THE ART OF EATING RAW
Cinnamon buns. Ravioli. Parfaits. Chef 7 Star knows how to make main course meals and sweet treats without adding milk. Or meat. Or flour.
To ring in healthier lifestyles and experiment with the alternative kitchen in the new year, Star, who also goes by Kenita Gordon-Hinson, taught a class of 20 people Saturday how to concoct gluten-free and dairy-free desserts by using just raw foods.
In the back room of Recyclique, a thrift and sustainable goods shop off Hillsborough Road, a cashew-based cream was the substitute for yogurt. Star added a spoonful of both agave nectar and coconut oil to the soft cashews, adding a splash of organic vanilla extract before blending all the ingredients together.
“We’re going to allow it to blend up a little while longer and see if we can get that magic to happen,” Star said with a wave of her hands, surrounded by Recyclique’s unframed art prints of psychedelic spheres and forestscapes, used books on gardening and cooking, and plastic CD cases.
Star has explored the benefits of raw foods for six years. She said she enjoys the creative process behind raw foods, when you rely on unprocessed ingredients to make your own bread or cheese. She also was a runner and said she became sensitive to everything she put in her body, which spurred her to join the raw movement.
She and her husband run the Body Ecology Life Sciences Attunement Center in Greensboro, which focuses on holistic living and healing.
In the audience, 68-year-old Gail Austin Curry took notes. Her doctor recommended that she cut dairy and gluten from her diet because of inflammation in her body, so she’s looking for an alternative way to cook.
“I thought, ‘I need to learn to do these things,’” said Curry, who’s a fan of cheese but can no longer eat it. She was surprised by “the fact you can use cashews to make this creamy stuff.”
Dr. Jonathan Sheline, who is a provider with Integrative Physicians off Academy Road, said he is weaning himself off of meat and dairy foods.
“There’s actually a lot of data now that animal protein isn’t so good for you,” Sheline said.
He just bought himself a Vegan cookbook, and he wanted to learn how to make desserts that would be healthier for him, instead of struggling to find options at restaurants.
“It can be tough if you’re trying to eat the way Americans eat, which is going out for a lot of meals,” Sheline said.
Star lifted a mason jar filled with agave nectar, drizzling it upon a pile of cacao powder to make a thick chocolate frosting. She lifted a plastic spoon of it to her mouth for a quick taste. In a Cuisinart ice cream maker beside her, the cashew cream churned to form a cold, nutty paste.
“I’ve made sunflower seed ice cream before,” she said. “It’s really tasty.”
She used coconut oil, cacao powder, cashews, walnuts, agave nectar, water, fresh and dried strawberries, organic vanilla extract and dates to create about six different desserts, from brownies to chocolate milkshakes.
“It’s always going to process better in your body,” Star said. “It’s better for our mind, body and spirit.”