Monday, September 6, 2010

My Favorite Juicer Juice

As a general rule, I’m skeptical of cooking gadgets. My knife, my cutting board, a favorite pot or two, and hey—most of that other stuff is just another scheme to part you from your hard-earned money.

But I have a few countertop appliances that I appreciate and actually do keep in the kitchen. You already know about my ice cream maker. And the food processor makes short work of pesto-making.

I guess my most indulgent countertop kitchen appliance is my “Juiceman Professional Series 210” juicer.

Here’s a link to something pretty close to the model I have; here’s a link to the same company’s current, similar model.

I won’t go into how useful a juicer can be; I’ll let you visit the Juiceman website on your own. But before you think I’m off my nut for having such a large, overly specific gadget in my kitchen, remember: It can be used for more than just beverages—think about its applications for frozen desserts, gelatins, soups, or for adding liquid to, say, muffins or quick breads. Does a recipe call for tomato juice, and all you have is fresh or canned? Ta-dahh!

I should also point out that I’m a huge, huge fan of Main Squeeze, Columbia’s juice bar and organic cafe. If you’re unfamiliar with the whole “juicing scene,” I encourage you to go there and learn how delicious fresh juices can be. Ultra-healthy stuff; and it tastes great! Sign me up!

When I first got my juicer several years ago, I started with the recipes that came in the instructions. For instance, did you know you can make super-healthy lemonade by juicing whole chunks of lemon (yes, with the rind) and apple? No sugar required. Just “chop-chop, whirr-whirr, splash-splash,” and you’ve got this smooth, super-lemony elixir of life.

Then I started looking around. In Kansas City, the Nutty Girl (now closed), and Main Squeeze, too, were creating juices with some leafy vegetables—such as wheatgrass, spinach, or parsley (Main Squeeze has a great drink called “Elvis Parsley” which is to V-8 what Elvis was to . . . Lawrence Welk).

And since I love my herb garden, I started thinking: why not add a little fresh basil to add some nuance to my tomato juice? Everyone knows tomato and basil love each other from the time they are sprouts in the garden all the way to the autumnal compost heap. (And yes, that juice combination is pretty good!)

But here’s my favorite of these juice/fresh-herb combinations. As far as I know, I’ve completely invented it.

At Main Squeeze, the orange/carrot juice combination is called a “Sunny Bunny.” (What a fun name!) So my concoction is basically a “Sunny Bunny” plus mint. The Sunny Bunny went hippity-hop through the mint patch.

Relative quantities can vary however you want, but I think the largest portion should be of orange and not carrot—and I don’t recommend going overboard with the mint. Here you go.


2–3 oranges or other citrus fruit, peeled and cut into chunks to fit your juicer’s feed tube. (I like to combine oranges and grapefruit.) (By the way, juicers vary, but the instructions on mine say to peel all citrus except for lemons—the peels can make the juice taste bitter.) (Meanwhile, my juicer says to leave the “white” part of the orange on—supposedly it packs lots of nutrients—and it provides a pleasant, non-acidic creaminess to the juice that is sadly lost when people simply “squeeze” citrus.)

2–3 carrots, washed if organic, pared if not organic; cut into chunks to fit your juicer. (I like to cut the carrot the night before and soak it in a bowl of water overnight in the fridge—it makes more juice that way.)

A small handful of fresh mint—4 or 5 good sprigs—rinsed.

Feed everything through the juicer according to the appliance’s directions. Stir juice, pour into glasses, and enjoy. Makes at least enough to share with a friend—depending on size and juiciness of oranges and carrots . . . and how thirsty you are.

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