Here I am! With raw white chocolate hearts for everyone, to make up for being the most absent blogger in history! School and my beloved thesis have been keeping me quite occupied since... September. But many lovely food adventures have taken place since then. Like over Christmas, when the brilliant Jeffery, founder of Rawesome Foods, not only let me in his magnificent workshop of a kitchen, but let me (having no experience in chocolate making OR raw dessert making) create my own chocolate recipe. The fudge (which, admittedly, I had envisioned as solid chocolate but which decided to incarnate as fudge at some point during its birth) was incredibly rich and delicious and sweet and gooey, with heavenly cranberry and orange infused throughout. Being sweetened only with agave nectar (and man, does Jeffery ever choose his ingredients with absolute food snobbery! The best of the best! This agave was clear and pure and rich) it was too sweet for some refined raw foodist palates... but no sweeter than any fudge or white chocolate you might have out on the table at Christmas... just purer, and silkier... talk about melting in your mouth...
Anyway, the point is not that the fudge was awesome. (Though it clearly was.) It is that raw food is fascinating. Btw, I don't remember the quantities anymore, or the solution we had come up with for making a future batch into solid bars of chocolate, but the ingredients for my fudge were cocoa butter, agave syrup, cashews, almonds, dried cranberries and orange rind. Simple and beautiful, like all raw food! The idea with raw food is to retain all the energy and life in the food we eat by keeping all the wonderful little enzymes in tact. In order to do this, the food is not cooked, or heated beyond 116 degrees F. Food preparation, then, involves special tools and methods. We melted the cocoa butter painfully slowly in double boiler fashion (only the cocoa butter sat over a bowl of warm water on the counter instead of boiling water on a stove). We made cashew paste by running it through a fancy juicer attachment. Jefferey told me about how raw food at its most pure is not even pureed in a normal blender as the style of its blades oxidizes the food too much, thus destroying more enzymes. Not that the home cook who wants to integrate more living foods into their diet needs to worry about all this. The whole idea here is simplicity. But it sure is nice to have a friend running a thriving raw snacks and sweets business, who goes to all the trouble of preserving all the goodness of every wonderful organic ingredient for you. For the record, my grandmother is hooked on the raw chocolate chip cookies, and I'm in love with the cherry fruit leather.
As I was telling Swamiji about how interesting it was to see how the Rawesome kitchen operated he replied that it is fascinating, and that all this wealth of knowledge about food was known in ancient times, was found in ayurveda, but it has been (almost) forgotten, and now is the time to bring it back!
I could not agree more.