Say SCOBY

May 14, 2015 § 2 Comments

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Say SCOBY!  Symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. What a fun class!

And Kraut, Kefir, Kombucha, Fermented Salsa and Sourdough Pita.

Thanks to everyone who came to Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA) ” Can to Preserve the Land ” fermentation workshop at Honest Weight Food Co-op.  I love that I get to do these classes as an outreach coordinator for ASA. We are able to reflect on the role of local land and local farms. We talked about the local produce in season and how by learning to ferment we extend our opportunities to eat local food.

In this class, we talked about the nutritional and experimental nature of home fermentation and how the microbes do all the work to transform bland carbohydrates into sour, bubbly drinks and breads!

This time I was joined by Caren Irgang, RPI-Sage Hillel Civil Engineering major. She said that being a “hungry all the time” college student is only part of the motivation to learn about cultures.

“I like observing the magic of the process and products (explaining the world around me in a tangible, edible way), probiotics (because of chronic disease colitis and I am excited by structural properties (as a structural engineer).”

For me, a cook, experimenting with fermentation, I love the unique nature of working with cultures and partner with them to create delicious and nutritious foods.  As my family and I eat these foods, we are engaged by the produce and the environment around us. The process is as exciting as the outcome.

We used Sandor’s recipe from the book Wild Fermentation to make Sauerkraut

If you need to add extra brine mix: 1 1/2 TBSP ( 4.5 tsp) Sea Salt per 4 cups of water

For the Kombucha we used Cultures for Health recipe

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towerof pita

I am very thankful to Our Happy Acres for sharing online a delicious Whole Wheat Sourdough Pita Bread. I adapted their recipe by adding a 30 minute autolyze and increased the water to 4 ounces. ( I did use matured White Whole Wheat starter, 100% hydration)

8 oz mature White Whole Wheat sourdough starter
8 oz White Whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp  salt
1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz warm water

1. Mix starter, flour and water and mix for 5 minutes.

2. Let dough rest 30 minutes in a dark place

3. Add salt and olive oil and mix on low speed with dough hook and knead for 5 minutes

4. Let dough rise in a oiled bowl for about 2 hours.

5. Divide dough in 8 balls, roll out and bake on a pizza stone on a preheated 500F oven for 2 minutes on one side and turn and bake one more minute on the other size.

6. If storing, let it cool, keep air thigh, it freezes well.

fermented salsa

and Fermented Salsa

  • 3 lbs of tomatoes
  • 1-2 onions
  • head of minced garlic
  • 1 bunch of fresh Cilantro (some prefer parsley)
  • juice of 1-2 lemons or limes
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • Spices to taste (chipotle chili powder, cumin, oregano, fresh hot or sweet peppers, cumin, and cayenne)
  1. Pulse in a food processor until finely chopped, or dice by hand: tomatoes, peppers, onion and cilantro and garlic.
  2. Strain extra liquid if desired and add contents to a bowl
  3. Add lemon juice, salt, spices
  4. Pour into quart of half gallon size mason jars, leaving about an inch of head space, and secure the lid tightly.
  5. Leave on the counter for approximately 2-3 days and taste to desired flavor.
  6. Transfer to fridge to storage

This salsa will keep up to a few months in the fridge. I have read up to 8   months, actually. The flavors will actually intensify over time.

* If you are using whey use only 1 tablespoon of sea salt and add 2 tablespoons of whey.

Caren tested the ferment I brought from home for the class to taste using PH strips she ordered online. All good and ready to taste!

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Last we talked about  how to make Water kefir:

    • 3 cups of water
    • 1/3 cups of grain
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • Melt the sugar in boiling water, and then add some cold water to cool it off and fill up the jar. But I like the water to be a little warmer than room temp when I put the grains in.
    • Whenever I wake them up from hibernation it takes several batches of sugar water to get them going.
    • Dehydrating is very easy. I just spread them out on a piece of parchment paper, on a cookie sheet, for a few days until they are hard. They will shrink quite a bit, but plump right back up when you put them in the sugar water.

2 week ramp diet

May 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Eating seasonally is a way to savor life. It challenges me to make time to cook, enjoy the moment and the produce at hand. I look forward to ramps that are around 2 weeks in a year; if I can get them. Here how we are enjoying this gift from Chef Michael Lapi, who carefully forages them. Our 2 week ramp diet: raw, blanched on dishes, pesto, on pizza and with rice and lentils.

