Probiotic Granola. Really.

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For this day of remembrance and rest I am using one of my many recipes I haven’t gotten around to posting.  It is appropriate… a bit if mixing in the morning and leave it out all day and dry it overnight.  Tasty.  Nutritious.  It feels odd to say Happy Memorial Day for a day to remember all those who died.  But it is cause for celebration because those who died certainly deserve to be celebrated.  So today is a day to be present with family.  To remember our own who have served and died.  Thank you.

For the recipe: lately I have taken to soaking and drying nuts, fermenting seeds and generally working on making everything in my pantry a little less inflammatory. I was reading Nourishing Traditions and was captured again by the idea of fermenting small seeds before eating them. Hempseed, Flax and Chia especially are a difficult one because they’re too small to soak and dry. My husband loves granola so I decided to veer a little from her 5 grain porridge recipe and try some more palatable grains (to hubs and kidlets), seeds and pseudo grains.

This one is a basic recipe for using Oats and Quinoa as the base. I regularly do a grain free version but I’ll save it for another post.  Much of the sugars are consumed by the live cultures during the fermenting stage.  I always feel a bit skeptical about this but I do notice that I don’t have quite the inflammatory reaction as I do when consuming say, maple syrup straight up.  Science supports that it is eaten up as well so I guess it involves a bit of faith to believe it!

Ingredients:

For Pre-Ferment:
  • 1 cup jumbo whole or steel cut oats (I like To use Bob’s Red Mill Golden Spurtle)
  • 1 cup quinoa, lightly toasted
  • 1/4-1/2 cup maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it and if you are using it as cereal or cutting it into bars.
  • 1-2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses (optional)
  • 1 cup culturing liquid (I have used ginger beer, milk kefir and coconut kefir with varying but equally nice results.) Water kefir, kombucha and whey will work as well.
  • 1-2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pink or kosher salt
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup any seeds or nuts you like (optional)
  • Dried fruit like unsulphered goji berries, raisins, blueberries or cranberries
  • For Post Ferment:
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted) or avocado oil
  • 5-10 Stevia or monk fruit drops to taste (optional)
  • Diced fruit: apple, pear etc (optional)

Method:

  1. Toast quinoa in a baking sheet at 250°F for 10 minutes
  2. Combine oats, quinoa, seeds and fruit in a large bowl
  3. Add fermenting liquid, maple syrup, blackstrap, salt and cinnamon or other spices.
  4. Stir several times in the first 1-2 hours to keep it from clumping.
  5. Leave covered for 12 hours or overnight. If you are using chia seeds you may need to add more fermenting liquid or water.
  6. In the morning, add three coconut oil and any back sweetener you like. I use monk and stevia. Much of the sugars will have been consumed by the culture but it will still be sweet. Raw honey is also a good choice here.
  7. Lay out on a large parchment in a perforated baking sheet (you can use a normal baking sheet but it will take mug longer to dry). I use the fryer basket for my Breville Air Oven.
  8. If you want it for bars you will need to pre-cut it now. Or a few hours into drying or it will get too crispy and crumble.
  9. Dehydrate at 150°F for 8-12 hours. If it doesn’t breathe as in a standard baking sheet it can take up to 24 hours and you’ll need to break it up and flip or “toss” it.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. I like to use a dehydrator to keep the probiotics alive. But if you don’t care about that you can just bake it in the oven at low temperature of 170°F for about 8 hours.

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Cultured Kefir Guacamole (keto with vegan and paleo options)

Just in time for Memorial Day Weekend! Guacamole is about the only way my husband and children like their avocados. Conveniently, it is also an easy way for me to sneak live cultures into their food and at the same time preserve the green of the avocados. Which is great when you have a pile of slightly overripe ones. This is a very easy recipe and varies according to what I have around and my mood. Historically guacamole is not my best dish but the addition of the milk kefir and cultured onions make it lively and addictive. Though to make it vegan and dairy free you can leave the milk kefir out. This is quite a large batch, so feel free to cut the ingredients in half.

