We love our dehydrator. We think of it as a flavor concentrator because when you remove the water from an ingredient it concentrates the flavor. It's a simple idea that does not get enough play in the cooking arena. Once you've dehydrated something you can pulverizie it in a blender or food processor and introduce it to a variety of preparations from batters to sauces. Or you can make sugars or salts with them. Imagine strawberry sugar (okay I'm cheating here because you need freeze dried strawberries) or jalapeno salt. Dehydrated carrots ground with sugar and flour make for an intense carrot cake while dehydrated lardons can be fried to crackling perfection. It's a low-tech machine that is good for a wide variety of applications.
The only problem I have with our dehydrator is that it is perched on top of the refrigerator in the workshop. This means I have to haul out a stepstool or climb up a chair in order to actually see what's inside it. And either way I'm turning it on by feel because the temperature control is on top and in the back and there's no way I can see it without pulling the machine off its perch. None of this would be a problem if Alex didn't have this habit of texting me when he's out and about and I'm working from home. It's amazing how often I get the "Can you put xx into the dehydrator please?" text. What's also amazing is that the dehydrator in question is never turned on and never ever empty. This means I am often putting away or finding a spot for a bunch of things that no longer need too be in the dehydrator in order to fit the new ingredients inside. Frustration. So after my most recent experience of trying to empty and turn on the dehydrator in order to make his most recent vision a reality, I was not a particularly happy camper.
He got home a few hours later and one of the first things out of his mouth was "Is the kimchi in the dehydrator?"
"Why yes it is."
Not content to take my word for it he went to check. "Oh my god, there are whole trees in there."
"Yup." I kept doing what I was doing. "Is that a problem?"
"Well it's going to take forever too--" he took a better look at me, "No, no, it's fine. I'm sure it will be great."
A good partnership is all about picking your battles.
February 4, 2005