Archive for the 'Appliances' Category

The Smoking Gun

February 16th, 2010

smoking gun
While we’re on the topic of FANCY GADGETS, I should tell you about the Smoking Gun. I love the smoking gun. It’s basically a way to infuse foods with smoke flavor without heating them. Plus, it has a catchy name which is handy for one-liners (always a plus in the restaurant business where one-liners are a social currency of sorts).

Today, my mission (yes, I chose to accept it) was to smoke these tofu bits.

how it works
Basically, it works kind of like a HOOKAH (more social currency). You have some little wood chips in the gun which are burned, and the smoke travels through the rubber tube to some apparatus which contains your unsmoked material. Like so.

smokingOnce a good amount of smoke is transferred to your container, it’s sealed off (an airtight container is nice for this) until the smoke settles. The amount of time varies depending on how smokey you want the flavor to be.  Since this was my first time doing this, I arbitrarily chose ten minutes as a good time frame.  The flavor that resulted was pretty strong.  Almost too strong.  I think that tofu (being a fairly permeable material) is pretty accepting of the influence.

The chips are placed here. (Needless to say, somebody was racking up currency today. I wouldn’t want to implicate anyone. But it was not me, of course).

The flavor is determined by the type of wood the chips are made of. Today, I tried four flavors: cherrywood, mesquite, applewood, and hickory. I liked Applewood the best. And so did our new instructor. Did I mention that we have a new instructor here?

russell and ladan
RUSSELL JAMES is in the house! He just started Monday. We have some ANARCHY FROM THE UK.

punk rock russellIronically, I accidentally took this picture of Russell in front of a tray of wheatgrass. Pretty punk rock. He looks almost like Sid Vicious there. In a further show of synchronicity, I found a MUG SHOT of Sid on the SMOKING GUN web page. He’s like Sid Vicious in BIZARRO WORLD. Instead of heroine, he does wheatgrass. Did I mention that Russell was going to be a record producer before he discovered raw food? He’s been filling me in about the UK music scene.

Speaking of, I got some REALLY BAD NEWS today…ABBEY ROAD IS CLOSING!!! I am so depressed. I wanted to get my record mastered there. It was a secret dream. I’ve been working on this record for at least ten years. And the reason it’s taking so long is because I want to do it right. I want it to be recorded ALL ANALOG. The number of places that can accomodate that shrinks daily. But ABBEY ROAD! They’ve been doing it forever. They know what they’re doing, and they have a lot of people working there that have been there a LONG TIME. This is tragic! It’s not just in the food industry where people are cutting corners. This whole world needs a change of priorities.


The AntiGriddle

February 13th, 2010

One of the cool perks of culinary school is that we get to experiment with state of the art equipment. Presenting…the AntiGriddle. It actually looks a lot like lab equipment (did I mention that I used to be a SCIENTIST?).

pouringIt’s a lot like a griddle. But instead of searing things, it freezes them on contact. The surface of the antigriddle is cooled to -30 degrees F (sounds like Minnesota). You can pour liquids onto the griddle and they’ll solidify. Here we are doing an experiment with some maple syrup. You can freeze sauces into little garnishes that will literally melt in your mouth. You can also create crazy designs. It allows you to easily manipulate the transition of a medium from liquid to solid.

For example, you could make a spiral out of chocolate ganache.

Or an instant pudding pop.

A little tahini disc with pistachio crumbles.

choc curry
My favorite was the chocolate disc with curried cashew pieces. YUM!


Two Year Anniversary

February 18th, 2009

This week is the two year anniversary of my relationship with raw food. As with everything, I have a bit of neurosis about defining it as a ‘relationship’. It’s more like we’re seeing each other. But we’re not putting a label on it. I find that I, personally, don’t really do well with labels. I’m not a person that needs a definition to motivate myself. I’m pretty much a ‘Steady Eddy’ in certain ways, and I have a generally artistic temperament. So, I instinctively rebel against labels. Trying to define myself within a certain framework is like a recipe for self-sabotage. I am most successful when I just AM. That’s when I see all the unexpected surprises and coincidences that abound…letting me know I’m in the right place.

