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Nonstick inner cooking pot removes for quick cleanup in the dishwasher
The Aroma 10-cup (uncooked) 20-cup (cooked) digital rice cooker food steamer is truly a meal making powerhouse. Not only does it make perfect rice and steam delicious meats and vegetables, but it also features a programmable slow cook function. Set it to slow cook up to 10 hours for an amazingly tender roast. Surprise the family with a delicious jambalaya that takes just minute to prepare. Steam chicken and broccoli while cooking brown rice for an easy, healthy meal in one pot. The meal making o
We’re off to a wedding, a birthday party, my in-laws, and then to visit my grammy (Adriana gets to meet her Great-Grammy!) over the long weekend. This means we’re going to clock a ton of hours on the road, so I am coming prepared! Even though a lot of our meals will be made for us (such as dinner Saturday and Sunday night), I like to fill in the blanks by packing some light meals and healthy snack options to have on hand.
After I made the recipes Eric said, “Whoa, that didn’t take you long at all!” – and he was right, it took me just over 1 hour to prepare 4 recipes. Granted, I was going turbo mode, but still. I purposely selected quick and easy recipes (many are from the 2-day meal plan) which I also tend to have most of the ingredients for in my fridge and pantry. And if I don’t have all the ingredients I just improvise! So when Eric commented on how quickly the packed foods came together it struck me that this would be fun to share on the blog. I hope you’ll enjoy this glimpse into what I’m packing for a weekend away. (Keep in mind this isn’t intended to cover all of your meals – just to supplement when necessary. Feel free to tweak it as you see fit.)
What I made (click the links to the brought to the recipe!):
Vegan Overnight Oats (note: I doubled this recipe, plus added 2 extra tbsp chia seeds, and 2 small chopped bananas for more volume. If the mixture gets too thick, you can thin it with a bit of almond or coconut milk)
Hummus, portable fruit, homemade maple cinnamon almond butter (or store-bought), my favourite crackers, food for Adriana. Eric says he’s bringing the Vitamix to make green monsters at his parent’s house. Who is this guy? I don’t know how we’re going to fit everything in the car…especially with a stroller, baby stuff, and my shoes for every terrain (rustic, outdoor wedding!). Should be interesting…
– Pack several ice packs to ensure the food stays cool and fresh. You don’t want to arrive at your destination with room temperature food.
– Pack the energy bites on top so they don’t get squished.
– You can improvise with these recipes a lot. I make all kinds of versions of Gazpacho, the energy bites, and the chickpea salad. For this chickpea salad I didn’t have any celery so I just used a whole red bell pepper (diced) instead. It’s pretty forgiving so don’t worry!
– Pack the gazpacho in a thermos if you want to save room in the cooler. Otherwise a large 2-quart mason jar will hold the batch.
Ok, now I’m turning it over to you. Which foods do you like to pack for trips? Share your favs below!
Well guys…I seriously cannot believe it’s August 1st. *still in a 2015 time warp* I hope you are enjoying the dog days of summer. Soak it up and have a fun + safe weekend!!
In our home, summertime = grill time. It’s one of Alex’s favorite pastimes to fire up our charcoal grill, and one of mine to eat whatever comes off of it. But since grilled food is heavy on the meat and we’re “mainly” vegetarian eaters, how does that work? Is a vegetarian grilled meal a veggie burger or tofu dog?
Vegetarian or plant-based grill recipes can actually be quite creative, we’ve found. A heaping mound of grilled vegetables is one of the best taste treats in the world, each veggie with its own unique charred, smoky flavor. Add some sides with a bit of protein, and you’ve got a fantastic summery patio meal.
After we made this meal on a weeknight and shared a photo of it on Instagram a few weeks ago, several of you asked for the recipe. Your wish is our command! Alex makes this meal frequently in the summer, so I followed him around to document his method.
A few notes on the recipe:
If you make all the components in this recipe, you’ll dirty a fair amount of pots and bowls. If you have a charcoal grill, the recipe takes about 1 hour to make, so make sure to try it on a night where you have sufficient time and energy for cooking and cleanup. We like to make a double or triple batch and have leftovers throughout the week.
