Tuesday 3 November 2009
We tasted the fruits of last week’s laborious cabbage-boxing. The sauerkraut did get a few specks of mold on the top, which were easy enough to pick off. The top layers were lighter in color and tasted more salty than those below. The more or less salty sauerkraut was good for topping Whole Grain Crackers with Tofu Spread and snacking on while we cooked. Why would saltier kraut mold more than less salty kraut? Perhaps the ‘friendly bacteria’ (lactobacilli) are even better than salt at preventing spoilage. The four little cabbages we krauted made about 8 pints of dark magenta sauerkraut.
Autumn, Kim and Barry joined Laura, Ryan and Hilary to make the following cabbage accompaniments (all based on recipes from Aveline Kushi’s Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking for Health, Harmony and Peace):
Creamy Onion Miso Soup
Ms. Kushi slices her onions to delicate lotus effect and recommends cooking them until they are not yet falling apart. The onions are happily forgiving even if halved and cooked a good long while. The quart of water in this recipe will make enough broth for six small bowls of soup, with onions to spare. Should we increase the water for more broth next time?
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3 cups water plus 1 cup additional water
3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
3-4 Tablespoons white miso or to taste
1-2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
-trim the ends of the onions, peel and halve them; dice half of one onion and set aside
-slice once vertically not-quite-through each half of onion (this will not produce the elusive lotus blossom onions but will make it easier to fit them on a soup spoon)
-heat half of the sesame oil in a soup pot and saute the diced onion until lightly browned; place the onion halves, cut-side-down on top of the browned onion and add three cups of water. Bring to boiling then reduce heat and simmer until soft or falling apart as you like.
-meanwhile, toast the flour in the remaining oil to brown it; it will smell toasty but be careful not to burn it. Allow to cool slightly before adding the reserved one cup of water and combining until smooth (I used a fork to mix it in a small soup bowl)
-add the flour mixture to the soup pot and keep it simmering to thicken
-soften the miso in a small bowl with some of the soup broth, and add it to the pot just before serving; garnish each bowl with chopped parsley
Whole Grain Crackers
The idea of homemade crackers makes people repeat or exclaim the title of this recipe out loud.
1 cup course bulgur/cracked wheat
water, as needed
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sesame seeds, toasted
zest of one orange
1 teaspoon salt
-soak the bulgur for an hour or more, adding a little more water if you don’t add enough at first
-mix the flour, sesame seeds, zest and salt with the bulgur and more water as needed to make a spreadable dough
-dust a jelly-roll type pan with cornmeal and overturn the dough bowl to deposit the entire wad of dough onto the pan. Our pan must have been about 9×13” or a little bigger.
-spread the dough into an even layer, dipping your hands into a bowl of water to prevent sticking
-use a butter knife to score the dough and punch holes into each cracker with the tines of a fork
-bake for 20 minutes or so at 450 degrees; check every five minutes after the first ten and bake them until they are browning and they seem crispy, remembering that they will get more crispy as they cool and they are good softish too
Sort of the consistency of ricotta. Ms. Kushi calls it ‘Dressing’ but I don’t think so.
2 cakes firm tofu
1 to 1 ½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons tahini, or to taste
2 Tablespoons grated onion
-boil the tofu for around 5 minutes; it is supposed to float to the surface of the water when it is done but it may or may not
-grind the tofu in batches in the suribachi until it is very smooth. Be patient
-combine all of the ingredients, adding salt to taste. It is fairly salty. Sometimes we have added fresh dill
Boiled Collard Greens with Ginger-Tamari Sauce
We couldn’t find mustard greens but the collards were good this way too. It is a really simple sauce to pour over greens cooked how you like. The thing about greens is, they are just so good. You really don’t have to do much. This large batch served six.
3 bunches collard greens
½ cup tamari
½ cup water
1 -2 teaspoons grated ginger, or more to taste
-remove the stems from the greens; wash and slice the leaves
-cook the greens in a little boiling water until they are bright green and tender
-combine the tamari with the water and ginger and spoon this sauce over each serving of greens
Above dishes served with bancha, red wine and homemade red sauerkraut. We ate the flesh of that sweet orange while we cooked.