My diet doesn't fit into any easy label. 

When I say I'm vegetarian, friends raise their eyebrows over my occasional hamburger and call me a fake.  When I say I'm a flexitarian, it's dismissed as lazy vegetarianism.  When I say I'm a locavore, well, people are just confused.

The truth is, none of these dietary labels are accurate in the first place.  For me, food is highly personal, and my needs and intuitions change over time - daily, sometimes.

Currently, my diet could be described as a semi-locavore lacto-ovo-pesce-pollo-flexitarian.  But who really understands or wants to hear that?

If anything, I'm an intuitive eater.  (An intuitian?  Intuivore?  Hmm.)

 
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Morgan is satisfied!
_If there were a homemade tempeh church, I would join.

I know that sounds strange, but it really tastes that good!

As a vegetarian-minded/flexitarian-type eater, I've bought my fair share of commercial tempeh.  It's okay.  It's kind of boring, though, so I rely heavily on marinades like soy sauce and honey to spice it up.  Plus, tempeh costs around $4 for an 8 oz. package - $8/lb. is do-able, but not for something that's merely 'okay'.

One day, my partner Morgan and I were leafing through our copy of Wild Fermentation, and saw the section on bean ferments.  She offhandedly commented, "I'd be into making tempeh." 

Two days later, I bought 20 pounds of dried soybeans for $10 on Craigslist, and soon after, bought a packet of Rhyzopus oligosporus (the tempeh spore) from G.E.M. Cultures.

I was committed.


 
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Wild Grape & Mint Kombucha
_I was never a big kombucha drinker -  between its weird floaty slime and the price tag, the hype over its health benefits utterly failed to draw me in.

Then the day came... a dear friend brought me a bottle of home brewed kombucha.

Wow.  It was deliciously sweet and made with love.  Plus, it came in this ultra-cool blue glass bottle (I have a thing for colored glass)!  I used the spore juice left at the bottom to make my own batch, and I've been hooked ever since. 

Kombucha - or 'Booch', as I like to call it - is really easy to make.  Plus, you can make a liter of it (a little more than two 16-oz. bottles) for approximately $1 and half an hour of your time. 

When you make your own kombucha, it's designer - everything, from tea/herb/juice blend and type of sweetener, to the degree of acidity and alcohol content is up to you.

I'm not going to list off its health benefits, because I don't know and I don't really care.  All I know is that live cultures are good for you and it tastes awesome.

So!  Ready to learn?  Good.


 
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photo via: Food.com - my process wasn't quite that pretty
_My first homemaking project was pickling - dilly beans, or pickled green beans. 

I had a summer CSA share and got pounds of green beans at a time.  I don't particularly like green beans fresh, but I found that pickling transformed the excess into a tasty snack.  This was back in September, but I still have a jar left (talk about self-restraint!)

I used a recipe from Back to Basics, and took over half my communal kitchen for the pickling/canning process.  My roommates weren't too happy (I picked a potluck night for my experiment), but it was worth it.

The process seemed complicated at first, but it's actually pretty simple, and you can do this with any kind of veggie you like.

Short Version, for the simply curious
  1. Wash beans & jar. 
  2. Pack beans and spices in the jar.
  3. Boil a vinegar/water mix with salt.  
  4. Pour hot vinegar mix over beans, and close the jar.
  5. Submerge jar under water and boil for a while. 
  6. Remove jar from water bath & wait for it to cool.
  7. Note the satisfactory lid suction when it's fully cooled, and then store it away!
* steps 5-7 aren't really necessary if you're going to eat the beans right away (i.e. within a month)

So, it's slightly more detail-specific than that, so here's the real recipe, for those who want to do it themselves.



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