Kombucha tea

Best summed up by The Kitchn

Ingredients to brew Kombucha:
4 cups of filtered water, then 8 cups of cool filtered water
6 bags of black tea (6 grams of loose tea)
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of “starter tea” from last kombucha brew (if you have it)
1 active Kombucha SCOBY

Equipment:
Stock pot to sterilize bottles
1 gallon glass jar
organic cotton cloth / bag
six swing-top bottles w/ caps – 16.9oz, Amber Glass
glass measuring cup

Directions:

  1. Boil four cups of water.
  2. Add the cup of sugar and dissolve it in a glass receptacle.
  3. Steep the tea bags in the sugar water for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Measure out the eight cups of cool water into your gallon glass jar (emptied and cleaned and rinsed).
  5. Add the four cups of tea to the gallon jar.
  6. If you have two cups of “starter tea” from the last kombucha brew, add it to the gallon jar.
  7. Once the gallon jar is room temperature-cool, slip your scoby into the gallon jar.
  8. Cover the jar with an organic cotton cloth, secure with twine / rubber bands, and set aside in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Ferment for 7 to 10 days.
  9. After seven days, taste the kombucha daily until the sweet-tart flavor is balanced to your preference.

Ingredients to bottle brewed Kombucha:
orange, ginger, lemon, lime, berries, mint, etc.

Directions for second fermentation/bottling:

  1. Prepare fresh tea (as directed above) for your next batch.
  2. Take out the scoby with cleaned hands (rinsed well). Remove the bottom (momma) scoby layer to give away to a friend or toss or save for back-up. Set aside the top (baby) scoby carefully for your next batch in a glass receptacle.
  3. Set aside two cups of this kombucha homebrew as “starter tea” for your next batch.
  4. Pour the fermented kombucha into your sterilized (5 minutes boiled) bottles.
  5. Add sliced flavorings (see above) to bottles — experiment! Leave 1.5 cm. head space in the bottle before capping.
  6. Prep your next batch: clean the gallon jar after emptied. Combine the 4 cups tea, 8 cups cool water, 1 cup sugar, and 2 cups of “starter tea” in the gallon jar. Slip (newest) scoby carefully into jar.
  7. Store these bottles at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2-4 days, and pop the cap open each day to release excess carbonation.
  8. Refrigerate to stop fermentation. Drink within a month.
  9. Repeat

I picked up a scoby from a kombucha-brewing friend (Amber) and used regular Lipton tea bags and white sugar (my grandma saves them from her senior community center in Queens). Avoid any teas that contain oils, like earl grey or flavored teas. Avoid touching metal, especially aluminum. Peel off the bottom (oldest) layer every few batches. Can’t wait to try a berries and mint combination, as recommended by a friend!

~Jessica

Advertisements

Avocado pasta

IMG_20180403_144205.jpgAdapted from Damn Delicious

Ingredients:
350 g spaghetti
2 ripe avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:
In a large pot of boiling water, season with salt and cook pasta according to package instructions; reserve a little pasta water. We had fusilli, which took 9 minutes to cook al dente.
To make the avocado sauce, combine avocados, basil (didn’t have — next time!), garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor (I minced and mashed by hand with a rice paddle); season with salt and pepper, to taste. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, avocado sauce, cherry tomatoes and corn (vegetables next time).
Serve immediately.

Herbed summer squash pasta bake

IMG_2707Adapted from smitten kitchen

Ingredients:
250 g De Cecco pasta
olive oil
3 summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
Juice of half a lemon
45 g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large or 5 skinny scallions, sliced thin, white and green parts separate
Pinches of red pepper flakes, to taste
25 g (3 tbsp) all-purpose flour
350 mL (1 1/2 cups) broth
thyme, oregano, salt and more pepper to taste
finely grated parmesan cheese
smoked Gouda, cubed small
chopped basil

Directions:
Cook the pasta to al dente in salted water. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high, season with salt and pepper, and fry the zucchini for 10 minutes without burning, browning both sides. Remove, and sprinkle the squash with some lemon juice. Melt butter in the pan on medium heat and fry the scallion whites and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the flour until absorbed by the butter. Slowly add the (milk) broth, incorporating each time you mix it together. Season with lemon, salt, and pepper. Simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and mix in all herbs. Season to taste. Add the gravy sauce to your baking dish. Add the pasta, squash, and cheeses. Stir to combine. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown. Serve hot, topped with chopped basil.

