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Archive for the ‘Lacto-Fermenting’ Category

Okay, so if this photo is looking familiar to you…congratulations!  You don’t have short-term memory loss!  The end.

I kid (well, not really about the memory loss thing, so if you got a little self-esteem boost from that, I’m letting you keep it).  If this photo looks familiar to you, it’s because I posted it last Friday, for Friday Food Porn.

The Boy eats this stuff with a spoon in front of the TV…you know, ’cause he’s hardcore.  I’m almost as hardcore…as I mentioned last week, I occasionally put out a jar of this stuff with a bag of tortilla chips and a blender of margaritas and call it dinner.

Which is totally acceptable, by the way, because Kate said so.  See?:

“Well, ummmm, sometimes you just need a Tortilla Chip and Margarita dinner. Here is an enabling moment – make some lacto fermented salsa and then you can feel downright righteous about them!

Kate just gets me, people.  Virtual pair of projectile fishnets slingshotted in Kate’s direction.  Which is what I do for people I like.  I throw my intimate apparel at them.  Naturally.

But there was another interesting comment in the mix.  Misfit jamaica-momma said:

“looks DIVINE!!!
recipe please??? & is there a way to veganize it?”

You know you cute lil’ misfits get anything you want out of me.  I CAN’T say no.

Truth is, you don’t need starter culture (whey) at all to make lacto-fermented pickles.  You can just add a little extra salt to speed things along, and then let lactic acid fermentation and healthy bacteria take their natural course.  It will take longer to pickle your food without the head start, but it works just the same.  A second option is using a vegetable starter culture instead of whey.  You can buy that here.

So what have we learned here today?  The BMG likes to put some spice in your life.  Also, I throw my underthings at people.  Oh, AS IF you’re surprised.

Lacto-Fermented Escabeche
Makes 3 quarts

Go Get:

6 jalapeno peppers, cut into thick slices (dial this number down if you don’t like spicy–as is, the recipe makes a medium-to-hot escabeche)
6 Tablespoons whey from drained yogurt (if you’re vegan or prefer not to use a dairy culture, try this vegetable starter culture. If you omit starter cultures entirely, up the salt and fermentation time.)
5 1/3 cups bite-size cauliflower florets
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt (if you’re not using whey or starter culture, increase this to 2 1/2 Tablespoons)
1 1/2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
2 heaping teaspoons dried oregano
1 large white onion, sliced thinly
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 large carrots, sliced into wheels

Go Do:

Toss all ingredients (except whey) together in a large bowl.  Allow everything to sit and “sweat” for a few minutes.  Now pack the veggies tightly into the jars and pour in 2 Tablespoons of whey per jar.  Top up the mixture with filtered water to cover.  Now place open Ziploc bags over the jars (open side up), and fill them with enough water to weigh the veggies down and keep them submerged.  When you have that right, seal the bags, cover the jars loosely with a towel, and let sit in a dark, room-temperature location.  Check the escabeche for sourness and texture daily–the carrots should still be snappy.  My escabeche is usually perfect after about 1 week, but your results will differ based on temperature and environment–if you’re not using any whey or starter culture at all, it will take longer.  Once it’s perfect, refrigerate the batch to slow fermentation and enjoy!  It’ll keep for about a year, and usually longer.

Note: If a little mold develops on top, don’t worry–this is normal.  Just skim it off, rinse and replace the bag, and keep fermenting.

Another note: When I want the flexibility of varying heat levels, I put varying amounts of jalapeno slices in each jar.  Then I label them accordingly: “Mild,” “Medium,” and “Oh Dear GOD.”

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**Psst!  I’ve since posted the recipe for this here.**

Spicy pickled escabeche, just like the kind you’d find on the tables at authentic taquerias.  Only this one is lacto-fermented, so it packs a sour, probiotic punch.

Shockingly addictive, and it also makes BMG feel pretty a-okay about tortilla chip and margarita dinners.

As if a sense of propriety were standing in my way?

PLEASE.

Happy weekend, misfits!

