Kung Hei Fat Choi! – Radish Cakes with Kimchi

kung-heiEvery year lunar new year is a wonderful opportunity to gather friends, make lots of food and celebrate together.  In true Cantonese spirit we had a rowdy time.  Some glimpses of traditional practices that I remember from my childhood growing up in Hong Kong –  Late night flower markets with strings of naked tungsten lights strung overhead.  Spring so fully embodied by pink peach buds poking out from a tangle of bare branches and glossy bulbs of narcissus bursting white and gold from sleek green leaves.  Huge round tables filled with food and five separate conversations juggled with skill by fast talking aunties, hands waving and voices rising in a merry mashup of indignation, mirth and scandal.  Daylong preparations in the kitchen where clever hands and patient steps work steadfastly towards the glory of consumption. New clothes, lucky packets filled with money, trays of candy, dried fruits and watermelon seeds. Bright red paper with fresh black calligraphy inviting prospects with a few well placed words, joss sticks and fire crackers and visits to spruced up grannies who ply you with ancient candy and squeeze your arms. In true South China style I remember a cacophony of good will and a tumultuous amount of good food. 🙂

turnip Ozuke_chopping_vegatables_mushroomsIMG_1071 IMG_1065 IMG_1063

I started my preparations the week before curing pork belly from a friend’s farm. This method “laap yuk” works wonderfully well in Colorado’s dry and temperate climate.  I keep my house cooler than most (around 67 degrees) which also worked out perfectly.  The technique was simple first I submerged 2×4 inch strips of pork belly in a half and half mix of tamari and rose scented rice wine (mui gwai lo), pressed the meaty pieces under the liquid for 24 hours (room temperature).  I then used butcher’s twine to hang the bacon in my kitchen with a steel bowl under on the counter to catch any dripping fat etc.  It then hung and cured for 5-7 days.  As it cured you could see the outer skin dry out, a sweet rice wine smell emanate and a matte sheen from the fat curing on the surface.  I still have two pieces of this precious cured pork in my fridge it is so simple and really is a marvel.

This year I decided to make Radish Cake a traditional new year dish and also a favorite dim sum dish.  (You know the cart with the griddle top that goes around… in Cantonese “Lor Bak Go”).  I got the recipe from my best friend Des who lives on Cheung Chau Island in Hong Kong.  He got the recipe from asking his Aunties.  He said it was very difficult to decipher because they were all talking at once and arguing.  I am allergic to shellfish so I substituted the shrimp and scallop with shitake mushrooms, my home made bacon and some finely chopped kimchi.  Next year I think I might use dehydrated kimchi for better textural contrast…  however the kimchi worked out fantastically giving the Radish Cake a great spicy flavor.

 robert cake8 pounds of Daikon Radish (grated – traditionally done by child labor)
600g of sharp rice flour (plain rice flour NOT glutenous or sweet rice flour)
1tblspn salt
a small lump of rock sugar
1 cup of small diced cooked pork belly (crispy is good!)
1 cup of squeezed dry finely chopped kimchi (next year I will dehydrate!)
1 cup of diced shitake mushrooms
black and white pepper
dried shrimp dried scallop dried fish – (if you’re not allergic to it it’s great! soak in water first then dry fry to prepare)

In a massive wok..fry up the radish with salt/sugar/seasoning

cover wok allow to soften and release juice

once radish is soft drain out the radish juice and mix it with rice flour to make a solution

prep other ingredients. (fry bacon, squeeze and chop kimchi etc.)

mix rice paste solution with soft radish and mix in other ingredients.

at this stage do a taste test by making a small pancake in a frying pan.

make your final adjustments. (we like lots of white pepper!)

Steam for 1 hour (small tin) 1hour 30 min for a big one.  Cool completely before cutting.  Cut in slices and fry up on a griddle til outside is crispy.

Serve with cut spring onions, srirracha and hoisin sauce.

