When my friend, and fellow writer, Jeff Harding, sent me the recipe for beet kvass last month, I was immediately excited to give the homemade probiotic a try. A sour drink like kombucha, but one that I could make with my CSA beets? Yes please!
Beet kvass is a lacto-fermented beverage, made with a process similar to basic pickles. It’s a simple combination: beets, water, and salt, plus optional ingredients like ginger and orange zest. Things started out well enough, as the red beets almost immediately created a bright pink liquid and a nice tart flavor. But after a few days, the flavor turned earthy and musky, and after a few days more, the flavor started to veer disappointing. Not sure if I had botched the recipe entirely, or just didn’t enjoy the flavor of kvass, I turned to the glory of Internet recipe research. After poking around on a few preservation and fermentation websites, I realized that perhaps I just needed to let the kvass—which further research explained traditionally includes whey—mature in the fridge to reduce that earthy taste.
After a week or so of resting in the fridge, I was pleasantly surprised by the beet kvass. It’s still a bit salty, but the drink has mellowed considerably, and I can imagine sipping it when I need a nice kick of something fresh and healthy. Enthusiastic fans of beet kvass describe it as a natural energy drink, and like other probiotics, kvass is said to aid in digestion and promote intestinal health. Some drink it as an elixir or daily tonic, but the flavor is a a bit of an acquired taste. Drinking it mixed with sparkling water or using it like a vinegar in salad dressings are options to help adapt to its salty flavor.
fAter a wonderfully mild start, Berlin’s winter has finally hit in full force. The city’s streets were lined in a slick ice that had many dangerously falling over on Monday, and yesterday we woke up to the first snow of the year. After braving the cold, Sarah’s wonderfully warming Gold Rush Soup—doesn’t the name just make you feel warmer already?—was the only thing I wanted. Lately I’ve been cooking just what I want, and thankfully that also means lots of healthy fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices.
I didn’t have Sarah’s combination of sweet potatoes and turmeric on hand, but loved the idea of turning roasted vegetables into a quick soup. Our CSA pumpkin, garlic, and ginger did the job nicely. But the real secret to this soup is the lovely chickpea croutons, spicy and crunchy and quite addictive. While it’s not required, I do suggest roasting the chickpeas in coconut oil—it adds such a nice aroma. The chickpeas are also delicious tossed into salads, if you can manage to keep from eating them all directly off the roasting pan! Read More
People usually associate apples with autumn and the changing seasons, when the fruit is picked from the tree and harvested. But because apples store well in cellars, they are an all-winter-long fruit as well. Thanks to our bountiful farm share, we’ve had so many more apples than I’ve known what to do this year, and it looks like we’ll be eating them long into the winter. People keep suggesting I make applesauce but honestly I don’t really like to eat it. I’ve found other ways to add apples in here and there—including them in our Thanksgiving stuffing, roasted kohlrabi dishes, and this delicious Gouda bread—but I’ve also been wanting to try out a pop tart recipe for awhile and apples seemed like a fitting filling, considering my bumper crop. When I stumbled on this hand pie recipe last week, I thought I’d make it my last recipe in Berlin in 2013, before heading to the US for our big holiday trip.
Not only was I happy to use up some of our apple reserves, but I’m so glad I discovered this pastry recipe, which is absolutely divine, so flaky and buttery and just delicious. I’ll definitely be playing with it again, so don’t be surprised if you see it sometime soon. For the filling I’ve made my own deep dark caramel sauce but the recipe can be simplified to use store-bought caramels instead. I baked the tarts to a nice dark caramelized brown, but you can reduce the cooking time by a few minutes if you prefer golden brown. These tarts are so delicious it’s hard to not eat several in one sitting, and I’m already daydreaming about my next batch. And since we still have plenty of apples, that’s not really a problem!
This week I landed back in the US, and am busy enjoying some much-needed time with friends and family. But I’ve had a little inspiration for a special cookie recipe that I’m excited about, so I’ll try and share it next week before the holidays. Until then! Read More