Saturday, January 31, 2015

Set it and Forget It Food

I do love when a new project overtakes me- and it does overtake me, and my time, and my focus, and my kitchen. This time it started with fire cider. It was the easiest home remedy yet. Put all the ingredients, coarsley chopped, into a jar and cover with vinegar. I used garlic, onions, hot peppers, ginger, tumeric, horseradish, lemons and oranges. Steep a couple weeks, strain and viola! A ready made cold, flu, and general "need to feel better" tonic. I will warn you, this potion is spicy! Mix with raw honey 50/50 to make an easy to take syrup (mix with additional water for a drinkable version). I followed this recipe and added citrus: That, sadly, was the beginning of the end for me. One little concoction and I was finished. Caput. Finito. It led me to a facebook post on fermenting something, that led to a forum, that led to another, and yet another. Two weeks later, I have Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Beet Kvass, Ginger Bug, fermented garlic, water kefir, milk kefir, kombucha, and probiotic lemonade- all simmering away on my countertops. Some I use daily, like milk kefir in smoothies (or today in the fluffiest pancakes I have ever made!) and water kefir that makes the most awesome soda replacement, and beet kvass with kombucha is my midday beverage. The fire cider and honey and fermented garlic, plus gingered water kefir were the remedies we did for one that got sick in our family this week and it worked really well. Another awesome, and unexpected bonus, a swig of water kefir before bed has made my reflux disappear! Again, as always, I have to say that I am no medical expert, and I do not endorse these things as medical advice. I humbly share my experience and opinion that probiotic nutrition heals a body and addresses root causes for symptoms in some cases. Here are some pictures of the projects:
If you want to try your hand at fermenting- it's easy and got so much good probiotics in it for you, some items you will need are: Jars, airlocks (not necessary but helpful), coffee filters or tightly woven cloths and rubberbands, christmas lights (not led, and only if your house is especially cold), grolsch bottles (if you bottle water kefir, kombucha, or lemonade for carbonation effects- get these for $1 a box at redemption centers), starters (for shipping only on the boards below) and fresh ingredients! There are some facebook pages that are wonderful for helping a newbie get started and they are "Kombucha Nation,""Kefir Grains, Scoby and Others to Share," and "Fermenters Kitchen." If you want to make your own whey- it is another disgustingly easy feat. Take milk kefir (after straining the grains) or plain yogurt and place in a finely meshed strainer like the cheap one pictured below- find this hanging on a peg near coffee in grocery stores (reusable plastic coffee filter), and place in strainer over a mug or bowl. Let strain overnight on counter or in fridge. Whey collects in the mug/bowl and you have a cream cheese replacement in your strainer. I use mine in dips and on toast with jam or on baked potatoes. The longer the cheese sits, the sourer it gets.
Lastly, on my list of things that work, but set it and forget it, is the next time you make cookie dough, double or triple it, and scoop the rest onto a cookie sheet. Freeze these balls, and place into a freezer bag. Next time you need a dessert or gift in a hurry, you can place the frozen balls on a sheet and bake as usual. These were sugar cookies I didn't bother to flatten and drizzled with easy lemon glaze.

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