Earth Day Tree Planting with Ozuké

Our dear friend from Pangea Organics, Joshua Onysko has a penchant for rallying  people around good causes. His mission this year was to get a bunch of local businesses to assemble teams of tree planters and together, on Earth Day, we are were going replant an entire hillside that had been scorched by a fire several years before -with 10,000 trees. Yup, 10,000 trees.  Ozuké had a small but dedicated group and we were ready to dig.

My boys were Saturday sleepy so we arrived a bit late and there were already at least 200 people sprawled across the hillside bags full of saplings, shovels, kids and dogs in tow. The sky was moody and beautiful.

People working alone or in small groups but together, hands in the soil, giving a little something back to this great revolving planet that gives and gives and gives. As one of the planters said, “team work makes the dream work.” :0

Thank you Josh for organizing, thank you Boulder for showing up in droves, thank you planet Earth for your wondrous abundance.  Grow little saplings, grow.

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Ozuké style Colorado Cleanse

  Spring is a time when I often feel like I need to slough off winter and begin anew. Cleansing is a great, simple way to restart your digestion and immunity. There are tons of great options out there but two of my local favorites are Conscious Cleanse and the Colorado Cleanse. Both have been designed by people with enormous passion, experience and generosity. These cleanses can be challenging and these guys have considered not only the nutritional piece of this work but also the emotional and spiritual components. When I cleanse I sometimes feel groggy at first and long for a cup of tea with milk or a square of chocolate but slowly it begin to work its magic and I feel more energized, lighter and more self aware.
  This season I am doing the Colorado Cleanse. It is a comprehensive reset for you digestive system based on Ayurvedic principles. The mainstay of the cleanse is kitchari, a simple Indian porridge maek of lentils and rice. In the first four pre cleanse days, Dr. Douillard recommends eating 1-2 raw beets a day. I love beets, I really do- but 2 raw beets can be a little overwhelming. I have taken to doing some juicing and also using our Ozuké beets, dulse and kale– which adds some great flavor to salads or simple soups, has all the properties of plain raw beets plus probiotics.
  If you are interested in either of these cleanses I recommend doing the guided offering that Conscious offers or getting Dr. Douillard’s book and following all the recommendations as this will yield the best results but.. over the years I have added little things that keep the mission in tact but make it a little tastier, especially in those first few sluggish days.

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Kimchi Latkes!

Every year I choose a different culinary tradition to model our Holiday dinner around.  We’ve done Victorian England, with Roast Goose and Christmas pudding, we’ve done Shanghainese Soup Dumplings, once visiting my Sister and Brother in Law we did Puerto Rican Christmas. Bringing in these varied traditions helps to educate me as a cook and to educate my children with the many flavors of our abundant human experience. I can’t remember which year we chose to cook traditional Hanukkah treats but now Latkes always make an appearance in our home around this time of year.  So simple and so good.  And I love how the story of Hanukkah resonates especially around the time of the Winter Solstice.  As the nights get longer and the days get shorter the story of Hanukkah meditates on finding a miracle of light in the darkness and finding freedom in the midst of oppression. And of course the tradition of eating fried foods to celebrate the miraculous oil that lit a single lamp for 8 days…  a holiday that celebrates with fried food!!!!  That is a wonder for sure!

This year I can’t believe that I’ve never thought to replace the onion in the Latke recipe with kimchi before.  It is simply amazing!  You can add more spiciness, more chiles or gochugaru to the mix if you like.  I doubt you can make these and not fall in love.

Wishing you all a great miracle this Hanukkah.

 

Kimchi Latkes

2 cups shredded potatoes (I like em with skin on but either peeled or not is fine)

½ cup of kimchi that has already had all the juice squeezed out of it.

3 eggs

3 heaped Tablespoons flour

Salt and Pepper

More chiles/gochugaru (optional)

Oil for frying (we used peanut oil but your choice of high heat oil)

 

Put shredded potatoes in cheesecloth or nut bag and squeeze as dry as possible.

Cut the squeeze dried kimchi into small dice or tiny strips.

Beat eggs.

Combine potatoes, egg, kimchi, flour, (gochugaru if you want), salt and pepper.

Heat a heavy skillet with a ¼ inch of oil on the base to medium high heat.

Press heaping spoonfuls of potato mixture onto the hot skillet squashing the pancakes down to ¼ – ½ inch thickness.  Cook until brown on both sides…  approximately 3 minutes each side.

Serve hot with apple sauce and sour cream – YUM.

A visit with Sandor

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A few weeks back we had the pleasure of hanging with our friend and fermentation hero, Sandor Katz.

