Tag Archives: sauerkraut

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 2

raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi

On to day 2 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary! Today’s delectable treats included a raw vegan gnocchi and a vegetable miso soup. Not only was there was ample opportunity to continue honing my skills, every dish provided an opportunity to make culinary art and continue improving my plating skills as well. I have truly enjoyed learning new things each and every day.

The first thing I did today was to do a bit of rearranging in the dehydrator. I checked on the olive bread that I put in yesterday and removed it when I found that it was nice and crispy. In its place, I put in the eggplant that I left to marinade overnight. 

Our first lesson for today was on the second of the five raw mother sauces, the vegetable stock. That’s right! You don’t have to give up that tasty soup or your favorite recipes. We can still make flavorful raw vegetable stocks through juicing, blending, and dehydrating. It doesn’t take any more time than simmering a cooked stock would, and all of the vitamins and enzymes are kept in tact. This is especially important when you consider the heat-sensitive vitamin C and that unlike other primate and mammalian species, humans cannot manufacture their own!

Isn’t this broth beautiful?

raw vegan vegetable stock

 

 

Our next lesson was starting on a root vegetable gnocchi. I really love that we have the creative freedom to customize the flavors and ingredient choices in this class. It allows the recipe creation process to feel a lot more personal when the selected ingredients are close to your heart (and tongue!).

For the gnocchi, we were allowed to select any root vegetable that we wanted. The demo was shown using beets. Indeed, they offer many health benefits and are fantastic liver cleaners. I wanted to use a root vegetable that I hadn’t been able to work with over the duration of these courses yet and picked one of my personal favorites, sweet potato! I’ve really been into the color orange lately too. Beta carotine, FTW!

We were given the option to shape them into fancy French quenelles, or to roll them and use a fork to give them more of a “rustic” look. I chose the latter. I really love the traditional look of gnocchi with the ridges across the middle. After forming our selected shapes, into the dehydrator they went!

raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi

 

While waiting a few hours for the gnocchi, there were plenty of other projects to work on, one of which was more fermented nut cheese! We made a few of these in our Level 1 class, but this time around, we’ll be using our own probiotics and aging them to build some additional character in the flavor and texture. I’m a bit of a mad scientist when it comes to fermenting things, so I had to make sure there were enough batches to experiment with. 😉

I’ve got a “control” batch of cashew with a standard probiotic powder, a brazil/pine nut combo with water kefir, a couple pistachio experiments with kimchi and sauerkraut brines, and some macadamia cheeses with fermented coconut water and rejuvelac. 

raw vegan nut cheesesraw vegan nut cheesesprobiotic fermented food

 

The second recipe we worked on while waiting for the gnocchi to dehydrate a bit more was a “new style miso soup”. This soup was a great opportunity to test out the versatility of the raw vegan vegetable broth. It was a flavorful and creative cross between a vegetable soup and a miso soup. It was also slightly creamy, but retained a lightness to it, which made for a satisfying appetizer. Working on this recipe gave me a lot of creative ideas for just how versatile our second mother sauce really is.

raw vegan vegetable miso soupraw vegan vegetable miso soup raw vegan vegetable miso soup raw vegan vegetable miso soup

At long last, after being taunted with the wonderful smells coming out of my dehydrator (don’t forget, the eggplant bacon is still in there too), something was ready to come out and be eaten. I removed the gnocchi after warming the lemon cream sauce from yesterday’s lesson a bit.

In addition to the cream sauce, we learned how to make gremolata, a parsley and lemon based condiment that adds a refreshing quality to an otherwise rich or heavy dish. The flavors and textures paired very well with the Meyer lemon cream sauce, and the textural contrasts looked beautiful on the plate as well.

The most rewarding part of all this is that the parsley came from my porch garden! Food is so much more rewarding when you’ve grown it yourself.

The whole thing was topped off with some micro-greens. I chose some baby chard here, not only for their mild tangy flavor, but also for the beautiful pop of color that the red stems added to the plating. I was really thrilled with how this all came together. It is by far the most beautiful dish I’ve ever put together, and I learned all of the skills with the help of my wonderful instructors. I am really impressed with the quality of the culinary education I’ve been receiving from an online program!

raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi

 

That wrapped up my second day! Looking forward to tomorrow’s projects! We will be putting a mezze platter together and learning about tomato sauces!

