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Something Else You Can Ferment

I’ve extolled the virtues of fermented foods on many occasion due to their beneficial enzymes that help our digestive systems function better. There are various foods that are readily available in fermented form and all cultures have them since in days gone by, it was an important process because there was no refrigeration and fermented foods keep longer. Many vegetables like in the German version, sauerkraut and the Korean version Kim Chee are fermentable. There are types of dill pickles that are fermented. Not all though so read your labels. Milk is fermentable into yogurt and kefir. Soy is fermented into Miso and Tempeh. BUT something you might not be aware of is that you can ferment nuts and seeds.

I discovered a product from a company called Spread Em. They make a variety of very nice nut cheeses that are fermented. I was a bit taken aback by the price tag of $9.00 for a small container but I guess when you consider the price of nuts, it’s understandable. The kind I bought was garlic and chive cashew cheese spread. So the idea is that it’s sort of like a cream cheese but no dairy and the added benefit of being fermented. I fell in love with it and then of course my mind went to making my own. My first batch turned out great and it made quite a lot. I love it spread on my raw dehydrated (no grain or gluten) flat bread with avocado, red onion and tomato:) Yummy!!! I’ll post another flatbread recipe here too but there’s a link for you to a sprouted buckwheat flat bread recipe.

So I guess you want to know how to make it now?? It’s easy.

Just so you know that you can use many kinds of nuts and seeds but make sure they are soaked not only because it’s required for them to ferment but to remove phytates. Examples are Macadamia, pine nuts, brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds etc.

In this recipe I used cashews and sunflower seeds but feel free to interchange and make this your own recipe.

Fermented cheese

Cashew-Sunflower Fermented Nut Cheese PRINT

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soak in filtered water 4 hours

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, soak 4 hours

1/2 cup of fermented vegetables like sauerkraut-get a good quality organic brand

2 T extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 T nutritional yeast

1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt or sea salt

You can flavour this up more with fresh parsely, basil, dill or other herbs of your choosing to taste. Add fresh ground black pepper, capers, finely chopped olives, green onion or chives and so on. Other options…sesame oil, coconut aminos, miso, fresh ginger and the list goes on.

Toss everything in the Vitamix high speed blender (you can use a food processor but it won’t get as fine a texture). Add a very small amount of filtered water if you need to thin it a touch. Blend til smooth. Have ready sterilized jars and add your mixture to the jars but fill only 1/2 full  so it can expand while fermenting. Put lids on loosely. Let sit in a warm place for 1 1/2 days then refrigerate. It should keep a week to 10 days.

Herb and Onion Flatbread PRINT

1/3 c sundried tomatoes soaked in hot water for 10 mins.

1/3 c and 1/2 c golden flax seeds, do not soak

1/3 c pecans or walnuts, do not soak

1 1/4 c sunflower seeds, do not soak

3 medium zucchini, yellow or green, keep skin on

2 cloves garlic

1/2 red onion

1/3 c fresh basil

3/4 tsp dried oregano

3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

3/4 tsp himalayan pink salt or sea salt

Line your dehydrator tray with a non stick paraflex sheet.

Grind 1/3 cup flax seeds.

Place nuts and sunflower seeds in food processor and grind. Place them in a bowl.

Shred two zucchini using shredding blade in the food processor. Add them to the bowel with nuts.

Using the blade in food processor, process third zucchini and all the rest of the ingredients except the whole flax then add to the nut bowl along with whole flax.

Mix well. Spread evenly over the lined dehydrator tray and score into rectangles, dehydrate for 12 hours then flip removing the liner. Dehydrate another 4 to 6 hours until crisp. If you like it extra thin, use two trays.

 

 

 

 

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Are Your Kids Bugging You for Pizza?

Yes, yes…I know. Pizza is considered junk food but we do have to have a life! As far as pizza goes, it’s not as bad as it seems especially when made at home and you can control what goes on it. So once in a while it can be fun to get the kids involved and make it at home. Last summer my 2 1/2 year old grand daughter, Erynn even helped. I just put a big sheet on the floor and gave her the goods and away she went. She did nearly sit in it and we do believe there may have been a toe print but all in all, it was a success and a good time was had by all. I cooked it on the BBQ and it was great!

There some basic things to know about making pizza to increase your success. Here’s what can make it easier.

