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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.

Harvest 2014

We had the good fortune of serving our ferments at Sustainable Settings annual Harvest Dinner in Carbondale this weekend. It was a glorious autumn evening and the menu was off the hook. We served cheriboshi from Paonia cherries, Rocky Ford melon and proscuitto which went fast!

All the food was prepared with produce from the biodynamic gardens and the meat was all raised and butchered on the farm as well.

Brook and Rose Le Van and wonderful stewards of this beautiful place and it was an honor to spend some time with this community. They are working right now to preserve the pristine water ways of this valley against fracking.  You can learn more here.

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Ecosalon Foodie Underground: You Can Ferment That

Foodie Underground: You Can Ferment That

by on August 6, 2012 in Food

You’ve been making your own kombucha for months (ok, years) and pickling is old news to you, but have you taken your fermented food obsession to the next level? Grabbed a slot at the local market and opened up a stand to sell your goods? Spend any time at your weekend farmers market and you’re sure to find an artisan pickle, kraut or kim chi maker.

We can pickle that,” might be the mantra of any lover of the television show Portlandia, but all jokes aside, fermented foods are good for you (and often served in mason jars). Making fermented foods at home however is one thing, running your own fermented business is quite another.

“You should start a restaurant/catering company/baking business/etc.” are words that many a foodie have heard from a friend or two, but turning a passion for food into a business is a feat in and of itself, which is why it’s inspiring to meet people that are doing just that. I perked up recently when I got an intro to the co-founder of what a friend called “the most elegant pickle company on the planet.” When you’re the Foodie Underground columnist, you just can’t turn such an introduction down.

The pickle company is called Esoteric Food Company, based in Boulder, Colorado and responsible for jars of fermented goodness like Beets, Hijiki & Kale and Dill, Caraway & Cabbage. As they put it:

We love food. Learning about food culture is our impetus, our drive and our reward. We live to tinker with, to savor, to understand flavor and nutrition in old and new ways. We simply love making good things to eat to share with others and these pickles are our way of inviting you in to the esoteric circle.

If there ever was an intriguing food mission statement, that might just be it.

I caught up with co-founder Willow King to learn more about the fermentation business and we even got a recipe out of the deal.

Tell us about your food background, what got you into fermented foods in the first place?

My business partner Mara grew up in Hong Kong and is a long time sushi chef and general food goddess. She and I started getting together for “Food Mondays” about 2 years ago and making things that were hard, weird or that we just generally curious about. We made raw cheeses, butter, sausage, sourdough, we canned and we fermented. Something about the ferments sort of just took over (no pun intended) and we have been doing them ever since. We have a mutual friend in town who has grown many businesses from Karaoke bars to energy drinks and he encouraged us to take it to the wholesale level. Mara and I are both English majors and at the time I was teaching Literature and Mara was teaching yoga and getting ready to give birth to her third child. It seemed like a bit of a pipe dream, but we starting tinkering with label designs, jar options, a website and pretty soon we had a business on our hands.

You have everything from carraway to kale… how do you come up with your recipes?

Our recipes come from both Asian and Euro traditions- Korean, Japanese, Polish, Scandinavian, German. They are a pastiche of flavors from our past and new combinations. This week’s market specials were daikon and d’anjou pear kim chi, juniper berry kraut and brined baby carrots with dill.

Why do you think fermented foods have had such a revival? 

Fermented foods are a really great metaphor. They are a sort of alchemy that you can eat and I think people are really waking up the fact that sanitized, factory made, processed foods have lost a lot of their magic by the time they make it to your mouth. There is a growing awareness and live, raw, organic foods can balance and support our immune and digestive systems, as well as boost our moods.

You are certainly part of a growing movement of artisan food makers. In a world of mass marketed foods and big businesses, why do you think “underground” businesses like yours are seeing such success and positive response? 

We know so many amazing food crafters- bakers, jam makers, kombucha and jun brewers- you name it. It is really encouraging to see these small businesses thriving and really being supported by their communities. In many ways, we are just going back to what we have always known: Good food is simple and comes straight from the source. We like to know who is making what we are eating- it is the oldest form of food safety!

