Sunday, July 29, 2012

Getting close

So maybe starting a jar of pickles in 70-80 degree weather and then leaving town for a week was not the best way to try my hand at making sour cucumbers. Needless to say, my first attempt was mushy and unappetizing. The sauerkraut on the other hand turned out great! It was yellow from the beets and pungent from the ginger and garlic. Laurel and I both had some for lunch! 

After a trip to the farmers market to stock up for the week, I decided that today was the day to do the final purging of our cabinets and fridge as we were planning to launch into the full GAPS diet on August 1st. Before putting my beautiful produce and eggs away, I did a thorough cleaning of the fridge drawers and shelves and pulled out everything processed and otherwise GAPS illegal: ketchup, mayo, fish sauce (made with sugar), jam, tofutti sour cream (sorry, Laurel!), maple syrup, and hot sauce! I then turned to the pantry, pulling out jars of dry garbanzos, cans of pinto beans, agave syrup, quinoa, coffee, and more. It was sad to say goodbye to so many tasty (and expensive!) products, but I knew of a good home for them. 

Emptied pantry shelves!

Laden with two grocery bags and one cardboard box full of the exiled items I headed over to a house where some friends were having a garage sale. They were thrilled to receive the bounty and we ended up talking about the diet (i.e. why we were getting rid of all this stuff) and fermentation. I told them about my pickles that had gone ary and my kraut that was fabulous. One of them, a seasoned fermentor, offered me a beautiful ceramic crock from their own kitchen plus fresh grape leaves to help maintain the crispness of the cukes. I headed back home to start a new batch of pickles!

Back at home, I also had to check on my chicken stock that I left simmering on the stove (don't worry, Laurel was home!) and my first batch ever of home made yogurt. Here again, I had already had one failure and one seeming success. I had bought a Bulgarian yogurt culture that needed to be activated by a 5-7 hour fermentation in a little milk. I also bought a little tub of commercial yogurt to use as a starter, just in case. I started one jar of the bulgarian culture to activate and 4 jars of yogurt using the commercial yogurt as a starter. Since I started them last night, I got up early this morning to check on them. Luckily, the dehydrator I was using as a yogurt maker seemed to be holding the right temp, the 4 jars looked okay, but the bulgarian jar would just not set. I checked on it several times until it had gone for 12 hours, at which point I finally gave up and left it out to cool. After chilling for a few hours, it had a nice flavor, but the texture was loose and clumpy. Not sure what exactly I will do with it...

The chicken stock turned out great. I used a whole chicken from the farmer's market, plus some extra necks, carrots, celery, and onion, and a little vinegar (I was short on cider vinegar, so I used a little umeboshi as well). After simmering for abour 5 hours, I fished the bones and meat out and blended a little of the broth with the boiled carrots and onions for a soup for Laurel. I even stirred in some of my Bulgarian failed yogurt (which tasted great in the soup) and drizzled on some toasted pumpkin seed oil and chives from the garden. 

Carrot chicken soup with stewed zucchini and homemade basil pesto

Because I had thrown out all our condiments, I decided to make some mustard. I found a recipe for it in Dr. McBride's accompanying recipe book that called for dry white wine, onions, garlic, honey, mustard powder, and olive oil. I was awed by how simple it was- simply cook it all in a sauce pan until the alcohol evaporates and it thickens. They chill in a the refrigerator for a few weeks until it mellows. I tried a fingerful and was surprised by how horseradishy it tasted. 

Making mustard!

It is almost time to check on my yogurt. Can't wait. GAPS Diet, here we come!

1 comment:

  1. Bring on the adventure. Hard to get used to an empty pantry, but you continue to impress me. Just tried the yogurt and it's awesome! :)