My Kitchen Life got off to a great start this past week with something that I hope will get a lot of my mornings off to a great start over the coming weeks: a Grapefruit Smoothie, inspired by several dozen grapefruits my friend Juli supplied me with after she read my recent post about our backyard lemons and oranges (click here to read about our citrus supply). As we dug into the grapefruits—eating some and juicing some—I decided to look for some recipes that would help me use them more creatively. A Web search yielded a couple of good ideas, which I cobbled together to make a healthy and delicious blended drink. We’ve been enjoying it for breakfast, but it would make a great treat anytime of the day! (Click here to see the recipe.)
This week I also used some of the pecan butter I made last week in a batch of Pecan Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. I used a recipe that I had previously adapted to make dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free almond butter cookies. They came out darker than usual (probably because the pecan butter is darker than almond butter), but soft and chewy and amazing. (Click here for that recipe.)
A question posed by Wendy in the comments about my Kitchen Life post last week prompted me to include some details here about two of the kitchen items I use and write about regularly but haven’t ever really explained. The first is Rapadura, a brand name for the dehydrated cane-sugar juice supplied by organic food company Rapunzel. As an unrefined sweetener, Rapadura’s mineral content remains intact and lends it a hint of molasses flavor. It can be substituted in equal amounts for white sugar in recipes. Another brand name for it is Sucanat, distributed by Wholesome Sweeteners. I have used both brands with much success—especially in cookies, cakes and muffins. Sometimes, when I don’t want as much molasses flavor (as in the case of say, ice cream), I blend it half and half with a slightly more refined organic sugar. And although it’s not always necessary, I tend to grind the large granules of Rapadura/Sucanat to a finer powder in my Vita-Mix.
Which brings me to the next kitchen item I want to mention. A Vita-Mix is a high-performance blender, food processor and grain grinder. I was first introduced to one about five years ago, when my parents bought one. After seeing what it could do, I begged to borrow it to make baby food and grind gluten-free grains into flour. They graciously agreed, and I’ve been hooked ever since. When my parents hinted that they would like their Vita-Mix back, I purchased my own machine. It’s a pricey piece of kitchen equipment (starting at $450), but it has a seven-year warranty and, along with its top competitor Blendtec, has helped set the industry standard for high-power, multifunctional blenders. The only drawback is that it is SO LOUD when it operates that I have to warn everyone to plug their ears or leave the vicinity. Still, I’m not exaggerating when I say I use it daily—often many times a day—to make everything from soup to nut butters. I puree pizza sauce, make hummus and churn butter in it, too. While I no longer need to make baby food, I’m definitely still at the task of grinding grains. And you can bet that I’ll be using it—while wearing the hearing-protection ear muffs I occasionally borrow from my husband’s wood-working shop in the garage—the next time I whip up a Grapefruit Smoothie.
This post is part of the Tuesday Twister blog carnival hosted by www.gnowfglins.com. To link to today’s Tuesday Twister on that site, click here. And if you’d like information about the GNOWFGLINS Fundamentals eCourse offered by real-food blogger Wardeh Harmon, click on the affiliate link below.
February 9, 2010 3 Comments