Alex can make this recipe by himself quite easily, but I’d need another person’s help to pull this one off. If you’re not a seasoned home cook, you may want to try this with another helper, or make sure to leave yourself sufficient time for the recipe.
You can use any vegetables you’d like or have on hand; we’ve listed the veggies we used below. Some favorites we did list were button mushrooms and green onions, which are also great options.
This recipe uses our version of Marcella Hazan‘s famous tomato butter sauce. To make it vegan, substitute olive oil for the butter (but definitely try the butter if your diet allows!).
28-ounce can diced tomatoes (San Marzano, if possible)
1 yellow onion
½ teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons butter
8 pounds whole vegetables (we used 1 head cauliflower, ½ head broccoli, 1 yellow pepper, 1 green pepper, 2 small zucchini, 2 medium sweet potatoes, 8 small red and purple potatoes, and 1 yellow onion)
3 tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil
1 pinch cayenne
15-ounce can cannellini or white beans (optional but recommended)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
Fresh ground pepper
What To Do
Preheat a grill to medium high heat (if you’re using a gas grill, you can preheat a bit later). Start a large pot of water to boil.
Start the tomato sauce: Peel and half the onion. In a small sauce pan, add tomatoes, onion, 5 tablespoons butter, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, while preparing the remainder of the recipe. When the sauce is done, remove the onion.
Start the quinoa and cook it while preparing the remainder of the recipe. When it is done, fluff it with a fork, then cover and leave warm in the pan until serving.
Meanwhile, chop vegetables into large strips or chunks, keeping them fairly large for easy grilling.
When the large pot of water is ready, parboil the crunchier vegetables, such as potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower, until they are softened. We grilled regular potatoes for 12 minutes, sweet potatoes for 8 minutes, and cauliflower and broccoli for 5 minutes in the same pot (simply drop the longest cooking vegetable in and stagger the start times accordingly).
When the vegetables are boiled, place them together with the fresh vegetables in a large bowl. Add up to 3 tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil, up to 1 tablespoon kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and 1 pinch cayenne; stir to combine. The veggies should be coated but not soaking in oil and lightly covered in salt.
Drain 1 can of cannellini or white beans. Place the beans on a square of aluminum foil, then add 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon dried basil. Fold over the foil and seal the packet on all sides.
Add the vegetables and packet to the grill; cook until veggies slightly charred and tender, about 8 minutes per side. The bean packet can be removed when warmed.
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Alaska…stole my heart. Last month, Alex and I took an epic trip there as part of a family vacation; my sister and her fiancé flew in from Burma and my parents from Minnesota. We met in Juneau, my sister’s fiancé’s hometown, and spent time with his parents. Having locals as tour guides was fabulous, and is hands down my favorite way to explore a place. The houses we rented were both true gems, and the scenery — well, you’ll just have to take a look. Hiking, fishing, bird-watching, drinking coffee, spotting whales, flying over towering mountain peaks, meandering in quiet rain forests — we couldn’t have asked for more. I’ll narrate a bit, but will leave the photographs to do most of the talking. (In a separate post, I’ll cover Skagway and Glacier Bay.) Hold onto your hats.
Our first house in Juneau
Day 1 – we embark on a fishing trip with gear from our rental house and my sister’s fiancé Evan as our guide. My #1 bucket list item is to “catch a fish and eat it”, and I’m ready for this trip to fulfill my dream. (I’m a city girl through and through, so this is a big deal.)
Mainly I caught leaves and seaweed, and tangled the line. But it was beautiful.
Juneau is in a temperate rain forest, and many of the trees are covered in moss.
View from the porch of our house, on to Mendenhall Glacier
We’re at it again, this time me and my dad. No dice. But we had precious father-daughter time, which has been few and far between after I moved away from home.
Glad our rental house had rubber boots! They are all the rage in Juneau, men and women alike.
A hike through the rain forest near Mendenhall Glacier…
Spontaneous selfie! It’s not often we’re all on the same continent.
My sis and me…
Another gorgeous hike outside of Juneau…
The food was fabulous! Our favorites were The Rookery and Salt (below). Below is truffle fries, quinoa and beet salad, ensalada caprese, halibut ceviche, and a house salad with crispy chickpeas.
