Dehydrating Day

G’day eaters!

Things are quite lovely and relaxing down in the Dirty Dirty. There has been plenty of sleeping late, bad TV, wine, and wide open days. (Or…errrr…wide open day and a half.)

And there has been a good bit of playing in the kitchen because my mom’s boyfriend brought over his Vitamix and dehydrator. Of course, I was super freaking jazzed because, if you know anything about me, you know I LOVE kitchen appliances.

So first thing yesterday morning I got to work soaking nuts. And by lunchtime I was popping in four trays of Fitnessista’s cool ranch kale chips.

Ready to be "cooked."

For once, I followed the recipe pretty much to a T, except for leaving out chives and dill simply because we didn’t have them, and I put the onions in with everything else instead of leaving them whole on top.

Fyi, this is a Sedona dehydrator.

I left the chips in for the full 8 hours and they turned out great!

They’re not exactly like Cool Ranch Doritos, but I wouldn’t kick them out of bed.

(Would I kick anything salty and cheesy and crunchy out of bed? Probably not.)

My only issue is that here I am, roughly 12 hours after taking them out of the dehydrator and they’re losing a bit of crunch. Do any of you dehydrating pros have tips for storing kale chips? Or should I have just left them in a bit longer?

But if you know anything else about me, you know I couldn’t just stop at one recipe. AND you know I had to have some kind of dessert.

Unfortunately, after browsing lots of dehydrator dessert recipes I found that almost all of them called for coconut oil/butter. I could have sworn that I left a big jar of coconut oil here, but that was nowhere to be found. And I sure as heck wasn’t about to drop more than $10 on a jar of coconut butter (if I could even find it in Macon). So that discounted a lot of recipes I found.

So instead of something cool, I went with a really basic recipe I found for Lemon Chewies.

But this time I definitely didn’t really stick to the recipe.

Vanilla and/or Lemon Coconut Chewies

I made a recipe for vanilla-coconut chewies, scooped half of the batter, and then added in some lemon, so I wound up with half vanilla-coconut and half lemon-coconut.

1 c raw cashews, soaked for ~4 hours

1 c raw almonds, soaked for ~4 hours

2 ½ c unsweetened shredded coconut, divided

½ banana

1 T vanilla extract

1/3 c raw honey

¼ c coconut nectar*

~1/4 c water

1 lemon, zested and juiced**

*If you can’t find coconut nectar, I’m sure agave will work, but you’ll almost definitely need to use less.

**If you want to make a full batch of lemon-coconut chewies then double the amount of lemon or eliminate it entirely if you only want vanilla-coconut.

Mix the nuts minus their soaking water, banana, vanilla, honey, coconut nectar, and 1 c of coconut in a Vitamix/powerful blender/food processor with ~1/4 c water, or as much water as you need to get everything going and blended almost smooth.

Remove half of the batter, mix in ¾ c shredded coconut, and scoop out ~1 T balls and place them on a dehydrator screen.

Little bits to be.

Add the zest and juice of the lemon into the blender/food processor and blend it together. Mix the remaining ¾ c shredded coconut into the batter, and scoop it out into ~1 T balls and place them on a dehydrator screen.

Dehydrate at 115F for 7-9 hours.

These little nuggets are pretty addicting. They’re almost like a raw, macaroon version of a dough ball, and who wouldn’t love that?

Vanilla-coconut.

The vanilla flavor is on the subtle side, so if you want knock-your-socks-off vanilla bean flavor I would amp up the extract or add some vanilla bean seeds. Otherwise, these little nuggets boast some damn delicious nutty flavors without a hint of banana (which is always a worry of mine when using banana).

Little bit said in the same voice as that Black Eyed Peas song.

There’s nothing subtle about the lemon ones, though.

They’re kind of like a lemon punching you in the mouth and then a soft coconut coming along to make it all better. That makes sense, right?

Lemon-coconut.

