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.

Quick 30 Second Salad Dressing

I keep a bottle of olive oil at work in order to have a quick, easy dressing option for my greens or veggies._101613_JAR_PHOTO_PRINT_KIMCHI_BEETS_DULSE

Quick salad dressing substitute = 1/2 cup of your favorite ozuke ( i like them all but kimchi or beets make a killer salad) plus a drizzle of olive oil.  Salty sour perfection on your bowl of happy greens for lunch.

No blender, no fuss, no mess, no bottles with crappy ingredients and preservatives.  Happy salad and I can keep rolling with the productivity flow when I’m feeling it. 😀

January cleanse

After a wonderful month of butter cookies, eggnog and other sundry delights, it is time to clean the pipes. I have a couple of cleanses that I really like and think can work for different metabolisms and temperaments. One of my favorites is the Colorado Cleanse:  which can be adapted to suit your needs. I often make this salad for the first four days (although the mustard is not really allowed)

but the oily delight of the avocado with the zing of citrus ginger kraut is very satisfying. I have also heard great things about what these ladies are up to:

and am eager to try it out this month. I will let you know how it goes!

Here is to a month of vibrant health for all.


Root Down! New Denver Restaurant Review

Looking for a deliciously fun brunch, great ambience, and bottomless mimosa & bloody Mary’s? Then get yourself a reservation at Root Down (RD) in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver now! It takes some planning to get a table where tasty breakfast and lunch dishes are plentiful and doors close at 2:30 pm each weekend.

RD, Linger Eatery, and most recently, Root Down Denver International Airport (DIA), are where Chef D and his team work together with local farmers and artisanal food makers to create unique entrees. One of the most popular dishes at Root Down, is the vegetarian and gluten-free Eggs Benedict on the brunch menu. Instead of a traditional English muffin, hearty quinoa cakes are the foundation of this colorful eggs Benny. Atop the cakes is a generous layer of ozuké pickled beets that perfectly compliment the organic poached eggs, and the creamy rich dried tomato Hollandaise sauce. Citrus dressed arugula and roasted root vegetables complete this uniquely satisfying meal.
Recently Updated4 For some time now, Chef D has been using ozuké pickled things on his Root Down brunch and raw night menus. Recently, he and Mara have been brainstorming about plans to include ozuké pickled things in new and exciting ways at all three restaurants. Can’t wait to taste what he creates!
Recently Updated8In the meantime, we’ll keep enjoying brunch at Root Down Denver, and we’ll be sure to visit their DIA location in the C concourse on our next trip. I know there will be lots of eclectic art to check out, refreshing beverages, and yummy food combinations. Plus there’s the Lite Brite bar at Linger Eatery!

• 1600 W. 33RD AVENUE, DENVER, CO 80211 | 303.993.4200 | INFO@ROOTDOWNDENVER.COM

Monday – Thursday, 5pm – 10pm
Friday & Saturday, 5pm – 11pm
Sunday, 5pm – 9pm
(Bar stays open later – 12am-ish)

HAPPY HOUR (bar only)
Monday – Friday, 4:30pm – 7pm

Saturday – Sunday, 10am – 2:30pm

Blinking Beets & Cauliflower

Time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? It was just a minute ago when Mara led a fermenting workshop. Then I blinked and it was Halloween. I blinked again and it’s almost Thanksgiving!tanner in leaves

As falls hits, the energy at my house begins to burst at the seams in anticipation of the holidays. It starts on Halloween, my boys get excited about running from house to house in costumes and collecting more candy than they will ever consume. Each year they try to finesse their trick or treating strategy by improving their running times. They start out sprinting, and by the end of the night they are dragging. The goal, of course, is to FILL their pillowcase with as much high fructose corn syrup as possible. When they were little, going to a handful of houses was adequate. Now, they can go for longer than an hour or two at full speed. It’s still not quite long enough to fill their pillowcases, but it’s plenty long enough to collect gobs of their favorite treats. They return home to sort, trade, and make plans for how each piece will be eaten and in what order. I wonder what is more fun? Trick or treating, or sorting and planning?Beets Cauliflower picklesWhen the weather is warmer, like during an Indian summer, Halloween is just that much more fun. It’s nice to be outside in the evening smelling and feeling fall. Is it the leaves turning shades of yellow, orange, red and brown that make the air smell like fall? Or is it the cooler night time temperatures? It’s probably both, and shorter daylight hours too. Either way, fall is a welcome respite from the long full days of summer. This pickled recipe of Mara’s feels like fall. She combines beautiful golden beets and creamy white cauliflower for a seasonal probiotic rich side dish.  It is fall!beets3As temperatures drop, heartier plants such as crucifers (cabbage, broccoli & cauliflower) and root vegetables begin to play a larger role in our daily diets.  They take on richer, sweeter flavors because the sugars are more concentrated in the plants. This phenomenon has also been referred to as ‘Frost Kissed’. Plus the nutritional benefit of eating these brassica vegetables is enormous.  As a group, these plants are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and cholineFolate is an essential mineral that supports healthy brain function and is important in the construction of cell membranes. Choline helps to reduce chronic inflammation and protects the liver. Eat your golds, and creamy whites! Here is Mara’s Golden pickled beets recipe.DSC_0067