We had some lovely meals together and met lots of great folks who are interested in the lore, health benefits, gustatory profile and funk of fermentation. The culminating event was a farm gathering with classes, talk, book signing, marketplace, food, beer and friends at Frog Belly Farm in Longmont. It was a perfect fall afternoon, the barn was cozy, the cabbages fat in the field, the piglets happily nursing. Good all around.

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Booze, Bubbles, and Boshi’s. Two new Ozuké umeboshi cocktails for you to enjoy!

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In honor of Willow and Mara’s Ume Success, here are two recipes for cocktails with their fermented fruit. The first cocktail is sweeter, and if you have the CheriBoshi, use those. If not, Umeboshi plums are fabulous.

Ozuke Boulder (as in this is not a Manhattan)

1 tsp agave or honey

3 dashes Angostura Bitters

ice

1 3/4 oz Ume Japanese Plum Sake liquor

1/4 oz Colorado bourbon whisky

1 CheriBoshi or Umeboshi

In a rocks glass, add agave, bitters and some ice.
Pour Ume Sake and whisky over ice in glass.
Drop the Umeboshi in the glass and let it absorb the booze. Eat it last.

Ozuke Royale

¾ oz Plum Wine called Ume Shu (if you can’t find it try sake)

¼  oz Luxardo

Champagne or Prosecco

In a champagne flute, pour in the plum wine and the Luxardo. Tilt and fill with Champagne. Add your ume plum or cheriboshi on top and watch it bubble.

Ozuké style Kimchi Grilled Cheese

thumb_600Visiting Santa Fe recently I was introduced to these sandwiches and could not wait to get back and reverse engineer it so that I could make it with Ozuke kimchi. It is both hearty and satisfying and yet feels good on the belly because of the kimchi.

For two people

4 slices of good sourdough bread
a lot of unsalted organic butter
4 oz of cheese – I used a combination of swiss and gruyere but goat cheddar would work really well, too
4 oz Ozuke kimchi

Preheat a cast iron pan over medium heat and melt some butter in it. The secret to great grilled cheese is butter so be generous. Then butter one side of all four slices of bread. Put them in the skillet butter side up and let them get warmed up. When you flip them put cheese on two slices of bread and let the cheese melt. Turn the heat down so that the bread does not over cook. When the cheese is melty divide the kimchi onto the two cheesy breads and then put the cooked sides of the other bread on top so that when you flip the buttered side goes in the skillet. Keep cooking till the kimchi warms up and everything is gooey.

Serve with an Ozuke pickle on the side.

Where to get the best Ramen and the not so secret Ozuké ingredient

As you know, ramen is all the rage. It has been for a while now. Ask anyone where to get the best ramen and they will likely have a very passionate response. In fact, finding the best ramen has almost become an urban sport, the winner gaining social status, emphatic pride, and maybe even a few dates.

Unfortunately, when something becomes insanely popular, it can also become insanely expensive. Not all ramen spots are pricey, but there are certainly a lot of pricey options out there. What if you are just as obsessed with ramen as everybody else, but are shackled by your budget?

We are here to tell you that making ramen does not require alchemy—especially with the super power of delicious kimchi. So why not make your own?

Like an embedded reporter, I photographed as a friend made ramen for dinner. I pretended to be experimenting with a new camera as I lined up the ingredients and snapped away. Herein these photos lies the secret to making delicious, easy and inexpensive ramen that doesn’t come in a microwavable cup.

When I walked in the house I noticed two things immediately: An amazing aroma and my growling stomach. The broth had been simmering for some time before my arrival.

This particular cook was rather secretive about his broth, I think because his strategy was to add a little of this, and add a little of that, until the flavor reached its zenith. He did however excitedly use some juice from Ozuke’s Kale & Collards Kim Chi. He poured it right into the broth, right in front of my camera.

Ozuke in Broth

Not pictured: How incredible the house smelled as the broth was simmering.

As I arranged the ingredients that were set out for the meal to “try out my new camera,” there were hints of what the broth contained. Beside the kimchi you’ll notice Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, Sriracha, natural rice vinegar, white pepper, turmeric, black sesame oil, and even Jamaican Jerk seasoning.

Ingredients

We can also see almost everything else that the ramen will include once it is plated: ramen noodles, ginger root, garlic cloves, shallots, carrots, radishes, a lime, a jalapeno, green opinions, cilantro, and shitake mushrooms. Not pictured: four eggs and one cucumber.

Radishes

Isn’t there something so dangerously fun about jalapenos?

Mushroom Close

I confess I didn’t see what role the ginger played in the meal, but I suspect it was used in the amazing broth.

Ginger

While the broth continued to simmer, our chef of the evening grabbed a knife. He cut up the green onions, the carrots, the radishes, the mushrooms, the cucumber, the jalapeno, the shallots, and pulled the leaves from the cilantro.

Green Onion Carrots

After that, there was some cooking to do. Four eggs were cracked and scrambled with black pepper.

