Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tools of the Trade

Well, I don't know where I would be without my handy gadgets. I have found that it makes a BIG difference in the taste depending on the gadget used and HOW that gadget was used. I suppose I should run down my list of handy dandy rawkin gadgets before I launch into the differences in their utilization.

My biggest handy dandy items is my 9 tray dehydrator. It's big and has mesh sheets that are square and it can dehydrate at several temps making it easier to adjust depending on what I am making. I also got 9 teflex sheets to use which increased the original purchase amount but was worth it in saving me lots of hastle with saran wrap or wax paper. They are reuseable, easy to wash and quite multi functional. The dehydrator sits on my counter and when it is turned on the fan can be annoying until you learn to tune it out a bit but I am glad I got the 9 tray because I try to fill it up and then run it instead of doing a little bit and a little bit more and a little bit more. Last night and all day today all 9 trays were pretty much full. I think it is more economical and less electricity to load it up reather then doing little bits at a time and leaving it running. It cost more at first but I think I am saving more by doing that. Could be my own delusions and please do not snap me out of it. :)

My second handy dandy tool is my food processor, another essential tool. Now, I don't have one of those expensive kinds and I really don't need to get one until this one dies. I will probably upgrade when I need to because it does struggle to make the rawkin fudge (and rawkin fudge is an essential part of life) but still gets the job done. I would love one with varying speeds or something adjustable.

I started this journey long long ago on my own with a regular blender but quickly found from my initial classes that the blender makes a BIG difference. I saved up for the Vita-Mix and it is well worth it. Honestly, it makes a big difference in a lot of my recipes. I don't know if it's the texture-smoother feels more comfortable or if getting things smoother brings out more or different taste. I don't care, I'm glad I got the Vita Mix.

I use a spiral slicer which is much better then a cheese grater or mandolin or even julienne slicer in making either angel hair pasta or fettucini. The long thin slices make it more convincing for the mouth.

I broke down a while back and bought an inexpensive but adjustable coffee grinder which I used for grinding flax seed and sunflower seeds. Well worth the purchase for sure. I wouldn't use the one you might actually some day use to grind actual coffee beans in...the seeds tend to build up a little oil and it needs to be cleaned at times.

I broke down recently and bought a mandolin because I tried to make ravioli and the actual ravioli part is supposed to be made with something sliced very thin and even and it was nearly impossible to do with anything other then a mandolin.

I have had for years a chopper which I love and is sometimes quite indespensible as is my egg slicer, great for olives and mushrooms.

I started with a wooden citrus juicer which I still use on occasion but I recently upgraded to a twist hand one that catches seeds and lets me do three or four lemons at once. I got tired of filtering seeds out all the time. I know there are electric ones but I like the idea of doing it by hand.

So, those are my main gadgets. Flax crackers taste very different if you grind the seeds up first, or if you dehydrate them at higher temps. The difference in the toaster tarts from the food processor to the Vita-Mix is AWESOME! The food processor left them lumpy and bumpy and kept some of the wheat berry sprout taste-a little greenish ( like grass) but the Vita-Mix chops it all and really gets it wonderfully smooth. I will try to take pictures and put them up in the near future so that you can see what some of these tools look like. I think if you go to some raw food websites, they are probably available there.

Today I found a new yummy and happy mouth recipe. I made the carrot pecan burgers from Alissa Cohens book. If you want the recipe, let me know and I will share. What a happy yummy food. Actually tastes like a veggie burger. I think I might have made them too thin but after this initial trial, I am going to make more tomorrow and just keep them on hand. Both the kids loved them. They are good plain but would also be good between two romaine lettuce leaves with some avocado and tomato. I made more tortillas for enchiladas and took some of the mixture and spread it really thin to try to make corn chips, I might have gone too thin with it because as it set up in the dehydrator there were cracks in it like the desert. LOL I didn't try it in the Vita-Mix this time like I wanted to but I tried extra long times in the food processor. I'll let you know how it turns out. I made lots of flax crackers and was disappointed that I forgot to grind the seeds first-which I really like. Oh well, there will be plenty more opportunities. Made the toaster tarts again but am dehydrating at a lower temp due to other recipes and they are really taking a long time. Got banana-strawberry crepes for my daughter's first day back at school. Also made cinnamon rolls and almond milk, always a big hit for the kids. Big difference in the dates from Whole Foods and the ones from The Date People. I can't wait until the Date People have crops ready to sell again. I have more sprouted wheat berries then I can handle so tomorrow I will make muffins out of them. I also plan on making chocolate chip cookies tomorrow. The recipe I have calls for a made up chocolate chip out of apricots and raisins but I am going to try it with just cacoe chunks in it and see how it tastes. I am lovin the rawkin cacoe. I have decided that there is something I could add to the corn tortillas but haven't exactly figured it out yet. Could it be cumin? I'll let you know next time it comes up. I am also getting ready to experiment with some salad dressings. I liked a honey mustard one that I found but want something a little different now. Tomorrow is the first day back at school for my daughter. She packed up her RAWKIN lunch so I'll let you know how it goes with food preservation, her hunger level and all.

Rawk ON! :)

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