How does one get started doing their own fermented foods?

Fermenting vegetables is a pretty simple process and very fun to experiment with. Fermenting dairy and meats can be a bit more complicated and requires exact procedures and temperatures to be safe. If you are interested in experimenting we recommend starting with simple sauerkraut and then expand from there.

Recipe: Simple Sauerkraut

To begin you will need a ball jar, 1 medium cabbage, sea salt and 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. Pound the cabbage with a wooden hammer (or a rolling pin can work) until the juices start to release and the cabbage softens. Place in 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 veg is submerged in liquid- you can add the starter at this time. Cover and leave at room temp for about 3 days- you may like it stronger in which case you could let it go a few more days. When you are satisfied with the taste transfer to cold storage where it will last for up to 6 months.

Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’s weekly column at EcoSalon, Foodie Underground, discovering what’s new and different in the underground food movement, from supper clubs to mini markets to the culinary avant garde.

Image: Esoteric Food Company

Your Brain on Yogurt

 

logoRead Article Your Brain on Yogurt featuring Esoteric Food Co.

Farmers Market: We Have Moved

Well, summer is officially here and I have the first of the season cherries to prove it.  We have been busy in the kitchen with both our steady flavors and the market specials that we have been doing for Saturdays. The list reads a bit like a series of unusual matchmaking: horseradish&sorrel, juniper&mustard, ruby kraut with calendula, sour cherry & rhubarb, scapes & chard, anchovy &pear… tune in next week to find out who meets who in the pickle dating scene.

We also wanted to let our local folks know that our Farmer’s Market stall has moved from our prime spot on the main drag to a sweet shady hollow on the Canyon side of the market. Please come see us in our new location!

A thunderstorm is brewing and I can just hear all the newly planted tomatoes and climbing beans singing for joy.

Happy Weekend y’all.

 

Easy Beer Cocktails

Even Cocks with Tails Appreciate a Good Beer

Even though my dad was a true blue East Coast American boy and mom a Hong Kong Temple Street original… I must admit that there was a lot of Euro-flavor to my early years.  Stories of boarding school atrocities told in a tight circle when my friends and I would “nick out” at night and congregate in the dark safety of the general’s grave.  (Graves of important people in China were massive concrete affairs with tables and chairs and fruit trees to lounge amidst and hide behind) I heard stories of UK M1 rave culture and listened one walkman ear pod per person to mixed tapes with curious throbbing beats in my early teens.  And above all I would be offered booze at dinners when we had guests long before I was of legal age to drink.  Wine and water or shandies.  A shandy is a very delicious lemon lime soda pop mixed half and half with lager.  Hong Kong beer drinkers were all about either San Miguel or Carlsberg back then, both well refined lagers…  easy to drink but still bitter enough to put one or two hairs on your chest.

Alright, the weather has been warming and I did a hike two days ago above Boulder Res and we forgot to bring enough water.  The only thing I could think of on the way home other than willing the clouds to cover the sun was beer.  There is a thirst quenching quality that beer has which is unparalleled and I also remember from my Hong Kong days another simple beer cocktail that seemed to push that instant refreshing feeling into the golden zone.  Lime and Lager is so simple.  1 oz of Rose’s Lime Cordial in your beer.  The back of my neck is tingling just thinking of the mouth filling, fizzing gulpability.

Of course there are many versions of the Beer Cocktail even though strangely enough it’s not something that we often think of.  Mexico has it’s Michelada, lime juice and hot sauce in your cervesa: yeah!  There’s the Black and Tan of course.  The Snakebite and Black from my UK college years, that’s half lager, half hard cider and a shot of blackcurrant liquor: those were oblivion makers which I suppose is just about right for those years, young, dumb and full of…  you know…  willful pizza mistakes.  My fave from my sushi chefing years was the Chocolate Stout.  Murphy’s Stout with a shot of vanilla vodka and a shot of Godiva Chocolate liqueur.  After a hard night of working my tail off it was nice to have dinner, drink and dessert all in one glass.

