Tag Archives: kitchen equipment

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.


Post #700

I visited the Champion Juicer website the other day, and discovered that Champion has now added a greens juicer attachment.  Now, owners of Champion juicers have the option to juice wheatgrass and leafy greens!

I was very excited … until I saw the caveat: the greens juicing attachment will only fit machines of certain serial number series –unfortunately, this attachment will not work on my lovely banana yellow vintage Champion juicer.

Previously, when I have needed parts, I’ve been told by Champion customer service that all attachments and replacements will fit on all Champion juicers, regardless of how old they are.  Knowing this, I wrote to Champion to ask if the part would fit my machine even though my serial number was not on the list.  Nope, they said.  It will not fit.

I’m disappointed. I’m also surprised. Why, if all of the other parts will work, won’t this one work? 

I have always admired Champion for its continuing support of all models of its juicers.  When I first acquired my Champion, a customer service representative actually told me that the basic motor assembly remains the same, while model names and parts may change (For example, I have a wooden pusher, while the newer models have a plastic pusher, which, although less esthetically pleasing, is probably more hygienic).  Why have they suddenly changed that?  

So, no Champion greens juicing attachment for me.  I am not going to buy a new juicer at this point (I need food, I need a winter coat, I need new shoes, I need a printer…..).  To Champion’s credit, my juicer has served me faithfully and still works like a charm after more than 30 years.  I’m just not enough of a consumer to need or want to replace what works fine.

Reducing carbon footprint: 1, new Champion greens juicer: 0



I went to Bed Bath & Beyond today and got the lemon masher Raw Chef Dan recommended, (not this exact same one – mine is lemon yellow and all enameled metal)

and, also, a gadget that promises to remove avocado neatly from its skin, in perfect slices (I am a sucker for gadgets, sometimes)

This is the same one, but it was cheaper in the store than on-line.

GET BALL JARS NOW (cheap, too!)

I’m very excited right now!

I have just ordered a case (12) of 32 oz. Mason/Ball jars and a case (12) of 16 oz. Mason/Ball jars directly from the company, http://www.freshpreserving.com

as well as replacement “dome lids” and, also, non-bisphenol plastic storage lids.  I am over the moon! (two ways, actually… I am very excited, and, too, this is the first time I have really known how to, and felt the need to , that idiom, which I have seen around for a while)

My ordering experience was initially a little scary… I ordered on-line, entered all of my information, and then, instead of going to an order confirmation screen, I got a “thank you for ordering” screen, so I had no opportunity to review my order, or see how seriously the shipping was going to affect my grocery bill.  I got on the phone and called Ball’s 800 number and told them what had happened, and they took my order over the phone and promised me that they would not send me twice as much as what I wanted.  The rep I talked to was very sweet and agreed to talk slowly, as our connection was poor to the point that I could barely hear her.  (Wow! Makes you just love dealing with Americans!)

The happiest part of my experience was that the shipping did not add $100 to my order (you worry when you are ordering things like glass jars, which are not known for their light weight)  It ended up being only about $8.00, although I had ordered two cases (x12 each) of jars, plus miscellaneous other items. (I must say, I wanted to order a skirt online from JJill.com last night, and they wanted @$20 for regular shipping, and I suddenly did not need that skirt – and it was not glass!)

I instinctively now love this company big-time.

Since I live in New York City, which poo-poos stores like Walmart, there are very very few stores where you can get canning jars.  I found some in December, in Michael’s, but, even with the shipping, my new jars are going to cost less than the $2plus price of the 16 oz jars I got in Michaels when I was desperate.

Meanwhile, I am going to use several of the jars for making pickles, sauerkraut, etc. and some of them for storage, so I can get away from my room-mate’s 1-qt.plastic yogurt containers.



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 amazon.com 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.


My new favorite commercial is the MasterCard “Priceless: Giving Your Kitchen the Night Off”

To tell the truth, I had always wondered how my stuff always got all tangled up between when I laid things carefully in their places and when went to look for them again.

If you have not seen it please do right away. It is priceless!

MINIMAL KITCHEN: how I started

In the past two days, I have had two people tell me they couldn’t handle raw recipes because they could not either afford all the equipment, or find space for all the equipment.

I love excuses!!!! I have, of course, made them, myself!!!

When I started raw, way back when, I had no advice, and no role models. I had a knife, and I had a book about Zen cooking that told me how to hold the knife to cut things into incredibly small pieces. As I was in graduate school at the time, I spent most of my non-study/non-working/non-sleeping time cutting things into incredibly small pieces.

Then I heard about the Cuisinart . Back then, in the early 1970s, a Cuisinart cost what it costs now. (to help you understand this: my rent , for a studio apartment was $60, and a Cuisinart cost approximately $150). Of course, I couldn’t afford such an expenditure. I continued with my knife.

I discovered another food processor, which cost only $100, and I got that, after months of saving (I still remember proudly carrying home the 25-lb box in my arms). That food processor opened up a world of food (all described in Live Foods, by George and Doris Fathman)

When I left the country, I gave my food processor to my mom and went back to my knife. When I came back to America, in 1978, I bought a blender. I still had my knife.

Fast forward to 1998. I found a reasonably priced food processor for for about $30.00. My world changed. My knife got a rest.

In 1999, my mother gave me a cookbook, Living in the Raw, by Rose Calabro , which mentioned the Champion Juicer. I wrote to Ms. Calabro and asked her if I could “fake” the “pate” effect of a Champion with a food processor, and she kindly wrote back and told me that I could get by with the food processor, but that I would get a much better effect with the Champion. (I began to crave a Champion)

In 2000, I finally bought my Vita-Mix (I say “finally” because I first saw a VitaMix at a Virginia State Fair, when I was 12, and I fell in love. (I begged my mom to buy one, but she wouldn’t). In 2000, I went to a New Age Expo, and saw a Vita Mix demo (not much different from the one I’d seen when I was 12, and I decided then and there that rend and food were not as important as owning a VitaMix, and so I have a VitaMix..((I will say that, while my VitaMix is my dream machine, I use my food processor much much more…. so, if you had to make a choice, if you got a good food processor, and a good blender, you could manage quite well– not to say I regret for a moment owning my VitaMix!!!!)

In addition to the Champion, Calabro mentioned a dehydrator. Living in a raw food vacuum, I had never heard of such a thing. After researching, I decided that I should get an Excalibur, as recommended by Calabro.

I finally got my Champion juicer in the beginning of this year.

Long story short:

I started with a solid stainless steel Chinese chopping knife

I got a blender.

I got a food processor.

I got a dehydrator.

I got a Champion juicer.

Now, I want a small coffee mill, to be able to finely grind up nuts, seeds, and herbs.