Golden Pickled Beets, Cauliflower & Peppers:
1/2 Gallon spring/filtered water
2 TBSP sea salt
3 Medium golden beets, slice 1/8″ thin by hand or with mandolin
1 Head cauliflower,  larger than bite size pieces
Peppers, sliced in half (few or many, depending on desired zing)
1 tsp Coriander seed
2 tsp Fennel seed
2 tsp Cumin seed
1/2 tsp TumericRecently Updated2Directions:
Dissolve sea salt in water using a glass jar or fermenting crock.  The brine should be salty, but not overpowering. Be sure to use non-iodized salt. Trim and peel golden beets. Then slice them approximately 1/8″ thick. Break apart or cut cauliflower into florets. Slice peppers down the middle. Pack vegetables into jar or crock alternating among colors. Continue until full. Be sure all of your vegetables are fully immersed in brine. This will ensure an anaerobic environment which is necessary for fermenting.  If needed, add brine to cover vegetable mixture completely. Allow 2-3 weeks to ferment on counter top at approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit.wet handTry these pickled treats with Tandoori chicken or other Indian spiced dishes. Of course, golden pickled beets & cauliflower would be great on a holiday antipasto platter. We hope you find the time to truly enjoy the upcoming holiday season.


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.
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

The Pickling Revolution takes Boulder

The pickling revolution takes Boulder

By Camilla Sterne

Photo by Camilla Sterne

You wouldn’t think things stuffed in jars and steeped in salt, brine, spices or even their own fermented juices could be beautiful. But all lined up, pickles present a range of unique natural colors. There’s something enchanting about tidy jars all in row holding fragrant and shapely combinations of carrots, beets, onions, ginger, cauliflower, cabbage, soybeans and peppers. The result is far from our pickle archetype, but instead presents an artful array of colors, shapes, tastes and textures.

Throughout Boulder County, citizens and businesses alike are lining their shelves and pantries with a similar assortment of carefully pickled goods. A long-standing cross-cultural tradition has found its place in the community, in the form of instructive classes and local products.

Three Leaf Farms and Cure Organic Farm in the Boulder area offer classes in these time-tested techniques, classes that fill up quickly, according William Kelley, chef at Zucca Italian Ristorante and teacher of the pickling class at Three Leaf Farms.

“First day we had sign-up for this class, I mean granted it was only eight people, but it filled up on the first or second day,” Kelley says of the upcoming July 20 class.

Both Kelley and Marilyn Kakudo, pickling instructor at Cure Organic Farm, have noticed a resurgence of interest in the craft of pickling. So why the sudden interest in a process that has been in use for thousands of years?

“I think people are trying to eat closer to home. And here in Colorado since we don’t have produce year-round, the only way you can really eat local in the winter-time would be to preserve in some way,” says Kakudo, who teaches the six-person class at Cure Organic Farm.

Kelley, too, has noticed an increased awareness of pickling, particularly in the broader foodie world.

“Right now what’s trending are means of preservation like curing, smoking and pickling,” says Kelley. “Nationwide, you read a lot of articles from Bon Appétit to Food and Wine to publications in Chicago, New York, L.A.; all across the nation they’re doing pickles and whatnot. In Colorado we do have a little bit more want or even need to do it, because it gives us an extension of the season.”

But the term “pickling” is not limited to one specific technique. Quick pickling, fermentation pickling, relish pickling — all of these methods have received greater interest and recognition.

