Tag Archives: tangy

A bad mother…shut your ‘booch!

Batch 2

My second batch of Kombucha- mid first fermentation

Kombucha. A mysterious, tangy, bubbly beverage that seems like a secret world of experimental curative beverage culture (get it? cuz kombucha is a culture? lulz). Actually, its totally not that big of a deal until you get to the fizzy parts and the whole obtaining a “mother”. Yeesh. I’m going to go ahead and pre-apologize to the squeamish or icky-averse. You should probably skip this post. Read on at your own risk.

It seems like there has been somewhat of a kombucha craze in the past few years, reaching all corners of the US and their grocery stores. Honestly the whole thing kind of gave me the heebie-jeebs until I gathered myself and finally tried it. Before that it seemed to be secluded to fancy schmancy food co-ops only in Brooklyn or San Francisco where there is a special room, a certain knock, and an equally obscure password to even access it…”artisan”. Now its on the shelves of grocery stores next to the smoothies and pomegranate juice. Buying a bottle, at roughly $3.50 each, becomes an expensive habit. From what

I can tell the draw mainly seems to come from the flavor (like a mix of apple cider vinegar, black tea and carbonation- plus whatever else they add to the batch)  it is refreshing, acidic, and slightly sweet. But many also seek it out for its list of “curative” powers which include, but are not limited to:
– Getting rid of gray hair
– Growing in dark hair
– Cures cancer
– Reverses the symptoms of AIDS
– Cures Dia-beet-us
– Filling one with bologna

So I may have added one of those. I like it for its flavor, and its something I find rewarding, especially when babies are made. You heard me. Babies. It multiplies.
The whole idea is pretty age-old, fermenting a sweet beverage until it becomes bubbly and not as sweet anymore and maybe a little alcoholic (only 0.5%). What’s different is the mother.

MAMA!!!

My Kombucha mother with baby attached

The Mother. The Manchurian Mushroom. The Blob. The Kvas. The Tea Sponge. The ‘Boocha Baby-Maker. Boochie-Mama.
Whatever you call it, its the disc-shaped blob that turns your regular ol’ sweet tea into a batch of ‘booch. You can get it in co-ops, online, or from a marvelous friend who happens to have what would equal a fungus version of “Sister Wives”. Let’s just say it’s all in the family and they produce like rabbits. A large mother looks like one of those Pillsbury Grands buscuits, only larger and wet.

I’m really sorry I just ruined these for you

When you touch it, which you will probably have to,  it feels like like a jello “jiggler” that was left in the fridge too long. Springy, firm but slippery- not slimy. What is it made of you ask? it is a “community of bacteria and yeasts that have a symbiotic relationship”- a community? does that mean microscopic block parties?

Basic Kombucha

Before you begin your batch, I recommend reading this article to be aware of all of the risks associated with fermentation. Its similar to the risk of canning, but as long as you stay sanitary and sterilize with vinegar, you should be fine. If it looks of smells odd- don’t drink it. DUH. OK post warnings- To make a batch of the booch, you’ll need:

A mother culture in starter tea
A large jar, or a few for multiple batches
Cheesecloth, a papertowel, or thin fabric
A rubber band or canning ring
Sweet Tea , Strong black tea ans sugar mixture, cooled to room temp sweetened with at least 10% sugar content (for a half gallon, I used about 1 cup of sugar to 2 quarts water)
White vinegar

So here’s what you do:
1. Get a mother, it should come in some starter liquid called starter tea that will help it acclimate to the new tea surroundings.
2. Prepare a jar, at least a half-gallon if not larger, and preferably wider than it is tall. (I have no idea where to find such a jar so I just used a half-gallon Ball canning jar) Wash the jar with soap and water, and rinse thoroughly. Once it doesn’t smell like soap anymore, add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the jar and swish around to coat.
3. Coat your hands with vinegar, or just the one that will be handling the mother, and pick up the mother (try not to heave)
4. Place the mother in the prepared jar, and pour the liquid it came in over it.
5. Pour in the sweetened tea mixure
6. Cover the top with a paper towel, layers of cheesecloth, thin fabric, etc and secure with a rubber band or screw the lid on. *Be careful not to let the booch or mother touch the metal.
7. Let sit in a warm slightly dark place for 7-10 days. After this time, look at it, smell it, taste it. Once it becomes slightly vinegary smelling and tastes slightly tart but not like drinking vinegar, your first batch is done.
– Remove the mother and repeat the process for the next batch, saving some of the liquid to go with it. (Oh it probably had a baby, once it is 1/4″ thick, it can begin to make its own batch of booch and have its own babies)]

Batch 1

First Batch without Second Ferment

Thus far, I have stopped here. I enjoy the slightly tart sweet tea that comes from the process but I will soon go for a second fermentation to make it bubbly. To do that, you add more sugar like a 1/4 c sugar or a handful of sugary raisins. Cap the tea tightly so that it is air-tight (transfer into a plastic bottle as glass might shatter if too much pressure builds up), maybe using an airlock if you can find it in a homebrew store. Set in a warm spot or place the bottles in a cardboard box or cooler equipped with an electric blanket to keep it warm and start the second fermentation. After 2 days, check to see if it is bubbly, if all goes well it should be.

