Category Archives: DEHYDRATOR

THAT RECIPE WITHOUT A DEHYDRATOR????

Have you ever noticed that many dehydrator recipes, particularly for “mock meats” can be done without the dehydrator as “pates”? I mean, think about it… the ingredients will be the same, but it will usually just be more sticky or gooier… but the taste will not ordinarily be that different.

Since I used to use a dehydrator, but now do not, I have been thinking about this often enough. What used to be a “burger” could now be a “burger pate”, if you can’t figure out a better name. These recipes could be forkable, good for leafy wraps (romaine, collard, or whatever), or thrown atop salad ingredients.

Why should those of us who do not use dehydrators dismiss the dehydrator- oriented recipes out of hand. Yes, of course, the cracker recipes might not be your main attack point, but all of those interesting burger/faux meat recipes could work perfectly well on your plate as “pates”, or atop your salad as protein as well as flavor additives, or even spread across a pepper slice as a snack or ‘hors d’ouerves’, used to top a mushroom, or plopped on the side of whatever else you are eating as another ingredient in the meal.

So, when you look at a new recipe book, which dismayingly seems loaded with “entree-like” recipes which call for a dehydrator, don’t just pass that section by… think what it would be like if you just made a pate instead. My experience with my old dehydrator recipes has been very enlightening.

Just saying….

EASY CHEAP RAW FOOD- FAST FARE

 

A lot of people ask how they can go raw if they have limited funds, or limited time, or both.  I’m going to talk about kitchen equipment, how to buy food, and, briefly, the mechanics of choosing a raw food diet system to follow.

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT:   The first thing I would suggest is that you consider your knife your best friend. Have a really sharp strong knife.  As I have mentioned before, my first knife was a solid stainless steel Chinese cleaver.  It was dirt cheap and it still works after all these years.

If you can swing it, get a blender – the best cheap one would be a Nutri-Bullet, but my mother, who gave me the NutriBullet swears by her Magic Bullet, which is even cheaper.  With this you can make all those exciting smoothies and juices you have read about.  You can also make sauces and grind soaked nuts.  

You can make a lot of things with just these two things.  

If you really want to get serious (on a budget), get yourself a food processor.  With these three things, you can rule the world  (or, at least, your world).  You can make almost anything that you read about on-line or in books if you have these three things.

To round out your equipment, you would probably like to have 

  • a vegetable peeler to peel vegetables and slice vegetables very thinly 
  • a Mason jar or two or three, to grow sprouts and make fermented foods such as sauerkraut.(Growing your own sprouts is easy, and it is cheaper than buying them, not to mention that you can get more varieties than you will find in the store.  When the quarantine started in March, while others hoarded toilet paper, I ran for the natural market to buy  2 pounds of lentils, because they are cheap and they make never fail sprouts that I find very delicious! — I figured I could survive a famine if I had a steady supply of sprouts! )
  • A spiralizer?  Maybe…This is really a splurge because, if you really want linguine-like slices of vegetables, you can slice them first with a vegetable peeler, then pile up the slices and go back and slice them very thinly with your very sharp knife.  Of course, you do not need to have zucchini pasta at all – I only learned of it about 15 years or so ago, but I had survived for many years before I found out about zucchini noodles.

Do you need a dehydrator? The answer, in a word, is NO.   All recipe books are exciting, and the dehydrator recipes so many books have sound enticing.   A dehydrator is, however,  a major investment (right up there with a high-end juicer), and a space consumer as well.  Amazon has a vast assortment of styles and prices, so, if you have the space and the patience (dehydrating can take up to 10 hours), go for it.  Caveat: for anything other than an Excalibur, be sure to check out the consumer reviews!    Something to think about: can you be home to supervise for 8 hours?  I live in a very small space, and I am not home for most of the day, so I do without dehydrating.  (There are several cookbooks out there which do not have extensive lists of recipes which require dehydration.  I’ll cover that in my next post, about books with simple and classic recipes, most of which have no dehydrated recipes whatsoever.)  

