Friday, November 16, 2007

I Do Cool Shit With a Little Help From My Friends

This is not at all vegan-related, but I saw Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Studio B Wednesday night. "Satan Said Dance" was the second song they played, which gave my friends and I joy.

Anyway! It's been about a week since I last mentioned my dehydrator, so let's discuss that a bit more, shall we?

Since then, I put up another batch of cucumbers, left them on too long, then did a small batch of carrot and parsnip slices. The absolutely coolest thing of all is that my carrots and parsnips are now CRINKLE CUT because my friends bought me the coolest wavy chopper thing I've ever seen in my life (and an ass-kicking serrated peeler). Not only does it make my vegetables look all fancy, but the edge is really sharp. It was actually easier to cut the carrots and parsnips with the chopper than a real knife.

Just so you know, if you leave cucumbers dehydrating too long, they get really thin and taste funny. By funny, I mean borderline gross. Most were OK, but I almost spit a few out. Next time, I'll dry the cucumbers on the weekend so I can be around to observe them.

A few days ago, I actually read the little book that came with my dehydrator instead of skimming it and noticed something important that I hadn't read before: in order to properly dehydrate carrots and parsnips, you're supposed to steam them first. Oops. I'm not a raw foodist, so that's no BFD for me, but I wonder if they dry carrots and parsnips. If so, maybe they soak them in something instead of steaming before drying (I don't actually know if that'd help since it's, you know, drying).

This was an excellent opportunity for me to use the steamer basket I'd bought a couple of weeks ago, making this a two-new-tool night. I'd never used a steamer basket before, so I didn't really know how to use it and therefore got it all wrong. My first mistake was I thought the basket was supposed to sit in the mouth of the pot, not on the little legs (they seemed to short to me to hold enough water, since it evaporates during steaming). Since the basket obviously didn't just suspend itself in mid-air at the top of the pot, I improvised:

That, of course, lead to my second mistake: steaming the vegetables uncovered. This took eons and the larger pieces never really got tender. I waited until they got rubbery and threw them in the dehydrator for a little over 24 hours.

When I took them out, a few pieces were OK, but most were hard as rocks. However, even they weren't a total loss since I could just suck on them to soften them up, yielding long-term parsnippy goodness.

A friend and I stopped at The Brooklyn Kitchen on our way to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on Wednesday, and they explained what I was doing wrong with the steamer. Armed with that knowledge, I will go forth, steam and dehydrate more carrots and parsnips. Stay tuned to see who will reign supreme, in the me vs. parsnip dehydration event of the year.*

* I have no idea why I wrote that, but I laughed while reading it over, so I'm not deleting it!

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