Tag Archives: adam graham

Chef Franky G’s Food Challenge 2010

On Saturday I was having a little meditation session, you know quiet time, OK, I was napping while sitting up. While in this peaceful nap state I was thinking about an “Iron Chef” type challenge show that featured rawfood chefs, but not so much a competition as a collaboration. It was a pleasant little concept. When I finished my daydream I checked my email to see that my little dream had come true… to a certain extent, in the form of Food Challenge 2010 from Chef Frank Giglio. First off, let me tell you about Frank Giglio. Frank is an amazing chef, athlete and an all around swell guy. He was the first apprentice to greet me when I stumbled into the dorms at The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in the dark of night… actually there was another apprentice there as well, but Frank was my roomie for the last few weeks of his apprenticeship, so he gets top billing. That was back in September of 2007. Franky was offered a managing chef position at the TOL cafe and it was during that time that he taught me a thing or two about cheffing Franky G style… beet pesto, who would have thought it would taste so good?

So what’s the Food Challenge 2010? Here’s an excerpt from his site:

Take a look into your cupboard or fridge and pick a few ingredients that you don’t know how to use, or that need to be used up.  With the list, I will then create a recipe for you.  You then try it out, maybe take a picture, then send it back to me.  If the dish was a hit, then I get a thumbs up!

So I’m sending out my challenge in video form to Chef Frank. If he wants to send one back I welcome it. And for those of you at home… send in your challenge to me or Frank if you’d like.

Keep It Live!  Adam

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The Live Food Experience… In your very own kitchen!

Recently I prepared an in home dinner for 4 in Jacksonville, Florida. I have to say this is one of my favorite ways of introducing people to the magic of living foods. I’ve done a few these dinners in the past they all have been a great success. Most of the time there is a skeptic in the bunch or at least someone who doubts they will enjoy or feel satisfied with the meal. So far I’ve been able to leave everyone satiated, satisfied and smiling. Now there’s no telling whether or not they throw a pot pie in the microwave or thaw out a pizza once I’m out the door.

Thai Miso Soup

The menu from the other evening began with Thai style miso soup. Here’s the basic procedure:

  1. Start by warming 3 Cups filtered water on the stove, not boiling just hot to touch.
  2. Transfer the water to a blender. I had brought my Vitamix but any blender will do.
  3. Add 3 T of unpasteurized miso.  I used my favorite chick pea miso from South River Miso to make the broth. Add 1/2 an avocado, 1/2 or a full bell pepper (yellow preferred), 1 T of Thai Curry Spice from Mountain Rose Herbs,1-2 cloves of garlic, 2 t lime juice and 1-2 t of fresh ginger..
  4. Blend for for 30 seconds.
  5. Cut up some fresh basil add to blender and blend for 5 seconds.
  6. Pour into cups and add fresh cucumber batons, shredded carrot and bell pepper chunks.
  7. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

Next on the menu was a veggie medley Pad Thai creation. I used kelp noodles from Sea Tangle Noodle Co., spiralized zucchini and carrots and diced jicama to make the noodles. The sauce consisted of:

  • almond butter
  • water
  • unpasteurized miso
  • tamari
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • palm sugar
  • ginger
  • hot pepper

Pad Thai with Almond Miso Sauce

I’m a big fan of this sauce. To me it’s good enough to drink straight. After I blend up a batch I swish water in the bottom of the blender and drink what’s left. Nothing goes to waste in the live food kitchen.

Dessert was the next order of business. I like to keep things delicious and easy at these dinner parties. I chose to make a mango banana sorbet. The sorbet is a easy 1, 2 recipe… 1. cut up and freeze fruit 2. pass frozen fruit through a masticating juicer with the blank plate… done.

I did make a special sauce to top the sorbet with. It was an agave cinnamon sauce. It consisted of:

  • agave
  • maple syrup
  • almond butter
  • agave powder
  • cinnamon
  • salt

I blended this mixture and put it in a squirt bottle. The agave came across very sweet to me and in the future I’d probably make this again with soaked dates or palm sugar instead of agave… regardless, it was still delicious! Schedule a Dinner Experience in your home today.

