Kitchen Gadgets, Equipment & Raw Food

Playing in the kitchen is part of the fun of preparing raw food, or any food for yourself and your loved ones.  I grew up with a mother who was an excellent, Southern cook – deep South, which = fried, mashed, meat and starch at every meal.  Fortunately, she had eclectic/varied tastes and tried recipes from around the world, as well as also provided well-prepared vegetables with every meal.  And, while I certainly enjoyed eating the food as I was growing up, the full preparation of a good meal seemed a bit of a drudgery to me generally, except for the rare occasions when I was in the mood.  When I changed my eating to raw food in August of 2004, all of that began to change for me, and especially after my shift to 100%, off of 100%, and back to 100% starting January 2006.  I was so excited that I lost over 75 lb.s overall, and had so much energy – I wanted to share this easy, wonderful way of regaining control of our lives, our health, our very thoughts (since food impacts the chemistry of the brain).  Also, since I really only enjoy food that tastes good, as well as looks good, and mostly easy (except for when I feel like making something special), I set about learning the skills to teach this to others – anything less, for me, is a disservice to the food, and to you, the eater.

Part of learning the skills, was making sure that I had the right equipment.  It just makes life SOOOO much easier!  And, I’m a kitchen gadget girl; I like items that will help me have more fun in making my food.  A good example of this is a Spirooli or Vegetable Spiralizer.  With this piece of equipment, you place a hard/semi-hard vegetable or fruit between the blade post and the handle teeth, turning the handle, while applying slight pressure toward the blade with the handle toggle, and out the other side of the blade comes noodles of varying sizes.  Using Zucchini, these are a great replacement for angle-hair pasta for a Pasta with Marinara recipe or and Asian Noodle Bowl when adding other marinated veggies and a mock peanut sauce made from almond butter, or something similar – lots of options here.  Make a nut cheese sauce, and a thicker noodle with yams for a Macaroni & Cheese substitute.  Do you see the possibilities?  After getting the basics down, I have found it so much fun exploring what can be done with the food.  The gadgets help with the presentation and the food consistency part of the dish.  These would include such items as a citrus reemer with a cup to catch the juice, a micro-grater, a mandoline with adjustable blades for slicing and julienne cuts, melon baller (couple of sizes), ice cream scoop, pastry brush, pastry spatula (large and small), a set of wooden ‘helping hands’ salad tongs, just to name a few.  Don’t know what something is that I’ve spoken about here?  Just drop me a note, and I’ll explain it further, and/or post a photo for you.

On the equipment side, the standard basics for the raw food kitchen usually include at least a blender, Vita-Mix or K-Tech preferably since do so much blending and this are the industry workhorses that will last a life time, and a food processor, Cuisinart preferably – I had one student who found a used 1960s model Cuisinart for $20 at Goodwill, and it still works just fine.  Can you work with other brands of equipment?  You bet.  They just might take longer, and/or the equipment might not last as long.  A juicer [get the single auger style so that the food enzymes remain intact as much as possible], and a dehydrator are often the third and fourth big equipment investments made by most with a raw food kitchen.  Good equipment is worth the investment when you’re living this lifestyle; it’s supports both your health and your having fun doing it too!

-Chef Allie