This post was inspired by my creation of a brand new beer cocktail tonight.  OK I’ve had two of them and I’m a total lightweight these days hence my loose lipped languid lambic prose.  My beer goggles, the whiff of bacon, beans and my husband’s hard work in the kitchen are making everything look like one of those instagram iphone pictures.  Mangoes and Wit.  Yep I said it.  I made some mango simple syrup for my son’s birthday circle yesterday (hawaiian shave ice treat).  First round… Leftover simple syrup from candying orange peel and mango puree mixed with Left Hand Polestar Pils, and second round with Upslope Belgian Pale Ale.  I’m looking across the table at my husband’s Avery White Rascal but I don’t think I’m going to go there, unless I’ve decided that 7.30pm is my new bed time.

Please comment if you have any other good Beer Cocktails you would like to share with me. Night night 😉

“Red” Rice- Easy Way to Get Kids to Enjoy Beets!

There is a Bhutanese red rice.  This recipe starts with plain white rice and stains it red with beets. My Daughter Kailee would never let a beet near her lips in any other way.  Red Rice is all the rage at my house these days.  Start with butter melting in a pan.  Add a full jar (you heard me!) of our Beets. Sizzle for a bit then add cooked rice. Stir over medium heat until it is all incorporated.  Add finely minced garlic and drizzle with toasted sesame oil.  We love to serve this rice with an egg on top and some sprouts or baby kales on the side.  You’ll definitely enjoy the bright red pearly grains juxstaposed with a vivid white of eggs and the greens.  It’s such an attractive plate and you can always snazz this up with another kind of protein and call it dinner.  Make this one time and I promise your family will start harassing you for more and more beets.  Enjoy 🙂

Dishwire Press Release- Zuke in Whole Foods!

January 23rd, 2012 — 8:55am

Zuké Pickled Veggies Now Available at Whole Foods Locations in Boulder

 

 

Zuké Pickled Veggies Now Available at Whole Foods Locations in Boulder

January 23, 2012-Boulder, COLORADO—Esoteric Food Company announced today their presence in Whole Foods Market at Pearl Street, Ideal Market and Base-Mar Locations. Zuké (pronounced zoo-kay) short for zukemono, the Japanese word for pickled things-offers four varieties including Cabbage-Based Korean Kim Chi, Eastern European Dill and Caraway Sauerkraut, A Citrus & Ginger blend and the cleverly combined Beets, Hijiki Seaweed and Kale. All products are raw, organic and loaded with probiotics. They retail for $8.99 and are located in the refrigerated dairy sections at Ideal Market and Base-Mar and in the raw food case at Pearl Street.

Says Co-Founder, Willow King, ” We are excited that Whole Foods picked up our product…now these life giving tasty pickles are available to a larger audience.”

John Andersen, Buyer for Whole Foods Base-Mar, said, “May their beets go on your salad cause they rock.”

About Zuké:

Founded in 2011 by the Esoteric Food Company, Zuké is a line of organic, pickled veggies that taste amazing and happen to be extra good for you. Our flavors are familiar-some might say nostalgic-and we use an all-natural fermentation process to make our food probiotic…a fancy word for natural organisms that keeps you healthy. Whether it’s the fire of our kim chi or the subtle lemon notes in our citrus & ginger cabbage, our cultured foods will engage your senses and keep you on the up and up. Yep, all this from a little jar.

For more information: http://www.ozuke.com

Experiments at Ozuke

We are experimenting again in the esoteric kitchen. As many of you know, these live foods can have a mind of their own. Mara and I joke that we are pickle wranglers out on the wild fermentation frontier. They bubble and go flat, they get mushy and change color and occasionally they do just exactly the right thing and taste fresh, lively, sour, a little salty and full of flavor. Bingo.

We would like to add some more to our herd, so here are our experiments for this week:

Fennel, wild green apple and juniper berries

Curry sauerkraut with mustard seed and coriander

and a roasted hatch green chile version which we think might be just the thing.

Keep your eyes out on the open range and yeeehaah.