Fermented foods are all the rage, and for good reason! Our ancestors fermented foods to preserve the bounty when refrigeration didn't exist. This process made the foods easier to digest and made the nutrients more bio-available. Historically, traditional cultures suffered far less disease than modern man. I believe eating a nourishing, traditional diet is important and beneficial to our health and that is why I aim to eat a fermented food at least once a day, ideally with each meal.
Kimchi has always been a favorite of mine. It's spicy kick pairs well with scrambled eggs, on top of burgers or as a snack all on its own. Way back, when Farm Husband and I called Hawaii our home, kimchi was a staple in our diet. I remember the first time I was introduced to it. I thought it smelled funny, like someone had stuffed a dead fish in the jar of sauerkraut . I was so naive about food then!
Lucky for me, I am an adventurous eater so it wasn't long before I was digging it! If I only knew how simple it was to make! There are many different variations of kimchi. This is sort of a legacy food, with each Korean grandma having her own twist! I haven't found one that I didn't like. Some are super spicy, some with an extra zing of ginger. I like my kimchi to have that ginger punch with added garlic and chili flakes to give it a kick that even my kids can tolerate. Daikon radish adds its own spicy flavor to the fermented napa cabbage and carrots. A little fish sauce, salt and green onions complete my version of kimchi.
I searched high and low to find a fish sauce that didn't contain questionable ingredients. I have been very pleased with the Red Boat brand. The ingredients list :Anchovy and salt! I didn't realize how much junk a company could cram into fish sauce until I started to look. Grab this bottle and save yourself from highly processed crap!
One head of organic napa cabbage
3-4 medium organic carrots
2 medium organic daikon radishes
4 cloves of organic garlic
one bunch of organic green onions
1 1/2 Tablespoons Redmond Real Salt
2 inch piece of ginger
1 tablespoon red chili flakes (add more to kick up the heat)
2 tablespoons Red Boat Fish Sauce
I start by chopping the napa cabbage into medium sized chunks. I use the end of a wooden rolling pin to smash the cabbage and half the salt. This will start to release the juices from the cabbage. These juices will eventually cover the kimchi in the jar and help keep mold at bay while the fermentation process takes place. Shred the carrots and daikon radish in a food processor. You can do it by hand on a cheese grater but you don't want to! I smash a little more once I add the carrots and radish. Crush the garlic cloves into the bowl, then grate the ginger into the bowl. Smash again. I add the rest of the salt, fish sauce, chili flakes and chopped green onion. Keep smashing until everything is bruised up and the juices are getting released. Start packing into mason jars leaving about a 1/2 inch of head space. I tamp down the kimchi in the jar using the end of the rolling pin again. This helps let the juice cover your kimchi. If you don't have enough juice you can add a little bit of water. I attach a Masontops pickle pipe to my jar and put in the pantry for several days to a week. I will check on them after a day or two and do a smell and taste check. The time it takes to ferment will depend heavily on the ambient temperture in the room.
Good luck and happy fermenting!
Lately I have been craving mushrooms. I say lately, but literally for months, I want mushrooms everywhere! My go-to is always butter and garlic, sautéed with sliced mushrooms. You really can add this to any meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner and its delicious.
But I wanted something saucy and cheesy. This dish can stand alone along side a protein or makes a great topping. I love to top chicken or steak with it, but some cauliflower rice would also go great with it!
This dish cooks quickly too! I always keep some button mushrooms on hand so that I can whip this up if I'm feeling less than inspired come dinner time. First you will want to "deneck" one pound of mushrooms. This is a term my middle child coined, meaning to remove the stems from the caps. I have a vault load of these endearing phrases that I will never give up using.
Rinse your mushrooms and pat them dry. Add roughly 1/3-1/2 cup of butter to a cast iron skillet. I cook with a lot of Kerrygold butter. Not only does the butter taste wonderful, it comes from pasture raised cows making it highly nutrious. I grab mine from Costco for the best deal.
Sautee your 'shrooms with several cloves of crushed garlic until most of the moisture cooks off. Sprinkle with salt and add cream to about halfway up the mushroom caps and let this cook on low for about 5 minutes with a lid. Top with 8 ounces of shredded Italian cheeses like mozzarella and parmesan. Turn off the heat and put the lid on to let the cheeses melt. Once melty and gooey, top with fresh chopped parsley. This will make you feel super fancy and impress any guests. ;) They don't have to know how simple it was, right?
Tell me your favorite mushroom recipe below! If I decide to give it a try, I'll feature it on my Instagram account @three_seeds_farm.
Cheesy Creamy Mushrooms
One pound button mushrooms
1/2 Cup Pature Based butter
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
Heavy Cream (Kalona Supernatural is my go-to dairy)
8 ounces Cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, etc)
Bunch of fresh parsley
Ranch dressing is one of my all time favorites! It's good for dipping and delightful on salads. Unfortunately it is also one of the worst you can buy at the store with added sugar and a myriad of frankenfoods to give the product shelf life. Even the organic varieties have concerning ingredients.
For years I steered clear of my beloved ranch, opting for simpler oil and vinegar concoctions that I could easily whip up at home. Alas, you cannot make a chef salad with an italian dressing(in my book anyway!)
Luckily for me I stumbled upon an amazing seasoning blend at Costco that changed everything! I'm talking about the Kirkland brand Organic No-Salt Seasoning! This blend of spices works well in so many dishes and happens to make a kick butt ranch too!
Since we began our gut healing journey in August of 2018 I have looked at food much differently. I do my best to find ways to turn ordinary American foods into something nourishing that our ancestors would eat. Food was survival for them and they made very bite count.
How can ranch be nourishing?! Start with simple quality ingredients. I always choose organic, pasture based dairy when possible. Lucky for me Natural Grocers only carries pasture based dairy products so I don't have to scour labels. Choosing organic, full fat, pastured dairy ensures that I am getting the best nutritional value. Cows that are allowed to graze produce milk with higher levels of Omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) than conventional milk. Not to mention, the cows are happier too! You can read these studies to learn more.
My next step is making the ranch probiotic rich! I aim to get a fermented food into each meal, which is not always easy! The probiotics add a plethora of good bacteria to our guts which helps with everything from mood to immune support. Science is just beginning to understand the importance of our gut health and the research is both exciting and shocking. By adding the juice from my favorite sauerkraut jar I add a host of probiotics too!
Lastly, omitting sugar helps keep this dressing in line. Sugar has a long list of negative affects on the body and to be perfectly honest doesn't belong in ranch dressing. If I am going to "splurge" on sugar, I'm going to make it worth it! Give me a chocolate croissant, not a salad!
So here's the recipe for my healthy, gut healing, GAPS friendly homestead ranch!
1/2 Cup Organic, Full Fat Sour Cream (My favorite is Kalona Super Natural)
1/4 cup or less of juice from Raw Organic Sauerkraut (If I can't make my own Wildbrine is my go-to)
Redmond Real Salt to taste
Kirkland Organic No-Salt Seasoning to taste
Add sauerkraut juice to sour cream to get a dressing consistency. This will depend on personal preference. I like mine "medium thin" if thats a real term. Then I add salt to taste and about a tablespoon of seasoning. You can use the dressing immediately but it gets better with age. Letting it sit overnight is ideal.