These bits are tangy and nutty and chewy.

Yup, I wouldn’t kick either of these chewies out of bed.

So the moral of the story is: I’m in bed with a lot of food. But it’s all raw, dehydrated, oh so healthy and even tastier food. So you can’t judge me, right?

Right!

What do you think, eaters:

What kitchen appliance would you love to have if you had the money and room for it?

How do you feel about lemon desserts? It seems to be a very polarizing dessert flavor.

Later eaters!

How to Brew Kombucha

G’day eaters!

Life at the beach is still pretty grand. I’ll give you a blow by blow when I show you WIAW (which will be posted on Thursday because tomorrow I’m taking the day off).

But for now, I’m going to get all wordy on you and teach you how to make kombucha!

Yes, you know that really delicious, but really expensive carbonated, fermented drink you buy far too often for your budget at the grocery store?

Well, it’s so wonderfully easy to make at home that you now have no excuse for spending so much money on drinks.

Step 1: SCOBY

A SCOBY, which stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, is the mushroom that your ‘bucha grows off. If you want to buy one I hear Kamp Kombucha is really good.

I’m broke so I grew my own. If you want to do that you’ll need:

1 jar GT’s Original Plain Kombucha

1 c filtered water

1 plain black tea bag

2 T cane sugar*

1 jar large enough

1 breathable cloth**

1 rubberband

Brew the tea in the water and mix in the sugar. Once the tea cools to room temperature, pour it and the bottled kombucha into the jar. Cover the lid only with the cloth, secure it with a rubberband, and place it in a warm, dark place (I used the cabinet closest to my stove) for up to 3 weeks.

A SCOBY and a baby sitting in kombucha.

A film — the SCOBY! — should start to form after about a week. It usually forms on the top, but it’s fine if it falls. Once it’s about ¼” thick (a little less is fine), remove the SCOBY to a bowl and cover it with at least ½ c of the liquid you grew it in. Throw out the rest of the liquid. Now you’re ready to brew!

To brew you’ll need:

1 SCOBY

1 gallon jar

1 gallon filtered water

8 plain black tea bags

1 ½ c cane sugar

1 breathable cloth

1 rubberband

at least ½ c kombucha (this can be from a bottle, a previous batch, or the liquid you grew it in, but it has to be plain)

Ready to ferment!

Brew the tea and mix in the sugar. Once the sweetened tea cools to room temperature, pour it into the jar. Add in the SCOBY and the liquid it’s sitting in. Cover the lid with only the cloth and secure it with a rubberband. Place the jar in the same warm, dark place for 4-10 days.

The length of time you let the ‘buch ferment is up to your taste. The longer you let it sit the more acidic it’ll taste. I like it sour, so I left it the full 10 days, but I suggest tasting a little bit with a straw every couple of days after day 4 until you figure it out.

Once the kombucha is to your liking, it’s time to bottle.

To bottle you’ll need:

~8 16-ounce bottles with an air-tight cap

funnel

juice, as desired

A new, smaller SCOBY — a “baby” — will have formed. You can keep it or throw it out, but generally a SCOBY will only be good for about 6 brew cycles, so eventually you’ll need to keep one.

Remove the SCOBYs to a bowl and cover with at least half a cup of kombucha. Put the funnel in a bottle and pour in as much or as little juice as you’d like.

I put about a teaspoon of fresh ginger juice and a combinations of about 2 tablespoons of 100% apple-raspberry and 100% apple-cherry juice in each bottle.

Then, using a ladle, pour kombucha into each bottle until almost entirely full. Put the lid tightly on the bottles and place them in the same dark, warm spot for up to 5 days.

This next step is optional. It allows the kombucha to carbonate more and for the flavors to mellow a little. It’s not necessary, but it’s nice. After the bottles sit for up to 5 days, move them to the fridge. Once they’re chilled they’re ready to drink!