Where to get food cheap(ish):farmers’ market, supermarket, backyard garden, vegetable and fruit stand (in Manhattan, NYC – I’m not sure about your neck of the woods) If you are trying to go organic: farmers’ market (look for the organic sign, or a sign that says they do not use pesticides or chemical fertilizers- the farmer’s market I went to today had a couple of stands that said “un-sprayed”- when I asked, they said “un-sprayed” meant “organic without the certification”), Trader Joe’s, Aldi (Your local supermarket may carry organic, but it may be quite a bit more expensive than regular vegetables) 

GOING RAW:  you can and have the right to choose your own path to going raw:

  • Some choose to start eating raw, say, for breakfast and lunch, and enjoy a cooked dinner
  • Others choose to go raw for several days a week, alternating with days of cooked meals
  • Still other go the dramatic route of all raw right away (this is what I did, but I never thought about it, or even realized it was a thing – I was just a college student on a severe budget)
  • Of course, everything in between.

Then there are the “systems”, which are different approaches with rules (80-10-10, or food combining, for example. Food combining, by the way, is probably the oldest raw system, and it still works very well for me. It is about eating things that digest well together together, pretty much.) It seems to me that most raw food recipe books give a long spiel about how to be raw in a healthy way, and some propound specific ways, or systems..To my mind, most which do expound on a system seem to be following the food combining idea as propounded by Ann Wigmore, an early proponent of the raw food lifestyle, T.C. Fry, and Harvey and Marilyn Diamond in Fit for Life, which also led to the 40/30/30 food combining concept propounded by Joyce and Gene Daoust, which is a simplified approach to food combining, and (although their focus is not raw,  is pretty much what I have followed since I decided to take off 100 lbs. 20 years ago (yes, you can get fat on raw if you do not watch your food combining)

 

06/27/13 CSA SHARE: What we got, what I will do with it, and miscellaneous comments

Here is what we got:
Fennel – 1 bun
Parsley – 1 bun
Red Romaine Lettuce – 1 hd
Green Boston Lettuce – 1 hd traded for kale
Toscano Kale – 1 bun
Baby Carrots – 1 bun
Garlic Scapes – 1 bun

I was kind of surprised because, when I went to trade two things from my box, I was told that there was a rule that each person could only trade one thing for one other thing. That was new to me – I’ve been a member of the CSA from the first year, and the rule has always been you put one thing in and you take one thing out, no limits. So…. I could not trade the lettuce *and* the romaine, and, once I had decided to trade the lettuce, I had to decide between taking the kale or the garlic scapes. I think that new plan is just plain mean, but I am not the people who are running the CSA, and they are they people who get to make the rules as they see fit. I do think that the rules should be published for all to know about, and I will post this thought on the CSA Facebook page (in case anybody watches that or cares what people think)
What will I do with all this?
I got about 4 fennel things (pieces? Fennel bulbs with stalks with some frilly leaf-like things), 1 little bunch of parsley, 1 hd of romaine, 2 bunches of kale, 1 bunch of carrots with greens, and 1 bunch of about 5 garlic scapes.
In addition, they let me take the carrot greens that some people had put into the compost pot.
I’m going to look into fermenting fennel – If I can’t find something interesting, then I’ll just chop it up and find a way to eat it with other vegetables (will let you know)
I will make dill garlic fermented carrots
The kale will go to kale chips – will describe the recipe once I decide
I will chop up the garlic scapes and use them as garlic for something.—maybe the fermented carrots (will let you know)
If I cannot bring myself to eat the romaine, I will dehydrate it along with the carrot greens and add it to my supergreen powder (I’ll let you know)
Things are tight here, right now. The CSA is about the only source of food I have, with my reduction in work hours. I am down about 20 lbs (down to 120 lbs @ 5’9”) living on what I get from the CSA, and what I can manage after my rent and utilities. So, I am svelte (and I do like the way clothes look on me), but wondering where I will go from here. (I’ll let you know more when I know more.)

