Athena Lamberis

Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category

How to make South African beer – uMqombhothi from Maize Meal

In Friend's Kitchens, Recipe on February 3, 2015 at 19:34

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Sip Sip sippin on uMqombhothi: A nutritious beer made from maize meal which can transform into a sweet or savoury porridge when cooked known as Idokwe. how to make south african beer maize umqombhothi

 The thing is, a recipe is a map – but your destination is your own alchemy.  With naturally fermented foods, it’s an all element creation.  Whether you are in the tropical swamps, humid concrete jungle or a dry desert land, your fermented food/drink will react and grow in different ways (just like my hair does when it rains 🙂
 I’ve got bottles of experiments, from pineapple wine to apple cider scobys growing by the day.  However, uMqombhoti is a recipe to inspire you to learn various food traditions from all over the world while bringing your own kitchen alchemy and culinary linguistics to the table.
South African beer-maize meal umqombhoti idokwe recipe -
 Alongside pineapple and ginger beer, uMqombhoti has an enhanced pungent taste, high in Vitamin B and most often shared communally from a ceramic bowl, gourd or pot used for the fermentation process.  It’s tradition and magic has been celebrated in South African homes for years – so when I asked my friend, @noksangoma to share her method for making one of the famous fermented drinks, she went on to say:
I dont have a ‘recipe’ for umqombhothi, I just follow an intuitive process in preparing it, because nobody actually told me how to make it. My ‘recipe’ is a mix of how my maternal grandmother makes umqombothi and how the eldest wives in my dad’s family make it.

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 Ingredients
maize meal
sorghum – king korn umthombo (green packet)
water
brown sugar (optional)
 How to make South African Maize Beer-Umqombhoti - via The Culinary Linguist
2.
mix equal quantities of imithombo with maize meal.
make a paste using boiling water.
place in a container (a bucket or big jar or jug. preferably use ukhamba, if you dont have a clay one, a plastic one will suffice)
store the mixture on in a dark corner or on the floor. overnight, or for 2 or 3 days – depending on how hot it is.
3.
when the mixture smells a little fermented, boil water in a pot and add the paste slowly while stirring continuously (like how you make custard)
lower the stove’s heat as the mixture thickens. let it simmer for about an hour. once this is cooked, it’s called idokwe and is delicious as a porridge with lots of sugar.
4.
cool idokwe – this may take a few hours.
once cooled down, mix the idokwe with cold water and mush it up with your hand til it’s drinking consistency
the potency of the umqombhothi depends on the magic of your mixing hand. my left hand is my mqombhothi mixing hand. my left side is my grancestor/feminine side – they are with me when I make umqombhothi.
How to make South African Maize Beer-Umqombhoti - via The Culinary Linguist
5.
once youve mixed idokwe with cold water, add more imithombo to the mixture and mix with your hand, and if you wish, some brown sugar to help the fermentation process along 🙂
again, place in a dark corner for about 3 days while it ferments.
6.
once the umqombhothi is fermented, it smells a little pungent, and little bubbles will be popping on the surface
strain the fermented mixture. the solid sorghum bits are called izinsipho. you may freeze a handful of izinsipho to use in a new batch of umqombhothi (izinsipho help to ferment a batch quicker, since theyve already fermented before)
 Food-Recipes-How to make South African Maize Beer-Umqombhoti - via The Culinary Linguist
7.
pour a cupful of umqombhothi as an offering, place in a sacred space in the home. this is for amaDlozi (spirit elders/ancestors/spirit guides)
8.
enjoy the rest!
rules for umqombhothi:
it is considered rude to drink umqombhothi while standing.
umqombhothi is best enjoyed with others. preferably while sitting in a circle, before a meal or after
umqombhothi is used as an offering in ceremonies and rituals. it is an integral part of cultural and spiritual ceremonies.
 Thanks Noks!  xx  Love, The Culinary Linguist

How to Make Easy Feta Cheese Puffs Recipe with Greek Yoghurt

In Recipe on January 16, 2015 at 16:57

During the holidays, we get those family season’s greeting cards, pictures of new babies, a synopsis of people’s year  – but my mom, she’s different.  In my Greek-American-South African family, most events and conversations revolve around food, even season’s greetings.

Below is a tried and tested recipe, a season’s greetings -written by my mom.

An easy snack you can make with delicious Greek yoghurt and a sense of humour.  Lucky you, this is a secret family recipe revealed.  Enjoy!

” Wishing you a Gastronomic, Festive, Joyous New Year, with lots of New Experiences.  May this recipe be one of them.
GREEK CHEESE PUFFSHow to make Greek feta yogurt bread balls recipe-The Culinary Linguist
(From the hands of Thea Koula,
My only living, wonderful Auntie,
Who is still the best baker)

•DOUGH•

1 medium tub Greek yogurt

1&3/4 sticks butter – (yeah! I said good puffs, not slimming) – you may cut back on the butter, and add half butter – half extra virgin olive oil, or coconut oil.  I wouldn’t – when you SIN – you SIN!!!

One t. Salt or less depending how salty your FETA is.

