Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the “Follow That Chef” series from The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories? This week we had the opportunity to follow Chef Kirsten Gum, a Certified Raw Food Chef, around the Santa Monica Farmers Market! Some of you may recognize Kirsten from Travel Channels “Treasure Hunters.” She is delightful, very playful and very much in touch with her food!
We went shopping for avocados, apples, dinosaur kale, fennel, squash and blood oranges – just to name a few!
Kirsten showed us how to pick apples without bruising them and to make sure the stems are intact so they stay fresher longer! She grew up on an apple farm, so this girl knows what she’s talking about!
Of course we did a little taste testing along the way! I loved the apples and dates. We also got to sample some tangerines. YUM!
Here is Kirsten checking out all the great produce from the organic farmers!
The menu for the demo after the market included a raw butternut squash soup, confetti spring rolls and an avocado, orange and fennel salad!
Back in the kitchen and ready to prepare some food!
I have to say, I learned a lot from Chef Kirsten. She told us: “We are the product of our choices.” That is so true! I learned there are plenty of options for eating raw. It’s not just chopped fruits and vegetables. She had great tips too! Adding an apple and a banana to a brown paper bag with avocados in it, will make the avocados ripen faster. You can thicken soup with nuts instead of heavy cream. Coconut water is better than Gatorade. If you pick an apple incorrectly, you’ll leave thumb bruises on it. Kirsten’s favorite tool to cut herbs is a ceramic knife. She eats salad with her hands and the Spring Rolls she taught us to make are totally cool!
The first thing we made was a salad with sliced fennel, blood oranges and diced avocados. Kirsten showed us how to peel and slice the fennel.
Then she chopped the avocado for the salad!
We helped her peel and segment the blood oranges.
After everything was done, we tossed it all together! Doesn’t it look fantastic?
It’s topped with fennel fronds and sesame seeds and a light dressing!
The raw butternut squash soup was tasty too!
But I have to say, my favorite thing, was learning how to make raw Spring Rolls! Check it out! My hands get a cameo appearance!
We started with dinosaur kale, that had been stripped from the stems.
Kirsten wanted the front row to be involved in the demo, so we were her sous chefs! Just ignore the Diet Coke from McDonald’s in the middle of a Raw Food Demonstration… it wasn’t mine, but it totally makes me laugh!
We needed strips of Kale, so Kirsten showed us an easy way to do a chiffonade cut. This is the same way to cut Basil! First, you lay the leaves on top of one another to form a nice stack. Then you roll the stack up like a cigar. It should look like this:
Then, using a sharp knife, you rock the knife from the tip down through the roll and push away from you to cut. Like this:
Pretty cool huh? Now, you may be saying “But Kale is so tough! How could you put it into a Spring Roll?” Well, I’ll tell you! Kirsten taught us another raw tip… massage your kale till it gets wilted. Yep, grab it and squeeze it over and over till it breaks down. She promised us strong muscles at the end! :-)
Next we added some purple cabbage and purple carrots! Kirsten put those through the food processor to slice them up evenly.
We added sliced red bell peppers for more color! Don’t you love how bright and beautiful it is?
Kirsten made a dressing of diced red onions, lemon juice, sesame oil, whole garlic cloves, a dash of Himalayan pink salt, some tahini, a pinch of cayenne pepper and honey. She pulsed it in a blender and coated the cabbage mixture!
Now the FUN part! Rolling them up! First, take rice paper rolls and soak them in warm water. Do this one at a time – overlapping the circles when you’re done.
She piled some of the cabbage mixture at the bottom of one of the circles and started to roll it up!
As you roll, make sure you tuck the edges in along the way.
Keep rolling so it’s nice and tight!
Cut it on a diagonal to plate, then enjoy!
Kirsten let us try too. Here is mine! I’m pretty proud of it. Not too bad for never rolling a Spring Roll in my entire life!
Needless to say, I have found a new passion for Spring Rolls and a new respect for eating Raw. Thank you Chef Kirsten Gum for your time, all the wonderful information and for sharing your love of food with us! Namaste!
If you want to know more about eating raw, or about Chef Kirsten Gum, check out her web site at: experienceraw.com You can also find her on Facebook (with a spiffy new page!) at: facebook.com/kirstengumraw