Like when I opened my mailbox to find this wonderful surprise for my anniversary from the beautiful PENNI.

She had no idea it was my anniversary. Isn’t that cosmic?

She sent me the much coveted icing spatula for making the most delicate and perfect crackers, chips, wrappers, and skins. I’ve been wanting one of these ever since I saw BUNNY BERRY’S VIDEO demonstrating the sesame cashew dumplings from EVERYDAY RAW (one of the only recipes I haven’t made yet from that book).

I immediately got to work in my laboratory. If CHARLES BUKOWSKI wasn’t such a drunk (and he were me), he would be screaming from the mountaintops, ‘FLAX CRACKERS FOR ALL MY FRIENDS!’.

happy vday
So, Happy Anniversary to me! (I’m kind of cheating a little. This flower was for Valentine’s. But I’m following in SHANNON MARIE’S tradition of MAKING IT LAST). Plus, it’s kind of convenient that it falls on a holiday. That way, it’s easy to remember.



September 22nd, 2008

Look what abundance fell in my lap recently. I had been noticing these for a while (most notably in THIS post by Shannon Marie – I’ve been coveting these things for a while). But alas, I wasn’t able to bring myself to shell out the $50 for the slicer + shipping. So I waited…until my moment of serendipity.

I noticed one of these lovelies collecting dust in the bowels of a rarely used shelf at work. So, I asked our chef to do a demonstration. She gladly obliged – showing us the marvels of spiralized carrots. I was mesmerized…A couple weeks later, I mentioned something about it to her and she told me there had been a new one collecting dust in her office for over a year. I could have it if I wanted.

Well, you don’t have to ask ME twice. I jumped on that bandwagon and rode it all the way home. Look at THAT! Perfect noodles everytime.
This was the first dish I made with my new slicer. From EVERYDAY RAW (of course), it’s the baked mac and cheese dish.

My BOYFRIEND liked it so well, he made it again for me as a surprise. Isn’t that charming?! It’s a little rich though. We weren’t able to finish it the second time. We might have to wait until it gets a little colder to pull this one out again…


New Food Processor and Other Musings

January 18th, 2008

new food processor

Check out the new food processor I got for Christmas! My mom gave it to me. She says she’s generally had good luck with anything GE. The last food processor I had was a steal for $25, but pieces started breaking off of it less than a week in (it was a Black and Decker). The blades and the motor on it were pretty good though. So I kept holding it together. I made it for almost a year like that. But I think my mom is trying to support my healthy changes. For the most part, my family thinks my diet is maybe a little strange, but they are happy that I’ve found something that seems to be helping me deal with DARRYL. This kind of thing doesn’t really run in my family at all. So they’re kind of at a loss as to how to help me.

fp action fp action

Here are some shots of my food processor in action. The blades on this one are really great too. And the design is much better. No small plastic pieces which are easily broken off. This one’s a keeper. Here I am making a cheesecake last night for my friend, Elizabeth. She APPEARED in my blog early on and then disappeared (as she used to live across the hall and moved). But I’ve been trying to get her over here to try some stuff as she has fibromyalgia, and I really think this will help her some.

Wakame Hemp

I made ones of my FAVES the wakame hemp power slaw. I tweaked it a little though as I can’t really just leave recipes how they are. This time I added some red chard, sesame, dulse, and miso in the dressing. And of course, I added some fresh sprouts from my SPROUT GARDEN…buckwheat and some of my spicy mix (which i got from SPROUTPEOPLE – it’s a daikon, arugula, cress mix…YUM!). The sprouts really spiced the salad up in a GOOD WAY.

dinner for e

I also made a VANILLA CHEESECAKE which I’ve made too many times to count. I’ve been tweaking this recipe too – adding some vanilla bean, dates, and almonds in the crust.

