Happy Raw Wednesday!
How’d it go, guys? My day, though raw, was stressful and utterly unworthy of documentation. But in honor of the day, I do have a very special post to share with you. It is a chronicle of my journey into a brave new world of raw food. Yes, friends. Today, I share my first ever food dehydrating experience.
Food dehydrating. The final frontier. After six months of assuring you that you don’t need a dehydrator to be raw, and proving the claim myself, I have been gifted with a dehydrator. Which means a whole new world of breads, crackers, cookies, cakes, pizza crust, pie crust, and more.
Before I give you the detail of my first dehydrating adventure, I want to make something very clear. Having a dehydrator will in no way change the ethos of my blog. Sure, it’ll be fun to show you guys some of the fun things one can do with a dehydrator, and to make recipes that are a little more elaborate than the usual raw soups and salads. But I started this blog to prove that anyone—even someone equipped with nothing more than some kitchen knives and an imagination—can enjoy the raw lifestyle. The appliances help, but my kind of raw lifestyle (simple foods, simple combinations) doesn’t necessitate them. As I’ve stated before, I began my raw journey with nothing more than a food processor, a box grater, and some knives, and I managed nicely for a long, long while.
But every now and then, we welcome change into our lives. So get ready. A few times each month, I’ll try to make something really fun in the ‘ole Excalibur. I’ve already got some recipes bookmarked to try, and I hope you’ll love them. Rest assured, though, that Choosing Raw will remain a place where raw foodists come to relax, not show off; a place where prepping a meal takes fifteen minutes, not five days. And with the exception of today’s post, I’ll always try to give you a low-temp oven option on the recipe.
On that note, let me begin my first dehydrating adventure with a little tour of my kitchen. Welcome.
The first time I brought my ex-boyfriend (who was, shall we say, a meat and potatoes man) into this sacred room, he grinned and said, “So. This is where the magic happens.”
Yes. This is where the magic happens. This room is where it’s at. It’s where I come to unwind, to create, to shake off a bad day. Merely walking in here gives me a sense of calm. And well it should: by New York City renter’s standards, I have a pretty incredible kitchen (my old kitchen, which I shared with a roommate, was virtually so tiny that two people could not stand in it at the same time).
Here’s my countertop:
My appliances, all lined up like ducks in a row:
A still life from my Mom (she’s a painter):
Pantry items – healthy grains:
Coconut butter, nut butters, and raw honey:
And sea veggies/spices:
Here is my vegan cookbook collection (and this ain’t the half of it—just the VIPs!):
My tea kettle:
And no kitchen of mine is complete without some yams.
Hoping for a fridge tour? Not yet! I’m saving that one for a special organizational post. Soon.
Of course, having a dehydrator in an already full NYC kitchen brings up one crucial issue: space. Where to put? For now, I think a laborious tradeoff will have to happen each time the machine is in action. Other appliances get to sit on the floor:
While it gets the counter:
The rest of the time, you’ll find this guy here:
In contemplating what to make for my first dehydrating jaunt, I thought (as I often do) of my clients’ food requests. Many of my clients ask me for raw bread recipes, and I’ve yet to provide them with one. I’ve also always hoped to put juice pulp to good use in a bread. So last weekend, I vowed that if I could find an easy, hassle free bread recipe, I’d christen the dehydrator with it.
Fortunately, I did. My friend Blaq Berry’s Carrocumber bread was the perfect template. And since I happened to have a ton of carrot pulp on hand, I figured it was time to take the plunge. I followed her recipe closely, making a few modifications (raisins in place of dates, celery/kale pulp in place of cucumber). And voila, Miss “I’ll never use my dehydrator” had herself some raw bread.
Raw Carrot-Raisin Bread (Inspired by Hi-Rawkus; makes about five slices)
1 cup carrot juice pulp
1/3 cup green pulp (celery or cucumber would be ideal)
½ cup ground flaxseed
½ tsp salt
1 tsp flax oil
¼ cup raisins, packed
1/3 cup water (if needed)
Begin by blending the first five ingredients in a food processor until well mixed. Add the raisins and pulse until they’re well incorporated.
Next, drizzle in water until the mix is clumping together – just as you would make any bread in a processor. Don’t use it all if you don’t need it – you don’t want an overly sticky consistency. (You could also do this by hand, it’ll just take some extra time.)
Roll the “dough” out onto a wooden board. You’ll probably need to oil the roller and board for this. Cut it into rectangles (mine yielded five sizeable ones).
Turn on your dehydrator, and set it to 115 degrees. Put the bread onto a Paraflexx-lined dehydrator tray, and place the bread in the machine. Dehydrate for about one hour, and flip the bread. Dehydrate for another hour and a half. Then, flip the bread again, and dehydrate for thirty-forty minutes, or until the bread has reached a consistency you like. I was aiming for a soft, yet sturdy texture, and it’s exactly what I got!
Remove the bread from the dehydrator. If you’re not eating it right away, but it in an airtight container and store in the fridge (should keep a few days). Or, go ahead and whip up a raw sandwich!
Since I had this baby on hand:
I decided to make a hearty MLT sandwich: mushroom, heirloom tomato, and lettuce. I spread some of my raw almondaise on the bread:
Stacked Portobello mushroom and thick tomato slices on it, topped with some lettuce, and voila:
A comforting, diner-worthy lunch.
Alongside a big salad, this hit the spot.
I was especially impressed with the bread’s texture: it was soft and pliable, unlike most raw bread, which usually resembles a giant, crumbly cracker.
It was new territory, but I found the whole dehydrating process ridiculously easy. It’s true, what they say about dehydrators: all you have to do is walk away and come back a few hours later. Unlike ovens or boiling pots, they require no vigilance. And the results are, well, pretty cool.
I hope you all had an awesome raw Wednesday! And I want to hear about it! Please chime into the comments section and let me know how you fared. And keep sending photos; I got a few (you guys know who you are, and thanks!) but I’d love to be able to post a whole bunch next week.
On that note, I leave you to five days sans Gena. I’m off to Crescent City to visit Chloe, my best friend, who lives there. I look forward to some hot weather, some girl time, some strolling by beautiful old homes, and some pleasure reading (fingers crossed!). In the meantime, I have three awesome guest posts lined up for you guys. Expect the first tomorrow evening!