Greetings boys and girls. It’s been a long time since my last post and I’ve traveled many miles and had lots of experiences since my last days at Camp Rawnora in Michigan.
I was in Patagonia, AZ managing the cafe at The Tree of Life for several months. I enjoyed my brief time in the cafe and living in raw vegan community. Patagonia is a special place and I was fortunate to be there for monsoon season. The desert comes alive when the rains arrive.
I lost my dad to cancer in September of 2015 and returned to Florida to be closer to my remaining family. I’m still grieving and processing his passing. I miss my dad, Mr. Phil. He was my biggest supporter and my raw food buddy. I love you “D”.
Now I’m living in Orlando, consulting full time at a juice bar called Juice’d. I’ve got a garden, fruit trees and even a worm farm. I plan on returning to more frequent posts, videos, recipes and more.
Here’s some onion bread goodness made with a great dehydrator form from my friends who created Easy Chip Products. Check out the video and if you want a form of your own: Tell them “Chef Adam sent me.”
It’s been several weeks since I arrived in Watervliet, Michigan and one thing is for sure… I ain’t in Florida any more. Often times when I travel I convince myself that if I pack certain items of clothing and selectively leave other items behind that I can control the weather. This technique has yet to work. I did pack some “chilly” weather gear just in case though so in actuality I wasn’t 100% committed to my weather control philosophy. I am grateful I did though because it was cold and wet the first week I was here, then it warmed up, then got cold and then got wet and cold. Now it’s just cold. No worries though because I have truly be able to experience a Spring complete with all of its fresh green shoots and wild edibles.
I broke out the foraging books once the sun came out and boy did I find some good stuff. Nettles, wild onion, mustard garlic and chickweed are some of my favorites. I even lucked upon the highly sought after morel mushroom. The funny thing was I practically tripped over them. They were growing in one small area right in front of the front door of where I was staying. 2 weeks have gone by and I haven’t seen a trace of them anywhere else and believe me I’ve been looking. Another awesome thing about my Springtime in Michigan is that they grow tons of asparagus here. I’m crazy about fresh raw asparagus. It actually seems ridiculous to me that anyone would want to cook asparagus knowing just how good it is raw. I’ve been known to put it in the dehydrator after smoothering it in coconut oil and sprinkle it with pink salt and nutritional yeast. That’s good eating I tell you what! And guess what? It’s another prized wild edible and I found one… not some, one. It was delicious too.
Along with the greens there have been an amazing array of flowers coming up, some of them edible like violets and dandelions and others just beautiful. For this post I’m just going to feature the edibles, next post the beautifuls. Here’s a tasty recipe for a wild nettle and onion pecan pesto that will make your big toe shoot out your boot.
Warning: Sting nettles sting… hence the name. It is best to collect them while wearing gloves. The stinging hairs on the nettle plant are neutralized once they have been crushed or food processed. Fresh nettles can be added to green smoothies or used in a pesto recipe like the one below. It also can be dehydrated and used for making nettle tea.
Tis the season for fermenting vegetables… the weather is cooling off in Florida and the cold weather veggies are coming into season. I’m in the process of editing a kimchi making video and I just wanted to share the recipe while I had a chance. This recipe should safely fit into a 1 gallon jar when mashed down.
2 heads of cabbage – save several large outer leaves to cover the finished product
2 large carrots
shred and salt, shred it good and massage salt in so cabbage sweats, you want it juicy.
Puree these ingredients and mix in with cabbage and carrots
1 clove of garlic
3 hot peppers, dry or fresh
3 T fresh ginger
Puree above ingredients and mix in with shredded cabbage.
Stuff cabbage mixture into jar and mash down removing all the air pockets and bring up the juice level.
Place saved cabbage leaves on top of kimchi. Press down completely covering kimchi. Use a ceramic bowl, mug, small plate… anything to weigh down the leaves. You want enough pressure to bring the juice above the level of the kimchi mixture. Get creative, make it work. If all else fails add a mixture of 1 T salt to 1/2 C water. Add enough to bring level up.
Cover with a towel to prevent bugs from getting into it and place in a cool dark place. Check on it regularly. It should be read to refrigerate in a week.
Kimchi and ferments like sauerkraut and miso are great immune boosters and they also help to repopulate your healthy internal flora. Fermented veggies are a daily staple in countries like Korea, China and Japan where cancer rates are much lower. These foods must be unpasteurized. Don’t think you’re getting the benefits from eating a kraut covered hot dog, it ain’t the same. Check out The Body Ecology website for great information about friendly ferments and how they can change your life.
Most of you out there probably weren’t aware that during the summer we were in the midst of a durian drought. Not to worry, the drought is over. For those of you who haven’t been formally introduced to durian or had an official durian experience… allow me to make the introduction:
Durian, commonly referred to as the “King of Fruits” is a tropical fruit that grows on some the oldest living and tallest fruit trees in nature. Durian has 3 properties that make it the King and make it unique: smell, texture and taste.
First off durian has a high sulfur content, which is the chemical that gives garlic, onions and eggs their distinct odor. The potent odor given off by a durian has gotten it banned from public transportation and places like theaters and hotels in Southeast Asia. Don’t be surprised if you hear comments from unschooled observers first encountering durian like, “is there a gas leak?” or “did the cat pee in the corner?” No two durians smell the same and the smell evolves as the fruit ripens as well. It’s this smell that attracts tropical wild life like tigers, orangutan and elephants who are known to savor a good durian.
So if you’ve made it past the smell, now comes the texture. Durian is one of the few fruits having a high fat content like avocado and olives. Durian also has the highest protein content of any fruit. Durian is the total package: fat, protein and sweetness (carbs). No wonder they call it the King. This combination of fat, protein and sweetness give durian the texture of custard when fresh and ice cream when frozen.
It all comes down to flavor and durian is not lacking in that department. In truth, the taste defies all description and any attempt to describe the taste is an injustice that has the potential to deter an individual from having their own durian experience. I’m not going to lie to you, many of the descriptions you will come across regarding the taste of durian is unflattering at the least extreme and hostile at the greatest extreme.
One critic compares Durian to “crème cheese onion sauce and sherry wine” another “its taste can only be described as indescribable, something you’ll either love or despise… Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.” I know what you’re thinking, “why the hell would I want to eat that?” I’m not sure I can persuade you with words. Let me just say I equate eating durian with a religious or shamanic experience. The durian fruit is considered a warming food, stimulant and aphrodisiac. It’s funny that the foods that compliment durian are aphrodisiacs as well like nutmeg, vanilla and cacao. When consuming durian, especially for the first time, preparing yourself and the dining environment is a must. Durian can’t be consumed casually like picking up a slushy at the Quickie Mart. A certain amount of reverence has to be shown to a fruit that weighs in at around 8 pounds and is protected by a hard spiked shell. Light some candles, turn down the lights, put on some tribal rythymns and open your heart and mind. Enjoy this brief video introduction to Durian, the King of Fruits: