Cultured Daikon Radish (vegan, paleo, keto, probiotic)

I first read about daikon radish as a condiment in Nourishing Traditions. It commonly eaten in Japan so I like to think of it as an easier, less stinky, don’t have to gas bomb my whole house version of sauerkraut. It has much of the favorable flavor of the German favorite without the wait. Whether you take it alongside sausage and hot mustard or a field roast dog, it’s a win.

Originally I did this in a 68oz jar but as I only have a quart left this recipe will be for 1 quart.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8″ daikon radish
  • 1 Tbsp kosher or pink salt
  • Non-chlorinated water

Method:

  1. Sanitize jars and fermenting weights in the oven at 180°F for 3-4 minutes
  2. Grate or shred your daikon radish in a food processor until you have about 4 cups.  Leave about 1-2″ room at the top.
  3. Pack into sanitized jar, add salt and fill with non-chlorinated water.
  4. Set fermenting weight on top and pour a little avocado oil around the edge to seal out bacteria.  You’ll want an inch of room to spare.  Seal the jar and leave for 4-7 days before opening, or longer.  I left mine for two weeks.
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Cultured Fir Tip Hummus (Vegan, Paleo Hacked, keto cycling)

If you saw my post on collecting fir tips back in May you might have wondered what I do with it other than just put them in goats brie grilled cheese… and this is the big one! I’ve been doing keto for a while now to help keep my inflammation down but I’m in a new stage that is called by a few names: “carb cycling”, “keto cycling”, “carb up”, etc. Call it what you like… but because even Dr. Berg approves of real home made hummus (and he doesn’t even ferment his!) I am so very happy to have my beloved chickpeas back in my diet guilt free. Lately I’ve been following Leanne Vogel and I love her take on women’s hormonal cycle and keto. This doesn’t mean going out of ketosis, but it means I can stretch it a bit further on these days and stay in ketosis. I am fully embracing having a higher carb day in a week, and certainly having a higher carb time of the month! By the way those are the 10th – 15th days of your cycle; the ones leading up to ovulation. Here come the raspberries, sweet potatoes and you guessed it! Home cultured hummus!

Ingredients:

Method

I like to use dried chickpeas, so I measure them out and soak them overnight.  Pour into a bowl or container, fill with water and cover.  In the morning, strain and rinse the chickpeas.  Bring a pot of water to boil, pour in the chickpeas and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Strain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse.

While your chickpeas are cooking, wash, trim and your parsley and sage.

Add the chickpeas and all other ingredients to your food processor (hold out the olive oil) and process until smooth.

If serving immediately, 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 days.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass jar or BPA free container in the fridge.

Pro Tip: Make sure your jar is a third larger or double the capacity of your hummus so you don’t wake up to wasted work all over the counter.


Cultured Baba Ganoush (paleo, keto, vegan)

Cultured Baba Ganoush: post-fermentation method

This is my second post on the popular aubergine hummus otherwise known as baba ganoush. Most Americans will know it as an eggplant, but I first had it in France and found the rest of the world also calls it by its french name: aubergine. Frankly it sounds much more appetizing than eggplant so I’ll stick with it. I love how it roasts and grills to smoky excellence and comes alive with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. I have been making smokey baba ganoush for years and it is one of my favorites with crudités or a mezze platter. I have been known to eat it straight with a spoon as well. The last time I posted this was with the pre-fermentation or “classical” method. You can read that post here. Personally I find this method easier as it is exactly like making any other fermented hummus.

Consuming fermented foods aids your microbiome (the life in your gut) and helps your neurotransmitters send positive signals to your brain. This can help manage things like anxiety and inflammation and also helps your body process other vitamins more effectively.

Now, I have had a bit of a nightshade issue but the fermentation does deal with that issue to some extent. But that being said, I have had this post in my drafts for some time and am getting it out there while at the same time possibly saying goodbye to my beloved baba for who knows how long. We shall see! This is a much easer method than the pre-fermentation method and also allows you to remove the skins and seeds if needs be in order to lessen the source of nightshade related inflammation. So please enjoy. This is made with love. 🙂

Ingredients:

*If you want more authentic baba ganoush, put these optional ingredients in. If you want the more Romanian version, leave them out. For this recipe I put in the cilantro but left out the lemon. It made for a lovely smooth and smoky hummus.

