Thursday, September 21, 2017

Empty-the-Veggie-Bin Kimchi

Gimjang is the traditional process of preparing kimchi. This is not that. I'm pretty sure actual Koreans wouldn't consider this kimchi either. But, it's similar to what I buy in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods...and they call that kimchi. So, I'll do the same!


There's a Korean saying: "There are as many types of gimchi as there are holes in the ground." Reason being that that's how gimchi/kimchi is traditionally made.

A friend who lived in Korea for many years informed me that traditional kimchi is made in fall, left in kimchi pots in the ground for several months during winter, to ferment naturally. Although most Koreans now, she wrote, have special "kimchi refrigerators" - sort of like wine fridges - that keep the kimchi at the right temperature until it's ready in spring. Wow. I want one of those!

So, my version of fermented cabbage may be the furthest possible process from authentic gimjang, but it tastes great and I love having fermented veggies in my fridge at all times. And, it's so easy to make. For this version, I didn't just use cabbage. I thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, used both green and purple cabbage, and added in small pieces of golden cauliflower. It was definitely a clean-out-the-veggie-bin version.


Ingredients
  • 1/2 C salt 
  • enough warm water to submerge all the veggies
  • 7 to 8 C veggies, sliced or chopped into bite-sized pieces (I used Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and golden cauliflower)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1/3 C hot sauce (I used Trader Joe's Sriracha)
  • 1/2 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar)
  • 2 T maple syrup



Procedure
In a large mixing bowl place salt and veggie pieces. Add in enough warm water to dissolve the salt. Submerge the veggies in the salt water and weigh it down with a plate, so it stays submerged. Let veggies soak and soften in the brine for 2 hours.


Once the veggies have finished soaking, drain, rinse it and squeeze it gently to remove excess liquid. Place everything in a large mixing bowl.


Use your hands (or tongs instead if you have any open cuts as the vinegar can sting) to thoroughly incorporate the hot sauce mixture with the veggies.

Pack the kimchi into a clean jar - or a few jars. Screw the lid on tightly and keep in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight (my pantry worked well for this) for 3-4 days. After 3 days, open the jar and look for tiny bubbles. If it’s begun to bubble, it’s ready to serve or to be refrigerated. If it hasn’t yet begun to bubble, leave it for another day. The kimchi will continue to ferment in your refrigerator and should be consumed within a month.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Honey-Candied Kumquats #FantasticalFoodFight


I love the Fantastical Food Fight coordinated by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. For more information about the event, click here. I haven't been very good at participating, but this month, I couldn't resist. We were given the challenge of making a recipe with honey. So. Many. Possibilities.


And besides loving honey, I love bees and have been toying with the idea of getting a hive or two.


Until then, I just make sure to meet as many local beekeepers as I can to get on their list for when they spin and sell their honey.


The Fantastical Food Fight Honey Pot





Honey-Candied Kumquats
After my cover and article on honey - Bee Yourself - was published in Edible Monterey Bay's Summer 2013 issue [cover above!], several publishers sent me honey cookbooks. And, for Mothers' Day this year, after four moves in the past eight years, Jake gave me a bookshelf. So, I was able to finally unpack all of my books and can finally get around to cooking from them.


I've candied lots of different fruits. But I've always used sugar. It never occurred to me to candy fruit with honey...at least not until I read The Fresh Honey Cookbook: 84 Recipes from a Beekeeper's Kitchen by Laurey Masterton.

Her recipe originally called for acacia honey; I opted to use a local-to-me pine honey. I've heard that if you eat honey from a plant or tree to which you have an allergy, your allergies will abate. I'll try anything!


Ingredients
  • 1/2 C cold water
  • 1/2 C local honey (I used pine honey)
  • 4 C halved and seeded organic kumquats



Procedure
Place the water and honey in a medium pan. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, stirring often with a spatula.

Add in the kumquats and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the kumquats are tender and all the whites are gone. It takes approximately 20 minutes.

Keep cooking until the sauce is reduced to a thick syrup. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. I spooned these into a sterile jar and refrigerated them for later use.

A Comforting Persian Soup: Aash-e Reshte #BushsBeansFallFlavors #sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bush's Best Beans in conjunction with The Women Bloggers, LLC
Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

My family and I eat beans all year long, but during the colder months, bean soups are a family favorite. Minestrone, Black Bean Soup, and Chili are always in the menu rotation. So, when the opportunity arose for me to create a recipe using Bush's Best Beans - showcasing Fall flavors -  I was excited. 

After reading a book about the Islamic Revolution in Iran, I started researching recipes. I was intrigued by a comforting Persian soup and looked at different versions of the recipe. Aash-e Reshte is a healthy, flavorful soup. It's filled with aromatic herbs, warming spices, hearty beans, and delicious noodles. My version also includes meatballs, but I saw some recipes that were strictly vegetarian, too.


