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sauerkraut

Probiotic Salad

A probiotic salad of sauerkraut, dill pickles, and a yogurt dressing.

The recipes I share here on Food With Legs vary along a spectrum that runs from Old Favourites straight to What the Hell Experiments. This one happens to fall much closer to the latter end than the former. I was having friends over for dinner, had plans for rich and meaty pasta and main courses and wanted to start with a salad. I figured I could lay down an acid base and get everyone salivating for what was up next. And that’s how the “probiotic salad” that combines both my wild-fermented dill pickles and spicy Sichuan sauerkraut was conceived.

I am being a bit tongue-in-cheek by using that word “probiotic” in the title. Yogurt companies have adopted it–along with belly-dancing models and stomach-shapes lines–to make a back-handed claim about their products’ health benefits. The connection between live bacteria in food and the digestive health of those who eat hasn’t been definitely established, but I’m willing place a tentative bet that it will pan out–especially when the probiotic food is cultured with more than just a yogurt companies patented strains of lactobacilli. (more…)

Fermentation Workshop at Uniiverse

I’m happy to share the good news that this week I’ll be putting on another fermentation workshop. This time I’ve teamed up with my good friend, Joel Solish of Death Row Meals and with a new site called Uniiverse. We’ve added a charitable, Movember-themed component that is explained on the event page:

MOTOFO: This event is part of MOvember TOronto FOod week – a week of unique food experiences brought to you by DeathRowMeals and Uniiverse, to raise funds for Movemeber. Check out other MOTOFO events on my profile. All proceeds will be donated to Movember.

Also from the event page here’s the description of what I’ll cover during the ninety-minute session:

David (of foodwithlegs dot com) will give a hands-on demonstration of the process that converts raw ingredients into some of the world’s most delicious foods. Kimchi, traditional kosher dill pickles, and classic sourdough bread all depend on wild fermentation. As well as the separate processes David will take a look at the easy-to-find ingredients and simple equipment (what’s good, better, and best?) that you need for fermenting on a small scale, at home. (more…)

Spicy Sichuan Sauerkraut

Fuschia Dunlop’s memoir, Sharks Fin And Sichuan Pepper has been an off-and-on part of my reading rotation for quite a while now so a mild obsession with the Sichuanese combination of flavours has seeped into my subconscious, I think. I’m always thinking about fermentation experiments and at this time of year that really means sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is traditionally full of acidic twang and cabbage crunch but unless you add one of the traditional spices like caraway or juniper berries it ends there. I wondered if I could make a batch of sauerkraut and then add stuff to it to turn it into Spicy Sichuan Sauerkraut.  (more…)

Small-batch Spicy Sauerkraut

Spicy Small-batch Sauerkraut

Other than marmalade in all its various forms January and February don’t offer many opportunities for preserving. It’s also the time when lacto-fermented preserves that have been moved to the fridge are starting either to run out or go off.

This week I ate the last of this year’s batch of Wild Pickles. Seems like a strange thing to be wistful about, I guess, but I was proud of them because not only did I really like how they tasted (strongly sour but backed with lots of garlic, dill, and black pepper) but also because they won the People’s Choice award in the amateur category for the Annual 86′d Monday Pickle Battle. It’s not everyday that you get to call yourself a pickle champ.

Coincidentally, I’ve been poking around a book, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig that my cousin turned me on to. It’s peppered with some pretty strong claims that I want to look into more but there are also some very interesting recipes. (more…)

Kimchi

Three jars of homemade kimchi

Homemade sauerkraut is cheap, delicious and customizable, and in its own way, fun.  But the process smells really bad. Until I design an animal-proof, outdoor kraut fermenter I think my days of doing it at home are finished.  But what about sauerkraut’s Korean cousin, kimchi?  It only needs one to two days of room temperature fermentation before being tightly-sealed and refrigerated.  That means that even though kimchi usually includes a fermented fish product it’s cost in terms of smell pollution is much lower.

Several months ago the guys from Paupered Chef, Nick and Blake, had a great series of posts where they compared their kimchi results in search of the ultimate recipe. I was curious and decided to try and create my own version based on attributes of each of theirs. Eric Vellend also had a couple articles in The Star about kimchi as a restaurant trend in Toronto and his recipe.

First the terminology: In the Momofuku cookbook David Chang writes that napa cabbage kimchi is paechu kimchi and radish kimchi is kakdugi. The principle ingredient in my adaptation is cabbage but korean radish is also included so I guess it is paechu kakdugi kimchi. (more…)