Food Dehydrator Love, Part 1: Slow Miracle Raw Low Fat Zucchini Bread Bars

by moonwatcher on August 27, 2014

Slow Miracle Raw Low Fat Zucchini Bread Bars

One summer many years ago on Asbury Street when Mike was a teenager, I opened my front door to a couple of college students who introduced themselves as my neighbors from across the street. Two English majors: Peter and his girlfriend Jennifer. In fact they and their roommates were the first to call the yellow house Yellow House, since they were living there when it was first painted yellow.  Peter did most of the talking. He said that one of his professors, a former colleague of mine, had asked him if he knew that he lived across the street from a poet. “So I thought I’d better come over and meet  you. My girlfriend and I are staying here for the summer, and we thought this would be a good time to meet our neighbors. And you in particular.”

I was immediately charmed by this young man’s sincere belief that it would be fun to get to know the neighbors. Most 21 year olds have very different things on their minds. I was a little embarrassed to be labeled as a poet living across the street, since I wasn’t able to do a whole lot of writing. But I was pleased, too. And thus, a friendship was born.

It turned out Peter’s girlfriend Jennifer was also a poet (a good one). Peter and their other roommate Alex also immediately both took to my son Mike. A friendship between them was cemented when they learned Mike had been video taping Simpson’s episodes for the past few years. Mike would loan them tapes, and Peter, who worked at a bakery downtown, would trade in extra baked goods. Many mornings Mike would check the mailbox to find pastries or cinnamon rolls in exchange for the tapes. When Winter came around, they’d sometimes come get Mike and take him sledding–at night.

Back in that Summer of g=Getting to Know the Neighborhood Poet, they were also learning to grow a garden. Peter also loved to cook, so we had lots to talk about. He is the first person who clued me in to how good fresh rosemary and potatoes are together. I gave them extra salad greens and they quizzed me on the best way to grow lettuce. I invited them to pick some of my raspberries. Before they moved away, Peter and Jennifer both came to have me read their astrological charts for them, and they insisted on paying. Peter also gave me a food dehydrator he had found at a garage sale as a kind of “going away present.” The woman he got it from had the same last name as he has, so he thought it was good luck, and that I could use it to save the bounty from my garden. I still have it, and I still use it. The young people who would follow in their gardening footsteps at Yellow House would also borrow it to dry their tomatoes and peppers.

It isn’t a fancy food dehydrator. It doesn’t even have a fan, which I actually like. It’s quiet, and slow, like I am a lot of the time. But over the years I’ve dried pears, tomatoes, apples,  plums and mushrooms in abundance. One year I even made raisins from a friend’s concord grapes.

Until recently, though, I’d never thought about using it for anything other than stocking up on such basics. I’d never made anything fancy with it. One of the reasons I’ve never made a  dessert with the dehydrator before is that the recipes are always high fat. This one from the Rawtarian is no exception. But the idea of making tiny zucchini breads that didn’t require baking in the oven was captivating to me, so I set about searching for how to make them without 2 cups of nuts and 1 cup of coconut.

I was lucky enough to find this wonderful tip about how raw oat groats can be soaked for making cookies in the food dehydrator, so I decided to try putting elements from both sources together, with a couple of my own twists, and this is what I came up with. It’s fun, rich, and filling while still being a low fat and relatively healthy way to use up your extra zukes without having to turn the oven on.

 

This is the first in a series of  3 posts I hope to write about the adventurous food I made beyond dried fruit and veggies in my food dehydrator this Summer. Stay tuned. . .

Maria (moonwatcher)

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pam August 28, 2014 at 8:52 am

I love the story of the dehydrator. I had no idea that you could use a dehydrator this way. Tucking this idea away for a time when I have a kitchen and garden again.

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2 moonwatcher August 28, 2014 at 8:57 am

Thanks, Pam! Yeah, and isn’t it fun to discover you can do these kinds of things in a dehyydrator? Glad you’ll tuck it away for when you are back to a kitchen and garden situation. :)

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3 Veronica August 28, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I need to invest in a dehydrator! I bought a cookbook – Eat Raw, Eat Well, and many recipes require a dehydrator. Plus, with our new garden here, we’ll be having bountiful harvests (hopefully) that we’ll need to save somehow! I’ll add this recipe to the list of to-make when we get one. :)
I love the story about the neighbors, too; in the bigger cities where I’ve lived, you don’t get that kind of kinship with strangers (regardless of how close they live). It sounds really nice.

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4 moonwatcher August 28, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Hi Veronica! I think you will really enjoy a food dehydrator and do lots of creative things with it, you are such a good cook. I’m happy you enjoyed the story about the neighbors. One of the things I like best about Moscow is how friendly people are. It IS a really nice thing about living here.

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5 Debra Maslov August 28, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Lovely story Maria! How lucky your young neighbors were to befriend you & Mike. And how fortunate for everyone that it developed into a special symbiotic relationship. I loved reading all the details of how you met, along with some wonderful memories. Thank you for the delicious raw zucchini bars recipe & for reducing the fat so cleverly. Since I no longer have a food dehydrator (it’s been gone almost 30 years!)…..I may try making the loaves in a 150 degree oven (if I can adjust it that low). I very much look forward to reading the next two parts of your summer food adventures!

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6 moonwatcher August 29, 2014 at 8:30 am

Thank you, Debra! So glad you enjoyed the post, and that it brought back memories of your own food dehydrator. I think the “warm” setting on most ovens is close to 150. It’s worth a try anyway. Let us know how it goes if you like. I’m sure other readers who may not have a food dehydrator will be interested in that.

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