Category Archives: RAW FERMENTED VEGETABLES

MY WONDERFUL KALE/SAUERKRAUT DINNER

So, I got a bag of organic kale from Trader Joe’s.  Once home, I grabbed an onion, a red bell pepper, a head of garlic, Trader Joe’s 21 Season Salute, a jalapeno pepper and a box of Calamata olives I’ve been waiting to use.

My first mistake was buying a bag of torn kale. (After this, I will go to stores where you can get whole kale, because it is so much easier to remove the center stem and then chiffonade (and chop down further if you like).  Trying to chop up the kale pieces and remove the big stem pieces is tiring! Never mind! I got it done!

 I chopped up half of the kale and tossed in a big bowl.  I then  de-seeded the Calamata olives, chopped them up, and added them to the kale, for salt and also flavor.

You need salt or something salty to make massaged kale! I learned to make massaged kale at Raw Soul, a place we used to have in Harlem, and they showed us how to make it with the salty Kalamata olives, so that is my usual go-to (you also get this interesting flavor in your salad.

So, I have this big bowl, and I filled it up with the kale I’d chopped and I threw in the minced olives, and I went to work mashing around.  You mash and mash and mush and mush for a good bit, to get the kale to go juicy.  It is not like you’re going to have water, like when you’re making sauerkraut, but the kale is going to reduce in volume to about a third of what it looked like when you started.

Then I added my finely-chopped  red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, and some minced onion and garlic.  Mashed around some more. Then, ) and I added about 1 capful of apple cider vinegar, 2 caps of olive oil, and mashed around some more.  Toward the end, I tasted it and decided it needed a little bit more something, so I added about a tablespoon of Trader Joe’s 21 Season Salute.  It was all good at that point, but I still had about a half-cup of the jalapeno pepper sauerkraut, so I mixed that in.  AMAZING!

I think that the next time, I would add in sliced or minced mushrooms towards the end of the massaging.

 

NEW BOOKS and SAUERKRAUT

I have been kind of busy lately.  I’ve had to put off a bunch of things I want to do, like finish up my Raw Vegan Nutritionist Centre of Excellence online course (hope they’ll give me some extra time on account of the virus or some other excuse – I really do want to finish the thing up. More about that later.)

My job went from brick-and-mortar English school to on-line virtual English school over one weekend.  We got about 5 minutes of training,  and then they handed me a computer and said, basically ‘go home and do the job’.  So I’m learning how to do that.

Meanwhile, I’m self-isolated in my building. So, what to do.  I accidentally found some raw vegan books when I answered a dumb question on Quora (have you ever done that?)… So, anyway, someone recommended this book, The Health Seekers’ Yearbook:  a Revolutionist’s Handbook for Getting Well and Staying Well Without the Medicine Men, and it’s by Victoria Bidwell, an author I had never heard of before.   This goes on my “early books shelf” – published in 1990 – how did I miss it?  Anyhow it is really seriously about food combining, nutrition, and lifestyle.  It’s kind of strict, but that’s not so bad.   There are some recipes, but not too many… it’s more about managing a very healthy lifestyle with exercise, positive thoughts, and la la la.  Once I’d found that one, I found another one which is pretty much an encyclopedia  (like 2 or 3 inches thick), again talking seriously about nutrition and raw vegan natural hygiene (food combining).

I’m looking forward to having time to sit down seriously and read through these books (I’ve just looked at the index and, yes, they are influenced by T.C. Fry’s work, among others.)

Then, too, I found Cherie Soria’s book Raw Food for Dummies.  How come I didn’t know about that?  Probably because I’ve been working my way to a minimalist approach toward raw veganism, where you don’t need an arsenal of expensive equipment to be raw vegan. (I’m back to my knife, and my cutting board. Okay, I do have a food processor and a spiralizer.  And a nut grinder.  I’ve always followed Soria, and liked her recipes.  Now I have a book full of them, plus lots of instructions for stuff I had forgotten about. This book was published in 2013.  I think that, by then, I had decided that all the great books had already been written.  Nope!  This is a fun romp, with lots of recipes I’ll be willing to make when I get some time (i.e., not everything is made using a dehydrator or a juicer costing hundreds of dollars and requiring gobs of space)

My other news is my new sauerkraut batch.  When I went in the supermarket and saw a head of cabbage for 59cents, I knew it was time.   So, the day before yesterday, I went into the kitchen, chopped up the head of cabbage, chopped like 4 jalapeno peppers, mixed it all with salt, probiotics, and water, and I am eagerly expecting some delish sauerkraut the day after tomorrow.

