blog, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Fig Harvest is on!

unripe figs

After traveling all over Europe this summer and being teased by the unripe fig bounty in Spain and Italy my dreams have come true, the figs have ripened! Yes it’s fig time in Florida. The funny thing is most people don’t have a clue what to do with a fresh fig. I came across a highly visible fig tree in the neighborhood and introduced myself to the homeowner. The nice old man told me to help myself which I did and have been doing. As I have been picking figs I’ve gotten strange looks from people passing by. Many times I call out, “wanna try a fresh fig?” Most people have hesitated at first but overcome there fears when they see me chomp down on a plump ripe fig. They can hardly believe how good a fresh fig tastes and that it’s just growing there in plain sight.

Figs, which are in the mulberry family, are one of the best fruits to consume fresh or dry. They are a great source of calcium, B6, folic acid, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and potassium. They contain mucin which has a mild laxative effect, the sulfur compound ficin which anti-inflamatory and benzaldehyde which has been shown in studies to shrink tumors. Figs are known to be antiparasitic and antibacterial and a neutralizer of toxins. They are known to deter cravings for sugar, alcohol and drugs. – Referenced from “Rawsome” by Brigitte Mars. I actually ate that whole bowl of figs in the picture and have to say the laxative effect never showed up. Keep in mind I’m a raw fooder and I’m eating fresh fruits and veggies all day and everyday. Be aware that everyone’s reactions to foods are individualized according to there health and level of toxicity. Another side effect of eating all those fresh figs is a raw feeling on my lips and a fuzzy sensation on my tongue which I attribute to the tiny hairs that are on unwashed fresh figs.

Harvest figs that are plump, are dark in color and are bending at the stem. Firm greenish figs need more time on the tree. A ready fig will give a bit when squeezed similar to a hacky sack. The outside of a ripe fig will show vertical cracks and wrinkles as well. When really ripe the figs will fall from the tree and dry on the ground. If you’re brave you can harvest ground figs. Ground figs are super sweet and gooey like jam. There are a variety of bugs that like to get into the figs both on the tree and on the ground. One in particular is worth mentioning, the fig wasp.¬† Fig wasps live symbiotically with the fig tree. They pollinate the tree and lay eggs in some of the figs. I always check suspicious figs to see if there may be buggies inside. I’ve come across trees where I’ve found no bugs in the figs and I’ve also found trees that have critters inside the very ripe figs. I think it has to do with the type of fig tree. Regardless I often check the figs before eating them by splitting them in half starting at the small hole in the bottom. Some folks have extreme bug-o-phobia. Just check your figs first and you’ll be able to enjoy the blessings of fresh figs.

A ripe and ready fig may be likened to another common sack and I’m not talk about the hacky variety this time. It’s funny how the exterior appearance of this fruit is likened to a part of the male anatomy while a cross section of the fruit may be likened to the female anatomy. A beautiful merging of the yin and yang in a delicious package.

I have one more interesting thing regarding the fig I’d like to share. Having studied Spanish in college and also being exposed to Italian on my mother’s side of the family I have often taken creative liberties in forming Spanish and Italian words by adapting them from English words. Doing that with the word “fig” has some interesting results. Using my logic I figured fig in Italian would be “figa”. Not the case… “figa” has several meanings, one is a slang reference to the female genitals, another is slang for a pretty girl and there’s also a variation that means “fanny”. Fig in Italian is “fico”. Keep that in mind when searching for figs in an Italian market. A slip of the tongue may get you slapped or get you a date.

Here’s a super simple fig vinaigrette recipe to keep you skinny and grinning:

1 C dried figs – soaked or 1 1/2 C fresh unsoaked

1/4 C apple cider vinegar

3/4 C water

1 C olive oil

1 t Himalayan or sea salt

Blend all ingredients smooth. Salt to taste. *apricots can be substituted for figs.

Salud, enjoy and Keep it Live!

blog, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Count Down to the European Tour

LFE Euro Tour Map
LFE Euro Tour

April 8th is the big day… I board a plane for Spain, I sure hope it doesn’t rain… I could continue rhyming but I’ll refrain… oops I did it again. Enough already.

