that they explode. They open up, and then they are palatable. Otherwise, they're just too crunchy. But the fact is is that wild rice is not a rice at all. It's a seed. It's actually a seed. So it's not a starchy rice, but it's very satisfying. It's as satisfying as rice is. Some wild rice is raw; some of it has been lightly passed over a flame to be roasted so that it opens more easily. So what you'll find is, and you won't know necessarily which is which, but you can buy the rice, and if you soak it for a couple of days and it doesn't start to bloom, then it's probably raw and it may take as much as nine days for it to bloom, to soften. So I usually have wild rice that's softened because it does take a long time. I usually have it already bloomed and I keep it in my refrigerator.
I'm going to tell you right now how to bloom wild rice. With wild rice its medium of growth is in water. I mean that's the way it grows, so you have to keep it in water. You put it in water for 24 hours; you change the water. Put fresh water in it and leave it in water and continue to leave it in water until it blooms, always rinsing it every 24 hours. Once it's bloomed, rinse it, change the water again and store it in the refrigerator in water. You can change the water every two or three days once it's in the refrigerator and you can leave it in there for a couple of weeks. So you can always have wild rice if you want to make it at a moments notice.
There are so many wonderful flavors of wild rice salads. There's any number of wild rice salads that you can make. You can make this Mexican style and we do this Mexican style in the school just as if it were Mexican rice. You can do it as Asian rice and we do it as Asian rice in the school with Shitake mushrooms and sesame oil and wonderful flavors of Asia. There's just no limit to the different flavors that you can give wild rice because it doesn't have much flavor of its own. It's texture, that's what it is. It provides great texture and it will be a sponge for whatever flavor you want.
So I'm starting out, this was one cup, one cup of wild rice and so now I'm just going to add the rest of my ingredients. I'm going to add some diced tomatoes. Now I want my tomatoes to be fairly small dice, not large dice. I need to have a small bowl that I can pour off some of this liquid. I want it to be a small dice because the rice is small. If I put large, large pieces of tomato in here what's going to happen is the rice is going to fall to the bottom, I'm going to have all this tomato, hank you dear, and I'm not going to get the perfect bite. You know what the perfect bite is?
A little bit of everything. There's a reason. Some salads you don't want a perfect bite; you want to taste a big piece of tomato and a big piece of cucumber. In fact Horiatiki is that way. You have Horiatiki, you have big chunks of different things and you get to bite it with a piece of feta cheese, which in this case of course is almond feta or a piece of lettuce and a piece of onion, however you, you know different ways. But with a perfect bite you want a little bit of everything. So this has been sitting for a little while and it's accumulated a bit more liquid than I want. And now I'm going to add my tomatoes and this was two cups of Roma tomatoes. I'm also going to add two cups of finely diced zucchini and again, this is a fine dice.
All right, I'm also going to add a half a cup of olive oil and this of course is organic olive oil. You can cut back on the amount of olive oil if you want to. This is rather a rich dish but then this is going to serve a lot of people. So half a cup of olive oil is four ounces, which means it's eight tablespoons, and I would expect you would serve at least 12 people really with that many tablespoons of oil. This says six to eight tablespoons but you're going to see it actually makes quite a bit. That would be if this were all you were eating and it is quite, quite satisfying.
I'm also going to add half a cup of pine nuts. As you know they eat a lot of pine nuts in the Middle East; they eat a lot of pine nuts, but also in the Mediterranean. So I'm going to just roughly chop these. I don't want them to be finely chopped and I don't even mind if there's a few whole pine nuts in there.. It's kind of nice to bite into a pine nut. I wouldn't suggest that you pulse this in a food processor because you don't want it to turn to pine nut butter, which it could do very easily.
I'm going to add both orange juice and lemon juice to this. Why do you think I'm adding orange juice? I want a little bit of sweetness to balance out the lemon juice. Dolmas are traditionally served with a little bit of lemon garlic sauce and yet the lemon can be a little bit overpowering. So we can add more acid, yet a sweeter acid, by using orange juice. So we're doing that and we're adding some more sweetness here and here I'm using currants. Many times many dolmas recipes have currants in them. I prefer them to raisins. Sometimes you'll find raisins in the dolmas recipes but I really prefer just a tiny little bite of the sweetness rather than the big raisins so I'm using currants here, not very many. I did my best to break them apart because I don't want any big clumps. Just that little bit, a quarter cup of raisins are going to make a huge difference even though really I had about three cups of bloomed rice, because one cup of wild rice makes about three cups of bloomed rice. So I already had three cups of that; I had two cups of Roma tomatoes, that's five cups. I had two cups of zucchini so now we have seven cups and there's only a quarter of a cup of currants. Not much but if you have one little bite in each mouthful that's enough, just that one little bite.
I'm also going to add, I'm going to show you how I'm adding my grape leaves here. The grape leaves really do add a nice flavor to our dolmas. I think I'll leave one behind just so that I can show you how it would be rolled too. You want to see how I would roll them? Of course you do.
OK, so what I'm going to do now is I'm going to do something that's called a chiffonnade. I'm actually rolling this together and I'm going to just chop these very finely so it cuts; it makes a ribbon. A very fine, shredded ribbon and you'll notice as I do this my hands are literally walking; my fingers are walking back and my knuckles are forward so I can't hurt myself. I'm slowing down so you can see the action. My knuckles are forwards so I can't cut myself, that's very important. Now I can go back through and just give it one cut. I don't need to; that is tough. OK, I don't need to have really super long shreds so that's why I gave it a cut. Then I just unroll like that. I'm going to leave them fairly long. I just cut them in half. They don't need to be as long as they were. They are almost spaghetti like; they are so long. And you could cut them even shorter if you wanted to but I like the look of them.
Audience: The grape leaves are raw?
Cherie: The grape leaves are raw and they are packed in a brine of salt. You do have to be careful; some grape leaves do have sodium benzoate in them, but most of them don't. Most of them are in a brine of salt. We rinsed them very well to get the salt out by the way because it is normal sodium chloride. We use the crystal salt for everything. I wouldn't touch the table salt.
OK, so those are the grape leaves and I am also going to use some fresh parsley. Fresh parsley that has already been minced for me. You can use more or less of any of these items that you want just depending on what you like. Here's some scallions. And here I have dill. And we have fresh oregano and garlic. Here's the garlic. Now garlic is an absolutely important ingredient.
OK. And we are also going to use crystal salt. This is Himalayan crystal salt. We have some black pepper, a teaspoon of black pepper. You could use fresh ground pepper if you wanted to. I am going to mince this oregano a little bit more. I like fresh oregano but I don't like to bite into pieces of oregano, just not my favorite thing to do. I am going to just mix it up now. And of course, you could mix it up with your hands if you wanted to. If you weren't here, I probably would be doing that. I love to commune with my food. Oh, this smells so good. This is one of my favorite new dishes.
For more from this excerpt of the Rawkathon, plus 14 other amazing raw food interviews, please visit http://www.Rawkathon.com.
About the authorKevin Gianni is a health advocate, author and speaker. He has helped thousands of people in over 85 countries learn how to take control of their health--and keep it. To view his popular internet TV Show "The Renegade Health Show" (and get a free gift!) with commentary on natural health issues, vegan and raw food diets, holistic nutrition and more click here.
His book, "The Busy Person's Fitness Solution," is a step-by-step guide to optimum health for the time and energy-strapped. To find out more about abundance, optimum health and self motivation click here... or you're interested in the vegan and raw food diet and cutting edge holistic nutrition click here. For access to free interviews, downloads and a complete bodyweight exercise archive visit www.LiveAwesome.com.
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