Apple & Fennel Kraut

Recently, a group of folks met at Fresh Thymes Eatery (FTE) for a fall fermenting workshop led by our fearless fermento, Mara. FTE is the new Community Supported Restaurant in Boulder that features a variety of naturally fermented dishes and drinks. That’s what made it such an ideal location to hold an ozuké pickled things event. Christine Ruch, chef & owner, does a superb job of preparing real food with whole ingredients. Her menu is completely gluten free, seasonal, and locally-sourced when possible. In addition to being a great restaurant, Fresh Thymes is a community gathering spot. The friendly staff worked with the ozuké team to put together an instructive kraut making & tasting session.

group collageOnce everyone arrived, Mara began teaching us how to channel our inner pickleteer. The group was pretty diverse with kids, teens, men & women attending. The kids were as busy as the adults taking notes on fermenting techniques. For more information on fermenting and some great recipes Mara suggests The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.
lucyIt was nice to have young ones amongst us, as we hope they carry on the tradition of making naturally fermented pickled things for a long time. Plus, it’s fun just watching them enjoy delicious food, isn’t it?

In between snacking, we learned how to make a crunchy apple & fennel kraut. There was a lot of slicing, chopping, and pounding involved. Here’s Mara’s recipe:

Cabbage, Fennel & Apple KrautIngredients for Fennel & Apple Kraut:
2 Cabbage heads, medium
2 Apples, tart & firm
1 Fennel bulb, small
1 Parsley bunch, chopped
Salt to taste

Directions:
Clean and wash all vegetables. Slice cabbage, fennel, & apples into narrow strips (alternatively use a processor or mandolin). Chop parsley. Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Salt to taste and mix thoroughly. Use a mallet or meat tenderizer to pound vegetables for approximately 15 minutes. Pounding vegetables releases their natural juices. Pack kraut into jars, being sure to have the vegetable juice cover kraut mixture completely. If temperatures are warm, store approximately 3 days on counter top. If temperatures are cooler, store for as long as a week or until desired taste is reached.poundingkraut in jarThis delicious fall kraut goes well with roasted chicken and pork. It is also excellent tossed with roasted winter squash in a salad. Try this recipe and let us know what how your home ferments go. We welcome your comments and questions always.

Boulder County Home & Garden

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Fermented Foods Find a Following

Fermented foods are making a tasty new splash as “good-for-you-foods”–although our grandparents knew it all along. By Mary Lynn Bruny

RECIPES FOR FERMENTING

fermenting-redrice Red Rice Make this recipe once, and I promise you, your family will ask for more. My daughter, Kailee, would never let a beet near her lips in any other way! Ingredients Butter or olive oil, to taste 1 jar Ozuké the best pickled things Beets, Dulse & Kale 3-4 cups rice, cooked 1 teaspoon garlic (or to taste), minced Toasted sesame oil Optional: sprouts, kale, fried eggs Directions Put butter or olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add one full jar Beets, Dulse & Kale. Sizzle for a bit, then add cooked rice. Stir over medium heat until everything mixes together. Add minced garlic and drizzle with toasted sesame oil. We serve this rice with a fried egg on top with sprouts and baby kale on the side. You can always snazz this up with another kind of protein and call it dinner. —Mara King, Esoteric Food Company

Chalie’s Purple Hummus

What kid doesn’t want to eat purple food? All kids do, according to our kid savvy Chalie. She has developed a purple hummus recipe for lots of children we know. But how does hummus get purple? Well, with ozuké the best pickled things Beets, Dulse & Kale of course.  According to her, it’s the perfect snack food for kids & adults. And she is right!

Hummus, a creamy protein rich Middle Eastern dip, is easily portable and contains all sorts of vitamins and minerals such as C, thiamin, B6, folate, zinc, phosphorus and iron. When you add our naturally fermented probiotic rich beets, the hummus becomes even better for you.

