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Posts Tagged ‘raw’

Cruising San Pedro Market, Cuzco, Peru

I must say that I’m not sure why I was called here to Cuzco, but these days when my intuition says something, I listen and follow as best I can. I  mean originally I was coming to Cuzco anyhow to

The Raw Crew for David Wolfe's Adventures in Peru

that I can help my friend Matt Samuelson out with raw food for a retreat of Americans coming to Peru over Thanksgiving. The retreat is David Wolfe’s Adventures. I’ve only met David once and it was very brief at the longevity conference in September/October of this year. We’ve got 30 people coming from all over the states. I’m psyched. First off, I get to hang with Matt who is a good friend of mine from raw food school. He was one of our instructors and we hit it off right away. This guy has a palate like no one else I know and can create extraordinary raw food at a moment’s notice. So that will be fun. It’s also fun for me to gain experience since I’ll be leading my own Raw Trips next year and holding weekend retreats all over the US.

So I actually chose my hostel (Apu-Wasi on the way up to Sacsayhuaman ruins) because it has a big kitchen in which to spend some time. To my dismay (more…)

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I finally – by popular demand – started some raw food classes down here in Vilcabamba. It’s such a sweet and conscious minded community, I

The gang right on task!

am honored to be helping these lovely individuals learn some new skills on their way to optimum health.

Word started getting around town that I was a gourmet raw food chef. Actually I think it was catering the Raw Food World Conference that helped introduce Jan and I to the ex-pat and Ecuadorian community. Once they tasted what we can do, they are ready to listen and learn… one of those idealistic times to teach. I decided a 4-class series would be a good introduction.. and I wanted them to be a celebration, so Friday evening, it was “Raw and Ready” time. Although I have non of my own yet, children are of utmost importance to me. I want to teach them and hopefully change the bad pattern that’s happening all over the world. Children today are a product of the knowledge we grew up on. We thought we were doing right, we thought we could trust that great information was getting past onto us. I now know that wasn’t so.. and still isn’t. If I’ve learned anything on my journey toward optimum health, it’s been think for yourself. Read and investigate all you can, then experiment and settle somewhat on an opinion, with full rights to change at any moment in time. I made sure my clients know that children always come free.  I had many of my friends bring

Casiopia was the best roller in the class

their Ecuadorian friends and employees too. My Spanish is not so good.. but I appreciate the

Fernanda & little bold Amar.. the youngest raw student

challenge and they appreciate my effort. It’s been a couple weeks now worth of classes and I look forward to every one of  them. What a fantastic set of energy that lands in the house every Friday night. All happy, open and loving. Our first week was a quick introduction where I taught my personal favorite breakfast.. a green drink extra-ordinaire. My motto is stick everything and anything you can in your mouth at all times of the day. Seriously, it’s the color of the milenium! It’s the only way to optimum health. I also taught them wonderful nut milk, kale salad and some other goodies.

The next week  I met guests with  challenge of  stuffed mushrooms, wraps and sushi. I honestly only believe in hands-on when it comes to raw food prep. The entire experience is one of texture, feel and balance. Although many people are aware and LOVE wraps, those rice papers and nori sheets can be intimidating and difficult without proper instruction. This is one of the classes I find (more…)

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The finished product with my friend Sachiko

Christmas is not a big holiday here in Japan. I mean the country is primarily those who believe in Buddism & Shinto,  so although they love the decorations of a tree, snowflakes, reindeer and such, everyone works on Christmas day, just like any other day. The 23rd is big – the Emperor’s Birthday (although it’s not really) and then New Years Day is huge. I fully admit that I forgot it was xmas until about 11 in the morning when my class started. They wished me all a Merry Christmas

Class in Kamakura on Christmas Day

then laughed at my surprise. It happens to me when I travel. I usually always know the date – especially if it is a travel day.. but hardly ever know the day of the week. It really doesn’t matter in my world, I work when I need to work, any place, any time, anywhere. That’s the beauty of being a freelance tv person and a raw food chef. Both really allow me to schedule as I please. To me, it was a no brainer choosing to come to Japan instead of staying home for the holidays. That’s another thing about me, I’m not a really huge holiday person either. I think that stems from always having to work on the holidays. That’s what happens when you are a tv reporter and trying to work your way up the ladder. You move constantly – pretty much every two years which means you are the lacky at the bottom of the totem pole.

