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Growing Roots: An Excerpt

Growing Roots: An Excerpt

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/Growing Roots: The New Generation of Sustainable Farmers, Cooks, and Food Activists/ is about a new revolution in food that involves young people who are living sustainable lives that revolve around healthy, natural food. In this excerpt, author Katherine Leiner profiles raw foodist Samantha Johnson.
/Growing Roots: The New Generation of Sustainable Farmers, Cooks, and Food Activists/ is about a new revolution in food that involves young people who are living sustainable lives that revolve around healthy, natural food. In this excerpt, author Katherine Leiner profiles raw foodist Samantha Johnson.

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Categories:Types, Recipes/Menus
Published by: Chelsea Green Publishing on Jun 03, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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Samantha (Sam) Johnson

Raw Food Cook n Durango, Colorado

My second interview is with a young woman who grew up in Southern California within reach of many farmers markets and lots of small family farms. Used to being able to get good produce year round, and eating primarily raw foods, Samantha has worked extensively with raw food chef, Juliano. Now she lives in a yurt in rural Southwest, Colorado. Hers is a simple life in a beautiful mountain valley where she integrates seasonal cooking and sustainable living with the study of pre-med/ naturopathy. Samantha has also been mentored by Katrina Blair, a kind of folk hero in Durango who is profiled in this book.
Sam: I grew up on forty acres in Topanga, Califor-

nia. I’ve always had plenty of space to get lost on.

I come from a family that cares about the environment, thinks about energy consumption and food. Through the years I’ve been part of almost every food fad you can imagine: vegetarianism, macrobiotic and now raw. I also grew up in the fashion world. My grandmother was Olga, the “First Lady of Lingerie,” and my mom is a designer of athletic wear. As a kid I didn’t realize what a privileged life I was leading — all that sky and fresh fruits and vegetables. I went to private schools in Los Angeles and spent a year in Switzerland. After high school and a semester or two at Pierce Junior College in L.A., I traveled with my boyfriend through Mexico and then Central America. I came back with a broken heart and a stomach parasite. I spent a year getting




R E C I P E S n Samantha Johnson ”I am enjoying the most exquisite, unique, decadent Juliano always says about eating raw:
food on the planet and my mentor is not some fancy cooking school, but the earth itself.”
Coconut Jerky and Macadamia Nut Cheese Wrapped in Butter Lettuce This is one of my favorite raw treats. It’s probably more of a summer dish — but I do eat it in winter. Whenever I can, I use my hands to chop and mix, so I wash them constantly. Coconut Jerky 5 baby coconuts (you can find them in health food stores or specialty stores like Whole Foods) Place the coconut on its side and crack it open with a large knife or cleaver. Spoon out the coconut meat leaving behind all of the shell and the brown skin. Clean with water. Set aside and then add to marinade. Marinade 1 cup olive oil 1 cup balsamic vinegar 1 cup Nama Shou or any kind of high quality soy sauce 1 tablespoon hot pepper sesame oil 1 cup apple juice Add a pinch of each: Red pepper Chili pepper Cajun spice Celtic sea salt Add the cleaned coconut into the marinade and let it sit overnight (the longer the better), stirring a few times. Place marinated coconut onto a dehydrator sheet (I use Teflex) and dehydrate overnight. Turn the coconut onto other side and dehydrate until chewy. Sprinkle on wrap. Macadamia Cheese 1 cup macadamia nuts 1 cup cashews 3 cloves garlic 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt ¼ cup soy sauce ¼ cup lemon juice ¼ cup water or coconut water Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until they are smooth and creamy. If you add too much liquid in the beginning it won’t be creamy – careful! Butter Lettuce Wraps 1 head of butter lettuce 2 tomatoes chopped 1 cucumber, cubed pepperincinis, minced macadamia cheese (see above) coconut Jerky cut into small pieces salt olive oil Mix all the ingredients together with your hands. Take a lettuce leaf and fill it with a scoop (as much or as little as you desire), adding a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of oil. Eat up! Serves 5.

Oatmeal With Whipped Coconut Cream Great for breakfast! Oatmeal ingredients for one serving: 1/8 cup each of: oats, barley, rye and wheat berries (All grains should be soaked overnight to soften and activate) Toppings: Apples, cubed Walnuts and/or pecans Maple syrup or agave nectar Cinnamon




Coconut Whip Cream: 2 Thai baby coconuts (scrape meat and drain water into cup) ¼ cup honey 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Add all the ingredients to the blender except for the coconut water, which should be added slowly until the coconut becomes smooth and creamy. Place mixture of sprouted grains in a bowl with coconut cream and optional toppings. Serves 5. Winter Herb Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette Sometimes I just need a little salad in the winter… Cooking time: Including the marinating ½ hour 6 rainbow chard leaves (cut in small slivers, leaving as much of the stalk as possible) 3 kale leaves Cilantro, about one handful (remove leaves from stalks) ¼ cup dill ¼ cup basil (remove from stalk and sliver) ½ cup sun-dried olives, chopped ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, slivered Makes 4 servings. Citrus Vinaigrette ½ cup olive oil ¼ cup apple cider vinegar ¼ cup orange juice 2 Tablespoons agave nectar 1 teaspoon salt After you have made the dressing let the chopped kale and chard marinate in it for ¼ hour before adding the rest of the ingredients and serving.

Juliano always says about eating raw: ”I am enjoying the most exquisite, unique, decadent food on the planet and my mentor is not some fancy cooking school, but the earth itself.”
my health back. During that time I started working with the raw food cook, Juliano (www.planetraw .com), and began learning how to “uncook,” or to cook raw. More like assembling, really. I changed my eating habits and lifestyle, and my energy soared. It feels like my life keeps getting smaller and smaller, simpler and simpler. I live in a yurt, and from CFL lightbulbs to the green power energy blocks I buy from La Plata Electric, I’m always trying to save. I have a composting toilet, and I think solar is in my future, and maybe a windmill, since there is plenty of wind year round. In the winter




These are the superfoods I try to eat on a regular basis: beans, blueberries, broccoli, pumpkins, salmon, spinach, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts and yogurt.
months I heat with a wood stove. The insulation is pretty good. In the walls it’s recycled jeans, and that’s what covers the water pipes. There’s a crank in the dome to let the heat out, but it was pretty cold this last winter. The floors are reclaimed wood, and the loft wood comes from my mom’s old desk. During the summer, I cook part-time at the Turtle Lake Refuge Café (a nonprofit restaurant). I have become an expert at assembling gourmet meals from wild weeds and our local southwest permaculture plants. As we learn more about what we have in our own backywards we’ll be able to conserve more energy and become healthier, physically and emotionally. As we learn more about the benefits of




wild foods we’ll be more adamant about protecting the remaining wild lands. It’s a little more difficult eating raw in the winter, especially when temperatures drop below zero. Our immune systems can be more compromised. Winter is when I miss California, being able to eat raw foods from my garden year round. I’m not naturally attracted to squash, potatoes or pumpkins, and I know I should be canning and stewing; I need to learn how and I will. Over the long haul there are times for cleansing, times for raw food, macrobiotic and certainly times for eating meat. Eating meat

seems to keep me more in balance in the winter months. I find I don’t crave a lot of salads. I sear my meat and fish — which has to be organic, grass-fed, no pesticides or hormones. Often I feel like a contrarian. I’m always watching what I eat; it’s hard to exist on a day-to-day basis eating this way unless you make it the most important thing in your life. Every day I learn some new way of saving or giving. I really want to make a difference in my own small way, be part of creating a sustainable world.

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