Probiotic rich foods have been found to support gut and immune system health. Read more about the benefits of a diet rich in good bacteria in The Journal of Applied Microbiology.  Chalie’s purple Mediterranean treat can be prepared with store bought or homemade hummus.ingredientsChalie’s Purple Hummus Ingredients:

  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas/garbanzo beans (or homemade beans)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon (zest too, if you like)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • Half of a large garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon mineral rich salt, depending on taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup (or more) of ozuké the best pickled things Beets, Dulse & Kale
  • 1/2 hot pepper, seeded (optional)NOTE: 1 – 7oz container of store bought hummus can be used to make purple hummus

Directions:
Place all ingredients into a food processor. Blend until creamy! Option: stir in beets whole or blend for creamier texture. Serve with vegetables, crackers, pita, bagel chips or grilled bread. Enjoy!food processor smallbagels 1Is your homemade hummus not as creamy as you like? Do you want to know how to make creamy hummus? I stumbled across the answer to this question when I found Heidi Insalata Krahling’s Mediterranean cookbook. She’s a California girl with Italian roots, and some fantastic tricks up her sleeve. Her stunning cookbook has become an invaluable resource in my kitchen. Her secret is to add baking soda to the garbanzo beans while they’re cooking. It reduces the boiling time significantly, and yields a softer bean.

Homemade Garbanzo Beans: (recipe from Insalata’s Mediterranean Table)
2 cups garbanzo beans or chickpeas
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water, plus a little more if needed
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup tahini

bowl in foregroundDirections:
Soak beans for at least 4 hours. After rinsing and draining, cover the chickpeas or garbanzo beans with 2 inches of water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the baking soda. Reduce the heat, simmer, skimming and discarding any skins and grayish foam that rises to the surface, until the chickpeas are soft, but not mushy. In my experience, the cooking time is approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Happy Hummus!

 

 

Pickle this, Pickle that

This post brought to you by our beloved Peter Piper

It’s pickle time! Cucumbers are growing like mad.
I’ve been making cucumber salad, sandwiches, and cucumber water!prickly cukeI walk out into the garden one day and find a small prickly cute baby cuke, then the next day — WHAM! It’s a huge green giant!

A pickler has got to do something with all those cucumbers, right? Well, that’s what’s been keeping Mara busy these past few weeks. She has created juicy, naturally fermented Green Tea Sour Pickles, aka Hapa Sours. They are crunchy, zesty, and delicious! The largest pickles will be available this weekend at the Boulder Farmers Market.

Stop by for a pickle on stick!

Pickles can be served in many different ways. My family likes ozuké Green Tea Sour Pickles in tuna salad. Here’s how we make ours:

Tuna Salad Ingredients:
2 Cans tuna
1 Stalk celery, chopped
1 ozuké Green Tea Sour Pickle (or more), chopped
1/2 Cup mayonnaise (or more)
Salt & Pepper to tasteingredients 1Directions:
Drain tuna. In mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Blend together well. Taste, add more of whatever ingredient you desire. Pile high on a green salad, a piece of your favorite bread, or just eat it straight out of the bowl. Serve pickles alongside sandwich or salad. sandwichLooking forward to seeing you all at the Boulder Farmers Market this weekend!

Remember this Saturday get a Pickle on a stick!pickle stick-120130905-071202.jpg

Golden Quinoa & Pickled Beets Salad

Running around taking care of things such as work, kids, and chores can make it challenging to eat well every day. Here is a protein rich quinoa salad that can be made anytime and refrigerated, making it easy to just grab-n-go. The best part is that this colorful dish can be eaten hot or cold, and the ingredients are simple, and nourishing.

