Vita-Less
April 27, 2011

So then this happened:

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Yeah.

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The motor’s slightly injured, too.

Seriously? Don’t ask me how I managed to destroy several parts of an appliance that is, for all intents and purposes, indestructible. I’m just good like that. Or, I’m sleep deprived. Le sigh.

While I wait for my new Vita-parts to arrive, I’m brought back to the year 2007, when I was a new high raw foodist, flushed with first love, and without any of the fancy appliances that raw veterans call their own. Many of my readers tell me that they find it hard to be raw because they don’t have dehydrators, and they don’t have Vita-Mixes. I totally understand, but I like to remind them that I was high raw for over a year before I had a high speed blender, and over two before I got my dehydrator (which I rarely use). I ate a lot of salads, a lot of nut pates, a lot of soups that would turn out nicely in a normal blender, and a lot of fruit smoothies that didn’t require high speed blending.

And you know what? I felt terrific.

While I count the minutes till the Vita is up and running again, I’m actually feeling sort of grateful for this reminder of what raw foods have always meant to be: simplicity. Basics. A return to food in its most stripped down form. I love raw foodism for giving me the capacity to appreciate food for what it is, and not only for how I can improve it. As a cook, I do love to experience the creativity of the cooking process, and I believe that learning how to enhance the taste of food is one of our biggest civilized achievements. But eating raw has always been a lovely reminder that, even without our artistry, food is beautiful.

The following was one of my first raw “entrees,” and I did it without a Vitamix or a spiralizer. I used a $15 dollar mandolin to cut my zucchini into matchsticks, and I made the pesto in my food processor (OK, full confession: while I can definitely survive life without a Vita-Mix when I have to, I’d be fairly lost without the food processor. I use it almost every day, and have for years). It was love at first bite, and tonight, as I celebrated the early stirrings of summer flavors, I was transported back to those first few months of raw infatuation.

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Raw Zucchini Pasta with Pistachio Pesto (serves 1)

For the pasta:

2 small zucchini, spiralized or sliced into matchsticks
4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, halved

For the pesto: (makes 3/4 cup, or 4 servings)

1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
Black pepper to taste

1) Grind pistachios in a food processor for about thirty seconds, using the S blade. Add basil and pulse to combine.

2) Run the motor and drizzle the olive oil in in a thin stream. Next, drizzle in the lemon.

3) Check consistency; I love my pesto super thick, but if you like it more traditionally runny, add a bit more oil.

4) Add salt and pepper to taste.

5) To assemble the pasta, rub about 3 tbsp of the pesto into your zucchini. Toss in the tomatoes, and serve topped with nooch if you like.

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No matter how long we’ve been eating raw, vegan, or any other special way, it’s great to have moments that remind us why we fell in love with our eating style in the first place. I’m sorry I butchered my Vita (sorry, Vita), but I’m not so sorry to re-connect with my raw food roots again.

Readers, rest assured that a beautiful raw supper can await you without a $500 appliance. Earth gives us taste and pleasure in abundance, and our own creative flair can do nearly all the rest (she says as she pats her food processor lovingly.)

See you back here tomorrow!

xo

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    57 Comments
  1. Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other person’s webpage link on your page at proper place and other person will also do same for you.

  2. Poor Vity! I ruined the wand/pusher the first day while at the same time splattering a green smoothie on the ceiling so I understand how the catastrophes happen. 🙂

  3. I haven’t been all that impressed with vitamixes… :/ We use them for smoothies at the place I work, and they are always breaking down. One day I brought in all the supplies to make a smoothie just like I do at home in my regular blender – a whole apple, carrots, greens, frozen fruit – and the Vitamix refused to get it all together. Maybe it’s just the three we have there, but they haven’t convinced me to buy one…

  4. So sorry for your vita! That is still a BIG wish on the list for me! I own a processor and (decent) blender though and those really I get by just fine!

    It is nice though to put things into perspective–good post!

  5. So sorry about your Vira but thankfully it will be fixed soon! I had a Vita disaster today, too, when I was mixing hot pea soup; somehow the jump from low to a higher speed caused the lid to shift up a bit and it splattered. Luckily the mess was minor! I’m thinking the steaming soup caused some kind of reaction. It was scary, but totally a user error. 🙂

  6. I’m sorry about the damage, but it sounds like it’s *kind of* been a really positive experience for you too! I always love going back to my roots – I don’t do it enough – but I’m definitely going to make some of my initial vegetarian dishes that were my staples when I first decided to follow a vegetarian diet!

  7. Oh wow – Gena I am so sorry. When my Vita got sick and had to have the jar replaced, I was out of sorts for a couple of days, but then took the same approach as you, ie one does not need a Vita to eat green. I did use the time to buy a juicer because I really was missing green drinks, but I had been planning to buy a juicer anyways. I just bought it a bit earlier than anticipated. I hope Vitamix get you your replacements soon. I mailed back both my motor and the jar and they mailed me a new jar along with my motor (which turned out to be fine).

