Winter has well established itself here in Michigan with snow on the ground and temperatures below freezing. It seems that only a week ago I was trekking through the Rawnora landscape in search of pawpaws. What’s a pawpaw you say? That’s a fair question to ask considering this native fruit is relatively new to me as well.
Pawpaw, Latin name asimina triloba, is the largest indigenous fruit in North America. The pear-sized fruit resembles a light green mango in appearance though some fruit bulge at each end looking more like a green Mr. Peanut. The flesh of the fruit it light yellow and has smooth custard like consistency. Each fruit contains 6 to12 black seeds. Pawpaw’s flavor reminds me of banana and mango with hints of vanilla. Some local names given to this native food are Ozark banana, Indiana banana, wild banana, Kentucky banana, banango… Are you noticing a pattern?
There are multiple varieties of wild growing pawpaw. Their fruits vary in size, color, skin thickness, flavor and number of seeds. Here at the camp we are fortunate enough to have a very juicy and tasty variety of pawpaw. The closest relative of the pawpaw grows in the tropics. Pawpaw is related to soursop, sweetsop cherimoya and other Annonaceae family trees… all of which I love to eat. Unfortunately these guys only grow far, far away.
Both the pawpaw tree and fruit have complex chemical properties that have both health and agricultural applications. Compounds known as acetogenins in the leaves, twigs and bark of the pawpaws are a natural insecticide and show anti-cancer properties. Pawpaw fruit is higher in protein than most fruits and is also rich in fatty acids. Caprylic acid (octanoic acid) in pawpaw fruits is a compound shown effective against bacteria infection and is also used in supplements taken to suppress candida.
Enjoy this pawpaw hunting video from October of this year and stay tuned for my next post where I’ll show you how to make a pawpaw pie.
This month I caught a glimpse of a highway billboard featuring an over-sized Shamrock Shake and it made me think of the dark days when ignorance was bliss and industrial waste was food. Those days are gone but not forgotten and I imagine that the Shamrock Shake of my youth was actually a little healthier than the current incarnation. Regardless, I was inspired to make a recipe that is a tribute to the green minty sludge I was so eager to drink down in my youth. This version is made with all top shelf ingredients and is possibly a shake you could thrive on for the rest of your life.
Keep in mind I have switched out petro-chemical food coloring, polysorbate 80, wood pulp, sodium benzoate and mono/poly-glycerides with real food ingredients. Besides, I wouldn’t even know which aisles of the grocery store to find sodium benzoate and polysorbate 80.
I’d like to extend an open invitation for all of you out there to visit me at Camp Rawnora, a raw food wellness center in Watervliet, Michigan. Weekend retreats start in April. Find out all the details at the Camp Rawnora website.
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
Add agave to running food processor until crust binds
Press crust into a spring form or pie dish. Placing wax paper.
Flatten crust in the middle and work it up the sides of the pan
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
Blend the hemp seeds, vanilla and water smooth.
Add remaining ingredients saving the coconut oil for last.
Add coconut oil while the blender is running. The mixture must be slightly warm.
Let mixture cool before pouring it into the crust.
Allow to set in the freezer for 1 hour.
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
Blend water and almond butter smooth.
Add agave, maple syrup, maca and salt while blending.
Continue by adding the cacao powder and agave powder.
Finish by adding the cacao butter to the blender while it is running.
Stop and scrape down the sides of the blender and continue to blend until the mixture is consistent.
Allow mixture to cool before pouring it into the crust.
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.
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!
Adam here, sending out a quick post to let everyone know the New and Improved “Live Food Experience” is live. My favorite addition is the “video” page which has all of my Youtube videos in one place. There’s also something really cool in the “store”… actually it’s the only thing in the store at the moment. It’s a free ebook highlighting my journey into live foods and featuring over 20 recipes. I’d love to hear your feedback regarding both the site and the ebook.
Some excitement stuff going on tonight down in Daytona Beach. I will be attending the Avant Garden event hosted by The Art Army and a guy named Perego. Sounds interesting, huh? If that isn’t enough I will be putting together a vegan raw/live food buffet at Julian’s Land Mark Restaurant in Ormond Beach, FL; famous for their steak and seafood.
The buffet will feature a Pad Thai style dish with an almond miso sauce, pesto stuffed bell peppers and chocolate mousse.
It should be quite an experience… more posts to come. Keep it Live!