Affairs of Living

Gluten-free, allergy-friendly, whole foods recipes

Recent Posts

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner

Site Search
Subscribe

Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

Free Shipping on Vitamix

The Vitamix is my favorite kitchen tool for blending perfectly smooth sauces and smoothies, making my own nut and seed butters, grinding fresh gluten-free flours, and more. Interested in purchasing one? Check out the great deals on reconditioned Vitamix machines, or investigate new Vitamix machine packages. Payment plans are available!

Receive FREE SHIPPING to the US and Canada when you order a Vitamix with my affiliate code 06-004943. 

Save at iherb.com

Save $5 on your first order from iHerb.com with coupon code QAB040.  Visit iHerb.com now to browse natural products and supplements. 

Love it here?

                                

Entries in Recipes: Lacto-Fermented/Cultured Foods (18)

Wednesday
Nov112009

Raw Sauerkraut Salad Dressing (vinegar free, raw, vegan, gluten free, low fat, ACD friendly)

 

Sauerkraut?  In salad dressing?

Come on, don't judge, just go with it.

Let's take a step back for a minute.  Suppose you don't tolerate vinegar, or can't eat it because you're on the ACD.   Store bought vinegar free salad dressing is often hard to find, and in my opinion doesn't really taste all that great.  Sure, you can make your own dressings using lemon juice instead, but what if you also can't eat citrus (like me!)?  Now it is doubly hard to dress a salad.  How does someone make a vinegar free, citrus free dressing that still tastes tart and tangy? What's a vinegar free, citrus free person to do?

One solution?  Sauerkraut, baby!

Sauerkraut provides an awesome base for a vinegar free, citrus free salad dressing!  Since it has a naturally tart and tangy flavor, it makes a great substitute.   I added a bunch of fresh and dried herbs and a little garlic for kick, and ended up with something truly inspired.  And not only will this dressing liven up your greens, it also packs an awesome nutritional punch.  Like all lacto-fermented foods, raw sauerkraut is full of healthy lactobactilli bacteria, good for strengthening the immune system and restoring proper flora in the gut.  Garlic is a powerful detoxifying and naturally anti-bacterial food, and parsley is an amazing source of vitamin A and polyphenols.  If you want to, throw in a little heart-healthy, omega-packed oil like olive, flax, or hempseed.

Packed with nutrients, über-cleansing for your body, and full of flavor, this salad dressing is sure to become a favorite.  Plus, it is bright green and fun to look at.

So make a batch, get some greens, and eat up.  Or add slightly less water so it is thicker, and use as a vegetable dip.  Detoxifying never tasted so delicious!

NOTE: Sauerkraut and other fermented foods are a touchy issue for Candida.  Some people dealing with Candida don't tolerate fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, while many other people do.  Many ACD plans(like The Body Ecology Diet) encourage the use of lacto-fermented vegetables, kefir, and other cultured foods, while other diet plans do not.  Use your best judgement and consult with your healthcare provider if you have concerns regarding the consumption of fermented vegetables during your ACD.

RAW SAUERKRAUT SALAD DRESSING 

yield 2 cups

1 c raw sauerkraut, packed
1 - 1 1/2 c water, to reach desired consistency
1 garlic clove
a couple small handfuls fresh parsley
fresh or dry dill, to taste
fresh or dry basil, to taste
fresh or dry chives, to taste
other herbs, as desired
optional: 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, or hemp oil

Place all ingredients in a blender, starting with a small amount of herbs, and blend until totally smooth.  
Add more herbs to taste as desired.  If necessary, add more water to reach desired consistency.
Serve immediately, and refrigerate leftovers.  Should keep about 7 days in the refrigerator.  If using dried herbs and omitting garlic, this should keep for a REALLY long time.

VARIATIONS/IDEAS:
Omit the herbs and try one of these variations - I haven't tried any these, I'm just brainstorming for you  : )
  • add sesame oil, ginger, and chili flakes
  • add a blob of nut or seed butter
  • use kimchee instead of sauerkraut for a spicy version
  • add miso paste
  • add spinach or kale along with the herbs
  • add curry powder and cilantro
  • other ideas?  let me know what you try!

