Category Archives: kitchen equipment


I’ve been dehydrating all day, while I’ve been cleaning, and playing on the computer (okay, that’s work, too – I’ve been writing, studying, planning….) — hey! I am on vacation, yes?

So, anyway, I took some leaves out of the dehydrator this morning, but I decided to wait until the Magic Bullet jar was dry (rather than dry it, duh!), and wait until the rest of the trays were dry as well.  So, anyway, when I got around to wanting to grind up those leaves, they were damp – it was like they saw it was raining outside and they decided they were thirsty. They were all wilted, so I had to put them back in the dehydrator for a while (I won’t do that again!)

Well, now, after a whole day of dehydrating, I got about 2 tablespoons more of powder, and I had to graduate to a quart jar.  Of course, since I had just scrubbed the floor on my hands and knees, mind you, I spilled some on the floor!  Never mind! When I open that jar, it smells really good (and I am that girl who does not like salads!)  

I’m thinking of grating up some radishes and turnips and adding them to the mix.  Or maybe I will just start another kind of jar, and mix them when I’m using them.  I keep thinking about Spike , my main seasoning – it’s a salt-free mix of an assortment of dried vegetables (I think it was originally intended to help people reduce dietary salt, although there is a Spike with salt)  So, anyway, if I grate up some vegetables and put them in the dehydrator, and then grind them up into powder and mix them up… well, hey! I could have my own Spike mix going.

Since this green powder I have going smells so good, I am starting to think that I could put 3 or 4 T into hot water and have an ultra-healthy “salad” soup. Add some cashews for creaminess…. who knows?  I am very grateful for my Healthy Homesteader class that woke me up to this idea.  Not only have I learned a lot, I have also become aware that many people who enjoy preparing foods in the way I do call themselves homesteaders. Thus have I been opened to a whole new network of like-minded people.  When I was offered the opportunity to take a Tera Warner course, I chose this one more or less out of the blue, never imagining how much it would allow me to expand my horizons.

I have a tray filled with 5 large white turnips-worth of grated turnips (I processed them in my food processor to a coarse grind – think chunky applesauce texture) and spread them on a teflex sheet placed over the plastic tray of my dehydrator


GREAT KNIFE: great price

POST #896
I love things I can’t break (I’m good at breaking things).  I love things that last forever (you don’t find them often).  I’ve been graced to have found a wonderful knife years ago  – it was my first food processor, and it still does serious duty in my kitchen.  My knife is a solid stainless steel Chinese-style chopping knife (cleaver), which will cut just about anything you want to cut, including opening a Thai coconut, or even a dried one (okay, you’ll have to sharpen it later).  My knife and a good sharpener have done me good stead for over 20 years.

8/30/12 CSA SHARE: what they said, what we got, and what I took home

Green Beans – .4 lbs………………………..traded for tomatoes
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes – 1/2 lb
Savoy Cabbage – 1 head
Red or Yellow Onions – 1 lb……………….traded for cherry tomatoes
Yellow Potatoes – 1 qt………………………traded for cilantro
Red Tomatoes – 4 lb bag
Cilantro – 1 bun………………………………got choggia beets

I also got a bag of 5 apples and another bag of 5  nectarines

  • I recognize that I don’t do green beans often, so I when I saw the bag of tomatoes in the trade box, I nabbed it and left the green beans.
  • I only got 2 onions, so the trade for 1/2 lb (a big box) of cherry tomatoes seemed a no-brainer.  These guys are so sweet, they are like candy.
  • I’ve quit my potato experiments, so I happily traded the potatoes for cilantro, which I love.

I’m about tomatoed out, so I expect this is the batch I will really dehydrate.  I’m going to just run them through the food processor and spread them on the teflex sheets, and make tomato flakes.  They are easier to use than dried slices when I’m making a tomato sauce, and they give the same effect.

I’ll probably make a kim-chee-ish ferment with the cabbage.

The beets are small.  I’ll probably peel them and then slice them with my new Kyocera Mandolin Slicer
(protecting myself with my new Microplane Cut Protection glove, especially since  I removed a good slice from my thumb last night by not using the glove – place looked like a murder scene, and the cut hurt like nobody’s business). Then I’ll just do a beet carpaccio or something like that.


