Food is obviously a passion of mine and Shay’s - I am constantly at farmers markets, watching cooking shows, or hanging out with other foodies to discover anything new that is food related.
Introducing: Fermented Veg - best known as kimchi (from Korea) and even more commonly, sauerkraut (from Germany). Directly translated, sauerkraut means “sour cabbage” - which is exactly what it is. The sour flavor is a result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage. Cabbage is the main veg used in kimchi and sauerkraut but a variety of veggies are being used for this exceptional power condiment!
In addition to a tasty sour & salty condiment for meals, the list of health benefits is long - here are some below:
- It is extremely high in vitamins C, B, and K
- Low in calories
- High in calcium and magnesium
- Very good source of dietary fiber
- Also a good source of folate, iron, potassium, copper and manganese
- Also contains live lactobacilli and beneficial microbes and is rich in enzymes.
- High in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, both associated with preserving ocular health
How to Use it
So after reading all of this amazing information on fermented veg - I am assuming you want to know how you can use it in your meals? I have actually used fermented veg in or on most things but below are my top uses:
- Eggs - Scramble up a a few eggs, toss a little green salad together dressed with some olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper and garnish with a healthy spoonful of my favorite “Four Thieves” fermented veg (pic below).
- Sandwiches - Take two pieces or whole wheat sourdough, your choice of cheese, turkey, lettuce, mayo and some fermented veg and enjoy one of the best sandwiches you will ever eat.
- Fish - In a saucepan with a touch of oil, sauté a filet of talapia or sole with some onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Keep over the heat until the fish and onions are cooked through. Serve with a big farmers market salad and top the fish with some of the fermented veg…UNREAL! (Recipe to follow soon).
- Sausage - In a bun or on a plate with some mustard and a healthy helping of fermented veg - spice up it up with some kimchi for a bit of heat.
- Salad - Throw the fermented veg on top of any green salad, tuna salad, egg slad, chicken salad…you name it!
Where to buy?
I must admit I am definitely a brand loyalist. I have tried every single one out there and micro craft food artisans Brassica & Brine have taken the cake.
Made out of Los Angeles, CA they have won several awards and run a sustainable and local company - We are big fans over at ShayMitchell.com!
They also have three killer flavors: The Original, Kimchi Karma and my favorite “Four Thieves” (that is spiced with sage, thyme, rosemary and lavender).
Some additional brands that are also great are:
I hope you try this healthy power condiment and we will post recipes to follow next week!
Shay and I have the exercise thing down - but we love our food. My goal is to make all of our favorite things in an exceptionally healthy way - it’s not even about the calories as much as how we feel after. Introducing Kelp Noodles…Coming in at probably the lowest calorie noodle in the world with a texture like glass noodles and a neutral taste - it is EVERYTHING. They aren’t as accessible as say chow main or vermicelli, but they can be found at speciality food stores and don’t break the bank. I can guarantee this will be a staple in your house (as it is in ours) - and it keeps well for leftovers served warm or cold…can I get an ammmmmen!?
What You will need:
- 2-3 cups of veggies of choice (We use peppers, red onion, broccoli, celery, kale and mushrooms…anything!)
- 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about small 6 cloves)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1-2 packages kelp noodles (1 package if you like it extra saucy)
- 2 scallions (garnish)
- Thai basil (garnish)
- 3 tablespoons low sodium tamari
- 1 1/2 tablespoons agave
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (unsweetened, unsalted)
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (extra spicy)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup water (add if needed for consistency, should be runny)
- Over medium heat, in a wok or large frying pan, add a touch of olive oil. I like to start with the veggies that take the longest to cook and add them based on that. For example, I started with the onions, followed by celery and mushrooms, nest the broccoli, peppers, and lastly kale. They all have about a minute difference in cooking times. Once these are done just take them off the heat and set aside.
- In a bowl add all of the sauce ingredients and combine with a whisk - add the water a bit at a time to find the right consistency.
- In a separate pan on medium heat, add the garlic and ginger and sauté with the sesame oil until cooked. Add the sauce mixture and throw in the kelp noodles separating them with a wooden spoon or spatula - let the kelp noodles absorb the sauce and heat through about 10 minutes allowing them to soften.
- Throw in the veggies and toss it all together. Serve with sliced scallions and thai basil as garnishes and enjoy!
- For added protein, I use either chicken, shrimp, beef or seitan - just cook it with the veggies and it will pack a lot more protein!
While home for the holidays, I couldn’t pass up the chance to stay with my aunt and uncle, who live on a beautiful island in a harbor in West Vancouver! There are only 31 houses on the island and my friends and family love to enjoy their little oasis just 100 feet from the mainland. In addition to the beautiful scenery, another highlight was watching my aunt work her magic in the kitchen. Aunty Jacquie an EXCELLENT chef who inspires my own cooking, as she incorporates different flavors, textures, and types of cuisine into every meal.
After sounding like a broken record telling her to publish her own cookbook with no success, I decided another fun way to share her recipes could be on the blog! So, I logged a couple of days watching her work and recording her recipes for you. My first favorite to share from my cuisine-cation with my aunt? This Spanish-inspired, homemade ricotta omelet below…I can assure you it won’t be a disappointment!
What You will Need:
- 1 gallon of whole milk
- 1 tbsp of salt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
- Cooking thermometer
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the entire gallon of milk over medium high heat. You want the milk to get hot but not boiling this is when you should use your thermometer.
- Once the milk as reached 190 degrees - add the 1 tbsp of salt and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and turn off the heat and give it a little stir.
- The milk should start to look like it is separating - leave it for a few minutes and if you don’t see the curds forming - add the additional vinegar a tbsp at a time.
- Check the heat of the milk again and if it has cooled down quite a bit - turn the heat back on to warm it up a bit. You should see the curds and whey start to separate.
- In a sink, scoop the curds out of the pot using a spoon into a sieve so the whey can drain out. If you want a creamy texture leave it in the sieve for less time - if you want a crumbly texture leave it draining in the sieve for longer.
- Voila - Ricotta that is 10 times tastier and 10 times cheaper!
Potato and Ricotta Spanish Frittata:
What you will need:
- 2 tbsp olive oil, butter, or flavored butter (we used homemade truffle & garlic butter - I can’t even explain how amazing this was)
- 2 cups roasted sweet or purple potatoes cubed (we prepared these the night before with salt, pepper, paprika and olive oil roasted at 45o degrees for about an hour)
- 1/4 cup black olives chopped
- 1 cup fresh ricotta
- 8 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste (we used smoked salt)
- In a large skillet or non-stick oven safe pan over medium heat, add your oil or butter and sauté the potatoes in this to warm them through for about 5-10 minutes then add the olives and toss occasionally.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs then pour over the potato and olive mixture - let cook in pan for about 7-10 minutes. Lift the sides to make sure it isn’t sticking.
- Turn your oven on to broil. Take the pan off the heat and crumble the ricotta over the entire surface of the fritatta then broil until cheese has formed a touch of color and is warmed.
- Serve on it’s own or with a side of greens. This is a fantastic dish to make for Sunday brunch or to impress your guests as it is OUT OF THIS WORLD!