I subbed broth for the whole milk and smoked Gouda for the mozzarella. It made the sauce a quite nice gravy, surprisingly. I also had two tomatoes and some reserved puree that needed to go somewhere so… Mystery pasta bake. Yum! In hindsight, however, this would have been super delicious without the addition of tomatoes, although Amber really didn’t mind them.

~Jessica

Strawberry chia jam

IMG_2693.JPG

Fresh  out of the pot

Adapted from Nadia Lim

Ingredients:
2 cups strawberries, frozen
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp chia seeds
splash of vanilla extract (optional)
splash of water
splash of lemon juice

Directions:
Mix all ingredients except chia seeds. Cook in a small pot over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Stir until thickened, breaking up the fruit. Sweeten to taste. Add the chia seeds and stir for a minute. Let jam cool slightly, then transfer to heatproof, sterilized jars (I adore Bonne Maman preserves, so I always save up their jars). Cover and let cool completely. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

IMAG1293After looking up all of those interesting ways to use chia seeds, I became fascinated with this simple recipes. Only berries and sugar and chia seeds are essential, but I had the rest in the pantry, so hey, why not? All the little chia seeds look like strawberry seeds in the photo! I thought the vanilla flavouring unnecessary, so I wouldn’t add it next time. And it wasn’t overly sweet, as most jams are — a nice change!

~Jessica

Chole

aka Chana masala. Adapted from Padma Lakshmi, a repeat from an earlier recipe.

2 onions, quartered
1 bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped (I used red)
6 large firm, ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
Salt, to taste
2 (15-ounce) cans chick peas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, or to taste

Chop finely the onions, bell pepper, tomatoes and ginger root. In a pot set over medium heat, warm the (I used coconut) oil until hot. Add the onions and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and peppers and cook for 20 minutes. Add the Garam Masala and chili powder and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Add the salt and chick peas and cook, stirring, until heated through. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve the curry over rice.

~Jessica

P.S. I also threw in some green and yellow squash for extra vegetables, and we threw in a dollop of peanut butter for added creaminess!

Pumpkin pie

img_0342Adapted from Simply Recipes

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of ginger
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves (we ground with mortar & pestle)
pinch of ground cardamon (we didn’t have)
lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon
2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
2 cups of canned pumpkin purée
1 can of evaporated milk
1 good pie crust

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Mix dry ingredients (sugar & spice) and zest. Beat eggs. Mix wet ingredients (pumpkin and dairy). Pour filling into pie shell. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 350°F. Bake for 45-55 minutes more, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for two hours. Serve.

~Jessica

Brussels sprouts in brown butter sauce

img_0345Adapted from smitten kitchen

Salt
200 g brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
50 g unsalted butter
3 shallots, very thinly sliced
3 spoonfuls of flour
500 mL hot chicken stock
2 spoonfuls of lemon juice
Ground black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
10 roasted, peeled chestnuts, halved if large (we didn’t have this time)

Boil sprouts in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse cold. Saute shallots in butter in saucepan until fragrant, over medium heat. Set aside strained shallots and brown the butter. Whisk in flour. Whisk in stock. Cook until sauce is thickened. Add lemon juice, salt, black pepper, nutmeg. Add chestnuts and brussels sprouts. Scatter shallots on top and bake at 225 deg C for 15 minutes. Serve.

(Optional: we fried up a little bacon, minced into the dish.)

~Jessica