Fermented food for life

Tag: microbiome

Cultured Turnips (vegan, paleo, keto)

Cultured Turnips (vegan, paleo, keto)

Fermented Turnips I did this recipe in a 1 Liter Kilner swing top canning jar but you can adjust proportions to your liking. Fermenting lids and weights are helpful but you can do this with stainless steel, plastic lids or a swing top like this […]

An Aubergine Story: Cultured Smoky Eggplant Dip

An Aubergine Story: Cultured Smoky Eggplant Dip

This is a recipe I have been anticipating for a couple of years now. There are a couple ways to do this. I would consider this the trickier but as I have yet to try the other method we will go with it. Let’s call […]

Simple Kimchi (keto, paleo, vegan)

Simple Kimchi (keto, paleo, vegan)

Recently I was up in Washington visiting one of my oldest friends. No, she’s not old. Well she’s my age so that’s debatable I guess. We were best friends in High School and have this eerily coincidental relationship. No mind reading but we used to show up to school in the same outfit without planning and we were on swim team and lacrosse team together. When we were apart for years at a time there was always a thread of similarity in our life circumstances. We didn’t get into trouble in school really but if we had she would have been the brains and I the crazy. Not that I don’t have brains. But I would say I definitely favored showing the crazy. She would quietly suggest “wouldn’t it be weird/funny/____” you know… and I would be off like a shot climbing walls or leaping people like a nut job. Because it was fun and I enjoyed the shock most of our antics gave people. Frankly, I enjoyed (and still do) small and well placed bouts of social awkwardness. I was the girl who would slowly start using your utensils at dinner to see what you’d do. It was a little insensitive. But the part I really enjoyed was seeing what people were like when they were caught with their guard down. Because in that moment you saw someone’s heart. Or their gut. However you wish to look at it. You see a person when they let down their guard. I guess I still do this but in a more redeemed fashion. I believe in just being myself and people can take it or leave it. I have found really good friends really quickly that way. Which is good, because I have moved around a lot. I think if you just show yourself you may get rejected by people who care a lot about what others think, but you find some real gems. It’s possible this is how I have accumulated so many INTJ friends in a world where they are one of the rarest types. I think it’s great and it sparks joy so I’ll keep it, thank you.

Anyway back to food! And kimchi. Gaaaaaah 🤤

My friend handed me a bag of gochugaru, which is a Korean spice I haven’t been willing to drive out to an Asian store (I like grocery shopping mind you, just not with three little kids and a jam packed schedule). My shopping is done in 20 minute speed trips between one appointment and school pickups thank you very much… because my kids (or I should say my girls) so take after their mother that they think any store with a long aisle is an opportunity to race. 🤦🏻‍♀️

So “M” (yes that’s intentional for you Bond fans) handed me some gochugaru because I have been making my kimchi with everything from jalapeños to cayenne to Hungarian and smoked paprika.

The grocery store had daikon radish in as well so I decided to make up a batch of pretty standard kimchi, minus the fish sauce. I love fermenting… but this is not a particular ferment I like to take part in if I can help it. Thank you Michael Pollan for your wonderful book. It ruined this Asian staple for me forever. Lol.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Napa Cabbage, quartered and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 3-6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2-3″ piece of ginger
  • 3 Tbsp Kosher Salt, divided
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and rinsed
  • 1 daikon radish (about 1 cup sliced)
  • 1 red pepper, quartered and sliced (red retains its color better)
  • 1 large green apple, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • 1/4 cup water (to puree apple, ginger & onion)
  • 2 Tbsp gochugaru
  • Gallon jar with or without airlock or a 2 quart jar (I use a giant pickle jar for this)
  • fermenting weight(s)

Method:

  1. Sanitize a large 68oz jar or two roughly 2 liter jars and fermenting weights in the oven at 170º for 5 minutes.
  2. Wash and quarter your cabbage lengthwise, then chop to desired length. Thicker is more authentic (about 1 inch), but I chopped mine to about a half inch. Place in a large bowl, toss with 2 Tablespoons kosher salt and set aside for at least 30 minutes to an hour for it to begin to ferment.
  3. Slice the peppers in quarters and then quarter inch slices, set aside.
  4. Slice the garlic and set aside.
  5. Slice the radish in sticks and set aside.
  6. Peel and slice the carrots in rounds or sticks and set aside.
  7. Half the onion and quarter it, reserving for the blender.
  8. Chop the tops off the green onions/scallions and cut off the whites. Reserve the whites for the paste and chop the greens in one inch sections.
  9. Roughly chop the apple so the blender can handle it.
  10. Chop the Ginger a bit and combine with the apple, onion scallion whites, gochugaru and 1 Tbsp kosher salt in the blender with the water and coconut aminos. Blend until smooth.
  11. Rinse the cabbage, drain and then add all the ingredients to the large bowl and toss together.
  12. Carefully scoop the mixture into the sanitized jars and beat down with a wooden spoon or french rolling pin until you have at least 2″ space at the top. There is an actual tool for this but as I try my best to be minimalist I use what I have. Now don’t freak out! You don’t need brine for this one as it ferments better in it’s own juices and the salt. Really. Set the fermenting weights or a ziplock full of water (sealed) and close the lid.
  13. Leave for a week or so to culture fully.
Fermented Aubergine (Eggplant)