Oh, yes! I forgot to mention that I have been sprouting lentils like nobody’s business!  They’re so easy, so fast, so gratifying, and so tasty!  It only takes about 3 days to get a nice quart of lentil sprouts, and they’ll last in the refrigerator for 5-6 days!  Yum!  Now, I am a window farmer!

Now, off to teach another class.

10/03/2013 CSA SHARE: What we got, what I took, & what I will do with it

HERE IS WHAT WE GOT AND WHAT I TOOK:

Baby Beets- 1 bun
Swiss Chard- 1 bun
Boston Lettuce- 2 heads(green or red)       Red Peppers
Tomatoes- mixed variety
Arugula- 1/2 lb. bag
Toscano Kale  – 1 bun
Long Red Peppers -3 pcs

The first major question I heard from other CSAers was “what happened to the beet greens”? Someone figured there was a CSA out there somewhere which had only beet greens and no beets!

With the Swiss Chard, it was me doing the “I will/I won’t” dance. In the end, I did come home with a bunch of chard – just not the bunch I had put in the trade box. What will I do with it?  I am not real sure just yet, but I am thinking wraps with the leaf halves and a ferment with the stems.

Beets?  I just haven’t decided  yet.  Thank heavens beets will stay in the refrigerator for a while, giving you time to think things over.

I ended up bringing home some arugula – I tried it on a sandwich but it was most unpleasant for me. I tried it in a marinated greens recipe, but it was grim.  Dehydrate it and grind it and add it to my super-greens jar?  Sounds like a plan.

At least half of the (sweet) red peppers I came home with will go into a hot ajvar. I know it. I have been radically protecting my Monday night event with New York Ferments, and I’m taking the ajvar with me.  This won’t be a traditional ajvar (you cannot keep me away from garlic – it will be in there, I will likely substitute chili powder for the red pepper needed, and I will probably feel the need to put some onion in it)

The kale? Ah! The kale! Kale cheeze and, probably kale chips!  I do love kale!

8/29/13 CSA SHARE- what we got and what I am going to do with it

POST #967
Without my blog, yesterday seems so long ago! I mean it! I’m so happy to be back on-line!

WHAT WE GOT
Yellow Potatoes – 1 qt
Scallions – 1 bun
Green Bell Peppers – 2 pcs
Garlic – 1 pc
Tomatoes – 6 lbs
Zucchini – 2 pcs

Somehow, I came away with 3 bunches of scallions and 3 pcs of garlic, and a thing of chard (what do you call a “thing of chard”? Thank heavens for the word “thing”)

I chatted with some interesting ladies at the share distribution (one on the volunteer side of the table, and the other right up next to me, bagging her boxed goodies (I gave her one of my Ziploc bags) Promised to send them some fermenting recipes (should I start a mailing list on these things? I’ll have to look into that!) I expect this weekend is going to be about fermenting – I have some cabbage, all those tomatoes, and, I hope some of last week’s cucumbers have survived)

I decided to keep the potatoes. All of the raw food “experts” are now saying that they are actually eating cooked food. I haven’t done that in a long while (I had the power company cut off the gas a good while back, when the last room-mate left, because I haven’t cooked food in 30 years or so). I do have a rice cooker , a coffee-maker, and a microwave, left by a former room-mate, so I am going to experiment with cooking the potatoes and making a real potato salad (with such raw entries as onions and bell pepper). We’ll see how that goes. (We’re talking: I’m dirt poor right now, and I live off what comes in the box, so, at least, this week, I am going to bend and see what all the hoopla of going off 100% raw is about — okay, folks! I’ve been telling you I am 95% raw, even though I have been 100% raw – this is where that comes in! I am finally going to do something you can point at). I’ll let you know how that goes (I’m feeling kind of sheepish. I mean, how do you cook potatoes without boiling or baking them? I guess I can find the info on the Internet somewhere. Somewhere somebody has put information about how to get boiled-like potatoes in a microwave or a rice cooker — if you know, I’d be grateful if you’d tell me – I’m thinking rice cooker)

