blog, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Hawaiian Adventure

Egg Fruit Pie

Greetings and Aloha boys and girls. It’s about time I shared a post regarding my latest adventures. Early in March I boarded a plane for Honolulu on the paradise island state of Hawaii. My friend Brian was there to greet me at the airport and so my adventure began. I was only in Honolulu for one day and then we were off to Kauai, the garden isle. They say timing is everything and once again my timing put me in the right place at an interesting time… tsunami. Yes, we were staying on the ocean front in Kappaa, Kauai at the time of the big earthquake in Japan and had to be evacuated to higher ground. It was a beautiful night and we found a scenic place to park overlooking the coast. With in minutes of arriving a number of other cars showed up and parked and eventually we had a full on frat boy acoustic serenade going on which would have been nice if it wasn’t 3am. At 6:30 am we were able to return to our hotel and get some sleep.

After our tsunami experience Brian and I took up an offer to rent a couple of rooms at the fabled Noni Land. This is not any easy invitation to get being that it’s the personal home, research center and farm of David Wolfe. Since we were visiting Kauai on a raw food mission, we got the thumbs up and were promoted from ocean front 1960’s era cheap hotel to mountain side raw food paradise. David was traveling the globe when we arrived and met the Noni Land tribe… Nick, Nathaniel, Charis, Kota, Trevor and Kelly. After 3 nights indoors I moved to outdoor sleeping quarters in a tree house. This wasn’t quite Swiss Family Robinson, more like a platform with a tent on it. Very basic with a clear rain fly and enough room for a single person; the set up was perfect for my needs. Each night was highlighted by an ever changing celestial display. At one point the moon was so bright that I had to hide under my blanket just to fall asleep. The wind whipped the trees overhead into a frenzy and almost every night and/or morning featured random downpours. It has rained every day that I have been in Kauai, typically at night. I can’t forget to mention the wild life. Bulls in the neighboring pasture come up to the fence in the night and grunt like they’re trying to cough up a cactus pad. In the mornings I am awoken to the crowing of wild roosters which are the unofficial state bird of Hawaii. Actually the roosters crow starting on one side of the island the the message is passed in a continuous and never ending circle, kinda like and audio version of the wave at a stadium football game. Chickens are everywhere on this island. They are on the road side, in parking lots, on the beach, even in trees. Some interesting things I’ve discovered about chickens and cats since visiting Kauai is that they both love eating coconut meat. The Noni Land cat, Gartina, relentlessly begs for the stuff once you start cracking coconuts. The only thing she loves more than coconuts is baby chickens. Yes, the Noni Land cat is not a vegan. She’s earning her keep by controlling the wild chicken population.

Gachina

After getting settled in the tree house, it was time to get to work. The mission in Kauai was to design a raw food menu for a once thriving and now transitioning restaurant in Hanalei. The Polynesian Cafe was a popular dining hub in the center of Ching Young Village in the heart of Hanalei. Now it is a shadow of what it used to be, a literal grave yard of used restaurant equipment; walk-in fridge, freezer, ice cream cooler, sandwich stations, a bakery complete with a mixer big enough to bathe in. Unfortunately much of the equipment is non-functional and has no use in a raw food restaurant. I did whip up a super batch of macaroons in a medium sized bread mixer. The main thing I noticed upon arriving was that the restaurant was a feng shui nightmare; no flow and a gluttonous waste off space. I staked out a little corner that was formerly used for bread making. It was more than enough room for me to do my thing. I often tell people that I can prepare raw foods in a phone booth if I have to. I do my best work in tight spaces… food preparation of course. I should also mention that I didn’t have exclusive rein of the kitchen. There is still a hot line in operation that uses fish and dairy. I made sure I kept clear of possible cross contamination. I found that in this situation the best way to keep my sanity is to only introduce a few simple menu items and that’s what I did. Wraps seemed like a good place to start so I introduced the Tu-No Collard Wrap and the Buckwheat Bean Burrito. The bean burrito was also done inside a collard leaf because the absence of a dehydrator. At this point we don’t have the staff to rock out crackers, chips and wraps from the dehydrator so that will just have to wait. The perfect scenario would have us stocked with a surplus of dehydrated wraps to make burritos, until then collards and nori sheets will have to do.

