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:
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.
Makes 3 quarts
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
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.”