It is DAY 2 of "Raw Food Recipes with Excalibur", and after opening with supermodel Carol Alt we continue our celebration with another RAWKSTAR beauty, -- the inspiring co-founder and owner of Pure Food and Wine, and CEO of One Lucky Duck in NYC, Sarma Melngailis. To say this lady was building a raw foods empire would be an understatement.
After ditching her life of mergers and acquisitions in corporate America, and training at the French Culinary Institute in NYC, Sarma was introduced to raw food at a chance dinner with a friend. After experimenting with, thriving on, and embracing this new lifestyle, Sarma abandoned her idea for a Morrocan eatery, and instead opened a raw foods restaurant with then partner Matthew Kenney in 2003.
For the first few years, she was the executive chef in the kitchen at Pure Food and Wine. However, after launching OneLuckyDuck.com in 2005, and then splitting with Kenney, her life took on more of a business development role. After hanging up her full-time kitchen apron, she has been growing the sensational One Lucky Duck brand in spectacular fashion ever since!
Sarma's impressive brand comprises the Pure Food and Wine raw foods restaurant (which I visit every time I am in NYC), two One Lucky Duck salad and juice bars in Gramercy Park, and Chelsea Market (where I have breakfast every morning I am in NYC), as well as a thriving online raw foods store, where you can purchase raw food ingredients, prepared raw treats, natural skincare, kitchen accessories, books and more. Who knows what is next for this savvy lady?
Whilst we excitedly await the next installment, you can read all about Sarma's healthy journey in Sarma's two books: RAW FOOD REAL WORLD and RAW LIVING FOODS. Her first book, co-authored with Matthew Kenney, is one of my favourite raw foods books of all time! It just makes raw food SEXY! I have made every single recipe in that book, and keep coming back for more flavourful information. I didn't think Sarma could surpass the wonders of that book.
But with LIVING RAW FOOD, she swoops in with what I can only describe as "lucky duck magic!" This book is SENSATIONAL with TONS of delicious raw food recipes; great ingredient and prep information; shopping sources and guides; Pure Food and Wine stories with staff and friends; personal advice and confessions; and STUNNING food photography. If you order your copy of the book from the One Lucky Duck shop, Sarma will even sign it for you!
In this fantastic book, Sarma shares her famous Cilantro-Pineapple Shake, which is TO DIE FOR; her easy Cucumber Mint Gazpacho; Pure Food and Wine's mouthwatering Chanterelle and Kalamata Olive Ravioli; a Raw Thanksgiving Dinner; and many other fabulous live delights. And the Cherry Nectarine Timbales...! Oh, that just might be where s'blended piggies and lucky ducks fall in love!
Another thing that makes this book unique is how Sarma has organized the recipes into the degree of difficulty and length of preparation. So, at a quick glance, you can choose a recipe based on your level of knowledge and time constraints. This makes the book particularly useful for raw food "newbies" or people who are less confident in the kitchen.
Another thing I love about this book (besides the amazing food, digestible information, and GORGEOUS photos and layout) is the honest, "hold-nothing-back" storytelling style. My favourite thing about Sarma is that she doesn't pretend to be anything other than what she is in every moment; and inspires us to do the same. What makes her books and blog so appealing to me, and perhaps to a mainstream audience, is that she isn't preachy or fanatical about raw foods. She shares her struggles maintaining a raw foods lifestyle, and doesn't sugar-coat the challenges that come with it. She is honest about her flexible diet, that sometimes includes conventional cooked foods. I really believe that is the secret to her success. That, and business acumen, charisma, and electrifying persona.
Sarma is sharing her delectable raw vegan lime coconut cookies today. In her book, LIVING RAW FOOD, Sarma says about this recipe, "Before the restaurant opened, I spent a lot of time at home experimenting with recipes. One of my favorite desserts was a lime-mousse tart made with a base of avocados, which we never had on the menu at the restaurant (you can find the recipe in RAW FOOD REAL WORLD). The tarts were made with a coconut-macadamia crust, and when I had extra dough I’d form cookie shapes and put them in the dehydrator."
These cookies are DEAD EASY to make, taste incredible, and can be enjoyed completely raw or dehydrated. Read Sarma's comments about this in the recipe section. I don't know about you, but the combination of lime and coconut is as perfect as chocolate and hazelnut. I just can't get enough!
As Bridget from One Lucky Duck said to me, "The hardest part about making these cookies is waiting for them to finish dehydrating! As with most dehydrator recipes, there's always a few testers that never make it the full time!" After scarfing half the bowl of dough before even pulling my dehydrator trays out of the machine, I happily agree!
Thankyou to Sarma, Bridget, and Karen from One Lucky Duck for participating in this event. You are inspiring.
*Recipe and excerpts from LIVING RAW FOOD by Sarma Melngailis, and published here with permission from One Lucky Duck.
**Photo taken by Tara Donne
***Special thanks to Karen McDermott and Bridget Araujo from One Lucky Duck for co-ordinating this feature.
Learn more about Sarma Melngailis at One Lucky Duck.
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