Interview with Raw Vegan Chef Doug McNish and recipe for pizza crust
August Cooking Tool of the Month – Dehydrator
Today we have a special interview with someone that knows his dehydrator intimately, Doug McNish. His new book, Eat Raw, Eat Well: 400 Raw, Vegan and Gluten-Free Recipes, is getting rave reviews and includes mouth-watering recipes such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch Smoothie, Cauliflower Popcorn, Mexican Corn Tortilla Soup, and Chocolate Walnut Brownies. To learn more about Doug visit his website and read the interview below. Keep an eye out for the giveaway of his new book starting tomorrow!
What first inspired you to go vegan? Did you make the change overnight or gradually to a vegan lifestyle?
When I was 21 years old I ballooned up to about 270 pounds. I was miserable and depressed, I knew I needed to make a change. It was right around this time that I saw a video of animals being abused in slaughter houses, what I saw horrified me and I made a choice to stop eating meat. At first I stopped consuming chickens cows and pigs but continued to eat fish and animal bi-products. After about 5 or 6 months of living this way and feeling such an amazing difference I decided to go Vegan, that was just over 7 years ago.
If someone is a die-hard skeptic of how delicious raw food can be what meal would you feed them?
No question this would be dessert. I challenge most people to try a raw cheesecake or chocolate avocado mousse and tell me that not only are they vegan but completely raw and organic!
Who’s work do you love in the vegan/health/raw world? Who inspires you?
This is a tough one for me, there are so many people making a difference for us all but if I had to choose two I would say Anne Gentry and Matthew Kenney. Anne was one of the first people I discovered in this food movement when I first went vegan. Her restaurants, business practice and complete dedication to organic foods paired with a message of compassion to animals really struck a chord with me right away. Although I have yet to dine at Real Food Daily I follow Annes career and am always waiting for what may come next. Being an advocate for Raw organic Cuisine I have always enjoyed reading Matthews books and following his career. His cooking schools, Matthew Kenney Cuisine, are in my opinion by far the best curriculums that are being offered to learn the art of raw food today. I highly recommend them.
What does a typical day in your life look like and what kind of meals are you eating?
I love starting my day with a big smoothie full of super foods and protein. In between morning and lunchtime I will munch on some fresh fruit and nuts. For lunch time I like to have some simple steamed quinoa with tempeh a tahini cream sauce and some hemp seeds. In the afternoon I will have another smoothie, some more nuts, a piece of toast with almond butter or some crackers. For night time I like to have a big kale salad full of avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, hemp seeds, and tomatoes. For a snack at night I LOVE Coconut Bliss Ice Cream!
Nutritional yeast for rich cheesy flavours, miso for its salty rich background flavour and to help aid with healthy bacteria in the gut, hemp seeds for easy quick healthy protein and healthy fats, tempeh not only because of its dense nutritional value but for its versatility in the kitchen. I like to use it in soups, stews, main courses, spreads or appetizers. My last ingredient would be wheat free tamari, I use it a lot to help season food. I also find that it helps lend that Umami factor in food that can sometimes be lacking in vegetarian cuisine.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world to eat at and why? Favorite dish there?
My favourite restaurant to eat at in the world is Pure Food and Wine in Manhattan. Although the menu changes frequently I love the Raw Porcini Mushroom Ravioli with a Truffled Cashew Cream, Pickled Ramps and White Asparagus. The first time I ate it I actually wanted to bathe in the sauce it was that good!
What is in store for you? Do you have any speaking engagements this year and new books on the horizon?
I am working on many different projects right now all at various stages of completion including my own food service business, writing a second cook book and working on a couple of packaged foods to be launched in store shelves later this year but most of all I am making sure to take time to enjoy life with my beautiful wife!
Now Doug shares a recipe with us from his new book using the dehydrator! I can’t wait to make these!
Buckwheat and Sunflower Seed Pizza Crust (page 326)
Excerpted from Eat Raw, Eat Well by Douglas McNish © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
When I make this recipe, I usually prepare four small crusts and store them in the refrigerator. When I feel a craving for a pizza, I take one out and add my favorite toppings. Let your imagination run wild and see what flavor combinations you can come up with to make the perfect raw pizza.
Makes 1 large pizza (approximately 16 inches/40 cm) or 4 mini pizzas (4 inches/10 cm)
• Electric food dehydrator
3⁄4 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked 175 mL (see Tips)
3⁄4 cup chopped carrot 175 mL
1⁄2 cup chopped red bell pepper 125 mL
1⁄4 cup cold-pressed (extra virgin) olive oil 60 mL
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried oregano 5 mL
1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt 2 mL
1⁄2 cup filtered water 125 mL
1 cup ground flax seeds (see Tips) 250 mL
1. In a food processor fitted with the meal blade, process carrot, red pepper, olive oil, garlic, oregano and salt until smooth, stopping the motor and scraping down the sides of the work bowl as necessary.
2. Add soaked buckwheat and sunflower seeds and water and process until smooth, stopping the motor and scraping down the sides of the work bowl as necessary.
3. Transfer to a bowl and stir in ground flax seeds. Set aside for 10 minutes so the flax can absorb some of the moisture and swell.
4. Transfer to a non-stick dehydrator sheet and, using your hands, work into a circular shape about 1⁄2 inch (1 cm) thick. (If making mini pizzas, divide the dough into four equal portions before flattening). Dehydrate at 105°F (41°C) for 5 to 6 hours or until firm enough to handle.
5. Flip and transfer to mesh sheet. Dehydrate at 105°F (41°C) for 2 to 3 hours or until dry on the outside and soft in the middle. The finished product should be similar to a traditional pizza crust. Allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
To soak the buckwheat for this recipe, place in a bowl and add 4 cups (1 L) water. Set aside for 30 minutes. Drain, discarding soaking water. Rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear.
To soak the sunflower seeds for this recipe, combine with 2 cups (500 mL) water. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Drain, discarding water and any shells or unwanted particles. Rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear.
When a recipe calls for flax seeds, you have two options to choose from: golden or brown. Golden flax seeds will yield a lighter color in the end result, while brown flax seeds will make the final product darker.
Doug is one of the foremost Vegan/Rawfood chefs in the world. Through his company Doug McNish Vegan Inc, he helps businesses implement Organic Vegan Cuisine on their menus. After losing 100 pounds on a plant based diet Doug decided to change his career path and become a professional vegan chef. His first cookbook, Eat Raw, Eat Well is available now. Douglas writes for various magazines, has been broadcast on both local and national television and consults for various business to help implement organic vegan cuisine.
Dehydrator Recipes this Month:
Buffalo Cauliflower by Sherene
Raw Corn Chips by Michele
Buckwheaties Cereal by Marissa
Kale Chips by Alyssa
Sopas con Mole by Amber
Juice Pulp Crackers by Heidi