Kakudo will teach traditional pickling at her class at Cure Organic Farm, and attendees will leave with three jars of traditional cucumber pickles. Kelley, however, plans to cover all three techniques.

“I will be going over every process of pickling, from the quick pickle to the fermentation to the relish,” he says. “But we’re going to be making quick pickles to allow the people from the workshop to have something to take home with them.”

And amateur picklers seem to be open to different techniques, though fermented pickles are of particular interest to health-conscious consumers because of a recent wealth of information on the positive benefits of probiotics.

Boulder-based company Esoteric Foods has broken into the local fermented pickle market with its variety of krauts, and in two years has expanded from its first sale at Lucky’s in North Boulder to selling its products in more than 65 natural grocers. Co-founders Mara King and Willow King will also teach a class in pickling on Sept. 10 at the Lyons Farmette.

“For us fermentation in some ways is sort of a philosophy, if you will,” says Willow King. “It’s like this sort of magical interaction between the world we can see, the vegetables, the salt, the things that we’re touching, and this invisible world, which is all the microbes and the friendly bacteria that come into the process and make the food this super-vital, healthy, raw food that then, when we ingest it, kind of invigorates the whole digestive and immune system.”

Willow King credits the success of their Zuké “pickled things” to the supportive Boulder food and entrepreneurial community as well as the growing awareness of the health benefits of fermented products.

“I think there’s a real renaissance of sort of hands-on, do-it-yourself food processing,” Willow King says. “People are getting a lot more interested in where their food comes from, and once they know where it comes from, and how things are made, which is really how this business was born.”

In keeping with the conventional purpose of pickling, Esoteric Foods is trying to create much of its product at the end of the season, when there is excess crop production.

“We’re trying to buy as much local produce as we can when it’s plentiful, pickle it and then have it to sell throughout the winter until we break back out into spring,” Willow King says.

Pickles are not just practical, either. Many picklers are partial to the aesthetic qualities of pickled varieties. Willow King’s favorite Esoteric Food product is the Zuké beets, dulse and kale recipe, pointing to the deep purple color as part of her attraction to the recipe.

“My kids are huge fans of them,” she says. “You can always tell when they eat them because they have these big purple mustaches.”

King pickles for her young children, as does Kelley, who praises the process for its ease and low cost.


Photo by Camilla Sterne

“I have three children, and a wife and a dog,” he says. “It gets expensive buying vegetables, unless it’s the summertime. The seasonality of it marks up the price. Pickling gives me the opportunity to have that type of ingredient to utilize on my own without having to necessarily pay for it.”

But many people do pay for their pickled goods, which can be found at local vendors for not-so-minimal prices. Lafayette vendor Isabelle Farm Stand carries Esoteric Foods products as well as the canned and pickled creations of Boulder-based MM Local.

The employees at Isabelle Farm Stand are no strangers to the pickled revolution. A big underground food movement is “starting to bubble to the surface and pickle,” says the farm stand’s wholesaler, Tyler Bair.

The place is teeming with farmers, all of whom seem to be extremely familiar with pickling. And most of their farmers do their own pickling, according to employee Annie Beall.

“Everybody gets the leftovers, and the best way to use them is to pickle them,” says Beall. “I bet there are a few of them around, they’d probably give you tips.”

There is one thing all picklers agree on: It’s easy to do. With one caveat: Be wary of the health risks of pickling at home. Kakudo warns about the hazards of air entering canned goods during the brine pickling process.

“There’s a whole science and food safety issue about canning; whenever you can food you have to make sure you’re canning food that has a certain amount of acidity,” says Kakudo.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many home picklers and canners are unaware of the risks of Botulism, a serious illness caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can find its way into canned goods if pickling methods aren’t executed properly.

Pickling in vinegar also tends to diminish some of the nutritional content of food, according to Kakudo and Kelley.

“The rule of thumb is that any time you take something from a raw state and you cook it or manipulate it, especially when you add intense pH levels on each side, you are going to break it down and it will lose some nutritional value,” says Kelley. “It’s definitely better to eat fresh and raw as far as nutritional value is concerned.”

Most pickles are used to augment a meal, whether through texture, spice or even color on the plate, and according to Willow King, many cultures have used fermented pickles to aid in the digestion of meats.

