Chef Matthew Kenney is one of the Raw Food movement’s pioneers. He’s written close to 10 books on the topic and currently operates raw hotspot Matthew Kenney OKC in Oklahoma City. (Although his home base is in Maine.)
And as the cuisine he champions gains more traction, Kenney wants to convince people that prepping it is not as complicated and time-consuming as its reputation assumes.
“In the past, when we were a new cuisine, we wanted to focus on the gourmet, to show people how much you could do with it,” he says. “Now, we’re focusing more on the practical and finding ways to make it easier.”
Kenney outlines those ways in his brand-new iPad app, Raw Express. We also looked in his fridge for more raw inspiration.
So, what’s with the drawers? I’ve never seen a fridge like this before. The building where I live in Maine was built in 1874, and a woman from Italy undertook this amazing design of the place. Every detail she put into it was special, including the fridge. And actually, I love it because it forces you to be a little more organized.
Very cool. Let’s start with the beverage drawer: What are the bottles in the back, and what do you use the coconuts for? The bottles are local kombucha that’s barrel fermented in Portland, Maine. I use both the meat and water of the coconuts to make smoothies.
In the veggie drawer, that’s a big hunk of ginger—do you cook with it a lot? I use it a lot for juices, smoothies, and dipping sauces and dressings. If I bake a sweet potato, for example, I’ll make a miso-tahini-ginger dressing.
Yum. Let’s talk about the drawer with all of the jars. Can you give us a run down? There’s at least one type of Maine sauerkraut, if not two, and some beautiful Maine olives. I also have Brazil nuts and almonds. I find it’s better to keep them refrigerated because they won’t go rancid as quickly, and I use them to make my own nut milk regularly.
What about the bag in the middle? It looks like bagels. Definitely not bagels! Shiitake mushrooms.
That makes more sense. Using the foods in your fridge, what are some quick-and-easy snacks or meals you reach for often? If I’m hungry in the morning and don’t have time to open a coconut, I’ll slice an apple with a tablespoon of almond butter or coconut butter. Juicing and smoothies are also a great go-to, so I always have staples around. And one great snack I love: sauerkraut with avocado and greens, like sprouts or arugula. I just toss it all together with olive oil and balsamic, and maybe some pistachios, and it’s delicious. It’s also a nice balance of fat and protein and so forth.
Sounds delish. Any tips for our readers on creating easy-breezy raw foods It’s all about focusing on the recipes. Just like any cuisine, you can have incredible French or Italian with what’s in the pantry in five minutes, or you can cook an elaborate meal. I’d say the key is to stick as close to nature as possible with lots of fruits and vegetables and to supplement with flavor enhancers like tapenade, tahini, dipping sauces, sundried tomatoes, avocados…having all of these pantry items on hand will help. —Lisa Elaine Held
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