Our ozuké pickled beets, dulse, & kale is the SUPERFOOD ingredient adding brilliant color and intense nutrients to this meal. In addition to being a great source of iron, beets have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. Dulse, a mineral rich sea vegetable, contains trace elements and is a protein source. Kale, a member of the mustard family, is high in calcium and vitamins A,C, and K. And, of course, ozuké pickled beets, dulse, & kale, like all of our fermented foods, is raw, organic, and probiotic.inthejarWhat makes puts the ‘gold’ in golden quinoa? Turmeric! Dubbed by some as the ‘world’s healthiest food’, turmeric comes from the roots or rhizomes of the plant species Curcuma longa (Ginger family).  Perhaps best known as an ingredient in curry, turmeric is what gives mustard its bright yellow color.  It is rich in manganese, iron, vitamin B6, fiber, and potassium. Turmeric’s color and flavor make it a great spice to incorporate in so many recipes.
ingredientsIngredients: 
1 cup of quinoa
½ teaspoon of turmeric
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Coconut Oil or Olive oil
½ small onion, chopped
1.5 cups of water
1 cup edamame, frozen
1 clove garlic, peeled & smashed
½ cup each of fresh cilantro, and mint, and parsley, lightly chopped
½ cup carrots, shredded
½ cup cashews, toasted

1 TBSP or more of lemon juice & zest
Salt & pepper to taste
½ cup or more ozuké beets, dulse, & kaleinthepanDirections:
In a medium saute pan with lid or sauce pan, heat oil. On medium/high heat saute onion and quinoa for about 5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Add water, edamame, garlic clove, and stir. After bringing to a simmer, cover and let cook about 15 minutes. If possible, let cool, then fluff. While quinoa is cooling toast cashews in a pan on medium heat. Add remaining ingredients, stir and top with ozuké beets, dulse, & kale.

peasgarliccooked and fluffed

Serve Golden Quinoa as a meal or a side dish, hot or cold. As an alternative to shredded carrots, consider using this Cranberry Carrot Salad recipe.

Cranberry Carrot Salad:
4 cups shredded carrots     
½ cup or more dried cranberries     
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice     
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest     
2 tablespoons honey
Salt to taste
Fresh dill leavescarrots

Salsa Roja en Molcajete (or blender)

A good homemade salsa will liven up any dish. It’s a quick way to add a ton of flavor in a single spoonful. At home, we like to put salsa on eggs, grilled vegetables, and meats. Although right now our favorite way to eat salsa roja is along with citrus & ginger pickled things on corn chips. Luckily, zuké pickled things travels well!

20130710-114921.jpg Here, in Mexico, it’s common to spread a dollop (or several) of salsa roja on a handmade corn tortilla and devour at least 5 with a bowl of caldo (a flavorful broth) or menudo (tripe soup). Perhaps more popular and pervasive, is using it as a condiment on tacos. It’s available at every corner road side stand.

Of course, you can use a blender to make this salsa in just a few minutes, but this morning, my aunt Juana prepared salsa roja for our breakfast using one of the oldest kitchen tools in Mesoamerica, the molcajete. Molcajetes are available at most Mexican mercados (stores) and are made from different materials such as volcanic stone or plastic. They are used to make salsas, moles, guacamole, and more.20130710-115949.jpg20130710-120250.jpgSalsa Roja Ingredients:
5-6 medium tomatillos, roasted
7-10 chile de arbol (spicy=more chiles/mild=less chiles), roasted
1 clove garlic, roasted
~ 1/2 tsp water
Salt to taste

Directions:
Roast tomatillos (see note below), chile de arbol (approx. 1 minute each side), and garlic (approx 2 minutes each side) on stove top or grill using flat cooking surface such as a cast iron skillet or griddle. Use aluminum foil to wrap the tomatillos as they roast over the heat. Foil acts as a steamer and receptacle for tomatillo juices, ensuring that all liquid will be reserved for salsa. Roast tomatillos until they become charred and are lighter in color, approximately 10 minutes. Be sure to turn every few minutes for even roasting.

