Week Two: Behind the Scenes
Go go gadget: A kitchen gadget you couldn’t live without, be it a simple grater or a blender. Alternatively, use a gadget you very rarely use.
Heads up: I’m about to become a total vegan cliche. Today I am extolling the virtues of my dearly beloved Vitamix!
Now, let’s get this out of the way: You don’t need a high-speed blender. You really don’t. I used a regular ol’ blender for six years in my vegan kitchen before welcoming a Vitamix into the appliance fold. But having one does make your culinary life easier, and it does open up new worlds of (creamy! smooth!) cooking possibilities.
Truthfully, I probably would have gone much longer without a Vitamix if my wonderful, generous parents hadn’t gifted one to Steven and me for Christmas 2015. They got a great deal on it and knew we’d appreciate it, and we absolutely do! For a while it had pride of place on our counter, but when we bought our house and actual lost a little counter space, it now lives in the pantry. (It’s still easily accessible and comes out to play very frequently.)
For me, a high-performance blender is most valuable when it comes to transforming nuts and seeds into creamy delights. Without a high-powered blender, you need to plan ahead if you want to make cashew cream or the like; you’ll need to soak your nuts to soften them. But that’s just no necessary with my Vitamix, meaning cashew cream, nut-based cheese sauces, and all things creamy are ready for your spur-of-the-moment whims.
My parents also kindly gave us a dry grains container, which is optimized to grind grains into flour. I love using it for turning dried almond pulp (leftover after making almond pulp in the regular Vitamix container!) into almond meal.
The regular (wet) container also makes short work of blended soups and, of course, smoothies. I do notice that it sometimes fails to “catch” the ingredients in my smoothies if I don’t add them in the right order, so it’s not exactly fail-safe.
Speaking of which… I’d hoped to have a fun, slightly unusual blender recipe to share with you today: pancakes! I’ve always been leery of blender pancakes, fearing that the whir of blades would decimate any gluten strands in my batter and leave the resulting pancakes a gummy mess. Yet recipes for blender pancakes abound, so there must be some trick to it. I wanted to offer up a recipe that relied solely on roasted bananas (!) for sweetness, imagining that slow roasting would bringing out caramelly notes in the bananas’ flavor to make up for the lack of added sugar. (Steven is currently avoiding sugar, so I wanted to make something sweet he could still enjoy.)
Well. Well. My fears about blender pancakes proved true. I’m not sure what y’all are doing with your blender pancakes, but mine were gummy and just… odd. (The fact that I only had whole-wheat flour definitely didn’t help.) I’ll try again, but didn’t have the opportunity to do so before writing up this post. Alas.
So, instead, here are some other recipes that rely on a high-speed blender. Maybe my roasted banana pancakes will make an appearance another day… but not today. Sigh.
- My vegan spaghetti carbonara, which relies on blended cashews as part of the sauce.
- This pretty pink strawberry oat milk from Healthy Slow Cooking.
- Gena’s old-fashioned banana cake, which features a blended cashew frosting.
- This fall- or winter-appropriate cheesy broccoli soup.
- My soft-batch tahini snickerdoodles, which feature sneaky chickpeas that need to be blended up into the batter.
- An incredible French toast smoothie from Produce on Parade (I’ve had this Pinned forever but haven’t made it yet!)
- With the assistance of a nut milk bag, good ol’ green juice!
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