One tablespoon Vinegar – DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP!!!

1/2 kilo  ( 1 lb ) of self rising flour  (more/less) depending on the weather – (you can use wheat FLOUR and 1 t. baking soda)

Mix above ingredients and let the mixture rest for one, or couple of hours. After some gentle manipulation, (we all need to rest, and fluff up).

•FILLING•
200 gr feta cheese ( 3/4 lb)

1/4 of c of good Ricotta cheese (optional) 

One egg white ( save yolk for glazing the puffs)

Pepper / if you like a peppery taste like I do.

 
Mix well – at this point add whatever other cheeses are hiding in your refrigerator shelves.  Waste not!!!

(OPTIONAL)You may add some spinach or sausage or whatever you wish.

Cayenne pepper, etc.

Take a tablespoon of dough in your hand – spread it with your other hand to an open “like” shell to receive the heaping teaspoon of filling on one side. Then close the other end over the filled end, and pinch the ends together.

Sounds delicious, right? Good eating is a religious experience!!!

Place in a well greased pan, brush some egg yolk (diluted with a sprinkle of water) and use either sesame seeds on top, black sesame, or Nigella seeds to give it a finished touch.
We all look better with some finishing touches.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown at 180 (350) degrees.

Enjoy the homemade goodness that you just created with your hands. (it is almost like birth, only easier, faster, and sometimes more satisfying, and does not talk back to you). OOPS, forgive me my darling offsprings.

How to make Greek feta bread balls recipe-The Culinary Linguist

FYI – if you are in need for some carbs after a hard day’s work- use above dough. Fry it in butter and olive oil. While it is hot, sprinkle some (lots) sugar and cinnamon.  Enjoy the fried fritter with a cup of coffee as you listen to the clouds open up and the angels “sing to thee”.

From the Greek Gypsy
Or, Nomad Retiree a.k.a Mom of The Culinary Linguist  ”

**  If you grew up in a Greek family, you often find yourself giggling at food trends and fads that hype what your grandma’s been feeding you for years.  It’s the way food product companies like to colonise homemade traditional foods and ‘discover’ the next best thing to tortilla chips. ViVA Greek yogurt.

How to Eat and Think about Bug Grub: A Taste of Entomophagy

In Friend's Kitchens, Recipe, Stories on June 25, 2014 at 16:08

Would you ever say, “I’m a Entomo-tarian and love crickets roasted and tossed in sea salt and cayenne pepper and covered in chocolate?”

How to eat crickets -recipe

Chocolate covered Crickets at Soma Confection Laboratories. Pic by Heather Thompson

Considering bugs as grub gives way for the future of Pestaurants, cricket flour protein bars and stinkbug snacks being served in city centres across the globe.

With two other curious minds, adventurous taste buds and a love for food (with wings), we nibbled on cricket parts and chocolate-covered nosh once living in the wild.  Conversations about insect anatomy, and the future of entomophagy, got me thinking on the topic of the fast frozen-once-hopping jimineys.

My love for “how to” and DIY in culinary arts has led me to simmering  Mopani worms and foraging fresh sea vegetables. It’s my quest for promoting variety in our appetites, being a MacGyver in the kitchen and working with what you have and what is presented to you.  But will the high in protein, beneficial fatty acids, essential vitamins and micronutrients in insects become primary ingredients in our morning porridge?  I can see a future in dipping celery sticks in smoked paprika chickpea grasshopper pâté .

When will people from different hemispheres be sharing bug-eating habits?  Will you eat insects from your garden instead of using insecticide?

 Insects as a food source has been practiced for many generations in various parts of the world, and people are beginning to see past the gross factor.

Environmentally, insects take up less space, reproduce at a faster rate and have a better feed-to-meat ratio when compared to cattle and other alternative meat sources such as ostrich, goat, and pork.  Insects for human consumption could help in solving a wide range of ecological, economic and health related issues and concerns in our world of food production and nutrition.

But will you add it to your grocery list?

Will you start farming organic crickets instead of building a chicken coop?

As we continue to urbanise but become more wise and sovereign in our food choices, this may be your answer.

And people keep asking me, “So what do crickets taste like?”

This batch was a crispy, smokey grass with a chilli-chocolate punch in your mouth.  But if you’re looking to build your muscles, beetles are your super power protein source.

Stay tuned for Entomo – recipes as we expand our culinary linguistics together:  A Chocolate Confectioner, Agroecologist and a Culinary Nomad.  If you are chomping at the bit:  Eat a Bug Cookbooks are already on the shelves at an Amazon near you.

entomophagy in chocolate and spices How to eat crickets in chocolate -#theculinarylinguist

Crickets collected by AgroEcologist/Entomophager: Zayaan Khan.

How do crickets taste like in chocolate -#theculinarylinguist

Pop, Crunch and Chocolate with a side of Coco-nutty bar chocolate bar.