Eggs

After that, there was some cooking to do. Four eggs were cracked and scrambled with black pepper.

RamenCooked Shrooms Egg Onion

After all the prep was done, the stage was set like this. Everything is fresh and simple, the signature of a good, healthy meal.

Prepped Ingredients

As our chef for the evening began to plate the food, it was confirmed that he was an artist. He took his time laying each ingredient on each plate at a time so that the patterns matched from plate to plate.

Close up Plated No Broth

And after everything was arranged just so, he poured in the broth we’d been salivating over, making each dish almost complete. The cherry-on-top to this ramen dish was our Kale & Collards Kim Chi—a grand finale indeed.

Plated Above

Yes, it was delicious.

Now let’s review. Making a delicious ramen meal at home is something all of us can do. There is very little cooking involved, there is ample room for creativity, the ingredients are simple and few, and as long as kimchi is involved, you’re going to love it

Good Food Awards 2015

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When Mara told me last January that she was buying the entire plum and cherry harvest from a young farmer she had met through the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union, I must admit, I was a tad unsure about buying all that fruit. We mostly make kraut, kimchi and various other pickled delights but the fermented fruits, popular throughout Asia as well as parts of Latin America, were a new exploration for us. In the very early days of our business (before we actually even knew it was a business) we had harvested wild plums from my family’s land in Lyons and made a batch of umeboshi to share with friends but this was a great deal more fruit, with more on the line. Flash forward to harvest and our crew stemming a zillion cherries, elephant heart plums arriving plump and sweet- such elegance and flavor, a process of balancing sweet, salty and tart coupled with adding the zing of live food. They were on their way to becoming something very tasty.

In September, we submitted to the Good Food Awards with these new products and heard back in November that we were finalists. The news had the wonderful rush of risk paying off but also of the tendril of our process, our creativity and our care out in the world.

This month we went to San Francisco to accept our award and to meet many other excellent food crafters from all over the country. We wore lipstick, we were humbled in the presence of gustatorial greats like Mark Bittman, Alice Waters and Ruth Reichl. We ate many wonderful things and drank our fair share too. We made new friends, worked a souk style Farmer’s Market on Saturday at the Ferry Building (which was so outrageously busy we had to hide in bed and watched Girls for a few hours to recover) and took in the foggy goodness of the city. Thank you to Sarah Weiner and the rest of the GFA crew for putting together such an cool gathering of food nerds, hats off to all the other winners and if you are local and want to taste the goods- Umeboshi: Salted Paonia Plums and Cheriboshi: Salted Paonia Cherries are now available at a Whole Foods and other independent grocers near you.

 

The Kimchi Crowd

There it sits in your fridge staring straight back at you. And it’s alive! Your head is spinning…how am I supposed to eat Ozuké’s Kale and Collards kimchi? Is this too gourmet for someone like me? Too health-nutty? Will people scoff at me if I ask them what to do, because I should already know? You find following a recipe to be surprisingly difficult. Where can you turn?

 

While social media definitely has its problems, it does make it possible for us to ask a large group of people a question at the same time. They call it “crowd sourcing,” we call it “asking for help.”

 

That said, if you’re feeling unsure about how to eat your Ozuké’s Kale and Collards Kimchi, ask your friends on the social media platform of your choice. You may be surprised at all the ideas (and genuine enthusiasm) you will receive.

 

We decided to try this theory out and wrangled a person to post this very question on Facebook. Better still, she was admittedly clueless about kimchi. She wrote:

 

“Hi friends who cook. I have some kale and collards kimchi. What should I make with it? What should I eat it on? I’d love some ideas. (Remember, I don’t eat meat aside from fish)”

 

The responses that she got were from all over the map. Both men and women were excited to share their favorite way to eat kale and collards kimchi. Here is a snapshot of what we’re calling the Kimchi Crowd:

 

1.Amber Russell, Lyons, Colorado

“Black bean and sweet potato soft shell tacos topped with avocado and kimchi. It’s a huge hit with our kiddos.”

Kimchi Amber

The Russells are a family of 5 from Lyons, Colorado who have been meat free for over ten years. They adore the outdoors and are self-proclaimed tree and dog huggers.

2.Cate Peebles, Brooklyn, NY

“Yum. I would serve it with a grilled, meaty fish, like Halibut or Sea Bass. If you went straight veg, maybe smoky black beans and rice…all of that together would be magical.”

kimchi cate peebles

Cate is a poet who is currently the copywriter/editor at Murray’s Cheese in New York City.

3.Joshua Hedges, Nashville, TN

“Homemade ramen. Throw all of that in there! Especially the kimchi juices. Poach an egg in it too if you do eggs. Just don’t use whatever flavor packet comes with your noodles and make your own broth with soy sauce, Sriracha, kimchi juice, ginger, black pepper, and lime. I actually make these quite often.”

