Pickled Spicy Carrots for Cinco De Mayo (Vegan, Paleo, Keto)

Cinco De Mayo is nearly upon us and what better to prepare than to ferment a batch of cultured spicy carrots! These are a great side to any Mexican meal… or any meal in my opinion! I’ll be quick with this one as it really only takes a few minutes to prepare anyway!

Fermenting carrots & jalapeños is crazy easy and crazy quick. They are commonly known as pickled spicy carrots and are common in authentic Mexican cuisine.

For this recipe I used a sanitized 68 oz pickle jar and a fermenting weight but you can use quart masons as well. I tend to do very large batches because I’m a busy mom and well… they keep really well so why not?

Ingredients:

  • Enough carrots to fill a 2 liter sanitized jar or whatever jar you are using. I used about half of a 5 lb bag. Scrubbed and sliced to thickness.
  • 1/2 – 1 white onion, sliced
  • 2-5 jalapeños, sliced
  • 3-6 garlic cloves according to taste
  • peppercorns (optional)
  • 3 1/2 – 4 Tbsp course kosher saltsea salt or pink salt (about 2 Tablespoons per quart/liter)
  • Glass jar, sanitized
  • Fermenting weight or small jar, sanitized
  • non-chlorinated water
  • avocado oil for sealing out bacteria (optional)

Method:

  1. Place jar of choice, fermenting weight & lid on a  cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat in the oven at 175 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 – 5 minutes to sanitize them.
  2. Slice jalapeños to desired thickness.  (Some people use gloves.  I don’t.  I just don’t touch my eyes)
  3. Fill sanitized jar with prepared vegetables, leaving 2″ room at the top
  4. Put the salt directly on top of the veg and then fill with the water.
  5. Pour a little avocado oil over the top to seal out bacteria. This is totally optional, but I will do it when I am in a hurry to cover any mistakes I might have made.
  6. Set your sanitized fermenting weight on top and press down until the liquid almost reaches the top of the weight.  Place the lid and set aside for 4 – 14 days. 
  7. Refrigerate after it is finished to slow fermentation.

I’ll be doing a couple more posts this week in preparation for the 5th of May but as this one takes at least a few days I thought I should get it out there! Enjoy!

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Secret Ingredient Keto Flaxseed Wraps!

Makes about 4 wraps

Everyone has a keto flax wrap recipe it seems. Probably because they are so easy and quick to make and have less than 1 carb per wrap. If you can handle the omega-3 fatty acid smell (some people find it fishy) then these are a real boon. They also help regulate hormones, are helpful for digestion and lowering blood sugars and blood pressure and are high in antioxidants (lignans). Yay, yay and triple yay. I add spices to mine and my secret B vitamin ingredient: Vegemite! I often make these for our date nights as they’re easy to fill and we can eat on the go. They keep well in the fridge so I tend to make a double batch. If you have a high powered blender or food processor you can use whole flaxseeds but if you don’t I have a trick, so don’t fret. These are great for any type of wrap… as well as a great mock tortilla for quesadillas and soft tacos. I love them with cultured jalapenos and casero cheese! As Cinco De Mayo is coming up it’s a great substitute!

Ingredients for single batch:

*If you add 2-3 tsp konjac root powder to ground flaxseed you will get the same result as with re-blending with a bit more kneading. If you are not vegan or vegetarian, 1-2 scoops collagen peptides will do the trick as well.

**a couple of my favorite combinations are: 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or thyme OR 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or chipotle or ancho chili powder

Method:

  • Blend your flaxseeds or flaxseed meal in a blender until fine. You can either add your spices and other dry ingredients (konjac/collagen) to this grind and re-pulse to blend or add them to your pot of boiling water and whisk to combine.
  • Bring your water to a boil and if you haven’t already, add your salt and spices.
  • Turn off the heat, pour your ground flaxseed and konjac/collagen into the boiling water and begin stirring immediately with a wooden spoon or heat safe silicone spatula/paddle until it forms a ball. Add flaxseed meal as needed or a tiny bit more konjac root if it has not formed a ball after 2 minutes.
  • You can roll these out with parchment paper but I find it easier with silicone mats and a rolling pin.
  • Divide your tortilla dough into 4 parts and roll each one out between the parchment or silicone mats until you have about a 10″-12″ tortilla. Carefully peel away the top mat/parchment sheet by pulling it back parallel to the top.
  • Take a circular pan lid of 10″-12″ and place it on the tortilla. Gently cut around the lid but be careful not to cut the parchment or silicone mat. Peel away the outside of the ring and set aside.
  • Carefully place the wrap (still stick to the parchment) flax side down on a hot cast iron griddle or large non-stick frying pan. Carefully peel away the parchment as above.
  • Let cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip (I can usually roll out the next one in this time)
  • Repeat until you have cooked all the wraps

Above: From forming the ball to the finished tortilla, left to right and top to bottom.

Fill them with whatever you like and roll them up or make quesadillas!

I have found they keep quite well in the fridge (3-7 days).


Cultured Yellow Squash Hummus (vegan, paleo, keto)

Finished Ferment, day 3.

Fermented Yellow Squash Hummus

I love hummus.  I know that’s a strong word but it really is one of my favorite foods.  Lately though I have been dealing with some inflammation issues and have gone a mostly plant based keto to help manage it.  I’ve tried making keto hummus before but wasn’t particularly impressed with the recipes or results.  For this, I chose yellow summer squash.  I diced it and dry roasted it in a cast iron pan at 350°F for an hour.

I leave out the chili flakes when making this for kids, but it is awesome with.  I used cultured onion juice for fermenting this hummus. The flavor is smooth, full of that mediterranean tahini taste and roasted notes and has a nice depth to it.

Enjoy!

Photo above: 24 hours into fermentation.  It’s alive!

Ingredients:

Method:

Wash, remove the tops and halve the yellow squash lengthwise and then cut into 1″ sections. Dry roast at 350°F for 1 hour. Put all ingredients in a food processor (hold out the olive oil) and process until smooth.

If serving immediately, leave out the fermenting liquid.  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 2-3 days depending on your preference.  It will be cultured after 24 hours but you will have a stronger bite and more gut healthy bacteria after 2 or 3 days.  It is an acquired taste so if you’re new start with 1-2 days.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass jar in the fridge.

Pro Tip: Make sure your jar is at minimum 1 1/2 times the capacity of your culture.  Double is best.  If your jar is too small it will grow right out of the jar and all over your kitchen counter.

Yellow Squash Hummus, day 1.

Fermented Fennel, A Simple Adaptation (vegan, paleo, keto)

I have been fiddling around a lot with baked goods of late, to the chagrin of my insides, I think. I have had a few Fennel recipes in the works but this week I am posting an adaptation of Sorella‘s Fermented Fennel, which is featured in many of the London based Italian Bistro’s entrees. My husband loves licorice and although I do not enjoy the sweet treat and couldn’t anyway, I do love the vegetable roasted in cast iron along with a menagerie of other vegetables.

As a disclaimer this is a simplified version and a sort of “review” of their recipe as I wanted to try it out and as I happened to have a leftover bottle of white wine kicking around (I don’t drink white) I thought I would give it a shot. I did not toast any dried chilis or seeds (or even add the latter) and I subbed pomace oil for extra virgin olive oil. The result was still delectable and I encourage you to give it a shot. I am going to use it as a base for ragù one of these nights…

Ingredients:

  • 4 fennel bulbs (with stalks) rinsed, bulbs quartered and cut into chunks, stalks chopped in 1/2′ – 1″ sections
  • 1/4 cup fermented onion juice from a previous batch (optional)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3/4-1 cup white wine
  • 1-2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 lemon peel, pulp removed (I actually used 2 halves fermented lemon rind from a batch of water kefir)
  • 3% salt (I ended up using 3 3/4 Tbsp kosher salt)
  • 2 bay leaves (I used ones from the garden but dried are okay)
  • extra virgin olive oil for the top
  • Fermenting weight or small jar, sanitized
  • 68oz mason or big pickle jar