We toured Alaskan Brewing Company with a family friend, which was a treat! Their Smoked Porter is pretty brilliant.
After trips to Skagway and Glacier Bay (which we’ll share soon), we settled into a second house in Juneau.
We celebrated July 4 on the water…
Back to our little red house with a view…
My favorite part of the mornings: a slow cup of coffee with our Aeropress.
Our last day in Juneau was one of the most beautiful I’d seen. Another gorgeous hike, a short drive outside of Juneau…
And, my last chance at fishing. This time my sister’s fiancé and his dad showed me the ropes.
They each got a salmon. I was starting to feel discouraged…
It was just a little guy, but it still counts, right? (I’ll have bigger fish to fry on the next trip.)
The view from our deck on the last day was stunning.
I can’t wait to return to this magical part of the country. Thanks to my parents for arranging everything, to my sister for coming home, and for her fiancé’s parents for being the best tour guides we could imagine. Let us know if you have any questions about Juneau! We can provide links to the houses we rented if that is helpful.
Food photography has been sparse in my house these days (Now, if we’re talking baby photography on iPhones, well let’s just say I’m killing it.) Lately, I only have 15-20 minutes for food photoshoots, so I’ve learned to be super quick when it comes to snapping pictures. I used to be militant about using my tripod, but I haven’t pulled it out in months. I used to give photoshoots a bit of planning before diving in, but that rarely happens anymore. It’s taken me a while to realize that my expectations of how things should be done aren’t always practical for the stage of my life that I’m in. This applies to life in general too. I’m going to do what I can and try to be a bit easier on myself. Perfectionism kills creativity. It’s also the killer of fun! If I only have 10 minutes to snap some photos, so be it. I’d rather share a little bit than nothing at all.
I started off this photoshoot using this darker background – it’s a scratched up piece of metal signage I found at an antique market last year (the front of the sign says “DO NOT ENTER”). I thought it was going to work perfectly, but I actually found it to be too moody for this recipe. It just looks too dark for the light, summery mood I was going for.
So I switched to my trusty slab of white quartz instead. It’s the surface I’ve used the most in the past year. It’s heavy as heck and I actually managed to dent the hardwood with it one day (*headsmack*). Anyway, I like this clean and fresh feel much better even though the lighting wasn’t the best because I shot at noon when the sun is overhead. The inspiration for the photo came from Ashley. She did a cool multi-jar shot with homemade milk for my cookbook. Too much fun!
In Lightroom, I made minor edits to the photo: increased clarity, exposure, whites, saturation, and removed blue and adjusted temperature. It took me about 30 seconds. There are things about the lighting I’m not super happy with and I probably blew it out too much, but oh well. Gotta pick your battles!
This is the same photo before editing…50 shades of grey!
So that’s where my head is at with photography lately. I’d love to spend more time on it again, but right now I’m rolling with doing it under a time crunch. I’m beyond excited that Ashley is shooting the photography for my next cookbook. I honestly can’t imagine doing over 100 photos again with a baby crawling at my feet (and stealing the food). You guys are going to be blown away by the photos in the next book. We’ll have to show you some sneak peeks!
Now, finally onto the food. This is my newest overnight oat parfait creation. Six to seven years later, I’m still making vegan overnight oats on the regular. I’ll often make a large batch that lasts 2-3 days in the fridge. Or sometimes I eat it all in one day because I just can’t help myself. It’s so easy, perfect for the summer, and endlessly customizable. Make it parfait-style in portable jars and you’ll have snacks for days. Toss it in your bag and run out the door. Bring one for your friend and he/she will love you even more.
If you haven’t tried overnight oats layered with chia seed jam, you really must. It’s divine. This would be great with granola on top too.
Coconut-Cardamom Vegan Overnight Oat Parfait with Blueberry Chia Seed Jam
Overnight oats are getting fancy up in here! Coconut milk, oats, and chia seeds are mixed with ground cardamom, cinnamon, and maple syrup, and then layered with blueberry chia seed jam and sliced pear. You’ll want to eat this for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner! Chia seeds don’t lie. Also, can I just say how awesome a layer of vegan ice cream or banana soft serve would be in this?
