Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Kombucha Brewery

While doing some shopping for the Thanksgiving holiday last year, I picked up a bottle of GT's Organic Raw Kombucha from Whole Foods. I had heard some buzz about it's health benefits. First sip, I made an "I'm not to sure about this face", but continued drinking it anyway. By the third or forth sip, I stopped making the face and was hooked. This beverage quickly became a habit. With a price tag of $3-4 a bottle it became an expensive habit. The more I researched and read about kombucha's immunity and health claim properties, the more it became a draw to me. In my reading, I also learned it would be significantly less money to brew and ferment this beverage at home, so I started looking around for my very own culture. I didn't want to buy one blindly over the internet, so I started inquiring and searching locally. I waited and waited to find a local source with little luck... until last weekend.

Now, almost overnight it seems, I have a full-fledged kombucha production line running from my pantry. I have 3 gallons in a variety of flavors brewing as I type (black, green, and peach). I got my first culture (aka "scooby") last weekend at a raw foods meet up and immediately started brewing a gallon with black tea and peach herbal tea. Earlier this week a friend of a friend was moving to Hungary and needed to find good homes for her well established cultures. I got the nicest biggest thickest mother scooby from her. Today lo and behold I got another couple of small babies while at a Weston Price meet up. I started brewing a couple more quarts using organic green tea as the base. When it rains it pours. Now my cup runneth over with this Kombucha elixir. Here's a toast to health and living well. Bottoms up...Cheers!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tales from the Pantry: The Exploding Cabbage Episode

I've heard stories, but never had incident with volatile cabbage until tonight. As many of you know from previous posts, my pantry has become a full fledged laboratory (from krauts to kefir grains are on leave from their workout in my pantry...currently in refridgerated exile).

Saturday I was inspired by by Scott Grzybek's passion and knowledge on lacto-fermentation at a workshop he gave for the Northern Virginia Raw Food Meet Up. I returned home to attempt to replicate his amazing daikon radish and cabbage recipes. I've been babysitting these fermenting babies once and twice a day since Saturday night by cracking open the jars to avoid excessive gas build up that I'd only heard rumor of. This is my second attempt at kraut-making. First time I evidently didn't "pound" the cabbage enough to release enough of it's own natural cabbage juice, so I made up the difference by added water to cover. I'm guessing it was watered down enough to slow the process/activity. It was still quite a tasty product but not nearly as active and alive as what is currently brewing.

All I can say is my little probiotic friends were very busy today. When I cracked open the kraut, the lid lifted and it bubbled violently like a soda can that had been vigorously shaken and opened. I had a puddle on the floor in front of the pantry. Molly was all too happy to help me clean up the mess. She was more excited about this than the "cookies" in my previous post. I don't know if this experiment is going to last the entire 1 month to ripen to full maturity....I somehow can't help but nibble on it as I do my quality control checks.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and the Yucky!

I love experiments....most of the time. A couple of days ago I played with my surplus of "Carrot Cake" from Sheila and made some pretty tasty carrot oatmeal cookies by adding raisins, dried cherries, oatmeal, almonds, honey to the "carrot" base and dehydrating it. Turned out to be a good and healthy "cookie"!

This morning I used more of the same carrot base and other ingredients, only instead of honey, I substituted pineapple add some greens powder. My thinking was more would be better. OK, nutritionally maybe, but not as a matter of taste. What I actually did accomplish in this culinary experiment was discover the formula for the taste or essence of... vomit. Really, I did. The pineapple together with the greens powder has the same acidic/bile taste we all know and hate. Win some loose some. These green "cookies" are not going to waste though... I'm picking out the raisins and giving them to Molly, my dog. She apparently is quite fond of them...then again I have seen her eat her vomit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Week, New Things to Try

I love opening up my fridge on Tuesday mornings and looking at the variety of good things I can select to eat that I don't have to make any effort for. It keeps me from getting bored or overhelmed. On today's menu I've got some Asian Cabbage Slaw and a spicy Thai Pineapple Cucumber Salad.

Best of all I'm gleening little bits of knowledge and ideas from my RawTogether friends. Just when I think I know it all someone comes up with something new. I'd have never guessed one could sprout things like sesame seeds and cumin seeds to increase the nutrition of even the smallest of components in a recipe. Thanks Sheila, who'da thought...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Chip Chip Hooray

I'm cheering for Kale now that Yvonne has introduced me to these Kale in a Crunch inspired chips. These are a satisfying way to curb the snack monster while also rewarding my body with the nutrients it really wants and needs.

Chip Update 2/11/09 - Out of Yvonne's chips!!! Oh Nooooo! Must have more!!! So I've started a batch; can't wait for them to get out of the dehydrator. I didn't have cashews, so I improvised the sauce with pine nuts. We'll see tomorrow how this has worked. (it did work!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Charlie Trotter's Raw Pad Thai

It took me two days to prep "Young Coconut Pad Thai with Almond Chile Sauce" from Charlie Trotter's Raw cookbook with Roxanne Klein. Last night I dehydrated the Spicy Cashews that will top the dish. Today I was a chopping/blending maniac.

It turned out good...very spicy. Next time, I'll use 1/2 the amount of garlic. The raw garlic is pretty strong. Now it's time to clean the kitchen (boy is it a mess!!) & pack for the swap.

Oat Milk

Had to soak oat groats overnight for some cookies I'm making for RawTogether. After I ground up the groats, I had to squeeze out the liquid. VoilĂ ! ...a nice think and creamy oat milk. I added a little honey and cinnamon. A nice surprise ended up being a yummy and nutritious way to start my day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Quinoa. It's what's for breakfast.

This morning I had sprouted quinoa (KEEN-wah) and fruit for breakfast. {thanks for the yummy fruit Sheila!}
First let me share...I never imagined I'd be eating this kind of stuff for breakfast, let alone sprout them myself...second that I'd actually be craving this stuff...and third surprize is the absolute unbelievable energy I'm having. I think I'm going to have to go down to the office gym and jump on the treadmill to release some of is sooo hard to sit in cube land when my cells are awake and raring to go.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Garlic Breath

Anyone have a mint? I had Shanti Gabriel’s Live Fettuccini Alfreda for lunch today. The raw garlic was strong and spicy in this. I won't have to worry about vampires today! It was good. I shared with a couple of people in my office and they also liked it...they thought the raw zucchini was cooked "noodles". I can see having this again...maybe forgetting the parsely and doubling the fresh basil to suit my personal taste.