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.

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.

SHINE and Aunt Barb’s Seaweed Salad

Guest Blog by Mignon Macias

Have you had Aunt Barb’s Seaweed Salad? Well, if you have then you’ll know what I mean when I say, YEAH AUNT BARB! And if you haven’t, you should get on into Shine and order yourself some!

Amanda and I took our Barb to try some of the tasty dishes Jessica Emich is creating at her (and her sisters’) restaurant. Of course, I had to order the probiotic slaw sampler by Zuke to start off our birthday bash (It was Barb’s birthday celebration). The raw appetizer included several different zesty pickled things.

Finally, food trends are catching up with Shine, where the Emich sisters strive to foster an atmosphere that nourishes community through food, music, and celebration.  In January, the New York Times named 10 food trends that have ‘legs & merit’. Appropriately, fermented foods were on that list.

For centuries, naturally cultured foods have played a key role in providing sustenance to civilizations across the globe. From Norwegian rakfisk (brine-cured fish) to Peruvian tocosh (fermented potato pulp), fermented foods provide significant health benefits to the human body. Certainly lacto-fermenting evolved as a means to preserve foods, but in modern cultures, the long-standing health advantage is what keeps it contemporary. These foods are rich in probiotics that populate the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria which support the immune system. Additionally, the enzymes in fermented foods help our bodies digest meals more efficiently. Since our birthday lunch began with these delectable condiments, we were off to a good start.

For our second course, we ordered Aunt Barb’s Seaweed Salad. This my friends, is ART in a bowl!

Tender micro greens and subtle wakame seaweed rest on a bed of tangy lemon massaged kale. House cultured carrots, thinly sliced cucumbers, and delicate sprouts make for a vibrant and crunchy salad. This dish is great to share before a sandwich, or to eat as a meal on it’s own.  We all shared two servings along with the more simple house salad, and decided to finish with some house beers as our final course.

We had a nice afternoon celebrating our Barb!  Hope this year’s journey around the sun is filled with fun and adventure!

2027 13th St.
Boulder, Co 80302




Green pozole topped with kim chi

I just returned from a great trip to New Mexico and as always I vowed to eat green chile on everything and wear more big hats and cowboys boots. So far, none of those have been happening- but I was inspired to make some posole for dinner and top it with our zuké kim chi.

I adapted this recipe from Rancho Gordo:

Pozole Verde

1/4 pound Rancho Gordo posole (whole dried hominy)

1 1/2 onions, white or red, peeled and halved


4 garlic cloves, peeled

15 to 20 tomatillos, paper skins removed ( I used some canned ones from this summer)

2 poblano chiles

1 serrano chile

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano

1 1/2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth

Freshly ground black pepper


Soak posole overnight in water to cover generously. Drain.

Place it in a saucepan with fresh water to cover generously.

Add 1/2 onion, bring to a simmer, cover partially and cook at a gentle simmer until the corn kernels are tender, 2 to 3 hours; many will split open. Season with salt and cool in the liquid.

On a hot, dry griddle or skillet, roast the remaining halved onions, garlic, tomatillos and chiles, turning occasionally, until they are charred and slightly softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Work in batches if necessary.

Put the roasted poblano chiles in a paper bag to steam until cool.

Transfer the other vegetables to a bowl and let cool, collecting their juices.

Skin the poblanos, discarding seeds and stems. Discard the serrano chile stem but don’t skin or seed.

Put all the roasted vegetables in a blender, in batches if necessary, and puree until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over moderate heat.

Add the vegetable puree and adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

In the blender, puree the cilantro, oregano and 1 cup of the broth. Add to the vegetable mixture along with 4 cups additional broth.

Drain the posole and add it to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and return to a simmer. Thin with additional broth if necessary. Serve in warm bowls.

Top with kim chi.


Serves 6

winter is a comin… Raw Salsa Recipe

The farmer’s market this weekend was a blustery affair, complete with spits of hail and rain. It was heartwarming to see all the hard core locovores, out in their wellies and wool hats, filling their market baskets with the harvest of the season. On Friday, when the air started to turn chilly, I was over at my friend Jen’s house. Jen is an amazing gardener and she was out harvesting like crazy, trying to beat the frost. My timing happened to be good- I came just as her tomatillo basket was overflowing and I got to take home some the goodness. I found this great recipe for raw salsa verde on Nourished Kitchen and adapted it just slightly to tame the spice for my kids.

  • 1 lb tomatillos (husked and halved)
  • 8 to 12 jalapeno or serrano peppers (seeded if desired and chopped)
  • 1 medium head of garlic (cloves, peeled and crushed)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp unrefined coarse sea salt
  • starter of choice, I like whey or kombucha
  1. Toss tomatillos, peppers, garlic, lime juice, salt and starter culture or fresh whey into a food processor or blender and process until smooth, adjusting for seasoning as necessary.
  2. Transfer the sauce to a mason jar or a vegetable fermenter  and allow to ferment at room temperature for three to five days before transferring to cold storage. Serve the salsa verde over grilled chicken or fish or as a garnish for tacos and burritos.