Kirsten making Autumn Spiced Carrot Cake

Class was held in a traditional style Japanese meeting room, complete with low tables, cushions on the floor and sliding paper doors between the rooms. It was gorgeous and it really got me into the swing of things. The sun was shining, it was cold and windy outside and warm and cozy inside. If you are a teacher, this is the perfect scenario all you have to do is woo them with  a great dish. I decided to make my Autumn Carrot Cake again since it was such a big hit at the party in Tokyo. I had about 16 students who were on the edges of their seat. (more…)

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Daiutsu of Kamakura, Japan

I’m out of Tokyo. While it was good fun, I started to feel a little claustrophobic. There are billions of people living in a very small area… and in complete harmony no less. All the concrete was bringing me down, so heading to Kamakura came at the perfect time. Masae helped me through the massive subway system to Shinguku station, one of the busiest places in Tokyo. This station is not only subway but the major hub for al

I have no idea where we are!

l the trains heading out of Tokyo in just about every direction. We had all my gear with us which consisted of two large carry-ons  and a big ass suitcase. I’m not sure how many ups and downs we did in the station but it seemed like overkill to me to get to our track and I was so glad to have my friend at my side. I have lived in New York and am really versed in trains and subway.. but this station was complete sensory overload way too early in the morning.
My train ride wasn’t on the bullet train as I had hoped, instead I took a local train which was much like a subway car.. a full one. For the first 20 minutes I had to stand in a corner hovering over my bags as we weaved through the outskirts of the city. Then it cleared out. I had about a two hour ride south to the town of Kamakura, famous for its’ Daibutsu.. the “big budda” shrine. It’s just south of Tokyo and on a sweet little bay. It’s also known as a big

Look mom, I'm famous in Japan!

surf town get away, although it’s winter and there’s no way I would get in the water at the moment. I was coming to town a day before my class to do some sight seeing and to shop for ingredients. Sachiko, a student I know from both LA and Tokyo classes, was my host and I was honored to teach her students on Christmas day.
She picked me up at the train station, we hopped into her car and turned up the music. Sachiko is a young 25, a little hottie

Lunch with my friends in Kamakura, Japan

hipster who is just starting out in her career as a raw foodie. Her energy was a welcomed change and I fed off her playful and flirty ways. Her English is not great but we found a way to hold conversation non-stop trading names in our native languages. At our first stop – a health food store in the middle of the center of town, she had a little surprise… my very own (more…)

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Raw Cranberry Mint Torte

Teaching raw dessert classes is one of my favorite classes to teach. Here you are – a raw food chef who’s made the choice to rely  on vegetables, fruits and seeds as nutrition – and now you get to say the magic words all your students wait for -“dessert, yes you can have it too. Learning how to make healthy choices and realizing you truly are what you eat can intimidate many people. What, give up what I love??? In actuality, eating raw is eating what you love in its’ most natural state, then adding flair. You’re not giving up anything, especially when you experience first hand how nice and balanced you’ll feel after a raw dessert, not jacked up on some sugar rush!

Dishing out secrets to making raw chocolate

I always find reward in those shocked faces who think if they have a sweet tooth, they can’t follow a healthy raw diet – again I echo, it’s all in the choice of ingredients. I like teaching raw desserts as one of my first classes because it seems like the easiest, logical, back door way to start into a life of raw foods. Guys like it, girls are glad they don’t have to abandon their indulgences and well, let’s face it, raw desserts, good ones, impress friends and bring smiles all around.

