Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dill Pickles_Naturally Fermented

Too many cucumbers? Pickles of course. And not just any pickle, but the good old fashioned Dill Pickle that we don’t see anymore. No vinegar! 

We’re talking about a simple water-salt-garlic solution (and any other spice you might employ) that is allowed to naturally ferment and create live cultures_ probiotics _ that good bacteria we need in our gut.  Studies show probiotic foods as helpful in keeping our digestive system in balance and combating problems with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lactose intolerance, vaginal yeast infections, Chron’s disease…

Sandor Katz is well known for books pertaining to fermentation, including The Art of Fermentation, a rather in depth presentation_ the history and science behind all things fermented, should you be so inclined.

If you want to get right into making the pickles, here is Sandor's recipe for Dill Pickles from his website,  

and this from Mark's Daily Apple if you want to make just a quart _ same principle but useful for those with smaller gardens, no large vessel for fermenting, and a way to see how you like the process. 

Burpless from the garden
Cloudy brine tells you the process is working and part of a good fermentation.
Note: The ingredients used in our first batch: salt, garlic, dill sprigs, black peppercorns, mustard seed, dried hot chili pepper. Now I'm off to try some pickles with fresh ginger and garlic.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tomato Jam

Easy and delicious! What could be better?

The ever-sweet-tasting heirloom tomatoes are coming on, but that which sparked the need for this was basically two-fold: my cousin Paula and husband Bob came to visit, and we traveled to King Estate Winery for lunch; the appetizer that was ordered had a side of tomato jam about which Paula and I oohed and aahed. Sweetener... clove? cumin?

Tomato Jam from Diana's kitchen

1 1/2 pounds of (Cherokee Purple) tomatoes, skins removed, cored and diced
1/4 cup raw unfiltered (local) honey
1/4 cup, plus 2 teaspoons Sucanat (Organic unrefined sugar cane) 
2 TB of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 TB of minced ginger 
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1 jalapeno, finely diced (optional, but we like a bit of heat)

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture has a thick, jam-like consistency_ 60 to 75 minutes. Stir often. Freeze or can, but it will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Served atop a sourdough rye crostini that we make, goat cheese, and folks with whom we have shared this appetizer have exclaimed, "We could make a meal out of this!" Accompanied by a dry champagne, hope you enjoy it as much as we.

Love that Cherokee Purple
Cherokee Purple