KOMBUCHA & KEFIR RESEARCH

POST #942
I have the kombucha scoby and the water kefir grains in the refrigerator. The Russell James Chef Homestudy course I’m going through now has, just this week, given me a very good grounding in what I need to do for kombucha and kefir brewing. I just like to read up on as much background as I can.

KOMBUCHA
kombucha scoby getkombuchaI’m finding out that I may have destroyed my kombucha scoby – who knew that you shouldn’t put it in the refrigerator. Well, it’s been in there almost a week, and I probably won’t try to do anything with it until at least tomorrow. (the scoby picture is from getkombucha.com)

Meanwhile, I have found two downloadable kombucha brewing guides on-line:

The Cultures for Health ebook  is very extensive – it covers in pretty much detail just about anything you want to know. This site also has quite a few informative videos on kombucha

Kombucha Kamp’s kombucha guide is concise and informative. I like it as a checklist for after I have read through the entire Cultures for Health book.

Yemoos Nourishing Cultures’ kombucha FAQ  has some useful information, as well.

More details at GetKombucha.com What is Kombucha

dried kombucha kombuchananaDrying kombucha – I kept trying to find out how to dehydrate kombucha, but never came up with anything much about using a dehydrator. Most of the info was about how to air dry it. I saw one mention of dehydrating at 105 degrees, but when I tried to follow that google link, I didn’t find anything further. It seems you are supposed to dry it to jerky consistency, but, on kombuchanana , which has some interesting ideas for what to do with dried scoby, I saw this picture where it looks pretty dry.

water kefir grains wikipediaKEFIR
Cultures for Health has videos on water kefir . Their ebook deals only with milk kefir, but it is free and has interesting information (the picture is from Wikipedia)

Yemoos Nourishing Cultures has an extensive online water kefir “book”  which covers just about anything you could want to know.

Wellness Mama’s recipe promises Kefir soda  .

Lea’s Cooking’s kefir article  gives her recipes , as well as recipes she has found in her web research

NEW YEAR, NEW RECIPES: marinated mushrooms, marinated dehydrated mushrooms, cheezy dehydrated broccoli bites, cheezy kale chips,

POST #875
I had big plans for today (editing a book I want to put on Kindle), but, when I finally fell out of bed at 7 a.m. (2 hours later than my usual wake-up time), I went to the kitchen, looked around, thought about what was in the refrigerator that should get used, thought some more about the mushrooms I marinated yesterday, and thought about what I could do with the portobellas and baby portabellas I bought yesterday. On a trip past the dehydrator shelf in the hall, I saw that, in addition to the 2 lbs of cashews I picked up yesterday, I have at least 3 C-worth of cashews on the rack over the dehydrator. Got lemons, jalapenos, bell peppers, onions, garlic, sea salt, and olive oil. So much for the day tied to the computer. I tied on my apron, and started digging around in my recipes.

MARINATED MUSHROOMS: Let’s start with those mushrooms I marinated yesterday. After I had already started pouring oil on them, I realized that I had accidentally picked up flax oil instead of sesame oil. Oh, well, I do like flax oil on salads. We’ll just hope. I added some garlic to try to make a more flavorful mix. Gave mushrooms to the room-mate guinea pig – she liked them even with flax oil. Still, this morning, I wanted that sesame flavor, and so I drizzled about 1 teaspoon of sesame oil (all I had left) over the mushrooms and tossed them well, to distribute the oil. Then, I decided that, since the carrots in my refrigerator were not getting any younger, I should shave some off a carrot and put that in the mushroom mix as well. Did that with the vegetable peeler – really thin, sheer, see-through carrot shavings, and I chopped them into smaller pieces to mix nicely with the mushrooms. Fed that to the room-mate guinea pig, and she liked it even better, and was excited that it looked like the marinated mushrooms that she can buy in her Japanese supermarket.

After I’d done that, I decided I should do something about all of the other “baby bella” mushrooms I had sitting there. I glanced at a couple of recipes I had picked up from other people, and changed a couple of things here and there, and got to work.