Japan is not the biggest chocolate consumers but I find myself yearning for something sweet after a plate of sashimi, so I thought, let’s

Proud of my raw creations!

teach how to make quick and easy chocolate truffles. The recipe is one a friend passed along, then a changes some ingredients to satisfy my taste buds. I happen to bring along just the right amount of

Happy Raw Food Students

molds so that each student could choose their shape and fillings inside. I really feel student involvement is a necessity in all raw classes – if you can’t feel, smell, taste and participate, you just won’t remember that clearly when you got to make it again. The chocolate recipe is so easy, you could teach it to a 5th grader. Just 5 main ingredients and a few tricks. The students went nuts with all the choices and were laughing and giggling on like little school girls… and there was a lot of licking extra helpings of chocolate off (more…)

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IMG_4459So today was a test like no other — to cater a gourmet lunch for the public. Yes, a paid gig – not that we see the money. Our payment is in the experience. It was a huge hit. I may be weird because I love this kind of thing. To me, it’s just like working in television. It’s a production and has to be treated like a production. You need everyone to have their “game faces” on. Every item needs to be double checked, every dish scrutinized before heading out to a table. And you have to be right on time. A wise friend told me a very long time ago when I was just starting out in TV.. when you appear in front of a group, you must own it, make it all yours. That’s what me and my fellow chefs did. We owned it. Not just in the amazing food we made them, but in the presentation, the explanation, the table settings, the menus… we were like rock stars in our own head. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t all that. But after spending three days preparing the 4 course meal with every ounce of love we had, it was a pleasure to see the smiles form throughout the room. I was in charge of the dessert. My friend Sydney and I had spent hours delicately putting each layer together. A lovely apple and walnut Baklava. Cutting it without it falling IMG_4498apart took a steady hand. I just kept saying to  myself, I do this with love. I want to infuse this blessed dessert with all the love I can — and oh yeah universe can you please keep all the layers together? Please, pretty please let this knife slice right through it with ease. Please let the apples all stay in line. Lot’s of concentration – but it was worth it. The crowd loved it and I have to say (more…)

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hard at work

hard at work

Have you ever planned a sweet dinner party and actually sat down and planned out what you were going to make? I mean to the tee, like how many tablespoon of filling goes into each gyoza? I hadn’t before attending RAW food school in Ft. Bragg last fall. Now my days are filled with the opportunity to get as creative – anal as i want to. It’s another eye opening day at Living Light. We are working on Spa Cuisine, which basically means say good bye to all those good fats we eat so much of as raw foodies. Don’t get me wrong, they are the best fats for you BUT as I discussed after my   croissant incident. Did I tell you I also had a “quichey” looking thing. I cringed to think if I just openly ate eggs in about a year. Yuck, no wonder it made me feel ill. I digress. Obviously when you visit a spa, you don’t want to feel heavy or eat heavy or feel guilty about months of eating unhealthy. So you’ll always choose the light and fresh, especially if there’s a light dessert right? So the challenge today was to plan our first menu together trying to cut fat down to 30% on the menu. Most meals these days are more like 60% fat, so that’s quite a big number to get ride of. Now, if you’re a chef, or a rawdie, you realized immensly how important fats are to bringing out the flavor in a recipe. It can boost or mellow, thicken, fill.. and it lingers the longest in your mouth. Now get rid of that yumminess and scale down your pantry. it’s time to get very light in our creations. Absolutely eye opening what our groups came up with. The menu was Asian Fusion and the goal was to have most

Tropical Dessert Gyoza

Tropical Dessert Gyoza

 

 

things fat free – without losing flavor of course. Everyone’s was great but none of us got it exactly right the first time. Rarely does that happen. Some needed tweeking. See that’s what i love about menu planning and recipe development. When you experience raw, it’s from every angle. Taste, texture, nutrients, colors, combinations, creations with unlimited possibilities, twists and flares. It’s so fun. I dig being a raw food chef. Truly love the exploration into culinary health.

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