APPLIANCES/GADGETS and RECIPES:
Vita Mix: Kale Banana Almond Smoothie
Juicer: Fruit juice mix and Vegi mix
Actifry: Mini potatoes with onions and sausage
Slow Cooker: Applesauce and Multigrain cereal with fruit
Panini Maker: Reuben sandwiches with corned beef or Susie's Seiten
Pressure Cooker: Bean soup and Wild rice and Barley mushroom casserole
Bread Maker: Sourdough Rye Bread
Apple Peeler and Dehydrator: Dried apples and dried bananas
Food Processor and Madeleine mold: Madeleines and Williamsburg Orange Cake (on next post)
This vacation I've busied myself cooking and baking using my great collection of cool appliances and gadgets. I use my "toys" to concoct the quickest and tastiest feasts. Over the past week I've counted a dozen of them that have come out of the closet and into the kitchen to do their magic. Most of them are listed below with the great foods that were prepared.
VITA MIX: KALE/BANANA/ALMOND SMOOTHIE AND JUICER:
Each day starts with the juicer or the vitamix which are both privileged to live on the counter. The juicer is a Hamilton Beach, the cheapest juicer on the market and one that works very well and cleans up easily and quickly. I'll make myself a fruit or vegi juice first thing in the morning or to bring to work for later in the morning. The juicer gets apples, oranges, pineapple, and pears with a carrot thrown in for good measure and great color. The vegi juice is some combination of raw beets, carrots, celery cucumber, ginger, garlic or onion.
Or I'll make my green slime in my Vita Mix: raw kale, almond milk, almond butter, banana and a touch of maple syrup. Ice is thrown in since the colder the better. The almond milk is made by soaking almonds in water overnight and the next morning mixing it up in the Vita mix. Slowly the rest of the family has grown to like this drink which tastes particularly good for being so healthy. I was fortunate enough to attend a juicing class iwth Joe Romano at Greenstar, our local organic food coop and also attended a raw foods class with Rebecca Robbins who introduced me to the healthy and delicious world of raw foods.
So that's two appliances. Now, it gets less healthy I'm afraid. For breakfast I've been trying out my newest gadget: an Actifry. It's advertised as a low fat fryer alternative. So this morning the little pee wee potatoes went in with some sliced onions, whole garlic cloves and a few pieces of sausage. No more oil since the sausages provide more than enough. They were cooked in about 20 minutes. It really is overpriced for what it is. But I'm still working on some menus ideas. I tried the chicken wings and drumsticks which both came out great and tend to be more moist than when baked .
SLOW COOKER or CROCK POT (same thing): APPLE SAUCE and MULTIGRAIN CEREAL WITH FRUIT
APPLESAUCE; One of my favorite uses for the slow cooker is apple sauce. The entire house fills up with the wonderful scent of cooking apples, one of the homiest aroma's I can think of. Quite simply I add cored whole organic apples or cored and peeled non-organic apples that I've cut into large pieces. For a large apple cut it into eighths and then each piece cut in half or thirds. And for smaller apples just quarter them and then cut each quarter in half. You really don't need liquid unless they are really old dried up apples, then add 1/2 cup water or apple cider. I add some honey and some cinnamon and then cook it on low until they are mushy and obviously cooked. Then put them through a food mill (another indispensible gadget.) Add more honey or cinnamon if you want.
MULTIGRAIN CEREAL WITH FRUIT This is adapted from a recently acquired cookbook called, "The Healthy Slow Cooker". It has plenty of health and cooking tips in the margins. This adapted recipe was great and kept for several days in the fridge, easily reheated in the microwave.
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup wheat berries
2 medium apples, peeled cored and cubed
1 cup apple juice or cider
3 cups water
Add together into crock pot (slow cooker), add salt to taste and cook on low for 6 hours or until cooked. Add :
Chopped pitted dates
Sprinkle with wheat germ (optional)
and serve with maple syrup.(optional)
PANINI MAKER: REUBENS:
Rye bread, thousand island dressing, saurkraut, swiss cheese and corned beef (or turkey or Susie's portabella mushroom seiten).