  8. So sorry about your vitamix! I went to the coolest vitamix demo today and learned all sorts of interesting stuff about what is good to put in smoothies that I have never heard before!

  9. OMG, so sorry about your Vita-Mix! It would be tough with my Vita, I use it more than my food processor. But I’ve hardly been using my dehydrator too, not much time for it anymore.

    The pesto looks great, very simplistic, fresh and full of flavor.

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss! I’ve been dreaming of a vitamix for 6 years now, ever since my first exposure to the raw food lifestyle. Someday I WILL have my vitamix! Oh, and a spirulizer.

  11. Oh my gosh, I don’t know how I could live a few days without my VitaMix! I hope you get your parts quickly. The dish looks divine!

  12. Oh my! I am so sorry about your accident, Gena! But, if the mishap inspired this divine looking recipe…

  13. I’m dying. That is so terrible, but thank goodness you can just replace the parts! The recipe looks amazing. I just got some beautiful zucchinis in my CSA box, nice fat straight ones primed for spiralizing. Hello spring!

  14. That looks a little bit scary. Wow, can’t say that I have ever seen that before. I use my vitamix primarily for my son as we feed him a blended diet. Then I also use it for raw. There have been a couple times when I thought….oh oh.

    Good luck and hope you get a replacement soon.

  15. What a beautiful mentality about simplicity in food. I sometimes (often) forget how wonderful unaltered vegetables are.

    I totally share the feeling of how essential a food processor is! I probably use mine 3 times a day haha…

  16. Love this post. Though I just purchased a Vita, I did just fine without her. And I still use my food processor. Sure, things come out smoother, and I’m grateful I have one, but it’s so not necessary to eat healthy, delicious vegan, or raw vegan, meals!

  17. Sorry to hear about your Vitamix. I know how it feels. I once destroyed my Blendtec container (ripped the rubber piece to shreds so that the blade locked in place for good). I couldn’t wait for the new container to arrive. It does get you back into eating more simply again.

    You’re lucky you had a mandolin in your early days of going raw. I used to cut everything by hand. It took forever, but it made eating raw “pasta” more special.

  18. I’m impressed by those images of destruction and would love to know what you were blending at the time..

    I agree with you re the food processor – I use mine several times a day. I also couldn’t be without my masticating juicer for that daily hit of chlorophyll goodness.

    May the Vitamix be back with you soon. Hope they don’t charge.

  19. Aww, poor vita! You must tell me how you did that.

    Thanks for the reminder that the real beauty of plant-based, vegan, mostly raw food is simplicity. Although I would have a really difficult time surviving with my Vita for two days, let alone weeks, I could totally do it.

  20. Yikes! That’s quite the break. We’re you playing at “will it blend” when that hole opened up?

    Great call on the mandolin, by the way. That’s been my new favorite kitchen gadget, although I secretly worry about slicing my fingers to ribbons.

    • Many thanks for sharing your findings on this nifty, reasonably priced tool, Tamar. I just ordered myself one as well. I’m excited!

  21. Oh how I feel for you! I, too, am waiting on a part for my vita mix. It should be here any day and I am getting excited. I have used it at least once a day for almost 2 years. We miss our almost nightly banana soft serve. Glad you are getting your parts too.

  22. I am crying inside for you! How awful! Did you accidentally blend a date pit or something? I bet it was hard to do that. But yes even awesome machines like vitas and blendtecs do fail sometimes.

    I am like you, I LOVE my appliances that make raw food making so much fun but know for sure I can live without them as I often prove to myself when I travel. And if not 100% raw, even easier because you can fill in here and there with cooked grains or protein.

    Hope the machine is fixed soon!

  23. Oooh. I’ve tried many different types of nuts in my pesto, but never pistachios. I am definitely going to make this.

    And for the record, I have tried MANY of your recipes, and I’ve always been able to manage with a regular, low-mid range blender. In fact, I’ve been able to make most anything I see on blogs with this blender, even when the blogger has a Vitamix. It just requires a little persistence 🙂

  24. So true… the first thing I thought as I read this and started thinking about fancy appliances, I thought, how hard can it be to be raw? I mean, cavemen (the ultimate raw foodists) certainly couldn’t have had vita mixes lying around under their rocks or anything. But good luck with the sleep deprivation! That one a little harder to fix/more out of control for students!

  25. Oh my my my! The horror! 😛 Really though, I hope you don’t have to pay for a new one/new parts. That is so true….it’s a good reminder to remember that we don’t all need a $500 appliance to make good food!