First, I removed that stems and set them aside (I use them for “pulled” barbecue), then I sliced the mushrooms about 1/4 inch thick and put them in a large bowl. I ground a small jalapeno in Magic Bullet, then added some extra virgin olive oil, garlic, a little tamari, and some lemon juice, whizzed it again in the Magic Bullet, then poured it over the mushrooms in the bowl, and massaged it in. After that, I put the mushrooms in the dehydrator.

MARINATED DEHYDRATED MUSHROOMS
20 baby bella mushrooms, sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small jalapeno, finely minced
1 T garlic powder
1 t tamari (all of the recipes I saw called for much more, but I don’t much care for salt)
2 T lemon juice

Place mushroom slices in a large bowl.
Blend remaining ingredients, then pour over mushrooms in bowl.
With your hands, toss the mushrooms around with the oil mix until all pieces are well coated.
Spread mushroom slices one layer thick on teflex covered dehydrator tray (you could put them directly on the plastic screen, but the teflex is a lot easier to clean up)
Dehydrate for 4-6 hours

I was planning to dehydrated these mushrooms to a jerky consistency, but, after about 4 hours, I tasted them, and turned around and gobbled up about half of them. I decided I should put them in a container in the refrigerator at that point. (Later, when I called Mom to wish her Happy New Year, and I told her about all of the mushrooms, she asked if they tasted like sautéed mushrooms – it has been so long since I have eaten cooked things, I had to think hard – yes, these dehydrated mushrooms taste like well-sauteed mushrooms!) I liked them so much that I sliced up 2 portobellas, cut them into 1-1/2 inch pieces, marinated them, put them right into the dehydrator, so I can have more of these delicious mushrooms.

CHEEZY DEHYDRATED BROCCOLI: I dug some still-okay broccoli out of the refrigerator, and, remembering a recipe from Nouveau Raw I had seen a while back, decided that I could chop it up into about 2 C of florets , toss it with my cheddar cheese, and dehydrate it, so that was the next project. Man! It is really hard to cover broccoli florets completely with sauce. I got it done anyway. They are in the dehydrator as we speak.

CHEEZY KALE CHIPS: I got the idea for the broccoli since I had a lot of kale which needed to be used. (I figured that I could make one batch of the cheddar cheese and use it on the broccoli as well as the kale – it worked, btw). This kale was labeled “young kale.” I’ll say this about “young kale” – it does last longer in the refrigerator, but, if you are going to make kale chips, it is hard to get bite-sized pieces from those small, tightly curled leaves… I got a lot of “crumbs” along the way. Never mind… two trays of chips are in the dehydrator.

TRADITIONAL NEW YEAR’S GOOD LUCK FOOD, raw take

POST #874
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

MY TRADITIONAL NEW YEAR’S GOOD LUCK FOOD
I am from the South, and Southerners eat black-eyed peas, greens (collards or kale), and pork (usually a ham hock or a hog jowl cooked together with the black-eyed peas and the greens, for flavor. (In other parts of the country, they might eat the same thing – I don’t want to exclude anyone – I just can only speak for what we do in the South).

The foods Southerners traditionally eat on New Year’s Day have meaning:
BLACK-EYED PEAS SYMBOLIZE PLENTY AND PROSPERITY).   When you cook black-eyed peas, they almost double in size. I’ve heard a number of different stories about black-eyed peas – most of them stem from an event in the War Between the States, in the 1800s. I’ve heard that a city was burned down (some say Charleston, some Atlanta, some Savannah – that doesn’t matter – the Union army made a point of burning down Confederate cities ) The story I have heard most often was that the starving people, homeless because of the burning, found a warehouse with barrels of black-eyed peas, and, so, they were able to eat (and, possibly—now this is me thinking – plant a new crop). This morning, I learned that some people say that, in Vicksburg, VA, the Union army burned all of the crops, save the black-eyed peas, which they mistakenly believed to be only food for animals.

