Saturday, January 20, 2007

If you are a cook, or a foodie, bring every kitchen item you ever wanted or dreamed of wanting. Stainless steel pots are hard to come by and expensive. Crock pots, I think I have 5 or 6. I use one all of the time and now I will never need to buy another. I use them at night mostly; I put veggies and a chicken in them and go to bed. The first one up in the morning unplugs the crock and when I get up, I can pick the bones clean. Now I have the makings for soup, chicken and dumplings or chicken salad. The point is it is convenient and we have little or no conveniences in rural Costa Rica. I also use it when I am off at the farm and dinner is now waiting when I return.

KitchenAid Pro mixer, buy one; I use it everyday for cakes and bread (I make 8 - 12 loaves a week). They make great gifts; the bread as well as the KitchenAid mixer but I only give the bread away.

VitaMix, is one of the most versatile, useful, last for your lifetime, good for you appliances that you can own. Worth every dime if you care about living a good healthy life. You can buy them remanufactured and save some money that way. Just do it. I make oatmeal, flaxseed, and fruit ice cream in them. Yes, it is delicious and there is no milk in the ice cream but I do use yogurt. I suppose that counts as milk actually, but who is counting.

Meat grinder and meat slicer: I have two grinders, my KitchenAid grinder atachment (the original metal one by Hobart) and I have a big grinder for the whole cow size jobs. I bought the slicer for roast beef and bacon slicing. I have seen no cold cuts in Costa Rica that I would buy. Boars Head is not here. So I make my own cold cuts as well as cure and cold smoke my own bacon and make sausage.

Bring a Gas Grill, with a side burner. Very handy for grilling and I use it to cold smoke my bacon. For the smoke, I use coffee wood. Just soak your wood and place it on one burner on low with your cured pork belly offset on the cold side. It works great! It is also a great appliance when the electric is off.

Coffee grinders, I use them to grind my grains for bread baking although your Vitamix will also do the job. This week’s special bread has been, Coconut Bimini Bread with fresh ground coconut as part of the flour. The neighbors are thrilled.

Do buy the Jaccard tenderizer, you can thank me later for this tip. We like our meat suave (soft), and this gadget will make you look like a genius in the kitchen. Your guests will wonder how you do it. Many of them have given up on beef, or, they are still chewing.

Pressure cooker, buy a canning stainless steel one and bring an extra gasket. I have not used one in the states for years but here we use it. The ribs that were attached to that pork belly (bacon), I put them in the pressure cooker along with a can of tomatoes, garlic, onion and jalapeƱo peppers and when they are tender they go on the grill while I puree, sweeten and reduce the sauce to baste them. I also put up chicken and meat with veggies as that is as close as we get to fast food. Ball jars and lids are available here. This week I browned pork chops then added carrots, garlic, onion and whole potatoes along with a little chicken stock; locked down the lid and we had fast suave chops for dinner with only one pot to wash.

I always wanted to be a Super Mom when that was in vogue. One morning I woke up exhausted and shifted gears. How can you do everything? Well I still do most everything, but I take a little help from appliances so that I do not have to work so hard.

The appliance repairman came today to fix the new dryer. Apparently, there is only one repairman to do warranty work in the whole country and I had to wait for him to travel the circuit and come south to my neck of the woods. I am so thankful for my dryer. You must have a dryer in the rainforest. I just hate walking around damp with my clothes drying on my body.

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