 

Sunday
Nov082009

Lacto-Fermented Cauliflower, Two Ways: Dilled Cauliflower "Pickles" and Autumn Harvest Cultured Salad (gluten free, vegan)

 


I really love cauliflower.  But for years, I didn't eat it.  Why?  The Blood Type Diet says I'm not supposed to, and it made me put aside my cauliflower loving ways.  When I first jumped on the Blood Type Diet bandwagon a few years ago, I put aside lots and lots of foods I loved.  Reading Dr. Peter D'Adamo's words me a bit hesitant to chow down on this fine member of the crucifer family, among many other fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats.  I avoided them all like the plague.  But then I developed allergies and a range of sensitivities to a lot of those O-beneficial foods I ate regularly (like sweet potatoes, green beans, asparagus, soy, pumpkin, walnuts, tomato, pineapple, the list goes on and on and on).

 

For about 5 months last year I kept a strict 4 day allergy rotation, anti-Candida, O blood type diet and I went absolutely out of my mind.  I hardly had anything to eat.  I think the stress and challenge of trying to live within such a limiting framework was more damaging to my body, mind, and spirit than an occasional serving of those supposed "no-no" foods.  After having food-related nervous breakdowns and being told I was literally malnourished at my first visit to the naturopath, I finally decided to expand my repetoire.  All the foods I wouldn't touch anymore once when I started playing with the Blood Type Diet suddenly became the foods I had to rely on, for nourishment and sanity.  Thank goodness I had avoided them for years; that is probably why I hadn't developed allergies to them like all the other foods I ate all the time!

So, I started gradually started working them into my diet, because let's be honest, a girl's gotta eat something.  And interestingly enough, I started feeling better.  Hmn.

Truth be told, I still feel some hesitation each time I dig my fork into a tender Brussel sprout or greedily lick cashew butter off a spoon.   Sure, I do put some stock into what Dr. Peter D'Adamo has to say and his overall assertion, and have found much of it to ring true for me and my body.  I AM healthier as a meat eater, and I DO have intolerances to wheat, corn, oranges, kidney beans, pinto beans, and eggplant, for example.   I just don't necessarily buy in to the whole kit and kaboodle, and think it is impossible to say that one plan will be the silver bullet for everyone.

Maybe sometime soon I'll cut back on the foods that good old Dr. D'Adamo says I shouldn't eat, and see how I feel - maybe things will improve immediately, and perhaps those foods are holding me back from healing fully.  Or maybe not?  Who knows.  One thing is certain: I think there are major holes in Dr. D'Adamo's argument.  I'd like to ask him why I'm so freakishly allergic to pineapple and walnuts if those are supposed to act like medicine to my type O system.  Similarly, why are there lots of healthy vegan type O people out there, and lots of healthy red-meat eating type As?  Why, Peter, why?  I want to know what he has to say.   Unfortunately, I'm not willing to travel to Connecticut to talk with him myself.

Anyway, I'm really going crazy here and playing with gastronomic fire.  I'm pulling out the cauliflower, a supposed major metabolic inhibitor for type-O folks like myself.  Danger!
Yes, in a wildly reckless dietary move, I graciously accepted two lovely heads of cauliflower from work.  I don't know what I was thinking, because even for the most dedicated cauliflower eater, two heads is a whole lot of cauliflower.  But it was leftover from a food photo shoot, and would just go to waste if someone didn't take it home.  And since I never eat the daily catered lunches, I make it a personal rule to always take leftover vegetables.  I deserve those vegetables.  And they deserve a good home.  Anyway, I made soup with some and steamed more for a vegetable-rice thing, and I still had only made it through about 1/2 of the first head.
Dang.
So, I did what I always do when I have too many fresh vegetables to eat:  FERMENTATION TIME!  Making sauerkraut or cultured veggies is the perfect option when you have an over-abundance of fresh vegetables.  I hadn't pickled cauliflower in a while, so I thought it was a great opportunity.  I chose to make a dilly cauliflower pickle and a cultured "salad" of cauliflower, crispy apple, carrot, and scallions.  Both were great - cauliflower is much more exciting to eat after it has been sitting in salty brine, that's for sure.  I really love the dilled cauliflower pickles, they are garlicky and addictive. The cultured salad is nice too, it has a good crunch and a good sweet-salty flavor.  I chose not to add spices to that one and just leave it naked, but a bit of grated ginger and a few coriander seeds would really be good, so I'm gonna suggest those as optional ingredients.

