Posts from August 2014

Unfinished Home Brewed Kombucha, Perfect for Kombucha Vinaigrette

A low key follow-up to Moonshine Cocktail from 'Kombucha Revolution' (Ten Speed Press, June 3, 2014) by Stephen Lee of Kombucha Wonder is for salad department.

Kombucha Vinaigrette

Three parts oil to one part vinegar. Remember that and you’re on your way to becoming a master vinaigrette maker.

Oh, and don’t forget that oil and vinegar will separate, so make sure you shake or stir your kombucha vinaigrette before serving. Once again, you’ll want to use your well-fermented kombucha batch for this easy recipe. And feel free to enhance your vinaigrette with ingredients such as minced onion, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, lemon, or honey for a dash of sweetness.

Makes 1 cup

1/4 cup Kombucha Vinegar (page 96)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground mustard seeds
Coarse ground sea salt
Freshly ground black Pepper

Kombucha sauces p100

Combine the kombucha vinegar with the olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper to taste. Whisk together until combined. Pour over a salad or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

Kombucha Vinegar

If your unfinished home-brewed kombucha slips away from you and is well on its way to becoming vinegar, don’t throw it out. Why not just let it become vinegar? Because kombucha is such a robust, aggressive culture and antioxidant, it can transition rather quickly to vinegar if the fermentation process is not stopped at the right time. So, don’t fight it. There are lots of recipes in which you can use your own homemade vinegar in place of other cooking vinegars. Since the SCOBY from your batch of vinegar could imbue a harsh taste in any subsequent batch of kombucha, I recommend either discarding it or designating it as a “vinegar SCOBY” if you want to keep brewing vinegar.

Makes 1 scant gallon

14 cups purified water
16 to 20 tea bags; or
8 tablespoons (35 grams)
loose-leaf black tea or green tea, 6 tablespoons
(35 grams) balled oolong tea, or 10 tablespoons
(35 grams) loose open-leaf oolong tea
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 cups starter tea (see page 10)
1 SCOBY (see page 7)


Heat 6 cups of the water in a stainless steel saucepan to 212°F, then remove from the heat. Add the tea, stir well, and cover. Steep for 4 minutes, stirring once at 2 minutes.

Remove the tea bags or pour the tea through a colander or fine-mesh strainer into a second pot.

Compost the tea. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Then add the remaining 8 cups of water to cool the tea to about room temperature (72°F or cooler). Add the starter tea and stir.

Pour into a 1-gallon jar. With rinsed hands, carefully lay your SCOBY on the surface of the tea.

Cover the opening of the jar with a clean cotton cloth and hold it in place with a rubber band.

Place your jar in a warm spot (72°F to 78°F) out of direct sunlight and leave your kombucha undisturbed to ferment.

A kombucha’s vinegary nature is subject to taste. If you allow the fermentation to continue for 18 to 21 days (tasting it along the way with a straw), you should expect to make a basic vinegar. Age it for more than 3 to 5 weeks,and you will have a uniquely flavored product comparable to store-bought vinegar.

When the kombucha vinegar suits your taste, remove the SCOBY. Pour the liquid into a bottle and store in the refrigerator to cease the fermentation process.

(Reprinted with permission from Kombucha Revolution by Stephen Lee, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC. Cover photography (c) 2014 by Katie Newburn All other photography (c) 2014 by Leo Gong)

Camping Recipes from Hot Dog Goulash to Newspaper Fish plus How to Pitch Your Tent

Summer is still in full swing especially in Europe where many businesses close their door in August.

For those of you who go camping while vacationing here are a few recipes.

Back in 2011, I shared this Outdoorsy Version of Bangers and Mash, a Hot Dog Goulash from The Camping Cookbook (Kyle Books) by Annie Bell.


Also in 2011, I served this Newspaper Fish for Dinner, Mackerel, Trout, Recipe from The Scandinavian Kitchen (Kyle Books) by Camilla Plum.

Newspaper fish

In her 2007 book Let's Get Primitive, Heather  Menicucci offers tips on where to pitch your tent from 1 to 3 hours away from 40 major US cities.

Check her How to Camp video.

If you want some creature comfort Discover 'The Freedom to Sleep around' with 'Escape' Camper Vans in New Zealand.

