Archive for October, 2010


recipes to try soon

October 30, 2010

pretzel rolls



rye pizza with roasted red peppers, garlic, and indian-spiced mustard green tomato sauce

October 30, 2010

rye crust:

Dissolve the yeast (2 packages or 4 Tbs fresh yeast) in 1/2 cup of warm water and stir in the light brown sugar. Set this mixture aside and let it stand for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, sift 2c rye flour and 2 cups white flour into a large mixing bowl with the salt. Make a depression in the center of the flour and add 3 tablespoons of the oil and 1 cup of warm water. Add the yeast mixture, mixing the dough with your hands. Place flour on the kneading surface and lift the dough onto it. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a clean bowl that has been brushed with oil. Brush the top of the dough with oil. Put a clean cloth over the bowl and put it in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 hours.

to top the dough, i tore a few big mustard green leaves into pieces and added them to tomato puree seasoned with cumin, coriander, fresh parsley, and pepper and simmered for five minutes. i topped both pizzas with this sauce, added roasted red peppers and garlic, and topped one pizza with fresh mushrooms and the other with swiss cheese.

i baked them at 500 until the crusts were browned.


i thought they were decent, but my housemates LOVED it.


more on saltwater brine lacto-fermentation

October 22, 2010

lacto-fermentation. aka alchemy.

for information about other methods of lacto-fermentation that don’t use a saltwater brine, see lime-juice lacto-fermentation.


in open crocks

find a crock made of anything but metal (reacts to acids) or plastic (unless you want a probiotic bowl… just kidding. it’s alive!!) – i like glass, but glazed ceramic and that sort of stuff is fine.

fill the bowl part-way with your dream vegetables.

find a (again, not metal or plastic) plate that fits inside the bowl as closely to the edge as possible while still being able to squish the food down. the goal is to have the food ALWAYS under saltwater brine. the brine kills the nasty bacteria in the air that makes food rot. let the pickles live outside of the brine and they immediately begin rotting.

mold blooms will always grow on the surface of the water. spoon out the mold; you won’t be able to remove ALL of it, but try to grab the larger blooms. again, if the blooms aren’t touching the food, your food is safe.

weigh down the plate and sample the food after each delicious day to learn what your ideal fermentation time is. i find hot days pickle food about twice as fast. i have had sour pickles after only a few days in the summer, or up to a week and a half in the winter. sandy’s amazing website WILD FERMENTATION articulates this a lot better than i can.

in jars
(please remember that anaerobic environments like jars are the perfect environment for botulism!)

find a glass jar with a rubber gasket that allows some gases to escape (or be good about burping the jars to prevent explosions.)

most people seem to agree that they need to be sterilized. i never do this and i haven’t been made sick by pickles yet, but i feel like i am asking for botulism.

mix up some non-chlorinated water (we let water sit out to off-gas) with a coarse, non-iodized salt like sea salt or pickling salt. you want it to be just a little saltier than your tears. if you’re not good about remembering to burp the jar, make it a little saltier – it’ll ferment more slowly.

pack vegetables in any combination you can imagine tightly but not too close to the top to avoid explosions. fill brine near the top but not too close. sweet foods, like apple-kraut, will need more headroom to compensate

place on a sunny sill and shake several times a day to ensure even pickling. let ’em sit in the sun a few days, then bring them to a pantry and let them sit a while longer. sample often to find out what you like.

examples of normal activity include a fizziness you’ve only seen in seltzer, a cloudy brine (happens every time to me,) mushy pickles (it’ll happen,) and a mega-sourness.  adding something with tannins (oak leaves, grape leaves, horseradish leaves) will keep ’em crunchier.

some examples of successful ferments i’ve made to get you dreaming

  • beet-horseradish (grated and used as a condiment)
  • carrot-ginger
  • garlic-dill wax beans or green beans
  • clove-cinnamon green tomatoes
  • holy basil and hot jalapeno turnips
  • giardinera with hot peppers, carrots, and onions
  • black-mustard-seed and turmeric caulifower

gluten-free snickerdoodles

October 20, 2010

½ cup shortening (we subbed butter and they were great)
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup potato starch
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water

Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture:

2 tablespoons sugar mixed with
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 . In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar. Add egg and vanilla flavoring. Mix well. Add potato starch, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and water. Mix well to eliminate any lumps in the dough. Dough will be sticky. Lightly oil hands or spray them with nonstick spray to better handle dough. Shape into small balls, using a slightly-rounded teaspoon of dough for each cookie. Roll in sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Place on lightly greased baking sheet and press each ball to even thickness of about 1/3 inch. Bake for 10-12 minutes. A single cookie should be removed at the shortest-baking time to test for doneness. Browning is not a good indicator for these cookies.

we got this recipe from a site for people with celiac’s. we didn’t believe it was possible to make a delicious gluten-free cookie without some absurd combination of flours. this came out crispy and amazing. i’m not gluten-free and i loved them. our resident GF taste-testers yelled with joy when they tasted them.


flourless peanut butter cookies

October 15, 2010

best gluten-free cookies ever… because they don’t use gluten-free flours.




* 1 cup super-chunky peanut butter
* 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup/6 ounces chocolate chips

shape into balls, about a tablespoon. bake at 350 til done, about ten-ish minutes. YES!


lime-juice lacto-fermentation

October 12, 2010

i’ve been a slave to the bacteria in kefir and kraut for two years now, indoctrinated into the cult of lacto-fermentation by sandy katz. i’ve crammed strange combinations of vegetables under a salty brine. but i’d never heard of lime juice fermentation until i read some madhur jaffrey recipes. we had less success with a foot-odor-like oil-fermented turnip pickle, but these recipes are incredible. try them. our house is hooked on the peppers.

hot pepper pickle

cram hot peppers, sliced into rounds, into a mason jar. my favorite was a combination of serranos, jalapenos, banana peppers, and poblanos.
salt them as you go and add some flavor (we like black mustard seeds ground coarsely and fresh ginger, chopped finely.)
heat oil (we like mustard oil) – not much, only about two tablespoons. pour over peppers and place lid on. don’t boil the jar.
leave on a sunny ledge for a day or two. shake jar several times per day, more if liquid doesn’t cover them entirely. the peppers should shrink some. add lime juice – a few tablespoons – and leave in the sunny place. (bring them in at night if your sunny place is outside.) continue to shake to ensure even pickling! once they have soured to your liking (a week? two? longer?) refrigerate to slow the fermentation.

they are wildly sour and addictive.

sour lime pickle

slice limes into wedges. arrange in jar. salt and season strongly (we like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, etc.)
pour lime juice over wedges. lid. leave jar on sunny ledge and shake several times a day for about two months.
our first batch will be ready in a few weeks! they already smell intoxicating.

EDIT 4/11: i made FOUR CUPS of this and it barely lasted a month. next time, make two batches. or three.


lacto-ferments of september and october

October 12, 2010

green beans and wax beans with dill

giardinera with hot peppers, carrots, onions

kraut with red cabbage, green apple, and seaweed

turnips and baby cucumbers with dill