Summer lunch- Raw Eating Recipes

I had lunch with my friend Jul today. Jul is a goddess of many talents but lately she has been eating mostly raw and let me tell you, she is making it look really good. She served this simple summer lunch today:

Lentil salad with red peppers, tomatoes, basil and olive oil.

Mixed sprouts: garbanzo, mung bean, radish

Raw dressing from cafe gratitude recipe

Dollop of kim chi on top

it was just want the doctor ordered. Try it, you won’t regret it.

Mojo Recipes- kimchi, rhubarb and more!

I have nothing but great things to say about Marcie Goldman, local nutritionist and her Mojo Mastery program.  She guides a dozen adults two or three times a year through an adventure in mindful eating.  She looks at the source of many post modern ailments such as food or stress, she does a toxin cleanse and really zeros in on causes of our malaise she spends valuable time coaching her Mojo Masters in simple life skills to make sure that we all get the nutrition we need out of our daily routine and she teaches the priceless skill of listening to our bodies, tuning in so we can truly know what doesn’t always serve us.

I guest cheffed for the last three Mojos and I wanted to share with you some of the no nonsense downright good for you recipes that we covered.  I should preface my recipes with the assurance that my amounts are guides. As always I urge you to feel your way to a delicious dinner…  if you have a certain amount of something maybe that is how much you should use.  Freewheeling is always more fun besides you can dance a little when you don’t have your face stuck in a book.

Nut Free Nettle Pesto 

3cups stinging nettles, 3 tbs Lemon Juice,  1cup roasted carrots (or other veg), 1clove fresh garlic or more if there are vampires afoot, 2 tsp honey (optional I just have a sweet tooth), 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt to taste.

Blend. Note: always good to start with denser and wetter ingredients and add leafier and drier ingredients as you go. Get ready to enjoy a tingly tongue 🙂

GadoGado with Boiled Chicken

In Hawaii they say “food so nice you gotta say it twice” Gado Gado is from Indonesia and this recipe is kind of a take on it.  We make the dressing from zuké and leave some things out and put some things in.  Hows about I just list all the things you COULD put in this dish, list the dressing and leave the rest up to you.

Boiled cabbage, blanched cauliflower (same as boiled really but went to a posh school on the east coast), fresh bean sprouts, fresh dark leafy greens, sliced carrot and cucumber, sliced tempeh, twice cooked tofu, nuts like peanuts or sliced almonds, shrimp chips (not for me unless I want to keel over), boiled chicken, (take big ole chicken breast…  boil in “surprise” boiling water for 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees…  rest for 3-5 minutes then chop it into your salad.) and other stuffs (plural because I know that your creativity knows no bounds).

THE DRESSING so good it will wave it’s finger, shake it’s head and belt sass at your greens.

Blend zuké kimchi with nuts and olive oil. I used hand ground cashews but you could use peanut butter, almond butter, a handful of soaked brazil nuts, planter’s mixed nuts…  you get the idea, go nuts, use what’s around, wear a monocle, embarrass your kids.


Rhubarb is so NOT a one trick pony. I love to see this spring vegetable in savory applications.

There’s only one way to cook a very sexy piece of meat. The fancy work has already been done, pasture fed, played to sleep every night by silver fox cowboys on banjos, butchered lovingly by a katana wielding poet.  It would be a disservice to put too much clothing on such a nubile steak and so mostly naked it _must_ be.  Seared in good oil (or animal fat) with salt and pepper, then topped with lemon and extra virgin olive oil to serve.  Think of this rhubarb topping as the neglige, serving the same purpose as some sauteed mushrooms or shavings of very expensive cheese they accentuate, leaving a little bit of space for you to discover and uncover, but unobtrusively.

2 Stalks of Rhubarb, 1/2 onion, Balsamic Vinegar, Lemon Juice, White Wine (optional), s+p, Olive Oil.  Saute onion first on medium heat.  If you insist on using the beef pan I won’t fault you. When onions start to brown add rhubarb, season with salt and pepper.  When rhubarb starts to soften you can deglaise the pan with white wine, or just add the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.  Remove from heat, finish with good olive oil.  Dress your pretty steak.  Blow kisses at it.  Devour.

Mojo Graduates… If there are any other dishes that I didn’t cover that really inspired you let me know.  I would love to continue this foodie discourse with you.  <3 mara

Elephant Journal- DIY Fermentation

on May 11, 2012

Create Your Own Culture. ~ Willow King


The Power of Fermented Foods.