I love that beans are high in fiber and protein. And with all the varieties of beans, they are incredibly versatile. My Aash-e Reshte has three different kinds of beans - black beans, pinto beans, and dark red kidney beans from Bush's Beans.


During the colder months, I almost always have a pot of beans on the stove. Beans are so filling and healthy. While I often cook dry beans from scratch all day in a Dutch oven, that's not always convenient, especially if I forgot to soak them the night before. So, I stock canned beans in the pantry, too.


Canned beans are great to have on-hand for quick, easy meals. And, even better: canned beans are not a specialty item. They are readily available in every grocery store and most convenience stories. Use their product locator to find whatever Bush's Beans you need: here. I love that Walmart carries them, too! It's super convenient.

Ingredients serves 6 to 8

While my Aash-e Reshte uses canned beans and dry pasta, I added in my homemade chicken stock and home-canned heirloom tomato sauce.

Soup
  • 6 C chicken stock
  • 4 C water
  • ½ C dried lentils, soaked in warm water for at least 10 minutes
  • 1 pint tomato sauce
  • 1/2 package dry linguine pasta, broken into half
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric

Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric

Garnish
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 C fresh parsley, destemmed and chopped
  • 1/2 C fresh cilantro, destemmed and chopped
  • 2 T fresh chives, chopped
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

Procedure
Meatballs
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Shape into 1/2" to 1" meatballs and set aside.

Soup
Pour chicken stock and water into a large soup pot. Bring to a boil. Add lentils to boiling liquid and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce, then, gently drop meatballs into the soup. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Add in the drained beans and spices. Stir in the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Mine took 10 minutes to cook.


While the pasta cooks, make your garnish. Core and dice the tomatoes. In a skillet, heat olive oil. Stir in onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are softened and beginning to turn translucent.


Add in the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes begin to lose their shape. Stir in the fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.


The Aash-e Reshte is ready once the noodles are cooked through. To serve, ladle beans, pasta, and meatballs into individual bowls.


Top with the garnish and serve immediately. Enjoy!


Do you have a favorite way to use beans in soup? And, do you have any favorite international soups that include beans? I'd love to hear it! We're just at the beginning of Fall. I have lots of weeks to make more bean soups for dinner.


You may find Bush's Best Beans...
on the web
on Twitter
on Instagram
on Google+
on Pinterest

*Disclosure: I received compensation for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Women Bloggers, LLC, or the manufacturer of this product.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Go, 'Dores! Pickled Beans


So, you already saw that I got a bounty of heirloom tomatoes from my friend Farmer Jamie of Serendipity Farms, right? I made Heirloom Tomato Chutney with some of that. I also picked up ten pounds of green and wax beans. 



About the name - Go, 'Dores! - the toreador is the mascot of my son's high school. And their school colors are green and yellow. So, I thought these green and yellow pickled beans would be the perfect gift for his teachers. They will make a delicious garnish in their Fall Break bloody marys! Cheers.


Ingredients
  • 5 pounds organic beans
  • 6 C distilled white vinegar 
  • 2 C water 
  • 2 T salt 
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • 6 t yellow mustard seeds, divided into 1 t portions
  • 6 t fennel seeds, divided into 1 t portions
  • 3 t pink peppercorns, divided into 1/2 t portions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • Also needed: 6 jars, lids and rings



Procedure
Sterilize the jars, rings, and lids in boiling water and keep hot. Place 1 t mustard seeds, 1 t fennel seeds, and 1/2 t pink peppercorns into the bottom of each jar.


Trim beans to the shoulder of your jars. Pack the beans into the jars as tightly as you can.

In a large pot, stir together the vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil. Ladle the boiling bring over the beans. Top the jars with lids and rims and tighten to finger-tight. Invert jars on a towel-lined surface to move the spices throughout the jars.


Place in a hot water bath. Simmer for 10 minutes to process. Remove to a towel-lined counter and let cool for 12 to 24 hours. Test jars for a good seal. Refrigerate any jars that do not seal properly. Let pickles ferment for 2 to 3 weeks before eating...just in time for Fall Break. Go, 'Dores!!

Heirloom Tomato Chutney


This week, I picked up a bounty of heirloom tomatoes from one of my favorite farmers, Jamie of Serendipity Farms. But, I realized that twenty pounds isn't really that much when you cook them down into chutney and sugo. I definitely should have ordered more. As in twice as much. Oh, well. Next time.


Each summer, we can tomato sauce, make salsa, and do whatever else we can to preserve the summer's tomato haul. This year, the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf asked if we could make tomato chutney. Done...


Ingredients make 4 pints of thick chutney or more if you prefer it thinner
  • 8 pounds organic heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 organic white onion, chopped (approximately ½ to 1 C)
  • ¼ C garlic, chopped (approximately 8 to 10 cloves)
  • 1 C organic dark brown sugar
  • ¼ C maple syrup
  • 2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T salt
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground hot paprika
  • ½ t ground cardamom
  • ½ t ground pepper


Procedure
Core and quarter the tomatoes and place them - unpeeled - in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until evenly chopped. If you don't have a food processor, core, peel and chop the tomatoes by hand. It'll take a little bit longer, but works just as well.