Elizabeth was pretty into it. I think I may have a convert. She was looking through recipe books and asking lots of questions. She said the food was ‘restaurant quality’ which kind of caught me off guard. I mean, I’ve been working in the restaurant/catering business for 10 years, but not on the cooking end. My palatte is overly developed, but I don’t have much experience cooking. In fact, I never cooked AT ALL until I got sick and had to go raw. But her little comment planted a little seed in my mind. I might put that seed into the ground and see what sprouts up. 🙂

Egg shelf

There are some other small but revolutionary changes going on in my kitchen. I found a really good use for the egg shelf. I’ve been making lemon/lime water every morning to replace that horrible caffeine habit I had for years. I noticed that I was always digging through my two shelves of produce every morning looking for the most ripe citrus until I had this eureka moment.

the garden

Here’s the SPROUT/WHEATGRASS garden as of yesterday. I’ve almost finished my first tray of wheatgrass. Ann Wigmore says that once you’ve harvested a tray, you can let the grass grow up once more before you compost the mats (the dirts and roots). So, I haven’t exactly figured out how often to space the trays apart yet, but I’m starting another tray today and the second tray seems about ready for harvesting as well. I’m in LOVE with the taste of the sprouts so far. I read somewhere though that officially sprouts are grown in water only and anything you grow in the dirt is a micro green. So, I suppose it’s technically a MICRO GREEN garden. Either way, I’m definitely hooked.

green juice

I’m gonna try to have one of these EVERY DAY. It REALLY makes you feel GREAT. I haven’t quite worked myself of to the 32 oz. CHLOROPHYLL BOMB that Anthony (aka RAW MODEL) swears by, but I’m getting there…


The Wheatgrass Debacle

January 17th, 2008

grass harvest

cut grass There it is. My first harvest of homegrown wheatgrass. Doesn’t it look lovely? I decided to start with a small batch for my first juicing as I haven’t gotten entirely used to the taste yet. Well, after patiently watching the grass GROW FROM THE SEEDLING STAGE, I was anxious to get started. The juicer seemed easy enough to setup, and I was running late for work. So, I decided to skip the instructional video and just go for it. I gathered up all the parts and assembled them in the seemingly most logical configuration like so:

juicer setup

That looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

NO! I did it WRONG. By the time, I discovered my error I had already spilled green juice all over my kitchen, leaving a very small amount for my first wheatgrass containing juice (satsuma orange, pear, beat, carrot, apple, wheatgrass mixture).

first juice first froth

Not very much wheatgrass, but it made a lovely froth.

the right way

Well, needless to say, as soon as I returned home from work today I got to work figuring out where I went wrong. It all makes so much sense now. Above you see the RIGHT WAY to set up the healthy juicer. Today I tried juicing it with a satsuma orange and pear (all in the Healthy Juicer – yesterday I juiced everything else in my BREVILLE).

Green Alien Blood

I started with the wheatgrass first, and everything was going smashingly. Look at that THICK, green juice. It looks like GREEN ALIEN BLOOD which I find kind of interesting. Ann Wigmore talks in her book about how chlorophyll is kind of like plant blood in that it performs similar functions. She also discussed how closely the molecular structure of a chlorophyll molecule resembled a hemoglobin molecule. They are almost identical except that hemoglobin is built around an iron molecule, and chlorophyll is built around magnesium. They say that because they are so similar it’s very easy for your body to convert the chlorophyll ESP if you’re eating foods rich in iron (like say BUCKWHEAT SPROUTS, for example!).

wheatgrass pear juice

Anyway, despite my success with the wheatgrass, I found that the breville was FAR superior at juicing other kinds of fruits. When I put the pear slices in, the hopper got backed up pretty fast. Thus, I wasn’t able to juice all the pears slices I had prepared. Though they made a yummy snack. I have to say that I REALLY like the wheatgrass pear juice combo. The pear really takes the edge off the wheatgrass. It’s somehow softer and easier to take. I also didn’t notice the aftertaste really. So I think I might be making that again (though maybe in separate juicers). I feel REALLY GOOD right now. Definitely a kick start. We are starting this green year off on the right track!


New Year, New Plan

January 6th, 2008

Well, it’s the new year. Time to take stock and reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. Reflecting on the past and SAYING GOODBYE to old friends…taking stock on where I am (I finally got a diagnosis on my health issues – more on that later)…and looking ahead to the future.