  26. Ahh…the moments that bring us back to our roots 😉 My husband became 100% sold on switching out regular pasta for zucchini pasta once I made it with homemade pesto. And he’s from the Midwest. If that isn’t success, I don’t know what is!

  27. Who knew the breakdown of a blender could provide such a valuable perspective on needs versus wants? On simplicity versus gadgetry?
    Our contraption fixation is an interesting one isn’t it? I live the Vite-deprived life so any time I want to hodge my podge, fix a mix, blend to no end…I am constrained to the perimeters of processor land.
    I would love a Vita. And I trust your worth-it/not worth-it advising. Thank you for that.
    I also agree: the food processor is vital. I am surprised my FP has not given me any trouble yet, although I’ve only had it for a year or so, it’s already showing some wear from intensive use.

    Guess where I’m going tonight on a date? Cafe Gratitude! I heard they changed their menu a bit. Cooked food options and a “Give Back to the Community” Bowl with a sliding scale so no one is turned away from organic vegan food for lack of funds. And you can pay more if you want to donate toward a Bowl for someone else.

    Love. Them.

  28. Such a good reminder to keep it all in perspective! I have yet to invest in a Vitamix and spent far too long this morning looking at them on ebay along with some excalibur dehyrdrators.

    I’ll be happy with what I have…at least for now 🙂

  29. I totally understand what you mean about not being able to do without your food processor. Mine started smoking two weeks ago when I was making homemade Larabars, and I’ve been too afraid to use it since, which is deprivation for me. I’ve been reverting to my blender, which is non-high-speed, and also starts smoking after a period of time. Oh cheap college student appliances.

    I’m looking forward to making this recipe though to get through the processor-less days!

  30. thanks for the post. I don’t have the budget right now for a Vitamix and some times that makes me forget about raw food outside of salads and munchies. I am going to try this dish. Thanks again

  31. So, I am going to ask–how on earth did you do that?? That’s an incredible set of pics.

    But I totally agree: I was into raw foods for years and years, and only got a Vitamix last year. I love it, adore it even, but no question you can survive without.

    Love how you’re rolling with it–and Vitamix has the most awesome customer service, so hopefully you won’t be waiting long.

  32. Gena, you have my sympathy, especially because I am without my beloved food processor this week. I use it on a daily basis, usually more then once and I miss it so. But this recipe looks fantastic and I love how it doesn’t require any special equipment and I will be trying it when my food processor comes back to me.

  33. I am so sorry about your Vita, Gena! But thank you for putting it all in perspective: simplicity and not “needing” fancy gadgets to go raw or to eat healthy is paramount.

    I 100% agree w/ you on a dehyd. Overrated for me personally, I rarely use it (prefer the oven b/c of time mgmt issues) and I also am not a person who can sleep with a dehyd, i.e. hot appliance, running. Just my little quirk, which is why a dehyd is not something I use much of. For some things, it’s awesome..but I tell readers to buy tons of other things, first.

    Vita. I don’t own a food proc and only have my Vita. I just posted a chocolate coconut cashew butter you may like. But you have to wait til you get your Vita back. lol

    And that raw pasta…when you first started blogging, I remember being so drawn in to that recipe..two years ago…wow!! Time flies!

  34. that’s tragic!! but I’m glad you reconnected with your love for simple raw food! i’d like to incorporate more raw into my life–it’s nice to hear that it is doable without equipment.

    pistachio pesto? sounds divine!

  35. I would be lost without my food processor!!! I love the vita, but the food processor is the king in my kitchen. Did you put quarters in it by accident before turning it on? 😉 I love those wake-up calls to finding the simple pleasures in life. Very refreshing! The “pasta” looks amazing. So light + simple + colorful.

  36. I don’t have any of those fancy gizmos – food processor yes, vegetable peeler yes… so bring on the raw food in the raw! 🙂

  37. Wow–that meal looks amazing! I’m going to make it this summer when we’ve got fresh-from-the-garden zucchini and tomatoes. And, I’ve got to say it–your pistachio pesto idea is genius!

  38. Ah, such a tragedy! But actually, not so much after reading this post. Sometimes we need a reminder to simplify things once in a while. I’m a huge pesto fan, and it’s hot today, so this “pasta” looks like the perfect meal to me right now. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pistachio-based pesto! I should add this onto my ever-growing list of Gena recipes that need tackling. 🙂

  39. Oh my gosh…that is my worst nightmare!! I use my Vita 2-3 times a day. I would cry if mine broke 🙂 Actually I think I’ve already worn it out somewhat from overuse! I even took it with me on a recent 5-week-long trip out-of-state. I couldn’t have gone 5 weeks without my baby 🙂

  40. That looks incredible!
    I use my Vita between 1-3 times every single day, and would be 100% lost without it! I don’t even own a food processor, so if the Vita went…ohmydays.

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