How to Harvest Seaweed: Superfood Nutrition from our Ocean

In Events, Friend's Kitchens, Recipe, Stories, Travel on May 16, 2014 at 13:44
Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed Some seaweed varieties on the Cape Peninsula


Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

 

   Edible Sea Vegetable: SeaWeed

confess, my kitchen turns into edible science experiments almost every day. Seaweed is my new ingredient in the kitchen lab. Once you get to know the nutritional facts and the familiar taste of popcorn it has when nori (a type of seaweed) is roasted on the fire, then you’ll definitely give this superfood a chance.  When I first moved to Cape Town, I was mesmerised by the huge kelp forests that were washed onto the shorelines.  On low tides, I observed the variety of seaweeds that clung to the rocks and naturally wondered, “Can we eat that?”  You’ve probably already have if you’ve gone to a sushi joint or visit the snack aisle at an Asian supermarket.  When we see an ingredient in it’s natural state – outside of a food product/market/restaurant, we’re often surprised by how it grows, what it looks like and what it may actually taste like?  This is what I call the spark of our own natural whole food education, also known as the moment when our culinary linguistics expand.  I’m a self proclaimed phyco-nerd. Phycology: Greek φῦκος, phykos, “seaweed”; and -λογία, -logia) is the scientific study of algae and was so happy to find fellow wild food foragers on the Cape Peninsula.

Beyond Basic Nutrition: Seaweed Benefits

Contains vitamin B12 (which is rarely found in plants)

  • Rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese (overall 13 vitamins, 20 amino acids, 60 trace mineral elements)
  • Highest source of plant protein and zero calories
  • It’s fiber is helpful for the digestive system, making you feel full and satiated
  • Contains iodine which aids the function of the thyroid to release iodine in our blood to help prevent disease.  Our bodies don’t make iodine so we have to get it through our food – why not seaweed?
  • Reduces water retention and contains higher levels of calcium than beef and cow’s milk
  • Natural occurring sodium that resembles human amniotic fluid
  • Alkalinizes and purifies blood as it’s chemical composition is similar to the plasma in human blood
  • Optimum nourishment for hormonal, lymphatic, urinary and nervous systems

Marine Flora: Wild and Crazy? 

  I was honestly hesitant to harvest seaweed in South Africa before doing a bit of research.   I needed a bit of local knowledge to boost my confidence and to verify that I wasn’t the only crazy who wondered about eating ocean algae.  If people in other parts of the world have seaweed-based cuisine, why aren’t we eating it here?  Has there ever been a history of it in South Africa?  Stay tuned for more about that in a future post.

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest  I took my mom, one of my favorite foragers for whole foods, to Scarborough to learn more about the beautiful seaweed varieties available for us to harvest responsibly.  In the quest of learning to harvest wild food, you also develop a respect and knowledge for conserving the ocean environment.  I’ve found that becoming more aware of what makes a healthy flourishing balanced ecosystem allows me to make more educated decisions about harvesting and foraging wild foods in nature.

 Some Foraging Facts

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Seaweed skin mask

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Wrack-the beginnings of seaweed coleslaw

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Scarborough coastline in Western Cape, South Africa

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Rinsing and preparing after the harvest

The Good Hope Nursery in Scarbororgh did such a great job in creatively sharing their experience in sustainably harvesting, tasting and creating with ocean seaweed.  It was great to ask questions while enjoying the cosmetic and nutritional benefits of this sea vegetable.  We were greeted on the shoreline with seaweed scones and spoke about the red, green and brown varieties of seaweed below our feet.  Snippets of seaweed varieties such as kelp, wrack and ulva were gathered to ensure regrowth, conservation and abundance for our ecosystem (about 1/3 of what was growing on the rock near the tideline.) No random bits of floating seaweed was harvested, only healthy clean varieties that were attached to ocean rocks.

Edible Science: Seaweed Recipes

 Since that positive coastal foraging experience, I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned along the way, convincing brave and even unadventurous eaters to enjoy the tasty healthy benefits of sea vegetables.  On a recent trip to Elandsbaai, we harvested, rinsed and tossed nori in a bit of olive oil before placing it on a wood-burning fire.  The result was super flakey, crunchy, tasty green seaweed snack.  Get creative and incorporate seaweed in any of your favorite recipes for extra added health benefits. I’d love to hear more about what you discover.

Seaweed Recipes: Superfood Nutrition from the Ocean

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Good Hope Nursery’s Chocolate Agar Agar and Candied Kelp with Ice Cream. YUM! Sign up for their foraging course.

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

That’s me in total seaweed face mask bliss. Rejuvenate, revitalise. Is there nothing seaweed can’t do?

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

A young culinary linguist exploring the texture of kelp. Wait for bath time! Yes, with seaweed:)

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Seaweed couscous salad, mussels, kelp and avocado salad, wrack coleslaw . . . the feast continues.

Resources:

Inspiring Food Projects: Eco-Innovations

In Recipe on August 12, 2013 at 14:07

The more we think about innovative projects, the more we have to learn from nature.  These food projects use what our planet already has to offer and supports inspiring and positive thinking for world.

