Kimchi

kimchi-doneKimchi is a traditional Korean side dish that is made of fermented vegetables and spices. Eating fermented foods will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system to help the digestive system become more balanced. There are many Kimchi recipes on the internet, and for this one, Bob researched to come up with his own version. We were able to get all of the vegetables from Michigan growers. If you’re lucky, you will even find Michigan ginger!  The Korean hot pepper powder is only (as far as I know) found at a Korean grocery store. Don’t get the Chinese hot pepper powder also sold at Korean stores. It’s a lower quality (and price). You can store the leftover pepper powder in the freezer to keep it fresh for future use.

 

Ingredients

1 Napa cabbage, approximately 2 pounds

1 medium daikon radish, cut into matchsticks

1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks

½ cup white onion, finely chopped

1 Tablespoons fresh ginger, grated

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sea salt

3 – 5 Tablespoons coarse Korean chili powder (make sure it’s from Korea rather than China)

1 teaspoon sugar

Filtered water

Lactobacillus culture powder

 

Equipment

Mason jars

Glass fermentation weights

 

Instructions

  1. Slice cabbage in half lengthwise and then crosswise in 2 inch sections. Discard the tough stem piece.
  2. Put cabbage chunks in a large bowl, and cover with filtered water. Pour in ¼ cup of salt and massage to mix. Place a plate on cabbage to keep it submerged; let sit 3 hours.
  3. Pour cabbage into strainer and rinse with cool water. Gently squeeze out excess water. The cabbage will reduce in volume significantly.
  4. Combine sugar and red pepper flakes, and if desired, lactobacillus culture powder (to ensure a more vigorous fermentation; we use ½ teaspoon of powdered culture) with 1 Tablespoon of water to form a paste and set aside.
  5. Combine 1 Tablespoon salt with 2 cups of water and set aside.
  6. Prepare daikon radish, ginger, garlic, carrot, and onion. Combine them with the cabbage.
  7. Fold in the red pepper paste until the vegetables are evenly coated.
  8. Pack the mixture into mason jars, packing down as you load. If the liquid doesn’t cover the vegetables, add some of the brine prepared in step 5, so the contents are submerged. Add a glass weight to keep the vegetables from floating and being exposed to air.
  9. Seal and set the jars out of direct sunlight for about 1 week. Open the jars daily to vent the gasses; then reseal. Keep the contents submerged.
  10. When tart to desired taste (about 1 week; it varies considerably based on room temperature), refrigerate and consume within 1 month.
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Napa cabbage is oval-shaped.

daikon-radish

These are daikon radishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mixed Kimchi with chopped tomatoes and peppers for a delicious lunch.

I mixed Kimchi with chopped tomatoes and peppers for a delicious lunch.

 

Korean Red Pepper package

Korean Red Pepper package

Squash Bisque

From Autumn through early Spring we celebrate the cold weather with Soup Sundays. This provides us with inner warmth and healthy left overs. Here’s our butternut squash bisque recipe; it’s a fabulous addition to our stock of soup recipes.

 

Bob researched recipes online to understand the basic formula for how they are put together. Then, he added his own ideas. My contribution was the idea to roast the butternut squash rather than steam or sauté it. That adds a sweet, rich flavor without adding sugar. There is a small amount of coconut milk (the full fat kind in the can), but the end result is a pretty low-fat and delicious meal.

 

Start out by roasting one and a half large butternut squashes. Cut the squashes in half and clean out the seeds and pulp. Place them upside down on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, for easy clean-up. Bake the squash until fully cooked (around 30 -45 minutes) in a 350 oven.

 

Ingredients

4 C pre-roasted butternut squash (see above)

2 T olive oil

½ C onions, diced

¾ C carrots, diced

3-4 C veggie stock

½ t ground nutmeg

1/8 t cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf

1 clove garlic, minced

½ C coconut milk (full fat from the can; NOT the aseptic pkg) *

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large pot
  2. Sauté carrot, onion, and garlic in pot until onion is soft
  3. Stir in squash and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Add 3 cups of stock, the coconut milk, and bay leaf; simmer for 15 minutes
  5. Add nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper
  6. Puree until smooth (do not over puree: just until smooth), thin with additional stock if necessary (the bisque should not be overly thick). Then, serve.
  • Pro-tip: The leftover coconut milk can be frozen for later use.

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The Full Plates of Summer

I’ve been playing with my food lately! There’s so much abundance right now that for lunch, I’ve been creating plates of mostly Michigan local food that I’ve picked up the local farmers market. Take a look!

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Stuff mini-peppers with this.

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Green beans are abundant. Just grab a handful and add them to your plate.