GREENS (COLLARDS OR KALE) SYMBOLIZE PROSPERITY: Green has long been the color of American money.

HAM/PORK SYMBOLIZES PROGRESS: The pig is the only animal that moves forward while it is eating.

MY RAW NEW YEAR’S GOOD LUCK FOOD

BLACK-EYED PEAS: I ate 5-day black-eyed pea sprouts with chopped red bell pepper, onion, garlic, and an olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing.

GREENS: Most years, I eat marinated massaged collards or kale, but, this year, I had a batch of cheezy kale chips, so munched on those while I was doing things around the kitchen.

So, WHAT ABOUT THE HAM? Early on, I decided to resolve this issue by “intention”. I have a little pig figurine made of gold. I place it on the table when I am eating my New Year’s good luck food, and I think about it. I think about how the pig eats while it is moving forward, and I think about how the pig I have is made of gold, and how valuable my little pig is. Even when I have desperately needed money, I have never thought of selling my little gold pig. He urges me to find other ways to get money. That’s progress.

11/15/12 CSA SHARE: A perfect world: What I got

Post #861
My perfect world:  What we got, what I took home:

Leeks……………………….traded for kale
Watermelon Radish
Green Kale
Russet Potatoes…………traded for cabbage
Cabbage
Broccoli……………………traded for carrots
Baby Carrots

Yep, I wanted it and I got it all!  (I’m kind of worried, though. I hope my nemesis, the old guy who always gets there before I do, even if I get there before the CSA workers do, and always takes whatever I want from the trade  box, is okay.  He didn’t show up in all of the @20 minutes I was there.)

Curiously, the workers were watching me like hawks when I was doing my trades.  Okay, I do go to the trade box first and take what I want, because I want to get what I want before someone else does, and because I know that I will be bringing back certain things (you’ve seen my plans — I stick to them ), but I told them exactly what I would bring back, and I did so as soon as I dug them out of the box.  I took back the broccoli, the leeks (they were few and small), and the potatoes.  I also took the radishes because I thought that maybe something else I wanted would wind up in the box before I left. I went back for the radishes but  I only took three, although I had put in about seven (I realized that later).  

Nuff said about my “CSA experience”

I made up some kale chips last night, only I forgot to put the red bell pepper into the cheeze mix, although it was sitting right there on the table.  Du-umb!  I am here to tell you today that the red bell pepper really does make a difference.  The chips are okay, and I’ll eat them all, anyway, but I will never ever ever forget the red bell pepper again.

I have another large bunch of kale – I think I’ll halve it and make cheddar cheeze chips and smoked jalapeno chips, as well — that was the original plan, anyway.

Those cabbages are big enough to make up maybe 3 quarts of sauerkraut each. Flavor experiments here we come!  

The carrots will probably go to sticks again — those were good.   

GARLIC KALE CHIPS & GARDEN OF LIFE RAW MEAL

POST #849
Sometimes you have to try something new, and today has been that day for me.
Today’s new experiences:
Garlic kale chips
Garden of Life Raw Meal powder

GOOD NEW EXPERIENCE
I found garlic kale chips on the RawNouveau site, and decided to try them out last night. What was interesting to me was that, in contrast to the cashews which from the base of most kale chip “coating”, this recipe uses sunflower seeds, and I just happened to have a surplus of sunflower seed sprouts from making my sunflower seed crackers on Monday. I changed the recipe a little, because I’m me, and, also, because I only had one bunch of kale.  I ended up making one-fourth of the recipe, with changes here and there.