Feast Food, Maftool, Palestinian Couscous from Olives, Lemons and Za'atar

Rawia Bishara in her Maftool recipe from  Olives, Lemons & Za'atar (Kyle Books, February 2014) reminisces on her parents making the pearly couscous by hand at home when she was growing up.

The Romance of Maftool

My father was a rather chivalrous man, particularly when it came to my mother. His gestures were not necessarily showy or grand, but they were nothing if not charming. One of my favorite memories of my parents is tied to the ritual of making maftool, a pasta that is often incorrectly
referred to as Israeli couscous here in America. Given how much patience and diligence is required to make the grains by hand, it is clear proof to me just how important food was and remains to our culture.
In our Nazareth home, my mother started making this pearly pasta early in the morning. The first step was roasting and grinding her own spices. The aroma of caraway, anise and cumin floated in the air. She filled a huge stockpot with either lamb bones or whole chickens, vegetables, the spices and water. While the water came to a boil, my mother shaped the pasta. She stood while rolling a bit of wheat flour with drips of water in the palms of her hands over a sieve, continuously sprinkling flour and water in her palm until the granules were the size of BB pellets. She would then coat the pasta with clarified butter to prevent the grains from sticking together while they steamed in a colander set in the pot of boiling stock. The fragrant stock perfumed the maftool before the two
were combined in a bowl. Layering flavors this way was the key to my mother’s memorable cooking. She insisted on spicing and perfuming every component of a dish.
Maftool is made with what seems like an absurd amount of pearl onions. Peeling them is one of the most time-consuming steps in making the dish. For my parents, though, it was the most charmed. Because he hated to see her cry, my father always stepped in to tackle the mountain of onions on the kitchen counter. This may not seem especially gallant these days, but back then, men simply did not carry their weight in the kitchen. Watching my dad peel all those onions made me swoon. As a little girl, it just seemed so romantic! The most endearing part of the process was not that my father saved my mom the burning eyes and endless tears, but that he’d close the kitchen door while he was preparing all of those onions because he didn’t like anyone seeing him cry.
“Watching my dad peel all those onions made me swoon. As a little girl, it just seemed so romantic!”

Palestinian Couscous with Chicken, Chickpeas and Pearl Onions, MAFTOOL

It used to be that the whole family gathered to make homemade Maftool. These days, almost no one makes it by hand, which is not surprising, since the process is very involved. Maftool is truly a one-dish meal—there are never pickles, sauces or salads served with it because the chicken, chickpeas and onions are like side dishes themselves. I prefer fresh pearl onions, but if you need to speed things up, use the frozen variety.


6 teaspoons ground caraway seeds
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon sea salt or to taste
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 chicken (21/2 to 3 pounds), cut into 4 or 8 pieces
10 tablespoons olive oil or 4 tablespoons ghee
2 pounds fresh pearl onions, peeled, or frozen pearl onions
4 yellow onions, chopped
1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled (see page 21) or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 pounds maftool (see opposite) or Egyptian rice

P.140 Maftool

In a small bowl, combine the caraway, allspice, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon. Rub half of the spice mixture all over the chicken. Set aside the other half.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 6 tablespoons of the oil or all of the ghee over medium heat. Slip the chicken pieces into the pan, skin-side down, and sear, leaving them untouched for 6 to 8 minutes, until golden brown. Turn over and sear the other sides, 5 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the pearl and yellow onions and saute until the onions begin to take on color, 5 to 7 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot, pour in the chickpeas and 3 quarts water, raise the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and, using a spoon, skim o% the foam from the top, trying not to skim o% any spices along with it. Cover and simmer until the chicken is about to fall o% the bone, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in the lemon juice and set
the pot aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet with a lid, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rice, stir to coat and saute until the grains are snowy white.

Stir in the reserved spice mixture and until fragrant. Pour in 6 cups of the chicken broth from the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the rice is soft, adding more broth as needed, 15 to 20 minutes.

To serve, spoon the rice onto a large, rimmed serving platter and arrange the chicken, chickpeas and onions around it.

(* Recipe reproduced from 'Olives, Lemons & Za'atar' by Rawia Bishara -Kyle Books, February 2014- Photography by Peter Cassidy, all rights reserved...)

Of Pinterest to Craft Lovers, Paper Cut The Exhibition, Opens August 28 in London

Of Pinterest to all craft lovers, Paper Cut The Exhibition opens August 28, 2014 at Proud Archivist in London.