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So do y’all remember the BMG’s cabbage patch?

Oh, come on, sure you do!

Precious!

Anyway, well, most of those got harvested, and while a few made their way into dinner, the vast majority were turned into homemade, naturally vegan, lacto-fermented kraut.

<Homer Simpson drooling sound>

Yes, that’s right–we’re up to no good with live cultures yet again in a new series I’m calling “FERMENTING IS FUN!”

Not really.  That makes it sound like one of those puberty videos you have to watch in your fifth grade science classes.

“Getting Down with Gonads!”

“Engorgin’ Sex Organs!”

“Chillaxin’ With Childbirth!”

“Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Menses.”

“A Peculiar Thunder Down Under.”

“Congratulations! As if Your Status as a Female Didn’t Already Disadvantage You Enough, You’re Now Both Fertile and Alluring and That Is About As Good for Your Future as Mixing Valium With Everclear Okay Have Fun Bye Bye!”

Right.  Back to fermentation.

This requires no vinegar, injects you with sexy, sexy probiotics, and tastes phenomenal.  The Boy and I like it as an appetizer with a little sharp cheddar, homemade sourdough, and homebrew.  But really, now, you misfits are creative.  You could do a whole host of things with it!

Said Whole Host of Things, if A Metric Whole Host Equals Ten

1. Grilled Cheese and Kraut

2. Pork Chops, Kraut, and Pink Applesauce

3. Hot Dogs and Kraut

4. Put it on your cat.

5. Make sauerkraut pierogi!

6. Best. Corned Beef Sandwich. Ever.

7. Put it on your mom.

7. Serve an unconventional pickle plate: pumpernickel, fermented kraut, smoked salmon, yogurt cheese, briny olives, pickled mushrooms

8. Bring a jar of it to a high school reunion.  Insist on introducing it to people and following up with vaguely German slurs and raucous laughter.  Bonus points if you never even went to that high school.

9. Kraut plus Shredded Swiss Cheese plus Potato Chips = Nommiful Nachos

10. Put it on your archenemy.

So really, you get the idea–eat it, enjoy it, or just put it on the stuff and/or people in your life.  Mmm…tangy!

Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut
Makes 1 half-gallon crock/jar of tightly-packed kraut

Go Get:
2 small to medium cabbages
1 large white onion (optional: carrots and beets are fun additions, too)
1/4 cup whole Dutch caraway seeds (optional)
1/2 cup whey extracted from yogurt (instructions here) (wanna do this the vegan/dairy-free way?  See this post.)
2 Tablespoons sea salt

Go Do:
Shred the cabbage, either with a food processor or a sharp knife and cutting board.  Put it into a large bowl, then finely chop the onion and add it to the bowl.  Add in the caraway seeds, salt, and whey, and toss everything to combine.

Let mixture sit for 20 minutes, then start pounding it with a potato masher.  Pound until you get tired, then set it aside to rest for a few minutes.  Alternately pound and rest until the mixture is much reduced in volume and is yielding a lot of water.

It’s ready when you can pack the kraut down with the masher or a wooden spoon and liquid comes up to cover it, usually an hour.  When it’s ready, pile it into a half-gallon crock or jar, packing tightly as you go.

Press the top down.  If there’s enough liquid to submerge the vegetables, you’re golden.  If not, add some filtered water until they’re covered.  Now place an open Ziploc bag over the jar (open side up), and fill with enough water to weight the kraut down and keep it submerged.  When you have that right, seal the bag, cover the whole thing loosely with a towel, and let sit in a dark, room-temperature location.  Check the kraut for sourness each day.  Mine is usually at optimal sourness in 1-2 weeks, but your results will differ based on temperature and environment.  Once it’s perfect, refrigerate the batch to slow fermentation.  It’ll keep for about a year, and usually longer.

Note: If a little mold develops on top, you misfits shouldn’t worry about it–this is normal.  Just skim it off, rinse and replace the bag, and keep fermenting.

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(Psst…if you haven’t signed up for my subversive cross stitch giveaway yet, do so now!)