 

Wondering how to eat your cultured veggies?  Here's a few ideas:

  • Add to stir fries, curries, or vegetable sautes
  • Quick meal or appetizer: flatbread/crackers/rice cake/tortilla/raw flax cracker + bean dip/cashew or almond cream/pesto + spoonful diced cultured veggies. It's kind of like bruschetta!
  • Add to fresh salsas or chutneys
  • Use as a vegetable side dish to a protein dish like beans, meats, poultry, or fish
  • Puree into a quick sauce or dressing for vegetables or grains (I love doing this!)
  • Add to wraps - I love putting cultured vegetables with meat or beans/rice and some sprouts in to a collard leaf.  Yum!
  • Add to greens, bean, grain, or meat salads, here's a few ideas off the top of my head for the cauliflower pickles and Autumn Harvest Salad
    • Shredded kale, cooked quinoa, diced cauliflower pickle, chopped cucumber, and toasted sunflower seeds
    • Mix diced chicken breast or white beans, a scoop of Fall Harvest Salad, chopped celery, handful raisins or currants, thyme, a blob of mustard, and a little olive oil together, and serve in lettuce leaves, wraps, or on your favorite GF bread.  Whoa, that sounds really good, I'll be trying that, ASAP.
    • Salad greens, steamed green beans, cauliflower pickle, pickled or steamed beet slices, olive-oil packed tuna
  • Add to sushi rolls or onigiri - sauerkraut is awesome wrapped in nori and rice, seriously.
  • Eat as is, from the jar (my favorite - just use a clean fork each time!)
How do you like to eat your cultured veggies?  Leave me a note, and let me know!
READY, SET, FERMENT!

 

Sorry, I don't have any photos - I wrote up this post a long time ago, and forgot to take pictures.  Now the cauliflower pickles are all eaten up!  I still have one serving of the cultured salad, but my camera is having some technical difficulties, so no photo.  Use your imagination!  It looks like cauliflower, in a jar.  The cultured salad looks like cauliflower and a bunch of other veg, in a jar.   :)  

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

VINEGAR-FREE, LACTO-FERMENTED DILLED CAULIFLOWER PICKLES (gluten free, vegan, raw)

 

yield 1 quart

3 cups cauliflower, cut into chunks
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon dry dill
3-4 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons sea salt
2-3 cups filtered water

 

  1. Scald a jar or wash with very hot, soapy water.
  2. Wash cauliflower very well, and cut into chunks.  
  3. Crush garlic clove, and add to jar with spices.  Add cauliflower, pressing down firmly into jar so chunks are tightly packed, leaving 1" space at the top of the jar.
  4. Dissolve salt in 2 c of water, and add to jar.  Add additional water as necessary to cover vegetables.  Leave 1" space at the top of the jar.
  5. Let sit 3-5 days at room temperature, in a cool place away from the sun, on a place or saucer to catch leaks.  I let mine sit for 4 days in a room temp of about 68*, in warmer temps 3 days is usually enough.  Try them and see if they have a good pickly flavor.  If you want a stronger flavor, leave them out longer, up to 7 days depending on the temperature.  Just a warning: when you open the jar, it is likely to fizz and bubble over, so open over the sink.
  6. After it sits, transfer to fridge.  I think cultured veggies improve with age, properly cultured vegetables will keep for up to 8 months.  If your vegetables start to get slimy, change color, or just seem funky, toss them out.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

AUTUMN HARVEST CULTURED SALAD (gluten free, vegan, raw)

 

yield 1 quart

Watching your sugars?  Don't worry about the apple in this salad - according to Donna Gates, Body Ecology Diet expert, the sugars in cultured apples get eaten up during the fermentation process. In fact, she suggests using apples in cultured recipes even during Candida treatment.  Taking a queue from her, I added one to this mix; it adds a nice hint of tart/sweet flavor that compliments the other flavors well.  Trust your own intuition and tolerances; choose to include it or leave it out!