Kimchi Josh Hedges

Josh is the owner-operator at Raveyard Records, and cooks vegan meals for Khan’s Desserts in Nashville.

4.Kristel Anne Allen, San Francisco, CA

“With black or brown rice and the kimchi as is, I’d be a happy camper:)”

Kimchi Kristel Anne Allen

Kristel is a Psychotherapist Intern at Grateful Heart Holistic Therapy Center in San Francisco and the East Bay, CA.

5.Evan Creem, Brooklyn, New York

I make everything into tacos…so…. TACOS! Or Garlic and Nappa Kimchi with kale cooked in lemon juice over a bed of quinoa and sage butter salmon filet. Or Citrus and Ginger Kimchi on spicy vegan hot dogs for snacky time.”

Kimchi Evan Creem

Evan is a freelance video producer and a legal administrative assistant at Marsh & McLennan Companies is New York City.

6.Jeanie Kirk, Portland, Oregon

This might sound crazy, but kimchi of all kinds is delicious on top of peanut butter toast.”

kimchi jeanie kirk

Jeanie is a researcher currently preparing for doctoral studies focused on environmental anthropology, specifically the human impacts of climate change manifesting in migrations due to sea level rise.

Needless to say, our guinea pig was happy with her results. Now she has at least six different ideas about how to enjoy her Kale and Collards Kimchi. Are you part of the Kimchi Crowd? We’d love to hear your ideas too. Tell us your favorite way to eat Ozuké’s Kale and Collards Kimchi in the comment section below—you just might be saving someone who is too nervous to ask.

 

 

Fermentation Guest Blog by Andrea Rossi

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Bright, accomplished nutrition therapists, chefs, and home-cooks fill the room. We are devout foodies in the most literal sense. We make our own almond milk, kefir, yogurts and champion DIY cooking to our clients and anyone else that will listen to our recipes and rambles. Diana Walley of Every Bite Counts Nutrition, and the host of the fermentation class that brings us together, introduces the day with the shared desire: “We need to encourage people to get back into the kitchen.”

 

I am here to teach a simple class on vegetable fermentation. I decided, based on discovery of 20lbs. of farmer’s market pickling cucumbers, that a basic kimchi and pickles are the seasonal cultures of choice for our gathering. I come prepared with Mason jars, freshly harvested garlic, backyard grape-leaves, and other bright, local vegetables. Before the class begins, I line the clear, classic Mason jars along the bartop, strategically stack books by fermentation pioneers, Sandor Katz and Sally Fallon, and place Ozuke’s crisp pickles in green-tea brine and a yellow, tangy citrus kraut on display, a gracious donation from Willow and Mara, and soon-to-be snacks for our attendees.

 

I have a singular obsession with decomposition- compost chemistry, autumnal decay, fungi of the saprophytic variety, and fermentation- yet until now, my adventures in microbial matter have been solitary, something I had not shared in practice nor taught. Yet, despite my kitchen confinement, the act of fermentation always has felt incredibly connective in its process and history.

Fermenting is a basic formula really. Water, vessel, air, temperature, and matter (i.e. vegetable, fruit, etc.) of choice – these elements create a framework for us to interact with the microbial world. Each determines our ferment’s progress and flavor. Slight changes in temperature, access to oxygen, vegetable cut, and water quality inform the culture we create, crisp, tangy, and satisfying or a demoralizing moldy dud. These elements combined promote culturing, cultivating certain beneficial bacteria that will keep our food preserved longer, tastier, and infused with beneficial bugs for our bodies and bellies.

I stand at the front, as women happily shred cabbage, grate ginger, and mince garlic, and describe the elements of fermentation, how we monitor and develop our ferment through awareness of this matrix, and about the abundant creativity that comes from understanding how they react and interact. Botany of Desire by Michael Pollen describes how plants use the human emotion of desire to propagate their life. Similarly, I believe, kimchi, kombucha, and our living foods use our desire for its tangy goodness to bring us into a deeper awareness of environment. Our ability to culture requires our commitment and ability to see systems, to understand interactions, to stay attuned to each individual element and how it relates to the whole.

I do not have a baby, a plant, a dog, or other entity dependent upon me. Burping kimchi, monitoring invisible microbes, saying sweet-nothings to pickles are my late-20s expressions of nurturance. This unconscious maternal substitution, always something I relayed to friends with humor, captures this living food’s gifts beyond balancing the flora in our modern bellies.

Busy hands, laughing smiles, and passionate chatter fill our gathering as we set-about creating our take-home ferments. And, in this moment, I am impressed by how our kimchi seems to culture beyond the pint-sized confines of its glass vessel, but replicates and initiates culturing community that goes beyond the jar or bottle into our daily lives.