Making Sorbet

Mango Banana Sorbet

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Apple Buckwheat Breakfast

unsprouted buckwheat

Sprouted buckwheat is a really magical food. Most people know buckwheat in terms of buckwheat pancakes but sprouted buckwheat ain’t the same thing. Buckwheat isn’t even a grain like the name “wheat” might imply. It’s a “achene” which is a technical term you can investigate. For simplicity sake let’s just call it a seed that is unrelated to wheat therefore having no gluten. Buckwheat flour used for baking and raw buckwheat groats are unsprouted and contain enzyme inhibitors which need to cooked or sprouted to deactivate. Newbie rawfooders may initially have a bad experience working with buckwheat if they don’t sprout it. Buckwheat needs to be thoroughly rinsed, soaked and sprouted. Check out this post regarding sprouting buckwheat.

Once you have sprouted the buckwheat you have a very versatile ingredient for food prep. Don’t be shy when sprouting buckwheat. The sprouted groats can be dehydrated and stored for later use in recipes.

sprouted buckwheat

Buckwheat can have a dominant flavor and texture if not used in the right proportions. When I use it in granola  I typically add 3 times the amount of nuts or seeds to buckwheat in the recipe. You’ll know if you have too much buckwheat in a recipe because it will taste bland and have a chalky feel in the mouth.

Buckwheat is a warming food which makes it a great breakfast option during cold months. It is high in calcium and also a great source of rutin which helps to strengthen capillaries. If you bruise easily or are wanting to rid yourself of varicose veins, add buckwheat to your diet.

Here’s a quick and easy buckwheat recipe. I used apple for this version but banana or pear can easily be substituted. I added hemp oil to give the porridge the satisfying effect when fats are added to a recipe. You can add a thick nut or seed mylk instead or a nut butter. Have fun with the recipe and adapt it to your liking.

Sprouted Buckwheat Apple Porridge

¼ C sprouted buckwheat

3 T shredded coconut

1 apple – cut up

2 T gojis or raisins – mix in at end

1 T maple syrup, honey or agave

1 T sweet cinnamon or 1 t cinnamon

1 T mesquite

1 T hemp oil

1 t maca

pinch of Himalayan salt

Combine in all ingredients except for raisins/gojis in food processor.

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Maple Chia Porridge

Got Snow?

My visit to Canada introduced me to many new flavors and experiences. Aside from the obvious differences between Northern Ontario and North Florida, like the weather and landscape, there was chaga tea, maple syrup and my new favorite ingredient maple butter; a creamy maple product made from cooking down the maple syrup, cooling it and then whipping it. Though maple syrup is a cooked product I feel that it is an acceptable addition to my kitchen quiver of ingredients. I’m already gadgeting ideas in my head of confectionery creations that I can make with maple products. Recently I made this yummy chia porridge using the ingredients listed:

  • 1/2 C chaga tea
  • 3 T chia
  • 2 T gojis
  • 1 T maple butter or agave, palm sugar
  • 1 T hemp butter or your favorite raw nut/seed butter
  • 1 T vanilla water -soaked vanilla beans blended in water
  • 1 T maca blend – maca, lucuma, mesquite, cinnamon
  • 1/4 C hot water
  • pinch of Himalayan salt

For this recipe you can use your favorite tea. Something with a bit of spice to it might be nice. Chaga has a mild and slight vanilla taste. Soak the chia and gojis in the tea or water in a bowl for a half hour. You can set things up to soak the night before and have it waiting for you in the morning. Take 1/4 C of the soaked chia and goji mixture and add it to the blender, add the hot water, hemp butter, vanilla, maca blend and salt. Blend smooth and add mixture to the chia mix remaining in the bowl. Mix everything together. You can sprinkle hemp seeds and cacao nibs on top.

That’s it, a yummy, warming, healthy, vegan breakfast creation that will blow your mind.

