Archive for June, 2015

It’s getting hot out.

It’s almost like summer is here already.  That means get bananas, pineapple, mango & other fruits to keep good sugars in you.  I played around making a fruity hot sauce even, but that one is for another post.

For now, we’re going to play with ginger soda.  After all, I’ve been playing around with fermentation for a while now & it is immensely great for your gut & health.  There’s healthy bacteria that are in it, very similar to homemade sauerkraut.

Insanely good for you.

Plus, it’s kind of cool to have something living on your kitchen counter.

That might have sounded weird.  It doesn’t really walk around or anything, but it does have some cool action going on in the jars you put it in.

This is what you start with.

This is what you start with.

Okay.  To start, throw 1/2C of water in a mason jar, add a tablespoon of sugar & tablespoon of minced ginger to that. Make sure to put a lid on the mix.  Every day, add another tablespoon of sugar & minced ginger.  Do that for five days or so.  The mixture should start getting a little bubbly & have a good pressure whenever you open the jar.

I’ve always liked making sun tea.  I’ll throw four bags of green tea into a quart of water & throw that on a windowsill in the morning.  Like this:

The ginger grows after a while.

The ginger grows after a while.  Kind of like a healthy Freddy Krueger.

Next up:  add about 1/4C of the liquid from the ginger bug(that’s the cool kid name for the mix we made earlier) to 2C of the tea, then add a tablespoon of sugar.

Why all of the sugar you ask?

Because bacteria need to eat too.  The little fizzies aren’t going to happen on their own in an environment where they can’t get some sort of energy.  That energy is sugar, & it gets broken down on a molecular level, so it isn’t like you’re drinking maple syrup.

Unless you put maple syrup in your ginger soda.

I won’t judge.  It might taste great.

Here’s what it should look like:

The three amigos.  You can tell which one has more sugar being broken down by the foam at the top.

The three amigos. You can tell which one has more sugar being broken down by the foam at the top.

Give it a couple of days & test it by tapping the top of the jar.  If there’s pressure, you did things right.  Open it up, hear the hiss & pour yourself some of your homemade soda.

There’s so many flavors you can incorporate into it too–I threw a pineapple chunk into one of the jars to just have fun & the next day I got a fruity ginger soda.  Hibiscus tea instead of green tea?  That works really well too & it’s almost caffeine free!

So.  Easy.

You just have to have some patience & ferment.

While you’re doing that, you should check out this awesome vegan joint in Jacksonville called the Garden Truck.  It’s been around for nearly a year & they have some fantastic food there.  They do sausage & gravy and blueberry(from an organic farm not too far away) pancakes for brunch, among other meals.  There’s a great selection for lunch & dinner too, ranging from their white bean sausage & peppers on cibatta bread to a delicious gumbo that’s like hanging out in Creole country.  The decor is modern, where there’s a strong influence of city life mixed with some wonderful relaxing living herb centerpieces on the tables.  I love the place & the crew there is so much fun.  I definitely need to get out there more often.  Here’s a couple of pictures:

The brunch.  It is soooo good.

The brunch. It is soooo good. 

It even has an open kitchen.  It has a great ambiance.

It even has an open kitchen. It has a great ambiance.  I love the plants too!

I love peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, so I played around & created this quick recipe too.  I put 2C of sunflower seeds, 1/8C sunflower seed oil, 1C pureed strawberries, a banana & 1/8C agave into a blender and made a sort of butter & jelly mix.  Just something fun to play with & you can even eat it on its own.  I chose to have it on some sourdough bread as an open sandwich & that worked out really well.

It's almost like a pate spread.

It’s almost like a pate spread.

That’s all for now, here’s some awesome pictures of the pups:

Everyone is happy after a walk/run in the park.

Everyone is happy after a walk/run in the park.

When I'm on a ladder grabbing kumquats from the tree, this is what I look down to.

When I’m on a ladder grabbing kumquats from the tree, this is what I look down to.

