Save the Liquid from Roasting Mushrooms for a Savory, Umami-Packed Condiment

From Skillet

Like all roasted vegetables, roasted mushrooms are pretty glorious. If you’ve ever made them, you’ve most likely noticed a bit of liquid pooling in the pan. This liquid should be drained to encourage browning, but it should not be tossed, as it makes a delicious, savory condiment.

Serious Eats calls it “mushroom juice,” but it’s really mushroom juice plus olive oil, salt and pepper, and whatever other seasonings you’ve tossed with your ‘shrooms. Like mushrooms themselves, it’s packed with umami goodness, and can be used just like soy sauce. Stir it into stews, drizzle it over rice, or use it as a finishing sauce on meats, seafood, and vegetables.

Millie- I also use the liquid from caramelizing onions (which I do in huge batches and then freeze).  I reduce the liquid, just like when I reduce stocks for demi glace’.  Then freeze in ice cube trays fro adding to greens and other di8shes.


20 Ways to Flavor Your Kombucha

 

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It’s been Kombucha week all up on Naturally Loriel lately.

First, we walked through a really easy tutorial on how to make kombucha at home. Then we infused it with elderberries and lavender to create an immune boosting elixir that makes the perfect concoction to be consuming at this time of the year.

And finally, we’re ending this Kombucha party with a roundup of some of the most delicious kombucha recipes around the crunchy web-sphere.

The second ferment or flavoring kombucha happens when you take already brewed kombucha and infuse it with fruits, herbs, or flowers. The fruit can be in chunk form, puree, or as a juice. You let the fruit and the brewed kombucha ferment for a few days, and the result is a fizzy, probiotic-rich drink that has taken on the taste of whatever you’ve chosen to put in the bottle. The amount of sugar (fruit chunks, puree, and/or juice) plays a huge role in how fizzy your second ferment will be. More fruit, more fizz. Less fruit, less fizz. Having quality flip top bottles also helps in the fizzy-ness factor.

Flavoring your own homemade kombucha can take a little bit of trial and error to find that perfect taste but, it’s always fun when you hit the golden flavor that makes you gobble it up in one sitting.

When we’re not flavoring our kombucha with elderberries in the Adams’ household, we love simple concoctions like guava and strawberry, simple “lemonade” kombucha, and berries with lemon.

Below in the printable recipe card, you’ll find a few of my personal favorite recipes and then scroll below to find 15 other ways to flavor your kombucha from some of my favorite crunchy bloggers.

20 Ways to Flavor Your Kombucha

Serves: All of these recipes fill up one 32oz bottle

Ingredients

Guava-Berry Kombucha

  • ½ cup guava juice
  • 3 strawberries, cut into small pieces (organic, if possible)

Guava Kombucha

  • ½ cup guava juice

Blackberry-Lime Kombucha

  • 4 blackberries, cut into small pieces
  • 1 inch lime (with rind), cut into pieces

Lemonade Kombucha

  • 2 inches lemon (with rind), cut into small pieces

Berry-full Kombucha

  • 2 strawberries, cut into small pieces (organic, if possible)
  • 4 blueberries, smashed (organic, if possible)
  • 1 inch lemon (with rind), cut into small pieces

Instructions

  1. Place your desired ingredients into your flip top bottle
  2. Pour the first ferment of kombucha; leaving about an inch from the top
  3. Leave on your counter for 3-7 days; burp once or twice throughout the day to release excess carbonation
  4. Store in the refrigerator

Why the Hottest Kitchen Tool Is Actually…a Cold Pan

Why the Hottest Kitchen Tool Is Actually…a Cold Pan  photoPost from Bon Appetit

Often, the success of a great dish comes down to heat. Gorgeously seared steak, perfect stir-fry, or properly al dente pasta all rely on a big flame and high heat. But here’s a secret: Sometimes, your cooking secret weapon is a cold pot or pan.

While you’d never lay an expensive porterhouse in a chilly pan and then turn on the flame (the steak would eventually cook through, but it’d turn out gray and pallid, not golden-brown and caramelized), there are a few times when starting the cooking process with a cold pan is a must. Beginning with a cold pan allows you to better control the temperature, and lets you slowly build layers of flavor, rather than shocking your ingredients. These are the cooking techniques that call for cold pans.