About a year ago my partner Mara and I started a company that makes cultured vegetables. No, not beets and carrots that regularly attend the opera, but live, raw, probiotic, naturally fermented veggies.

We started out just making these goodies for our families and friends and nobody could get enough. It turns out that many people crave the zingy buzz of live food and that lacto-fermented foods, that used to be staple in many places in the world, are making a comeback.

Fermenting is an age-old way to preserve food.

It was a way to use all the access produce from the summer and keep eating it all year round. This in itself is a great process to connect to us to seasonality and keep the strength of the food intact.

Fermentation also makes food easier to digest, and creates new nutrients such as B vitamins—folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and biotin.

Some ferments have antioxidants principles and also create omega-3 fatty acids- which we know are key to a healthy immune system.

Basically, fermented foods help supply your digestive tract with cultures that are necessary to break down and assimilate nutrients. These cultures, lactobacilli chief among them, are like little invisible friends that help us stay healthy and happy through the ups and downs of the year.

If you are interested in experimenting we recommend starting with simple sauerkraut and then expand from there.

This is great activity to do with kids (or your dog) as it is a bit of funky food science experiment.

To begin you will need a ball jar, one medium cabbage, sea salt, and a starter like whey, or for a vegan option you can use kombucha.Each starter produces different results and flavors, so you can try a few and find the one you like best.Core and shred the cabbage and then spread on a tray or work surface. Add the sea salt—a good ratio is generally one or two  tablespoons salt to one three lb cabbage. Then pound the cabbage and salt with a wooden hammer (or a rolling pin can work) until the juices start to release and the cabbage softens. You can add a bit of starter at this point, or you can just do the cabbage juice and salt, which usually makes a fine ferment.Place the cabbage shreds into a wide mouth ball jar and press down with a fist (you can use a cabbage leaf as a top and the press on that) until the vegetable is submerged in liquid.

Cover this combination and leave it in a cool but not cold space (ideally 65 to 70 degrees) for about 3 days. You may like it stronger, in which case you could let it go for a few more days.

When you are satisfied with the taste, transfer to cold storage, where it will last for up to 6 months.

Now you can enjoy the benefits of your own homemade culture—monocle and all.


Clarifying Butter

In honor of simplicity I chose to make my own Ghee this week. I’ve often bought ghee from the store before and even though I have a middling tolerance for dairy products I seem to have no problem digesting butter or ghee.  The smell of ghee on the frying pan is simply delightful and I’ve recently enjoyed using rendered fats in my cooking, saving chicken fat from the last roast that we did inspired a round of excellent chopped liver (onions cooking in chicken fat illicit an awe inspiring drool worthy smell), and saving lard from a recent pork roast made some of the most beautifully textured oven roast potatoes.  One of these days I want to do some lard and flour baking.  That is what they would use when I was a kid to make Dan Tarts (chinese style puff pastry with egg custard), the smell of warm lard is a sure fire flashback to my youth, I am quite sure that pork fat is one of the cornerstones of traditional Cantonese cooking. There’s been much written recently on the undue vilification of saturated animal fats. All I can really add to that conversation is that I was extremely relieved to hear that fat free milk is bad for you.  I have always been drawn to fats, seared fish sends happy shivers down my spine, avocados make me smile and along with strawberries they were a very rare childhood treat (berries and avocados were very hard to find in Hong Kong in the eighties). As long as I can remember I had a deep love affair with fat.  I’m the weirdo that will cut a slab of fat off my steak and eat it first before diving into the lean meat and one time age ten when I got in trouble for fighting with my mom I went to the store and I bought her a gorgeous rib eye steak to express my deep remorse and future good will.  As far as minimally processed foods, fats and rendered fats are perfect…  butter is made of the following emulsion:  the two dissimilar substances are butterfat (roughly 80%) and water (roughly 17%) along with about 3% milk solids. The emulsion breaks on being heated and the components separate. Clarified butter is nothing more than pure butterfat. Fats will keep you full for longer, they help to balance moods, provide essential fatty acids for cell development and body processes and we cannot generate these fatty acids ourselves, they must be received from an external source.

So now that I have prayed for a sufficient amount of time at the temple of tummy I’ll post that recipe 🙂 Clarified butter is so simple to make and a superior tool to cook with as it resists high heat sauteeing and has a mellow and comforting flavour.


1lb Unsalted Butter


Melt butter on medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Skim off the first foam that forms on the butter’s surface.  Reduce heat and continue to let butter simmer.  You will see the liquids separate from the butterfat as the butter boils.  Its quite pretty – roiling and rolling globules of golden emulsified liquid. After the butter has bubbled away for about seven to ten minutes a second foam will form.  Take butter off heat and let it cool for fifteen minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth.  Make sure to stop before straining liquids at the bottom of the pan. Note, you will see those three distinct parts in separation: milk solids you skim off the top, butterfat in the middle and water settles to the bottom.

