KoMbUcHa!!

That’s my little baby, Kombuchee! I love it SO much and I tell it every day. Supposedly, the lively culture can pick up on the energies of its surroundings and will produce accordingly. I want to make sure it is happy because it benefits me so well. I give the mama sugary tea and it gives me probiotics, enzymes, energy, anti-oxidants and liver-cleansing organic acids. It also gives me a sweet & distinct euphoric feeling after consumption. Each morning, I tell it hello, see how it’s doing and let it know that I love it so. I flip over the mushroom guy because bubbles seem to accumulate underneath the pancake which pushes it out of the tea sometimes. I smell it and make sure it has a vinegar smell indicating proper pH. It certainly doesn’t taste like vinegar though. I check that it’s breathing(producing CO2) by shining it with a flashlight at a certain angle that lets me see arising bubbles. So far, it’s been very healthy and breathing beautifully. Then, I cover it back up with the cheesecloth and put it back in it’s comfy home in the pantry.

After ten days, I have harvested the kombucha tea and added a new batch of sugar tea to the container. This means… I finally get to drink it! It’s been amazing. I made sure to let it sit long enough to have almost no sugar content. It is very mild tasting but I can’t get enough. Straight out of the cold fridge, it is fresh & fizzy. I have been drinking it first thing in the morning in place of coffee. I swear I love it even more than coffee which is insane. When I drink coffee on an empty stomach while fixing breakfast, my tummy feels funny from being so empty. I didn’t have that feeling today after just having some kombucha. However, it jump-started my metabolism without any bad tummy feelings…. excellent! I may have to start brewing two containers at once because ten days is awhile to wait for the next batch considering my potential for consuming it very quickly. Either way, home-brewing beats paying $3.25/bottle! I get to adjust the sweetness to my liking and get friendly with my own personal bacteria guys, win-win.

I take a probiotic pill when I remember but have been eating significantly less beneficial bacteria since I started eating Paleo because I no longer eat yogurt. I really wish I had access to raw milk yogurt or the raw milk to make my own yogurt. I’m scared of dairy now though. All this time I thought it worked really well with me and now I’m not so sure. I used to be obsessed with cheese. I would go to Whole Foods and raid the sample-size cheese bin. I would easily spend $20 on cheese every time I went there, it was inevitable. I often purchased the raw milk cheeses. I thought it would be impossible to give up dairy and cheese. When I used to say cheese and think about cheese my eyes would get big and happy like how I feel about kombucha. That’s just not the case anymore. I honestly can’t believe it since I once thought of it as my absolute favorite food. Now that I think about it, it’s pretty damn good. Somehow, I can do without and feel perfectly cheery doing so, no big thing. People I’ve had cheese freak-out conversations with are going to be like WHAT?! but yep, no longer a cheese addict. I think I’m only a coffee addict now…. hope to break that with the kombucha!

If you haven’t tried kombucha, try it! If you drink soda, kombucha has the same satisfying fizziness without the death attached. If you spend way too much money on kombucha, try making it yourself… it’s easier than you think once you get set up. If you want fresh, local kombucha compared to stuff sent from California that is super sweet, blows up, or no longer has its carbonation because it has been sitting on the shelf too long(I HATE that!), make your own!!!

Steamed Artichoke & Accompaniments

 

This was my first artichoke I have ever attempted to make, ever. This is weird because I seriously love steamed artichoke. Even as a picky child, my favorite appetizer was this very dish made at my favorite Italian restaurant. I am happy to say that I have successfully recreated it with my sister and mother as witness! The secret to making the leaves taste so divine that you want to suck them, which I do, is adding fresh parsley, garlic, vinegar and peppercorns to the steaming water. The roasted garlic and shallot mayonnaise is the perfect sweet accompaniment to the savory leaves and rich butter. My new chef boss has me crazy over roasted shallots! In his words, “It’s a beautiful thing.” I totally agree!

RECIPE

1 large artichoke

1 bunch parsley

1 garlic bulb plus couple extra cloves

2 tbsp. vinegar -  I used regular white

1 tbsp. peppercorns or ground pepper

2 shallots

1/4 cup mayonaisse

Olive oil – Tsp. or so

1/2 stick grass-fed butter

H2O for steaming

TOOLS

Stock pot with lid

Steamer basket

Foil – couple sheets

Pot for melting butter

DIRECTIONS

1.Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cut stem from garlic bulb so you can see each clove. Remove the skin from the shallots. Place cut garlic bulb, peeled shallots, and a little olive oil in foil and wrap completely. Place in oven and roast for 1 hour to 1&1/2 hours.

2. Wash artichoke. Cut bottom stem so that it can sit straight up. (This can requires some force-use a good, heavy knife) Trim the pricks from the leaves.

3. Place stockpot filled with couple inches of water and bring the water to a boil. Add parsley bunch, vinegar, peppercorns, and extra garlic cloves to the water. Put steamer basket on top. Water should barely be coming through the basket.

4. Insert artichoke in with leaves pointing up and cover with lid. Let steam for 45 minutes to an hour depending on size & thickness. Make sure water doesn’t evaporate completely. When a leaf near the middle can be pulled off relatively easily, the artichoke is ready.

5. Make the roasted garlic & shallot mayonnaise. After garlic bulb has cooled, squeeze the sweet roasted garlic into small mixing bowl by pressing on outsides of the bulb. Add shallot to the bowl (it should be squishy, also). Add mayonnaise (preferably homemade). Mix thoroughly until garlic and shallot lose their figure and blend into the mayo. Salt and pepper to taste.

6. Melt butter in pan but don’t overdo it and kill it’s liveliness.

7. Put melted butter and mayo in little serving bowls.

8. Serve artichoke on serving plate alongside accompaniments and with a space nearby for leftover leaves.

* If you don’t already know how to consume the artichoke, ask someone who does. Don’t eat this on a first date… it could be awkward. Besides that, dip in mayo first (not too much) then dip in butter and let extra drip off.

9. Once most of the leaves have been consumed, it’s time to eat the heart! Remove all leaves. Remove hairy stuff. This can be difficult to do without cutting into the meat. Save as much of the heart as you can, it is life or death. Cut up the remaining unattractive but delicious artichoke heart and claim as much for yourself as possible.

* On second thought, it may be good to make multiple artichokes. In my family, one medium artichoke serves about 2 people.

Legumes

Legumes have a similar story to grains; they weren’t consumed by the paleo hunter-gatherer because they needed to be cooked in order to be edible. Legumes also have similar traits to grains in their make-up; they contain phytates which inhibit nutrient absorption and cause inflammation. They also contain lectins and play with healthy hormonal functions.

Types of legumes to avoid on the paleo diet include lentils, all beans (such as kidney beans, pinto beans and broad beans), peanuts (peanuts are a legume not a nut), soy beans and chickpeas.

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