  1. Cardboard to Caviar Project (the ABLE project)
  2. Sahara Forest Project 
  3. Veta La Palma
  4. Incredible Edible Todmorden

Cardboard to Caviar

 After watching a talk from Michael Pawlyn, I was inspired by the way we can create fascinating closed loop recycling systems that mimic nature and provide opportunities for re-thinking our world. Eco-Innovation at it’s best.

 What are closed loop recycling systems?  It is when we take waste products and uses those as fuel or a provision for the next stage in the system/cycle.  As nature does, the closed loop system is interconnected with energy source paths that essentially trace back to solar energy as the primary producer.  It is a way of thinking to tackle various waste management problems and turn them into a lucrative schemes.

 Known as the Cardboard to Caviar Project , Graham Wiles, manager of The Green Business Network coordinated a closed loop system (also known as cradle to cradle) from a common waste product (cardboard boxes) and turned it into a high value end product (caviar), which is then sold back to the original producer of waste (restaurants). 

 

How it works:

  1. The restaurant pays Mr Wiles to take away their cardboard boxes, which he then shreds.
  2. The Stables pay Mr Wiles to provide them with horse bedding, ideally shredded cardboard.
  3. The Stables then pays Mr Wiles to take away the spent horse bedding, which he then feeds to worms to compost.
  4. The worms are then fed to sturgeon, which produce caviar. This is the most expensive stage in the cycle.
  5. The restaurant then pays Mr Wiles for his high end caviar, and also to take away their cardboard boxes…

Source and More here: http://algalbiomass.weebly.com 

http://www.incredible-edible-wakefield.co.uk/index.cgi?page=46&div=43

 

Sahara Forest Project 

 

Image

pic from Exploration Architecture

  The planned project would use solar power to evaporate salt water, generating cool air and pure water thereby allowing food to be grown. 

 The installations of solar power mirrors and greenhouses would turn deserts into lush patches of vegetation, according to its designers, and without the need to dig wells for fresh water.

Plants cannot grow in deserts because of the extreme temperatures and lack of nutrients and water. Charlie Paton, one of the Sahara Forest team and the inventor of the seawater greenhouse concept, said his technology was a proven way to transform arid environments.

 

Source: http://www.seawatergreenhouse.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara_Forest_Project

source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/sep/02/alternativeenergy.solarpower

 

 Veta La Palma

Image

Extensive aquaculture benefits birdlife. Source: Herminio Muñiz

 

  An Aquaculture Farm that is home to over 200 species of migratory birds and produces tons of sea bass, red mullet and shrimp that are fed on the biodiversity of the environment.  Once barren land, valley, Veta La Palma produces fish that are not fed by farmers, but rather grown organically on the nutrients of the natural ecosystem that has been restored.  Many fish farms are fed from the waste of other food industries, like poultry.  This one relies on nature’s system.

  

 

 Incredible Edible Todmorden

 http://www.ecoagriculture.org/case_study.php?id=77

Sustainable food, Sustainable education, Sustainable learning. The town of Todmorden and their incredible edible aim has created locally grown food in city soil, in water and builds cross curriculum links for people to be connected by the one thing we have in common: food.

http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/links

http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/

http://www.incredibleedibleaquagarden.co.uk/

 

  All these projects motivate forward thinking to a better and more innovative world. 

  For more food topics like this visit the Facebook page: The Culinary Linguist.

Baklava Recipe of Hellenic Cuisine Cook book – Detroit, MI

In Recipe, Stories on July 8, 2013 at 11:45

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The Culinary Linguist Baklava from Hellenic Cuisine

Baklava from Hellenic Cuisine
pic by http://www.foundmichigan.org/
Copyright 1956 Sts. Constantine and Helen Book Fund 4801 Oakman Boulevard Detroit, Michigan

It started with an urgent recipe book search, followed by a Whatsapp message to my mom,

“Hey, I’m making baklava and was thinking about yiayia’s recipe book.  Did you give me a copy?”

My Yiayia Christina was a legendary cook.  It’s a family fact that Yiayia and Thea Toula (her younger sister) were a culinary force.  They created delicious Greek food feasts for our families, fed generations and instilled life lessons like great food is made with love (and a whole lot of butter or olive oil).   Their culinary contributions are found in the 1956 recipe book, Hellenic Cuisine, created in Detroit, MI.  You can read more about the history here.

This collection of Greek culinary tradition displays the way women of St. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Detroit raised funds to make change in their community.

The culinary memory of my Yiayia and Thea live on when I recreate a recipe inspired by them.  Making baklava this past weekend was one of those moments.

It transported me back to the kitchen counters of my childhood, painting melted butter on phyllo sheets and chewing on raw phyllo dough when my mom wasn’t looking.  I always loved the way each baklava diamond was adorned with a clove and that eating baklava for breakfast was totally acceptable. 🙂

The honey drenched crunch of baked baklava even featured at our wedding.  My mother-in-law had a baklava tasting party to make sure the best one was shared with our family and friends.

To recreate baklava in South Africa meant we adapted a recipe to the ingredients we had available.

We substituted walnuts with ground up cashew, almond, brazil nut and pumpkin seeds.  Raisins and cranberries were chopped in the food processor because we were lazy to pick them all out of the trail nut mix.  Instead of using any sugar, we decided to use a honey and farm butter mixture to paint on the phyllo layers.