Fermented Aubergine (Eggplant)

I adore baba ghanoush. Actually I adore MY baba ghanoush. Which I always begin by smoking the tar out of a pile of eggplant. I met this vegetable on a pizza in the south of France and it was called an aubergine, so forgive me […]

Cultured Barbecue Sauce… Minus the Nasties

Cultured Barbecue Sauce… Minus the Nasties

One of the first things I learned to ferment was barbecue sauce. I had always wanted to give it a go, but my newfound resistance to refined sugars and the discovery that I could inject nearly any food with probiotics naturally put me over the […]

Cultured Black Bean Dip (vegan, paleo hacked)

Cultured Black Bean Dip (vegan, paleo hacked)

When I was in N. Ireland learning to be frugal (FRUGAL FRUGAL) I started fermenting beans like crazy. Because beans are cheap, dried beans are cheaper and fermenting makes everything better. In the case of beans, fermenting not only tastes great but it eats up most of the phytates and lectins (which can act as anti-nutrients, preventing your body from getting what it needs from other foods.) I love beans too much to care but with this I get to eat them and not worry about the consequences. It’s a great paleo hack and the finished product is jam packed with probiotics. If you choose to use it as a hot dip you’ll lose the extra benefits but it’ll still be mostly depleted of the baddies.

This is one of my simpler recipes and uses the same method as the hummus, but you can leave out the tahini. It’s good with tahini but the result is less Tex-mex.

I so wanted to eat these with tortilla chips but I’ve been having pretty terrible reactions to them lately. I like it on a taco salad with guac or with home made air fried plantain chips. I recently tried Michelle Tam’s less lazy recipe (mine are just sliced) and they are pretty freaking awesome. You really do need to fry them though… they don’t turn out quite as well in an air fryer. My waste not want not side will find a way though because I hate the idea of throwing things out! To make the slices, peel a green plantain and slice it diagonally. Toss with sea salt and melted coconut oil and put in the air fryer. You could try slow roasting them in the oven. I haven’t tried it but let me know if you do!

Day 2 ferment (and done)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked black beans (250g dried beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and cooked)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, sea salt, or pink salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup culture starter (I used some from a giant batch of white onions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or ancho chili flakes
  • 1/2 an onion, quartered (I actually used fermented white onions)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or 1 Tbsp dried (optional)
  • extra-virgin olive oil (poured over top to seal out bacteria)
  • 2 liter jar

Method:

1. For a roughly mashed bean dip, similar to refried beans, add beans, spices, crushed garlic and minced onions to a bowl and mash with a fork to desired consistency, adding the liquid culture starter as needed. Season with salt, stir, and transfer to a fermentation vessel.

2. For a bean paste add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.

3. Pour the extra virgin olive oil over the top of the beans, cap tightly and slowly tip and swirl the jar until the oil coats the inside of the jar without sloshing the mash. Set somewhere out of direct sunlight and allow to ferment 2 to 5 days, depending on temperature. During the fermentation gases will be released, so keep an eye on the lid and burp the jar daily to ensure it does not explode.

Easy Fermented Carrots (vegan, paleo, keto)

Easy Fermented Carrots (vegan, paleo, keto)

Most people know these as those pickled carrots you can sometimes get in really authentic Mexican restaurants.  And “pickled” is appropriate, or at least used to be an appropriate term for fermenting carrots.  These days pickling often refers to a method of preserving vegetables in […]

Green Giant Kale & Broccoli Fermented Hummus (Vegan, Paleo Hacked)

Green Giant Kale & Broccoli Fermented Hummus (Vegan, Paleo Hacked)

Above: the jolly green giant hummus topped with organic hempseed for protein and fancy pants presentation. Green Giant Kale & Broccoli Fermented Hummus Sooo…. Thanksgiving happened.  Sandwiched between having a wicked flu myself and dealing with a full night and day of helicopter vomit with […]