Combine all of the ingredients in heavy bottom pot; I used my Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until thickened, approximately two hours. Stir often so it doesn't burn on the bottom.

Prepare canner, lids and jars. I use my double boiler as a water bath.

Ladle the chutney into sterile pint canning jars leaving a little bit of headspace. Wipe the rims and place the two-part lids on the top. Tighten to finger-tight and place in the boiling water.

Water process for 8 minutes and remove to a towel-lined surface Cool for 12 to 24 hours. Check seals, then, store in a dark, cool place.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Stracciatella alla Romana #SoupSwappers


In January, Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm kicked off her new group: Soup Saturday Swappers.

This month Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures is hosting. And she wrote: "The kids are back in school, so it's time for quick dinner options!" Yes, yes, yes. Whenever I can get home from picking up the boys and have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes, I'm a happy gal. They can get started on homework while I head to the kitchen.

Quick dinner options are the best! Thanks for the inspiration, Amy.

The Quick Dinner Soup Swap




Stracciatella alla Romana
This is essentially Roman egg drop soup. It can be tossed together in however long it takes your stock to boil. Since I always have quarts of homemade stock in my fridge, this makes a weekly appearance in our dinner bowls. While I prefer homemade stock so that I can control the salt, it works just as well with whatever stock you have in your pantry. The cheese and eggs are whisked together and poured into the bubbling broth to make gli straccetti, or little savory, eggy rags. It's super quick, super nutritious, and super tasty. That's a weeknight dinner dream!


Ingredients serves 4
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese + more for serving
  • 2 to 3 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 C baby spinach
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • freshly ground nutmeg


Procedure
In a soup pot over medium heat, bring chicken broth to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer.


Crack eggs into a medium mixing bowl and beat lightly with a wire whisk. Whisk in a generous pinch of salt, several twists of the pepper mill and the grated Parmesan.

Pour egg mixture into simmering chicken broth and stir gently until mixture forms little rags. Simmer for another minute or so.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls and stir parsley over each serving. Grate fresh nutmeg over the soup. Serve with more parmesan. Serve immediately.

Perfect Bars = Perfectly Mixed Reviews #MomsMeet #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Moms Meet
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review, 
but all opinions are honest and they are my own. This page may contain affiliate links.

Perfect Bars
These are protein bars crafted with nut butters - peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter - as the base. They are blended with organic honey for a creamy consistency. They are all gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, kosher, and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic. They come in a dozen different flavors for the full Perfect Bars and in two flavors for the Perfect Bar Minis.

  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Blueberry Cashew
  • Coconut Peanut Butter
  • Maple Almond
  • Almond Acai
  • Almond Coconut
  • Carob Chip
  • Cranberry Crunch
  • Fruit & Nut
  • Dark Chocolate Almond (new)
  • Dark Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter with Sea Salt (new)
While they need to be refrigerated for longevity, I was excited to learn that they stay fresh for a week out of the fridge, so they are perfectly fine all day in the lunchbox! The Minis are only available online, but you can find the full-size bars in select retailers. Search for the nearest store here.


Our Thoughts
Through my association with Moms Meet, I received a package of Perfect Bars to try. My family tried the lot of them; I passed out sample packets to friends for their feedback. And, I brought them to picnics and playdates for even more opinions.

I have to admit: I was surprised at how polarizing they really were. Perfect Bars received perfectly mixed reviews from my crew of taste-testers. Here are some of the comments and photos...

"A bit chalky, but interesting blueberry bursts of flavor."

"The perfect amount of peanut butter and a touch of coconut in every bite!"

"A great post workout snack, rich with peanut butter and just a tad sweet!"

One of my sons tried a few flavors, but groaned when he saw them in his lunchbox. "Mom," he complained, "no one likes these." What do you mean 'no one'? "Well, I let some friends try them at school...and we all think it's just like eating peanut butter. Really, really sweet peanut butter." So, he wasn't a fan and, apparently, neither were his friends. I did hear from one of the moms the same complaint from her daughter - they are too peanut-y!


My other son liked it for that exact same reason. "It's like when I was little and you just gave me a spoonful of peanut butter as a snack!" 

A friend sent me this message: "We did like the almond ones, fairly unanimously, and the rest were 'meh,' also unanimously." 


My husband was in that same camp; he preferred the almond butter ones. And, while I am not a huge fan of bars, it's usually because they are just too sweet. Perfect Bars are sweet, but not cloyingly so. I enjoyed the Blueberry Cashew, but preferred the almond butter minis for their more savory taste and their size. So, I will continue to buy the ones we liked and skip the varieties that were simply 'meh.'

You may find Perfect Bar...
on the web
on Twitter
on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet programMay Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

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