Trying to make sauerkraut at home has been on my agenda for a while now after running across Sandor Katz‘s book, Wild Fermentation. The Brooklyn Public Library’s waiting list for the book itself is actually quite long, so I basically followed the method he outlines in this video:

My kraut was made from a white cabbage base, with a bit of carrot and onion. I also have a smaller auxiliary batch that includes some leftover diced jalapeno. I think the cabbage I used must have been a bit old because after a good deal of kneading, it didn’t release nearly enough liquid to submerge the veggies. So, I ended up adding water after I packed it into jars so that everything would be covered in liquid.

I’ll check back in a couple days to see what sort of progress it’s making. Anybody else made sauerkraut before? Any useful tips?

Tangentially, I fell down a google hole while first looking up sauerkraut videos and then krautrock videos and found a cool BBC krautrock documentary on YouTube. Really interesting story about the development of post-WWII German pop music. FYI – there is some nudity etc. etc.

First Taste of the Garden Season

The weather’s starting to look more consistently springy this week, so we spent some of this weekend preparing to get back into the garden. Yesterday we started seedlings for some yellow cherry tomatoes, basil, dill, thyme, and seasoning celery. We’re planning to add cucumbers seedlings soon, as well as sowing lettuce and spinach seed directly into the ground for early crops.

Taking a spin through the garden the morning, I found the garlic we planted last fall going strong. Can’t wait to start harvesting scapes. Plus, a fellow gardener gave me some arugula that overwintered in her plot. I put it on the egg sandwich you see above – our first taste of the garden this year!

Pasta with Broccoli and Roasted Squash

This dish involved a couple different elements that were cooked separately and then combined at the end. First, I roasted a cubed butternut squash with olive oil and fresh thyme (plus S&P). Meanwhile, I heated water for pasta (we used egg linguine). When the squash was getting towards done, I sauteed broccoli, also in olive oil, with some lemon juice, chopped parsley, and a bit of parmesan, tossing some chick peas into the pan after a couple of minutes.

Once the squash nice and tender, the broccoli lightly cooked but still crisp, and the chickpeas slightly browned, they all got piled on the pasta with some more fresh parsley, and extra pinch of parmesan, and some sunflower kernels.

Sesame Couscous

A richly-flavored vegan couscous dish.

2 cups whole wheat couscous
2 cups veggie broth
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 medium onion, diced
1/8 cup kalamata olives, diced
1/8 cup preserved lemon, diced (you can make these yourself)
olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
hot sauce (whatever you have)
salt and pepper

1. Sautee the onion until browned, or caramelized if you have the time.
2. Bring broth to a boil, mix in the couscous, turn off the heat and cover
3. Blend the tahini and lemon juice together with hot sauce to taste – if you have some extra broth, you can use it to thin the mixture out.
4. Mix the cilantro, onion, olives, lemons, and the sauce mixture into the couscous, plus salt, pepper, and zaatar to taste.

Potato Cakes

Hash browns left over from brunch, mixed with an egg and a very little bit of flour, shaped into patties and baked on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350 until golden brown. That’s the whole story.

Tamago Sandwich

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making tamagoyaki for a while. Based on the recipes I’d seen online, it seemed pretty easy. I followed the method in this video, but substituting Bragg’s in place of soy sauce (out of necessity) and brown rice syrup in place of sugar (thought it would be better).

Structurally, it came out great. The omelet folded nicely and slid off the pan without a problem. In terms of flavor, I think soy sauce would have worked better than the Bragg’s. I also wish I had used a bit more rice syrup to get the sweetness that makes tamagoyaki so good. This tasted a bit more like your regular scrambled eggs. In any case, I decided to have it as a sandwich with lettuce, nayo, and horseradish. Recommended.

4th o’ July

Veggie dawgs and pasta salad. We just flew back from a wedding in Chicago and boy is our grill tired.

Sage Dressing

Of all the prepared foods that we don’t buy anymore, one of the things I miss the least is store-bought salad dressing. Making it yourself takes no time at all and it means you can experiment with all different mixtures. Yesterday, I accidentally came across what may be the best home-made salad dressing I’ve ever made. It requires:

olive oil
rice vinegar
fresh sage leaves
1 garlic scape
a tiny bit of liquid smoke
salt and pepper

Don’t know the measurements – like I said, you just have to use intuition, taste, and a little luck. But if you balance it out just right and blend it up, you will have yourself some very serious salad dressing indeed.

Peanut Noodles with Garlic Scapes

Things in the garden plot are really starting to shoot up. Pretty soon we’ll have a whole mess of kale, chard, beets, and purple pole beans. For the time being, however, the garlic cloves we planted last fall have just produced big, beautiful scapes. I harvested a few of them last night and we threw them in (fine chopped) into some peanut noodles.

The peanut sauce was homemade, and mostly leftover from a dinner last week – we had to add some extra water and vinegar to loosen it up. After mixing the sauce into some whole wheat noodles, we just dumped in the scapes along with some chopped up veggie chic patties (not that frugal) and black sesame seeds.

Back to the Land

Realized recently that we haven’t really written at all about getting back to our community garden plot with the start of this year’s growing season.

I just spent the early afternoon doing some general plot maintenance and planing a couple of tomato seedlings. My reward was a big bunch of mint that I’m going to make into iced mint tea later today. I also got a bunch of motherwort, which has been growing like crazy in one of the common areas. Nobody had been picking it – partially because a lot of us didn’t know what to do with it – but from the link above, it seems like a tea infusion could be used for a whole range of medicinal purposes. Anybody have any experience with this plant?

Anyway, in our own plot we’ve got big, healthy garlic plants from cloves we planted last fall, as well as a whole lot of beets, chard, and kale. We’ve also got a couple of hearty-looking purple pole bean seedlings. Hopefully we should start doing some harvesting within the next few weeks.

We also need to figure out what to put in the space where our radishes were. I guess we could put in more radishes, but it seems like they just end up being varmint bait.


Purple pole beans