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Perfect BLTs start with crispy bacon. Crispy bacon starts with a cold pan. Photo: Dawn Perry

Rendering Bacon Fat
Add a raw piece of bacon to a hot pan, and it’ll cook up in no time flat—without rendering any of the fat, unfortunately. That’s fine if you’re the type who likes gumming on bacon fat, but, ’round here, we like our cured pork belly crispy. The way to shatteringly crisp bacon is fat in the pan, not on the strip. Plus, if you take things low and slow when cooking bacon, you’ll be rewarded with a panful of rendered bacon fat for later use—not a bad flavor tool to have in your arsenal.

Making Garlic Confit
Garlic confit is made by slowly heating oil with whole cloves of garlic, then letting the mixture cool down together. The result is two-fold: a garlicky flavored oil and tender cloves of garlic perfect for spreading on toast or adding to stir-fries and sauces. The key to developing this flavor is to let the garlic heat up with the oil—so start cold and let it all come together at once. You also don’t want to get the oil to its smoking point; a cold pan is extra insurance against that.

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Seared Duck Breast with Mustard Greens, Turnips, and Radishes. Photo: Christopher Testani.

Cooking Skin-On Duck or Chicken
If you add a skin-on duck breast or chicken thigh to a screaming hot pan, the skin will contract quickly, tightening up and shrinking. This is not good. “You don’t want the skin to seize up before the fat has rendered,” explains Claire Saffitz, BA‘s associate food editor. Seized-up skin means chewy, not crispy—and you know we’re all about the crispy skin. This is especially important for duck breast, which has a very thick layer of fat. Start cold, and take it easy: This is no place to crank the heat.

Toasting Seeds and Spices
Tiny toppers like sesame seeds and spices like cumin or fennel taste better toasted—this recipe for Chile-Cumin Lamb Meatballs is proof. Unfortunately, they also cook quickly. If you add them to a pan that’s already hot, they’ll burn and blacken before toasting from the inside out. Another tip: Remove the seeds or spices from the pan as soon as they’re done; if you leave them in the now-hot pan, they will overcook.

Boiling Eggs
The BA test kitchen staff suggests starting boiled eggs in cold water. If you drop a cold, straight-from-the-fridge egg into a pot of boiling water, the extreme temperature change will likely cause the shell to crack, causing the egg white to bubble out of the fissure. This is not the biggest deal in the world, sure, but when presentation matters, you’ll want to take a little extra care.

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It’s called brown butter, not blackened butter. Photo: Gentl & Hyers

Browning Butter
If you’ve ever made brown butter, you know that it takes just seconds to go from that golden, nutty color to black and burned. (If you haven’t made brown butter, may we suggest cooking these Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter immediately?) Don’t make the process any harder on yourself by shocking the butter in a ripping hot pan. The proper technique is to melt the butter slowly and patiently wait, swirling the pan periodically, as the milk solids toast and become the color of hazelnuts (psst—that’s where the French term for brown butter, beurre noisette, comes from).


Save Yourself Some Time and Don’t Salt That Eggplant

Aubergine

Every eggplant recipe I’ve ever encountered has instructed me to salt the big purple fruit before cooking to “draw out bitter compounds,” but it turns out that’s not really necessary.

According to Epicurious, this thinking is leftover from a time when eggplants were much more bitter than what you’ll find in the store today; the bitterness has been bred out of them.

Full disclosure: I’ve only ever salted eggplant once before I’ve cooked it, the first time I cooked it. I had never tasted a difference between salted and not, but it’s nice to have my sloth validated.


Green Smoothies- What Does the Science Say

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I’ve posted before about green smoothies and the fact that it is far better to put your greens in a smoothie than in juices.

I found this great article on NutritionFacts.com;

Transcript: Green Smoothies: What Does the Science Say?

As I’ve explored previously, drinking sugar water is bad for you. If you have people drink a glass of water with three tablespoons of table sugar in it, which is like a can of soda, this is the big spike in blood sugar they get within the first hour.  The body freaks out, and releases so much insulin we actually overshoot, and by the second hour we’re relatively hypoglycemic, dropping our blood sugar below where it was when we started fasting. In response, our body dumps fat into our blood stream as if we’re starving, because our blood sugars just dropped so suddenly. And the same thing happens after drinking apple juice.

