Saturday, December 8, 2012

Claus's Kraut, Cubes, Kale, Noodles and Oodles

I've been busy trying to get ready for Santa.

First, I made him some CSA Sauerkraut from scratch!  I hope he likes kraut.

 I started the kraut on Tuesday, November 20th.  

It was four big cabbages (two white and two red) from my CSA, hand cored and sliced, with a few carrots thrown in, plus Kosher salt. I sprinkled salt on as I went, no more than maybe a tablespoon per head of cabbage) and caraway seeds (sprinkled in as I packed it into the bucket).

My kraut making techniques are a combination of Sandor's instructions, this and these and some videos on youtube. There are tons of videos on different techniques on YouTube, too, just put in "homemade sauerkraut" and a ton come up. Here is Sandor's video (great! But, who doesn't love Sandor?) and this nice Gramma also uses a big, food safe bucket like the one I got FREE from Wegmans (see below!!).

Once your cabbage is sliced (phew!) put a little at a time into your "crock" and pack it down to push out all the air.  I used a potato masher.  Keep adding and pushing until it's all in there.

 Carrot top :-)

Now you need a lid/plate or other covering that *just* fits inside your crock.
My plate didn't quite fit, so I made a plate out of aluminum foil, I just pushed the foil to the edges of the bucket.  I used a triple thickness.  I hope that's a legit method :-)

Weight it down with something really heavy.  I used water inside two, huge freezer bags made to hold soup (according to their marketing, anyway):

Snap the lid on, if you have one (or make one out of a towel or cheesecloth or something) and wait.

You want the brine to come up over your "plate" so the kraut is always submerged.  It should happen in about 24-48 hours, longer is also fine, it seems, as long as it is airtight and mold isn't forming, leave it alone. 
You can see the liquid is above the plate and the bubbles indicate fermentation is happening!

P.S. I got the big bucket for free at Wegmans
A big thanks to the awesome Joni Marie Newman for suggesting I check with my grocery store for a big container! I love Joni.

My Italian friend in the Wegmans cheese department sent me to bakery to check out my request for a big (preferably glass) jar or bucket.  They had a large, food grade plastic bucket and they gladly gave me one.

Their bakery department orders icing in these big guys (it's a 15L bucket, which is about 4 gallons)
I open it outside to scoop and re-pack the kraut! 

Baby Klaus's Kraut (One Week Old).  Delicious, mild and crunchy!

I have to remember to re-check the kraut tomorrow, hoping for a richer, more sour kraut!

I've also been breaking into the frozen stash of CSA stuff:
 This is the sauce from the Squash Mac I made in October.  I sauteed six cloves of garlic in olive oil and added about eight cubes of the sauce, also added a bit of hot pasta water to thin it out.  

It was perfect for Penne & Broccoli!

 With home made chickpeas!

My favorite "Stellar Stuffed Mushrooms" from The 30 Minute Vegan.
These are so amazing.

And this may look plain, but it was great.
 Sauteed Kale and Mushrooms in Oil, Organic Lemon juice and Garlic with Kosher Salt & Pepper.

And I found an organic, vegan vanilla pudding powder at the grocery store!
If you want to make The Veggnog Cake and can't find that Bird's powder or don't want to order it, I bet this stuff works pretty good.
I'll try it the next on the round of Veggnog Cakes!

This was dinner last night (I added rich, garlicky chickpeas, too)
 Dinner last night was the Kale and Friends Salad  Organic Kale and Brown Rice Salad with Dried Organic Cranberries, Sliced Almonds and a Organic Winter Citrus Vinaigrette. 
I also added rich, garlicky chickpeas (pressure cooked in rich broth, olive oil and salt).

In a large bowl, place one bunch of kale leaves, washed and chopped mixed with 1/3 cup dried cranberries, 1/3 cup slivered almonds, and 1/3 cup of sliced grapes (if you want) or slices of mandarin orange.  Dress this first with 2.5 T of the dressing.

Cook 1.5 Cups of brown rice and dress that with another 2.5 T of the dressing, put the hot, cooked and dressed rice over the kale salad mixture and stir very well.  The kale will cook a tiny bit and soften nicely.

Winter Citrus Vinaigrette: 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1 clove of garlic smashed, 1 tsp Kosher Salt, bunch of pepper, juice of one organic lemon, one organic orange and about 1 tsp of combined orange and lemon zest. Whisk like hell.  Pour 2.5 T over your kale salad mixture and 2.5 T over your Brown Rice.

This was breakfast this morning!
Old Fashioned Oats with Flax, Organic Grade B Maple Syrup, Vietnamese Cinnamon, Vanilla, Bananas and Chopped Pecans.  YUM. 

Lunch Today: A version of Hornswaggle Salad.  My favorite!

Besides eating, I am also working on oodles of homemade gifts:
Many mini loaves are in my future. My Vegan Sticky Gingerbread is up first.

Ollie and I are also working on hand made Christmas gifts for the family:
Handmade Gift Post Coming Soon! 

Hang in there everyone, "the holidays" will be over before you can say