For dessert items I created a pie using a local treat the egg fruit. I’ve become a bit of an egg fruit addict since arriving here. These tasty little carb bombs are known to be the most calorically dense fruits having more calories than avocado and durian. They have very little water content and when ripe they have the consistency of a fluffly cake frosting. When I feast on egg fruit it often ends up in my beard and caked on my lips. Egg fruit’s brilliant orange color and dense yumminess made them a perfect candidate for making desserts so I combined egg fruit with cacao butter to make a white chocolate egg fruit pie. The recipe is is quite simple and simply delicious. My next dessert offering was a pineapple creme pie. That was followed with macadamia maca chocolate brownies. These were a little more “maca’y” than I wanted them to be and the macadamia nuts added a tastes twist I wasn’t accustomed to. People loved them though and they flew out of the cold case. The “cold case” was another method for keeping my sanity. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed with tasks that appear to be massive so confining myself to a single cold case allowed me to start small and expand from there. After 2 days in the shop the case was full… and then David Wolfe and his entourage showed up and bought everything in the case! We were all pretty stoked with this little surprise. David had just arrived in town for a brief visit before he had to fly to the West Coast to continue his touring and Longevity conference schedule. The timing worked out perfectly for me to be able to share some of my raw culinary creations with him. What was his response to what he tried? “The Best Ever!” of course.

Noni Land Crew

That pretty much sums up my adventures in Kauai so far, “the best ever and getting better”. I have to admit there have been some speed bumps and challenges but that all part of what makes it worthwhile. Challenges are opportunities for expansion and personal growth and there’s a whole lot of that going on. This island is a magical place and the interactions and synchronicity that have led me here are indescribable. I look back on the random phone call I received from my friend Phoebe telling me that she was with  someone that she felt I needed to meet, that was Brian, the crazy dude who jumped in head first into a raw food restaurant project in paradise and I went and followed him into the vortex. Tune in next time for an in depth look at some of the local fruits in Kauai and tasty culinary creations I have been making with them. Aloha and keep it live!

blog, How To, Recipe

Brazil Nut Breakfast Porridge

On those cool (or cold, depending on where you are) winter mornings it’s nice to start out the day with something warm in your belly. Before you go and boil, toast , pan fry or microwave your breakfast take a look at this tasty recipe for a breakfast cereal. I like to fill my 9-tray dehydrator with sprouted buckwheat and dry it for use throughout the month. The dry mixture of ingredients below can be prepared in bulk amounts in advance, that way all you have to do is scoop out the mix and add hot tea.

  • 6 brazil nuts – cut into chunks
  • 5 dried figs – cut off stem and dice
  • 2 T sprouted buckwheat
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1-2 T goji berries or raisins
  • 1 T mesquite
  • 1 T cacao nibs – optional
  • 1-2 t maca
  • 1 t carob
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • ¼ t Himalayan or sea salt
  • ½ apple – small dice or fine julienne cut or use a banana
  • ¼ C hot herbal tea

1.     Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

2.     Add hot herbal tea of your choice and stir in. Allow to sit in the dehydrator or on the counter for 5-10 minutes.

3.     Cut up apple and mix in.

4.     Serve warm or chill it in the fridge.

There are 2 tricks to really getting flavor out of this recipe. The first is allowing the figs to soak with all the ingredients for a couple of hours. This works well if you are making a cold cereal. You can just put everything together in a bowl and refrigerate it overnight for a tasty breakfast treat the following morning. The second trick is using a really delicious herbal tea. Something with ginger, citrus and spice works great in the winter. In cold months you can warm your refrigerated cereal up by putting it in the dehydrator for an hour or so before eating.

If you get a chance… please take the time to donate to Auroville Raw Food Center

My last post featured my friend Ananda and her effort to raise funds for this noble project. She has recently updated me on the progress of the project and sent along pictures of many of her culinary creations… I’ve got some recipes too but you can only give away so much… time to pay it forward. Please donate if you can and read about Auroville, the Universal city in India.

Enjoy, stay warm and Keep it Live! – Adam

blog, Raw Food Adventures

Egyptian Pie… Oh My!

Egyptian Pie!