Vegan pigs in blankets & broccoli mac kimchi-eeze.  Kind of tough working around these guys in the kitchen sometimes.

Vegan pigs in blankets & broccoli mac kimchi-eeze. Kind of tough working around these guys in the kitchen sometimes.

Sometimes, I have no caption.  Feel free to add one.

Sometimes, I have no caption. Feel free to add one.

Have a great week!

Disclaimer:  I don’t really have writer’s block.

On the contrary, I’ve been writing a lot.  Just not on the interwebs.

I’ve been really busy with work and playing around with vegan cheeses & fermentations as of late.  It seems like I’ve always got a science experiment on my kitchen counter at any given time.

Most recently, I found a cool recipe for smoked gouda & started playing around with variations of it to make it more simple & just have fun.  I never really played with coconut milk as the base for a vegan cheese, but it works really well & there’s so many different things you can do with it.

As cheddar was my all-time favorite flavor, that was my starting point.  Again, SO EASY.

Put a can of full fat coconut milk, 1/4C of water, 1/4C of nutritional yeast, 1T sea salt, 1T miso, 1/4C tapioca starch & 2T agar powder into a blender or food processor & blend that until it is completely mixed.  Throw that into a saucepan & cook on medium for about ten minutes or until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Put that mix into a glass mold & set it in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Take it out of the mold and eat the entire recipe in one sitting.

EASY, RIGHT??

Well, you can save some for grilled cheeses too.  It just so happens that this is perfect for heating back up so it starts to get all melty.  I love it with some sourdough & roasted onions.  Like this.

So many noms.

So many noms.  That’s with olive sourdough, BTW.

If you really want to have fun, you can play around with the recipe and add all kinds of stuff.  Like noodles.  Or vegan sausage.  Or broccoli.  Or all of the things.

I should put this in between some olive sourdough.

I should put this in between some olive sourdough.

I have been talking about it for some time now, and I have a ton of recipes & pictures.  So I’m going to be working on a cookbook to fund a vegan food cart or a food truck.  Hopefully by the end of this year.  I’ve got to do some more research on publishing & fund-raising for it, but the entire premise of the book is to help people convert into a plant-based diet in a healthy manner.

NOT by eating vegan pizza in front of your dogs on a daily basis.

NOT by eating vegan pizza in front of your dogs on a daily basis.

The issue is that so many people starting on a plant-based diet do so by eating all of the processed junk and nothing else.  Mind, that’s not horrible if you are taking supplements, but if you want to have a smooth, healthy transition, you are going to have to understand what to eat.  And that, sadly makes vegan pizza something you should only have once a week when you first start out on your adventure.

Then you ease yourself into a daily regimen of vegan pizza.

Kidding.  Don’t do that.

So that’s the basis of the book.  I would love for it to be educational, humorous, & full of cool things that are easy for people to try out, even if they aren’t jumping on the veg-wagon.

If anyone has any input on publishing or anything regarding cookbooks, leave me a comment below.  I’d love to learn as much as I can & find out how to do this stuff.

Plus, it will fund a veg-cart/truck/business(these are all long-term goals & aspirations) so hopefully you can go to a ball park here and find some cool vegan food.

I found a salad bar at a stadium recently.  I think they serve peanuts somewhere too.

I found a salad bar at a stadium recently. I think they serve peanuts somewhere too.

So that’s it.  Let me know if you have any input & I’ll keep everyone updated on the status of the cookbook.

And now, a couple of pictures of pups:

It's Soul-Eater...er...I mean Cinder.

It’s Soul-Eater…er…I mean Cinder.

Not sure why he sits so cute, but he does a great job at it.

Not sure why he sits so cute, but he does a great job at it.

Someone has their eyes closed for the family picture.  Someone else looks like they're expecting food immediately.

Someone has their eyes closed for the family picture. Someone else looks like they’re expecting food immediately.

Have a great week & write you later!!