I was totally amazed to receive my Mason jars (Ball/Kerr brands) last week, only 4 days after I had placed my order on-line (and, because I had had problems with the confirmation, over the phone, as well  — long story short — I did not get an on-line confirmation, so I called the 800 # right away, and got a very friendly helper who made it all happen)

It seems that what we tend to call Mason jars are now Ball jars and Kerr jars, and those are both produced by the same folks (makes it easy…. oh! you fear monopoly!  no!  they are still in the business of helping US)

I have bought jars here and there, and (while on vacation) seen them for sale elsewhere, but I was intensely pleased by the service (24 jars delivered to the door of this car-less person), and the price (I have searched all over New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx — okay, I did not go to Staten Island), and I have never been able to find more than 6 jars (of any size) available in once place, and, then, the jars have always only been available at “one-sie” prices.

The deal at the official Ball/Kerr/Mason jar site (btw, they are not paying me) is the best, even if you are not transportation-challenged as I am (I never could have dragged home 24 jars on the subway… add stress pay over top of the jar cost plus tax…)

I ordered extra “dome” jar tops (I think the “dome” means that they sometimes puff up when you are making fermented things), because my jar lids had begun “fermenting”.. it could be the salt, it could be a time issue, or whatever.   Whatever, my jar lids did not look nice or safe to me.

I also ordered some plastic “storage lids” (maybe hanging out in the refrigerator made those other lids die).

I got a huge box in about 5 days, it was easy enough, propping it on my grocery cart, to carry from my mailbox place to my home.  I pawed through the “peanuts” to find everything, and I was in heaven.  12  16 oz jars, 12 32 oz jars, replacement lids, and the storage lids.

If you are fermenting, or even storing, anything, on a regular basis (particularly if you give away), consider going directly to the factory (

(no, they are not paying me… this is all about being a very satisfied customer, who, after searching the world over –okay, NYC–, has found the best source for her needs.)



I am on my fourth spiralizer.  I love the one I have now (at least now)  If you just want to skip to the chase: Buy the Benriner Cook’s Help. (Based on my experience, I imagine that this is the one that is used in Japanese restaurants when they need to make those radish “strings” that you see on sushi dishes.)

Here are my comments about the ones I have had, from the first through the one that I have now and LOVE.

SPIROOLI – I felt lucky to get one of the last Spirooli’s. It was highly recommended to me by Lillian Butler, when I took her wonderful raw food training at Raw Soul (I paid about $30.00 for the Spirooli.)  The same machine is now produced by the World Cuisine brand.  This machine is very easy to use and easy to clean. The only thing I did not like about it was that the three sizes of “pasta” it can make from vegetables do not include “angel hair”. I wanted a finer pasta.  Still, it made good pasta (the thinnest it makes is about the size of that thick Japanese pasta you get in Japanese soups.)  When I made zucchini pasta (or any other raw vegan pasta) with it, I always marinated the pasta in olive oil and vinegar before using it. Sometimes I even put it in the dehydrator to soften it more– I don’t like to chew much — if you like crunchy food, you might like this machine more than I did.  To be truthful, when I first got it, I loved it, all the way up to when I found out I could make even finer pasta.)

JOYCE CHEN SPIRALIZER (also marketed under the World Cuisine brand).  I was excited when my friend showed me how this machine made angel hair “pasta”.  It is easy to clean, also.  Unfortunately, apparently, it is not built for heavy usage: it broke within 3 months.

BENRINER SPIRAL SLICER – This looks like and works similar to the Spirooli/World Cuisine.  It makes the same size “pasta”.  It does make a very thin pasta, also.  Unfortunately, it is very labor-intensive to clean it.  I used it once, cleaned it once, and gave it away to a Japanese friend who might be able to deal with it.  (It lists somewhere around $125.00. It was priced at $89.00 at Katagiri, the oldest and most famous Japanese store in New York City, and a certain raw chef here in Manhattan swears by it, so I was ready to pay the full price, but I was able to get it on clearance for $25 – ) — I think that, if you have someone who is washing your dishes for you — not just a machine– you might like it, otherwise stay far away.)

BENRINER COOK’S HELP – I found this one online from one of the listings on for just under $50 including shipping.  It does EXACTLY what I want – it makes “angel hair pasta” from even hard vegetables like sweet potato.  I works by the basic process as the Joyce Chen machine, but it is built for daily use over the long term.  It has a couple of other blades, but they are still in the box – I do not need them.  I think the machine wants me disassemble it by turning lots of screws, but I can successfully clean it with a dedicated toothbrush (ease of cleaning is a must with my kitchen appliances! I love this machine. It is sturdy , so I cannot easily break it.  It has a sturdy place to hang on to it while you are busy turning the lever.  It stands up high enough that you can process quite a bit before you have to move it and toss the pasta into a bowl before continuing.   This is definitely my favorite.  It makes “pasta” of the same consistency as those white radish “strings” they serve alongside sushi in Japanese restaurants.

