Archive for the 'Fermentation' Category

Make Your Own Kombucha


July 27th, 2011

kombucha
Guess what! I just posted a new video for PRL TV on how to make your own KOMBUCHA. I’m very excited because not only is it my first video in a while. It also features my first musical guest.

meat
They are ALPHA CONSUMER, and they are so good. This is a band of musical all stars. You may have seen some of the members of this band on the road with such acts as Andrew Bird, Haley Bonar, Bon Iver, Gayngs, Prairie Home Companion, etc. These guys have been around and they know what they’re doing! Definitely worth checking out.

filming
Also, here’s a sneak peak of an upcoming video that was just filmed last night. I can’t wait for this one. My boyfriend thinks it’s going to be the best one yet. I’ll keep you posted…

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Nut Milk Cheeses


February 18th, 2011


Well, here it is. My new product. A line of handmade, raw, vegan, NUT MILK CHEESES. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may recognize this product from my days at 105 DEGREES. This was one of the products I developed for my SHOP PROJECT. It’s funny. At the time, I hadn’t even thought of making cheeses for my project. But I was encouraged by my fellow students as I seemed inclined that way (without me noticing). I guess sometimes we’re the last to know. :)

I love these cheeses. I know there’s a big thing in the raw community right now with dairy. I’ll be the first to admit that I am a dairy girl. I love dairy! My mom would be shocked and amazed with me growing up. How can a little girl drink so much milk? I loved it!! But after my exposure, I started developing a number of AUTOIMMUNE issues. Suddenly, I couldn’t tolerate dairy anymore. I would have life threatening ASTHMA attacks. The kind where your whole body just convulses uncontrollably for hours until you collapse from fatigue. It’s the kind of experience that causes a person to rethink their love of dairy, if you know what I mean. So anyway, here’s what I came up with. I hope you like it.

date cheese bites
Also, I should mention that I just posted a new video on PUNK RAWK LABS TV. This video steps you through a very easy recipe for making these beautiful date cheese bites (featuring some of my herb cheese). They were a big hit for me at all my dinner parties this year. Enjoy!

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The Holidaze


December 26th, 2010

presents
Look what Santa left under my tree? OK. It wasn’t really Santa. It was my boyfriend. He knew just what to get. I have been wanting that ANI PHYO book since it came out. But he also found another one which I haven’t seen before. It’s kind of nice. It’s organized according to ethnic groups: Italian food, Middle Eastern food, Asian food (kind of like the stations at 105 DEGREES).

kim chee
Speaking of ethnic food. I’ve been hooked on this kimchee lately. Now that my garden is in hibernation, it’s time for FERMENTATION projects. I’ve got all manner of these going at the moment. Pomegranate kefir is another favorite right now. My friend, Helen, and I made a VIDEO which I released recently explaining how to make this (as well as yogurt and cheese). AND there still a few days left to enter the kefir kit giveaway if you haven’t seen it yet (check the video for details).

boots
This is another one of my Christmas presents (from my Mom). I LOVE these boots!!

boots
And they are coming in more than a little bit handy now. That’s for sure. Winters up here are quite a bit more brutal than the pseudo winters I grew up with in Texas. In Texas, boots are more of a fashion statement than a necessity. I remember coming home for Christmas with blue toes the first year I lived here. I don’t think my mother was very happy to see that because she has gotten me new boots for Christmas pretty consistently since I’ve lived here. :)

ice palace
The Minneapolis library looks kinda of like an ice palace with all of this snow. I took this picture while I was switching buses the other day on my way to yoga. Speaking of, I just finished day 14 of my BIKRAM YOGA CHALLENGE. It definitely feels like my body is doing some power healing right now. This week, the issues that I’m noticing more are my hamstrings on my left side right where they connect to my hip. This makes a lot of sense as I’ve had to do a lot of physical therapy on muscles that attach to my hip. It’s funny how unaware of these muscles I was before my ACCIDENT. I’m also noticing my rib cage a lot. It just feels sensitive and bruised. Not in any particular part of my rib cage. It’s more like the whole thing. This makes sense too as I broke a couple ribs, this part of my body was clearly subjected to some trauma. It’s peculiar though. It’s almost like emotional baggage that my rib cage is holding on to. Or something. It’s hard to describe. The other thing I’ve noticed is that I am drinking a LOT more water. I can’t drink enough. The air here in winter is BONE DRY. So today we got a humidifier. That should help with that. I will keep you posted on my progress. I am going to start ramping up the raw food quotient as well now that I’ve acclimated somewhat to the yoga. Those recipe books are going to come in handy!