Ingredients:

4-6 medium to large avocados

1 cup cultured milk kefir (optional)

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 cup fermented onions with liquid

2-3 cloves garlic

1/4-1/3 cup lime juice

1 heaping teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

You can leave this to culture for up to a day or enjoy it immediately. The ferment will slow down the browning of the avocados but won’t stop it completely so it should be eaten within a week.


Fermented Fir Tips (Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Fun)

Though I know I first heard about eating for tips from James Wong, the BBC botany darling, in my favorite gardening book “Grow for Flavour” I frankly did not remember. Sorry James.

My dear friend Kirsten of @theeightacrefarm and I went picking at her lovely farm for a bit of a mom date. (10 minutes away from children= mom date). She showed me the fir tips that she had picked and dried for winter vitamin C tea. I can’t remember whose idea it was for sure but to be fair it was probably her! “I wonder if we could ferment these?” Yes. Yeah Momma, more like. So we picked and I came home and stuffed them in jars with salt and water. You follow the same proportions for really any herb you want to preserve this way and they seemed pretty “herby” to me.

The taste was something of a revelation. Raw they are nice but sharp with a bit of aftertaste of pine cleaner. Not that I’ve ever consumed pine cleaner but things often taste as they smell. Fermented they lose all that astringent cleaner taste and what you are left with is like Christmas in your mouth. reminiscent of a light herbal balsamic with hints of lemon, rosemary and mint. It’s hard to describe but the flavor is downright addictive. I ate half a jar on a wedge of Trader Joe’s Wild Mushroom Brie and some keto crackers I had made from Dr Berg’s Amazing Keto Bread recipe, edited. Enough talk. Here’s how it’s done.

You’ll want to get the smallest softest ones possible and pick them above the encasing bud or they’ll fall apart in your hands. We had little helpers so had a few tough bunches in the batch.

Ingredients:

  • 4-8 cups freshly picked Douglas or Noble Fir tips. The smaller and softer the better.
  • 1-2 cup sizes mason jars, sanitized (you can do larger but smaller sizes are handy) I used 3 wide mouth Pint masons.
  • 1 tsp kosher, sea or pink salt per cup of fir tips
  • Fermenting weight, small jar (sanitized) or some people use a cabbage leaf.
  • Avocado or olive oil for the top to seal out bacteria.
  • Non-corrosive lids. I have taken to using the ball leak proof lids in grey.

Method:

  1. Sanitize jars in the oven at 180°F for 2-3 minutes.
  2. With washed hands, rinse the fir tips and strain them in a colander.
  1. Pack the greens into the jars and pay attention to how many cups are in each jar.
  2. Add 1 tsp salt per cups. For my jars I added 2 tsp pink salt per jar.
  3. Cover with a bit of olive oil and then place your fermenting weight on the top, leaving 1″ headroom and seal the jar.
  4. Leave for 7 days or longer to produce some amazingly bright northwest flavor!
Post Fermentation.

Fermented Parsnips with Lemon, Ginger & Peppercorns (vegan, paleo, keto)

You can do this with 2 quart masons or a 2 Liter swing top and some fermenting lids and weights. I have taken to pouring a bit of avocado or olive oil on top of my vegetables to help keep out the bacteria.

The flavor is delicate and void of the bitterness I usually find in parsnips. I like them regardless but fermenting makes them palatable to even the worst parsnip critics. Like say, my husband and children.

For this recipe I used a 2 quart pickle jar.

Ingredients: 

Method: 

  1. Lay all your tools on a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat
  2. in the oven and heat to 180°F to sanitize everything.
  3. Peel, rinse and chop your carrots either into sticks or rounds to desired thickness (we did both because littles were helping)
  4. Fill your sanitized jar with washed, unpeeled and sliced parsnips (if not organic, peel and rinse them) leaving a couple inches room at the top.
  5. Dissolve 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons kosher saltsea salt or pink salt per 2 cups non-chlorinated water and pour over the top, repeating until all your veg is covered. (I added the borrowed ferment liquid to top mine off)
  6. Insert sanitized jar or fermenting weight to keep vegetables submerged. Close lid. If you do not have fermenting or swing lids, cover with a towel to keep bacteria out. 
  7. Wait 2-7 days, depending on your taste. 
  8. Save the juice for other ferments!