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rice lentil ramps

I am thankful for Spring. Or is it summer already? It sure feels like this week with highs around 80F. I am very happy to see the sun and the flours, but we need the rain. The sorrel is back and next I hope is the asparagus and radishes soon.

#ramppesto : blanched #ramps , walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice #pecorinoromano #cheflapiramps #eatinginseason #storycooking

A video posted by Ellie Markovitch (@elliemarkovitch) on

Ramp Pesto:

In the food processor or blender:

2 cups of ramps, cleaned and blanched
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
3 TBSP lemon juice
3 TBSP Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
salt and black pepper to taste

Sweet Potato and Celeriac cakes

April 22, 2015 § 2 Comments

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Finally we see green in Upstate New York. We had some rain the past two days. Farmers are busy. I made to my garden this week to plant radishes, salad and peas. Still, we are eating in season, the very last produce from the button of our freezers and ferments. Today I visited the Denison Farm and they had left: celeriac, sweet potatoes, and shallots. There is no better way to cook for me than to use what I have in hands. I thought, uhm, I can make slaw, but cakes like latkes were perfect with some fish tonight. I see our sorrel coming up and I can’t wait for the asparagus… soon, very soon. But for now, these delicious precious local produce are still available and you may even get a good deal if you wish to buy extra to ferment. Enjoy!

sweet potato celeriac

Sweet Potato and Celeriac cakes

1 1/2 cups of shredded sweet potatoes,

1 1/2 cups of shredded celeriac

2 small shallots, chopped

2 eggs

3 tablespoons of flour of your choice

Salt and pepper to taste

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Mix all ingredients in a bowl while heating up a couple tablespoons of high heat oil on a medium frying pan. I used a cast iron. Fry each cakes  for about 1 minute on each side on medium heat. We enjoyed with some sour cream.

Granola

March 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

granola

Yummy Granola

adapted from my friend Phyllis Capparelli’s recipe

I played with this recipe until I got a base that I can use different nuts and fruits and it is not too sweet. This recipe makes 1 gallon of granola. Oven 300

12 cups of Old Fashioned Oats

1.5 tsp salt

3 tsp ground cinnamon

1/12 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut

3/4 cup of almonds, chopped

3/4 cup of other nuts or seeds

3/4 cup of organic coconut oil, melted

3/4 cup maple syrup

3 cups dried fruit, added after the granola is baked

Mix the first 6 ingredients together.

Melt coconut oil, add maple syrup to it and mix until well combine

Add the liquid to the oat mix. Spread on roasting pans and bake oven 300 for about 1 hour, mixing every 15-20 minutes until golden. After it is cooled, add dried fruit and store in a glass container. If not eating for a while, it can be frozen.

We eat one gallon of #granola a month #coconutoil #maple #windowintomykitchen #storycooking

A photo posted by Ellie Markovitch (@elliemarkovitch) on

venison shepherd pie

March 25, 2015 § 2 Comments

shepherdpie

Shepherd pie, a meat pie with a crust of mashed potatoes is one of the ways we use frozen vegetables we grew the past summer. I have eaten similar dishes, Hachis (chopped or minced) in France or “escondidinho” (hidden) in Brazil and they all have this nice way to use root vegetables as well. The addition of a gift of venison made this a delicious meal.

Here how I made this dish, but one can make it without meat and use other vegetables they like. I decided on sweet potatoes but I often use carrots.

1) I start by prepping the venison. I add boiled water to the defrosted 1 pound of ground venison. Wait one minute and drain. Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice and saute the meat in high heat oil. Add to the meat 1 onion chopped, 5-6 large whole tomatoes from our garden (but you could use canned, sun dried or fresh in season), 2 sweet potatoes, diced (for sweetness), a whole head of garlic, minced, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp paprika, 2 tsp dried basil, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 2 hours.

Whole frozen tomatoes in the pot #tasteofsummer #freezercooking #eatinginseason #storycooking

A photo posted by Ellie Markovitch (@elliemarkovitch) on

2) Meanwhile, I cooked 6 medium russet potatoes on salted water until soft enough to mash with a fork. Drain the water, add 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of sour cream and mashed until smooth, reserve.

