Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Recipe: Grape, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Onion Galette

All over the world, people in various cultures are taught that they must do a certain something in order to achieve prosperity for the new year. Growing up in Tennessee, I was taught that I should have black eyed peas - not that I ever did.

I'm sure you've heard of the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes, one for each of the 12 strikes at midnight. I've heard variations on the tale, including that each grape represents a month for the new year. Sweet grapes represent a great month, and sour or bitter grapes represent a bad month. While I think that could end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, I also don't relish the idea of cramming grapes into my mouth - you don't have much time in between chimes!

The French have a lovely tradition of eating grapes with champagne, but I thought a grape galette would be nicer.

My mother cooks breakfast for us children the mornings of major holidays. Typically it's fairly simple pancakes and bacon, but last year she switched it up and bought some lovely pastries, filled with caramelized onions and brie. I figured grapes could be incorporated, along with some goat cheese since I didn't have any brie.

And I was right! This galette doesn't hold it's shape all too well, but it's delicious and sweet and a bit sour, and I'm happy to make this a New Year's tradition in my household.

1 cup caramelized onions (or 1 large yellow onion)
3 cups grapes, cut in half
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 cup crumbled goat cheese

If you need to caramelize your onions, start that first. If you're not sure where to begin, TheKitchn has an amazing guide up. You can also make this ahead of time, but it should take up to an hour.

You'll also need pie crust, which can also be made ahead of time.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, add the caramelized onions, the grapes, the rosemary, and the goat cheese and mix.

Roll out your crust so that it's about 1/8" thick. Add the mixture into the middle, and begin folding the pastry edges over the mixture to form the galette.

Bake 30 minutes. Let cool 30-45 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Who's living in your gut? uBiome helps break down all the bacteria!

If you spent any amount of time with me, you know you don't have long before I start talking about gut bacteria. I love talking about the recent studies I've read, the link between the gut bacteria and the brain, and, of course, I love growing bacteria in my kitchen and eating it so it should come as no surprise that a few months ago I decided to get my bacteria tested to see who I'm sharing my body with.

After researching a few companies, I decided to go with uBiome simply because they were international company that also tested more than one sample sight. In fact, they test 5 sample sites: your gut, skin, nose, mouth, and genitals.

Originally I ordered the Gut Plus Kit, which just means that they would test my gut bacteria and one other site of my choosing. But an amazing thing happened! There was a screw up somewhere and the Five Site Kit came, which was sampling for all 5 areas. uBiome's customer service alerted me to the mistake and told me to go ahead and use the entire kit at no extra cost. Woohoo!

So I took all of my swab samples and sent them back off to the lab, and I then waited and waited. All in all, it took about a month before my samples were ready.

In addition to sheer curiosity, which I admit is the main reason I did this, I have also been diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disorder. I've picked up a copy of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a book that hypothesizes that many syndromes and disorders that plague our current population are due to an imbalance in the gut bacteria - or at least that's the gist I've gotten so far! I'm still early on in the book, so maybe there's more to it.

A photo posted by Kristin (@kristincreates) on
However it is rather apparent that my bacteria is different than the average citizen scientist's bacteria. I seem to have an abundance of one time of bacteria and very little of other types of bacteria. While sometimes that's okay, other times a minute change can set off many unintended consequences.

I've taken a few screenshots of my gut bacteria so you can see how the website is laid out. You can compare yourself to different lifestyles (heavy drinkers, vegetarians, etc) and then, if you'd like, you can chart it out in tree form.

Best of all, if you're like me and have no idea what any of these different bacteria actually do, you can click on them to find out more information. Here's one of the good ones (and the ones I try to grow in my veggie ferments!):

And here's another bacteria chart and info:

Originally, I was trying to decide if this was worth it - did I really need to know the bacteria living with me? Was it going to make a difference? Would I even be able to understand the results with my minimal scientific background? (Okay, I have no scientific background to speak of unless you count my one biology class in college.)

Ultimately, I'm really happy I made the decision to meet my microbes. I've already spent a couple of hours going through my results, and I feel like I have many more hours to comb through all the data. I have yet to start the GAPS diet, but once I do start it, I would love to test my bacteria again, just to see what, if anything, has changed. It would be really amazing if what's causing my autoimmune disorder could be helped by changing my gut bacteria.

Are you curious as well? I'd love to hear if you've had your bacteria tested and what you thought.

If you want to go with uBiome and are looking for a last minute Christmas present for yourself (or your weird relative who's always creating life from brine and veggies), use this link and get 10% off.