Cultured Fennel, Avocado & Roasted Brussels Salad: Two Ways (paleo, keto, vegan)

A simple more summery version, sans seeds. Would have been fantastic with chevre!

I came up with this recipe in an attempt to veer from my standard potluck fare of chips and salsa. I took it to my first potluck at our new church. I got a bit of the mick taken out of me by our pastor when he caught me snapping a photo of it. “You going to post it?” he asked, with a good deal of cheek in his voice. Of course I was. Ha! Caught red handed despite it being a very green dish. It had so many complements I had to make it again with my other fennel variation… and the second time my husband had three helpings, which to me is always a win. It’s very simple once you have the cultures on hand.

Caught taking this photo… but it was so pretty…

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs brussels sprouts, washed and halved
  • 2 tsp Kirkland organic no salt seasoning OR 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp granulated onion, 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • extra-virgin olive oil for roasting sprouts
  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 english cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into 3/4″ slices OR roasted zucchini cut the same way
  • 1 quart/liter fermented fennel or apple, ginger & lemon fermented fennel
  • 1/4 cup soaked and dried or sprouted pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
  • 2-3 Tbsp hulled hempseeds (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. In a large cast iron pan or a baking sheet with a silicone mat, place halved brussels sprouts cut side up
  3. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning or with a mix of: 1/2 tsp granulated garlic, 1/2 tsp kosher or pink salt, 1/2 tsp granulated onion, 1/2 tsp black pepper.
  4. Spray or drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and roast for 30-45 minutes. If you are using zucchini instead of cucumber, roast them together with the sprouts.
  5. When the brussels have begun to blacken to your taste, remove them and toss with prepared cucumber or zucchini, seeds, 1/2-1 quart of fermented fennel of choice.
  6. Halve your avocados and divide each half into 6 parts (three cuts: 1 lengthwise and then sideways in thirds)
  7. Toss the avocado with the rest of the salad and serve. The fermentation liquid from the fennel culture will prevent the avocado from going brown too quickly.

Let me know what you think!


Apple, Ginger, Lemon & Fennel Cultured Salad (vegan, paleo, keto)

Who loves fennel?! I do (obviously) and so does my husband and a handful of other folks I’ve met but for the most part when I explain that the key vegetable that goes into one of my favorite salads is a licorice tasting bulb I sometimes get funny looks. One must taste to believe. This is a very light & summery fennel recipe and complements both fresh and roasted dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 3 fennel bulbs (with stalks) rinsed, bulbs quartered and cut into chunks, stalks chopped in 1/2′ – 1″ sections or sliced in a food processor
  • 2 apples, diced or finely sliced
  • 1-2″ piece of pureed or shredded ginger, according to taste
  • 1/4 cup fermented onion juice from a previous batch (optional)
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 3% salt (I ended up using 3 3/4 Tbsp kosher salt)
  • avocado 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 avocado oil to keep the bacteria out.
  • Set in the fermenting weight, close the lid and leave to ferment for 2 weeks or longer.

I very much enjoy these slightly odd tasting vegetables, especially after fermentation. Culturing always bends the flavors a bit and brings out a unique bite that is wondrously void of bitterness. Not that fennel is really bitter but I find that it comes out almost smoother in flavor. The finished cultured liquid is fantastic in place of vinegar in dressings as well. I hope you enjoy this one!


Cultured Cilantro Lime Tahini Dressing (keto, paleo, vegan)

Happy Cinco De Mayo Folks! This is a wicked addictive dressing (or dip, if you make it thicker) and perfectly quick and tasty to whip up today for your celebrations. Give it a go… you won’t regret it.

Ingredients:

Method:

Combine all ingredients for the dressing in high powered blender and pulse until smooth or mix with an immersion blender. I like to use these Oxo Chef Squeeze Bottles for all my homemade condiments. But in all reality you might stand there with a spatula scraping every last drop out of the blender and it may never make it into the bottle. So enjoy. I did.