RAW GARLIC KALE CHIPS
1 bun kale, washed, stemmed, blotted dry
1 C sunflower seed sprouts
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 T nutritional yeast
10 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 med. jalapeno, finely minced
1/2 t sea salt
1-1/2 T raw agave syrup

  • Tear the kale into bite-sized (2-3 in.) pieces and place in a large bowl.
  • In a food processor or high-speed blender, blend the liquid ingredients, then add the remaining ingredients, and process to a smooth, creamy consistency (with a food processor, the consistency will be a little grainier)
  • Pour the cashew mixture over the kale in the bowl.
  • With you hands, toss and gently massage he kale with the cashew mixture until each piece of kale is evenly-coated top and bottom.
  • Spread the kale pieces evenly in one layer onto dehydrator trays covered with a teflex sheets.
  • Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 8 hrs. or until dry and crispy.
  • Store in a glass container with an airtight lid.

(notes on my changes to amounts/ingredients: I like garlic so I stayed with the original 10 cloves even though I was using 1/4 the amount of kale and other ingredients. I don’t like sweet normally, but this was my first time with this chef and this recipe, so I dug out the bottle of agave syrup I had, only to find out I only had 1 T left — I added a heaping t of the palm sugar I just got. The original recipe did not call for jalapeno, but I like spicy, so, there you have it.)

I took the garlic chips out of the dehydrator this morning and have eaten a couple of handfuls of them. They are good. I’ll do this recipe again.

NOT SO GOOD NEW EXPERIENCE
Now, about the Garden of Life Raw Meal,:
I bought this at Willner’s, on Park Ave., because they have better prices, and because it had such an impressive list of ingredients.
I had tried it once before, following the instructions to use 2 scoops of powder to 16 oz of water, but it turned out so thick and nasty-tasting that I decided to try it with half the powder and a huge handful of blueberries I had in the freezer, and I put 3 heaping teaspoonfuls of palm sugar in it..
Yuck. This stuff tastes like dirt. Despite all the palm sugar in it (and I normally do not use sweeteners of any kind), it just tasted like sweet dirt with a dirt aftertaste. This stuff was not cheap, so I will use it up, but I will never buy it again.

Note: I read a review on Amazon, in which the reviewer said his Raw Meal was moldy. I wouldn’t know how to tell it was moldy. It didn’t taste moldy, it just tasted like dirt, which some other reviewers mentioned. (I’m not unused to protein powder tasting like dirt—I used to use Nature’s Life Pro 96 Super Soy Green Protein, which tasted like dirt, until they changed the formula and added sweetener. With the original formula, a banana could disguise the taste.)

CABIN FEVER DINING: What I made today post-Sandy

POST #848
With no public transportation on the day after Sandy, this week is definitely a stay-cation.  Worse, everything within walking distance is closed.  Cabin fever city!  Back to the kitchen!

This morning I got up and made some kale/cashew cheeze in my much beloved Cuisinart food processor (it has already outlasted each of the two economy food processors I had before) to go with the sunflower seed crackers I meant to eat later.

Later, I made a “surf and turf salad.”
I had some leftover torn-up kale from huge bunch I’d bought on Sunday, so I chopped it up a little more, added some soaked wakame seaweed, also chopped up, about 1/4 C chopped red bell pepper, 1/2  jalapeno, chopped, some freshly-ground black pepper, 1/2 galangal (don’t ask why, I have no idea), 2 chopped garlic cloves, about 1/2 C lentil sprouts, and about 1/4 C sunflower seed sprouts, then some apple cider vinegar and olive oil.  It didn’t seem like enough, so I took a heaping soup spoon of the kale/cashew cheeze and mixed it with water to make a creamy dressing which I poured over the top.  Yumm!

HURRICANE ALLEY: What do I do when there’s a hurricane outside?

POST #847
What do I do when there is a hurricane outside?

Well… first, I watch the weather for too long, and, then, when I cannot take it anymore, I get up and go to the kitchen and make stuff. Today, that was kale chips and sunflower seed crackers.

After I did that, I raced back to the computer, just in case the power might go off, and found a new cool site, Nouveau Raw, with great recipes, read them all, then sat around and thought about making something else. [I really really liked Nouveau Raw. It is almost like a raw food training. Who knew there could be so many things to address on such an attractive blog?  I’ll be going back there soon and often]
That brought me up to now.

Time to hop in bed. The hurricane can wait or go away.