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine – Day 3

kimchi

Over the weekend, I finished day 3 of “Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine“, a course offered online through the Matthew Kenney Academy. It was a lot of fun to have an entire day to work on my course material. Normally, I go to work and then I come home with limited time to work on the homework and recipe projects in the evening. I do what I can and try not to stay up too late, but I really love playing in the kitchen, so it’s a challenge. 😉 On Saturday, however, I was able to finish up a full day’s worth of the curriculum material!

I started day 3 off with… you guessed it… more knife skills. If you’ve seen my first two posts about my experiences here, then you know this is how I start every day of the curriculum. My cuts seem to be improving a little bit, and the correct grip of the knife and hand placement is starting to become more familiar to me too. I find myself making it more of a habit now than having to think about where my hands go, which is a really good thing, for the sake of keeping all of my fingers un-injured. 

knife skills knife skills knife skills

 

After some reading material about soaking and sprouting, it was time to make almond milk using some almonds that we had been instructed to soak the night before. I am no stranger to making simple nut and seed milks. Hemp seed milk is my favorite to make.

What was new for me were some of the other ingredients that we added to the milk. There were some really valuable lessons learned here about flavor balancing with fats, sweeteners, and salts. We were instructed to taste the milk after the addition of each ingredient and notice how the flavor and texture changed. By the time I was done adding things to the blender, it was much more familiar in taste and flavor to the almond milk you might find at the grocery store, but without any of the typical additives of a store bought product.

Besides the plain almond milk, I made strawberry and cacao versions as well. That is why one has a pinkish color and another has a light brown color. The colors are subtle. No artificial anything here! I’ve been enjoying my fresh nut milks with gluten free oatmeal. 

The recipe for this almond milk is in Everyday Raw and Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow, both books by Matthew Kenney.

homemade raw vegan almond milk homemade raw vegan almond milk homemade raw vegan almond milk homemade raw vegan almond milk

One of the things I am really loving about this course is the way they talk about using up leftovers so as not to waste anything. For example, almond pulp that is strained out of the nut milk is added to the dehydrator and then blended into an almond flour.

The next assignment was to make a delicious smoothie with our fresh almond milk and to learn about “smoothie building”. To think, all this time, I was just tossing things into the blender and hoping for the best, and there is apparently a magic formula that I should have been using instead. The recipe provided was for a “blueberry bee” smoothie. I could not find the book that this recipe came from, but it was published over on the “Pure Wow” website last year if you want to go have a look. I highly recommend trying it!

blueberry bee smoothieblueberry bee smoothie

After flavor blending exercises and smoothie making, it was time to make some kale chips. We were taught the basics of making our own sauce/marinade for the kale, and then we got to play around with it to make our own flavors. They looked pretty good going in. As long as they dehydrate properly overnight and taste good when I take them out, I will be happy to share my recipe flavors tomorrow. I opted to make a “ranch dressing” flavor and a “spicy mango lime”. 

kale chips kale chips

 

But, wait… there’s more! THREE lessons in fermentation and pickling were to follow. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I’m a bit of a fermenting fool. I always have sauerkraut in the fridge with another batch fermenting on the counter, ACV fermented garlic, a random vegetable lacto-ferment, kombucha and jun, occasional wild fermented wine, etc. Probiotic fermented foods have made a huge difference in my health. They have helped me to reverse most of my allergy problems, and kept me from getting sick in the last two years. Anyway, I was really excited to see this material not only included in the curriculum, but included as early as day 3! 

