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Alex Lewin’s Fermented Carolina-Style Slaw and Lacto Fermented Vegetables

The recipes below are reprinted with permission from Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen by Alex Lewin.

Fermented Carolina-Style Slaw


Courtesy of Quarry Books.

Carolina-style slaw is a type of coleslaw traditional in the southeastern United States. . . . It’s clear to me that today’s Carolina slaw, soured with vinegar, is a re-creation of the slaws of yesteryear, which must have been fermented—soured via bacterial action—because that was how one kept cabbage. . . . The big benefit, besides taste and texture, is that the fermentation process makes everything easier to digest—both the cabbage and whatever it’s accompanying. The same recipe can be made with broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and shredded turnip. Or you could replace all the cabbage with celery root if you wanted to.    –AL

1 pound green cabbage
1 large onion (red, yellow, or white)
1 large green bell pepper
1 large carrot
½ apple (optional)
¼ pound celery root, or 1 teaspoon celery seed
4 teaspoons sea salt
¼ cup honey (or less, if you have included an apple)
6 tablespoons oil (a mixture of sesame, coconut, and olive oils works well)
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 piece (1⁄3 inch) ginger root, peeled and grated (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

Yield: 1 quart or 2 pounds
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 4–7 days
Large cutting board (wood is ideal)
Large knife (a chef’s knife is ideal)
Large mixing bowl
2 Mason jars (1 pint each) or similar glass jars with tight-fitting lids
Colander or strainer

Thinly slice the cabbage, onion, and bell pepper.… Read More

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Panch Phoron Brussels Sprouts


This recipe comes from nurse, nutritionist, cook, and world traveler Roshni Kavate and Alembique Apothecary owner Babak Nahid. It features panch phoron, a bittersweet and aromatic five-spice whole-seed spice blend used in Bangladesh, Eastern India, and Southern Nepal. It typically consists of fenugreek, nigella, cumin, black mustard, and fennel seeds in equal parts. These seeds are known for their rich history in Chinese, Ayurvedic, Middle Eastern, and Western herbal-healing traditions. Each exhibits antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anticarcinogenic properties.

Along with all those health benefits comes a delicious aroma and flavor. Panch phoron can be enjoyed in diverse recipes from the main meal to beverages and desserts, but its traditional uses are with vegetables, chicken or beef curry, fish, lentils, shukto, and in pickles. It is typically fried or “tempered” in vegetable oil or ghee, which causes it to immediately begin popping and release its perfume.

Alembique sells an organic panch phoron called Five Seeds Ayurvedic Seasoning Blend, which Kavate assembled using a recipe borne from her mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens. She includes radhuni seeds, which Bengalis often use instead of mustard seeds. Some Western cooks substitute the similar-tasting celery seed for radhuni.

Housed in a corner store in West Berkeley dating from the 1870s, Alembique purveys exceptional ingredients for natural health and wellness.… Read More

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Sautéed Chanterelles

Hummus_Chanterelle-by-Anna-BussCookin’ the Market Chef Mario Hernandez offers this recipe from The Order of the Fat Tongue, a group of farmers, chefs, artists, and activists who care about food justice and the local food system. In Japan, where Hernandez grew up, someone with a “fat tongue” concerns himself with the quality of food.

7 medium-sized chanterelles or ½ pound, hand torn into uniform sizes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, crushed in their jackets
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or a good quality extra-virgin olive oil to start,
and an additional 2 tablespoons for after the mushroom stock is removed
2 twigs thyme
1 small shallot, minced
Splash of lemon juice or vinegar
Parsley for garnish

If your locally foraged mushrooms were gathered in a rainy period, they can be full of rainwater and covered in mud, so cleaning and sautéing them can be tricky. Removing the mud with a brush or a paper towel will only frustrate you, so if your chanterelles are super dirty, clean with the spray nozzle on your kitchen sink or submerge briefly in a large bowl full of water, then rinse and dry with a lint-free dish towel.

Start by placing the crushed garlic cloves (leave them in their jackets so they don’t burn), kosher salt (to season and pull moisture from the garlic), and the extra virgin olive oil or butter in a cold sauté pan.Read More

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Roasted Tomatoes

From Kassenhoff Growers,

September at Kassenhoff Growers often means abundant tomatoes.

This is how we keep them for future use in cooking.

Preheat oven to 450°

Sprinkle a pan with salt and pepper to taste. Cover bottom with some sprigs of fresh thyme. (We use our English thyme from the garden, but you could experiment with dried thyme or with other fresh or dried herbs.)

Cut tomatoes in half and place cut-side-down on top of herbs. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Place in preheated oven and roast for 25 minutes. Lower heat to 325° and roast for another 25 minutes. Turn off heat and let pan cool in the oven. When cool, the skins will often just slip off.

After they are cool, the tomatoes can be placed, along with the oil from the pan, into a quart yogurt container for freezing. When you’re ready to use some, run the container under hot water until the tomatoes slip out, cut off what you want with a serrated knife, and return the rest to the freezer. Because of the oil content, the block doesn’t freeze totally solid.

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Peter Piper’s Kraut

Culturing vegetables like cabbage with salt produces lactic acid and lots of beneficial bacteria, creating a probiotic health food that can improve digestion and build immunity. While krauts can be made in almost any vessel, I prefer to use a specially designed German sauerkraut crock made by Harsch. It comes with fitted stones that weigh down the kraut, and the lid features a moat that acts as an airlock, letting air out as fermentation happens but keeping molds from entering. If you don’t have one of these handy crocks, you can use a bucket, pot, large jar, or almost anything that will hold the cabbage. The Harsch crocks are designed to culture the vegetables over the course of about five weeks, but I find that this is sometimes too long for other vessels—the liquid evaporates and mold can form on top of the kraut. This doesn’t ruin the kraut underneath—just scrape off the top and then transfer the good kraut to jars and put them in the fridge. Eaten in midwinter, this kraut is a lovely reminder of the harvest season!

Yields about 1 gallon

  • 6 pounds green cabbage
  • 2 pounds peppers (Gypsy, bell, poblano, or other)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle powder, if available
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice (“jamaica pepper”)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup minced scallions
  • 4 tablespoons sea salt, or as needed

Core, quarter, and shred cabbage finely.… Read More

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Zucchini with Onions

This recipe is from Vedika’s Sanjai Mathur, who describes it as “a light recipe with a sweet effect, perfect for summer.”

½ pound zucchini, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ghee (clarified butter)
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish

In a pan, heat ghee and add cumin seeds, swirl until fragrant.

Then add chopped onion and sauté until opaque.

To the onions add turmeric, salt, and zucchini and mix well. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 12–15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When zucchini is sufficiently cooked, garnish with coriander and serve.

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Properly Cooked Brown Rice

Excerpted from THE COMPLETE TASSAJARA COOKBOOK by Edward Espe Brown, © 2009. Published by
arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston.

1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or oil

Rinse and drain the rice, then soak it in the water for 1 hour (optional). Put both rice and water into a heavy saucepan.

Add salt and butter and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cover the pot with
a tight-fitting lid. Cook the rice for 45 minutes undisturbed.

Watch TV, prepare other dishes for dinner, or do your yoga asanas, but don’t look at the pot. The rice needs seclusion to turn out properly. To tell when it’s done just listen to the pot: no more bubbling, but a subtle yet distinct crackling or popping sound. The rice on the bottom is becoming toasted. Leave the pot tightly covered. Just before serving, gently fluff the grains with a fork.

If properly cooked and properly eaten (100 chews per mouthful), the brown rice will properly become you.

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