We even added organic rose water to the mixture from our friend’s at Kuhestan Farm.  I couldn’t resist dipping uncooked phyllo strips in the honey, butter, rose water mixture while lining the pans with all the ingredients.

In addition to the baklava layers in a pan, I rolled some into baklava cigars for variation of shapes.

In the throws of making the sweet layered masterpiece, my mom sent an adapted recipe from the Hellenic Cuisine cook book that my dad claims,  “Jackie Kennedy had a copy.”

In sharing this recipe with you, I hope you get a chance to make baklava and evolve it to your heart’s desire.

Experimenting with tradition creates new memories.

The Culinary LInguist Baklava Recipe

The Culinary Linguist Baklava Recipe Hellenic Cuisine

Mom’s email:

   By popular demand, here is the baklava recipe:
This is the family’s secret recipe but what the heck, if you don’t share good things what else can we share…..

                       Baklava Recipe

5         cups of walnuts, pecans, pistachio or a combination of two or more
( your choice of what you like best, I like walnuts and pistachio)
3/4      cups of sugar
2 T      Cinnamon
1 T       Allspice
2          Phyllo Sheets
1          Lb. sweet butter (yes, 4 sticks – do not cheat on this, otherwise the
ghosts of the past yiayia’s will haunt you)

Blend first 5 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Spray oil or brush butter a large 15 by 25 inch pan
Apply a sheet of phyllo and butter
Butter 6 more sheets of phyllo and then begin to sprinkle nut mixture between every 2 layers of phyllo until all nut mixture is finished.
Keep 5 to 6 pieces of phyllo for top layer
Cut excess phyllo from edge (leaving 1/2 inch) and fold outside edge under and slice whole Baklava into individual pieces (first rows lengthwise and then diagonally across rows).  Apply 1 clove onto center of each piece.  It looks NICE that way.  Plus it adds some flavor.
Bake in 325 degree oven for about 1 hour.
Make syrup while Baklava bakes.

Syrup:
1  cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes

Or,

Add:
1/4 to 1/2  cup honey And water (after you make it couple of times, you will know which strength of sweetness you would prefer)
Simmer for 5 more minutes

Add:
1   T. Vanilla
1   T. Lemon Juice, 1t of rind
Simmer for 2 minutes

When Baklava is removed from oven immediately spread the piping hot syrup ( it should sizzle)
Allow to cool and store covered in cool place for up to 1 week.

This is the dessert you want to share, or invite your friends for a sweet party.

When I was young and energetic, I used to make 5 pans of Baklava and have a Christmas cookie exchange.  This dessert was the favorite and the fastest to go.

Carry on the tradition, but don’t wait for Christmas.  It is good anytime.  Great with Greek/Turkish coffee too.
Enjoy in Good Health and Good Spirits!
Maria

______________________

Hellenic Cuisine cook book baklava pinwheels, The Culinary Linguist

Hellenic Cuisine cook book baklava pinwheels, The Culinary Linguist

The Culinary Linguist-Hellenic Cuisine

The Hellenic Cuisine cookbook seeks to preserve the culinary traditions of ancient and modern Greece. With well over 300 recipes arranged by category, direction have been simplified for the American kitchen. The book blends new and old. Scores of the recipes were submitted in the Greek language and translated.

Easy Spicy Zesty Sweet Chickpea Salad Recipe

In Recipe on June 27, 2013 at 14:34

Easy-Pineapple-Carrot-Chickpea-Salad-The Culinary-Linguist

What happens when you juice pineapples, carrots and fresh green serrano chiles?

A spunky zesty salad with sweet and spicy flavours can be created to fuel you through the day.   Last week, we bought lots of great farm produce from the City Bowl Market.

Back at home, I put pineapple and carrots and threw in a couple fresh green serrano chiles into the juicer to see if anything would come out.  Some great juice was made, but the pulp left inside was looking equally nutritious and delicious.

Spontaneous creations is how I would describe my kitchen technique.  I love creating recipes that make ordinary whole foods into unique delicious dishes.  Like James Beard once said, “When cook, you never stop learning.  That’s the fascination of it.”  With any chance to experiment in my kitchen with fresh ingredients, I let the space between mistakes and alchemy emerge.  Adding chiles into the juicer seemed natural and somehow, necessary.

