Monday, July 23, 2012

What to do with all that juicer pulp

Last week, after spending an evening with our ancient Champion juicer,  we went to a fancy kitchen store and bought a Breville juicer.  The thing rocks!  It extracts more of the juice from the pulp so there is a higher yield.

It's a big lifestyle adjustment.  The first night that we made three day's worth of juice for the whole family, we had everyone washing and prepping the greens and by the time it was over it looked like a psychedelic veggie bomb had gone off in our kitchen.  It was funny and a bit sad.

Anyway, three-day-old green juice is not so good.  We know we should drink it as soon as it's juiced, but we are so busy that it's hard to find time to run the juicer every day!  We are looking for ways to save time in the prep and cleanup.  Because it isn't provided for you in a cardboard box, and you don't just add water and stick it in the microwave, it's a bit more work that the standard American diet.
Three day old juice may not be so great, but I guess it's an improvement over diet cola.  We have to keep the positive energy going and not put ourselves down when we are doing our best.

So we get up and drink our green juice in our coffee mugs, and then we start prepping the fruits and veg for our lunch smoothies.  My husband takes a big cup to work, and we drink the rest here at home.  When the afternoon comes, sometimes I am stumped.  What can I make quickly for the family dinner, that doesn't require another run to the store for a missing ingredient?

Like today, for example.  We have this beautiful heirloom type corn, avocados, and some decent tomatoes. We have an herb blend that we dehydrated here at home.  Add some garlic cloves, throw it in the blender, and this will make some delicious raw soup.  We tried this a few days ago so we know it works.  I also have some spaghetti squash.  The only way I know of to prepare spaghetti squash raw is to peel it, seed it, and then put it in the food processor until it has a rice-like texture, then season it.  Trouble is, last time I tried that, it was not well received.  Last time, I tried giving it a bit of curry, turmeric and coriander.  This time we'll try it with soaked pumpkin seeds and Mexican seasoning, and go for something reminiscent of beans and rice.  Will they like it?  I don't know, but we need to do something with all that squash!

(Update:   We added tomato and avocado to the spaghetti squash and pumpkin seeds, and it was pretty good.  Next time, we'll try adding a finely minced raw chili and some fresh chopped cilantro.  That should really make the flavors pop!)

And the potatoes.  I have potatoes that came with the co-op basket, and so far what we have tried has not turned out.  We tried a recipe for dehydrated raw potato chips that didn't work.  I'm sure that when the chef made them they were wonderful.  Our version tasted like we were eating the dehydrated potatoes out of the box.  We tried processing them with herbs and oil and then dehydrating it like fruit leather.  Potato leather is . . .errr. . .  okay. . .  but if you want a healthier version of Pringles this is not it.  There is a raw vegan spinach and potato latke recipe floating around on the net, and I'm going to try that next time we get around to it.  On the standard American diet, I can make potatoes, spaghetti squash and all kinds of things 9 different ways.  And they all come out wonderful.  This is like learning how to cook all over again, except that it's not cooking.

And finally there's the juicer pulp.  We keep producing bags and bags of it.  A lot of it is going to the composter, but I have been making several batches of crackers,chips and wraps using the pulp and the dehydrator.  Let's just say that my recipes are gradually improving but need a bit of work.  One batch that went over pretty well was seasoned with a curry masala blend.  There is a decent looking recipe online for burgers using pulp, and in yesterday's raw vegan class, Ree at the Go Raw Cafe taught us how to make barbecue flavored sliders using carrot pulp.  They were delicious.

Ree's raw food prep class was amazing again, of course.  She has gentle, uplifting positive energy and healing grace.  She demonstrates how the dishes made, dropping many helpful little raw food tips along the way, and then the food is brought to the table.  See the love, feel the love.  Can't wait for the next class!

Over the weekend, the family went to my son's dance recital.  Usually we go out to eat afterwards, but our old haunts are not healthy and we need to cut back on expenses anyway, so we made sure we'd have something nice to come home to.  After the recital we celebrated with a delicious raw meal.  I made this recipe for Essene bread, which was basically 1 1/2 cups each kamut and winter wheat, sprouted until they started to take over their jars, mix it with some pitted dates, and run it through the Champion with the blank plate on.   What comes out is a bit chunky and a bit soupy.  Drop it by the ladle onto teflex sheets and dehydrate it on low for a few hours, then turn it over and dehydrate overnight or until it has a bread-like texture.  Those were our "hamburger buns."

We had some beet burgers in the freezer which were leftover from the 4th of July, and they were placed in the dehydrator for two hours until they were the perfect texture.  We marinated some cucumber slices for a few hours in apple cider vinegar and a bit of salt.  On top, a raw almond cheddar adapted from a recipe by Russell James.   The end result is the photo above.

It was so delicious, and we didn't need anything else to go with it, but we did finish the meal with this amazing rich dark chocolate cake.  

We topped it with fresh cherries that we simply pitted and processed for a minute in the food processor.  I didn't take a picture because despite being decadent and wonderful it looked like. . . well let's just say it was ugly.  The recipe made a teensy cake, the size of what might have been a single serving in another lifetime.  Raw food is so nutrient dense and satisfying that you simply can't eat a standard-sized piece.  We cut it into four little pieces and it was more than enough dessert.  It was amazing and we are definitely going to do that again some special day.  But no pictures.

The next day we warmed up the leftover Essene bread, smeared it with peanut butter, and topped it with more raw cherries.   The new PBJ was a big hit.

We do have some successes in the midst of our learning experiences.  We'll definitely make Essene bread again, and we'll try it several different ways.  Our juices and smoothies are good, even though we can't seem to find the time to juice daily.  Zucchini pasta is a fool proof standard that can be made many different ways.
Bottom line, everyone is well-nourished and getting healthier every day.  My husband and I are gradually losing weight and feeling a bit better.  Our son who is overweight despite dancing, playing tennis and exercising each day, got up onstage in his dance costume, and it looked like it was about two sizes too big for him.

Every day I am more glad than ever that we decided to take a raw food journey.  We might not ever come back.   Looking ahead, I'm working on a raw vegan take on the old comfort food standby, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.

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So what do you think? Have you tried raw vegan food?