For as much fermenting as I do, one thing I have never made is kimchi. That is partially because I wanted to be sure I had an authentic recipe so I could do it justice. Well, ready or not, there is a jar of kimchi happening in my kitchen right now anyway! It smelled really great going into the jar! Never fear, I followed proper protocol and pushed it all down below the brine with a leftover cabbage leaf. The picture of the vegetables floating on the top sure is pretty though!

kimchi kimchi kimchi

I had half a head of Napa cabbage and most of a head of red (purple) cabbage left over after making this, so… SAUERKRAUT SPONTANEOUSLY HAPPENED IN MY KITCHEN! Shocking, I know. Ha!

purple sauerkraut 

We also made some basic quick pickles, to which I added garlic, dill, and peppercorns. I have been growing pickling cucumbers on my porch and I was really excited that I was able to use something I grew myself in a recipe for the course. I have already put my home grown basil to use in all of the recipes that call for it.

dill pickles dill pickles

 

Another new thing for me was pickled ginger! I have always wanted to try making this because whenever we eat sushi at restaurants, the pickled ginger looks as though it’s been artificially colored and tastes funny. It will be a lot of fun to use my pickled ginger for when we made sushi at home!

pickled ginger pickled ginger

 

Overall, it was a very fun and productive day. I am looking forward to what comes next and eating some of those pickled foods!

 

 

Quinoa & Lentils, Simple Salad, and Sauerkraut

A simple vegan meal for two of both cooked and raw foods: germinated quinoa and lentils, salad of romaine and cucumber, homemade sauerkraut

Dear Internet,

I have great news! In an effort to be more frugal, I am now preparing all of the meals for both my husband and I from scratch. We’ve been all about simplifying our lives (even more) and “getting rid of (even more) stuff” lately. As I am the cook, he’s been eating vegan food. It’s a lot cheaper and better for the planet to eat good quality plant based foods than to eat animal proteins. He’s dropped a few pounds and is looking even hotter than usual. Hooray for easy vegan meals. 😉 

sauerkraut

We also rearranged the furniture at about the same time that we started to implement this, so now we get to sit down every night and share a nice meal and some conversation together. It’s really been wonderful, though I will have to admit, it is more time consuming than I thought it would be. In an attempt to not keep him waiting too long for dinner, I haven’t been as diligent at recording my recipes, and I haven’t really been using recipes, so much as throwing together simple, healthy, and very affordable meals with items we already have on hand.

quinoa and lentils

While I prefer more raw food, he prefers more cooked food, and I want to be able to accommodate both of us, and also make sure he’s still getting some “roughage” since cooking destroys certain heat-sensitive vitamins, like vitamin C (which, as a friendly reminder, humans are unable to produce on their own like most other animals on the planet – we must consume it from our food). 

romaine and cucumber salad

After struggling over whether or not to post these ridiculously easy vegan meals, it struck me that this very thing was the original premise of my blog. My husband is actually eating and enjoying the vegan meals that I’m preparing. It truly is a “taste of two plates” now! =D

By incorporating some of my own dietary tweaks (which I also feed to my husband), I’ve seen additional improvements to my health as well. Since I cut oils (except for a little flax) out of my diet and started to treat nuts and seeds as condiments rather than snacks or main ingredients, I’ve dropped about 2% body fat (no lean tissue loss), have very sound sleep with minimal disturbances, have been getting up earlier, and have been feeling rested on less sleep. This is nothing short of a miracle for me. For all the health issues I’ve managed to reverse, I’ve still always needed a lot of sleep.

simple vegan meals

This evening’s dinner consisted of a large romaine and cucumber salad, some homemade sauerkraut (love the bugs!), and some sprouted lentils and quinoa with parsley and a honey mustard sauce (the only cooked part of the meal). Yes, I use local raw honey (to build immunity against local pollen), but you may use any natural sweetener you like (such as a fruit puree). I’ve been buying dried lentils, beans, and seeds, so I can soak and germinate them before eating, whether they will end up being cooked or eaten raw. This reduces the phytic acid content and makes them more digestible. Less phytic acid means you can absorb more nutrients from the rest of your food too. 

