Ok, this one caught me off guard. I am typically not a big ‘vegan raw food’ person (the amount of steak and ground beef that I eat should speak well to that point). However, I do enjoy experimenting with alternative, grain-free flours and natural sweeteners, so some of the raw foods really do pique my interest. Cashews soaked overnight and pureed make a really convincingly creamy non-dairy cream (and, uh, it’s tasty). Coconut flour and flax meal pancakes are more delicious to me than the typical fluffy-but-flavorless gut-bomb buttermilk flapjacks (though I still love fake maple syrup, and yes I am embarrassed at that). Some of those things really are worth exploring.
Raw foods do have a place in my heart. Especially the people and cuisine associated with Café Gratitude, a group of organic, vegan, mostly raw restaurants in California. I had the fortune of photographing a wedding a few years ago for a couple very good friends of mine who are deeply involved with the Café Gratitude community, and naturally they had all Gratitude creations for the meals.
The food was phenomenal.
After a first night of celebration in the house where the wedding party was residing, we awoke the next morning to raw sprouted buckwheat granola with homemade almond milk, fresh young coconuts, cold brew coffee, and a variety of other amazing, nourishing foods. I was pretty blown away, never having enjoyed anything like that. Needless to say the rest of the food at the wedding was equally mind blowing, and introduced me to a new way of thinking about living without gluten, dairy or refined sugar. Combining those raw, vegan creations with my own culinary affections for meat (lots of it) has led me to a food-place that feels, and tastes, fantastic. Raw kale salad with tahini dressing and sprouted pepitas alongside a red-chile rubbed buffalo sirloin? Que bueno. I sincerely thank the raw foods hippies for discovering these alternatives that people like me, who don’t do very well with grain, dairy and sugar, can enjoy and actually feel really good.
So when I had a pang of craving for key lime pie last week, I decided to look into any raw recipes that might be floating around the interwebs. When I found the Café Gratitude recipe published online for their “I Am Awakening” (all their menu titles are similar affirmations) key lime pie, and flashed back to the food at that wedding in Northern California years ago, I decided to go for it. I typically don’t make sweet things (cause I uh, eat all of it usually within the hour…), but I had to give this a try.
I am completely addicted. Some much so that I was planning to take the half that’s left to a party last night and I kinda might have left it in the fridge. It was unintentional, but I think subconsciously I really want to horde it. I really am grateful for this key lime pie!
“I Am Awakening” Key Lime Pie
Recipe from “adventurewellness.com”, adapted from The Café Gratitude cookbook.
• 1 1/4 cups pecans
• 1 1/4 cups macadamias or walnuts (I used walnuts)
• 1/4 cup finely chopped dates
• 1/4 tsp vanilla
• 1/8 tsp unrefined sea salt (plus I sprinkled a sparse layer of sea salt – really like a pinch or two – over the crust when it was in the pie pan but before adding the filling. I can’t stay away from sweet and salty!)
• 3/4 cup lime juice (or cut with lemon juice for a “lemon lime” version) (I used all lime juice)
• 1 cup avocado (approx. 2 avocados)
• 1/2 cup agave, honey, &/0r maple syrup (I used raw honey)
• 1/3 cup coconut milk
• 1/2 tsp vanilla
• 1/8 tsp unrefined sea salt
• 2 Tbsp lecithin
• 1/2 cup coconut butter
• 1/2 tsp “green” veggie/grass powder (optional for a greener color) (I left this out – it was green enough with the avo!)
For the crust, process the ingredients for the crust in a food processor with the “S” blade attachment, until small and crumbly. Press into greased (with coconut butter) 9-inch pie pan.
For the filling, blend all ingredients except lecithin and coconut butter in the same food processor (no need to clean it after making the crust), until smooth. Add lecithin and coconut butter, blending until well incorporated. Pour into prepared crust and freeze for 1 hour, or until firm.
(I have been keeping it in the freezer because I love how it tastes super-cold, but keeping it in the fridge is a logical option as well.)