1 organic apple, diced
1 c cauliflower florets
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
optional: grated ginger and 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
2 T sea salt
2 c water

*optional: add chopped beets, finely chopped cabbage, chopped kohlrabi, or other vegetables in place of any of the above ingredients

 

  1. Scald a jar or wash with very hot, soapy water.
  2. Wash vegetables well, and prepare as noted above.  Mix together in a large bowl, with grated ginger if you are including it.
  3. Add coriander seeds (if using) and vegetable mixture to jar, pressing down firmly as you add so chunks are tightly packed, leaving 1" space at the top of the jar.
  4. Dissolve salt in 1 c of water, and add to jar.  Add additional water as necessary to cover vegetables.  Leave 1" space at the top of the jar.
  5. Let sit 3-5 days at room temperature, in a cool place away from the sun, on a place or saucer to catch leaks.  I let mine sit for 4 days in a room temp of about 68*, in warmer temps 3 days is usually enough.Try them and see if they have a good pickly flavor.  If you want a stronger flavor, leave them out longer, up to 7 days depending on the temperature. Just a warning: when you open the jar, it is likely to fizz and bubble over, so open over the sink.
  6. After it sits, transfer to fridge.  I think cultured veggies improve with age, properly cultured vegetables will keep for up to 8 months.  If your vegetables start to get slimy, change color, or just seem funky, toss them out.
[photo at top of post from http://www.freefoto.com/preview/09-11-15?ffid=09-11-15&k=Cauliflower]

 

Saturday
Jun272009

Cultured Vegetables: Pickled Kohlrabi Spears with Dill and Caraway (gluten free, raw, vegan, ACD)

I adore kohlrabi. After leaving the farmer's market with a bag full of it last week, I thought pickling some would be fun. I wanted something like dill pickles, so I cut the kohlrabi into spears/sticks, and flavored them with dill weed, dill seeds, and caraway seeds. They turned out marvelously - crisp, salty, and full of dill and caraway goodness. My dad is in town visiting this weekend, and he also gives them a big thumbs up. He was a little hesitant to try them after seeing all the carbonation and crazy foam explode from my jar when I opened it. After his first bite, however, he was quickly converted to a homemade kohlrabi pickle fan, and asked for more.

Since it is so hot, and my apartment is about 75*-80*, I let my kohlrabi sit out for about 2 1/2 days instead of 3-4. I've read that 70* is the perfect temperature for fermentation, so temps hotter or cooler than this will alter the rate at which it ferments. I think 2 1/2 days was a good choice!

As soon as my garden yields enough cucumbers, I plan on making real pickles. But until then, kohlrabi pickles will be a great substitute! I will be making these again. Nothing is easier - if you can cut vegetables, fill a jar, and let something sit on the counter for a few days, you can pickle your own vegetables.
VINEGAR FREE, LACTO-FERMENTED PICKLED KOHLRABI SPEARS WITH DILL AND CARAWAY (gluten free, raw, vegan)
yield 1 qt
2 large kohlrabi bulbs
2 T salt
many sprigs of fresh dill
1 tsp dill seed
1 tsp caraway seed
1-1 1/2 c water
  1. Wash and peel kohlrabi well, then slice into long sticks about 1/4" x 1/4". Sneak a few of them raw and enjoy how delicious and crunchy kohlrabi is!
  2. Put sticks in jar, layering with dill, dill seed, and dill weed. As you are putting them in jar, press down lightly with a wooden spoon, and continue filling until there is about 1" between kohlrabi and top of jar.
  3. Mix together salt and water, and pour over kohlrabi until covered, leaving 1" at the top. Cover tightly.
  4. Let sit out at room temperature (around 65* -70* F) for about 3 days. Temperatures hotter than this will make things ferment more quickly, cooler temps will make for slower fermentation. So, follow your intuition. Transfer to cold storage after fermenting.
  5. Can be eaten immediately, or kept for up to 8 months in the refrigerator. Gets better with age!

