blog, Pie, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Birthday Blissings

surprise!

Happy birthday to me and what a happy birthday it has been. This whole facebook thing can be quite overwhelming especially for someone who likes to play down their birthday. I had over 60 birthday wishes in my inbox when I woke up this morning and the number is still growing. So many random acts of kindness makes my heart swell. Those are the times we live in though. The mainstream media may report on doom and gloom but what I see is people from around the world going out of their way to wish others, strangers and friends alike, well.

My birthday started out quiet enough with me waking to an empty house. My brother, sister-in-law and nephew had gone to work, work and school but they didn’t exit without leaving reminders that it was my birthday. First of all the doorway to my bedroom was decorated with dangling ribbons and a half dozen balloons were piled at the door. This type of booby trap was effective in springing an instantaneous smile to my face. In the kitchen I was greeted by more balloons and a banner across the wall that read “happy birthday”. With all this birthday cheer in the air I had to share it with someone but no one was around… so I took it out on the dog. Sadie the Graham’ily cocker spaniel was treated to various renditions of a multitude improv birthday songs set to the tune of “so this is Christmas” and the “It’s your birthday” song from The Cosby Show. To crown things off for my birthday morning a single candle had been placed in the last big slice of raw cookie doh! pie and left in the fridge for me.

Birthday shenanigans continued in the evening at The Present Moment Cafe in St. Augustine, Florida. Without a doubt one of the best raw restaurants on the planet. A crew of 7 of us got cozy and had a feast of ages. I ordered super nachos which were extra special and birthday super sized. Dessert was brought and prepared by a good friend Natacha. She surprised us all when she pulled out a casserole dish filled with raw tiramisu… one of the most decadent and challenging raw food desserts to make. It was phenomenal. Not wanting to waste anything I helped to finish the dessert of 2 other people before surrendering to birthday bliss.

The entire day was a magical birthday gift. So here’s how I’ll pay it forward. For all of you interested in how to make the Raw Cookie Doh! pie, the recipe is below. Happy Birthday to me, you and everyone! Love Adam.

Raw Cookie Doh! Pie

(enough for 1 – 7 inch spring form and 1 – 5 inch baking ring or 1 – 9 inch spring form)

Cacao Crunch Crust

  • 1 C shredded coconut
  • ½ C pumpkin seeds or almonds
  • ¼ C buckwheat
  • ½ C cacao nibs
  • 8 dates – pitted
  • 3 T agave – enough to bind crust
  • 1 T coconut oil
  1. Add agave to running food processor until crust binds
  2. Press crust into a spring form or pie dish. Placing wax paper.
  3. Flatten crust in the middle and work it up the sides of the pan
  4. Place crust in freezer to set.

Lucuma creme layer

  • 1 C water
  • 1 C hemp seeds
  • 1/2 C coconut oil – melted
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 C palm sugar
  • ¼ C lucuma
  • ½ C agave powder
  • 1/4 t salt or to taste
  1. Blend the hemp seeds, vanilla and water smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients saving the coconut oil for last.
  3. Add coconut oil while the blender is running. The mixture must be slightly warm.
  4. Let mixture cool before pouring it into the crust.
  5. Allow to set in the freezer for 1 hour.

Chocolate layer

  • ¼ C almond butter
  • 1/2 C cacao butter – melted
  • 2 T agave
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • ¼ C water
  • ¼ C agave powder
  • 1/4 C cacao powder
  • 1 T maca
  • pinch of salt
  1. Blend water and almond butter smooth.
  2. Add agave, maple syrup, maca and salt while blending.
  3. Continue by adding the cacao powder and agave powder.
  4. Finish by adding the cacao butter to the blender while it is running.
  5. Stop and scrape down the sides of the blender and continue to blend until the mixture is consistent.
  6. Allow mixture to cool before pouring it into the crust.
Layered
Swirled

I’m a big fan of options and with this recipe you have a few. The chocolate layer sets up thicker than the lucuma creme layer. As shown by the pictures you can assemble the layers in a variety of ways. The first version resulted from me pouring the warm chocolate layer onto the creme layer before it was firm. I thought I had a tasty disaster on my hands but then I remembered I could just swirl the chocolate into the creme layer for a nice visual effect. The next version is a result of waiting until the creme layer is chilled firm and then pouring in the cooled chocolate layer. In hindsight I would have layered chocolate/creme/chocolate or put the chocolate layer first and then the creme layer. The reason for this is the chocolate layer is more firm once it has set. The result of this is that the creme layer squirts out of the pie as you try to cut into it. Definitely let the pie warm before serving and dip the knife blade in hot water before cutting. Reversing the layers or swirling them can remedy this squirting tendency. Also feel free to decorate your pie with hemp seeds, nibs or a dusting of cacao powder.

