Alisa: On The Road to Raw
Well, this blog response is long overdue. Sorry Marie. I’ve tried to write this blog about a million different times (o.k., I am exaggerating a bit) and just have not been able to finish it, but, I will be damned if I do not finish it now. So here goes…
O.k., so let’s talk about raw food kitchen appliances, cutlery and gadgets.
Yes, over the past 9 years of embracing, enjoying and preparing raw food, I have bought almost everything and anything kitchen related that I could buy that might have helped me along my new culinary path.
I have it all: multiple juicers (Norwalk, Champion and Wheatgrass), blenders (VitaMix and K-tech), dehydrators (Excalibur), knives, cutting boards, processors, slicers, dicers, mincers, mandolins, spiralizers, salad hands, bash and chops, nutmilk bags, measuring cups, including, of course, the wondercup and measuring spoons, bowls of every size imaginable, offset spatulas, graters including, of course, the microplane, peelers, gadgets that will julienne, salad spinners, grinders, strainers of all sizes, and yes, even a tomato shark. To this day, Marie kids me about owning a tomato shark.
I am sure I’ve forgotten some of the other wonderful kitchen gadgets that I own, but I think you get the picture. I went crazy! I had a lot of fun shopping over the years (spent a lot of money) and, of course, playing with every single thing that I bought, but, the question is: what does one really need in order to prepare raw food??
If you already prepare food in any capacity, you probably already own much of what I have listed above. Whether you plan to embrace a complete raw food lifestyle or just add a little raw food into your existing diet, at the very least, here is what I highly recommend that you add, that you might not already have: a high speed blender, a food processor, a high quality chef knife, nutmilk bags and a few cutting boards. If you are really are planning to commit to this wonderful new lifestyle or if you really love breads, cookies and crackers like I do, then I recommend investing in a dehydrator.
That is really all it takes and, best of all, you do not have to buy all of the above at one time. To get started, all you really need is a knife and a cutting board. I you want to create some amazing juices and smoothies; however, then I cannot emphasize enough that you MUST purchase a high-speed blender. If I had to pick just one appliance to purchase first, it would be a high-speed blender. They are expensive but worth every penny. In the end, they pay for themselves. If you cannot afford to purchase a new one, go up on Craig’s list or E-bay and you will be able to find one; just don’t give up looking. There is always someone who has decided that they don’t want theirs anymore (lucky you) and now it can be yours, for a lot less. You can even find them at garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores. Just keep looking. In the end, it will be worth it.
I am going to go off on a tangent right now but I cannot help myself. To me, creating and drinking amazing green juices and green power smoothies are the “be all and end all” of amazing health, vibrancy and energy. So, even if you are not planning to become a raw food enthusiast, but you want to look and feel better, invest in a high-speed blender and go crazy; drink your way to great health and energy; doing that, all by itself, will shift your world in a way I simply cannot explain.
So, which blender to I recommend? A vita-mix or a k-tech. Both are superb! Both get the job done! Both are in the same price range. Both are worth every penny they cost. Don’t think about it; just do it!!! You will not regret it!!!
Which food processor do I recommend? If you want a food processor, in my humble opinion, the Cuisinart 14 cup food processor is the way to go; it is not too small and not too large; it is just perfect and can accomplish all your processing needs.
Which juicer do I recommend? (and you really don’t need one because you can make juices in your blender, as Marie already explained). The Green Star, Breville or Hurom Slow Juicer are my top three choices and without me droning on and on about the pros and cons here, simply, “Google” all three juicers to see their specific differences for yourself. Personally, if I were to buy a new one today, I would choose either the Breville or the Hurom because, in the end, both are easy to clean up. I want to spend as little time as possible juicing and cleaning up or else I will not want to make a juice in the first place! All three, however, are great juicers and will get the job done.
Which knives do I recommend? At the very least invest in a high quality chef knife and a cleaver (for coconuts). I adore my Mac 6” chef knife and my 6” ceramic chef knife. The proper length of a knife depends on what you feel comfortable holding. It is very personal. The knife becomes an extension of your arm. A 10” might feel comfortable for some, but not for me. Try it and see what works for you. My ceramic knife is my ultimate favorite, but if you only have enough money for one great knife you might not want to invest in a ceramic because they are delicate and if you accidently drop it, it will chip. I have directly experienced this mishap and I was not a happy camper. I still invest in them because I love, love, love them, but then again I am crazy about knives.
Why more than one cutting board? If you plan to continue to eat meat and dairy along with raw fruits and veggies, it is my preference to have a separate cutting board for each: one for meats, one for dairy, one for onions and garlic and one for fruits and non-offensive veggies. I have different colored boards and each color represents a different food group. I do this because I prepare food for people who have allergies and other diet restrictions and it is important for me not to contaminate foods. And sometimes, simply, washing the board isn’t enough to get rid of the garlic leftover essence and I prefer the pure taste an apple not a garlic apple. Do you know what I mean?
Which dehydrator? The Excalibur of course! It is the be all and end all of dehydrators. And I recommend purchasing the 9 tray because it only costs $20.00 more than the 5 tray and in the end, once you start making your amazing dehydrating treats, you are going to want to make them in large quantities and you will end up cursing the day you bought the 5 tray!
Well, as you can tell, I could go on and on because there is just so much information to share and I love sharing it and I would be glad to if any of you have any questions and or comments regarding what I just shared, but if I do not send this response to Marie now, I will never hear the end of it. I’ve procrastinated enough. She has been so, so, so patient with me. What are friends for? So, Marie, finally, here it is!
P.S. it is Marie’s birthday this Sunday….Happy Birthday Marie!!!!