Here’s what happens to your blood sugar in the three hours after eating four and a half cups of apple slices: it goes up and comes down. But if you eat the same amount of sugar in apple juice form, about two cups, your body overreacts, releasing too much insulin, and you end up dipping below where you started. The removal of fiber in the production of fruit juice can enhance the insulin response and result in this “rebound hypoglycemia.” What would happen though, if you stuck those four and a half cups of sliced apples in a blender with some water and pureed them into an apple smoothie? It would still have all it’s fiber, yet still cause that hypoglycemic dip. The rebound fall in blood sugars, which occurred during the second and third hours after juice and puree, was in striking contrast to the practically steady level after apples. This finding not only indicates how important the presence of fiber is, but also, perhaps whether or not the fiber is physically disrupted, as happens in the blender.

Let’s play devil’s advocate, though. Eating four and a half cups of apples took 17 minutes, but to drink four and a half cups of apples in smoothie form only took about six minutes, and you can down two cups of juice in like 90 seconds. So maybe these dramatic differences have more to do with how fast the fruit entered in our system rather than the physical form. If it’s just the speed we could just sip the smoothie over 17 minutes and the result would be the same, so they put it to the test. Fast juice was drinking it in 90 seconds, but what if you instead sipped the juice over 17 minutes? Same problem—so it wasn’t the speed, it was the lack of fiber. What if you disrupt that fiber with blending, but sip it as slowly as the apple eating? A little better, but not as good as just eating the apple. So eating apples is better than drinking apple smoothies, but who drinks apple smoothies? What about bananas, mangoes, or berries?

There was a study that compared whole bananas to blended bananas and didn’t see any difference, but they only looked for an hour, and it was while they were exercising. Bananas in general though may actually improve blood sugars over time. The same thing with mangoes—and this was with powdered mango—can’t get any more fiber disrupted than that. It may be due to a phytonutrient called mangiferin, which may slow sugar absorption through the intestinal wall.

Berries help control blood sugar so well they can counter the effects of sugar water even when they’re pureed in a blender. Add blended berries in addition to the sugar water, and you don’t get the hypoglycemic dip; you don’t get that burst of fat in the blood. Drinking blended berries isn’t just neutral, but improves blood sugar control. Again, thought to be due to special phytonutrients that may slow sugar uptake into the bloodstream. Indeed, six weeks of blueberry smoothie consumption may actually improve whole body insulin sensitivity.

So while apple smoothies may be questionable, a recipe like Mayo’s basic green smoothie recipe, packed with berries and greens, would be expected to deliver the best of both worlds, maximum nutrient absorption without risking overly rapid sugar absorption.


Gut Health

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Most Americans have a compromised Immune System. Most also have leaky gut. If you have allergies, get frequent colds, ear infections, are overweight, have arthritis..you have leaky gut.

Healing a leaky gut means following a nutritional protocol to enable it to heal.  Replenishing gut bacteria is crucial; to heal the lining of the stomach, to properly digest foods so that you can actually absorb the nutrients…in order to repair the immune system and enjoy optimal health.

One way to do this is to take probiotics, but they are very pricy and do not really survive the stomach acids to get into the colon where they will do you the most good.

So what should you do?

Eat fermented foods!  Sauerkraut, wine, pickles, coconut milk yogurt (you should avoid dairy in all forms for optimal health), and Kombucha tea are great ways to do this.

I began fermenting Kombucha tea about a year ago, it is easy and fun to make…and is very inexpensive.  I also now make my own organic Apple Cider Vinegar. 

Beginning next week I will begin selling Kombucha tea with my other Culinary Items.   I make a mild, very slightly sweet Raspberry Kombucha.  It will be on the menu each week.


The Spiralizer: Why Your Next Bowl of Pasta Just Might Not Be Pasta at All

The Spiralizer: Why Your Next Bowl of Pasta Just Might Not Be Pasta at All photoimage

Credit: Nick Hopper

I rarely advertise, but I LOVE this product!  I have been cutting zucchini “noodles’ by hand with a knife for years, this makes it SO quick and easy!

A knife, with a little practice can do all the things a mandoline can do- 

$29.97 on Amazon- Spiralizer

From Bon Appetit

MARCH 2, 2015 /

WRITTEN BY ROCHELLE BILOW

We love traditional pasta, but lately we’ve noticed a new breed of noodles. We’re not talking about rice, corn, or quinoa spaghetti—we’re talking about spiralized vegetables. The spiralizer is an inexpensive tool (one of the most popular brands retails for $39.95) that turns fresh veggies into faux-noodles (zoodles, if you will, but we won’t). It isn’t just for the carb-averse; everyone from home cooks to restaurant chefs are spiralizing.

