Turn On, Eat Up, Feel Good - Electrical Appliances in the Raw Food Kitchen
Posted on June 01 2010 | (4) Comments
Category: Raw Ingredients and Equipment Tags:
In my cookbooks Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People and Raw for Dessert, I have done my best to assemble recipes that maximize the flavor of wonderful raw food ingredients while minimizing time in the kitchen. In fact, one of the first things that attracted me to raw food recipes is that many of them require nothing more than the ability to peel, cube, and toss.
Take my Tropical Fruit Salad, for example. You peel a mélange of fresh fruits, cube them into bite-sized pieces, and toss them together. Perfect ‘as is,’ this recipe becomes even more decadent when you add my ‘secret’ citrus sauce. The sauce is optional for this ‘basic techniques’ recipe because in addition to bringing ‘drizzle skills’ into play, it also requires the use of a blender.
And that brings me to the subject of this article on raw food preparation: useful electrical appliances.
As I said, many raw food recipes in Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People and Raw for Dessert can be prepared with knives. However other recipes use familiar kitchen appliances (such as blenders and food processors) as well as less familiar ones (juicers) to turn avocados into chocolate mousse, coconuts into pastry cream...
...and raw cashews and orange juice into a Sweet Orange Cream Sauce
- 1 cup soaked raw cashews
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons raw honey (agave nectar may be substituted)
- 2 tablespoons water
Place all the ingredients in a blender. Process on high speed until smooth. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.
You can swap out oranges for lemons and turn this into a Sweet Lemon Cream Sauce. Substitute 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice for the orange juice and increase the water to one-quarter cup.
Stored in a sealed container, this raw food dessert sauce will keep for three days in the ‘fridge...if it lasts that long!
Blenders Are a Raw Food Girl’s (and Guy’s) Best Friend
A blender is key to the recipe above because it will ensure that the soaked raw cashews – a staple in my raw food pantry – will be chopped, whirled, and swirled so finely that they break down and ‘melt’ into the sauce. Blender action guarantees that raw food ingredients are properly incorporated into one another, giving a creamy texture to spreads and salad dressings, and silkiness to soups and smoothies.
Blenders don’t take up a lot of space and they’re easy to operate. And even though this clever piece of machinery has the power to puree and liquefy raw food ingredients, it is literally ‘safe enough for a child to use.’
Good news! Blenders are also extremely affordable. An inexpensive model will do all the work in the recipes in both Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People and Raw for Dessert. There are several good, basic blenders that will work for a raw food chef. I like the KitchenAid KSB560 and the two-speed Oster Classic.
For a powerful high-speed blender, you can’t beat the Vita-Mix. This company has been manufacturing blenders for over 80 years and is considered the ‘gold standard’ of blenders. This amazing machine performs over 50 different culinary jobs with ease...and no attachments. If you’ve got a pocket-sized kitchen, this is a HUGE plus.
Beyond Blenders – Food Processors for Raw Food Recipes
Food processors make quick work of a wide range of raw food kitchen tasks. Fitted with an S-blade, a food processor grinds and purées. It is indispensable for raw cakes, pates cookies, and pastry, including this easy-as-pie Shortbread Crust with just four ingredients:
- 1 cup shredded dry coconut (unsweetened)
- 1 cup raw walnuts (unsoaked)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 pitted Medjool dates
Place the first three ingredients in a processor fitted with an S-blade. Process until finely ground. Add the dates and process just until the mixture begins to stick together. (Don’t over-process)
When stored properly, Shortbread Crust will keep for a month in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer...and no preservatives, either!
Which processor is right for you? Good question. You can choose an inexpensive model if you’re just getting started. If you find that you agree with me about how helpful and versatile this piece of equipment can be for a raw food chef, then you can invest in a ‘premium’ brand. I recommend the Cuisinart food processor for maximum performance and durability.
Want to get the best performance out of any food processor when you’re making a raw food recipe? Of course you do! The trick is to make sure that you do not fill your processor bowl more than half full. Also remember to stop and scrap down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that all of your raw food ingredients are processed and incorporated equally.
If you enjoy fruit and vegetable juice as part of your raw food lifestyle, a ‘proper’ juicer is a great investment. A juicer extracts the juice of fruits and vegetables to help you make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time a great tune to enjoy a raw food juice such as this wonderful Green Juice. It’s low in calories and sugar, but packs a huge nutritional punch. These five simple ingredients provide vitamins, calcium, and trace minerals...and a great way to get trim and lean:
- 3 celery stalks
- 3 kale or collard leaves
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced lengthwise
- 1/2 bunch parsley (about one ounce)
If you enjoy ginger, juice in a quarter-inch knob. If you prefer a sweeter juice, juice in half of an apple that’s been cut into chunks. I’ve even got a recipe in Raw Food Made Easy that lets you transform Green Juice into Complete Meal Green Juice with just a tablespoon of blue-green algae or green powder and some flaxseeds or ground hemp seeds.
There are a number of choices in the world of juicers. A centrifugal juicer such as the Breville doesn’t preserve quite as much nutrition from raw foods or extract as much juice, but it’s a good option for ‘new’ raw food chefs because it is less expensive and faster to use. A slow-speed, low-temperature model, such as the Greenstar model by Tribest, is best, since it produces the maximum yield and preserves more nutrients and enzymes.
Make it easy on yourself! Raw food recipes made with the help of hardworking electrical appliances are a snap to make and a treat to eat.