1 (15-oz) can full-fat coconut milk (yes you can use light, but full-fat is super creamy and delish)
1 cup rolled oats (use gluten-free if necessary)
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom , or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, or more to taste
1-2 small ripe pears, diced (for layering)
Prepare the chia seed jam: In a medium pot, stir together the blueberries and maple syrup until combined. Add a dash of salt. Simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered, for about 8-10 minutes until softened (the berries will release a lot of water during this time).
Add the chia seeds and stir until combined. Continue simmering and stirring frequently (reducing heat if necessary to avoid sticking) about 8-15 minutes longer, until most of the water cooks off and the jam reduces in volume. it will look thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, uncovered, and into the fridge until cool, for at least a couple hours. For a quicker cooling method, pop the jam in the freezer, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until cool.
For the vegan overnight oats: In a medium container (with a lid) or in a medium bowl, stir together the entire can of coconut milk, oats, chia seeds, maple syrup, cardamom, and cinnamon until combined. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours, or overnight, until the oats soften and the mixture thickens. Stir to combine before using.
Layer the chia jam, overnight oats, and diced pear into small jars. Secure lids (or cover with wrap) and store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. The chia seed jam will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Also, leftover jam can be frozen in plastic baggies and it thaws beautifully.
PS – Thank you for your enthusiasm regarding my 2-Day Meal Plan! I’m so thrilled by your response and hope to do another in the future.
In our house, soup is rarely served without some kind of topping. It’s almost like a yin and yang thing, we start talking about soup and the conversation automatically moves on to topping suggestions. I guess it’s a pretty natural thing since we eat a lot of soup and prefer it to be a more complete meal, instead of just a starter. The toppings does not only add a different texture and flavor to the soup, but also some more stomach filling proteins. To be honest, I think we spend more time working on the toppings then on the actual soup on most occasions. It’s the same principle as we have with oatmeal toppings. They are just essential.
We found a huge bunch over-priced asparagus in the market the other day and for some reason decided that it was a good idea to spend our last money this month on asparagus instead of a new set of clothes for Isac. So we walked home and made soup. We went for a smooth and quite mildly flavored soup and allowed the toppings to have more punch in flavor and texture. We only chose green-ish ingredients for the topping. Yup, there we go again, choosing ingredients by color. But it actually turned out fantastic. It’s got a lot of crunch from the pumpkin seeds, flavor from parsley and the asparagus tips, richness from the lentils and sting from the chili. I ate the leftovers without the soup straight from the fridge. I’ve spent most of this post talking about the topping, but the soup is pretty good too. Quick, simple, delicious and with a clear taste of spring. If you don’t have any fennel at home, you could add a few potatoes instead, or other spring vegetables of choice.
We also made a quick cashew cream to go with the soup. We often just add a few dollops yogurt into our soup but cashew cream is a nice and rich vegan alternative. If you just remember to pre-soak the cashew nuts, the cream is done in no-time. As a side note, I just tried adding some cashew cream on top of my latest smoothie and it wasn’t bad at all.
So, go make your vegetable market guy happy and buy a bunch of asparagus. Make soup, whip up a cashew cream. And for goodness sake, don’t forget about the topping!
Asparagus, Fennel & Spinach Soup (Vegan) Makes 4 smaller servings or 2 very large
We keep a jar of toasted pumpkin seeds in our kitchen and almost always have some cooked lentils ready in our fridge. It’s a good tip as it makes it a lot easier to create small quick meals like this.
1 pound / 450 g green asparagus 2 tbsp coconut oil or butter 6 thin spring onions or 1 yellow onion 2 cloves garlic 1 small fennel bulb (or 1/2 large) 1 large handful spinach 2 cups water or vegetable stock 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon salt & black pepper
Lentil & Pepita Topping The reserved raw tips from the asparagus 1 cup cooked puy lentils (1/2 cup uncooked, boiled in water for 18 minutes) 1/2 cup dry-toasted and salted pumpkin seeds / pepitas 1 large bunch flat leaf parsley 1/2 green chili, finely chopped (optional) 1 tbsp olive oil
Cashew Cream 1/2 cup cashew nuts 1/2 cup filtered water 2 tsp lemon juice 1/2 tsp sea salt
Trim the tough end off the asparagus. Cut in diagonal pieces, 1/2 inch / 1 cm thick. Save the asparagus tips for the topping. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Finely chop onion, garlic and fennel and add to the the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the asparagus, stir around and let fry on low/medium heat for a minute, then add spinach, water/stock, apple cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the topping. Carefully pour the soup into a blender or use a hand blender to mix until smooth. Taste the soup, add more water or salt and pepper if needed.