PRESSURE COOKER: BEAN SOUP and WILD RICE BARLEY CASSEROLE with MUSHROOMS
BEAN SOUP: In preparation for the winter storm I made my obligatory soup. The essential comfort food for cold snowy weather. I bought the package of Hurst 15 beans, threw out the ham flavor packet and put half of the beans aside in hot water to soak for a few hours. They then got drained and thrown into my pressure cooker (appliance 5 on this list). I then added broth, a can of diced tomatoes with the juice and extra water if needed to amply cover the beans. They were brought up to pressure and cooked for 10 minutes . After depressurizing I checked the beans and if the biggest ones were almost done, I added diced onions, cabbage, celery, carrots, parsnips, leeks, and winter squash (butternut this time) that I had quickly fried over high heat in some olive oil while stirring to lightly brown. I added some salt Some browned cubes of boneless beef ribs as well. I then brought it back up to pressure and cooked for 5 more minutes and again depressurized and checked to see if everything was done. This soup lasted several days through the snow storm and just gets more flavorful with each reheating. I serve my bean soups drizzled with great olive oil and good grated parmesan.
WILD RICE BARLEY CASSEROLE with MUSHROOMS:
1 medium onion, chopped
4 TBS butter
¾cup wild rice
¾cup barlely (not quick cooking)
½cup dry sherry
1 ½ cups stock
1 ¼cups water
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
1. Fry one chopped sweet onion in butter until softened and set aside.
2. Fry mushrooms and set aside.
3. In Pressure Cooker add rice and barley, sherry, broth and water and salt to taste.
4. Cover pressure cooker, bring to pressure and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Release pressure and check to make sure the rice and barley are cooked. The rice should be split open and tender but not mushy. Cook longer if necessary.
6. Add mushrooms and onions to rice mixture.
7. Taste for salt and pepper..
BREADMAKER: RYE SOUR DOUGH
¾ cup sour dough starter
½ cup water
2 TBS molasses
1 TBS olive oil
1 ½ tsp salt
1 TBS toasted caraway seeds
2 ¼ cups Bread flour
¾ cup rye flour
1 ½tsp yeast
Combine in bread maker and check to make sure the consistency is correct. If you poke it with your finger you should have a tiny bit of stickiness but mostly it needs to be dry and in a ball. You may need to add more flour or water to adjust.
1. Let the bread maker do the kneading and first rise,
2. Remove the dough and put it into a bowl lined with parchment paper.
3. Let it rise again until double: one to two hours.
4. Half an hour before preheat oven to 450° .Place empty large enamel pot with cover (Le Creuset works great) that will just hold the bread in the oven to heat as well.
5. Slit the top of the bread and carefully place in the enamel pot. Don't burn yourself lifting the lid (spoken from multiple experiences). Cover the pot and cook the bread for 30 minutes.
6. Remove the pot from the oven. Carefully remove the bread and unless it is already evenly browned, place it as is, without parchment, in the oven and bake a few more minutes, checking regularly, until uniformly brown and crisp. Remove and cool. Serve with butter and the bean soup!
DEHYDRATOR AND APPLES PEELER: Dried apples and Dried bananas.
One of the least known gadgets and a really cheap and helpful one is the apple peeler. But it doesn't just peel the apples. It also slices and cores the apple. So in a few seconds you have an apple ready for your pie or for the dehydrator. Check out the video which shoes you just how it works. And it's around $20! APPLE PEELER VIDEO
The dehydrator I use is the cheap one made by Nesco American Harvester. You can spend lots of money on these guys but I really don't have any problem with this one except that it is really noisy. So you need to put it in another room and not forget it.
The apples get sliced and laid out in the dehydrator and if you want, sprinkled with cinnamon. Cook it until the apples are to your liking, chewy or crisp. They do continue to crisp up a bit after you turn it off. The a bananas get sliced and same thing, check after 12 hours and see what you think.