MOLCAJETE: Begin by slowly crushing roasted chile de arbol in the molcajete with salt. Add a bit of water to prevent chile from ‘jumping’ out of the molcajete. Then add the roasted garlic, continue to crush. Add tomatillos, one at a time until all ingredients are blended together well (see photo).

BLENDER: Place all ingredients in blender, puree for approx. 1 minute or until consistency is as desired. Transfer to bowl for serving or jar for storing in refrigerator.

When all ingredients are blended well, taste first, then add more salt if needed.
20130710-120759.jpg20130710-121349.jpg20130710-121425.jpg20130710-121448.jpg20130710-121508.jpgLet me know how your salsa roja turns out, and as always, tell me how you use it. Andale!20130710-122832.jpg20130710-122929.jpg

The “other” ESCABECHE

Jalapeno escabeche! Pickled jalapenos, cauliflower, carrots, & onions in escabeche may be a more accurate description. That’s the escabeche my family knows and loves. The more commonly known Escabeche is a typical Mediterranean dish of either fish, chicken or rabbit marinated in an acidic mixture. The acid in the marinade is usually vinegar. For jalapeno escabeche, vinegar is typical as well. However, this recipe is naturally fermented, so there is NO acidic ingredient. Rather, the mildly sour flavor comes from the good bacteria that develop as the natural sugars in the vegetables ferment and are converted into various strains of probiotics. Each time you enjoy the tangy quailty of these pickled treats, your gut gets a boost of beneficial microflora! My family eats this condiment by itself and alongside many dishes. Tonight, we are eating it with burgers.

One of my sons regularly asks for escabeche in his school lunch. Fortunately, some of his classmates eat cultured foods so he doesn’t worry about offending them with the unique aroma of fermented cauliflower (a cruciferae). My older son loves this medley as well, but hasn’t yet agreed to let me pack it in his school lunch, for fear of offending his friends. For the time being, he is content to enjoy them in the privacy of his own home. I look forward to the day when he too is comfortable bringing fermented foods to school.

In our temperate zone, the ingredients for this recipe are available year round, making this a good “go to” vegetable during any season. Keep in mind, the fermentation process is much quicker during the warm summer months, so a more watchful eye is recommended. All the ingredients are readily available and they store well. mix of veggiesIngredients:
1 cauliflower head, sliced in 1/2 inch pieces

1 white onion (red or yellow), peeled & sliced in narrow strips
4 carrots, diagonally sliced
4-6 whole fresh jalapeno chiles (depending on how spicy you choose)
2 cups cool water (more or less)
4 Tablespoons of Celtic sea salt

salt mason jar

I choose to use Celtic Sea Salt. It is unprocessed, and full of the minerals and trace elements so many of us are lacking in our diets. The salt draws out vegetable liquid(s) and acts as a temporary preservative while the fermentation process gets started.

Directions:
Slice carrots diagonally 1/4-1/2″ thick (thicker=crunchier/thinner=softer)

Slice cauliflower into bite size florets
Slice onion (narrow slices)
Slice jalapeños diagonally (thicker=crunchier/thinner=softer).
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix it together with your hands.
Fill glass mason jar with spring water, and add salt. Mix salt with metal spoon until dissolved. Water solution will appear cloudy. Begin to fill jar with vegetable mixture (When using bare hands, remember jalapenos can leave a lasting sting. Gloves may be used). Compress vegetables with hand or metal kitchen utensil, minimizing empty spaces between and among vegetables. Continue this process until mason jar is filled to approximately 1″ from the top of jar. Be sure salty solution (brine) covers all vegetables. It is should be an anaerobic reaction. I always “top off” the escabeche with a small handful of onions* (read note below). Secure the lid and place in a dark temperature controlled space. Optimum temperature for fermenting is between 68 – 75° F.pushing down finger tipshand w onions*Raw onions are antimicrobial in nature, so I have made a habit of placing a handful of them on the top of my escabeche to prohibit bad bacteria from developing. In the winter time, my very small laundry closet remains a constant 70° F so it doubles as my ‘fermenting closet’. In the summertime, my kitchen counter is just fine, but I do always cover the jars to create a dark environment for the cultures. laundry roomlaundry room coveredAfter a few days (4-7 depending on temp), check your ingredients to see if they are ready to move to refrigeration. Look for cloudy liquid, bubbles, jalapenos becoming a muted green color, and soft translucent onions to determine if fermentation is occurring. after ferment closeup)DSC_0007Once you are happy with the flavor (taste it at any point), and feel adequate fermentation has occurred. Move your savory condiment to the refrigerator for storage, and enjoy it every day as long as it lasts!  You can store your escabeche for up to 9 months.

