Everyday Raw Kitchen Tools | Meredith Baird

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I asked Meredith to share her take on the perfect tools every novice raw kitchen should stock. I was surprised at how incredibly doable her staples are. Meredith Baird of M.A.K.E.

M | Stocking a raw food kitchen can seem daunting at first—blenders, juicers, dehydrators, nut milk bags; etc. Then you get into the specialty equipment with thermal immersion circulators, Paco-Jets, smoking guns and a whole array of kitchen tools that you are probably unfamiliar with. All of the sudden your familiar oven and cooking range seem like foreign objects. You end up asking yourself, do I really have to start from scratch and spend a fortune on new equipment? The entire process seems overwhelming. 

We own and operate a raw food culinary school. Our business is designed to educate students in more advanced raw food techniques. We use specialty equipment. We teach students from all over the world, with different backgrounds and skill levels. Culinary art is a very important tool to not only understand flavor balancing and recipes, but to also create a social change and shift. Our restaurants and schools support the importance of community in a plant-based lifestyle. This is a necessary mission. The significance can't be denied.  Our business is literally Crafting the Future of Food, and I feel very blessed to be a part of this mission. 

But what do you do when you are hungry, tired, not motivated to cook, or in hurry? (Hello, most of us, most of the time!) 

The true beauty of raw food is in the simplicity and elegance of crafting a meal using nothing more than a knife and your hands. Ironically a more advanced understanding of raw food preparation leads us back to the basics. 

 What is in my kitchen 

+ A sharp knife

+ A fine mesh strainer 

+ Lemons 

+ High quality Olive Oil 

+ High quality Sea Salt 

+ Whatever amazing seasonal produce I can find 

Bowls (I actually don't have any plates at the moment)

I'm really not a crazy minimalist. These are the five kitchen items I can't live without. Of course I have all of the other good stuff, but I honestly don't use it every day. If you are looking to expand your culinary repertoire here is my list in order of importance. 

High speed blender | Vitamix or Blendtec are great, and well worth the investment. With this you can make soups, smoothies, sauces, juices, milks, pates and the list goes on.

Juicer | To get your health vibes on. For your first at home juicer, I recommend Breville. It is fast, easy to clean and makes super tasty juice. Other juicers may yield higher quality juice, but they aren't as easy to use—thus inhibit you from actually ever juicing. 

Spiral Slicer | This could be pushed to number 1 because it is a no brainier purchase (around $40). This is such a cool tool to make amazing "pasta" dishes. I love it. 

Mandolin | I like a Japanese mandolin. It’s small, cheap and sharp. Perfect for making lasagna noodles, vegetable 'chips' and other precise cuts 

Dehydrator | I rarely dehydrate, but if you are looking to get creative, a dehydrator is a useful tool. Excalibur is the most common brand but I like Sedona dehydrators; and they are more attractive. 

My best advice is to keep it simple, and focus on fresh ingredients! My book Everyday Raw Detox includes almost 80+ recipes that require little to no specialty equipment. Here is a recipe to get you started! 

Winter Greens and Walnuts

This salad is a take on the classic massaged kale salad. We chose to take it in a more winter-like direction with the addition of thyme and walnuts, but you could certainly use any of your favorite herbs and nuts. Walnuts happen to be a favorite around here. The beauty of this recipe is seasoning your nuts before you toss them in the salad. This makes the whole dish more flavorful and interesting. It's a great technique to use all the time! 

Salad

1 large head kale, stalks removed and thinly sliced

12 head Swiss chard, stalks removed and thinly sliced

1–2 tablespoons olive oil or walnut oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

Pinch of salt

1 apple (preferably gala), cored and chopped or shaved on mandolin

1 cup Inca berries or golden raisins, chopped

Walnuts

12 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons fresh thyme

12 tablespoon olive oil or walnut oil

14 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Salad—Massage kale and Swiss chard with olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt to break down the fibers. Once the salad is wilted, toss in apple and Inca berries.

Walnuts—Toss walnuts with thyme, oil, salt, and pepper.

Assembly—Toss walnuts with salad. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with fresh thyme and walnuts, if desired.

Serves 4–6 

Photographer by Adrian Mueller