Maple Chia Porridge

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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

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Saving the World Vegan Style

logo

Recently I was inspired to submit an entry into the “One Minute to Save the World” contest. It’s a video contest where contestant have the opportunity to submit a 1 minute video that shares there message on how to save the world. I chose the topic of “going vegan” as an easy way to create paradise on earth. The medium I chose was in the form of a rap tune. Gary Pfeffer used his video and composition skills to put together a soundtrack and the video for the project.

I’ll tell you upfront that I’m no singer and although I sang on this video I was not willing to do it in front of the camera. This created a unique situation… who was going to be on the video? With the help of my friend Whitney the solution manifested in the form of puppets. With a visit to Jo-Ann Fabrics and a little guidance I threw together some cool puppets to share this vegan message.

da puppets

Puppet Master

Gary pulled out all the stops in creating this video, even going so far as to purchase a couple fast food burgers to drop into the toilet in the slow-mo finale of the video. This might not seem like a big deal but for a raw vegan the idea of standing in line at a fast food restaurant and ordering a burger is enough to turn my stomach… though it was only 5 years ago that I was chowing 1/4 pounders and dying from the inside out.

To bring it home we added the seductive appeal of eating naturally for the health of the planet by including a cameo appearance from the Raw Dessert Goddess, Heathy Pace… those grapes never had it so good.

DSC00453

On the set of "Be the Change" music video

So how can refining your dietary choices change the planet? Can reducing your consumption of animal based products really save the planet? Once you look at the facts the answer is an unequivocal “YES”! Here’s another bonus; consuming less animal products and increasing your intake of whole foods and organic fruits and vegetables will dramatically change your health for the better… who needs universal healthcare if everyone is healthy? Here’s a few facts for you to digest while considering what impact your personal choices on the rest of the world:

Global Impact Facts:

  • Percentage of raw materials consumed in U.S. for all purposes presently consumed to produce current meat-centered diet: 33
  • Percentage of raw materials consumed in U.S. for all purposes needed to produce fully vegetarian diet: 2
  • User of more than half of all water used for all purposes in the United States: Livestock production
  • Quantity of water used in the production of the average cow sufficient to: float a destroyer
  • Water needed to produce 1 pound of wheat: 25 gallons
  • Water needed to produce 1 pound of meat: 2,500 gallons
  • Cost of common hamburger meat if water used by meat industry was not subsidized by U.S. taxpayers: $35/pound
  • Current cost for pound of protein from wheat: $1.50
  • Current cost for pound of protein from beefsteak: $15.40
  • Cost for pound of protein from beefsteak if U.S. taxpayers ceased subsidizing meat industry’s use of water: $89
  • Production of excrement by total U.S. human population: 12,000 pounds/second
  • Production of excrement by U.S. livestock: 250,000 pounds/second
  • Sewage systems in U.S. cities: Common
  • Sewage systems in U.S. feedlots: Nil
  • Amount of waste produced annually by U.S. livestock in confinement operations which is not recycled: 1 billion tons
  • Relative concentration of feedlot wastes compared to raw domestic sewage: Ten to several hundred times more highly concentrated
  • Where feedlot waste often ends up: In our water
  • Amount of wells and surface streams in the U.S. contaminated by agricultural pollutants: half

Health Facts:

  • Amount you reduce your risk of heart attack by reducing your consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs 10%: 9%
  • Amount you reduce your risk of heart attack by reducing your consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs 50%: 45%
  • Amount you reduce your risk of heart attack by reducing your consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs 100%: 90%
  • Rise in blood cholesterol from consuming 1 egg per day: 12%
  • Rise in heart attack risk from 12% rise in blood cholesterol: 24%

This link will take you to where I found these not so tasty facts about the impact of our personal choices.

Check out the final product below. Please go to the site and Vote on your favorite videos and add comments as well.

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Durian is back on the menu

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:

Meet Durian: King of Fruits

Meet Durian: King of Fruits

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.

What's that smell?

What's that smell?

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:

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