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I like this simple cucumber-dill salad.

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Those are Kaleamazoo chips. Here’s some chia pudding recipes.

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The blueberry crisp from This Rawsome Vegan Life.

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The  squash blossoms are stuffed with this. If you are allergic to pollen, don’t eat edible flowers.

I still had some 2015 dried apples.

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Secret Sauce

tahini dressinSince I cook from scratch on a regular basis, I need a few wholesome shortcuts. One of mine is tahini dressing. I use it on a variety of salads and as a sauce on a number of main or side dishes. The sauce freezes very well, so I can make a large batch and store it for quick, future use.

The recipe is below, and I hope that the photos inspire you.

 

Wisk together the following:
1/3 cup raw tahini
¼ cup filtered (or more to desired consistency)
1 Tablespoon chickpea miso
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

 

broccoli

broccoli-based salad

celery root and sweet pot

roasted celery root topped with greens, black lentils, and tahini sauce served with a side of sweet potatoes.

chunk salad

veggie chunk salad

falafel n tater

baked falafel with a side of smashed, fried potatoes and shallots

Hasselback sweet potato

hasselback cut sweet potato

kale salad

kale salad

lettuce salad

lettuce salad

 

side salad with raw falafel full plate

raw falafel on a bed of lettuce served with other raw goodies

 

To be honest, I don’t recall where this recipe originated and if/how much I changed it from its original form. (Recipes are not copywrited, but I do give credit when possible.)

Michigan Restaurants at VegFest Novi

In addition to the large number of food producers at VegFest Novi, I was able talk to several Detroit area restaurants that were sampling their tasty food. Visit them when you are in that area!

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This is the sample from a Kosch Catering. They have a vegan menu.

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Also, Chive Kitchen in Farmington did a food demonstration, but I didn’t see a booth for them.

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Michigan Food Producers 

I’m always amazed to see the large number of creative Michigan food producers as I travel around the state. Here’s what I found while at VegFest 2016 in Novi, MI. Look for them online, in stores, and at farmers markets.

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I’ve had El Cardenal salsa and tamales when they were in Grand Rapids. Delish!

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Ope’s came all the way from Kalamazoo.

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Bob loves the spicy popcorn from Cynt-Sation.

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A vegan? Where do you get your protein? From lentil snacks!! I’ve also seen these at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. 

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MI Pops are from Mason, MI.

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Lots of great flavor selection.

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Detroit BBQ!

IMG_1050 Available in West MI, Kalamazoo, and Lansing.

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Whole food bars.

IMG_1053 Great to find a product with MI oats!

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I’ve purchased this pasta at the Detroit Eastern Market; good substitute for those avoiding wheat.

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What’s not to like about vegan soft serve?

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I had to try a doughnut!

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First time I had these was in the U.P. They are available in many areas of MI.

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Gotta have some savory with the sweet!

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Gourmet Dressings.

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More gourmet – from Clarkston.

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Bakery that caters to those with food sensitivities.

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More MI granola!

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Oh my. Pie is my favorite dessert.

 

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Preserves and condiments made in MI.

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HOT!

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Get your gut health here! The Brinery in Ann Arbor.

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They also have fitness sessions.

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Looks like a great choice for a special occasion.

To see the restaurants at VegFest Novi 2016, visit this link.

How About a CSA for Your Office?

Oct FM 7

It’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) sign- up time in Michigan. In a CSA, a local farmer offers shares to buyers. The up-front purchase supports the farmer as the crops get started. Then, the buyer gets produce weekly through the growing season. Have you considered doing this in your business or office?

I contacted Garrett Ziegler, Extension Educator, Community Food Systems at the MSU Extension Greening Michigan Institute for information. He assists local institutions in sourcing and serving more locally produced food and works closely with local farmers to help them access new markets.

Start by surveying your employees regarding why they want to join a CSA Farm and to make sure they are interested. What kind of produce are they interested in? Do they cook often? Do they need recipe ideas? The business will need to meet the minimum share requirements to start a pick-up site. You could also partner with neighboring businesses.

You will need an onsite coordinator to research the farms and size of shares. Also, they will need to communicate the plan to buyers, send reminder emails, communicate with the farmer, and be there to make sure that the pick-ups go smoothly. Someone will need to occasionally clean up husks, break down boxes, etc.

Here are some logistical questions to ask.

  • What day of the week does your farm deliver its shares? A 3- to 4-hour pick-up window is typical.
  • Where will food be delivered to?
  • Will the space be heated/cooled? Will sunlight hit the boxes at any point?
  • Is there a loading dock?
  • Are their stairs or an elevator?
  • Security – is the door locked? Is it easily opened? Will the delivery driver need a key card?
  • If someone forgets to pick up their share, can food stay in place overnight, or does it need to be dealt with/picked up the same day? Is there a kitchen on site that can store food in a cooler?
  • What happens to shares that are not picked up?

Use this link from Local Harvest to find a CSA near you.

Chocolate Granola

Since I’ve never enjoyed milk (dairy or otherwise), I never had a habit of eating cereal or granola. But, now that I make my own yogurt and smoothie bowls, granola has become a sweet part of my diet.

 

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I like to “Michiganize” other people’s recipes on occasion. In this case, it’s raw granola that is now full of wholesome Michigan grown products. I’ve also “chocolatized” this one too! This recipe makes 3 – 4 cups. You will need a dehydrator to make it as written.

 

Ingredients

1 cup MI buckwheat, soaked and dehydrated*

½ cup oat groats, soaked and dehydrated*

1 cup shredded coconut

⅓ cup MI sunflower seeds

2 Tablespoons MI flax meal (I grind the seeds in my Vitamix dry container)

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

2 Tablespoons raw cacao powder (or MI produced non-alkalized cocoa powder)

½ cup almond butter

¼ cup water

⅓ cup MI maple syrup

 

Instructions

Combine the buckwheat, oats, coconut, cacao, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and flax together in a mixing bowl.

In a second bowl, mix together the almond butter, water, and maple syrup. Pour it over the dry ingredients, and mix it thoroughly.

Place the granola onto a dehydrator sheet, and dehydrate at 115 degrees for about four hours. Mix the granola up a bit, breaking it apart on the sheet. Dehydrate for another several hours until totally dry.

*Soak the buckwheat for one to two hours, then rinse and drain. Soak the oat groats overnight. Spread them on a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate until crunchy (usually several hours; longer for oats).

 

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The original recipe is located here.

 

Chive Kitchen

IMG_0740You might find it interesting that my trips to SE MI revolve around restaurants. I find the Detroit area to be a delightfully nourishing visit. The latest restaurant that I’ve discovered is Chive Kitchen in Farmington, MI. That is a northwest of Detroit. They are open six days per week: Tuesday through Sunday. We learned about them during a recent trip – just in time for a stop for Sunday brunch.

 

Their purpose, according to their website, is to serve vegan dishes that appeal to a wide range of tastes – including meat-lovers. The restaurant is located in The Groves shopping center in downtown Farmington. It’s small, but seems spacious with its crisp, white walls and casual seating.

 

They opened in late December 2015 and recently received their liquor license. The alcohol menu features Michigan beers, wines, and spirits. The food menu features food produced from Michigan, such as McClure’s pickles and whole wheat flour from Westwind Milling. They also source food from Cherry Capital Foods where they can get Michigan produce, such as dried black beans and frozen butternut squash and peas, right now.

 

In the spring, they will purchase fresh MI produce from Delbene, a distributor that works out of the Detroit Eastern Market. Their pastry chef, Azeezah also works with a local farm, and she will be bringing fresh produce to the restaurant.

 

I spoke with owner, Suzy Silvestre. She said, “I think we hit the mark for what we set out to do. We have non-vegans coming in and enjoying their meals.” Well, I sure enjoyed my meal when I visited, and I will be back over there as soon as I can get there.

 

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“Cheese” Plate

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Tortilla Soup

 

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Maple Water – It’s a Thing

Maple WaterRecently, I went to a farm in Baroda to pick up some maple water. It’s the sap from the maple tree. The farmer was boiling it down for maple syrup to sell. I love maple syrup, but I also love to drink the raw maple water. When people ask me what it tastes like I say, “It tastes like spring.” It’s fresh and slightly sweet. It’s my spring tonic.

 

I take home a few gallons for the year. I drink about one half-gallon over the first few days and freeze the rest (see below). It MUST stay refrigerated; I don’t keep it fresh for more than four days. In my case, it’s right out of the tree bucket. So, it will have natural bacteria in it. (Drink it at your own risk, although I’ve not had any problems with it.) It’s live nourishment.

 

You could boil it to act as pasteurization and then cool it to drink, if you like. Companies are starting to package it for sale. Personally, I would not purchase packaged maple water, because to me, it’s factory food rather than a natural connection with the trees of Michigan.

 

I have been freezing my stash in glass jars, but I’ve found that even when I’m careful to not fill them to the top, there can still be some breakage. Who knew that sap expanded so much? It will even expand outward when there is room for it to expand upward to the top. Freezing it in plastic would work better, although I suppose there is still a chance to overfill and crack the containers, if you are not careful.

 

Let me know if you’ve tried it and what you think.

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