Cultured Roasted Beetroot Hummus

Cultured Roasted Beetroot Hummus

Above: the gorgeous hot pink hummus topped with organic hempseed for a kick of protein and contrast.
Cultured Roasted Beetroot Hummus
Okay, so a quick word about fermenting beans and legumes.  Generally beans are not beloved by paleo or keto folks because they contain a high level of phytates and lectins, which are believed to slow the absorption of dietary minerals including iron, zinc, manganese and calcium.  So in essence they can be an “anti-nutrient”.  Cooking and then fermenting legumes can reduce these phytates and lectins by up to 85%, essentially making the issue a non-issue.  It is similar to why people who are lactose intolerant can often drink milk kefir… because the kefir granules “eat” the lactose and produce the super-probiotic yogurt that is so good for our guts.  This is a process we are much more familiar with in the production of wine, beer and spirits but in these forms produces a significant amount of probiotics, which benefits our gut and therefore all those beautiful neuro-transmitters that effect our brains and body as a whole.  Also, as a lovely side note, the beans become a little less the “musical fruit” we all so lovingly sang about as children.  Or was that just my family??
Moving swiftly on!  This lovely pink stuff is a remake of the famed hummus, which my neighbor savored for months… yes, months.  I love beetroot, which is something I only discovered upon visiting Australia for first time.  B.A. (Before Australia) I had always despised it.  There are certain things that seem to be a part of a country’s identity… sometimes that covers the preparation of certain foods.  Well this is one area where they beat the U.S. all to heck.  In addition to the gorgeous sweet pickled beetroot I found on many a table when visiting… my now Australian family introduced me to beetroot hummus.  One day my bro and sis in law came in after church with some amazing smelling Turkish food… Ekmek (BIG pita style bread) alongside a spread of tzaziki, olives, shawarma, standard hummus and this pot of hot pink beetroot hummus.  I fell.  The following recipe is one I developed when my little family and I were living in Northern Ireland.  It’s fun, budget friendly and sooooo yum.
I have done this with roasted beetroot or cultured beetroot… both are good options and have slightly different flavors.  Keep your roasted root to a cup for this one as too much caramel is not a good taste in savory hummus.  Believe me, I’ve tried.

Above Left: Day 1 with olive oil sitting on top and protecting from outside bacteria.
Above Right: Day 2 of ferment; hummus has expanded with gas and is ready to eat or store in fridge to slow ferment.
Ingredients
200g dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked, drained and rinsed (makes about 3 cups)
1 cup roasted beetroot
4-6 garlic cloves
½ cup whey from a batch of live yogurt or milk kefir, cultured vegetable juice from a previous ferment (I used the juices from my fermented red onions)
1/4 cup tahini or 3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds or toasted sunflower seeds
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon sea salt, celtic sea salt or pink salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ – ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (poured over top to seal out bacteria)
Method
I like to use dried chickpeas, so I measure out 250 grams (a little over a 1/2 pound/8oz) and soak them overnight in.  Pour into a bowl or container, fill with water and cover.  In the morning, strain and rinse the chickpeas.  Bring a pot of water to boil, pour in the chickpeas and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  I’m totally lazy and ADD so I prefer to stick them in the crockpot and forget about them until I have time to get to them.  Once cooked, strain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse.
While your chickpeas are cooking, wash, trim and dice 2 – 3 red beetroot (one bunch usually suffices if they come in a group of 3)
Lay parchment paper or foil on a cookie sheet and spray with a little coconut oil to prevent the extreme sticking that happens when beetroot caramelizes.
Toss the beetroot on and roast on medium to low heat for 30-60 minutes.  (I did 275 degrees F for 1 hour.
When you can stab your beetroot easily with a fork and they are soft, move them to your food processor.
Add the chickpeas and all other ingredients (hold out the olive oil) and process until smooth.
If serving immediately, leave out the whey.  Spoon into a bowl and stir in 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then drizzle a bit more on the top. Serve with crudite platter or chips.
If fermenting, hold out the olive oil until the very end. Transfer hummus to a 2 litre clip top jar, cover with the olive oil and clamp closed.  Slowly rotate the jar until the olive oil seals the entire empty surface.  Leave to ferment for 2 days.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass jar or BPA free container in the fridge.
Pro Tip: Make sure your jar is double the capacity of your hummus or you’ll find a really gross ooze all over your counter in a couple days… or sooner.

Super Gut Healthy Fermented Red Onions!

Super Gut Healthy Fermented Red Onions!

How I missed Red Onion Chutney when I first made the move away from sugars in my diet. It was sooo good for sprucing up sandwiches, salads and as a garnish to entrees. Once I discovered fermenting though… a whole new world of peppery flavors […]