Homemold Chickpea Tempeh

And now for a short introduction on homemold… I mean homemade tempeh. I’m teaching a Fermentation Fridays class on May 10th where we’ll be making sourdough starter and tempeh, and since I already blogged on sourdough, I thought I would give a quick picture story of tempeh to whet your appetite! The following is chickpea tempeh.

The tempeh is a success - see the white Rhyzopus oligosporus?

The tempeh is a success – see the white Rhyzopus oligosporus?

There it is!

There it is!

Neat slices make it look more like what you're probably used to seeing at the store. The darker points are where the mold has begun to sporulate.

Neat slices make it look more like what you’re probably used to seeing at the store. The darker points are where the mold has begun to sporulate.

Too bad we ate all the sourdough bread, we could have had a delicious homemade tempeh reuben with sourdough, chickpea tempeh, kraut and garden-fresh greens. Time to whip up another starter!

All sauteed up! Too bad we ate all the sourdough bread; we could have had a delicious homemade tempeh reuben with sourdough, chickpea tempeh, kraut and garden-fresh greens. Time to whip up another starter!

If you’re in the Orlando area, I hope you can make it to my tempeh class May 10th. If you’re in the Groveland/Clermont area, keep an eye on my class calendar, as I’m planning a new slew of classes at the Food Forest for the upcoming months.

Introducing Fermentation Fridays!

I am so very honored and excited to announce that I’ll be teaching at another venue – The Florida School of Holistic Living! In April, we will begin the Fermentation Fridays series. It will be so perfect to relax into the weekend with a fun evening of  talking fermentation and making delicious aged foods. We’ll be making two new ferments during each class, and participants will get to take home samples of our mouth-watering creations! You can register for the classes through the School at their site. Make sure to bring your jars! See class descriptions below.

For the love of fermentation! Photo credit: Sherry Boas

For the love of fermentation! Photo credit: Sherry Boas

Vegetable Ferments: Sauerkraut and Kim chi, Friday, April 19th, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Become a master at the classic vegetable ferments – sauerkraut and kim chi! It’s not the canned, bland kraut you’ve seen at the store, and kim chi just might become your new favorite side dish. Fermenting foods adds flavor and eases digestibility, supplies probiotics, and preserves the harvest. Learn the benefits of traditional fermented foods and how to create them in your own kitchen. Bring two pint glass jars and lids and take home the kraut and kim chi we make in class.

My crock of homemade kim chi!

My crock of homemade kim chi!

Cooked Ferments: Tempeh and Sourdough, Friday, May 10th, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Learn to make fermented delights tempeh and sourdough! Store-bought tempeh will never taste the same again, and your homemade breads and crusts will pack a new flavor punch with sourdough. Fermenting foods adds flavor and eases digestibility, supplies probiotics, and preserves the harvest. Learn the benefits of these traditional fermented foods and how to create them in your own kitchen. Bring a pint glass jar and lid and take home some sourdough starter of your own.

Tempeh we made at my food fermentation apprenticeship with Sandor Katz.

Tempeh we made at my food fermentation apprenticeship with Sandor Katz.

Condiments to Savor: Fermented Pickles and Aged Hot Sauce, Friday, June 14th, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Spice up your dishes with delicious fermented condiments – fermented pickles and aged hot sauce. Many store-bought pickles aren’t fermented at all, but preserved in vinegar. You’ll learn how to make dill garlicky pickles the fermented way! All the best hot sauces are aged, and we’ll learn the techniques for making a savory, spicy treat. Bring a pint glass jars and and cup-sized jar and lids to take home the ferments you’ll create!

What will become aged hot sauce.

What will become aged hot sauce.

I hope to see you at one or more of these fun new classes, especially if you’re near the Orlando area. Don’t worry, we’ll still be doing classes at the Food Forest regularly, but it is fun to be able to teach at a new place and get the chance to meet new folks. Check out my class calendar to see the details on all of my upcoming classes!