Apricot Honey Mustard Quinoa & Lentils, Simple Salad, and Sauerkraut
Serves 2
An easy vegan meal with a lot of raw food, a little cooked food, and a healthy dose of probiotics. The quinoa and lentils are germinated to maximize nutrition and digestibility, and are also hearty and flavorful enough to please the omnivores in your house.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Sauerkraut Ingredients
  1. Easy Sauerkraut Recipe
Quinoa & Lentils Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  2. 1/2 cup dried lentils
  3. large handful fresh parsley, chopped
  4. 2 TB cup organic mustard
  5. 3 TB water
  6. 2 TB ACV
  7. 1 TB naturally sweetened apricot fruit spread (e.g. Polaner's) - optional, but delicious
  8. 2 TB local raw honey (or preferred vegan sweetener - or just add extra apricot spread)
  9. 1/4 tsp sea salt
Salad Ingredients
  1. 1/2 head of romaine
  2. 1 cucumber (peeled if not organic)
  3. 2 TB flax oil
  4. 2 TB raw ACV or lemon juice
  5. Dried herbs of your choice (optional - I used fennel and dill on mine)
  6. Tiny pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Germinating Quinoa and Lentils (Optional)
  1. The night before you want to make this, soak the quinoa and lentils overnight (in separate bowls), drain in the morning, and then leave on the counter, covered loosely with a towel, during the day. If you want instant gratification, you don't need to do this advanced prep work, but it makes them much more nutritious and digestible.
Cooking Quinoa and Lentils
  1. Using a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa, cook the quinoa either in a rice cooker or simmer for appx. 20 minutes on the stove after bringing the water to a boil.
  2. Using a 2:1 ratio of water to lentils, simmer the lentils for appx. 30 minutes on the stove after bringing the water to a boil (test for tenderness).
  3. Combine in a bowl and mix in the parsley (bonus points if you grew it yourself).
  4. Whisk in a bowl until well blended: mustard, water, ACV, apricot spread, honey (or other sweetener), and sea salt.
  5. Pour the sauce over the quinoa and lentil mixture and stir it in.
Salad Directions
  1. Layer greens and veggies on the plate.
  2. Top each salad with 1 TB each flax seed oil and ACV or lemon juice.
  3. Add some dried herbs if you like.
Notes
  1. For best preparation efficiency, start cooking the lentils first, then the quinoa. While those are on the pot, prepare the sauce, chop the salad vegetables, and retrieve your sauerkraut from the fridge.
  2. I use local raw honey because it helps to keep my allergies at bay. You are welcome to use any other natural sweetener that you would like in this recipe if you would like a truly vegan alternative.
  3. You are welcome to use any dressing you like on the salad in order to have a peaceful meal with the omnivores in your life. My husband and I do not use the same salad dressings. 🙂
  4. I like my food a bit on the spicy side. If the mustard is too potent for you in the sauce, feel free to add a little extra water to dilute it. Keep in mind that once it is mixed into the quinoa and lentils, they will soak it up and it will not be as strong.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

How to Make Sauerkraut

Homemade pink sauerkraut with purple and green cabbages

Homemade sauerkraut is so easy to make and it is a great way to get a large amount of probiotics into your diet on a regular basis. I eat or drink fermented foods every day, and I love them! The probiotics have been really great for my digestion and my immune system. I no longer suffer with environmental allergies, and even some of my food allergies have been healed. I haven’t been sick with even a sniffle in well over 2 years either. I don’t have any concern when coworkers in the office are riddled with colds and flus. 

Pink sauerkraut in a flip top glass jar. Homemade sauerkraut is as easy as chopping and pounding some vegetables and then waiting for the lactobacilli bacteria to multiply. When you mix green and purple cabbage together, you get a beautiful magenta colored sauerkraut!

homemade sauerkraut ingredients

Start with some basic ingredients. Use 3 TB of kosher salt for each 5lb of cabbage (sorry, you will have to weight it for the best outcome!). I like to add 2 carrots and 2 cloves of garlic per head of cabbage also. Caraway seed is one of my favorite spices, so I use a lot of it – 2 TB per head of cabbage.

Start your sauerkraut by adding salt and spices.

Shred cabbage and add it to a large glass bowl. Mix in salt and any herbs that you’d like to add, like caraway seed and crushed garlic cloves. I mix in the carrots after the cabbage starts to release its juices.

Massage the salt into the cabbage until it becomes limp and starts to release its juices.

Massage the salt into the cabbage until it becomes limp and starts to release its juices.

