Black Pepper Nightshade-Free Kimchi (vegan, paleo, keto)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Napa Cabbage, quartered and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2-3″ piece of ginger
  • 3 Tbsp Himalayan Pink Salt, divided
  • 3-4 purple carrots, peeled and rinsed
  • 1 3-4″ portion daikon radish (about 1 cup sliced)
  • 1 large green apple, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • 1/4 cup water (to puree apple, ginger & onion)
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp sichuan/sechuan peppercorns
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional: looks gross until the purple carrots bleed into the rest of the jar)
  • Gallon jar with or without airlock or a 2 quart jar (I use a giant pickle jar for this)
  • fermenting weight(s)
A couple days into fermentation. Not so hot looking thanks to that turmeric… but just wait.

Method:

  1. Sanitize a large 68oz jar or two roughly 2 liter jars and fermenting weights in the oven at 180ºF for 5 minutes.
  2. Wash and quarter cabbage lengthwise, then chop to desired length.  Thicker is more authentic (about 1 inch), but I chopped mine to about a half inch.  Place in a large bowl, toss with 2 Tablespoons kosher salt and set aside for at least 30 minutes to an hour for it to begin to ferment.
  3. Slice the radish in sticks and set aside.
  4. Peel and slice the carrots in rounds or sticks and set aside.
  5. Halve the onion and quarter it, reserving for the blender.
  6. Chop the tops off the green onions/scallions and cut off the whites. Reserve the whites for the paste and chop the greens in one inch sections.
  7. Quarter or dice the apple so the blender can handle it.
  8. Chop the Ginger a bit and combine with the apple, onion scallion whites, sichuan peppercorns, black peppercorns, 1 Tbsp pink salt and optional turmeric in the blender with the water and coconut aminos.  Blend until smooth.  
  9. Rinse the cabbage, drain and then add all the ingredients to the large bowl and toss together.
  10. Carefully scoop the mixture into the sanitized jars and beat down with a wooden spoon or french rolling pin until you have at least 2″ space at the top.  There is an actual tool for this but as I try my best to be minimalist I use what I have.  Now don’t freak out!  You don’t need brine for this one as it ferments better in its own juices and the salt.  Really.  Set the fermenting weights or a ziplock full of water (sealed) and close the lid.  
  11. Leave for a week or so to culture fully. 
Post cultured: still a little weird but those purple carrots did their job!
Final Ferment. That big jar actually made 4 of these. 🙂

Fermented Jicama with Lime & Pepper (vegan, paleo, keto)

This is one of those typical situations for me when I really need to do something with that vegetable I bought that has been sitting on the counter for too long. I usually make jicama fries and have even tried my hand at jicama & spelt bread, jicama chips and jicama tortillas. I had been dreaming about all the ways I could ferment it and decided to go with simple. I save everything so I pulled some lime rinds out of the freezer and stuffed them in with some ground pepper over the jicama.

Finished, it went beautifully in a summer romaine salad with cucumbers, pickled carrots and pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Jicama, peeled and sliced into “fries”
  • 4 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 lime
  • A few peppercorns or a 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • Non-chlorinated water
  • avocado oil to top.
  • 4 liter glass jar (or 4 quart size jars)
  • Fermenting weight

Method:

  1. Sanitize jar, weight and lid on the oven at 180°F for 2-3 min
  2. Peel and slice the jicama into sticks
  3. Halve a lime
  4. Stuff jicama, lime and pepper into the jar
  5. Pour the salt over the top and cover with water.
  6. Pour a little avocado oil on top to seal out bacteria
  7. Set in the fermenting weight, leaving an inch or two of space.
  8. Cover and leave for at least a week.

These are fantastic tossed into a pickled veg medley salad using the brine as dressing. I did this for a potluck recently and the main ask was what the dressing was… and that’s it! Love it.


Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies (Paleo, Keto, Vegan Option)

Recipe by Brenna May @culturedbite

Tahini Cookies made with collagen and eggs.
Tahini cookies with flax eggs and a blend of pea protein and maca

It would be modest to say I have a tahini addiction. It is probably on par with my love of chocolate and coffee. Or coffee and chocolate. No matter. I have been looking to make my very own tahini cookie for ages now… and this is an evolution of my tahini freezer bites. An evolution because they are much more of a cookie. Chewy, subtly sweet and chocolatey.

I love how they have hints of the middle east in their flavor, which can be enhanced by adding cardamom, or by taking out the and chocolate chips and adding dried cranberries or chopped dates in their place.

You can make these vegan by making a flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal + 3 Tbsp water) Be sure to mix it and pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes or you will have a pile of crumbles. Replace the collagen with a quarter the amount of Maca, Pea Protein or a blend of the two. I would not recommend a chia meal egg because it messes with the color and flavor too much, but I have not tried a whole chia egg.

One of my kids had a clear preference for the pea protein version while the other two favor the Maca. I use a blend of Red and Black Maca but yellow will work here as well. Maca lends a lovely malted flavor to the cookie and we often sub out the collagen in favor of it. My children are unabashedly disapproving of tahini except in hummus but they don’t really notice in the maca version.

I tried these out on a hoard of “normal children” who are accustomed to eating store bought cookies and they gobbled them up and verbalized their approval so we will just consider that a win.

