Monday, November 30, 2009
December 5th 2009: Tour the Taza Chocolate Factory!
Ever wanted a firsthand look at the inside of a chocolate factory
On Saturday, December 5th 2009, visit them in Somerville, MA
Still need some Holiday gifts? There will be lots of tasty chocolate and holiday gifts for sale, at factory discount prices
We went last year and it was so cool to see how they stone-grind their chocolate using traditional Mexican Methods. Check out their website for some great information about how they make the chocolate, and drool over the fantastical flavors ( Guajillo Chili is my fave!)
See you there!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Root cellaring involves building a structure to store fruits, vegetables, and other food items at low temperatures and steady humidity to keep them from freezing during the winter months, to keep them cool during the summer months, and to prevent spoilage.
Tim and Bronwyn Wiechmann of TW Food in Cambridge store vegetables in their root cellar, allowing them to serve local produce in their restaurant throughout the winter. In addition, root cellaring is making a comeback according to the NY Times article The Return of the Root Cellar.
Interested in getting started?
Recommended Read: Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel. Their condensed version on root cellaring can also be found here.
Live in the city? You can make a DIY garbage can root cellar if you have a backyard, or find other urban ideas at SuperNaturale.
If you need some local vegetables for your root cellar, the farmers markets in Boston are not over yet! Numerous farms and local vendors will be at Downtown Crossing's Holiday Market until December 24th. See the list of vendors.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Alex Lewin, a lacto-fermentation expert, demonstated the basic how-to of sauerkrauting to a group of us this past Tuesday. Lacto-fermentation is way to preserve the fall harvest so that we can eat local vegetables year-round.
Why Preserve? It extends the "window of edibility" for that particular food and makes it available year-round. If you're not near the equator or in sunny cali, this is important if you strive to eat locally. In addtion, preservation create new tastes and textures; and in the case of sauerkraut, it also increases the nutrient and digestive benefits of the food. Besides fermentation, other methods of preservation are canning, freezing, refrigerating, and drying.
Is it Safe?? The Danger Zone for pathogenic bacteria is 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Alex believes that fermenting is much safer than canning, because you will KNOW when something has going wrong. IE if its slimy or furry-TOSS IT! If your senses are telling you something is not right, steer clear. Also, our ancestors all ate food that wasn't refrigerated-if that helps settle your stomach.
Doesn't That just get Moldy and Gross?? Leave a vegetable out to sit in the air, and yes, you'll get mold, and it will turn into an awful slimy mess. But, leave out a vegetable covered in liquid you get acid-forming bacteria (=good). These probiotic bacteria begin to pre-digest the food, making our digestive tract's job a little easier, and keeping things regular, if you know what I mean.
And without further ado, This is Alex's recipe:
Cabbage (the fresher the better!)
Wide Mouth 1 pint Mason Jars
Large Mixing Bowls
Weigh Cabbage and then chop, using a large chefs knife or a food processor
You will need 1 pint jar and 2 tsp of salt for every pound of cabbage. Add the chopped cabbage and measured salt into a large mixing bowl and start to "knead" the cabbage (with clean hands!!). You want to start to break down the cell walls of the cabbage with the help of the salt, and draw the water out of the cabbage.
Warning: Making Sauerkraut does produce a slight smell. Warn your roommates. They will probably be swayed after tasting your creations.
Variations-Wanna spice it up?? Well you can, literally!
- Add purple cabbage to make a more aesthetically pleasing 'kraut!
- Add herbs and spices!! Alex likes caraway, fennel, and anise seeds. You can add this pre-fermentation, or when serving
- Try fermenting other vegetables! parsnips, raddishes, turnips, carrots, or really any vegetable!
**Thanks to Rachel from BU Today for taking some great photos with her fancy DSLR camera :) **
Monday, November 23, 2009
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 cups peeled, chopped celery root
- 1 lb red potatoes
- 10 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought vegetable stock
- 2 cups peeled, cored, and quartered local apples
2. Add celery root, potato, and vegetable stock; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Add apples and continue simmering for 5 minutes.
4.Remove saucepan from heat and puree using an immersion blender or, working in batches, using a conventional blender; season with salt and pepper.
Not Lucky enough to own an immersion blender???? Just do it in batches in a conventional blender: