Here’s a quick post featuring 2 recipes I recently put together for a Raw Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck at Camp Rawnora. We had a wonderful turnout with raw dishes that were delish and beautiful. Some of the simplest dishes are the best like a corn chip and guacamole combo that one guest brought. Being the host I had to step up my game and turn out some dishes that were beyond delicious… I prepared a variation of Cafe Gratitude’s Pumpkin Pie recipe from their amazing recipe book I Am Grateful, also found in their dessert recipe book Sweet Gratitude. These books are the foundation for most of the raw food chef’s that are emerging each day. Master the recipes in these 2 books and you don’t need a chef training course… though it’s nice to get some instruction from a seasoned chef.
Stuffing (aka: dressing) and Gravy were my 2 other menu items. Both of which I had a vague idea of how I’d reverse engineer them. For the stuffing I was looking for some way to keep it light and avoid making a nut gut bomb. A combo of almonds, walnuts and marinated portabello mushrooms was my solution. The way I did this recipe may be prohibitive for those wanting to do something quick and easy because I had stockpiled dried marinated portabella mushrooms which most people don’t have on hand. Here’s the trick… get dried mushrooms for the recipe and just add the ingredients that are in the marinade to the recipe like so…
If anyone has taken a class or worked with me in the kitchen you know how I love to “sweat” veggies and use the juice that is removed in other recipes like soups and sauces. With the dressing/stuffing we’re sweating the veggies and using the juice in the gravy recipe. This keeps our stuffing from being soggy and this also adds flavor to our gravy.
With the recipes out of the way, now it’s time for shameless self-promotion… If you liked these recipes you’re going to love the 13 recipes featured in the Raw 2012 Calendar from Camp Rawnora. Full color pictures and some amazing raw recipes to get you through the year… $10 to start with discounts for multiple orders.
Start off 2012 with a health retreat in Jamaica. Join me (Chef Adam Graham) and Chef John Rasmussen in Jamaica for a 8 day 7 night retreat (January 7-14th).
I’m off again on another adventure. This time I loaded up the car and headed north, final destination Watervliet, Michigan. Before I got on the road I needed to gather provisions for my travels. As food prices continue to rise I continue to take advantage of the natural abundance that gets ignored and overlooked. Eventually people will wake up to the abundance in their yards but until then it’s just more for me.
Mid April is harvest time for delicious and abundant wild fruits in Florida: mulberries and loquats. If you know what to look for, mulberry trees become a popular part of the landscape. They grow all across the world in both temperate and subtropical climates. I recall feasting on backyard mulberries when I was 8 years old in Chicago and now I do the same thing in Florida. The red/black mulberry is easy to spot by looking for the dark fruits littering and staining the ground. They also fill the bellies of birds that feed upon the berries. When the birds are dropping purple windshield bombs you know it’s mulberry season. Black mulberries are another quality “purple food” that is loaded with the antioxidant anthocyanin . Mulberry trees are in the Moraceae family which also include fig and breadfruit trees. One of the cool things about harvesting mulberries is that all that is needed to collect the fruit is a gentle nudge from your fingertip. When the berries are ripe a gentle breeze or the shaking of the branch will drop them from the tree. Armed with a container in one hand and an extended finger, I nudge the darkest berries. The ones that are ripe just fall into the container and if they hold on to the tree they aren’t ready to harvest. Using this method has allowed me to harvest a couple pounds of berries in a half hour. Be aware, tiny little insects called thrips are often on many of the berries. They’re hardly noticeable unless you really look. If you have an aversion to eating bugs, be sure to submerge the berries for a half hour and then rinse and drain them before eating. Enjoy them on their own or in a fruit salad. Freeze extras to add to smoothies or to make sorbet/ice cream. Use fresh mulberries to give a basic salad dressing a purple twist like we did with this kale salad.
Loquat is the second Spring time treat down in Florida and in other states and countries with a similar climate. Loquat trees are a very common decorative tree in Florida, funny thing is is that few people make an effort to eat them. They are also called Japanese or Chinese plum. There are a lot of wild growing foods that we overlook and waste in the States. Mulberries, figs and loquat top the list. That same loquat that goes unpicked and gets devoured by birds in Florida I’ve seen for sale in markets in Taiwan, France and Italy. It’s such a traditional food in Italy that my Italian grandmother used to climb up on the patio furniture (in her 80’s) to harvest “nespola” from my aunt’s pool side tree in San Diego. She didn’t know what they were called in English but she knew you could eat them. So now I carry on the tradition and feast upon the loquats whenever they’re in season. Loquat are in the Rosaceae family and are not related to kumquats which is a citrus fruit. The Rosaceae family includes roses, apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries and all of the stone fruits. The seeds of apples, stone fruits and even loquat contain trace amounts of cyanogenic glycosides which break down into cyanide when digested. Don’t worry though, you would need to eat a ridiculous amount of the bitter tasting seeds to cause any ill effects. Some argue that this cyanide compound has anti-cancer properties but that’s something you’ll have to research yourself.
With my van packed and provisions harvested I plotted a course for Michigan but first I had a stop in Atlanta, GA for a durian night meetup with Raw Food Atlanta. A few days prior I connected with the group through through meetup.com online but I had also met some of the members at Raw Spirit Fest in Maryland back in 2009. Kent put me up in his guest room and hosted a durian night with the meetup group. I was also able to reconnect with Dr. Sam (Samuel A. Mielcarski, DPT) who is a regular speaker and mentor in the raw food world. He gave me a copy of his wellness handbook Revolutionary Rehab Manual and I hooked him up with a copy of my book Zen and the Art of Gadgeting. I’m getting ahead of myself though, before arriving at durian night I first had to procure a durian. Kent gave me the low down on where to get the best deals on durians and all my other bulk produce needs: Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market in Decatur, GA. This place is The Promised Land for raw foodies and fresh food lovers alike. It’s a Home Depot sized produce market, unbelievable. Unfortunately they don’t allow pictures to be taken inside, but that didn’t stop me from snapping a few picts outside. The place was unbelievable and so were the prices. I was able to get: 1 jackfruit(6.7lb), 1 durian(5.4lb), 10lb organic oranges, 10 mangoes, 4 avocados, 2 lbs organic dates, 1 lb cashews, 2 lbs of pecans for $60. In hindsight I should have loaded my van to the gills but that’s all I got. At Kent’s house there were more durians waiting… at least 8 in total for a meetup with that many people. Needless to say we didn’t finish all the durian but we had a good time trying.
The next morning I visited one of the local farmer’s markets with Kent and Dr. Sam. We visited fellow meetup member Brian selling coconut macaroons at the farmer’s market. He recently launched The Macaroon Company which provides delicious organic, gluten-free, dairy-free treats in a variety of flavors. He hooked me up with a bag of chocolate orange macaroons that made my big toe shoot out my boot… good stuff.
After the market I dropped by Dr. Sam’s home and backyard garden and fruit orchard. He gave me a tour, showing off all his fruit trees. He was especially proud of his almond trees that already had fruit on them. It was about noon when I got on the road, leaving the South. A check of the weather revealed that I made a wise decision to pack my cold weather gear. My final destination greeted me with 40 degree temperatures and wet conditions… looks like I get to do Spring all over again in Michigan. Check back for my next post on Wild Foraging. More tasty treats growing abundantly in the wild. Until next time… Keep it Live!
Things are winding down in San Diego after an amazing raw food demo organized by the San Diego County Raw Vegan Meetup group. 20 healthy and happy folks were in attendance at a lovely location in Rancho Sante Fe. I’m not kidding when I say “lovely”… beautiful, exquisite and luxurious are also words that come to mind when I think of the amazing kitchen I had the opportunity to demo in. The home owner who hosted the event, Julie, has her own business selling eco-friendly personal utensil kits called “MyTensils”. Take a look at the varieties of travel sets that she has on her site. The utensils are made of light weight super strong titanium and a variety of stylish hemp fabric holsters. I have to extend thanks to Erika as well who is the meetup group organizer. She works with chef Perkunas at VeggieVibes.net. They offer a weekly menu of raw and vegan cooked food delivered to your door… in San Diego. And my last shout out goes my dear friend Robyn who put me in touch with Erika and got things rolling for this demo to manifest. Robyn hooked me up with this demo, a place to stay and even a surfboard so I could get water time while in San Diego. Much love to this West Coast Crew that made this demo happen.
Featured recipes were the Apple-Avo Gadget and Coco-Banana Gadget, both recipes are in my book Zen and the Art of Gadgeting. I also demoed an almond miso spread which I turned into a soup along with a hemp miso sauce which we poured on top of kelp and zucchini noodles. There was enough yummy raw food goodness to go round and round and round.
Fun, food and information were at the heart of the demo and while me and the kitchen crew put together noodle bowls, the guests watched a DVD featuring Viktoras Kulvinskas. For those of you not familiar with Viktoras he’s one of the pillars of the raw food community. He founded Hippocrate’s Health Institute with Ann Wigmore back in the day and published a “must read” book, Survival in the 21st Century. The DVD was recorded at a lecture he gave in Palm Coast, Florida in October of 2009. It’s packed with useful information about health and longevity and is available for purchase online.
Stayed tuned for my next post which will feature raw pizza and Egyptian pie that Robyn and I made on my last day in San Diego… Keep it Live!
The Live Food Experience is on the road again. This time I went to Raw Spirit Festival in Prescott, AZ and now I’m in San Diego to see family, friends, surf and teach a class. At Raw Spirit Fest I teamed up with my friend Savrah of “Savrakraut” and we were vendors. Our booth featured kelp noodles with a hemp miso sauce and 6 different kinds of sauerkraut. Savrah is a good friend from back in Tree of Life days. Currently she lives in LA where she makes her hand-crafted fermented veggies. The flavors we featured at the fest were classic, kimchi, lemon garlic dill, fennel, garlic pickled veggies and goji Chinese 5 spice. During the festival I also taught a food prep demo. The fest was a good time but unfortunately attendance was pretty low. It almost seemed like staff, vendors and volunteers out numbered guests. In the end I was able to make my money back from the fest but it is unlikely that I’ll be a vendor in the future.
Why the low attendance? For one thing Raw Spirit Fest is a niche event so many mainstream people just can’t bring themselves to attend. Another reason may be that this years line up of speakers and presenters was pretty bland. On top of all that the biggest name at the event Viktoras Kulvinskas canceled due to a “family emergency”. Oh yeah, and the Longevity Conference with David Wolfe was the exact same weekend. You add all of these factors together and you have quite a challenge on your hands. No regrets though. I really enjoyed myself and made some new friends, like Bud from the Arizona health department who resembled a cross between Matt Damon and Ron Howard. He paid us quite a compliment in trying our food… which he enjoyed. Most everyone enjoyed Savrah’s kraut and the kelp noodles. We actually sold out of noodles on the last day.
After the fest I headed to San Diego where we arrived at 2am. A slight hiccup in plans had me back in LA the next day and evening. While there I was able to catch up with an old friend (Hara) who I had met in Chicago years ago. She’s an actor, writer and director who has been slugging it out in the LA trenches for the past 10 years. We spent the evening catching up and the next morning I caught a ride back to San Diego with a rideshare that was listed on Craigslist.
Once back in San Diego at my friend Robyn’s place I was able to relax. I threw together a kale spinach salad dinner with Robyn and her roomie and that evening I dreamed of West Coast surf… The next morning after an early morning green juice, my dreams came true. I headed down to Swami’s in Encinitas and surfed Robyn’s 10 foot long board. I’ve never paddled a board this big but it treated me just fine. Next up, more surf and a raw food demo on Saturday for the San Diego County Raw Foods Meetup group.
Here’s the recipe for the delicious hemp miso sauce that was on the kelp noodles we served:
1/2 C hemp seeds
2 T miso – unpasteurized
1 orange, peeled
1/4 C olive oil
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 cloves of garlic
2 t fresh ginger
salt to taste
Blend all the ingredients smooth. Add water if too thick.