When your Bad Mama Genny and The Boy lived in the New York City place, we frequented the occasional Jewish deli.

Fine, the SLIGHTLY MORE THAN OCCASIONAL Jewish deli.  What can I say?  I’m a half-Jew.  Making me a Cashew.  Fun, little known fact about your Bad Mama Genny, misfits.  Oy vey!

In any case, these fine establishments almost always carry the elusive, the beautiful, the mouthgasm inducing…SOUR PICKLE.  These are totally different from vinegar pickles–they’re sour because they go through lactic acid fermentation, which gives them a unique flavor profile, makes them easier to digest, and grants them special probiotic superpowers.

I am all about superpowers, misfits.  Just this weekend, The Boy’s mom taught me how to crochet.  She was in town for a funeral, which is pretty much as good a place to learn crochet as any other.  There were no sour pickles at this funeral, but someone did chip a tooth, so that was exciting!

It was me.

Oddly enough, there are those who think the most valuable thing in the pickle crock isn’t even the pickles–it’s the garlic.  In fact, lacto-fermented garlic is something of a folk remedy for its probiotic and antibacterial properties, as well as its ability to repel strangely moody, pale man-boy mouth breathers with names that rhyme with Schmedward.  So basically, this garlic IS SOME VALUABLE SHIT.  And, um, just in case you were worrying that this recipe wouldn’t include enough of that fine and funky garlic?

Yeah, I think we’re pretty well covered here.

Y’know, naturally-fermented pickle brine was also once a precious commodity and cure-all.  But historical misfits wouldn’t stop at applying it to cuts, bruises, and rashes–they used it on wrinkles, too, which is just. so. sexy.  Of course, people don’t do this anymore, but I say, why pass up a perfectly good opportunity to torture the people you love?  In fact, the next time The Boy walks into the room, I plan to toss a bucket of cold pickle brine into his face.  For love.

Naturally.

Make up some naturally-fermented pickles with your bumper crop of cukes, lovey loves.  Because the BMG is worried that you may not be colonized by sufficient numbers of foreign bodies.

Colonizing you with foreign bodies.  It’s one of the things I do best.

Lacto-Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles
Makes 1 gallon pickles

Go Get:
3 1/2 lbs. pickling cucumbers, washed, with blossom end shaved off (that would be the non-stem end)
6 Tablespoons sea salt
1 rounded teaspoon calcium chloride (optional, for crisp)
3 heads garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
1/2 cup whey (extract whey from yogurt like so) (wanna do this the vegan/dairy-free way?  See this post.)
2 large bunches dill weed
2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
2 Tablespoons dill seed
1 Tablespoon peppercorns
2 teaspoons mustard seed

Go Do:
Start with a clean, 1 gallon container–a pitcher works well for this.  Pile in the cukes, layering them with the dill weed, garlic cloves, and spices.

At this point you may be wondering if my manicures are EVER unchipped.  The answer is…no.

Reposition any cukes you have to in order to keep them several inches below the top of the container.  Now mix 8 cups of lukewarm (not hot), filtered water with the calcium chloride (if using), salt, and whey.  Stir and pour over the pickles to thoroughly submerge them.  If you need more liquid to cover, add additional filtered water.  Now place an open Ziploc bag over the crock (open side up), and fill with enough water to weight the cucumbers down and keep them submerged.  When you have that right, seal the bag, cover the whole thing loosely with a towel, and let sit in a dark, room-temperature location.  Check the pickles for sourness each day.  Mine are usually at optimal sourness in 1 week, but your results will differ based on temperature and environment.  Once they’re where you like ’em, refrigerate the batch to slow fermentation and enjoy!  They’ll keep for about a year, and usually longer.

Note: If a little mold develops on top, don’t worry–this is normal.  Just skim it off, rinse and replace the bag, and keep on fermenting, lovey doves.

Note Again: Pickled garlic turns blue sometimes.  It’s normal.  We all get blue sometimes, right?  Well, this is a totally harmless chemical reaction and you can (and should, and MUST) still eat the blue cloves.

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