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Fermenting

Percolating

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Percolating

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Percolating_01 With the ground still partially covered in snow and ice and our brains a buzz with plans for spring we have turned our energy towards food and turned our kitchen into a science lab. Cultures are bubbling and ideas are percolating here on Green Bow Farm. We have tried our hand at many different types of fermenting in the past but this winter we have every extra inch of counter space devoted to our fermentations. We have a new batch of Kombucha going which we have made in the past but this time we are trying out a dehydrated scoby (kombucha culture) that we haven't tried before, and a continuous brew method we found on Nourished Kitchen. This is the same great blog we found our recipe for Cultured Veggies for Flu Prevention, which I would love even if it didn't make any health claims because it has a subtle sweet and sourness that works with so many different kinds of food. I might even like it more than sauerkraut. The recipe called for whey which I had never fermented with but we happened to have some from our first batch of yogurt. The whey is a byproduct from the yogurt making process which I've seen used in many recipes but its also used as a health food for people and animals. When we start to milk our sheep and have a large amount of whey leftover from making cheese and yogurt we will definitely be feeding the whey to the animals. It's another way to create a circle of sustainability on the farm and be less reliant on feed that has to be bought off the farm.

Rice Bowl with Cultured Veggies

My favorite dinner right now is a big bowl of brown rice with some baked squash, a heaping spoonful of the cultured veggies on top, and then throwing a mixture of caramelized bacon, onion, and hazelnuts on for some extra goodness. The boys favorite from our fermentation experiments has got to be the sourdough pancakes that have just a tiny taste of sour in them and we can make them on days we aren't making bread, keeping the culture going and the house full of that great sourdough smell. We still haven't made cheese yet but I am sure there won't be any complaints when those experiments start to fill the fridge.

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One of the things that first got me interested in fermentation is the slowness of the process, the sometimes long term experiments that don't always work out because of the many variables but when they do they are incredibly satisfying, a lot like farming. My first real understanding of fermentation came when I got a copy of Sandor Ellix Katz's book Wild Fermentation and now 10 years later my head feels like its going to explode with ideas when I crack open his newest book The Art of Fermentation, an almost 500 page guide to fermentation possibilities from every corner of the world. There is a quote from The Art of Fermentation about culturing food that says a lot about the importance of fermentation but I think it also says something about the current rise in young people getting involved in farming, "the word culture comes from Latin cultura, a form of colere, 'to cultivate.' Our cultivation of the land and its creatures-plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria- is essential to culture. Reclaiming our food and our participation in cultivation is a means of cultural revival, taking action to break out of the confining and infantilizing dependency of the role of consumer (user), and taking back our dignity and power by becoming producers and creators."

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Foodie in the Rye

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Foodie in the Rye

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Our path to farming was not purely based on our desire to farm but more so our love of cooking and wanting the most delicious and healthy food for our family and friends as we possibly can produce. My husband and I met in art school both majoring in painting and printmaking but it's really our shared desire to learn about new foods and cooking together (or more often collaborating on how a meal will come together) that fuels us. My husband spent years working as a cook in an Italian restaurant before he went to art school and I have been working in catering, restaurants, and natural food since I was a teenager.  One thing I miss most about my job at a natural food co-op is connecting to a community and both getting to share my knowledge of food and health but also receiving a wealth of knowledge in return.  So in trying to keep that connection I will start sharing some of our adventures in cooking as well as farming.  Bread, Sauerkraut, Pickles, Sausage, Kombucha, Bacon, Jams, Relish, Hot sauce, and Ice cream have been some of the things we loved making on a regular basis in addition to our normal family meals and hopefully our farming schedule will allow us to keep experimenting and be an influence on how we farm.    

    

   

I'm trying to work on some summer staples like salad dressing and popsicles to reduce waste, save money, and partly just for the fun of it. I have always made oil and vinegar dressings but those are not the kids favorites. They like the thick ranch dressings or the tasty tahini based Goddess dressings. So I started making a dressing with some of the staples we have around. I started with some Milk that I add a couple tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to thicken it and sour it like Buttermilk. Then I add equal parts Nancy's plain yogurt because I love the tangy taste and am convinced it must have more live cultures in it. Then I just add whatever fresh herbs I have around, salt, pepper, and caraway seeds to taste. It's been popular even though it's not quite as thick as the store bought stuff. We have an abundance of veggies this summer so I have been adding it to a mix of chopped up raw veggies and TruRoots sprouted Rice and Quinoa mix(that cooks in 20 minutes!) and it is now one of the easiest and most filling summer dinners we make. I have not been as successful in the popsicle department so if you have any recipes that you love please send them my way.

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