Layered Slice
Swirled Slice

A note about agave powder. This ingredient is not used as a sweetener, it is a thickener. It is a very fine powder that sticks to almost any surface especially if there is the slightest bit of moisture. It is a plant fiber known as inulin. Always add it while the blender is running.  You can substitute chia gel or Irish moss to achieve similar results. Sorry, I don’t know the amounts without making the recipe. Off the top of my head try 1/4-1/2 C of chia gel pureed or 3 T of pureed Irish moss in place of agave powder.

That is all for now. In joy, enjoy and Keep it Live!

blog, How To, Recipe

Chocolate is "Yes"!

Jack-Fruit of Hearts

For those out there that are chocolatiers, you are familiar with the intoxicating smell of cacao butter melting in the dehydrator and also with the way cacao powder seems to gravitate towards all things white. I spent last night in the kitchen preparing chocolate for a promotional holiday party. Free raw chocolate is a great way to promote your business. What’s my business these days? Good question. As usual I’m playing “the Jack” as in “Jack of all Trades”. The Jack is cool and all. It’s royalty, but it ain’t The King or even The Ace. So I’m selling super foods, teaching classes, consulting, hosting dinners and preparing packaged foods… oh yeah and occasionally making videos, posting blogs and working on a recipe book. Wow, when I look it like that I feel like I’m spreading myself thin. Don’t get me wrong it’s not like I’m doing all of those things everyday, some of them I’ll only do once a month. Believe me I find time in there for surfing and other forms of recreation.

So where was I? Making free chocolate for a promotional event, ah yes. That’s the whole dynamic of “you’ve got to spend money to make money”, but whose in it for money? My motto is “you gotta do what you love to love what your doing”, which I can affirm. So playing The Jack(fruit) and occasionally The Joker is cool with me…

Here’s a sampling of what I made last night:

Candied Pecans dipped in chocolate, I made little sandwiches by dipping the flat half of the pecan and then placing another flat half

Hearts and Caramel Squares

on top of the other. This way you can pick up the choccie pecan sandwich without it melting in your fingers.

Chocolate Caramel Squares: I busted out the casserole dish, layed down some wax paper and poured a layer of chocolate for this creation. I set the chocolate in the fridge, made a caramel, poured that over set chocolate and spread it within a quarter inch of the edges of the chocolate, back in the freezer to set and the caramel layer with a layer of chocolate that went to the edges. At this point I should have set it in the fridge because I eventually had to cut it into squares. A casserole sized chocolate caramel bar is a little excessive. Trying to cut it directly out of the freezer caused some of the chocolate to crack… little patients and thawing allowed me to make clean cuts.

Chocolate Hearts with Goji and Coconunt: this is a Valentines Day classic that never fails to please. I sprinkled the goji and coconut into the molds before I poured the chocolate in. This heart molds are super easy to use. I scored them at Target in the bargain bin just after Valentines last year… Score!

So that was it for free chocolate schwag. I’m hoping that I’ll have some left overs to share with family and friends. Myself I’m choco’d-out. Making chocolate takes its toll on me with all the sampling you have to do. By the end of the night I feel like flying and I this funny sensation in my chest like my heart is radiating out of my chest: raw chocolate is a true heart opener. So I’ve come down of the cacao cloud. I tend to burn out quick on cacao powder and that’s why I stick to the nibs.

Choco Candied Pecans

Here’s the basic chocolate recipe I used:

Cacao Butter – 10 oz. about 1 1/2 C melted

Agave – 1/4 C

Palm Sugar – 1/2 C

Lucuma – 1/4 C

Cacao Powder – 8 oz about 1 3/4 C

pinch of Himalayan salt

Chocolate dipped Candied Pecans

I melted the cacao butter in the dehydrator in a metal bowl with a fork laying in the bowl. I do this to draw heat into the center of the melting cacao. The metal bowl conducts heat better than glass or pyrex which are actually an insulators. I then moved to my double boiler set up which is a crock pot filled enough to float the metal bowl. I check the water temp. with a small thermometer and turn the crock off and on accordingly. Next I mix in the agave, salt and palm sugar with the melted butter. I do this in the bowl using a blending wand. These things are cheap and very useful for blending directly inside of bowls and even wide mouthed jars. It’s good to have a second set of hands at this point but it can be done alone… Once the cacao butter, agave and palm sugar is blended I start adding the cacao butter and mixing. You can sift the cacao powder into the mixture as well which makes things easier. With the hand blender there is the danger of spraying chocolate all over the place. I like to live on the edge. I only had minor splatters from this undertaking.

A couple tips for using the hand blender.

  1. Make sure your bowl is wide and deep enough to prevent from slinging your mix everywhere.
  2. Lift the mixing wand up out of the mixer to create a vortex of chocolate spray. Do this carefully because this the “wall splatter”danger zone. Tilting the wand on an angle will also pull floating ingredients down into the blending vortex.
  3. Unplug hand blender before licking the blade.
Joker is Wild

Cocoa Butter on Foodista