Method:

  1. When picking your aubergines consider that the insides will shrink when roasting. The longer you roast, the less final product you will have. so when eyeballing them imagine the total product for each one to be about 1/2 – 2/3 the size.
  2. Roast your aubergines in a preheated oven at  350ºF/175°C until just blackened, turning over in between. This should take about an hour but keep an eye on them as it can vary according to size.
  3. When ready you should be able to poke the tops and feel a small pocket of air. Remove and let cool.
  4. While the aubergine is cooling, sanitize your jars and lids at 175 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven for 5 minutes.
  5. When they are cool enough to pick up, pull the tops off and scrape the insides into a colander to let any juices drain out. Often they are dry enough that I can skip this step. Set aside the juices.
  6. Place the strained aubergine in your food processor with roasted & diced or fermented onion (if using diced you will need to add a 1/2 cup culturing juice) or whey) and all other ingredients except for the olive oil. If you need more liquid, add in some of the strained juices. Process until smooth.
  7. Scoop the contents carefully into your jar. I used a 1.5 liter swing top kilner jar for this.
  8. Pour the olive oil over the top, close the lid and carefully turn the jar until the gap of air is coated in olive oil up to the rim of the lid. This will keep any bad bacteria out and allow the air bubbles to escape as the hungry wild yeasts do their magic. You always want a jar that has at least 1/3-1/2 empty after your ferment is inside when it comes to hummus, mash, sauces etc as they can get a little over excited… believe me. I have come downstairs to the hummus blob and olive oil all over my kitchen counter. No fun.
  9. Leave to ferment for 1-3 days depending on taste.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass container in the fridge.

If serving immediately, leave out the culturing liquid.  Spoon into a bowl and stir in 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then drizzle a bit more on the top. I sometimes just save some out, culturing liquid and all and serve with olive oil.


Cultured Vegan Mole Sauce. (Not authentic, but keto hacked, paleo and tasty)

I was rummaging through my pantry a couple weeks back and found an unfinished but open bag of cacao nibs. Sadly they had over-fermented and had the distinct aftertaste of sourdough starter. I do not like to throw things out unless they are actually “off” so I left them on the counter to remind me to think on it. And so I did… and eventually came to the idea of a marriage between mole sauce and my favorites: tahini and kefir. So I chucked the remaining nibs (about a cup) into a cup of slightly watered down coconut kefir I had made and let it sit out for a couple days to further culture. I blended it with an array of chilis and chili powder and left it again.

Fermenting sauces that contain added and natural sugars is a way of keto “hacking”. The sugars are consumed by the natural bacteria after a few days. It is a condiment though so I would not recommend eating it with a spoon if you want to stay under your carb count.

Authentic mole contains bread, tortilla chips (both which I cannot currently eat) as well as chicken broth, which I decided to avoid for this recipe and go the way of the French: “let the vegetables speak for themselves.” I hope you enjoy it. It’s a surprisingly versatile sauce. It goes well with eggs, cheese, in wraps and will perform as well as standard mole in the classic chicken enchiladas or even cauliflower and tempeh enchiladas for a vegetarian or vegan option. Give it a shot and tell me what you think!

Mole & kefir guacamole on a keto flax wrap. Nom nom.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cacao nibs or 100g bar of 100% baking chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup cacao powder will work here as well but you may need to add liquid)
  • 1 cup coconut kefir
  • 1 jalapeno, roasted
  • 2 roma tomatoes, roasted
  • 1 head garlic, roasted
  • 1 ample cup fermented onions with brine + 1/4 cup additional brine
  • 1 Large slice of Cultured Sourdough Keto Bread, toasted
  • 1/2 cup stirred tahini
  • 2 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • handful unsulphered raisins

Method:

You can do this one of two ways. Put all the ingredients in a jar and let them ferment for a few days and then blend, or blend together in a high powered blender and then put in a jar to ferment. I recommend the latter.

  1. Sanitize a couple of wide mouth pint jars or a 1 liter glass mason in the oven at 180 degrees for a few minutes.
  2. Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Transfer to your sanitized glass jar and leave for 1-5 days for it to ferment. You will see little bubbles when it is fermenting. It is ready to eat or you can leave it until the bubbles stop.
  4. Refrigerate after the ferment is finished.

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.

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!