Teaching My First Food Fermentation Class

Another dream came true this week. I finally taught my first food fermentation class! Held here at the Food Forest, we made kombucha tea, kim chi and aged hot sauce. With about twenty-five people in attendance, I was a bit nervous to begin, but once folks started talking a little, questions popped up, and before long I felt as though we were all friends learning together.

What a great crowd!

What a great crowd!

Ever since I did my first fermentation workshop/apprenticeship (of two) with Sandor Katz, I have wanted to share this knowledge and my ever-growing love of fermented foods and the culture that surrounds and is exuded by them. It seemed that I was always too busy, distracted or off on other adventures to do it. Finally, with the timing and setting ripe, it was easy to plan and execute, as well as being extremely gratifying. You know how it feels when you finally get to check a long-procrastinated item off of your list? This was like a life-goal check mark off my list! I feel so honored that the wonderful attendees were receptive to what I had to share and were willing to listen, ask questions and share their own experiences and knowledge. Thank  you to all who shared your presence; you are amazing!

Beginning the aged hot sauce.

Beginning the aged hot sauce.

And the best part… I have already planned fermentation class number two! March 23rd (my younger brother’s birthday) it will be sauerkraut, sourdough and fermented pickles. I hope to see some familiar and some new faces then, and I can’t wait for the new insights you share with me that day.

Photo credit: Liane Brust. Thank you for all your awesome help!

Photo credit: Liane Brust. Thank you for all your awesome help!

Winter Park Urban Farm Work & Learn, Massaged Kale Salad Take Two

I had a great time last Thursday leading a group of gardeners and veggie-lovers in making a raw massaged kale salad at the Winter Park Urban Farm. Judging by the “mmm”s and compliments to the meal, I’d say it was a success! I loved getting my hands dirty pulling weeds, harvesting vegetables and massaging kale for our meal; however, I think my favorite part was meeting all of the wonderful folks that attended! Here is what we did:

  1. Harvest or purchase fresh local kale. We used red Russian, but any variety will do.
Siberian kale from The Food Forest.

Siberian kale at The Food Forest.

2. Inspect for creepy crawlies or do a quick rinse.
3. Roll leaves “burrito style” and chop at an angle to get small pieces.
4. Add leaves to a large bowl, drizzle with olive liquid (the juice in your jar of olives). Alternatively, you could use olive oil and salt.
5. Massage! Really squeeze those veggies to get the cell walls broken and a wilted texture.
6. Add any other chopped veggies you’d like. We added carrots, snow peas, garlic chives, basil, rosemary, nasturtium, and probably much more. 
7. You can also make a dressing. I like tahini, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and mustard all mixed or blended together.
8. We then wrapped our massaged salad in a large kale leaf to eat as a wrap. You can also use a whole wheat flour or corn tortilla as a wrap.
Winter Park Urban Farmers and guests creating a delicious massaged kale salad wrap.

Winter Park Urban Farmers and guests creating a delicious massaged kale salad wrap.        Photo credit: Jennifer Moon

Thank you for having me Winter Park Urban Farm, and I’m looking forward to our next work and learn on March 14!

Massaged Kale Salad

With the bounty flowing from our garden this time of year (one thing to appreciate about Florida-living), I can’t help but enjoy delicious salads daily. I posted on my Facebook last night “Kale: It’s what’s for dinner” and it was!

Homegrown massaged kale salad.

Homegrown massaged kale salad.

An old friend asked me for some kale recipe suggestions. There are lots of great ways to enjoy kale: finely chopped in salads, juiced, steamed with garlic, in a fruit smoothie. However, my favorite way to eat kale is massaged. Kale is a bit tough, and the variety that I harvested from my garden last night, Siberian kale, is a bit prickly, so massaging is a way of giving the kale a wilted effect while still enjoying it raw. What began last night as an overflowing harvest of kale became, after some massaging, a healthy serving for my partner and I. He created a homemade dressing using tangelo juice, tahini, garlic, grated kumquat, olive juice, apple cider vinegar, and agave nectar.

The garden: arugula, kale and lettuce, and broccoli beyond.

The garden: arugula, kale and lettuce, and broccoli and red Russian kale beyond.

