Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dehydrator Crazy

First off I am happy to say the blog stuff didn't revert to Spanish this time and I am able to post! For some reason every once and a while we go to our blog and it is Spanish up there and there isn't a way to find the "new post" thing. So the weather has been kind of odd this "dry" season. It isn't just because we are up north either. I woke up a few days ago like I do every morning to pink/orange out two windows I have a view of from bed. This is the pre-dawn view. With the troublesome clouds and cool (as in 64 degrees) temperatures it seemed like a great indoor dehydrator day!
I haven't had the Excaliber dehydrator for very long and am still figuring out the thicknesses of things, the dehydration times and recipes. It is like all "cooking" in that once you understand how things work you don't need recipes. For example, once you understand that you can fry, saute, bake, poach or boil chicken the rest is just about timing and seasonings. It is the same thing here. The great thing about dehydrating is that you know exactly what is in your food and how it has been processed. Using the dehydrator is dabbling more into the "raw food" world which is a place I'd like to live (at least a majority of the time). So here are the day's diversions: This first counter of stuff is the makings for some thyme crackers. Fresh thyme from the yard, water, ground flax, nutritional yeast, onions, cucumbers and a few raisins made a sheet of crunchy crackers.
The next crackers involved soaked raisins (sweetener), 4 cups of bell pepper, flax, nutritional yeast, lots of herbs and seasonings, water and almond butter. The results were really tasty! I have made the bell pepper crackers before and they are still my favorite. The super concentrated taste is the perfect carrier for bean dips or my favorite macadamia/squash dip. The interesting thing is how much quantity it takes to make a simple batch of crackers! These red crackers are made of 6 bell peppers, an onion, 1/2 cup of almond butter and some other stuff. That is a lot of food. REAL food! Usually for crackers you use flax or chia seeds since they have the slime required to stick stuff together.
Next I made some "bread." I hate it when vegetarian or vegan or raw recipes insist on pretending things are what they are not. I am sorry, a seedy, thicker-than-a-cracker cracker isn't a bread. It is a cracker in the broadest sense. Who cares if it is or isn't "bread"? Why mislead? It is something to sandwich stuff between or put stuff on. This was a basic Ani Phyo recipe for sunflower/black sunflower seed "bread." I tweaked it according to what I had around. It takes a lot of food to make 9 trays of highly nutritious, nutrient dense food!
This "bread" is great with cheese (the real kind, not fake cheese), avocado, onion, tomato on it and if you want to go hog wild...bacon. Everything is best with bacon (the vegetarian bacon is actually worth eating and microwavable - you can get it here in PR too!). Next up are the cookie-type granola-ish bars I've made before. I didn't soak my oats the night before but gave them a couple hours. Soaking oats and seeds and nuts removes phytic acid which is the stuff that makes them hard to digest. If nuts give you trouble just soak them. If you want them crunchy you can soak and then dehydrate them to maintain nutrients and make them easier to digest. By the way, dehydrating at temperatures below 110 keeps food enzymes alive so you extract the most nutrients possible. Dehydrating at low temperatures isn't considered cooking - it is considered "warming or heating" because nutrients are left intact. These bars are packed with nutrients - coconut oil, oats, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, chocolate, nuts, flax, coconut, dates and other odds and ends. You can get all this stuff in Puerto Rico! I even found non-raw dehydrated sour cherries that make a nice addition to things! All this REAL food combines to make a nutrient packed snack or heck even a meal! No white flour, processed has its own vitamins and nutrients so it doesn't have to be "enriched" (which is code for "we've totally deadened the original food and now put vitamin dust on it to pretend it is food again").
Next up comes yogurt. This is not yogurt I made obviously although you can do that in a dehydrator and therefor skip the sugar and preservatives found in this crap. I had this around though from a SAM's club buy (can only eat what you can find) and it was near its expiration date. Jeff has been on travel and since he is the one who eats it - here it sits. Well, you can dehydrate it! Last time I made a sheet of it and the fruit bits made it tear as it dried. This time I put it through a strainer and made blobs. It worked out much better.
I actually like dehydrated yogurt. It is kind of a taffy consistency and makes a good sweet snack!
I am really liking the dehydrator! It is great for dehydrating excess fruit (can't wait for mango season although our mango isn't blooming yet). Bananas, papaya, pineapple. I made crepes or leather out of peanut butter, cocoa powder and bananas that was yummy snack-food. It'll be interesting to see what else I can do with it!

1 comment:

Cassie said...

Those sound interesting! I haven't ever had any of them! What does Jeff think of them?

I always think "Enriched" is code for "empoverished". When it comes to many things including food, we live in the time of mini-tru