 

Wednesday
Jun242009

Cultured Vegetables: "Red Sea" Sauerkraut, Pickled Pearl Onions, Pickled Beets (gluten free, vegan, raw, ACD)

More lacto-fermented fun!  I was so happy with my last batches of cultured veggies I had to do more.  I've been compiling this post for a while, and am finally getting around to posting it. I am following the basic proportions and techniques from Nourishing Traditions, with the exception of the whey - I haven't yet gotten around to straining out yogurt or kefir to get whey to use in the recipes, as Sally recommends in the book.  So, as suggested, I am using extra salt instead.  Next time, I'd like to try the whey and see what kind of difference, if any, it seems to make.  
I'm really pleased with how all of these turned out, and I'm excited for them all to mature and continue to get tastier and tastier.  As you can see from the photos above, and the ones that follow, I've already dug into these!  I also made more pickled brussels sprouts, this time flavored with sprigs of fresh tarragon instead of spices, and they were delicious.  For a recipe for making pickled brussels sprouts, check out this post:  Cultured Vegetables: Pickled Turnips and Beets, and Pickled Brussels Sprouts 
Enjoy!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
VINEGAR FREE, LACTO-FERMENTED "RED SEA" SAUERKRAUT (gluten free, vegan)

I call this my "Red Sea"  Sauerkraut.  Why?  Because this naturally cultured  sauerkraut is a blend of red cabbage and a trio of tasty seaweeds (wakame, hijiki, and dulse).  Together, they combine to make a vibrant red sauerkraut that is spiked with loads of nutrition from the sea and lots of good bacteria. Red cabbage and seaweed were made for each other!   Hooray for seaweed sauerkraut, more lacto-fermented fun, and corny, punny recipe names.  
While each of these sea vegetables is delicious on its own, when combined, they add fun texture and an impressive list of health benefits.  If for some reason you are a bit squeamish about introducing sea vegetables into your diet, this is an easy, tasty way to do it.  Sea vegetables offer unique nutritional benefits that are incomparable to other foods, because they absorb minerals found in the sea.  Plus, they a high amount of iodine, a mineral that is often hard to come by in many other foods.  Here are some of the fabulous things sea vegetables have to offer:
  • Lots of nutrients: iodine, vitamin K, iron, calcium, magnesium, and many other minerals
  • Good source of folate and high in fiber
  • Naturally anti-microbial and regulating to gut bacteria
  • Supports healthy thyroid function, kidneys
  • Healthy, flavorful substitute for salt in recipes
I let mine ferment for four days, and it has now been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks.    Even in that time, it has  started to smell and taste more "sauerkraut"-y.  I adjusted the recipe so it should only make 1 qt - I ended up with a 1 qt, 1 pint, and a little leftover...LOTS of sauerkraut.
"RED SEA" SAUERKRAUT RECIPE
yield: 32 oz (4 cups/1 qt) 
2 small or 1 large red cabbage, organic if possible
2 T dry wakame
2 T dry hijiki
2 T dry dulse flakes
2 T salt
  1. Wash cabbage well and remove outer leaves.  
  2. Core cabbage with a sharp knife, and thinly slice/shred cabbage, using lots of patience and that sharp knife, or a food processor. 
  3. Place wakame and hijiki in a bowl with water to rehydrate, for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Place cabbage in large bowl with salt, stir to mix, and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Squeeze cabbage with clean hands or pound with a wooden spoon/mallet until cabbage is softened and juicy.  This is an important step, don't give up!
  6. Drain and rinse seaweed.  Add to cabbage, along with dulse flakes.  Stir to mix evenly.
  7. Place a handful of cabbage in a clean, sterilized wide mouth 1 qt jar (or two 1 pint jars). Press down with your fist or a mallet firmly. Add more cabbage, press.  Continue until all the cabbage is gone or until you are about 1 inch from the top of the jar. It will be juicy and messy!
  8. Screw the top on firmly, and let sit out at room temperature for 3-4 days.  Make sure to put jars in a tray or plate to catch leaks and drips - purple rings will stain counters!
  9. After fermenting, transfer to cold storage.  
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

VINEGAR FREE, LACTO-FERMENTED PICKLED SPICED PEARL ONIONS (vegan, gluten free, raw)
I had been wanting to try pickling pearl onions, but never think to buy them; I figured I'd wait until I could get a bunch at the farmers market.  When a leftover bag of pearl onions was up for grabs after a photo shoot ended at work, I jumped at the opportunity to take them home with me.  Into the pickling jar they went!  This recipe is inspired by Sally Fallon's recipe, but I switched around the seasonings to fit with my allergies and what I had in my pantry.  I let it ferment for three days, and it is now in my fridge.  I threw a few on my salad for lunch today and they were awesome!
PICKLED PEARL ONION RECIPE

adapted from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions

yield: 1 pint (16 oz/2 cups)
10-12 oz pearl onions
1 tsp black peppercorns
5 whole allspice berries
a few sprigs fresh tarragon
1 T salt
1/2 c water
  1. Blanch pearl onions in boiling water for about 10-20 seconds to help remove skins.  Rinse with cold water, and peel.
  2. Pack whole onions into jar with spices and tarragon, pressing down lightly.  Dissolve salt in water, and pour over onions. There should be about 1" of space between top of water/veggies and jar lid.  
  3. Close tightly, and let sit at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.  Can be eaten right away, but becomes tastier with age; will keep for up to 8 months in refrigerator.  
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

