Sunday, November 25, 2012

Seven Snaps! Thanksgiving Edition 11/17/12 - 11/23/12

Let the holiday sweet-fest begin! (Also, salted caramels are my weakness)

Football debates = classic Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving prep

Very serious Thanksgiving consultations

The first oranges on our tree are turning orangey!

Raiding Cheryl's lemon tree with Sheri

Post-Thanksgiving couch-lounging tangle

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fall Recipe: Apple Cider Kombucha

The time has come for cider. Warm cider on chilly afternoons. Big gulps of cold cider after a long jog through the falling leaves. A splash of cider in a tumbler of bourbon. I don't really need to convince you on this subject, right?

Because I am a) still fiendish for cider right now and b) still loving my homebrewed kombucha like nobody's business, it seemed only natural to make a cider-riffic version of my favorite fizzy drink. I really can't think of a more perfect match than tart kombucha and sweet-sour apples. Throw in a few sticks of cinnamon and a hearty glug of maple syrup, and this is officially something special.

You could definitely make a shortcut version by mixing some cider into a glass of plain kombucha, but I really love using fresh apples. Play around with different varieties — tart and juicy Macintosh apples have been my personal favorite so far. This is also a good way to use up those last few bruised and battered fruits that have been lingering in the back of the fridge for too long. 

And because I know you were wondering: yes, try this with a shot of bourbon. Fall-time whiskey sour, anyone? Yes, please.

New to Kombucha brewing? Check out this primer: How to Make Kombucha Tea at Home from The Kitchn
Need a Scoby? You can find them online at Cultures for Health

Apple Cider Kombucha
Makes about a gallon (can be halved, as pictured)

14 cups water
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 bags black tea (or 1 tablespoons loose tea)
4 bags green tea (or 1 tablespoon loose tea)
2 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha or store-bought (unpasteurized, neutral-flavored) kombucha
1 scoby
2 apples (pick ones that you like to eat)
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

Bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until the water has cooled. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take a few hours. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in an ice bath.

Remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea. Stir in the starter tea. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar and gently place the scoby on top with clean hands. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of cheesecloth or paper towels secured with a rubber band.

Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and where it won’t get jostled. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the kombucha and the scoby periodically. It’s not unusual for the scoby to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways. A new cream-colored layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days.

After 7 days, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.

With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. Measure out 2 cups of starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for your next batch. 

Dice the apples into small bits and add them to a clean 1-gallon jar along with the cinnamon, cloves, and maple syrup (or divide these ingredients evenly between smaller jars if you don't have a second 1-gallon jar). Pour the fermented kombucha over top. Cover the mouth of the jar with several layers of cheesecloth or paper towels secured with a rubber band. Keep the jar at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2 days.

Strain and discard the apples and spices. Bottle the infused kombucha into two clean 2-liter soda bottles (or several smaller bottles). Leave at least 1 inch of headspace in the bottles.

Store the bottled kombucha at room temperature out of direct sunlight until carbonated, typically 1 to 3 days, depending on the temperature of the room. When the bottles feel rock-solid with very little give, they’re ready. Refrigerate to stop carbonation and then consume within a month.

Prepare your next batch of kombucha right after bottling the previous batch. Combine the reserved starter tea with a fresh batch of sugary tea, and pour it into the cleaned fermentation jar. Slide the scoby on top, cover, and proceed with fermentation.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Seven Snaps! 11/10/12 - 11/16/12

The Standford Dish

How can you resist, right?

Coffee and morning light.

Being an aunt means permission to buy super soft plush animals on a whim. For my niece. Of course.


Being tall

Cozy socks + Castle =  A perfect Friday night.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Seven Snaps! 11/3/12 - 11/9/12

They teach you how to do this in culinary school. "Fruit Balancing in a Too-Small Bowl 101"
Apologies for the plethora of food pix in this edition of Seven Snaps. It was one of those weeks where I got to Friday and realized that all I'd done was cook...all week long. Such is my life. This tarte tatin alone is totally worth three Seven Snaps pictures. It's so good. I'll put up the link once it's live on The Kitchn in the morning. (So good. Did I mention? Yes.)

The moment of Tarte Tatin Truth

TA DA! Forks for everyone!

I emailed this to my mom to say goodnight and her only response in the morning was, "You were up so LATE!" Moms. They never change.

Stuffing. Dressing. Whatever you call it, I love it.

Stir fry before...

....and stir fry after! (And about to be in my belly)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Double Dose of Seven Snaps! (Plus Carrot Harvest Sneak Peek!) 10/20/12 - 11/2/12

Getting to the bottom of this milkshake situation
Morning carrot harvest!
Turns out that baby carrots start off as grown-up carrots. Lots and lots of grown-up carrots.

Chickens scrabbling around the Grimmway edible school yard in Bakersfield, CA

The kiddos learning how things grow!
The only fruit that makes you wish you had a map

Pomegranate bounty!

Center aisle.

Very focused on the neighbor cat. Do not disturb.

I love these California hills.

Dinner scene. Fancy!

Keeping tabs on Yotam Ottolenghi
Boozin' and cruisin!

Three balloons. Big blue sky.