I’ve shared some fun recipes before that have worked out great like: Strawberry-Beetroot Flapjacks, and Banana-Pecan Sorbet.  When creations in the kitchen lead to easy vibrant dishes, I get excited to share them with you.  Here’s what happened when I decided to juice green chiles with pineapples and carrots:

 The Spicy Zesty Sweet Chickpea Salad

Instead of throwing the pulp from the centrifugal juice extractor away or into your compost bin, try adding it to recipes like this one:

Juice and fiber of three medium sized carrots

 Juice and fiber of half a small pineapple

 Juice and fiber of two green serrano chiles

 Juice of and fiber of large lemon and zest

500 grams of sprouted or cooked chickpeas  (garbanzo beans)

1 finely chopped fresh red pepper

1 finely chopped red onion

1 diced roma tomato

Salt, pepper and cumin to taste

Handful of fresh cilantro leaves and stems, finely chopped dhania

Handful of coarsely crushed unsalted cashews

2 Haas avocados

Easy-Pineapple-Carrot-Chickpea-Salad-The Culinary-LinguistJuice the carrots, pineapple, chillies, and lemon in a juicer (with any centrifugal, one-gear, etc).  Empty the juice into a large mixing bowl, and scrape the pulp from inside the juicer into the same bowl.  Add the diced tomato, red pepper, chickpeas, onion, salt, cumin, pepper and lemon zest into the bowl with juice and pulp.  Mix well and let it sit and marinate for 20 minutes.  Mix dhania into the salad, leaving some leaves for garnish.

Cut the avocados into half and remove the flesh from the avocado shell.  Slice the avocado into long slices.  Scoop the salad into the halves of the avocado shell as an appetizer serving bowl.  Place avocado slices and dhania leaves on top as garnish.  Enjoy!  The salad can definitely be stored in the fridge and be enjoyed the following day.

Tip:  It’s best to stir in the dhania and avocado when you plan to serve and eat it immediately.

Recipe: How to Make Spring Roll-Nori Wraps

In Recipe on May 19, 2013 at 01:19

The Culinary Linguist | How to make for Spring Roll Nori WrapsThis Nori (seaweed) wrap recipe is an alternative to spring rolls.  It’s perfect for getting a balance of essential vitamins into your diet.  It’s also delicious and beautiful to share at picnics and parties.  It pleases: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and my dad who likes to live on garlic and lamb chops will even chow these as a snack.

 Be creative with your ingredients and substitute with what you have fresh around you and what’s in season.  I used what was at the farmer’s market and what happened to be growing in the garden, and fresh ingredients already in our kitchen.  Perhaps drinking 8 glasses of water a day isn’t necessary when we eat predominantly fresh and raw meals throughout the day.  This recipe won’t disappoint.

What you need:

 Packet of  10 or more Sushi Nori (Seaweed) Sheets.

Put in a food processor or finely chop:

1 medium sized red pepper

1 medium sized yellow pepper

1 medium sized carrot

1/2 cup sprouted mung beans

5 baby broccoli stalks

5 small kale leaves (dinosaur or black)

5 Nasturtium leaves

1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves and stalks (dhania)
The Culinary Linguist | Use Fresh Ingredients for Spring Roll Nori Wraps

Optional ingredients:

Avocado (add it later instead of putting it in the processor)

1/2 apple to add a juicy sweet taste

1 TB Korean bean paste for a savoury flavour

1/4 cup cooked rice vermicilli noodles

1/4 cup fresh papaya or mango (not too ripe)

Any type of sprouts: sunflower, lentils, etc

* If you add tomatoes or lemon juice, the moisture from the filling will cause the nori sheet to be too wet and break.  If this happens, just double the nori sheets.

 The Culinary Linguist | Use Fresh Ingredients for Spring Roll Nori WrapsDipping Sauce:Add ingredients together and whisk until smooth:2 TB natural peanut butter

2 TB Mirin sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

1/4 tsp fresh green chili (optional)

Take out one sheet of Nori paper and lay it down on the smooth side of a plate.  Take about 1/3 cup of the finely chopped vegetables and spread it around on the bottom half (4 inches-10cm) of the nori, leave an inch (3 cm) on each side.  There should be about 5 inches of clean nori on top.  Fold the 3 cm on each side towards the middle of the nori sheet and start rolling the length of the nori towards the top keeping the filling tight and together and the sides tucked in.  Essentially it is a similar technique to roll a spring roll or burrito.   As the nori sheet rolls to the top, and the filling is wrapped under the nori, dampen the top of the nori that is laying flat on the plate and roll the rest of the nori toward the damp part, sealing the roll into a perfect little edible nori wrap.

The Culinary Linguist | Use Fresh Ingredients for Spring Roll Nori WrapsTo skip the rolling technique, make a cone out of the nori and then spoon and pack the finely chopped vegetable filling inside.

Place dipping sauce in a small bowl.  Cut the spring roll nori wraps in the middle and arrange them on a plate or platter with the dipping sauce.  Taste one and then serve them immediately!

How to Cure your Own Olives in Brine: Greek Yiayia Style

In Recipe, Stories on April 25, 2013 at 19:45

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The Culinary Linguist-Homemade-How to Cure Olives-Pickle and Marinate

Olives in Athen’s Greece Farmer’s Market

 

Mom would say, “Only eat 8 olives a day, honey.”  But it was too easy to devour the salty Grecian delights by the dozen. With crusty brown sourdough bread and green virgin olive oil on a flat side plate, nothing satisfied me more than eating Yiayia’s Kalamatas olives in the middle of Chicago’s winter.  To this day, I have a plate solely dedicated to olives and their pips and snack on these pickled fruits year round (and still by the dozen).