I use a medium melon baller out of the Jenaluca set to get them perfect but you can roll them out as well if you chill them first.  

Tahini chocolate chip cookies

Mini Batch: makes 4-6 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 scoops collagen peptides /4Tbsp (sub with 1 Tbsp Maca or pea protein)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • A pinch to 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pure monk extract powder (slightly heaping)
  • 12 drops liquid stevia drops or 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia powder (optional, but leave in for vegan version)
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda

Standard Batch: makes 12-24 cookies

Method:

  1. Mix tahini and egg/flax egg with monkfruit and stevia
  2. Add baking soda, pink salt, vanilla and mix
  3. Add collagen or maca/pea protien and mix
  4. Add coconut flour and mix.
  5. Fold in Lily’s chocolate chips or fresh cranberries
  6. Form into balls and flatten
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 325°F for 10 min

*If using a food processor just add all ingredients except for the coconut flour and chocolate chips and blend until smooth, then blend in the coconut flour and fold in the chips.


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 “Sourdough” Keto Bread

Of late I have been having a lot of inflammatory and pain issues. Nuts and nightshades being the main culprits. It is always better if they are soaked & dried (nuts) or fermented (both). The Dr. Bergs won me over with their cauliflower pizza crust… and after being on the Kauffman diet for 9 months I was ecstatic to be able to try something with mozzarella. It did not disappoint and neither did their bread recipe, though I did have to do some troubleshooting at first. One of the things I miss most on keto is sourdough bread, so I did some substitutions and used milk kefir to culture or “sour” the loaf.

Give it a go and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Cultured “Sourdough” Keto Bread

(Adapted from Dr Berg’s Healthiest Bread in the World)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp very finely ground chia seed
  • 2 tbsp organic psyllium husk powder
  • ¼ cup filtered water (+ 2 Tbsp = 1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup milk kefir (can be done with coconut kefir to make it vegan)
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar or maple syrup (sugars are consumed by the yeast)
  • 1 egg (optional)

Method:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour, coconut flour, and sea salt.

2. Place yeast and maple syrup or coconut sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water. Not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes until it foams if using maple syrup (12-15 for coconut sugar).

Activated yeast, coconut sugar & water

3. Stir the finely ground chia and psyllium husk into the yeast mixture and add 1 cup milk kefir.  Let it stand for 1 minute to thicken, then whisk.

4. Pour thickened yeast-chia mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until thick and fully combined. The dough will be slightly sticky, but workable. Knead for 1 minute.

The wet ingredients in the dry ingredients bowl.
Kneaded dough, ready to sit to rise or culture further.

5. Put kneaded dough back into the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm spot to rise for one hour OR leave for 8-12 hours (overnight works) to “sourdough”. I left mine for 18 hours.

The round after it has cultured for 18 hours.

6. Preheat the oven to 425 °F. Place a pizza stone, cast iron pan, or baking sheet in oven to preheat.  If using a baking sheet I recommend putting a silicone mat or parchment down.  It won’t stick to properly preheated cast iron or pizza stone.

7. You can divide the dough or leave it as a round (boule). Shape the boule with your hands and wet them if necesssary to bring it together. Brush with egg wash or if desired or spray with avocado oil.  Use a serrated knife to score (cut) the top so the bread separates where you want.

Scored dough with egg wash.

8. Place the dough onto the preheated stone or cooking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Individual ovens and baking times vary.  (My big oven takes 30 while my Breville Oven Air takes 35 minutes with this loaf) I prefer the tap test.  When you can turn it over and tap it and it sounds like a hollow door with browning on the bottom, it’s done.

9. Let it cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. When it has cooled you can slice and serve or store it wrapped in a tea towel in an airtight container or bread bag. If you cut into it too soon you can have goop rather than bread. I enjoy this as fresh bread with grass fed butter and Vegemite but it performs best toasted or grilled.

30 minutes after I took it out of the oven and approximately 30 seconds before I slathered it with butter and Vegemite.

Cultured Tomato Sauce (Probiotic Ketchup)

This is a recipe I came up with when we were living in N. Ireland for a stint. I’ve called this tomato sauce because it reminds me most of the lovely Australian Tomato sauce I’ve had on trips to my husband’s homeland.  We have one here in Oregon called “Portland Ketchup”. This has the advantage of being probiotic as well as keto once it is fermented for a few days. It is not the sickly sweet ketchup I grew up on but rather a savory, vinegary sauce. I never fully got the rhyming slang for “tomato sauce” in Australia, I am sorry to admit. The first time I heard “Pass the dead horse” it took a good 10 minutes of explanation to break that one down for me. It does for the most part rhyme in an Aussie accent… but I’m happy to stick with tomato sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 500g Organic Tomato Puree/Paste
  • 1 Small or 1/2 Medium Organic Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves or 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 cup brine from another ferment (onion or kimchi)
  • 1/4 cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/8 cup pure maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Organic Allspice
  • 1/2 Tsp Organic Cloves
  • 1/2-1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp Ancho Chili Flakes (optional)

Method:

Place all ingredients in a food processor, blender or Vitamix (chop first if you’re using a normal blender) and puree, then transfer to a 1.5 Liter fermenting jar with air lock or a swing/clip top 1.5 Liter Jar. I used a quart mason but in all honesty it was not large enough. Leave for 2-4 days on the counter to ferment.