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Reconstitution

August 25, 2011
Reconstitution
\(ˌ)rē-ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈt(y)ü-shən\
transitive verb
– to constitute again or anew; reconstruct; recompose; especially : to restore to a former condition by adding water
– To provide with a new structure
Welcome back to the Eaten Word.

Dried foods have been my fancy this summer.  Dehydrating is a fabulous method for putting up (by? away? chose your own preposition).  Once you’ve prepped your food and laid it out, the work is done by the machine (or the sun if you’re really bad ass about these things).  It does take time, but like many recipes remind us, it’s passive time!  Pop it in the oven and walk away!  Pop in the dehydrator and walk away!  (Just, you know, don’t leave electrical or gas appliances completely unattended.  That’s just asking for trouble.)

What do I have so far?  Raspberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and tomatoes.  Wow, am I going to love me this winter.  My steel cut oats (reconstituted in the handy dandy set-it-and-forget-it fuzzy logic rice cooker) are going to be dazzling when the wind’s blowing at 6 am and I can’t believe I’m waking up in the dark. Again.

I love dried fruit.  Can I say that again?  I love dried fruit.  Tasty, chewy, snappy fruit.  Okay, so my dried raspberries are kind weird looking.  And I usually don’t bother acidulating the apples so they end up sorta brown.  But they taste so good.  And the DIY version is cheaper and more satisfying than buying from a store.  I bought those cherries on sale after all ($2.99 a pound–seriously, I felt like I was getting away with something).  The strawberries and blueberries were pick your own (blueberries are even organic, thank you Running Fox Farm!).  The tomatoes were from E’s family (and we’ll be adding to those).  They make for pizza that really pops, salads that make you salivate, risotto with that gives you a raison d’être.

Herbs are also wicked easy to dry that way.  Next year, when I’m totally on top of things like container gardening (yes, gone is the beautiful former farm house kitchen garden–I’m living in a city now (technically)), I’ll dry my own herbs.  You can also dry leftover fresh herbs (because sometimes that bunch of thyme is way bigger than it looked and you only needed THREE TABLESPOONS).  But I mostly feed my extra fresh herbs to the rabbits because I’m a sucker for that dewy-eyed begging look.

When I truly master the art of dehydration, I’ll be whipping up dehydrated soups served with dehydrated raw crackers.  Seriously, though, my next dehydration experiment will be kale chips.  I know you can do them in the oven, but the dehydrator?  Even better, right?  Especially for me since my rent is electric inclusive but not gas (and I’ve got a gas stove).

Anyway, while I’m dehydrating the fruits of summer, I’m also reconstituting this blog.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Audrey permalink
    August 25, 2011 8:37 pm

    Your’e back! 🙂

    I am a fan of cooking with dried mushrooms. Reconstituting & throwing them in Italian-y tomato-y dishes or with vegetables in a frittata or in soups, etc.

    And now you’ve put drying cherries into my head…

    • August 26, 2011 6:59 am

      Dried mushrooms in tomato sauce or soup sounds delectable. I’ve done dried shiitake in some dishes, the most interesting of which is probably black bean balls (well Just Hungry makes them as black bean patties but I like them as pseudo meatballs). She uses fresh but all I had at the time was dried. I think they worked even better–chewier, perhaps.

      I wonder how practical it is to dry your own mushrooms? Of course it’s probably only economical if you’re also growingyour own . . . . More points to ponder.

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