On the menu:

"The 50+-piece show includes original artworks, paper sculpture and prints. Paper Cut offers a tantalizing exploration of this burgeoning and other worldly field of illustration.

Dragon Jeff Nishinaka

Highlights include hand-cut artworks by popular UK artist Rob Ryan, a set of stunning original pieces from Bianca Chang’s Comparative Form in White series, wonderful large-scale creations by LA-based artist Jeff Nishinaka, hand-crafted props from Andersen M Studio’s double Cannes Lion Award winning animation Going West and a selection of Kirigami artworks from Marc Hagan-Guirey’s critically-acclaimed Horrorgami series."

Exhibit runs until September 25, 2014.


(* Dragon illustration by Jeff Nishinaka, from Proud Archivist program pages, all rights reserved)

Toast, Kampai, Beer in Japan with Mark Meli at Japan Society, NY, September 12

Open your mind and tastebuds to Japanese craft brews thanks to Kampai, the World of Japanese Beer, lecture/ tasting with Mark Meli at Japan Society in New York on September 12, 2014 at 6:30 PM.


"Pull up a stool to Japan Society’s annual beer lecture and tasting, featuring unique and rare brews from Japan’s emerging craft beer industry. Mark Meli, professor at Kansai University and author of Craft Beer in Japan: The Essential Guide, delves into the culture, history and innovative brews coming out of Japan’s beer seen during the lecture. At the tasting reception, enjoy the opportunity to sample many unique and hard-to-come-by brews."

You can read more about Japanese craft brewers on Beer in Japan...

Bottles and drafts for Tokyo Thursdays # 291


'City and Nature' Ryuichi Sakamoto Guest Director of Sapporo International Art Fest, July 19-Sept 28

(* Illustration is W-IPA from Minoh Beer in Osaka- website in Japanese only)

Fall for Tirol Cattle and Sheep Parades in September, Austria Fall Traditions

The bells from sheep herd coming down from the Pyrenees mountains to the village at night after grazing all day were ringing in my ears after i first read about Austria's Cattle Parades in Tyrol at the end of the summer.

These old mountain traditions feel a world away for city dwellers yet there is an old-fashioned magic to it.

Cattle parades

"September through Mid-October, farming villages all over Tirol round up the herds for the great autumn cattle drive. Each year at the beginning of summer, some 190,000 cows, horses, sheep and goats are brought up to Tirol’s beautiful Alpine pastures to graze on juicy meadows. Some 120 days later, the cattle, decked out in garlands of flowers and ribbons, with bells attached to their heavy leather collars, is driven down from the Alpine pastures to winter quarters down in the valley.

Over 40 cattle drives are taking place in Tirol each fall. The homecoming of the cows is still a very special and proud day for the villages. Apart from celebrating the homecoming of the animals, people also celebrate the homecoming of more than 3,000 Alpine herdsmen and dairymen who usually spend most of their summers above the timberline. On the day of the grand cattle drive, stalls are set up in the street, selling all sorts of authentic Tirolean specialties and refreshments..."

Two of the most notable are Cattle Drive in St. Anton on Sept 13, 2014 and Sheep Drive in Vent, Oetz Valley on September 13-14, 2014.

(* Photo courtesy of Austrian Tourist Office)

Zinfully Good, Sin Zin from Alexander Valley Vineyards

On Monday (August 4), Dave McIntyre wrote about The Lure of Sin Zins in Washington Post.

Sin zin avv

Here's a Zinfully good one, Sin Zin from Alexander Valley Vineyards, sampled at Sonoma in the City (New York, April 2, 2014)

They also have 'Temptation' on their zinfully zin list  which I have yet to taste.

Luscious Hefeweizen Braised Pork Belly, Brie Mac Cheese, Cilantro Glazed Carrots, More than 'Meat and Potatoes'

Following in footsteps of cowboy classic dinner of New Mexico Red Chile and Coffee Crust Tri-Tip from  Meat and PotatoesSimple Recipes that Sizzle and Sear (Clarkson Potter, July 2014) by Rahm Fama, here's a beer soaked dish.

