Thursday, February 25, 2010

Real Food Challenge - week 3

Day #15: What's a SCOBY?
Day #16: Get Cultured (Veggies)
Day #17: Making Yogurt at Home
Day #18: Make Cheese at Home
Day #19: Preparing Nuts & Seeds
Day #20: Maximizing the Nutrient Value of Beans & Legumes
Day #21: Vegetables & Salads

What's a SCOBY?
I really like the idea of replacing fruit juice and soda with some other tasty and beneficial beverage. We don't buy much juice or soda. One idea is fruity herbal iced tea for the kids. I have been wondering if there is MSG in commercial herbal tea. Celestial Seasonings has something called "natural flavors (contains soy lecithin)". Am I going too far? Should I let it go? Please let me know.
Yesterday I read all about kefir. Some websites say that you can convert your kefir grains into water kefir grains. Wikipedia says that water kefir grains are completely different thing called tibicos. I've been reading about kombucha for months now. Once or twice I have tasted it sold at the grocery store. Many times I have found websites selling the mothers and I just haven't bought one. I think it's like buying a cat. Why would you buy one when so many people want to give one away for free? I'll post something on the local freecycle list. I need to find the right kind of fermenting container before starting.

Get Cultured (Veggies)
This was a great because I was planning on making more sauerkraut anyway. I made fermented garlic. I blanched the cloves in boiling water in order to remove the skins. Some of them got over cooked. I should have used a timer. My husband asked why I was making fermented garlic and my answer was, "I don't know.". I searched the web looking for recipes that use it and didn't get very far. Salad dressing?

I made sauerkraut on a Sunday afternoon. That was QUITE a workout. I sliced it with the food processor but I had to pound it by hand. The pounder was a pint jar. I wished I had raw cream in the house. I would have put it in the pounding jar and had butter by the time I was done! I followed the recipe in Nourishing Traditions and used whey as a starter. I packed 2 cabbages worth into a half gallon jar and a quart jar and stuck it in a bottom cabinet with the garlic. It is on an outer wall and is close to 60F, I imagine.

Making Yogurt at Home
A friend from India taught my mom to make yogurt when I was a kid. I have made yogurt probably twice. My mom ate it plain with a dollop of jam. I was never all that enthralled with it. For some reason, drinking kefir isn't as boring as eating plain yogurt. My snack at work has been 1 cup of kefir. It is made with whole milk and actually tastes kind of greasy. Weird. Maybe I'll make raita with it.

Tuesday night I found an unopened half gallon of Farmer's Creamery milk in the back of my fridge. It was probably 10 days since I bought it! Uh-oh! It was sort-of fresh but the next day my daughter wouldn't drink it. Kefir time! I had one quart of kefir still working in the warm closet. (The closet is about 75F and the kitchen counter is 62F.) I took the other batch of grains and put them in the plastic bottle that the milk was in. I am worried that the milk will sour before becoming kefir. Today the first batch of kefir was ready so I dumped those grains into the half gallon.

Make Cheese at Home
I still have to try this. We had a busy weekend. One of my friends from the Progressive Parenting Book Club is in love with making cheese. She just tried it and is very enthusiastic - especially about mozzarella.

Preparing Nuts & Seeds
I still have some Crispy Nuts (almonds) that I made a while ago. The walnuts were better than I've ever had. Toasted walnuts are delicious but soaked and dried walnuts are divine, buttery goodness. I have a question about the sunflower seed cracker recipe I posted last week. The method involved mixing raw sunflower seeds in the food processor until they are a flour, adding sesame seeds and a little water to hold it all together. It all gets baked in the oven. Does that take care of the phytates? Should I be soaking, drying and THEN making the recipe? That's a LOT of work.... :(

Maximizing the Nutrient Value of Beans & Legumes
I make the low-carb excuse again. I think beans are awesome. When I achieve the intended weight loss, legumes are the complex carbs I will definitely work back into my diet. Kalyn's Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs. She has some great chickpea recipes.

Vegetables & Salads
This is about adding a little fat whenever eating vegetables so that the fat-soluable vitamins in the vegetables are absorbed and digested. I do try to make my own salad dressing because the bottled stuff doesn't taste good any longer. What's in there anyway? My husband makes dinner most weeknights. When the kids aren't looking I throw a pat of butter over the cooked veggies. I know this is strange but if they see me do it, they think it will taste bad.

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