Cooking with Kombucha

  • Watermelon Kombucha Salad with Ajo Blanco

     

     

    Watermelon Salad with Ajo Blanco (Spanish White Gaspacho) and kombucha

    Will Donnelly | June 2014
    Watermelon Salad with Kombucha Ajo Blanco

     

    Yield: 8

    This bountiful salad is a wonderful Spanish / American cuisine blend that I recently created and would love to share. Ajo Blanco is a very old-school Spanish chilled garlic and almond soup. It's rich and creamy, though inexpensive and dairy-free. Usually this Gaspacho is served with green grapes or melon, which gives this blended soup pops of crisp crunchy texture and ever-so sweet grape fragrance, which is what got me thinking about watermelon. Start by making your Ajo Blanco, as you will need to cool it in the fridge before serving. If you are up for it, let it stand overnight in the fridge to really get the flavors working

    Ingredients

    Ajo Blanco

    • 225 grams blanched almonds (roughly a cup)
    • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and cored
    • 75 grams good white bread or stale baguette soaked in water
    • 750ml (3+ Cups) Iced water
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste

     

    Watermelon Salad

    • 1/8th large watermelon
    • 1 washed cucumber
    • 1 juicy tomato
    • 1/2 bunch cilantro
    • 2 tablespoons kombucha vinegar (long fermented kombucha)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Directions

    Start by making your Ajo Blanco, as you will need to cool it in the fridge before serving. If you are up for it, leave it in the fridge overnight  to really let the flavors meld.

    Ajo Blanco:

    1. Blend your almonds in a food processor until they are as quite fine (3-4 minutes). You may need to push them back into the bowl with a rubber spatula as they clump and climb up the sides.
    2. slowly add 1/3 cup of the iced water into the food processor.
    3. Squeeze the bread of excess water and add to the mix.
    4. At this point, add your garlic. If you have a mortar and pestle, use it! Mash your garlic with a bit of salt into a frothy pulp, then add to the soup.
    5. Add the vinegar and the olive oil, salt and pepper, and the rest of the water.
    6. If there is too much water for your mixer, you can transfer the soup into a large bowl and stir in the rest with your spatula there.
    7. Be aware that the bread may make the soup quite stodgy. If it is so, keep adding ice water until the soup is nappe consistency, or just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
    8. reserve and cool in the fridge.

     

    Watermelon Salad:

    1. Peel stripes off your cucumber leaving some skin in tact.
    2. Cut the cucumber in half, and dice it as finely as possible. Add to a small mixing bowl.
    3. Take the other half, stand it up on your cutting board, and carefully cut a long, skinny, angular wedge. Then rotate the cucumber a bit and make the same angled cut. Continue to do this (imagine you are carving a large cucumber spear) until you have no more cucumber. This process is very similar to a roll cut or angled roll cut. Place this cucumber into separate medium mixing bowl.
    4. Wipe down your cutting board, then halve and core your tomato. Fine dice the entire thing and transfer into the small mixing bowl.
    5. Now cut the watermelon into 1.5 inch slices, and clean it of the rind and any white pith. take your end wedge (smallest piece), small dice and add to the rest of the finely diced mix.
    6. Add salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp 'buch vinegar (if you don't have 'buch vinegar you can use champagne or white vinegar) and 1Tbsp olive oil to the small mixing bowl and give it a quick toss.
    7. Take the remaining watermelon pieces and cut off long 'shingles', about a centimeter thick. This will give you a nice piece of watermelon where you can get to the seeds and remove them, and then cut it into long, angular wedges. Add this to the medium mixing bowl.
    8. Add the rest of the 'buch vinegar and olive oil to your medium mixing bowl and lightly toss with a bit of salt and pepper.

    Final Steps

    1. Wash, dry and pluck your cilantro into large plushes.
    2. Pour your Ajo Blanco into your serving bowl (s)
    3. Spoon on top your small dice mix, then arrange your large-cut mix ontop, vertically.
    4. Finish with sprinking your cilantro on top!
    5. Enjoy the taste of summer :)

     

  • Pomegranate-Kombucha Apple Sauce

    Afternoon y'alls! It's been blowing a two-foot-deep tundra sideways here, and it's time to offset this bone biting chill with some GOOD FOOD! So lets get started on some mind blowing Pomegranate-Kombucha Apple Sauce, perfect with cracked oatmeal and homemade yogurt.

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    Time required: 3-4 Hours (pot watching mostly)

    Other requirements: Pomegranate-Kombucha (see below)

    Difficulty: Easy / Medium

     

    Note- you can start your apple sauce with the pomegranate kombucha first, and then add the caramel later when you've finished it. This may shorten the time required.

    Ingredients:

    • 12-15 Apples, preferably Honey Crisps
    • 2 Cups of Pomegranate-Kombucha (optional until you try it with. :)
    • 1 Cup White Sugar
    • 3 Cups Water
    • 1 tsp (teaspoon) Salt
    • 1 tbsp Cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp Ground ginger
    • 1 tbsp Allspice
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    •  1/2 tsp clove
    • love

    Instructions:

     

    Pomegranate-Kombucha: Makes  2 Quarts +

    Follow our instructions here for 1/2 Gallon our Basic, Straight-Up Kombucha.