A close up of the vibrant lettuce and prickly kale.

A close up of the vibrant lettuce and prickly kale behind.

On to the recipe!

1. Wash and finely chop kale. I’ve found the easiest and quickest way to chop leafy vegetables is to grab a large handful and roll them in a cylindrical bundle the best you can. Then begin slicing finely from one end the the other. I found this youtube video which shows very nicely what to do; although, you don’t have to be as precise as he is in the video.

2. Add some kind of salt to the kale. You can use dressing, olive juice, sea salt, soy sauce, etc. Add it slowly a little at a time to taste until you get a feel for how much you need. You don’t want your salad to turn out too salty. Take into account the salt content of any dressing you plan to add.  The salt will help break down the cell walls of the kale to make it easier to wilt.

3. Begin massaging. With clean hands, dig into the kale, squeezing and massaging. It only takes a few minutes to become nicely wilted.

4. Finish salad. That’s your basic massaged kale salad. Add any other toppings you’d like such as lettuce, olives, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, etc. I like to add crispy greens to go with it like lettuce, arugula, or bok choy to make it a more crunchy salad.


Crockin’ Kimchi!

I calculated I’ve been a food fermenter for roughly six years now. For some time, I’ve had my thrifting eye on the lookout for a ceramic crock for making sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, kombucha or anything else you can ferment in a large ceramic vat. I’ve spotted them at antique stores, for which they charge a pretty penny, much out the range of my frugal budget. Well, my maternal grandma came for a visit last weekend, and what did she bring but the most perfect crock ever for me! I tried to contain my excitement as I helped unload it from her car, not wanting to assume that it was for me. As an “Oooh” came from my mom, my grandma told me she had found it for me.

My new baby!

My new baby!

After visiting the huge Asian market in Orlando Monday night, I was equipped to make some traditional kimchi, a first for me. I usually make a “kraut-chi,” a term coined by fermentation author, Sandor Katz, which is a blend of whatever vegetables and spices you desire and have available. It doesn’t have to “fit any homogeneous traditional ideal of either German sauerkraut or Korean kimchi… my practice is a rather free-form application of these basic techniques rather than an attempt to reproduce any particular notion of authenticity,” says Katz in his new book The Art of Fermentation.

The biggest kraut-chi batch we've made!

The biggest kraut-chi batch we’ve made!

So, on a very hungry aforementioned trip to the Asian market, I saw these beautiful jars of colorful kimchi, remembered a Richmond friend’s tasty recipe, and decided I needed to get the ingredients to make my own. I bought Napa cabbage, a daikon radish, two onions, and fresh ginger. I already had at home the other ingredients: garlic, hot chili peppers from the garden, carros, and sea salt. I followed the recipe in Sandor’s first book Wild Fermentation. First I made a brine of four cups water and four tablespoons salt. I washed and pulled apart the cabbage, used the mandolin to slice the daikon, carrot and onions and put them in the brine to soak overnight. Then this morning, I drained off the brine and added the ginger, garlic and chili peppers, all finely sliced. I transferred the whole mixture to the crock and added some of the extra brine to bring the liquid level up to the surface.


Kimchi mixture in crock.

You want enough liquid so that when you push a plate into the crock, the brine rises above the surface. See photo below:

Plate and jar weight method.

Plate and jar weight method.

I draped a dish towel over it all to keep out dust, kitty hair or any interested flying things. Now, as Tom Petty says, is the hardest part, waiting. The yummy fermentation smells coming from the kitchen already make it difficult. Luckily we still have about half of the kraut-chi left!