Store in a sealed glass jar.  You can keep it at room temperature for up to a month.



A word about brussels sprouts and salt

Not only do brussels sprouts come on a stalk that inspires the imagination and look like teeny tiny cabbages but they also contain many of the good things that are found in other members of the Brassicaceae family. Yes, we have pickled them (Mara made a wonderful, very spicy brussels kim chi last winter) but tonight they were cooked in brown butter and yakima applewood smoked salt. My eldest son peeled them leaf by leaf and ate them like Peter Rabbit.


These veggies are enjoying a sort of hip revival lately and I would venture a guess that they will be on many holiday tables. Try them boiled in dark beer or crispy fried in  a little grapeseed oil or ghee. Happy almost Thanksgiving y’all.



Our recent trip to Honolulu found Desmond, my four and a half month old son ready for food.  He was so absorbed in what everyone else was eating, no wonder, our family reunions are serious food experiences.  My Grandfather’s 95th birthday celebration brought Wong family relations together from all over the globe.  Large round tables of raucous conversation and group cheers for each new course as it was brought to the table, all this focus on community and flavor my baby boy started yelling for attention.  I think once you discover how great eating is it’s hard to just watch from the sidelines.  He would literally holler until someone put something in his mouth.  Little man doesn’t have any teeth yet and most of what the grownups were eating was too rich, greasy and/or chewy for a brand new eater to handle. Good thing almost every Chinese restaurant has some Jook bubbling away somewhere in the house.  Jook is a thin rice porridge that is often served with peanuts and shavings of sweet pork jerky on top. (I would much prefer to have Porkfloss on top of jook than these doughnuts I found on an incredulous expatriate’s indiosyncratic Mainland China blog.)

porkfloss on doughnuts?!

It has long been used as a food for infants and convalescent adults and is pretty much ubiquitous throughout Asia.  Known as congee in India and Cambodia, as Jook in South East Asia and Korea, and Zhou in Putonghua speaking China.  Common ingredients mixed in this simple rice and water porridge include lean pork and preserved duck egg, chicken, squid, kimchi, green onions, ginger and just plain for little ones or for troubled digestion.

I used the opportunity of having so many aunties in one place to ask for tips on how to make the perfect Jook.  My attempts at home seemed to differ quite dramatically from the smooth perfectly seasoned offerings one finds in restaurants.  It takes a little bit of practice and filtering to understand what five sisters have to say across an enormous table speaking in very close and overlapping proximity and cancelling one another out with volume and hand gestures.  It’s always a good time watching my mom and her brothers and sisters in action. I imagine all nine of them as young adults, calling on one another (unabashedly) to pull their own weight and heartily creating fun at every given opportunity. Gravesweeping is a common family gathering.  Food and drink are put out for the hungry ghosts and the general area is cleaned up, weeded and tidied.  Our family doesn’t just light incense, we take our expression to a whole new level – Auntie Lo did an interpretive dance on my Grandmother’s grave (she studies ballroom dance) and Uncle Tony put a lit cigarette in the ground near the headstone. My grandmother was pretty much pregnant between the ages of nineteen and thirty three, you’ve got to figure that she was always alive to the possibility to have a little party whenever she could.

So what I could discern from the kerfuffle that followed my question – great jook can be made following these guidelines.  Mix a little salt and oil with your rice.  Add 12 cups of water per one cup of rice.  Restaurants and Jook Joints use broken rice for a finer texture, one can always duplicate this by running rice through a food processor very quickly before use. Add rice, oil, salt mix to already boiling water.  Cook as slowly as possible.  Use broth for a deeper flavor or when making chicken or turkey jook.

I added some Konbu (kelp) to my version for extra mineral goodness, and a teaspoon of flax seed for some of those good omega fatty acids.  I also used the crock pot to make the whole endeavor easier than pie.

Dessie’s Chow


1 cup Brown Rice; 12 cups Water; piece of konbu rinsed in the sink; 2 tsp Ghee; 1/2 tsp Sea Salt; 1 tsp flax seeds.

Mix all ingredients except water, add water.  Put on High in crockpot til bubbling (1hr) then turn down to low.  Let it go for at least 4 hours.  I let it cook overnight.  Salt to taste.

Some great serving suggestions…  chopped up leftover meats.  Zuké :), furikake (seaweed, salt and sesame seeds), you can even make a sweet cereal by adding dried fruit, cinnamon and maple syrup.

Come Thanksgiving I assure you this is what I’ll be doing with the leftovers, boiling turkey carcass broth then making some slowcooked brown rice goodness.  Sleepytime happy turkey triptomine jook has got my name all over it.