    Depending on your judgement on their flavor, and final amount of juice, add either 1.6 fluid ounces of Pomegranate Concentrate (found at health food stores, organic is best) OR  juice from a freshly squeezed pomegranate, to your now finished kombucha. Reserve 2 cups of Pom-'Buch for this recipe.

     

    Caramel Syrup: Read through before starting

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    • Please: take any and all necessary precaution with any syrup production, as this stuff gets really hot.
    • Add 1 cup of sugar to a (very important) SQUEAKY CLEAN and DRY sauce pot.
    • Boil 2 Cups water in a kettle or separate pot while you ...
    • Turn heat to Med-High, and let your sugar start to melt.
    • Once your sugar melts, with a metal whisk (or spoon as I forgot mine), whisk any left over sugar clumps to make a uniform syrup.
    • You will now cook the syrup until it goes a medium orange / brown, and then turn off the heat so that after cooling, your syrup will be a lovely and deep caramel color.
    • As its still bubbling and cooling off, add your 2 Cups of boiling water all at once and WHISK! Beware: this is hot enough to scald you so be careful! Do not add the water too slowly because the sugar will vaporize a small amount of water and splatter it on you, where as if it all goes in at once, it will cool down the sugar much quicker and make this a safer operation.
    • Did you do it? Well Done! Pat yourself on the back. Now onto..

    The Apple Sauce

    • Quickly rinse and peel any stickers off your Apples, then pat dry with a cloth.
    • Cut the Apples in half vertically, then vertically half again.
    • with a small pairing knife, core out the quarter slices.DSC_5366
    • Small dice your apples.
    • Place your Apple dice into a pot with at least 2-3 inches space at the top.
    • Add all your spices and salt, Caramel Syrup, and 2 Cups of Pomegranate Kombucha to the pot and give a good stir.
    • Cook on Medium Heat until soft, then low for as long as it takes to cook the residual liquid off.

     

    You've finished your Pomegranate-Kombucha Apple Sauce! Well done. I love it on its own, or as pictured above on top of cracked oatmeal porridge with a dollop of yogurt and sliced apple.

    -Will Donnelly

     

  • An Introduction to Cooking with Kombucha

     

    As this is the first of many posts I will write about food, cooking and kombucha, I thought it may be enriching for the reader to understand more about what food is and has made us, where what we know has come from, and why we eat what we eat now.

     

    Food, in its simplicity is what nourishes our biological needs, stoking the fire so that we may be so lucky as to spend our time pursuing dreams and attending other needs. What we now enjoy as food comes a long way from its wild, dangerous and unmapped origins. A Chicken-Parm Hero really is haute cuisine when you think about it, but times have changed and along with it our palates, our expectations.

     

    When cooking, one manipulates food so we can either enjoy it or digest it better. It quickly becomes apparent that knowledge of chemistry, biology and technique is going to help you greatly in this vast world of crafting a meal. Attempting to put out an oil fire with water, eating the wrong mushroom, rubbing an eye after cutting peppers are mistakes not soon made again. And although edible, over seasoning, under cooking and burning your food are all roads best not taken. So, we have to understand our food; a process that has happened at times only long after we have made it. Ceviche, dried meats, curing onions or smoked salmon are all things that worked, and only later when we had the time after a lush meal to think why, did we figure it out.

     

    Over hundreds of thousands of years our bodies have adapted to cooked food. It has been evolutionarily advantageous not to spend your energy chewing and digesting, but changing what you eat so that it may better feed you. When you marinate a steak, acids help break down the fats and proteins. As you place it on a seasoned grill, the intense heat denatures the protein further. It also helps make the food safer, killing off surface bacteria.  This allows us to get the most out of our food as we absorb nutrition from broken down proteins or fibers much, much better. It is why we cook, and why we have to cook.

     

    Kombucha, among many things, is an acid.

                                                              Cook your Kombucha!

     

    Generally it is a tart and slightly fizzy, not much unlike a cider or champagne. Fermenting different teas, for different periods of time, and finishing the process with fruits or other flavorings all alter the unique flavor. The range of terroirs, ambient temperatures, water composition, and handling techniques of Chinese and Japanese tea gives kombucha a large palette to paint with. If you can take all that into consideration, the kombucha you can brew is vast. What you can do with that brew is even more varied – why not marinate your favorite grilled goods with a rich and tangy black tea kombucha vinegar reduction? Or let a mango slaw sit in a peachy white tea kombucha overnight? This light ferment will alter the flavors just a bit, and may impart just the right fragrance. Yum!

     

    I've cooked for many years, and with most things, it is easiest to start simple. Don't worry about the above mentioned terroirs or water composition of where your tea comes from. Most palates don't ever even taste the difference, and if you are cooking it later, that nuance may not even be apparent. Instead, start with kombucha vinegar! Most of us end up making it because we forget to tend to our brew - so instead of throwing it away, substitute your apple cider or white vinegars with your new tea vinegar. Again, kombucha can be a great component for a marinade, or even a ceviçhe. Once you feel comfortable with that, why not reduce it, touch it up with sugar and drizzle it over green tea ice cream? There are many, many possibilities for an adventurous cook when it comes to cooking with kombucha. And we haven't even begun to talk about working with the culture itself!

     

    For some recipes to get you started, take a look here - http://www.kombuchabrooklyn.com/cooking-with-kombucha

     

    If you have any suggestions or questions please drop us a comment and I'll try to answer as best I can. - Will

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