It may seem like a lot of steps, but each step requires less than an hour of work. And in the end you have about 8 bottles, a roughly $24 value, of as fresh as it gets kombucha.

Not bad for a couple of hours of work, right?

PleasepleasePLEASE do let me know if you brew some and if you have any questions. I’d be happy to answer what I can.

What do you think, eaters:

Would you ever brew your own kombucha?

What’s your favorite flavor?

Later eaters! And have a very happy, safe (no drunk driving or blowing yourselves up with fire works) 4th!

*You can try a sugar substitute, but from everything I’ve read it won’t work. The sugar is a vital food source for the SCOBY, so be careful with any tweaks.

**By a breathable cloth I mean a dish towel or a paper towel. You need to let the air in and the dust and bugs out, so a cheese cloth won’t work.

Dichotomous Day, 2

*This was written last night, but WordPress doesn’t like me or my pictures…yet.*

Hello eaters!

It’s Tuesday, but I keep thinking it’s Wednesday. But whatever day it is, it’s been a hell of one, so let’s skip the small talk and jump right in to…

Part 1: What’s up, Doc?

This morning I had a date with my second doctor in three days. You’d think I’d be close to scoring a huge rock and a prenup-free marriage by now, but alas, I am not. I am closer to finding out what the hell is wrong with my knee, though, so I’m happy.

First, there was the obligatory “please wait for the doctor in this cold room while you sit on this crunchy butcher paper.

Not good knee.

Then a trainer came in and took some notes. Then she told me they couldn’t find ANY of my x-rays and that they would have to do new ones. I thought they should do new x-rays anyway, because my symptoms are completely different and the x-rays are a few months old. After my x-rays there was the usual staring contest with the door until the doc came in.

And when he did…oh boy oh berto, eaters! He bent and poked me like the other doctor, but he was much gentler. And after he was done, he stayed and talked for a while.

Sounds pretty dreamy, right?

Oh eaters, it gets better!

He listened to what I had to say. He agreed that the other doctor was a cad (by which I mean that he was wrong and that I almost definitely don’t have tendonitis). And he listened when I said that the pills the other doctor gave me did nothing for the pain.

Better than flowers, if you ask me.

So I came away from this date with a nice little present. AND a second date on Thursday, by which I mean an appointment for an MRI on my knee.

This doctor loves second dates MRIs. And hopefully this will clear everything up and I’ll come away a happily married diagnosed ‘Baby!

With all of that squared away for the day, let’s move on to…

Part 2: Marinate and Massage

Mmm, salads. While I’m more than certain I haven’t been getting my daily 3-5 servings of vegetables a day lately, I do still adore salads. Specifically, I adore massaged kale salads. With dino kale. And yummy toppings, like marinated mushrooms. So that’s where I’ll start.

Mmmarinated Mushrooms

1 qt baby bella mushrooms, thickly sliced

2 T brown rice vinegar

1 T soy sauce/tamari

1 T oil (I used Mongolian fire oil)

sriracha, to taste

Note — I say thickly sliced because while the mushrooms do absorb tons of the liquid, they do also shrink and there’s nothing worse than starting off with thinly sliced mushrooms and ending up with nothing more than mushy mushroom essence on your salad. Unless you like that.

Is there anything prettier than sliced mushrooms?

Once the mushrooms are sliced, add everything to a Tupperware, toss and refrigerate. The longer you let them sit the better.

I think these sat about two days.

And today, I simply massaged up some of my beloved dino kale in a bit of olive oil, salt and spicy mustard, tossed on some green bell pepper and edemame, and volia!

Love.

I really wanted the mushrooms to do the talking here. And talk they did.

Beautiful.

Tender and tangy, these mushrooms really held their ground against everything else.

This salad was a winner, despite the fact that I didn’t have my usual salad fork.

And with that, eaters, I’m off to bed. It’s been a long day and I’m ready for a hot date with my frozen peas and some bad TV.

G’night eaters.