Method:

  • Wash all vegetables and sanitize jar, fermenting weight and lid in the oven at 175 degrees for 5 minutes.
  • Wash hands and prepare vegetables. With this type of ferment I like to toss them together in a large bowl before I stuff them into the jar. Weigh the empty jar if you are adding salt by percentage. Note the weight. Add non-chlorinated water or fermenting liquid if needed.
  • Calculate salt percentage by weight and add to the jar.
  • Cover with extra virgin olive oil to keep the bacteria out.
  • Set in the fermenting weight, close the lid and leave to ferment for 2 weeks or longer.

As a mom of three high energy children I usually need to do these ferments in under 30 minutes, including interruptions and this one was accomplished as hoped. The flavor is just gorgeous with the olive oil mixed in. Enjoy!


Chocolate Espresso Super Muffins, No Foolin’ (Paleo, No Sugar)

No Sugar, Paleo, Chocolate, Espresso, Nut-free, Keto-Cycling Protein Muffins

This is a recipe I have been working on for months, trying to come up with a guilt-free antioxidant and protein rich breakfast muffin.  It came out of the time of year when the greens do not last long and so my go-to make ahead summer smoothie gagged me with the unmistakable aftertaste of rotting veg.  Yep.  Sorry for the disturbing imagery.  Talk about April foolery. It was more disturbing to take a gulp and have to pull over to spew out the car door with the background sounds of bewildered and concerned little voices crying “mommy are you okay!?”  At this point I should probably tell you that I am one of those queens of TMI and it is all or nothing with me.

I love beetroot, coffee and dark chocolate so this is a win for me. If you’re not a fan of beets you can sub with butternut squash or zucchini… but it won’t have that red velvety pop.

A note on sweetness if you haven’t figured it out already. I DO NOT HAVE A SWEET TOOTH. I prefer things less sweet and tend to gag if anything is overly sweet. So if you are a sweetie, I recommend adding a 1/4 cup of sukrin fiber gold syrup or more allulose. And if you wonder why I use so many different natural sweeteners; it is because each one comes with it’s own aftertaste when used in excess. I have taken to creating blends to have on hand for simplicity as each one brings up the sweetness in it’s own way, so together they culminate into an “all purpose” sugar of sorts.

Beetroot (beets) are chockers with phytonutrients and trimethylglycine (TMG) which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties as well as fight cancer and detoxify the body. They are also high in lutein, which promotes eye health. This in concert with raw cacao and espresso makes for a great morning (or mid morning) pick me up. In essence, these muffins are jacked up.

So here is a healthy and completely justifiable chocolate muffin. You’re welcome.

Yields 12 Standard or 6 Jumbo Muffins

Ingredients:

*You can sub 3/4 cup maple syrup if you don’t care about the sugar content… I will sometimes partially sub when I’m making them for other people.

**I use Lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate chips mostly because they are sugar free but at times I have used Enjoy Life dark chocolate chipssemi-sweet chips or Pascha 85% dark chocolate chips if I am making them for non-keto people.

Method:

Roast beetroot in a cast iron or sheet pan at 400ºF/200°C for 40 to 60 minutes, depending on size. Let cool a bit and then peel and discard the skins. Set aside the peeled beetroot for the blender. If you don’t have a blender, you can try grating it but the texture will be different.

Preheat oven to 350ºF/175°C

In a high powered blender add the beetroot and wet ingredients and blend until smooth.

Follow with dry ingredients and mix.  Scrape down the sides and mix again.

I do this in a Vitamix but you can do it in a mixer or bowl if you reverse the order of ingredients: Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix.  Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl and mix.  Pour the wet into the dry and fold until combined.

I like to spray the muffin cups with a bit of coconut oil before I pour the batter in.  Leave about a 1/4” or half a centimeter at the top to allow them to puff up.

Bake for 20 +/- minutes, depending on your oven. They are done when you can just tap one with a finger without making a depression.

Take out immediately and let cool.