Growing up, I’d spin the bottom  shelf of the  cupboard to reveal  Yiayia’s hand-picked, home-cured Kalamata olives.  Purple, green and maroon olives floated in one gallon glass jars of oregano, thyme, vinegar and oil.  As a kid, I was powerlifting  the heavy 2 gallon olive jar off the bottom shelf and onto the counter in order to dip my tiny fingers into the oil and vinegar brine to search for the juiciest olives.  As I got older, I’d use an oversized spoon to fish for the tangiest Kalamatas, and strain the brine from the spoon to reveal my bite-size snacks.  When May arrived, it got harder for the spoon to fish for olives at the bottom of the jar.  I’d spend the whole year snacking on the cured fruits and diminished our Greek food provisions we would smuggle in from Greece.  The empty olive jar was an indicator that it wouldn’t be long before we would pack our dresses and sandals for the summer at Yiayia’s house.  Mom would pack a suitcase within a suitcase when we travelled to Athens.  In August, we would return to Chicago with more olives to fill the jar, and enough oregano to make the beagles sniff us out as drug smugglers.

Now, when May arrives I pick 10-20 kilos of Mission Olives around Cape Town, South Africa.  My childhood love for enjoying home-cured olives, fills my own cupboards with a cultural joy and salty olive treats to share in memory of my grandmother’s tradition.

Every step of the curing processes makes me wonder of when and how people discovered this ancient practice.

My Grandparents in Greece, 1930-40', Athena and Elias

My Grandparents, Yiayia Athena and Papou Elias Soupos

My Greek grandmother Athena culinary traditions

Greek love under the olive groves

Mission Olives in South Africa on Francolin Farm

Mission olives growing on branches in South Africa

Was it Athena’s olive tree branch that broke off during an autumn storm?  The branch that fell into the river bed and carried it for weeks into the salty estuary of Poseidon’s sea.  For weeks it may have soaked along the shores until a small family fishing boat arrived near Kalamata and came across the curing olive fruit branch floating in the water.  If they tasted the divine harmony of the Greek Gods’ elements and discovered that the olive fruit tree was not just best for oil, wood and shade, but for it’s fruit too, then let that be the start of a nourishing tradition.

I have been learning about the whole benefits of the olive tree itself recently when I’m not making up mythological stories of food origins. 🙂

With all its rich phytonutrients and phytochemicals (phyto stems from the Greek word-plant), the medicinal compounds from the leaves, fruit, roots and stems, play a major role in fighting bacterial and viral infections/disease as well as boosting the immune system to prevent and treat flus and colds.  The olive tree’s ancient medicinal presence is found in many religious texts such as the Qu’ran, Torah and Bible, and continues to feature in Internal Medicine Journals today.

The oleuropein (the bitter substance in olives) has been founded to inactivate bacteria, and display a number of other benefits in pharmacology research.  Essentially, it is an herbal powerhouse effective for infectious and chronic health conditions.  I like to use olive leaf extract or make olive leaf tea as a preventive agent in my overall health.  Olive leaves are now a staple in my cupboard alongside cured olives. I’ve found ways to use olive leaves in many everyday uses by sprinkling the leaves in salads, porridge, soups, and breads.  Don’t be surprised if I post an Olive leaf smoothie in the near future. I promise it wont be bitter!

For now, I would like to share some delicious combinations of flavours I’ve added to my curing olives over the years.

But first, there are a variety of ways to cure olives.  Check out the Australian Olive Grower Issue #4 for some inspiration.

For the past three years, I have been roughly following a water bath recipe given to me by Francolin Farm.

1. After picking your olives, place rinsed olives in a net bag (the ones you store onion’s  with) and put into a bucket and cover with water. Don’t pack olives too tightly and take care not to bruise them.  I place my olives in a cooler box because it has a spout I can lift open to let the water drain. Some people save water by placing the olives on top of the toilet basin where fresh water gets drained everytime you flush.  Others just fill their bathtub and drain it daily.  It would be nice to find some use for your greywater (olive water) in your garden.  If water shortage is an issue, fill jars with 50% salt and 50% olives.  Gently turn and toss olive jars daily for 2-3 weeks.  Rinse salt and fill jars again with 1 part salt and 10 parts water (see below for olive marinade flavours.)

2. Change water once or twice daily for 2-3 weeks. Simply lift the net bag with
olives out of the bucket and pour off water and replace in fresh water. Taste after two weeks and continue if it is still too bitter.

3. Dissolve 500 grams coarse salt in 5 litres boiling water. Allow to cool.
This mixture is sufficient for approx 2 ½ kilos of olives. Leave olives in this
brine solution undisturbed for one week. Taste, if bitter replace with fresh
brine solution and leave for a further week.  I like to use non-iodized salt or kosher salt.  The other ratio to use is 1 part salt to 10 parts water.

4. Rinse olives several times with fresh water. Cover with brown vinegar for
24 hours. Pour off vinegar and expose the olives to air overnight or a few hours
till dry.  This brings the colour of the olives back to a deep purple/black.  You may notice they lightened in colour when they were soaking.