Let me know how yours turns out, and what food you garnish with jalapeno escabeche.

Zuké Salad Dressing

From the kitchen of our favorite foodie about town, Michelle Auerbach:

Feeling springy?  Feeling cleansy?  Feeling the need to eat all the greens that popped up at the Farmer’s Market this week?  Want to add your Zuké to a salade composée?  Here is the dressing and the salad for you.

Carolyn’s THE DRESSING

3 inch piece of fresh ginger grated

3 cloves of garlic

6 inch piece of turmeric peeled and chopped

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 lemons juiced

3 Tablespoons of tamari

2 Tablespoons raw honey

½ teaspoon sea salt

 

Place all the ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth.

 

For the salad, I bought one bag of lettuce from Oxford Gardens, one bunch of carrots from Cure farms, I had some tofu in the fridge I had friend up yesterday in coconut oil, and some steamed asparagus.  To this I added a heaping ton of Zuké beets, dulse, & kale.  The key to a salade composée, or a composed salad, is to make it look appealing on the plate, with drizzles of this and jots of that in contrasting and vibrant colors.  Use whatever you happen to have in the fridge including but not limited to cooked potatoes, chicken any way, steamed veggies, salmon, tempeh, good raw milk cheese, green beans, snow peas, really anything that catches your eye.

 

The key, though, is the combination of the grated beets and the salad dressing with some lettuce to catch the juices.

IMG_6871-1024x849

Ancient Family Recipe with pickled things

Erika’s ‘ancient family recipe’ wowed my palate at a potluck dinner recently. It was a tender brisket served over gluten free pasta. Although she brought other delicious food, it was the brisket that left a lasting memory. Several of us topped the dish off with some citrus & ginger pickled things. It was divine, and so delicious that I was caught scraping the pan clean with my fingers at the end of the night. I had to have that recipe!

As soon as I got my hands on her ancient family recipe, I thawed my Lasater Grasslands brisket and prepared a feast of my own. Because this beef dish is slow cooked, you should plan ahead.  However, the simplicity of the recipe is a time saving way to prepare a hearty meal for your family or a gathering. In fact, the original recipe recommends preparing it ahead of time, refrigerating, and reheating before serving. Yipee!

Brisket with Citrus & Ginger
Ingredients:

Directions:
Heat over to 350°. Brown brisket on all sides (I actually cheated, and did not do this part) Place meat in a large baking dish, arrange onions on top. Combine chile sauce & water, pour around meat. Bake, covered, allowing about 45 min. per pound. Baste meat occasionally (I didn’t do this part either-call me lazy). About 45 min. before meat is done, add beer, continue to cook until done.
Serve with noodles and top with citrus & ginger pickled things

The recipe calls for chile sauce, and one of the best chile sauces I know is available at The Bit & Spur Restaurant & Saloon in Springdale, Utah – just outside Zion National Park (available by mail order too). Their chile sauce is a sweet & smoky chipotle pepper ketchup they call ‘Red Chile Ketchup’. The rich tomato taste and zesty undertones make it a great marinade, as well as a satisfying dipping sauce. Visit the Lasater Grasslands Beef website for their monthly sales, and get yourself a case of Red Chile Ketchup so that you too can enjoy Erika’s ancient family recipe!