Archive for the ‘Kitchen gear’ Category

Plastic Bags are not our friends!

Plastic bags are not our friends! In September 2008 I blogged a snip from the Running the Numbers art exhibit that imparts a strange, static but eerily alien beauty to the pattern of millions of crinkly plastic bags, while being scary to the thinking person. For those of you who are more visceral, here is the gross aftermath of these bags being used all over the world for a couple decades.
Perhaps you’ve heard talk about the huge plastic bag island in a gyre in the middle of the Pacific away from all the major trade routes.  There is a series of 12 videos about a crew of young people and scientists who set out to find it and document it.  I’ve embedded the climactic and most frightening of the 12 episodes.  (Warning:  Colorful language)

I am pleased to note that country after country is jumping on the bandwagon to ban these revolting things in favor of reusables. Ireland banned them nearly a decade ago and businesses did not crash and burn because of it. When will the USA do the smart thing?

A Food Buzz Apron!

Ellie is Buzzing Recently my day was brightened by a totally unexpected gift from the great folks at Food Buzz.  FB had already surprised me with a batch of cool “Moo-cards” to promote this blog, and now I get this really awesome chef’s apron (modelled by my lovely green-haired daughter)  and long handled green spatula, totally out of the blue, eh… I mean green.   How did they know that all my old spatulas look like stiff ragged moldy rubber shreds on the end of a stick!!   If you are into food, join FoodBuzz and get in on the fun.  It’s a really clever very Web 2.0 site and they suck in and promote your food blog for you automagically. Psssst…… they also PAY you actual $MONEY$ based on how much traffic you send them.  Like the sound of that, eh?  How about a nice little mousie detour to the far right where it says vote for me!  Doesn’t cost you a thing to vote, not even your email address!

Dried Apples

My early translucents are still coming on, and now the really beautiful firm perfect fruits are here. It looks like I will be able to make some dried apples after all.

If you want to do the peeling coring and slicing efficiently I recommend the Apple Master. Just poke the spikes into the rear of the apple, turn the crank and it automatically peels, cores and slices it. If you do not have an Apple Master, you can do it manually but it takes longer. I dry them in a food dehydrator, so technically they qualify as “raw” because the dehydrator does not get hot enough to qualify as a cooker. You can also do it in the sun if you have a sunny place that will not be disturbed, or in your oven heated to its lowest setting. If you do it outdoors, cover apples with a screen so that nature doesn’t come along and mess it up.

Re: the formatting, I will redo it when I get WP 2.6 installed. They say you can do real captions in WP 2.6 So please bear with, because I am having a hard time to get the blurbs to go with the pictures.


The applemaster!
acid solution

A bowl of water with a couple of vitamin C, or a little vinegar.  You plunge the sliced apples into this solution before setting them on the dehydrator tray.  It gives them a little more flavor and helps prevent over brown (although your finished dried apples will be a nice tan color.)
apple loaded

When using an AppleMaster, apples you use must be firm and they must be straight from butt to core.  If they are mushy the AppleMaster will just squish them.  If they are not straight, you will get bits of the core where you don’t want it. If the apple is otherwise OK, you can just do the asymmetrical ones by hand.
peeled, cored & sliced

Voila!  All peeled, cored and sliced! I toss the beautiful green peel in the blender along with the not so beautiful apples for my sustainable applesauce, since that’s where all the quercetin and fiber is.
slice with a knife

This cuts in a spiral, so you need to run a knife through it to get slices.
finish product

In a dehydrator, the drying process takes about 3 hours. You will want to monitor them, as the ones on the bottom will dry first, so you will probably wish to rotate your trays. Don’t do what I do and overdry them to crispy flakes. They are dry enough as long as they feel dry to the touch, they can still be soft and flexible. Voila! Dried apples.

Cuisipro Accutec Grater

If you surf the web for gizmos to grate garlic and ginger and zest lemons you will find a great variety. I have to give them high marks for creativity, but when you get right down to it, clean-up is the deciding factor. I use one of these simple manual hand-helds. It has no moving parts, nothing to assemble or disassemble, only brush it down under hot soapy water when when done using and voila. Do yourself a favor and get the deluxe model because it has a better grade of steel that is sharper and stays that way. As any cook knows, sharp tools work better and let you get the chore of grating done faster. I have been using this for three years and it is better than anything else I have used, particularly when it comes to garlic.