4. Pack olives in clean warm sterilized jars. Pour over 25 ml olive oil per
jar. Make a brine of  300 grams coarse salt to 4,5 litres water (or 1:10 ratio). When brine mixture boils pour in 250 ml wine vinegar.  The vinegar is not necessary, but many people love the taste of red wine vinegar instead of the rich olive taste.  The art is getting all flavours to balance, in true Grecian culinary wisdom -Everything in Moderation. Pour hot brine mixture over  . . . . .  But wait!  This is where your creative olive marinade flavours get to feature.

Let your imagination go wild.  In addition to your brine (whether it is the vinegar and salt, or just 1 part salt to 10 part water ratio.  The salt ensures that the olives cure without bacteria growing and spoiling the fruit.  If you notice some white film, don’t stress.  You can scrape it off or leave it to add flavour as some people believe.  Before filling the jars with olives, add your favourite pinches of spice and intuitive amounts for your olives to marinate in. Then, place olives into the jar, filling the jar to the brim. Pour your salt brine over and seal jar immediately whilst the liquid is hot. Some people pour oil over to seal the jar.  This is optional.

Olives in a Moroccan marinade

Olives are tossed in salt, lemon, bay leaves, pickled garlic, and rosemary in a barrel marinade

Some flavour marinades I’ve done in the past:

Smoked Chipolte Chili Powder and Rosemary

Mustard Seeds and Laurel Leaf

Greek Traditional: Lemon Juice, Lemon Rinds, Rosemary and Garlic cloves

Herbaliser: Basil, Oregano, Lemon and Thyme

Nasturtium and Peppadew

Lemongrass and Ginger

Cumin seeds, Cayenne and Lemon

Miso and Ginger

Celery Seeds, Bay Leaf and Tarragon

Sage and Rainbow Peppercorns

Acha Masala

Smoked Paprika and Lemon Slices

Lavender Flowers, Cloves and Cumin

Cardamom, Peppercorn and Cinnamon

Red curry powder and Turmeric

Carraway Seeds, Celery and Carrot

Spices and Herbs to put in Olive marinade

Food as our medicine: Herbs sold at in Athens, Greece Farmer’s Market

Olives sold in Athens, Greece

Different types of Olives: Brined, Pickled, Dried, Salted, Cracked, etc.

Share your olive marinades and enjoy!

Eating Kale:Yuppie-Guilt or Social Tool for change?

In Recipe, Stories, Travel on April 9, 2013 at 15:02

Ingredients for Kale SaladI recently came across a blog post that said “20-things-everyone-thinks-about-the-food-world-but-nobody-will-say.If you’re a kale-loving, politically correct “foodie” interested in CSAs, molecular gastronomy, and not getting your bubble burst, run away now—shit’s about to get real.

It went on to say some pretty funny, real and ridiculous shit and brought up statements like: Locavorism has become the newest outlet for yuppie guilt, providing a feeling of living ethically and supporting a cause, but too often the onslaught of kale and artisanal pickles blinds us from looking at the deeper problems affecting America’s food system.

Ya, but.  Eating more kale, is the start to actively changing a problem affecting America’s health system, consumption, which then indirectly changes modern food systems around the world if we access our food from community soil sources around us.  Yes, Urbanism is all around and people live on sand deposited land in and outside of global cities.  But let’s be real with the small steps one can take: The more we learn about our food, where it comes from and why, consume home-grown and home-made food, and understand the need for changes in our large modern food systems (globally -it’s not only an North American plague anymore) -the more we return to our natural existence with food, which will grow each of us into more kale-loving citizens that use food as a positive tool for social change.

Food is a canvas that allows us to address issues interconnected in our societies, and let kale be the paintbrush that communicates our awareness and need for change from the dependency on our modern food systems.  What we do to get our food and make our food can make us think about our resources differently, interact with them differently, can shape the world differently, and then replicate actions into positive productive kale-loving urban cities.  Check out Edible Green Route and Carolyn Steel’s Hungry City for some food activist reading.

So on that note, I’m sharing a recipe from my kale-loving cousin Connie, who is most likely to be found eating at Noma or getting kale from her CSA basket in Chicago and making this delicious kale salad:

1 bunch dinosaur kale/Lacinato kale/black kale

1 shallot, finely diced

spoonful of dijon mustard

white wine vinegar

extra virgin olive oil

Juice of one whole lemon (sometimes a bit more)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 anchovy, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Panko or breadcrumbs toasted

Pecorino Romano

Remove stems from the kale and roughly chop into ribbons

Toast panko crumbs until dark brown

Dinosaur or black kale in a colanderHow to make a kale salad with lemon mustard dressingBlend the ingredients for Kale salad dressing In blender, emulsify shallts, dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lemon juice, garlic and anchovy.  You can also just whisk all together if you don’t feel like using the blender.

Let the dressing sit on the kale for awhile (an hour or so) to soften the kale a little bit.  When ready to serve, toss the toasted Panko crumbs and grate the Pecorino Romano (you can also use parmesan instead).

Alternatives:  I added some flax seed oil to the dressing and then grated fresh carrot because I didn’t have cheese.

Kale Salad and Mustard lemon dressing

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