I’ll try this with my next batch and post how it goes!
Boochin it up.
– Stine

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Cannin’ Carrots

Big ol’ bowl of carrots.

So say Crafstine sees you coming home from work and says, “Uh. Hey. I have a lot of carrots? Do you want some to pickle? I ran out of quart jars….” you say HELL YES. Have you ever had spicy pickled carrots? NOW YOU WILL.

This recipe made 6 quarts of carrots and we used Sherri’s recipe from Put ‘Em Up! Another blogger used Sherri’s recipe with a larger volume since she was also doing quarts, which helped us out a lot. Here’s the blog post!  Let’s Go!!!!

 

10 cups Distilled white vinegar
3 cups Sugar
7 Tablespoons Salt
4 Jalapenos, sliced (or cherry peppers…or both? or any other spicy delicious pepper)
8 – 10 Garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes

 

We didn’t end up using red pepper flakes because we had some seriously spicy peppers. To start out, prepare your jars. My stove is ANCIENT and takes A LONG TIME so this is all about time management for me. I start the jars before I do anything with the produce that I’m processing. Once you get your jars going in the hot water bath to sterilize them, prepare your jar fixin’s.

 

Peppers and garlic. WASH YOUR HANDS IMMEDIATELY/DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES.

 

Start your brine! Put the water, vinegar, and salt into a pot and bring up to a boil. Once it’s boiling, you can either simmer it until the jars are done, or if you timed it juuuusttt riiiight you can just pour it right into the jars!

Once your jars are good to go, about ten minutes in the bath, take them out and start packin’. I’m not sure how many pounds of carrots we used, since Crafstine had THE BIGGEST BOWL EVER, but we didn’t even use the entire bowl that was shown -we probably used 3/4 of the bowl. Put the peppers and garlic in, the carrots can be packed in as much as you can fit, and then pour the brine over the carrots. Headspace should probably be around 1/2 an inch, because as the carrots move around and release their own fluids, the liquid covers enough. Heat up some lids in some hot water to activate the seal and sterilize the rings, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

 

 

Enjoy these with sandwiches! Burgers! On hot dogs! Straight out of the jar! I hope you enjoy these, as these are probably my favorite pickle.

 

Stay cool while canning! With the stove on for hours it gets brutal in the kitchen.

Until next time!

-megz

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thekitchn’s braised greens with chick peas

So last night, I mentioned that I would be making/reviewing thekitchn’s braised greens with chick peas, and BOY OH BOY, I am so glad I did. I changed a few things (surprise) and it was amaaaaazing! Here’s the original recipe: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-braised-coconut-spinach-chickpeas-with-lemon-164551

All the ingredients! Not shown: onion and wine.

My ingredient list:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small onion

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

A splash! of white wine (probably a tablespoon)

3 shakes/dashes of red pepper flakes

1 15 ounce can of chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 can of coconut milk (I used light)

1 teaspoon ground ginger (I just used fresh again at the end to brighten up everything)

salt and pepper to taste

Whole, roasted sweet potatoes (depending on how many you are serving/if you want to prepare leftovers)

Okay, there’s all the ingredients. Before I began chopping and everything, I scrubbed some sweet potatoes and threw them in the oven at 400 degrees while I prepared the rest.

I sautéed the chopped onion in oil, as per the directions state. Then added THREE shakes of red pepper flakes, and the four garlic cloves (Don’t anyone bust my chops about the garlic press. I can hear Anthony Bourdain cursing me out already, but anytime I touch garlic, my hands smell like it for DAYS).

I added the tomatoes after the onions softened and grated fresh ginger (totaling 1 TBSP). At this point, everyone was getting pretty sticky in the pot. I sort of panicked? And added a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan, but also create the needed acidic notes that I knew the dish should have. Since I added the wine, I didn’t add lemon juice. At the point, I also added the chick peas, after I drained/rinsed them.

WHERE DID ALL OF THE TOMATOES AND CHICK PEAS GO?

Anyway, I also used kale instead of spinach, so I added that earlier in the cooking process so it could cook down. I didn’t use my entire bag of kale (which was a pound), because kale is precious to me and I need to make more smoothies. I used almost the entire bag though, about 4 huge handfuls. I then added the can of coconut milk (mine was only 13.5 ounces?) and more freshly grated ginger. I lowered the temperature, but put the lid on the pot so the kale could soften/steam? faster.

As you can see, the kale cooked down quite a bit. Once the kale softened and cooked down, the sweet potatoes were ready to come out.

WHERE DID THE SWEET POTATO GO?

Oh, the sweet potato is in there. I loaded everything on top of it and proceeded to eat. I didn’t garnish it with toasted coconut or anything like the original recipe suggested, but it was incredible. Since I bought a 3lb bag of sweet potatoes at BJ’s, and a pound of washed/cut kale is $1.99 there, I can see me making this for us about once every two weeks…if not more frequently. I was going to have these leftovers over leftover couscous, but I “accidentally forgot” that we had the leftovers…(really, I just love any potato product and would rather eat potatoes than anything else, including couscous which I also love).

I know that the dish is supposed to be bright and tangy, and I think the wine accomplished that, because there was a slight tang to it (from the sun-dried tomatoes also). Next time, I will be sure to have a lemon to complete the dish with the zest and juice.

–megz

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