VINEGAR FREE, LACTO-FERMENTED PICKLED BEETS (vegan, gluten free)
I'm going to ramble on here for a bit about Norwegian stuff.  If you just want the recipe, page down.  If you want a story, read on.
One of things I learned in college is that I love pickled beets. My alma mater, Luther College in Decorah, IA, has a very strong Norwegian heritage.  Each Sunday one of the dining halls had a special brunch.  Whenever I went, I would inevitebly leave the buffet line with half my plate full of pickled beets rolled up in fresh lefse.  Other Scandinavian foods like pickled herring and lutefisk also found their way into our college food service kitchens - but never to my plate.   All I wanted was the pickled beets and lefse (I was a dedicated vegetarian at the time anyway).  I loved the sweet and salty beets, bitey and deep scarlet, especially when wrapped up in a fresh piece of tender lefse.   

Lefse is basically the Norwegian tortilla - a paper thin, round, flat bread of made of potato, butter, flour, and water, cooked on a griddle and flipped with a big, flat stick.  As with most traditional foods, there is a serious technique to make making good lefse.  Bad lefse - most found in grocery stores - is like pasty junk.  But good, fresh lefse melts in your mouth like nothing else on earth.  Especially if eaten warm, and spread with butter and sugar, like the old folks do.  I always liked mine spread with lingonberry jam, drizzled with maple syrup and butter, or stuffed with savory things like Swedish meatballs or sausage. Or beets. 
A cute little Norwegian woman makes fresh lefse by hand and sells it at the local co-op.  And at Nordic Fest, Decorah's annual summer festival of all things Norwegian, fresh lefse is made all day long and sold on the street.  For a couple dollars you get a huge round of lefse and have your choice of toppings. People wait in long lines for it, the way that people wait for corn dogs at normal carnivals.   Nordic Fest is really fun, if you're into Norwegian stuff - you can watch Norwegian dancing, see the parade, visit Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum, participate in other fun Norwegian activites, and try a variety of other crazy Norwegian delicacies.   I remember one particularly rough Nordic Fest a few years back when I tried a little cup of rommegrot. Rommegrot is a thick, rich porridge made of wheat flour, sugar, butter, and milk, served warm with melted butter and sugar on top (I'm not kidding).   Norwegian immigrants ate rommegrot with coffee for dinner during the cold, long winters on prairie.  I'm not sure what self-destructive sort of curiosity compelled me to try it, because even then I knew it was a risky choice.  After eating my little cup  - which was delicious, I have to admit - I thought I was going to die.  Rommegrot + 95* weather + my digestive system = pure hell.  
In short, most Norwegian food is not friendly to the gluten, sugar, or dairy intolerant.  I have often wondered if  gluten free lefse would be possible, but I just don't think it is; the gluten is what MAKES the tenderness of the lefse possible.  I fear any GF replication would just be a sad, disappointing experience; I think lefse now exists in memory alone.
On the plus side, do you know what Norwegian treat is totally okay for us to eat?  Pickled beets, baby, that's what.  So let's get on with it.  Let's talk beets.  This is post about beets, not lefse or rommegrot.  I had been eyeing up Sally's Pickled Beet recipe for quite some time.  Instead of using raw vegetables like most of the other cultured veggie recipes in the book, like the recipe for Pickled Turnips and Beets (YUM!), her recipe uses roasted beets.  If you've never roasted beets, you must try it.  Roasting really concentrates the sweetness; roasted beets win over even the staunchest of anti-beet individuals.  Leave the skin on, poke them a few times, and put them in the oven.  Magic!  The skin peels right off once they are done.  Then your beets can be served up as is, used in soups, salads, or other entrees, or used for this tasty recipe.  
So, try them out.  You'll feel just like a Norwegian grandmother. They are delicious, and remarkably easy. The deep, sweet flavor of the roasted beets is accentuated with a hint of cardamom and offset by the salty pickly quality.   The water turned into a thick, salty sweet goo, and the beets are the most beautiful deep garnet color you can ever imagine. Yeah, I know that this photo doesn't look completely appetizing, but I promise you, they are good.  I let them ferment for three days, and then transferred to the fridge. In fact, as I write this, I am enjoying them in a salad with romaine, fresh snap peas, amaranth, fresh dill, and a drizzle of olive oil and kefir.  It is delicious.  And the beets keep getting better each time I eat them!
PICKLED BEETS RECIPE
adapted from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions

yield: 1 quart (32 oz/4 c)
12 medium beets (I used about 4 large beets)
seeds from 3 cardamom pods
2 T salt
1 c water

  1. Prick beets in several places, place on a cookie sheet or in a large roasting pan.  Sally's recipe calls for baking at 300º for about 3 hours, or until soft. I didn't have that kind of time - I baked at 425* for about an hour, with tin foil over the pan.  
  2. Once beets are soft, let cool slightly. Peel (run under cold water, and skins come right off!), and cut into a ¼-inch julienne. (Do not grate or cut beets with a food processor—this releases too much juice and the fermentation process will proceed too quickly, so that it favors formation of alcohol rather than lactic-acid.) 
  3. Place beets in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down lightly with a wooden pounder or meat hammer. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over beets, adding more water if necessary to cover the beets. The top of the beets should be at least 1” below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

 

Saturday
May162009

Cultured Vegetables: Pickled Turnips and Beets, and Pickled Brussels Sprouts (gluten free, raw, vegan, ACD)


I've been meaning to post this recipe for months!  After having my "Let's Make Sauerkraut" party, I tried out a few different recipes for raw cultured vegetables.  This is the one I have been most happy with, so I want to share it.  I absolutely adore both turnips and beets in all forms, and this recipe is a great way to use them together; it is from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions.  I made these about 2 months ago, and they keep getting more and more delicious as time goes on.  Slightly sweet and a little bitey, I like to eat them on salads, spooned over chicken or fish, or added to miso soup.  But the best part, by far and away, is the beautiful, ruby red color!

Naturally cultured, or lacto-fermented, vegetables are full of good lactobacilli bacteria and enzymes that can help restore proper gut flora, increasing immune system function and regulating digestion. The best part about naturally fermenting vegetables is that they are totally vinegar free.  The yeasts in many vinegars, especially white vinegar, can cause problems for individuals who are yeast sensitive or have overgrowth conditions.  While fermenting things naturally facilitaties the growth of yeasts, they are different yeasts that are better-tolerated and can actually help restore proper bacterial balances in the body.  Yeast-sensitive individuals and people with overgrowth conditions can often tolerate lacto-fermented vegetables in moderation; in fact, they make up an integral part of the diet in The Body Ecology Diet, a whole-foods, low sugar, healing diet plan that is suggested for people with Candida and other yeast conditions, digestive issues, allergies, intolerances, etc. 

These days it is easy to find raw sauerkrauts and pickled vegetables at co-ops and natural markets, but they are often expensive.  Making them yourself is cheap and easy.  Vinegar and special equipment isn't necessary to "pickle" your vegetables - all you need is salt, water, some glass jars, and the naturally occurring lactic-acids present in fruits and vegetables.  When prepared properly and left at room temperature, your vegetables will do all the work themselves, and soon enough, you will have a batch of naturally fermented goodness.  Cultured vegetables get better with age, and will store for up to 8 months when kept in the refrigerator. 

I did not use whey as Sally's original recipe called for; instead, I used an additional sea salt, as she recommends, and as the recipes reflect below.   Ideally, 72* F is the perfect fermentation temperature.  So, if your room is colder, it may take more time for your vegetables to ferment.  Conversely, if your room is hotter, your vegetables may ferment more quickly.  Donna Gates, the Body Ecology Diet woman, suggests wrapping the jars in a towel, and placing in an insulated cooler or chest, so that they say at a warmer temperature.  When I made this recipe, my apartment was about 67* F, so I let mine sit out on the counter for about 4 1/2 days before putting the refrigerator.  Use your best judgement!  