So, anyway – I’m going to make a fermented salsa with most, if not all, of the tomatoes. Ferments last longer, and I can combine a fermented salsa with all sorts of things. I am probably going to take one tomato and make a fresh “pasta” with one of the zucchini.

An aside – I am kind of bummed that I won’t be able to go to the September meet-up of “NYC Ferments” – they are doing “fermented fruit” this time, and I was planning to take a fermented squash salsa  (check it out on meetup.com), because I have work that night (yea, work! helps pay the rent)

Stay tuned! I’m back! Yea! (thank you WordPress, and thank you, Lord!)

GRAND OPENING: SAUERKRAUT

POST #936
I opened the sauerkraut this afternoon – at 3-1/2 days.  The jar I made with probiotics was great, as usual, but I am not terribly crazy about the jar made with the kimchi juice.  It is okay, I mean, it isn’t off or anything, but I am not so sure I like the taste. It seems a little bitter to me. Perhaps it will grow on me (meantime, I can hope that the people at the meet-up do like it and eat it all up).  I’ve put what was left in the jar back on the board to ferment a little longer – that might help, too.  I was kind of surprised that, despite all the garlic and jalapeno I put in there, it doesn’t taste all that garlicky (at least not to me) nor does it seem overly spicy.

I put half of each jar into pint jars, identifiable by different lids, to take to the meet-up tonight.  I always hope the people will like what I have made.  This is my first time with this group, so it should be interesting.

WOW! WHAT’S THAT SMELL? Joys of fermentation

POST #934
I just started my two sauerkraut batches last night, but when I came home tonight, there was a funny smell … heck! I know I cleaned the kitchen last night, and I know I threw out the trash this morning…… 

When I checked the sauerkraut, I found where the smell was coming from!  Aha! That kimchi juice is working its magic!  (Will the sauerkraut made with the kimchi juice have a kimchi essence to it? I’ll know on Tuesday night, when I open it.

The happy note is that both jars are working hard – the bowls they are sitting in were almost full of expelled water!  That is always the first and best sign that things are going according to plan (I am suddenly curious as to whether this is the sauerkraut juice people speak of.. If you know, please tell me)

SUCCESSFUL TASTY SAUERKRAUT: why other people don’t like raw sauerkraut and how you can

POST #899
SUCCESSFUL TASTY SAUERKRAUT: Why Other People Don’t Like Sauerkraut, and How You Can

Swayze Foster recently posted a “low-sodium” sauerkraut-related video, in which she talked mostly about how she hates sauerkraut.

I’m a fermenter, and I do like sauerkraut, and I have been lucky that everyone who has tasted my sauerkraut has liked it (I do get lucky like that – people who say they are don’t like something that I am pushing  generally tend to like it once they have tasted it). 

Swayze says she put her sauerkraut in a jar covered by leaves, and topped  by cheesecloth to ferment for three days. That is, by me, the first mistake – if you are going to make “short-ferment” vegetables of any sort, you need to 1) press the vegetables down under the liquid, and/or 2)cover the recipient with a tight lid.

I’ve tried several ways to weight the vegetables, all of which involved putting a cabbage leaf on top and putting a weight on that, and then putting the lid on.  Each time, I have ended up with a slimy cabbage leaf, and an iffy batch of sauerkraut.