Preparing the topping: Finely chop the asparagus tips and the parsley and place in a bowl together with the boiled lentils and the toasted pumpkin seeds. Add chili if your prefer it a little spicy. Pour over some olive oil and stir around until it’s all mixed well.
Preparing the cashew cream: Cover the cashew nuts in water and let soak for at least 3 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse and place them in a blender. Add the filtered water, lemon juice and salt and mix until completely smooth. Taste and add more salt or lemon if needed. Or water if you prefer it runnier.
Serve the soup with a generous portion of lentil topping on top and a few drizzles of cashew cream or yogurt. Enjoy!
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Your comments on my Kitchen Quirks story were quite hilarious. They also led to even more funny stories here at home and among our friends and family.
I got a text from a friend shortly after posting.
“I’m reading your kitchen quirks post aloud to my husband (because he is absolutely nuts about the dishwasher just like Eric is). I finish reading it to him and he goes, “Ugh, I wonder what some of Eric’s tricks are? Did he write specifics?”
There are many inquiring minds as to what Eric’s dishwashing tricks are, it seems. Eric is in the process of penning an e-guide for dishwasher enthusiasts. Ok not really, but I told him he can’t keep his secrets all to himself for ever! Plus, I need others to know what I’m going through.
When we were talking about the blog post, Eric decided to mention another one of my kitchen quirks. You know, aside from general “chaos”. Apparently, I have this annoying little habit of leaving kitchen cupboards/cabinets and drawers open while I’m baking or cooking. I’ve been doing it for years. Basically, since I started cooking.
In my eyes, leaving the drawers and cupboards open is efficient. I do it because I know I’ll probably go back to that cupboard later on in the cooking process so I see no need to close it every single time. See it’s not lazy; it’s practical! I’m all about efficiency.
One morning about 4 years ago when we were living in our previous house, I headed downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast. Eric was still upstairs getting ready for work. As I approached the kitchen I immediately noticed something was wrong…very wrong.
Every single cupboard and drawer in the entire kitchen was wide open. Just picture your own kitchen with every cupboard door open and every drawer open. It’s freaky stuff, right?
I stopped dead in my tracks at the edge of the kitchen.
“OH… MY… GOD…”
I was absolutely horrified. Of course, I immediately assumed there was some kind of weird Poltergeist shit going on. Or some evil force taking over my kitchen. Or both.
I turned on my heels and BOOKED it upstairs. There’s no way I was going to wait around for the drawers to start spontaneously slamming or something!!
Eric started laughing uncontrollably. He then confessed that he opened every cupboard and drawer before bed to play a trick on me. What kind of sick person does that?
So it’s been 4 years since his prank and I’m long overdue for retaliation. I’m thinking it’s going to have something to do with his beloved dishwasher. I’m open to your suggestions, as always.
Gourmet Chia Seed Pudding (From Scratch!)
Vegan, gluten-free, no bake/raw, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free
Creamy, rich, and thick chia seed pudding made from scratch! If you want to make the speedy version using store-bought almond milk and liquid sweetener, see the tip below. This is a large batch (3 cups or so), but I discovered that chia seed pudding freezes well and it thaws beautifully in the fridge. So there’s never fear of any going to waste. I like to freeze it in individual servings in freezer-safe zip bags or small glass containers, so I always have a healthy snack on hand. if you aren’t down with the tapioca-like texture of chia seed pudding, feel free to blend this pudding in your blender until smooth.
