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Easy Peasy-Let's Make Cheesy!

by Stacie Before We Talk Kombucha Cheese... The first time I tell people that I make cheese, they inevitably look shocked. "You MAKE cheese?" they say, and look impressed. The truth is, there is no reason to be impressed. Cheese is easy, and I firmly believe that with a little practice and help, anyone can make it. Cheese is one of the oldest foods on the planet. The legend is that one ancient day, a shepherd child used a sheep or goat's stomach as a convenient milk pail. The rennet in the stomach caused the milk to curdle, and everyone realized that the resulting curds and whey were delicious. Most modern cheeses are slightly more complicated than that, but not...

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Tempeh? I say Temp-yay!

Let's talk Tempeh. This protein & vitamin-packed fermented food is traditionally made with soybeans, but can also be made with other beans, grains, or a combination of both. Barley & oats can even be used. It originates from Indonesia, but is used worldwide in vegan & vegetarian cuisine. A food dehydrator or other means of maintaining an 85-90 degree temperature is needed. Tempeh is made by inoculating the beans with a starter culture (basically fungus spores) that spread throughout the beans, knitting them together into a mat of white mycelium. Don't let this scare you! The spores will not take you over like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers - this stuff is good for you :) The process is surprisingly simple:...

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Water Kefir Ginger Ale

by Suzanne Water kefir ginger ale is one of my favorite fizzy drinks. It brings back memories of staying home from school with a sore throat, lying on the couch watching old movies on TV, with Mom taking care of me and serving a cool glass of ginger ale with a straw! Thinking back to those good old days made me crave a tall glass of ginger ale. I just knew I could make it fermented, too. First I made ginger tea: Bring 8 cups water to a full boil. Add …“-­½ cup of chopped fresh ginger, no need to peel it. Reduce heat, simmer for 15-­20 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 1½ cups sugar. I like to use rapadura for the rich flavor. Cool completely. Strain into a gallon jar. Next, I fermented the sweet ginger tea: Add 1 quart finished, unflavored water kefir and enough cool, filtered water to fill the jar about an inch from the top. Cover with a cloth, secured by a rubber band, just like making water kefir. Let that ginger water kefir ferment ­2 days at room temperature. You should be able to see some bubbles or foam on top at this point. Then I bottled the fermented ginger ale: After 2 days, bottle the liquid in tightly ­sealed bottles. Ferment on the counter-top another 12-­24 hours before refrigerating. I like to open one bottle as a test before refrigerating, just to make sure it's fizzy. If not, I let the sealeed bottles...

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Russian Borscht and Sauerkraut?

by Suzanne Many years ago, when I lived in the south, I discovered a lovely little family-owned Russian restaurant in the corner of a shopping center. The babushka shared her recipe for borscht, a Russian beef stew with cabbage, beets, and turnips, and topped with sour cream. Recently, as I made a big pot of this same borscht, I wondered about the ingredients. Was borscht originally made with a big dollop of sauerkraut added? Russian sauerkraut is more of a sweet-and-sour concoction than German sauerkraut, which is just sour. And my borscht recipe calls for both vinegar and sugar, in addition to the cabbage. Had my dear Russian restaurateur altered the recipe? Or was it altered before being handed down...

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Homemade Sauerkraut

by Suzanne Hot dogs, sausages, fried eggs, pork chops, beef stew what doesn't go with sauerkraut?! So I always keep some on hand. I prefer to make my sauerkraut. I use organic and local ingredients, and I can add other veggies when I like and as much as I like. Today, I'm adding onions and carrots. It's going to be good! If you've never made your sauerkraut, it may sound daunting. However, if you have a jar, a knife and a half hour, you can surely make a good batch of sauerkraut. Ok, you'll need cabbage and sea salt, too, but those are easy to come by. Let's Get Started Making Sauerkraut I have 2 large heads of cabbage, a...

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