My big goal for the year is to incorporate more greens. A LOT more greens. I’m setting myself up to have a window garden. My apt is VERY VERY SMALL, but I’m trying to outfit my window with room to get something going.

ikea shelf

You can kind of see where I’m going with this…

ann wigmore books

I’m been studying up on the methodology in these lovely books from wheatgrass/sprouting pioneer ANN WIGMORE.

wheatgrass seeds

I’ve ordered a few different varieties of seeds to get me started: Wheatgrass, Buckwheat, Sunflower, and a couple blends from SPROUT PEOPLE

salad greens

french garden

healthy juicer

And finally, I ordered a hand wheatgrass juicer for greens and sprouts.

hand juicer

Everyone thinks I’m being really ambitious…some think it’s downright crazy. But this is my plan to combat all the fatigue I’m feeling from the chronic D. I don’t like to talk about it. I’m going to start referring to it as visits from my friend, Darryl. Well, Darryl came by again today…getting on my nerves as usual. So, I’m feeling particularly inspired. Wish me luck! It will be interesting to see what impact this will have. It definitely can’t hurt. But there is no way I’m going to just lie down and accept hanging out with Darryl one week of every month. I’m gonna fight him tooth and nail. He has no idea what he’s got himself into…


Breville Juice Fountain

November 24th, 2007


We got our new juicer this week. Just in time for Thanksgiving. It’s a Breville Compact Juice Fountain. Retails at Amazon for $79 new. It’s similar to the regular juice fountain. I think the main difference in the design is that the pulp collection is in the main unit – instead of shooting out the back. My boyfriend seems to think this is a great feature. He said the Juiceman that he used to have had a pulp ejector, but the pulp would inevitably shoot everywhere and make a mess. This is much cleaner. The one drawback might be that if one were juicing huge volumes at once, you would need to stop and disassemble the juicer periodically to empty the pulp. In other words, there’s a finite capacity for the pulp. But it takes less counter space, and is very quiet. We are really happy with it.


So for our first juice, we decided to make a pomegranate blend after reading THIS lovely post on RAW FOOD RIGHT NOW explaining how to harvest the seeds. Then, we threw in some apples and asian pears for good measure.


Do you like my FANCY RAY shirt? He sent me this shirt for Christmas a couple years ago 🙂

first juice

All that’s left to do is stir the collected juice and voila!

This was arguably the most delicious glass of juice I’ve ever had (until today). The pears softened the tartness of the apples and pomegranates oh so delightfully. I highly recommend it!


(Harley LOVES apples).


Turning Dysfunction into Harmony

October 19th, 2007

before pics

So one of my big obstacles in life right now is streamlining things to the basic essentials.  This is a before picture of my kitchen.  (Even the picture is dysfunctional).  Since I’m working on some health issues right now and I’m pretty bogged down with medical bills (oy! if you really want to get into the nuts and bolts of dysfunction try our health care system), my boyfriend and I are sharing a very very small studio apartment.  Did I mention that we have a counter space issue?


No.  That’s not a shelf.  It’s my Excalibur dehydrator.  My boyfriend turned the gas off on our stove – not so much to force the raw issue (I have some severe allergy problems), but it’s definitely having that effect.  Anyway, our stove is now a shelf for the dehydrator.  And the dehydrator is a shelf for everything else.

But…I’m gonna make this work.  You’ll see!


I got a VITAMIX!

September 17th, 2007


Guess what!!  I finally got one.  I didn’t even mean to.  I’d been perfectly content stumbling along with my gritty smoothies and my semi-adequate blender, but little did I know that my boyfriend was secretly plotting.  Last week, for my birthday I got the biggest surprise of all.  My boyfriend got me a vitamix!!!  I was so surprised.  I had absolutely no idea.  I didn’t even ask for one.  I had just resigned myself to getting one at some point in the very nebulous far off future.

I feel silly being so excited about an appliance.  But this thing is AMAZING.  It’s so powerful. The first time I turned it on, I jumped back.  I was not expecting all that.  WOW.  My smoothies are like silk now.  And the best part of all:


It cleans itself!  You just pour some water in and a couple drops of dish soap.  Flip the switch and you get this beautiful lather.  Look at that thing go!  Then, just rinse.  No more pulling apart all the pieces and washing them individually.

No muss.  No fuss.

Isn’t my boyfriend the best?