# Monday, 10 March 2008
I let my piima culture die over the winter, which made me sad.  I have remedied the situation however, and now have not only a new healthy piima culture but some fil mjolk as well.  I haven't tasted the fil mjolk yet, but it sets up very nicely at room temperature, and has a much sharper "buttermilky" smell than the piima.  Both are room temperature "yogurt" cultures that come originally from Scandinavia.  I also made some skyr last week, which didn't work out particularly well.  I think I left it too long at too high a temperature, so it was very grainy and sour.  It did produce some nice whey though, that will see it's way into lactic acid pickles over the next little while.  I just finished some sauerkraut and some fermented bean paste before the whey was done, and they soured much more slowly than the ones using whey I made last year.  I left some of the whey out to see how sour it will get.  I'm itching to try some of the traditional Icelandic whey pickles, but need good sour whey (syra or mysa in Icelandic I think) to make it work. 

I'm recovereing from a wintertime slump into too much prepared food and cooking a lot.  It's so much fun to try new stuff.  I managed to dehydrate a batch of Ethiopian berbere over the weekend, so it will hopefully keep longer and take up less space that way.  I want to experiment with adding some to green pea flour for "instant" backpacking food.  I think it should work pretty well.  Only one way to find out...

Monday, 10 March 2008 18:14:51 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Monday, 03 December 2007
I had some leftover kahlua pork, so decided to try some kahlua pig and cabbage, which is basically just that.  Leftover pork with cabbage and onions in a little chicken broth.  Very easy, a great way to stretch leftovers, and just the thing to go with kimchi.  I had some from the store that was getting a little old, and yesterday I made up two big batches of napa kimchi with some nice locally grown napa cabbages I scored at Uwajimaya.  Since I was in the mood I hacked up the cabbage I didn't throw in with the pork and made a batch of sauerkraut too.  It's always nice to have a few crocks of something bubbling on the counter top. 

I also had my first taste of full-on poi this weekend.  I've cooked and mashed taro a bunch of times, but never had official poi until I found some at the store this weekend.  It's certainly bland, but it went really well with the pork and cabbage, and is very filling.  And supposedly it's really good for you.  Plus, there's something just plain cool about purple food.  :-)

Monday, 03 December 2007 22:56:05 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Thursday, 03 May 2007

I've been having lots of fun with fermentation lately, thanks to some very cool books like Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats and Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods.  I'm on my second batch of fermented beans, and the 3-4 batch of sauerkraut  now. 

This morning it all came together in a fine breakfast.  I took a "hand made" corn tortilla from Trader Joe's, heated it up with some cheddar cheese, then layered on some of the fermented beans (made with pinto beans and garlic this time), some cortida (Latin American-style sauerkraut), some pickled jalapenos, and some piima cream.  Simple, fast, and oh-so-tasty. 

Next up... I've got some gingered carrots and some turnips and beets bubbling their way toward pickle-hood on top of my fridge.  A few more days until they are ready.

Thursday, 03 May 2007 18:24:32 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 04 April 2007

I'm continuing to play around with lactic acid fermentation at home.  The saurkraut came out pretty well, although next time I think I'll let it go a bit longer to see if I can manage a stronger flavor.  The second experiment was fermented bean paste.  Both recipes and suggestions around same came from Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, which I've been reading a lot lately.  It has some very interesting things to say about what we eat as compared with what our ancestors ate, and why their way was probably better, which resonates well with me. 

For the beans, I cooked up a batch of black beans, after soaking them overnight with some whey, as per the instructions.  The cooked beans got mashed in the food processor with most of an onion, some salt, and 4 tbl. of when left over from the skyr.  The resulting goo went into a mason jar, which sat atop my fridge for 3 days.  It didn't seem to do much until the third day, when it grew about an inch taller in the jar, and looked a bit fizzy. 

As no mold was in evidence, I went for it.  The resulting bean mash is quite sour, and is excellent (if you like that kind of thing) on nachos along with some piima cultured cream, and also in wraps with some lettuce, cream cheese and pickled jalapenos.  Good eating. 

Next experiment... sweet potato.  And another batch of cabbage, since we tore through the first batch with some brats in beer last night.

Wednesday, 04 April 2007 21:31:14 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 27 March 2007

I haven't tried making saurkraut in years, and the last few times I tried I got moldy cabbage, not saurkraut.

This time I'm trying my new favorite secret ingredient, whey leftover from skyr production.  It seems to be doing the trick so far.  I got some preshredded cabbage, since I'm lazy, and added a tablespoon of kosher salt and a 3-4 tablespoons of whey, along with some caraway seeds.  We're into day 2 at room temperature, and it's really starting to smell like saurkraut, with no mold in sight (knock on wood).  If it survives until tomorrow, it goes in the fridge thenceforth. 

I may be trying some more fermentation experiments over the coming weeks, so we'll see how they turn out too. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2007 00:46:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Some friends hooked us up with some culture for piima last weekend, and I've been having a great time playing with it.  Piima is a culture used in modern Scandinavia to create a buttermilk/yogurt like substance.  The best part is that it works at room temperature, so you don't have to heat the milk, or worry about trying to keep it warm with a yogurt maker, etc. 

You just stir the piima culture into milk or cream and let it stand at room temperature for 24 hours or so.  Cultured in milk, I got something that was maybe a little thicker than cultured buttermilk, but not as firm as yogurt.  I'm in the midst of culturing some cream, which is supposed to come out like thin sour cream, and is also supposed to be good for making cultured butter.  Only time will tell...

There are a number of online sources for piima culture.  Just google for "pima culture" and you'll find several sources. 

One thing to note: once you get it going, it has to be "fed" like kefir grains or sourdough starter.  The piima milk I made earlier in the week was sufficiently tasty (very mild, not sour) that I don't think it'll be a problem at my house. :-)

Wednesday, 21 March 2007 17:39:49 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]