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

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Huevos rancheros

IMG_2664Adapted from smitten kitchen

black beans (Deb used a can of Black Bean Soup — will try next time)
tomatoes
cilantro
salt
lime juice
poblano pepper
red onion
fresh Mexican sour cream
flour tortilla
Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg

Dice the tomatoes, peppers, onion small. Mix this with salt, lime, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Set aside. Heat your griddle/pan. Toast both sides of the tortilla before adding the grated cheese. Crack one egg on top. Wait a little while, then flip to cook the rest of the egg. Remove to serving plate. (Here I heated some black bean-red bean-corn from quesadillas night). Add the salsa fresca, beans, and a dollop of sour cream on top/the side of your cheesy egg tortilla, whichever you prefer. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

Berry cheesecake galette

Adapted from smitten kitchen

1 pâte brisée (a pastry dough)

Filling
125 g blackberries (I used strawberries)
250 g creme fraiche (cream cheese might be preferable)
8 spoonfuls of granulated sugar (feel free to use less)
1 spoonful cornstarch
1 large egg + 1 egg white, lightly beaten
Juice of half a lemon/lime
Pinch of salt
A few scrapings zest from 1/4 lime
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Egg Wash
1 egg yolk, beaten with a splash of water
1 spoonful of turbinado or coarse sugar for sprinkling
1 spoonful chopped pistachios (optional)

 

IMG_20160923_205209.jpgPreheat the oven to 175°C. Butter a round baking pan.

In a small bowl, mix the berries, 1 spoonful of sugar, citrus, and cornstarch; stir to combine, set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with the eggs until fluffy. Beat in 7 spoonfuls of sugar, citrus zest, vanilla, salt.

Carefully drape the pastry dough in the prepared pan, letting the edges hang over the sides. Pour in cream cheese batter, then spoon the berry mixture over. Lightly swirl them together. Gently pinch the dough edges into loose creases and loosely lay the creases down over the filling; repeat all around.

Lightly brush egg wash around the edges of the dough. Sprinkle generously with sanding sugar and nuts. Bake until golden brown, 35 minutes. Cool completely, and store in the refrigerator before serving.

~Jessica

Bun Chay

Bún Chay (Vietnamese Noodle Salad). Adapted from smitten kitchen and Cooking with a Wallflower

4-8 ounces dried rice sticks or vermicelli
12-18 large shrimp
peanut oil

Sauce
1 lime, the juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
4 cloves garlic, minced
ginger, finely grated
6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
Chili pepper/chili paste, miso, Asian fish sauce, mirin (rice vinegar, if you can find it)

Greens
mixed greens
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
2 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
handful of mixed herbs, coarsely chopped or torn (basil, mint, cilantro)

Garnish
2 tablespoons peanuts, roasted and chopped
Small Thai or Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, to taste
scallions
toasted sesame oil
Lime wedges (to serve)

Make the dipping sauce: Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, dissolve the sugar. Leave for 15 minutes. Refrigerate extras and use within a few days.

Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.

Toss vegetables with 1 spoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 – 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped marinated protein. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste. Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.

Yam lentil curry

Curried Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard, Adapted from smitten kitchen from The New York Times.

coconut oil + butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
fresh ginger root, grated
garam masala, curry powder, paprika
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (I had red pepper flakes)
1 L vegetable broth, or as needed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
300 g dried lentils
1 bay leaf
380 mL canned tomatoes
125 g frozen spinach
salt + black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime

Saute onions, garlic, and ginger in fat until fragrant. Add the pepper and spices. Add the broth and bay leaf. I added canned tomatoes here, cause I like a tomato-based curry. Boil lentils and potatoes in this for 20-30 minutes. Stir in greens if you have any, and lime juice. Taste. Add more water if lentils need more time. Season to taste. Garnish with cilantro.

~Jessica

Guacamole en molcajete

Adapted from ROSA MEXICANO. Makes 4 servings

Chile Paste Ingredients:
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
cilantro, freshly chopped
1/4 jalapeño, finely chopped
salt as needed

3 ripe but firm Hass avocados
1 tomato, diced
cilantro, chopped fresh
1/4 white onion, finely chopped
salt, if necessary
splash of lime juice

Tortilla chips and/or fresh corn tortillas

Make the chile paste: Grind the onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and salt together in a mortar until all the ingredients are finely ground. Alternatively, I used a fork to mash all the ingredients to a paste in a wide bowl.

IMAG4861.jpgCut each avocado in half. Twist the halves to separate them and flick out the pit. Rest an avocado half cut side up on a folded dishtowel in your palm. Make 3 lengthwise cuts through the avocado flesh down to the skin, without cutting through it. Make 4 crosswise cuts in the same way. Scoop the diced avocado flesh into the mortar. Mix all, serve immediately with the tortilla.

~Jessica