Hefeweizen Braised Pork Belly with Brie Mac And Cheese and Cilantro-Glazed Carrots

Serves 6

Pork belly is uncured, unsmoked bacon. No wonder. It’s unctuous, flavorful, and very easy to cook. Don’t be put off by the amount of pork needed; the meat shrinks dramatically as it cooks. Be sure to use a cast-iron skillet to sear it first so the little bits of crusty pork left in the skillet can be made into the luscious sauce with Hefeweizen (a wheat beer). It packs a spicy, citrusy kick and cooks into a lovely glaze for this tender cut. The mac and cheese is surprisingly delicate and a cinch to whip up, perfect with the light, bright glazed carrots.

Hefeweizen Braised Pork Belly

 4 pounds pork belly
 ½ cup chopped white onion
 ½ cup chopped carrot
 ½ cup chopped celery
 2 12-ounce bottles Hefeweizen beer
 1 cup chicken stock
 1 bay leaf
 1 sprig fresh thyme
 Peel and juice of 1 orange
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 220°F.

2. Set a cast-iron skillet or large heavy sauté pan over high heat and sear the pork, fat side down, for 5 minutes, then flip and sear the second side for 5 minutes, creating a thick brown crust on both sides. Transfer the pork to a plate and set aside.

3. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pan and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is golden brown. Stir in the beer, scraping all the dark nubs off the bottom of the pan, then stir in the stock. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and orange peel and juice.

4. Put the pork belly in a roasting pan. Add the vegetables with the cooking liquid. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, then cover the plastic wrap with aluminum foil. Braise in the oven for 3 hours.

5. Remove the pan from the oven. Peel off the foil and plastic wrap and set the pork belly aside.

6. Place the pan on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Using a ladle or wide spoon, scoop out and discard any fat that has collected at the corner of the pan. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes to reduce the liquid by half. Season with salt and pepper.

7. To serve, cut the pork into 6 squares and drizzle with the sauce. Pass the additional sauce at the table.

Brie Mac and Cheese

 1 teaspoon salt
 1 pound elbow pasta
 3 cups whole milk
 1 white onion, chopped
 1 teaspoon whole cloves
 ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
 6 ounces sourdough bread, sliced and toasted
 5 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
 ¼ cup chopped scallions, both white and green parts, for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the salt and the pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Put the milk, onion, cloves, and nutmeg in a large saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the stove and set aside for 15 minutes to allow the ingredients to steep.

3. Strain out and discard the onion and cloves and pour the milk into a blender. Cut or tear the bread into pieces and add to the milk. Puree the bread and milk into a creamy slurry.

4. Put the cooked pasta in a large pot, add the milk-bread slurry, and set over medium-low heat. Slowly whisk in the Brie, one piece at a time. Serve garnished with the chopped scallions.

Cilantro-Glazed Carrots

 1 pound baby carrots
 2 tablespoons olive oil
 2 tablespoons honey
 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the carrots in a medium saucepan with water to just cover. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the carrots are just tender-crisp. Remove and drain.

2. Add the olive oil and honey to the saucepan, set over medium-high heat, and cook for 1 minute, or until the honey begins to brown.

3. Add the carrots and toss to coat. Remove from the heat and toss in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

(* Reproduced with permission from Meat and Potatoes, Simple Recipes that Sizzle and Sear by Rahm Fama in collaboration with Beth Dooley-published by Clarkson Potter,July 2014- Photography by Jennifer May...Thanks to Blogging for Books for Review Copy)

B Side, Haus am Waldsee by Night, 1 of Many Facets of Berlin Art Week 2014, September 16-21

B Seite /B Side, Haus am Waldsee by Night is one of many facets of Berlin Art Week 2014 (September 16-21), the third edition of the event.

Some events start and and end before and after Berlin Art Week itself.

Haus am Waldsee by Night

B Seite / B Side runs from September 5 to November 4, 2014.

On brainy side is Vertigo of Reality; Metabolic Office for Repairing Reality at Akademie der Künste. Admission is Free (September 9-December 14, 2014)

Amateurs of oddities, obscure and mysterious pieces will enjoy Exotica and 4 other cases of the self. It "centres on the question of the self in the modern day and uses the Wunderkammer Olbricht as a starting point." (September 17, 2014-February 2015).

For further details, check Full Program Page...

(* Image credit: Haus am Waldsee, Michael Sailstorfer – B Seite / B Side, 5 SEP – 9 NOV 2014, Haus am Waldsee bei Nacht / Haus am Waldsee by night Foto: Lukas Spörl, all rights reserved)