Most models are about the size of a large toaster and function like a giant pencil sharpener. A firm, peeled veggie is held in place with a clamp over the grinder, and as the vegetable disappears into the hold, the cook uses a hand crank to make the gears work. The result is a pile of extra-long, gently curled ribbons. Interesting, but what makes this tool so great?

The Spiralizer Is a Chef’s Best Friend
Restaurant chefs, who have mountains of chopping and slicing to slog through, have a lot to love in the spiralizer. Amanda Cohen, chef and owner of the vegetarian restaurant Dirt Candy in New York City, first encountered the tool when working at an all-raw restaurant. “It made some boring jobs a lot easier,” she explains. Dirt Candy now frequently serves spiralized vegetables (using the Benriner and Kaiten models). Chef Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene‘s in Portland, first began using aTsumakirikun spiralizer because, “I wanted a way to make perfect consistent cuts of pumpkin for a salad.” The more commonplace mandoline slicer performs the same task, but the spiralizer produces prettier results.

Jonah Miller, chef and owner of Huertas, also in NYC, just may be the tool’s biggest fan. “I think we use it more than any other restaurant in the city,” he says, adding that they used their spiralizer so much, they added a drill function to cut down on the manual cranking.

But it’s not just about the functionality. Says Cohen: ”People are conditioned to be dismissive about vegetables so you kind of have to sneak up on them and surprise them…in ways they aren’t anticipating.” For a culture of eaters who grew up with meat as the star of the show and vegetables playing second fiddle, eating a veggie-forward meal can be a radical change.

The most spiralized vegetable at Huertas is the potato in huevos rotos, a dish that’s typically prepared with hunks of potato fried in olive oil. It’s delicious but, according to Miller, too greasy to be texturally great. Instead, at Huertas, long strands of potato get flash-fried for 8 to 10 seconds. They have the texture of al dente pasta with no excessive grease. Also, Miller explains, “The experience of twirling a vegetable around your fork, and taking a big bite is so much more enjoyable than a small mouthful.”

Produce ‘Pasta’ Is Gluten-Free, Carb-Free, and Grain-Free (But Not Flavor-Free)
If you don’t eat grains you’re inevitably going to run into a frustrating dilemma: What to cook when you miss pasta? Ali Maffucci, the author of the blog Inspiralized and the cookbook Inspiralized, began sharing spiralized recipes on her blog in June 2013. Her Italian-American heritage and love of pasta clashed with her quest for a healthier, slimmer lifestyle. She began by substituting spiralized vegetables for noodles, and now uses them for salads, casseroles, and even “rice” (she uses a food processor to pulverize the spiralized veggies).

Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, of the UK-based blog and clean-eating lifestyle brand Hemsley + Hemsley avoid all grains. Bored with the texture of peeled vegetables, they purchased a spiralizer and began experimenting. It’s now a main feature of their blog and cookbook.

It’s a Sneaky Way to Eat More Veggies
Spiralizing advocates argue that the technique makes it easier to get your daily fill of vegetables. But if you’re going to eat a sweet potato, why spiralize it when you could just as easily chop it? In an email toBA, Melissa Hemsley explains, “It’s a way to eat some vegetables…that you may not have tried beforehand.”

Maffucci likes her spiralizer because it creates volume seemingly out of thin air. One carrot can turn out cups of spiralized ribbons, tricking the eater into thinking they’re consuming more without the penalty of added calories. Says Maffucci, “You’re like ‘I’m eating something pretty and twirly, and there’s so much of it!” She adds that veggie noodles don’t feel like diet food. “[Eating spiralized vegetables] is a better experience than saying, ‘I have to eat a salad.’”

…Okay, But How Does It Taste?
“I still love pasta,” says Maffucci, who doesn’t keep grain-based noodles in the house. And, “No, [spiralized vegetables] don’t taste ‘the same’ as pasta.” But, she continues, a bowl of plain pasta is nothing spectacular on its own, either: What makes it shine are the toppings: Add meat, cheese, and a sauce to anything, and you’ve got a tasty dinner. Delicious as they are, vegetables are so texturally different from grains that you’ll never really trick yourself into thinking they’re pasta.

But maybe, suggest the Hemsley sisters, that’s not the point: Because they don’t eat any grains, they’re not trying to replace or mimic them. “For us, noodle and pasta dishes are all about the sauces, and spiralized vegetables provide a tasty, nourishing base.”

Says Maffucci, “Look, nothing will ever be as delicious as a buttery bowl of pasta. But this is pretty great.”