The sauerkraut I make is low sodium (I use a maximum of 1 T sea salt to a large head of cabbage — 2 1-qt jars worth). The sea salt is already low sodium, and it helps to draw the liquid/juice from the cabbage.  I find that the kicker, or the trick, to making a successful, tasty raw sauerkraut is the addition of 1 – 2 capsules-worth (or 1 teaspoon) of probiotics to the mix  (you could mix it in by hand, but I worry that some might get stuck on my glove and not remain in the mix, or you could mix it into the water you add to top off the jar)  The salt works to ferment, but salt wants a while.  The probiotics go to work immediately, and practically ensure that your batch of sauerkraut will succeed (when I first started making sauerkraut, I was warned that my first batches might fail – the only failed batches I have ever had were the ones where I did not use the probiotics)

I usually let my sauerkraut batches go for 3-4 days before I open them.  With the tight cap on them, I need to open them over the sink, as the probiotics will have created a fizzy pressure, and the cabbage sometimes pops out of the top of the jar.  I like the sweetness of the 3-4 day ferment, but I have left it as long as 7 days with no ill results.  My batches rarely last more than 7 days in the refrigerator, as, when I have a batch of sauerkraut, it goes into almost everything I make up (wakame seaweed and vegetable salad, raw tuno, crackers – you name it!)  I often eat it on its own, as I love the flavor (I most frequently simply add jalapeno pepper slices, but often I add garlic, dill, cilantro, curry powder, or kimchi spices).

The way I figure it is, if you don’t like raw sauerkraut, most probably, you have gotten a bad batch, or you don’t like the flavorings.  A simple, plain raw sauerkraut made with just sea salt and probiotics will be tasty, sweet-ish,  to almost anyone, even children, and will be a good addition to just about anything you want to make up.

One last thing about sauerkraut, or any other fermented vegetable: If you don’t like to chew,  or if you don’t like crunchy, process your vegetables to a fine grate (not applesauce texture, but more like if you chopped for 20 mins) and be sure to include probiotics in your mix (many people tell me you can use sauerkraut juice from an older batch, but I never have that much juice left, and I don’t trust commercial batches.  For my first batches, I used a Zukay salad dressing for the probiotic, but, since Zukay salad dressings are not available in New York City as of this writing, and the company refuses to sell even crates of their product to individual buyers, I have never used that since).

FIRE CIDER RECIPE from Rosemary Gladstar

POST #880
I cannot have the flu vaccine (allergies, reactions, etc.& so forth, and even if I could, I don’t know that I would — this is not to say that you shouldn’t, if you feel so inclined), so I am happy to see this traditional cold/flu remedy recipe.

HOME-MADE FIRE CIDER
From Rosemary Gladstar, MountainRose blog
Fire Cider is a traditional cold remedy with deep roots in folk medicine. The tasty combination of vinegar infused with powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant, and spicy circulatory movers makes this recipe especially pleasant and easy to incorporate into your daily diet to help boost the immune system, stimulate digestion, and get you nice and warmed up on cold days.
Because this is a folk preparation, the ingredients can change from year to year depending on when you make it and what’s growing around you. The standard base ingredients are apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, and hot peppers, but there are plenty of other herbs that can be thrown in for added kick. This year I had lots of spicy jalapenos and vibrant rosemary in the garden, so I used those along with some organic turmeric powder in the cupboard and fresh lemon peel. Some people like to bury their fire cider jar in the ground for a month while it extracts and then dig it up during a great feast to celebrate the changing of the seasons.
Fire Cider can be taken straight by the spoonful, added to organic veggie juice (throw in some olives and pickles and think non-alcoholic, health boosting bloody mary!), splashed in fried rice, or drizzled on a salad with good olive oil. You can also save the strained pulp and mix it with shredded veggies like carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and fresh herbs to make delicious and aromatic stir-fries and spring rolls! I like to take 1 tbsp each morning to help warm me up and rev the immune system, or 3 tbsp at the first sign of a cold.
Time to make the Fire Cider!