“It’s also just sort of a side, so you always have a pickle as a palette cleanser or a flavor enhancer with each course,” Willow King says. “There’s lots of fun creative ways to use it.”

Willow King suggests using Esoteric’s krauts on salads, in sandwiches and even in something like a fish taco. Kelley uses pickles at the Zucca Italian restaurant as a subtle palette enhancer.

“It’s a nice accoutrement to our paninis for lunch, our antipastis, our saloumis. We utilize pickles in lots of different ways. I’ve got pepperoncinis on my calamari dish, we have pickled red onions in our pork chop dish.”

And the vinegar brine in non-fermented pickles doesn’t have to go to waste, according to Kakudo, who suggests using the solution in place of vinegar during cooking.

However, the outburst of published books on pickling, pickling classes and pickling companies is still in its relative youth. It has yet to be seen whether the pickling craze will last as long as the preserved goods themselves.


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

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

Pasture Beef at Isabelle Farm Stand

Isabelle Farm Stand is open for the season! Located in Lafayette, Co on east Baseline Rd. (near Hwy 287 & Baseline Rd.), it offers an array of seasonal farm produce, handcrafted items, locally produced meats, cheeses, jams, pickled things, and more. The term “farm stand” understates the selection and atmosphere of Jason and Natalie Condon’s spacious rustic market. This neighborhood gem is more reminiscent of an old time mercantile. In addition to seasonal farm fresh produce, shoppers will find handcrafted bees wax candles, hand-carved wood cutting boards, unique kitchen textiles, and a small collection of farm antiques. Although the selection of kitchen accessories is irresistible, it’s the food that impresses. On my last visit to the stand, pasture raised fajita beef caught my eye. That’s what’s for dinner tonight!

20130626-080803.jpg20130626-080819.jpgJason and Natalie have a long established relationship with Boulder county rancher, Jim Roberts. Roberts’ cattle are pastured raised. His ranch is just east of Isabelle farm. Being good neighbors, the Condon’s sell Jim’s delicious beef to their CSA members, and now to the general public, at the farm stand. Stop in during store hours to peruse the wide variety of meat cuts. All cuts are frozen, but thaw quickly, and grill well.

20130626-081201.jpg20130626-081207.jpgAt Isabelle Farm, they say, ” Lafayette isn’t as far away as you may think it is, 8 miles east of downtown Boulder.” Look for the big Monitor-style pine barn with the red steel roof.

Beef Fajita Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
1 lb beef fajita meat
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced (optional, I didn’t use)
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 juice of limes
1-2 jalapenos, seeded & chopped (optional)
3/4 tsp. Cumin
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
ozuké pickled things Kimchi, Citrus & Ginger, Ruby Calendula

In a bowl combine all ingredients. Cover and marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. If time permits, marinate overnight in the refrigerator. After refrigeration, be sure to bring marinated ingredients to room temp before grilling. It is important to bring beef, chicken, & pork to room temp before grilling. This will ensure cooking at desired temp. Fire up your grill on med-high. Place in grill basket. Toss ingredients with tongs to ensure even cooking. Heat up corn tortillas on grill or stove top. Assemble with all your favorite toppings including zuké pickled things. Try these recipes for naturally fermented pico de gallo or tomatillo salsas too!

Cilantro, not just for salsa

After high school, I took several years and did some exploring. These days, this kind of exploring has a name, ‘the gap year’. Well, my gap was much longer than a year. For a while I spent time working on organic farms. While living on a farm in Virginia, one of my many jobs was to harvest cilantro in the early morning. It was a pretty easy task; gently breaking the base of each stem and neatly bundling the delicate leaves together into small bouquets. During those early morning hours, I did not appreciate all the qualities this herb has to offer. In fact, several years passed before I began enjoying it again.

Cilantro is actually the name given to the leaves of a coriander plant. It looks similar to parsley, but is a little more succulent and very aromatic. Cilantro doesn’t store very well, so either pick it shortly before using or wrap it in a paper towel and refrigerate in a plastic bag. I leave the top of the bag slightly open. These tricks help extent it’s shelf life. After flowering, it produces the beloved coriander seeds so popular in Indian recipes. This week, my garden is producing gorgeous cilantro.



Cilantro Pesto Ingredients:
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro
2 tablespoons or more pecorino sheep cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. To store, put in glass jars leaving space for expansion and freeze. Remember to label the jar.