Erynn, pizza maker extraordinaire with Grandpa Duck

1) Get a bread machine. If you don’t want to buy new, go to the thrift store. Often you can pick up used machines for a few bucks and they are easy to use. My machine will make 2 large crusts at a time and you can freeze the dough and pull it out and thaw the morning of the pizza making event.

2) Cook pizza at 500 degrees for about 20 mins.

3) Not necessary but a pizza stone is a great tool too. If you don’t have one, just use a baking sheet with Semolina flour scattered on it to avoid sticking. Don’t use regular flour for this. Fine cornmeal would be a better choice.

4) Make sure your toppings are dry. For eg. canned unmarinated artichokes will be quite wet so dry off on some paper towel.

So here’s my recipe:

Pizza Dough (makes 2 large pizza)

Put in bread machine tin in this order…

9 to 11 oz water

3/4 tsp sea salt

3 TBSP Olive Oil

4 Cups Organic Unbleached White Flour (I don’t use whole wheat because it is often rancid. You can get rice crusts but I’m going for the ‘complete pizza satisfaction’ feeling here so alter as you wish for your circumstances.)

2 tsp active dry yeast or bread machine yeast

My machine setting is 11 and that setting just kneads and rises but does not cook so look for that mode on your machine. If you don’t have a machine, just hand knead for 10 mins until shiny and put in a bowl rubbed with olive oil to avoid sticking and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place to rise and then use immediately or freeze. You can put it in the fridge and take out closer to assembly time to warm up.

When ready to assemble, sprinkle the counter with semolina flour which is a bit on the course side and roll out your dough. I don’t recommend flinging it in the air without some practice as it is hard to scrape off the ceiling:) Your dough doesn’t have to come out round. Odd shapes are OK.

Place the dough on the baking sheet or stone that’s been sprinkled with semolina. Preheat oven to 500 F.

Now for the toppings…

While your dough is rising, prep the toppings. You will need pizza sauce (tomato based). One small can (213 ml/7.5 oz) will do 2 large pizzas. If you want to get adventurous, try pesto instead. Both these choices can be home made or buy organic.

Cheese choices: Mozzarella of course but cheddar, emmentaler, parmesan, feta are all good too. You can even buy pregrated pizza cheese but watch out for the additives. Safer to grate your own.

Other possibilities: peppers (sweet or hot), onion, mushrooms, pineapple, artichokes, olives (kalamata or black), etc.

Meats: Look for meats with no additives and preservatives. There are some deli meats on the market like that now. Options… Back Bacon, Ham, Pepperoni, Salami, Cappicolli, small meatballs, ground beef, etc. Some people like seafood on pizza so really…it’s your personal preferences. You can keep it vegetarian if you want.

I like to tear some fresh basil or arugula on the pizza when it comes out of the oven.

So assembly…spread the tomato sauce or pesto all over the pizza except near the edges, sprinkle liberally with cheese. Then add the rest…don’t overdo as it will be soggy. My personal fave: tomato sauce, mozzarella, a bit of cheddar, smoked bacon (partially cook before putting on the pizza), pineapple, black olives, feta cheese, peppadews and basil. You can get peppadews which are a sweet picante brined pepper that resemble a cherry pepper at Granville Island (South China Seas Trading) or online. I’m lucky to have talked my local butcher shop here on Gabriola into stocking them. Peppadews have a tangy fruity taste that is very unusual and fantastic! I’m sure they will be available all over the place soon!

Here’s a link with some interesting info about peppadews.

Peppadews

 
 

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Smits & Co. Farm Cheese

Ron Smits with his cute hat!

What a treat! Rodney came home from his trip to the mainland with a gift from some clients. Three different cheeses straight from their farm. The Smits of Smits & Co. Farm Cheese live in Chilliwack where there is a large Dutch community. They have had a dairy farm for a long time but recently started making cheese! They make goat and cow’s milk cheese. The different varieties we received are stinging nettle, cranberry and chive. Tonight we are going to have a sampling with friends. What fun!

Wouldn’t it be good tossed into the Arugula and Beet Salad?

You can contact the Smits at 604-824-9779 or smitsandcow@shaw.ca.

Look at all that cheese!

http://www.smitsandcow.com/Cheese.html

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Dairy

 

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