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Interviews, essays and commentary published by The Dance Current.

Friday, April 29, 2011

HEALTHY DANCER: Beginning with Raw Food

By Nathan Payne
Photo by Valerie Wilcox

Raw food diets are predominantly or exclusively made up of uncooked and unprocessed raw food. Fruits, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains and beans make up the bulk of the diet, which may also include raw meat and fish.

Raw food diets typically have higher levels of non-digestible ingredients that act as prebiotics, promoting a healthy colon by feeding the bacteria that live there. Enzymes found in raw food support digestive processes, including the breakdown of macronutrients (e.g., carbohydrates, protein and lipids). An active individual could adopt a variety of raw food habits and heat food when necessary or desired. Consuming both raw and cooked food improves our enjoyment of our meals and maximizes the ingredients’ healthfulness.

American Red Snapper Ceviche with Pink Grapefruit and Mint
Recipe by Chef Matthew Kennedy

Serves 2 as an appetizer

1 filet fresh American red snapper (6-8 ounces)
1 English cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1 shallot
3 sprigs mint
3 sprigs cilantro
1 small pink grapefruit
1 navel orange
1 lemon
1 lime
1-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

• Using a really fine grater remove 1/2 tsp of zest from the lemon and lime, reserve. Juice the whole lime, half of the lemon, half of the orange and half of the grapefruit, remove seeds and pith. Add zest to strained juice and refrigerate until chilled (20 minutes). Following the natural curve of the citrus, remove the peel from the remainder of the grapefruit and orange and reserve the segments. Discard the peel.
• Dice the cucumber, red pepper and shallot into 1/4 inch cubes; 2 tablespoons of each. Wash and pick cilantro and mint, reserving in a damp cloth or recycled paper towel until ready to serve.
• Slice the fish as thinly as possible (make sure you have a sharp knife for this!). If you can only slice the fish moderately thinly, just let it marinate a little longer. Place sliced red snapper in a medium stainless steel mixing bowl with the cucumber, red pepper, shallots and citrus segments.
• Add citrus juice and zest mixture and gently toss using a wooden spoon or clean hands. Cover and refrigerate for 20-45 minutes.
• Remove from the fridge and gently incorporate 1-3 tbsp olive oil and seasoning to taste. You may want to add more olive oil, as everyone has a different palate when it comes to citrus. Divide into two bowls or martini glasses and garnish with fresh picked cilantro and mint.


Alternative seafood variations:
Nova Scotia diver scallops cut in coins or quarters, BC spot prawns sliced in half lengthwise. You can add fresh granny smith apples, heirloom tomatoes, arugula and lots more. Pick what is the best of the season as it will be better for you, your wallet and the environment.
Please do not substitute frozen fish as the texture will steer you far from repeating this recipe.

Alternative Vegan variation:
Substitute 6-8 medium fresh king oyster mushrooms and 1 package enoki mushrooms in place of the American red snapper. Slice the king oyster mushrooms lengthwise and about 1/4 inch thick, marinate for 20-45 minutes. Follow the same directions as above and garnish with a few enoki mushrooms.

>Matthew KennedyAfter graduating with honours from the New England Culinary Institute, Matt Kennedy moved to France to work in the some of the finest restaurants in Paris, Chambery and Val D’Isere. There he learned and cultivated a true appreciation for local, seasonal cuisine in a sustainable environment, best explained by the French term “Terroir”. Upon his return to Toronto, Matt joined the team at North 44 restaurant and participated in the hit reality Food Network show, Heat with Mark McEwan. Matt is currently the Chef/Owner of a boutique catering company called Kennedy Catering.

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