Yield 3-3.5 cups (serves 4-6)
Soak time overnight + 2-3 hours
Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cook time 0 Minutes
Total Time 10 Minutes
1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
3 cups filtered water
1 vanilla bean, chopped into a few pieces (optional, but recommended)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Small pinch Himalayan pink sea salt or fine grain sea salt
3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup or 1/3 cup packed pitted Medjool dates, or to taste
1/2 cup chia seeds
Place almonds in a bowl and cover with a couple inches of water. Soak overnight or for 8 hours. If you are in a rush, soaking for 1-2 hours works in a pinch. Drain and rinse almonds after soaking.
Place almonds in a high speed blender along with the 3 cups filtered water, chopped vanilla bean (if using), vanilla extract, and salt. Blend on the highest speed, for about 1 minute until the almonds and vanilla bean are pulverized.
Place a nut milk bag (this is the new one that I use and love) over top of a large bowl and pour the almond milk into the bag. (You can also use cheesecloth placed over a fine mesh sieve, however a nut milk bag yields the smoothest result and is faster.) Squeeze the bag and press out all the milk. The pulp will remain in the bag/cloth (you should have about 1 cup of pulp).
If using dates as your sweetener: Note: I only recommend using dates if your blender can pulverize them super smooth, otherwise use liquid sweetener. Rinse out the blender. Carefully pour the almond milk back into the blender and add the pitted dates. Blend on the highest speed until the dates are pulverized and the milk is super smooth. Add milk back into the bowl.
Whisk in the chia seeds (and the maple syrup, only if not using the dates). Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours, until thickened and cold. Give the mixture a good stir every once in a while to redistribute the chia seeds.
I served this with granola (here is a recipe) and Banana-Mango-Lime soft serve (1 large frozen banana, 3/4 cup frozen mango chunks, squeeze lime processed in food processor until soft serve consistency). Chia seed pudding will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. It freezes well too, just thaw in the fridge before ready to enjoy.
Tips: 1) For a quicker version, simply use 3 cups of store-bought unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup chia seeds, and 2-3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup. Whisk everything in a mason jar and chill in the fridge for 2 1/2-3 hours. 2) Ideas for using leftover pulp: Spread it onto a baking sheet and dry it out by baking it at 300F for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden in some spots. Cool completely. Grind it in a food processor until a coarse flour forms. You can use the toasted pulp in granola recipes or any other baked goods you see fit.
Before we start this post, we want to introduce a new little feature here on the blog. We call it Homemade Whole Food Staples. Unknowingly, we actually already started it a few weeks ago, with our post about homemade nut butter. Some of you got in touch and told us that this was the first time you’ve made nut butter at home, so we realised that this could be a good opportunity for us (and you) to learn more about classic methods, recipes and pantry staples that are popular in whole food kitchens. There is nothing wrong with cutting a few corners and buying jars and cans of staples from the store, but if you want to save some money, learn what really is in those jars and get a better hum about the kitchen basics, you might find this new feature interesting. Our hope is that we can show how recipes that many find too intimidating to try at home, really isn’t complicated at all.
We are discussing sharing how to make your own vegetable stock, the ultimate pomodoro passata, mastering a sourdough and how to make homemade coconut yogurt. But we are also really interested to hear what you want us to try/share. Leave us a comment and let us know if there is something specific that you are curious to learn more about.
Today we are talking fermented vegetables. It’s one of the healthiest thing you can eat but the whole idea of food that needs 3 weeks before its ready, scares most people from even trying to prepare it. Right? But please folks, stay with us on this one. Not only are fermented/cultured vegetables on most top-lists of trendy food 2015, but a large spoonful of homemade Sauerkraut is also TRULY delicious on top of a salad or inside a sandwich. Furthermore, the natural occurring probiotics in fermented food are great for your stomach and body. The whole 3-weeks-to-prepare-issue is more like 20 minutes of active work and then 3 weeks of waiting. Best of all, we are going to show you the most natural way of doing it, without any starters at all. It’s called wild fermentation, only 2 ingredients are needed and the method has been around for hundreds of years. But you can also add a bunch of different flavourings to it, like caraway seeds, ginger, garlic, beetroot, chilli, fennel or turmeric. Does this project still sound impossible?