Sounds Like Adventure

Journal Entry 5-30-2012:

As I sit by my campfire alone in the fields, though I am sweaty, dirty and plagued by stinging insects, I feel so grateful. A deep sense of satisfaction and a sleepiness after a long day’s work fill me up. The crackle of the fire and birds’ day-end songs are music to my too-long-silent ears. It took quite a few nights for me to adjust to the wild nightly sounds of the outdoors and sleep soundly. Hard day’s work don’t hurt either. Coming out here has caused me to confront and conquer many of my fears: more aloneness, creepy crawlies, new people and situations. Although, truthfully, many of those fears were transferred to me by others.

coconut on top

Above you see sauteed fresh farm food! We wwoofers joke that all our dishes taste the same: random sauteed seasonal veggies, soy sauce, garlic, onion, and probably some Sriracha. It’s all delicious though! I sprinkled some coconut on top of this one with some Thai basil from our garden for a little Eastern flavor. The fresh vegetables are so delicious, a different animal than what you can find in the store. They are picked literally minutes before consumption by me!

Vegan Gluten-Free Banana Walnut Coconut Pancakes

These vegan gluten-free banana walnut coconut pancakes are DELISH!

Start with homegrown bananas…

Mix buckwheaties and oats in the blender to make a gluten-free flour. Add bananas, hand-crushed walnuts, non-sweetened shredded coconut, coconut oil, molasses, vanilla, and enough water to achieve batter consistency.

Pan fry in coconut oil. I found it helpful to make smaller sized pancakes with this recipe. Whenever I make pancakes, I remember making them as a kid for my family (from Bisquick, no less) and my mom scolding me because I pressed them flat with the spatula. “I like my pancakes fluffy,” she chastised. Well Mom, unfortunately, with this recipe, you must squish. It was difficult to get the middle cooked through without the outsides getting burned no matter how low the heat. So squish away!

They turned out marvelous: nutty and sweet and stuck together well. I topped them with more walnuts, coconut and a little syrup.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Sprouted Buckwheat Pancakes

One of the last meals that I made in my Richmond apartment was buckwheatie pancakes. Buckwheaties, as I know them, are sprouted dehydrated buckwheat groats. I don’t have a dehydrator, so after sprouting, I just spread them on my stoneware pie pan and let them sit on the windowsill in the sun for a few days. They’re usually pretty dry after one or two long, sunny days, but if you want to store them, you want to make sure they are thoroughly dry.

And, I know it kind of defeats the purpose of buckwheaties being a raw food, but I really wanted to make them into sprouted buckwheat pancakes. Plus, sprouting grains and seeds makes them more easily digestible. I ground the dry buckwheaties in my blender, then added some all-purpose flour, baking powder, molasses, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a bowl. I used coconut oil to fry the pancakes. Dipped in maple syrup, they were the perfect tasty high-protein finger food throughout the day full of the duties that come with moving: packing, lifting boxes and scrubbing.

Sprouted Buckwheat Pancakes

End of the Cleanse

The final day of the Cleanse America event was on Wednesday, and I made it through the end! Before beginning, I thought that the hardest part would be bringing enough raw food to work with me to last me the whole day. But, as I mentioned before, the raw week I did before the 10-day cleanse boosted my confidence and know-how, and I think really prepared me for a longer period of rawness. I felt good up to the end, and even considered extending my raw diet for… two weeks?… a month?…

Well, due to the fact that it was my LAST DAY at my public health office job on Thursday, my wonderful coworkers decided to present me with a beautiful cake! Thursday being the first official non-raw day,  I had to partake. The sugary cake must have been quite a shock to my body after 10 days of living foods!

I have to admit, I was pretty happy to see my usual breakfast of oatmeal with tons of toppings on Thursday morning:

I did bring a raw lunch with me to work on Thursday, a recipe I created: Broccoli and “Cheese” (a mixture of Bragg’s liquid aminos, nutritional yeast, water and garlic powder).

Now, with birthday and departure festivities coming to a close, I am seeking a healthy balance in my diet. I don’t know that exclusive raw food is possible for me in the long-term; although, I think I could do it if I could slowly learn more recipes for my raw repertoire. I feel like my body is ready for a “building” period of wholesome mixture cooked and raw. Plus, I have some delicious Twin Oaks tofu to eat up before I roll out of town on Tuesday. Destination: Jacksonville, FL.

While I didn’t notice much physical change throughout the raw period, I have to trust it was a good cleanse and resting period for my body. I didn’t have a terrible healing crises or a lack of energy, I didn’t have any miraculous changes either.