I’ve been back in Florida for a couple of weeks now. I’m happy to be home but missing my friends and family on the West Coast. The last day I spent in San Diego ended with a family feast with my aunt, cousins and friend Robyn. We put together some raw food delights as an offering for the evening’s meal. This is my Italian side of the family and they have an appreciation for delicious food. Back in the day I used to be quite a contender at the dinner table; devouring pasta, pizza, prosciutto and washing everything down with copious amounts of wine. Things have changed for me personally. Greens, veggies and fruits are at the heart of my diet and alcohol is a rarity unless it’s the trace amounts found in kombucha. That’s not to say we were going to go hungry. Robyn and I arrived in style with raw pizza, marinated veggies and an Egyptian Pie. The pizza crust was a simple combo of sprouted buckwheat, sunflower seeds, onion and spices. We topped it with a seed cheeze and marinated veggies. It came out kinda like a bruschetta. The veggie mix was tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, onion, garlic and fresh basil. All these ingredients were salted and allowed to drain and then I added some lemon juice and olive oil.

Pizza time

The Egyptian Pie is a recipe that I got from my first raw food teacher Francis. It’s listed in my recipe book Zen and the Art of Gadgeting as Egyptian Cake. We had to make some modifications to the recipe listed in the book. First of all the recipe says to use only soaked almonds to make the crust. What fun is that? We soaked then dehydrated the almonds then we added dates, cinnamon, orange zest and Himalayan salt to the crust. For the banana creme filling we added ginger, vanilla and orange juice. Robyn and I had fun reworking the recipe and making additions. Best of all was making lunch out of the leftovers from pie making. I’d have to say that this recipe is pretty easy, appealing to the eye and tasty. The addition of pomegranate and shredded coconut to top the  pie was perfection. At the end of dinner there was no pie left at all. It was a complete hit. Thanks Robyn for the brilliant idea to make it, thanks Francis for designing the recipe and thank you family for eating it.

Soup Night

My West Coast visit did not end there. I spent the next two days in Murrieta, CA with my cousin and his family. The weather in Murrieta is typically hot and dry in early October. Well exceptions were made for my visit. The day before I arrived it was sunny and 91F, the two days I was there it was overcast, rainy and in the 60s. I got blamed for bringing the weather. No worries though, it gave me time to make some tasty treats in the kitchen. The first night there I made a soup with hemps seeds, avocado, miso and a variety of veggies. The next evening we dined on egg-less egg salad and bell pepper pesto boats. Oh yeah, and I made ice cream with young Thai coconut and soaked cashews. It was good eating raw vegan style. I look forward to my next visit. Look for the egg-less egg salad recipe in my next post.

Keep it Live! Adam

blog, How To, Recipe

Apple Buckwheat Breakfast

unsprouted buckwheat

Sprouted buckwheat is a really magical food. Most people know buckwheat in terms of buckwheat pancakes but sprouted buckwheat ain’t the same thing. Buckwheat isn’t even a grain like the name “wheat” might imply. It’s a “achene” which is a technical term you can investigate. For simplicity sake let’s just call it a seed that is unrelated to wheat therefore having no gluten. Buckwheat flour used for baking and raw buckwheat groats are unsprouted and contain enzyme inhibitors which need to cooked or sprouted to deactivate. Newbie rawfooders may initially have a bad experience working with buckwheat if they don’t sprout it. Buckwheat needs to be thoroughly rinsed, soaked and sprouted. Check out this post regarding sprouting buckwheat.

Once you have sprouted the buckwheat you have a very versatile ingredient for food prep. Don’t be shy when sprouting buckwheat. The sprouted groats can be dehydrated and stored for later use in recipes.

sprouted buckwheat

Buckwheat can have a dominant flavor and texture if not used in the right proportions. When I use it in granola  I typically add 3 times the amount of nuts or seeds to buckwheat in the recipe. You’ll know if you have too much buckwheat in a recipe because it will taste bland and have a chalky feel in the mouth.

Buckwheat is a warming food which makes it a great breakfast option during cold months. It is high in calcium and also a great source of rutin which helps to strengthen capillaries. If you bruise easily or are wanting to rid yourself of varicose veins, add buckwheat to your diet.

Here’s a quick and easy buckwheat recipe. I used apple for this version but banana or pear can easily be substituted. I added hemp oil to give the porridge the satisfying effect when fats are added to a recipe. You can add a thick nut or seed mylk instead or a nut butter. Have fun with the recipe and adapt it to your liking.

Sprouted Buckwheat Apple Porridge

¼ C sprouted buckwheat

3 T shredded coconut

1 apple – cut up

2 T gojis or raisins – mix in at end

1 T maple syrup, honey or agave

1 T sweet cinnamon or 1 t cinnamon

1 T mesquite

1 T hemp oil

1 t maca

pinch of Himalayan salt

Combine in all ingredients except for raisins/gojis in food processor.