Here in Scandinavia, we have quite the tradition of pickling, preserving and fermenting. But weirdly enough, Luise’s and my interest for fermented vegetables actually sparked during our recent trip to Australia. Almost all the cafes we frequented had at least one salad or bowl that was topped with fermented vegetables or sauerkraut. And the health food stores there have whole isles with different brands of organic raw fermented/cultured vegetables. It didn’t take long until we were hooked. The flavours were just so fresh and the acidity added a real kick to whatever we paired it with. And in a strike of unbelievable luck, we met Vivianne on our potluck picnic in Sydney, she is one of the founders of Raw Sisterhood, a Bondi based company that makes incredibly tasty fermented vegetables, raw crackers and raw granola. She promised to teach us some of their secrets and now we get to share one of their recipes here. We made the first batch together in her house and we have continued making it now when we are home. They call this version Golden Goodness and it’s basically wild fermented cabbage and carrots flavoured with turmeric and garlic
Before we get on to the recipe, we wanted to let Brenda and Viv from Raw Sisterhood explain the magic behind Wild Fermentation and healthy bacterias:
Why wild fermentation: Wild fermentation is a natural process in which we provide the perfect environment for nature to do its thing, so no starter is needed. All fresh fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria (lacto bacilli) which allows them to break down (ripen). As fruits and veggies ripen they go through an enzymatic process, essentially they digest themselves. When foods go off or rot, they have been exposed to oxygen. In a wild ferment, we allow the vegetables to digest themselves, in an oxygen free environment. The lacto bacilli in the vegetables, eats the naturally occurring sugars and then produces lactic acid and more lacto bacilli….and the cycle continues.
Why eat healthy bacteria: Lactic acids can kill many strains of parasite and many other pathogens in the body purifying the intestines. Fermented veggies increase the healthy flora in the intestinal tract by creating the type of environment for them to flourish in. Increases nutrient values in the vegetables especially vitamin C. The high fiber content in cultured vegetables help to clean the digestive system, removing undigested food and unwanted toxins. Fermented foods also facilitate the break down and assimilation of proteins.
Golden Sauerkraut – Wild Fermented Cabbage, Carrot & Turmeric Makes about 2 huge jars. You can easily half this recipe if you prefer. Be sure to sterilise your jars before your start.
2 green cabbages (3 kg) Save some of the outer layers of the cabbage for packaging on the top 800 g / 7 cups carrots (6 medium size carrots) or beetroot 15 g / 1,5 tbsp grated ginger 15 g / 1,5 tbsp minced garlic 15 g / 1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric (optional) 30 g / 3 tbsp ground turmeric 5 g / 1 tbsp caraway seeds 5 g / 1 tbsp fennel seeds 2 tbsp / 30 g himalayan sea salt (optional, you can do it without salt, but it speeds up the process)
Wash the cabbage and scrub the carrots, then finely slice the cabbage and grate the carrots. Or use a food processor with a fine slicer attachment for the cabbage and rough grating attachment for the carrots. Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Use your hands (you might want to wear rubber gloves to prevent your hands to get stained by the turmeric) to mix and massage until it starts to get soft and juicy. The vegetables should release quite a lot of juice, if not, just add some more salt. Use a spoon or a tong to spoon the mixture into 2 large clean jars. Pack it really tight to leave out all air, keep packing until the jar is full of veggies and the veggies are covered in juice (important). Leave some space at the top to place a whole folded cabbage leave on top, this is to prevent any oxidation. Close with an air-tight lid. During the fermentation process the veggies will expand and the liquid will try to come out, we put our jars in a bowl or a plastic bag for any juice that might drip from the sides. Leave the jars to ferment in room temperature for 2-4 weeks (depending on room temperature), 3 weeks is usually perfect. When ready, it should be softly textured but not mushy and have a fresh, spicy and acidic flavour. Discard the cabbage leave at the top and store the jars in the fridge. We usually divide the fermented vegetables in smaller jars and hand out to friends and family or keep it in the fridge.
Tip: • If your veggies are stinky and leaky, then place the jars in a bowl and place everything in a plastic bag and close it. Then place in a cupboard and drain the water after about 3 days. • If the top is discolored or has a bit mould, don’t be alarmed just remove it and wipe around or just change the jars. • Use organic vegetables for fermenting and don’t wash or scrub to much, it can destroy the natural enzymes on the vegetables.