I wish I had really understood about the Benriner Cook’s Help before I spent all that other money on those spiralizers that either did not do what I wanted (Spirooli/World Cuisine/Benriner Spiral Slicer), or broke easily (Joyce ChenSpiralizer).  It is definitely worth the money I paid for it. (unfortunately, I had to pay a lot of money for all of the others first, before I finally found this one.


I received the Benriner Cook’s Help gadget today.  Yea!  Okay… so what could I spiralize with what I had hoped would be THE Japanese answer to my spiralizing quest?

I had a big rutabaga (I mean, BIG).  I looked at the pictures, and I found the English (ha ha) “translation”, and I cut the rutabaga to look like something in the pictures (the pictures show BIG hunks of vegetable).  I don’t know from centimeters (duh! I’m American – we don’t do centimeters!), so I went by the pictures.  Wrong move!

I had this nice big (maybe 5 inch tall) chunk of rutabaga, and I went at it with the new “miracle” machine.  Trouble from the start. The teeth on the turning thing did not want to grab.  The machine did not want to do much after two or three turns of the knob.   I took the machine away from the counter-top and put it on the table which is about the height of the top of my thigh (I am 5’9″ tall) so I could turn the knob at waist/elbow height. That worked about the same, but it was easier to turn,  except that the table is wobbly.

Even though I was experiencing these issues, I really liked the thin-ness and texture of the noodles, so I wanted to find a way to get more of them.  I ended up grabbing the rutabaga with my hand and turning it by hand.  When it got down to about 3 inches, I was able to use the turner.  Now I have a big bowlful of limp (I like limp) very thin rutabaga noodles.  The texture is even softer than marinated pasta made with a Joyce Chen spiralizer.

So, I went back to read the instructions again.  Putting the lie to those pictures of big vegetable chunks that the smiling Japanese lady with fat fingers grabbing the turning knob in a most ungraceful way was spiralizing, I saw that the instructions suggested an 8 cm chunk.  8 cm is a little more than 3 in.  That  was about where the turning knob started working for me.

After I finished spiralizing the rutabaga, I went to clean the Cook’s Help – not so easy– I ended up digging out the old discarded toothbrush that I had saved to get the stuff out of the teeth. (I was really really careful because I did not want to cut any more fingers – my almost amputated finger is just to the point where I can type with it)  The vegetable brush did not work.

This is another model of Japanese technology. If you want to really deep clean it, you need a screwdriver, to unattach everything.

Still and all, I really really like the super-thin angel-hair pasta this baby makes.  The Joyce Chen spiralizer cannot hold a candle to it.  I’m dreaming of cool things I can make with this really skinny (almost chew-free) pasta.

DO NOT BUY THIS MACHINE: My experience with the Benriner spiralizer

Do not buy a Benriner spiralizer .


First, I will thank the Lord that I had the opportunity to buy this device at an extremely low price.  I will also thank God that I did not buy more of them to send to my friends and family, or even sell on ebay.

The Benriner  puts the lie to the myth of Japanese technical superiority. (I will say that I have had flashes of recognition of this idea from time to time when I have seen some Japanese recipes for things we all throw together in a few minutes – these recipes usually involve very complicated, time-consuming, inconvenient ways to make things an American teenager can probably concoct in 15 minutes without incurring bodily injury — Do NOT ask me what a Japanese hamburger recipe involves! Even one of Juliano’s raw food recipes takes less time to put together!)

Yes, you heard me singing the praises of the Benriner. It was supposed to be the best.  That was what I had read.  The price made one think so.  It did look good in the box, out of the box, and all the way up to when I had to use it.

You have to cut the zucchini in 10cm pieces. No problem. I figured out that 10cm was about 4 in. and got on with my business.

Using the device is no more difficult than using a Spirooli, and you do get nice thin angel-hair strings.

BUT: After each 10cm/4 in. piece, you have to stop and clean the beast. It does not break down like a Spirooli. If you want to break it down, you need a screwdriver. If you want to wash it without slicing your fingers, you must have a brush of some kind, and the blades are very sharp, so your brush will get sliced up quickly.

This machine is way too labor-intensive. It would be much more worthwhile (and worth the expense) to me to buy another Joyce Chen spiralizer, and have it break after 6 months and have to buy another.

Yes, this Benriner will probably last a lifetime, and never break. It is very sturdy. The problem is: My lifetime will not be that long. I will probably not want to use it much, and I will, if I don’t get a new spiralizer, rely mostly on my Titan slicer with its “julienne” attachment (I’ve used it before, and it went faster) Thank heavens I got this machine so cheap. I would have paid the full price (I had a savings jar for it).

DO NOT buy a Benriner spiral slicer unless you have little to do, and lots of time to do it in.