Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Recipe: Fermented Garlic Paste

I love garlic.

Before I started fermenting, I would cook garlic in everything. When I discovered that garlic is antibacterial and antiviral, I started eating it raw to get rid of my colds (which works for about 12 hours, by the way, but still it's generally better than most OTC medicine).

But then I fermented garlic, and yes, I feel I have stepped my garlic game up in a serious way.

I just sort of made this one up as I couldn't really find any garlic paste recipes out there that I liked. It's really simple. Some people leave it to sit out for 6-12 weeks, but I got impatient and sampled it after a week. It's strong and absolutely incredible.

Maybe don't attempt this if you don't like garlic.

But then again, I've heard people say that fermenting garlic makes it much more mild. Maybe those are the people that let it ferment for 6-12 weeks.

Lots of garlic
Sea salt
Filtered water

Peel all the garlic. I know a lot of people who claim this youtube video is helpful, but it did not help me. I peeled it all by hand, and I started to question whether it was all worth it. Trust me, I'd peel more if I had to.

Dissolve your sea salt in the filtered water to make your brine. I used a 2% brine or about 1 tablespoon of sea salt.

Add the garlic to the brine and let it sit for about a week. Blend it up when you're ready to eat it.

Have someone ready and waiting when you swoon the first time you smell it. Be prepared to put it on everything!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Recipe: Avocado Cream Pasta with Bacon

This is the perfect recipe when it's warm out. Or whenever, really. I found the inspiration for this recipe at the Realistic Nutritionist and I've been making my own version ever since.

This recipe involves an avocado cream sauce with pasta. I substitute milk kefir for cream which gives it another level of flavor. However, it's tricky to warm this up without burning the avocado (or the cream/kefir) which is why I tend to only make this during the summer months. 

My trick, in case, you're having problems yourself, is to time the pasta and bacon to finish at the same time and then add the sauce - the sauce warms up a bit because of the hot pasta and bacon and it all evens out in your mouth.

2 avocados
1-2 cups of milk kefir (or cream)
small squeeze of lime or lemon 
4 pieces of bacon
1 small onion (or 3 shallots)
Monterrey Jack cheese
Cheddar cheese
garlic paste (or 3-4 garlic cloves)
1 tsp pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper)
2-3 cups cooked pasta

Cook your pasta. 

Cook your bacon. (I prefer to put mine in the oven at 400 for 15-20 minutes.)

Put some oil in a pan and saute your onions. If you're using garlic cloves, add  them to the pan after a few minutes as well. Cook until the onions are translucent - about 5 minutes.

While everything is heating up, peel your avocado and scoop it into a blender or food processor. Add the milk kefir/cream, a squeeze of a lemon or lime, and a teaspoon of hot pepper flakes.

When the onion mixture has finished, add it to the blender and pulse until smooth. If you want your sauce a little thinner, add more kefir/cream.

When the pasta is finished, spoon it into your bowl. Pour the sauce on top. Crumble your bacon and add it on top as well. Top it off with some cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

If you're using garlic paste, put a small bit on top - perhaps a quarter of a teaspoon.


Total time: 30 minutes
Serving: 2-3 people

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Recipe: Fermented Cranberry Sauce

I never really liked cranberries growing up. They're pretty sour, and let's be honest, my mother wasn't buying the fresh fruit anyway. If I saw cranberries, it was at Thanksgiving and it was this weird cranberry jelly from a can.

Since I've been doing my own Thanksgiving, I decided to try again with the cranberries. (Also, the boyfriend insisted that he wanted a cranberry dish.)

I'm so happy I made this! And yes, for those wondering, I made this back in November of 2013 and it's still fresh - one of the joys of fermenting foods.

I found the recipe originally on Oh Lardy and it's probably perfect exactly the way she wrote it, but I modified it to reflect ingredients I had on hand. The cranberries in this are not sour, but they're very sweet and the cinnamon really helps balance the whole thing.

4 cups of cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup whey
1/2 cup kombucha vinegar
1 tsp cinnamon
3-4 cloves (ground, if possible)
Juice from 1 orange 
Juice from half lemon

Mix all ingredients together in a food processor or blender and pulse until desired consistency. I left mine mostly chunky - you can see some of the whole cranberries that I left.

Add mixture to a mason jar.

Leave at room temperature for 2-3 days to ferment.

Enjoy! Refrigerate to preserve.

Total Time: 2-3 days total, about 10 minutes active work
Serves: Many!

Seriously, in addition to Thanksgiving and eating with meat, I love putting this on my sandwiches. Here it is with some brie right before I grilled it - and you could easily add some spinach as well!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Recipe: Fermented Hot Sauce and Hot Pepper Flakes

While I prefer most of my foods to be plain, or seasoned with, say, basil or thyme, there are a whole lot of people out there who need a bit more spice. Hot sauce is really popular where I'm from, and I've even known a few people to carry small bottles around with them. 

I'm starting to come around to loving spicy flavors, but until I do, I've made hot sauce and hot pepper flakes for the boyfriend so he can season his food as he sees fit.

Best of all, it's fermented! So it takes awhile to make, but it lasts forever! Unless you pour it on everything of course...

First up is the actual hot sauce. I found the recipe at Killer Pickles (who, yes actually, has the BEST pickle recipe). I found all of my hot peppers at the farmer's market. It was the end of the season so my particular farmer was selling bags of peppers for $1.

I threw in all of the assorted peppers I was lucky enough to score (plus a few more from the regular market), mustard seeds, and garlic in brine for 4-5 weeks. Then I soaked some sun-dried tomatoes in the brine before blending everything up and pressing through a sieve. 

And it's great! Assuming you like hot sauce, of course.

Of course, I can't just throw away all the bits that don't make up the sauce. I saved the seeds and little bits of pepper and, thanks to Phickle, decided to use them as I would hot pepper flakes. 

I don't have a dehydrator to make a proper dried spice, but that's okay. I left it as a paste and I stir it into soups and stir-fries where hot sauce would be a little strange. 

(Is hot sauce ever strange in foods?)

Anyway, let me know if you try making your own!