VINEGAR-FREE, LACTO-FERMENTED PICKLED TURNIPS AND BEETS (gluten free, raw, vegan)
from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions
yield: 1 qt (32 oz/4 cups)
2 1/2 c turnips, peeled, quartered, and sliced
3/4 c beets, peeled, quartered, and sliced
1 medium onion, peeled, quartered, and sliced
2 T sea salt
1 cup filtered water
optional: 1-2 T caraway seeds 
  1. Mix vegetables and place in a quart-size, wide mouth mason jar, or two wide-mouth pint jars, layering with seeds, if using.
  2. Press vegetables and seeds into jar firmly with a cup/pounder/fist/etc.
  3. Mix water with salt and pour over vegetables, adding more water if necessary to cover the turnip mixture.  The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. 
  4. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.  While jars are sitting out at room temperature, place in a bowl or tin of some kind so drips/leaks do not get on your countertop.
MOVING ON TO BRUSSELS SPROUTS...
Then, earlier today, after finding a beautiful bag of Brussels sprouts at the grocery store, decided I needed to take on another fermentation project. I really like Brussels sprouts, and thought they would be very tasty pickled - they are basically little cabbages, so why not?  So, I sliced the Brussels sprouts in half, added some thinly sliced Vidalia onion, and chose to split batch between two pint jars, spicing  each differently. One batch is Indian-spiced with coriander, mustard, fenugreek, and turmeric - I'm looking forward to having bright yellow brussels sprouts! The other is spiced with black peppercorns, allspice, fennel, and tarragon. These jars are currently sitting on my counter, fermenting away - I hope they turn out well!  I'd love for you to try making a batch too, and let me know how yours are progressing so we can compare notes!  I'm thinking I"ll let mine sit out for about 4 days again, but only time will tell...

 

VINEGAR-FREE, LACTO-FERMENTED PICKLED BRUSSELS SPROUTS: TWO VERSIONS (raw, gluten free, vegan)
yield: 32 oz (1 qt/4 cups)
1 lb Brussels sprouts, washed, and sliced in half
1 medium Vidalia onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
1 c filtered water
2 T sea salt
optional herbs/spices of choice (each recipe below will season a 1 pt/16 oz jar - double if making for entire batch): 

Indian mix:
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 T brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 T fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 T coriander seeds
Dry toast mustard, fenugreek, and coriander seeds in saucepan until seeds start to pop.  Mix with turmeric in a small bowl, and add to jar with vegetables. 
Savory herb, seed, and spice mix:
  • 1 T dry tarragon
  • 1/2 t black peppercorn
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 T whole allspice
Mix ingredients in a small bowl and add to jar with vegetables.
  1. Mix vegetables and place in a quart-size, wide mouth mason jar, or two wide-mouth pint jars, layering with herbs/spices.
  2. Press vegetables and herbs/spices down into jar firmly with a cup/pounder/fist/etc.
  3. Mix water with salt and pour over vegetables, adding more water if necessary to cover the turnip mixture.  The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. 
  4. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.  While jars are sitting out at room temperature, place in a bowl or tin of some kind so drips/leaks do not get on your countertop.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS UPDATE!  
5/22/09
In classic Minnesota style, it went from a wind chill of 36* F last week Saturday morning to 97* F on Tuesday afternoon.  So, that led to my Brussels sprouts fermenting at a good rate, because my apartment got nice and warm.  The tops of my jars started to puff up, and I heard the jars sputtering and making funny sounds.  That's a good sign, man, good sign.  I let the Indian spiced batch sit for 3 days, and the savory herb and spice batch sit for about 3 1/2.  
I tried both right away, and they are super flavorful, slightly sour (in a good way!) and salty salty salty.  When I opened them, they fizzed a little bit - I'd recommend opening over a bowl or the sink.  The Indian-spiced is strongly flavored with turmeric, and the fenugreek really comes through, adding a sweet, mapley flavor.  The herb and spice batch is strongly flavored of tarragon, which combines very well with the allspice - it is a fragrant, sweet tasting combination.  And while both batches are really delicious now, but after they sit in the fridge for a while, I think they will be stellar.  They've been hanging out now in my fridge for a couple days, and I'm excited to try them again.  
This recipe comes highly recommended!