FIRE CIDER INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root
1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root
1 medium organic onion, chopped
10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped
Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
Several sprigs of fresh organic rosemary or 2 tbsp of dried rosemary leaves
1 tbsp organic turmeric powder
organic apple cider vinegar
raw local honey to taste

DIRECTIONS
Prepare all of your cold-fighting roots, fruits, and herbs and place them in a quart sized jar. If you’ve never grated fresh horseradish, be prepared for a powerful sinus opening experience! Use a piece of natural parchment paper or wax paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal. Shake well! Store in a dark, cool place for one month and remember to shake daily.
After one month, use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid goodness as you can from the pulp while straining. Next, comes the honey! Add 1/4 cup of honey and stir until incorporated. Taste your cider and add another 1/4 cup unrtil you reach the desired sweetness.
INGREDIENT VARIATIONS
These herbs and spices would make a wonderful addition to your Fire Cider creations: Thyme, Cayenne, Rosehips, Ginseng, Orange, Grapefruit, Schizandra berries, Astragalus, Parsley, Burdock, Oregano, Peppercorns

OPENING CEREMONY: You can’t always get what you want

POST #867
OPENING CEREMONY this afternoon.

IT’S A GO!
The cranberry sauce I made from the cranberry pulp left over after I made cranberry juice came out very well.  I tried a spoonful, then spooned out about a cup on the plate and inhaled it. Yumm!  This stuff is too good to share. It’s mine, all mine!  I’ll make some more as soon as I get some oranges.

The butternut squash came out rather spicy, but, mixed with my fresh lentil sprouts, it was delicious.  I’ll use it as an ingredient, not as a dish on its own, and the next time I make it, I will go a lot easier on the jalapenos.  It is good enough that I’ll mix it with lentil sprouts and take it to a potluck party this coming weekend.

The sauerkraut is good, but somehow I made it too salty. How did I do that? No clue – I am very parsimonious with salt.  I am going to leave it another week to see if it gets better.  It is still good, just saltier than I would like it to be.

Mmmm.  Well, this is the first time I have opened up stuff that I haven’t absolutely loved right off the bat.  Actually, this is the first time I have made any foodstuff that I did not like. (I guess it had to happen sooner or later.)

I’M BLUE
The cranberry sauce that I made from the recipe I got from a book was not the best stuff I have ever eaten.  For some reason, it lost all its color, and had little taste. I’m not even sure there is anything I can do with it, other than throw it out.

 This is the first time I tried fermenting mushrooms, and it will be the last. First, the mushrooms really do shrink down to very little. That wouldn’t be a problem if I like the texture or the taste.  I did a jar of portobellos and a jar of criminis, and I didn’t like either.  I’ll probably stick these in some soup where they might hide from me. 

GRAND OPENING: Cultured Butternut Squash

POST #858
Back to the fermented butternut squash I told you about several days ago.

This was “opening night”!  WOO-HOO!
I want you to know that I have squirmed every day and night since I put that stuff up.  Because of the smell the fermenting gave off, I was afraid I had put in too much garlic, and then I worried I had put in too much jalapeno.  I had already started planning what I could do with it if I couldn’t eat it straight out of the jar.  (I’ve never gone through so much agony over a ferment before)

Well, tonight was the night I decided to open it up.  Tentatively, I took a heaping forkful out and put it in a bowl. Even more tentatively, I took a small forkful in my mouth!

Oh my!  Heavens!  Goodness! Woo-hoo! Oh boy! Wow!  This stuff beats tomato salsa in sweet flavor.  The squash is soft (the way I had hoped it would be — easy chewing), and the flavor is …. pickled!  Amazing!  I did not put any vinegar in the mix, but you’d think I had, from the bright, sweet flavor.  The garlic is not overwhelming, and the jalapeno just gives a mild zing.  I love that vinegary taste, for sure.

I combined it half and half with a “TuNo” mix, and ate a big bowl of it.

I can see grinding this up fine and making a spread to put on other food, or sandwiches, or use as a dip.  I could use it as a soup base.  I could use it as a salad base and add some sprouts (that reminds me, I need to make some new lentil sprouts).

Suffice it to say – this stuff is yummy!

This is stuff I could get hungry for all over the place  (and I don’t get hungry for much).

I will have to start a couple of new jars at least by tomorrow, because I want to show off this stuff and give it to my next-door-neighbors, people who have helped me or given me stuff, and some people I really don’t like (must do something to resolve the karma).  They will get the next jars!  This stuff is all for me!

Meanwhile, except that I am full, I would go right back to the kitchen and eat some more of this stuff. It is really good.