3) When the sauce is thick, add 2 cups of frozen green beans and 1 cup of frozen corn. Bring to a boil and turn it off.

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4) To assemble the pie, add the meat mixture to the bottom of the baking dish and spread the mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven 400F for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbly.

fridge cured meat

March 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

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If I can’t have “carne de sol” (sun-dried meat), I am happy to have fridge cured meat (dry cure). Carne de sol is salted, sun cured beef. I often had with yucca or cooked inside rice (Maria Isabel dish bellow). It is used in Feijoada. Carne de sol is also fried and served as an appetizer in Brazil. It was part of my family’s table growing up. My mom is from the Northeast of Brazil and when relatives and friends would come to Goiânia (central of Brazil) to visit, they would bring us “carne de sol.” The sun-dried meat was made by adding lots of salt and letting the meat sit on a clothing line, on the sun of Bahia state for a couple of days. Now this meat is found everywhere, even Brazilian stores in Newark, NJ. After this test, I am excited to make this often with local fresh beef.

Tonight we ate “Maria Isabel” which calls for the salted cured beef cooked with rice. I used my fridge cured meat and it was delicious, tender and full flavor. Obrigada mamãe pela a receita!

I know there is a lot of fear around preserving foods at home, here some recommendation.  I love the oral history and the cooking methods and recipes that gets passed down to me from my family and friends, so I try to follow the steps.

For the fridge salted cured beef I started with a cut of fresh, not previously frozen flank steak. Mom also uses other cuts like “chã de dentro,” looking at this photo you get an idea of the cuts and names, we could also use round in US.

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1) a hand full of salt for about 2 pounds of beef. Rub salt on both sides. Cover the meat with a towel and place in the fridge. Each day, discard the water the salt draws out. Turn the meat and repeat this for about a week.

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2) After a week, the meat looks dark and to make sure, I placed in the freezer for another 24 hours to finish drying.

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3) I cut the meat in half and will use about 1 pound for my dish and kept the rest in the freezer

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Maria Isabel Recipe

2 cups of carne de sol, cut and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 cups of rice
hot water

scallion and parsley to serve

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1) Cut the meat into thin strips, cook under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes

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2) Add meat to half cooked onions and garlic and stir

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3) cook meat with onion stirring for about 1 minute

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4) Add rice and fry until rice starts to turn golden

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5) Add hot water to just cover the rice and cook opened until the water goes down

6) Repeat and add water to just cover the rice again. When the water goes down for the second time, turn the pot off and cover and wait 10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.

local sourdough pizza

March 11, 2015 § 2 Comments

I have been reading blogs and books, teaching myself how to make whole grain sourdough bread and pancakes. Recently, I started playing with whole grain sourdough pizza and e-mailed Daniel Berman for advice where I could get some local inspiration.

Daniel Berman wrote about our recent visit to 9 Miles East Farm but I wanted to show in pictures and video some tips I found helpful in my pizza making. Thank you Gordon Sacks and Matt for taking the time to show us your process.

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1) Before going to bed, make a pre-ferment (starter + spelt flour + water to make a paste with the consistency of peanut butter).  I also mix the flours for next day, set aside, since I have my scale out)

2) In the morning, or 12 hours later, mix dough using the pre-ferment that is nice and bubbly and the flours to it. Mix for 4 minutes, I will use my stand mixer.

ellie's ferment

9 Miles East use an Italian fork mixer, which slowly aerates the dough without heating it up:

3) Let the dough autolyze, sit in the dark for 20 minutes.

4) Add oil, honey, salt and mix again

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5) Take dough out and bucket turn 3 times (every 20 minutes)

Gordon shows how to stretch and fold before refrigeration:

6) Shape and refrigerate overnight (or up to 48 hours)

7) Next morning, open dough, add oil, sauce and cheese and bake. At home, I use a pre-heated pizza stone and bake on a 500F oven, the hottest my oven will go, for about 10 minutes

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Really delicious pizza by 9 Miles East farm:

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And I was watching closely how Daniel was going about tasting and judging the pizza, starting with the crust!

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Now here the pizza I made yesterday, using this process. I baked it at Soul Fire Farm wood oven.

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