After the cabbage starts to release its juices, pack it tightly into a glass container.

After the cabbage starts to release its juices, pack it tightly into a glass container. I layered mine because I enjoy watching the colors swirl together during the fermentation process. After it is packed into the jar, I use a plastic bag filled with salt water (in case it leaks) to weigh the cabbage down under the water level. If your cabbage hasn’t released enough water, you can add some brine on top at a ratio of 1 cup water to 1 TB salt. This makes an approximately 2% solution. It will continue to release juices at the start of the fermentation processes, so make sure there is plenty of room in the jar. I use a half gallon jar per head of cabbage. Some people use crocks or other fancy tools to make their sauerkraut. You can certainly use those (keeping oxygen away from the ferment is necessary, which is why it needs to be submerged), but I have a small kitchen without storage for a lot of those extra things. If your jar doesn’t have an airlock on it, make sure you pop the lid once or twice a week to let the excess gas out. This is the most practical method for me and I haven’t had a batch go wrong yet.

Sauerkraut fermentation under way!

This photo was taken about a week into fermentation. The cabbage is releasing its juices and the colors are muddling together. The bubbles are a sign that active fermentation is happening. You’ll know it’s done when bubbles stop forming. I push it down a couple times a week to release the gases (those are carbon dioxide bubbles – a byproduct of the fermentation process). All of the research and personal experimentation leads me to believe that a 12 week minimum fermentation time is ideal to allow for the most complete bacterial profile to develop and to reduce the histamine levels if you are sensitive to them. After this point, refrigerate it. It will continue to ferment very slowly in the fridge, but probably won’t last very long because you’ll be eating it. 🙂

Homemade pink sauerkraut with purple and green cabbages

Finished sauerkraut with a gorgeous magenta color.

Fermentation Resources and Tips:

Easy Sauerkraut Recipe
Basic instructions for making your own probiotic-rich sauerkraut at home!
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. Appx 5 lbs cabbage (2 average sized heads - I mix 1 green and 1 purple to make pink sauerkraut)
  2. 3 TB kosher salt (I like it for pickling and ferments)
  3. 4 TB caraway seed (Warning: I LOVE this stuff. You can use less if you don't love it as much as I do.)
  4. 4 carrots (optional)
  5. 4 cloves garlic (optional)
Instructions
  1. Wash and shred the cabbage into thin strips. You can do this with a large knife, but two much faster ways are to use the slicing blade on a food processor (my preference), or to use the straight blade on a spiral cutting tool (I have tried this method and it works pretty quickly as well).
  2. Shred carrots if you are using them.
  3. Crush the garlic if you are using it.
  4. Add 1.5 TB salt to each head of shredded cabbage (I end up using one large mixing bowl per head of cabbage).
  5. Massage the salted cabbage until it starts to soften and give up some juices. Squeeze and pound on it a bit. Some people use "vegetable stompers", but I just use my Vitamix tamper. 😉 The process might take 10-15 minutes.
  6. Mix in the caraway seed, carrots, and garlic.
  7. Pack it tightly into a large glass container (the Vitamix tamper comes in handy for this too). I use a half gallon jar per head of cabbage.
  8. If the liquid does not cover the top of the cabbage, you can make a brine with 1 cup of water and 1 tsp of water, and add a little as needed until your cabbage is completely submerged by about 1/2" water.
  9. Weight the cabbage down so that it stays under the brine. I use a large folded up cabbage leaf to keep the small strips from floating up and a plastic bag full of brine. Some people use river stones in a plastic bag, or a jar full of water that is small enough to fit inside the opening of the fermenting container.
  10. Over the first couple days, it will release more liquid, so make sure there is room for expansion in the container or that it is placed in a glass dish in case it spills over.
  11. Let it sit on the counter until bubbles stop forming in the container. Roughly 12 weeks is ideal to allow the full spectrum of available lactobacillus to develop and to reduce the histamine levels.
  12. Refrigerate it and eat a small bowl each day. 🙂
Notes
  1. It will keep in the refrigerator for months.
  2. Check out the resources in the entry before this recipe card to learn more about what can go wrong and how to troubleshoot it.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/