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Fermentation 101


December 10th, 2010

bubbly
I haven’t posted much lately, and I apologize. I’ve been busy!! I’m am very excited today to post my latest video for PUNK RAWK LABS TV!

helenand me
The video features NYC based raw food chef, Helen Castillo, of THE RAW PALATE and a kefir starter kit from WATER KEFIR GRAINS (where I buy my kefir grains).

prl tv
This is also the first video that I edited myself. Now that my boyfriend has gotten his grammy nod, he doesn’t have time to help me. I suspect though that now that I know how to do it, I will be posting more videos and blogging less. Not a bad tradeoff. :)

I hope you enjoy the VIDEO. I’m kinda proud of it…

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Catching Up


October 9th, 2010

kitty perch
Well, it’s been so long that I feel like I have lots to catch up on. Here’s the view from my new chef’s table. It’s turned into a perch for kitty. She loves it up there by the WINDOW. I love that window too. Spectacular sunsets and good vibes. Check out my boyfriend’s gigantic vinyl collection. I’ve been catching up on all this while I’m working, and it’s truly wonderful. You can also catch a glimpse of my window garden…

window gMy new place has south facing windows! Perfect for growing WHEATGRASS and SPROUTS. I’ve got my wheatgrass system down now. The trays I’ve been growing lately have been coming out beautifully. I’m really trying to focus now on healing and restoring my LIVER, and these little trays of wonder are definitely part of the plan. OH. I should mention that there is a video for PRL TV that details how you can grow your own WHEATGRASS GARDEN. You should check that out.

chef tablMy chef table is overflowing right now with garden goodness. It’s amazing. I love this time of year. It’s so abundant that I think it deserves it’s own post (coming soon). Today, I’ll just focus on my evolving kitchen.

booch plus mixerSpeaking of, look at this amazing stand mixer I got at a yard sale last week for $25!!! Can you believe it? I asked the girl if it had all the parts. And she said, ‘Well, it’s missing the meat grinder…’ How much more perfect could it be?

booch latticeAs you can see I have a few batches of KOMBUCHA going there. It’s so amazing. Look at the elegant lattice it forms. Very interesting.

dehydratorsThis is also new. My multiple dehydrator shelf. For my burgeoning kale chip empire (which also deserves it’s own post – coming soon).

grassOk. Well, I gotta run. I need to make lots of chocolate truffles for a wedding reception tomorrow…

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Everyday Raw Desserts


October 7th, 2010

erdessertsWell, it’s been a while. So naturally, I have a lot to catch up on. For one, guess what was waiting for me in my mailbox when I returned from Seattle? A copy of MATTHEW KENNEY’S new book!

I am very excited about this new development.  This book is great!  Not as many pictures as some of his other books, but tons more recipes!  A few ideas that I saw floating around at 105 DEGREES have made their way into this book.  But there’s much more.  There also a really nice section at the beginning that breaks down the basic ingredients that are used frequently.  I think this is really helpful when starting out.  Lots of inspiration in this book.

poms
I got started right away with the first thing to catch my eye…the kombucha float. I decided to make it pomegranate kombucha like we MADE AT 105.

harvesting seeds
This is a somewhat labor intensive process. But once you’ve had it, you can never go back.

pom juice
MMM…Flavored with fresh pomegranate juice. I’ve been spoiled forever now.

pom kombucha
Once you have your kombucha, you’re ready for the next level. Which is ice cream! I just happened to have some already made in my freezer.

float
Can you think of a better way to spend your indian summer? Me either.

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Kefir and Crutches


July 16th, 2010

bubbly
Good news! I’m back in the kitchen a little this week. Here I have my latest addiction…watermelon kefir! I can stand for short spurts now…perfect for kefir making.

mathces
My thing right now is drinking it over ice in a wine glass. Look how it matches my wall.

helen and i
Incidentally, I have some exciting news. It’s about the next episode of PRL TV with special guest, Helen Castillo of THE RAW PALATE. Helen and I discuss fermentation in the raw food kitchen. Specifically, we will talk about making cheese, yogurt, and kefir! But WAIT! There’s more!! Erin of WATER KEFIR GRAINS (where I purchase my kefir grains) has generously offered to donate a kefir making kit to one lucky viewer! Stay tuned for details…

crutchin
In other news, things are going well. I got upgraded to crutches! So, I’m getting around a little better. I still use the walker at home, but the crutches are great for getting about town. Here’s me with my guitar teacher. Guitar is an amazing and appropriately sedentary pasttime.

window
Check this out…It’s the VIEW FROM MY CHEF’S TABLE. I love it. The best part is sunset. You get a perfect view of the sun setting in the west. I’ll save that for next time…

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Stairway to Heaven


May 23rd, 2010

at eco
I started taking GUITAR LESSONS recently, and my boyfriend was giving me a hard time about it. Did you ask him to teach you ‘Stairway to Heaven’? Not exactly. But it occurred to me that a healing path kind of feels like one to an extent. In the beginning, I would get frustrated. I would go through some MONUMENTAL ORDEAL and think hooray! Now, that I’ve been through all that I’m going to be back to normal again. Inevitably, I would be disappointed. It would seem like things were getting better. Then I’d have what would seem to be a big SETBACK. How can this be happening, I’d think? I’ve been doing everything right. Why does this keep happening?

