January 29, 2013

Lacto-Fermented Foods

As we wind our way into February, we can honor the traditional agrarian festival of Imbolc, the time of light lengthening. Half-way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, this time is known by names such as Candlemas, Groundhog's Day, and Brigid's Festival.

We can strengthen digestion and honor the sour flavor of the coming spring by consuming lacto-fermented foods. Here is a recipe for Kimchi, a traditional Korean fermented food. You can also enjoy sauerkraut, gingered carrots, or a myriad of of other lacto-fermented vegetables.


Kimchi



Fermentation Time: 1 week or more


You will need:


1 lb. napa cabbage or bok choi, coarsely chopped
1 daikon radish or a few red radishes, sliced into half moons
2 carrots, sliced into crescents
6 inches dulse or other seaweed, cut with scissors
1 onion or leek (and or a few shallots/scallions), chopped
1 bulb garlic, peeled and chopped
3 or 4 hot peppers (or more to taste), chopped
3 Tbsp. (or more) fresh grated ginger root
1 Tbsp. unrefined sea salt

Mix the chopped veggies with spices and salt in a bowl.

Incorporate other veggies if you like: turnips, okra, beans or peas, Jerusalem chokes, eggplant, cauliflower or squash.

Stuff the kimchi mixture into a quart sized, wide-mouth jar and pack tightly, adding more veggie mixture and pressing it down until the juices squeeze out of the veggies. Mixed with salt, these juices make a brine. The veggies must be submerged in liquid to prevent mold from happening. The liquid coming up over the veggies is very important and prevents mold from forming.

Place the lid on the jar.

Do not close it. Instead put the jar in a big bowl to prevent the liquids from bubbling up and spilling onto counter.

Allow the mixture to sit for at least one week in a warm place.

Press the kimchi down each day so the veggies at the top get submerged in the brine.

The longer the kimchi ferments, the more sour it will become.

When it tastes sour and pungent enough for you, store it in the fridge.

Kimchi fermenting in China
 

January 16, 2013

Nutty Gingered Squash Pie



Inspired by a ten-year-old cooking student, this recipe will please all palates. Plus, it is vegan and glute-free. Enjoy for breakfast, snack, or dessert!

Nutty Gingered Squash Pie

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 1 1/2 pounds winter squash for 45 minutes or until fork tender.

Meanwhile, for the crust, combine in a mixing bowl:
1 cup almonds, ground in a spice grinder (or almond meal from Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup coconut flour (or shredded coconut, ground in a spice grinder)
1/2 cup millet flour (or whole millet, ground in a spice grinder)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt

Add 4 Tablespoons coconut oil at room temperature. Toss to coat the oil with dry ingredients. Add enough cold water to make a dough ball.

Flatten it into a disc in a greased pie plate. Push the disc up the sides of the pie plate to make a shell for the filling. Set aside.

For the filling, combine in the same mixing bowl:
1 1/2 pounds winter squash, baked, peeled, and de-seeded
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup coconut milk
3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
pinch salt
Mix well and then puree, either with immersion blender or upright blender.

Pour into crust and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Yum!


January 11, 2013

Waffles!

When you have a free morning at home, treat yourself to this delight. Chances are, if you do not have a waffle iron, one of your neighbors does. Invite them over and share in the fun!
This recipe works well as pancakes, too.

Pumpkin Waffles with blueberry maple butter

To make the waffle batter, mix:
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg
pinch salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
grated zest of 1 orange (if desired)

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add:

1 cup pumpkin puree**
**You can make it by baking a whole pumpkin at 375 for 40 minutes, cutting it open, scooping out the seeds and composting them, then scooping out the flesh to add to your waffle batter.
1/2 cup milk (almond or cow)
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I like sunflower or olive)
3 Tablespoons applesauce (or 2 eggs if you prefer)

Incorporate all ingredients, heat waffle iron, and pour a thin layer of batter to make each waffle.
Keep cooked waffles warm in a 200 degree oven until all waffles are ready.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine and melt on low heat:
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch salt

Pour syrup over waffles and savor the results!
Serve with scrambled eggs if you like.

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