Yes, over the Christmas holidays a European tour began to manifest itself. This is an example of the power of manifestation at it’s finest. Toss your line of intention out into the universe and be prepared to land a big one. The story unfolds something like this:

On Dec. 6th I received an email from Gabrielle, an Irish woman who had been a volunteer in the cafe out at The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center back in October of 2007. The email was regarding a wellness retreat in Costa Del Sol, Spain from April 9th-13th.

Spain Retreat Flier

I was like, “cool, I want to go to Spain”. Then I was like, “how the heck can I go to Spain?” So here’s my take on the power of manifestation, for it to work you have to offer yourself up to the universe. So in regards to the fishing analogy I started above, I riggled myself around the hook and tossed myself out into the great unknown as bait. I contacted Gabrielle and I volunteered to work the retreat, knowing well and good that I’d have to fund my way over to Spain and back.

Now another trick with the power of manifesting is letting the universe sort out the worrisome details. These are the details that keep you from taking a leap of faith.

With my line cast I received a brief reply the next day on Dec. 7th from Gabrielle welcoming my offer and putting me on hold until she had more details. This was promising yet there were some blanks that needed to be filled in… the universe fills in the blanks if you allow it to. In the meantime I was preparing for my visit to Canada, so I quickly put the prospect of sunning myself in the South of Spain on the back burner. I was on a plane to Canada on Dec. 20th and was greeted with another email from Gabrielle¬† on Dec. 21st. As she promised she had

Paris Class Flier
Paris Class

more details regarding a work exchange and she also had a pleasant surprise… she suggested I teach a class in Ireland that could offset my travel expenses. The date she had in mind was Sat. April 24th…. nibble, nibble, bite. That’s another fishing reference.

Things kinda snowballed from this point on. There were details regarding dates that needed to be worked out, specifically what I would be doing for the 11 days between the end of the retreat and the class in Ireland. Time to bait the hook again and see what the universe has to offer. This time I contacted another friend from Tree of Life, Arletty. I had been keeping up with her posts on Facebook and knew she had been teaching rawfoods in Europe. After a bit of research I found out she was in Paris, France. I let her know my travel plans and we were able to schedule both a dinner and a class in Paris… Nice! In the meantime Gabrielle had contacted me about teaching another group in Galway after the first class in Wicklow… double nice.

So that’s how the schedule looks at this point. The question marks on the map represent just that… unanswered questions. I have contacted family in Italy, a cousin teaching English in Switzerland and friends living Germany; all of which I’d like to visit… I’m just waiting for the universe to sort out the details. The one detail that is sorted out is my return date, May 13th. Keep your dial tuned to The Live Food Experience for pictures, posts and updates from the European Tour.

In the meantime I’d like to share a quick and easy recipe for making a delicious spread for veggies and firm fruit like apples and pears. I call it Almond Miso Spread… yes, you guessed it. It has almond butter and miso in it.

Almond Miso Spread 2 T Raw Almond Butter

2 t unpasteurized miso

1 t hemp oil or olive oil

1/2 t apple cider vinegar

1/2 t maca

Mix ingredients by hand in a bowl and use as a spread on veggies or use in wraps.

blog, Raw Food Adventures

Viva Italia in Tallahassee

Viva Italia Eggplant Parm
Viva Italia Eggplant Parm

This week I had a blast visiting Tallahassee, FL to teach a live food class and host a dinner. The theme of the evening was Viva Italia which allowed me to connect with my Italian roots in a vegan raw food way. The menu was eggplant Parmesan, bell peppers stuffed with pecan basil pesto, zucchini and squash noodles with a hemp alfredo sauce, a fresh garden salad with sorrel, kale, baby lettuce and a fig tarragon vinaigrette… dessert was a avocado chocolate mousse that was off the charts. Thank you to everyone who helped and all those who attended. I can’t wait to do it again. Enjoy this clip from the festive event.