Now that more time has passed, I have the benefit of hindsight. One thing that I’m realizing is a person recovering from chronic illness should have more realistic expectations. For one, everything is a process. Kind of like this VIDEO that RAWDAWG RORY posted recently (I love Rawdawg Rory). When you’re going through the process, it seems never-ending at times. But when you look backwards, it’s really amazing how the body sort of prioritizes things. It’s so elegant. It innately knows what to tackle first. Admittedly, when it was all happening, I had no idea what was going on. Looking back though, it makes a lot of sense.

Needless to say, I climbed another stair last week. The during part was pretty intense. I knew something was up when I lost my (usually voracious) appetite. At first, I thought this was a cue to juice fast. But I think my body had other things in mind. One thing I’ve learned over time is to submit to the elegant wisdom and to just try to support as much as possible. So, I rode the wave. This one had some pretty rough waters (nausea, chills, vomiting, supernaps, fatigue, bizarre skin eruptions, and you know the drill). But I’m feeling better now. My immune system has been kind of BEATEN DOWN until recently. I finally started getting normal numbers in the last month or so. Now it’s maybe strong enough to start cleaning house again. And I feel like I’ve finally knocked my CANDIDA infection into submission somewhat. I suspect that was what a lot of that episode was about. So I’m really focused on keeping it under control until I get my digestion in order. I’ve been on a ZERO SUGAR kick (no sweeteners, fruits, dates etc.). Strangely, it’s all happening very naturally and without much fussing. I haven’t had any difficult cravings. It just seems like what I’m supposed to do. To me, that is a sign that this is either an episode of the twilight zone or some kind of bizarre healing crisis!

kimchee
I’ve also been ADDICTED to this lately. Strangely, I HATED it until about a week ago. It’s the fermented kimchee at ECOPOLITAN (Minneapolis’ raw food restaurant).

tostada
I’ve been kind of splurging a little lately. My current kitchen is kind of small and being shared with a carnivore (NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT). I recently cleaned a huge puddle of rotten deli meat juice out of the vegetable drawer. So anyway, this is probably the most I’ve eaten at Ecopolitan in my entire life. Here is their tostada plate.

taco salad
The taco salad is great too.

pizza
I meant to take a picture of the sausage pizza, but umm…I was busy. I can honestly say that that was the only pizza I’ve ever liked (except maybe THIS one). It really tastes like sausage.

So, I guess you could say I had a bit of a breakthrough recently. On a lot of levels. I’ve been getting a steady stream of good news this week. More on that later…

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Shop Project: Alissa


March 30th, 2010

scarborough fair
Well, I’m back in Minnesota now. The last week of school was such a whirlwind that I’m trying to catch up now while I’m unpacking my new place. I had a number of big projects due the last week. One of them was my shop project (where you develop a few products to be sold in the shop). Mine was everyone’s favorite indulgences: CHEESE and CHOCOLATE.

chocolates
Here were some of my chocolate bars on the shelf in the SHOP.

jals
I developed three flavors of cheese: jalepeno cheddar, scarborough fair, and smoked.

molded
I molded the cheeses in a ring mold and chilled them to set the shape. For the smoked cheese, I gave it a pepper crust.

pepper crust
Next, they were placed in the dehydrator to form a bit of a rind on the outside. Like so.

scarborough fair
Here you can see the inside of a wheel of scarborough fair cheese (sage, rosemary, and thyme) with a little bit of a rind on the outside.

pouring molds
The chocolate was a little more complicated (and admittedly less successful). Here I am pouring my chocolate into the molds. The trick with chocolate is in the tempering.

crystals forming
Here you can see the crystals forming on the shiny wet surface of the chocolate.

solid
If all goes well, you end up with something that looks like this. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

bars
Here are some bars that I made. Well tempered chocolate should have a smooth, shiny surface that snaps when you break it. These were getting there.

bloom
This is an example of bloom. You can see a perfect shiny spot on the surface, but it’s unfortunately inconsistent. The rest is called bloom. Blooms can be caused by sugar or fat. I’m honestly not entirely sure what happened to this batch. It went through a lot of meltdowns before it got to this point.

shiny bar
This bar turned out a little more consistent, but not as shiny as the spot on the one above. Which means that I haven’t reached my true chocolate potential yet. I might have to save the rest of this experiment for later…

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Artisanal Cheeses


March 14th, 2010

blue cheese
Ladan has been GOING CRAZY lately making the most amazing cheeses. Lucky for us, we had a special class last week on making artisanal cheeses.

italian
Look at this Italian flavored wheel she made last week for a special event.

white cheddar
White cheddar anyone?

herbed
Herbed cheese. This one is really creamy on the inside.

plate
This is one of the plates that went to the special event.

peppercrust
Here are a few of my experiments…This one is a pepper crust.

jal cheddar
I also made a jalapeno cheddar wheel. I think my boyfriend will like this one.

smoked
The smoked cheese seemed to go over well with my co-workers. I think I’m going to be continuing this experiment into my SHOP PROJECT next week…

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