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Nourished By Mother Nature

Posted Aug 17 2010 10:41am
That lovely sunset is compliments of Mother Nature and Aruba. Betchya didn't even know I had snuck away, did ya? Yes, my Hungarian clan descended upon this tropical paradise to witness the nuptials of my niece. I fear this charming little Dutch island will never be the same. Ooooooh boy!
Anyways, before I left, the temperature and humidity here were actually bearable enough to venture out for a hike. Sadly, the heat index has prevented my Siberian husky and I from enjoying one of our favorite summertime activities, so we jumped at the chance to frolic in the woods for an afternoon.

As so often happens on our excursions, we were met by nature's bounty, ripe for the picking. I've written before about foraging for wild edibles, and really, it is the BEST feeling when you chance upon a smorgasbord, laid out by Mother Nature herself.

Today's find: wild blackberries and elderberries. Score!

When I returned from our adventure, I sent out this tweet:

The overwhelming consensus from the Twitterverse: make berry cobbler!

Okay, you don't have to twist my arm.

Setting the elderberries aside for now, I had some fresh figs from my brother's tree – this magical tree is crazy with fruit this year, it just won't quit – that I thought would make a nice addition to a crust. No fresh figs? No worries. Substitute pitted dates instead. Not a traditional berry cobbler by any means, but I've never been much of a traditionalist.

Wild Blackberry Cobbler

Cream
1 1/2 C raw cashew nuts
1 1/8 C filtered water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 C local raw honey (or agave nectar )
1 vanilla bean, scraped


Place cashews, 1 cup water, salt, honey, and vanilla in a blender. Blend on high speed for about a minute. Add a little more water and blend until smooth and creamy. Place in refrigerator to settle. (NOTE: the cream may seem runny at first, but once refrigerated it thickens)

Crust
1/2 C pecans
1/4 C flax seed, ground
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 fresh ripe figs (can substitute 3-4 pitted dates), chopped


Fit the food processor with the S-blade and mix until combined and crumbly. Don't over process.

Berry Filling
16 oz blackberries
splash of fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp local raw honey (can substitute agave nectar)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt


Set aside half of the berries. Combine the other half with honey, cinnamon, sea salt, and a splash of orange juice in a food processor or blender until smooth.

To Assemble
1. Cover the bottom of your favorite lil' bowl or ceramic ramekin with crumble, pressing gently to form a crust.
2. Pour in a nice dollop of cashew cream.
3. Spoon berry filling into the center of the cream, top off with some whole berries, and serve.
4. Eat. Die. Go to heaven.

Such an easy, elegant dessert to serve your dinner guests in the summer. I enjoyed it as is, but you could also pop the ramekins into the dehydrator and warm before serving.

As for the elderberries, you'll have to check back on Friday to find out what I made with them. Tease, I know.
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