Okay we have to admit, one of the ways we have a ton of fun on a Friday night is experimenting with fermented foods. It may sound lame but if you get started we promise you'll never look back! There are just so many possibilities for homemade fermented food and drinks (if you catch our drift). But today we'll get you started with lacto-fermented hot sauce. It's quick, easy, and oh so tasty. Read on!
In basic terms, fermentation is the process of exposing food to bacteria and yeast (the good kind!). The bacteria and yeast consume carbohydrates in foods creating different flavors and benefits in the final food product. The benefits of fermented foods are immense and mostly due to the presence of large amounts of probiotics ("good bacteria") that thrive in our intestinal track supporting healhty digestion and immune function. We have talked about fermented foods before in this post. The type of fermentation we experimented with this week is called lacto-fermentation because lactobacillus is the primary bacteria doing all the hard fermentation work. This type of fermentaion is nice and easy becuse you can get lactobacillus from a food that might already be sitting in your fridge. We got our lactobacillus from fresh whey. You may have noticed whey before when you let a tube of yogurt sit after scooping out a serving - the next day you come back and see a yellowish liquid that has separated from the yogurt. That's fresh whey! And it contains the lactobacillus we want for lacto-fermentation. Whey can be collected through the process we show you in this recipe (described below and pictured above) and used in many different ways. You can freeze fresh whey into ice cubes for smoothies, use it to make fresh whey cheese, lacto-fermented beverages, or just how we did to make lacto-fermented hot sauce! Now how easy is that? You're already on your way to becoming a fermentation pro. We'll get to our recipe now but it you have to know more about fermentation we love Sandor Ellix Katz's book Wild Fermentation and Cultures for Health website where we got the inspiration for this recipe and so much more!
Green Chili Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce
Recipe adapted from Cultures for Health
PREP TIME: 35 mins
TOTAL TIME: 35 mins plus 7 days of fermentation
Servings: makes ~12 ounces hot sauce
4 oz organic plain yogurt (Greek or regular)
1 cup green or red thai chili peppers, washed and stemmed
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp fresh whey
Un-chlorinated filtered water
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
To make the fresh whey culture, place Greek yogurt in a colander lined with cheese cloth and set over a bowl (as shown in the above picture). Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the whey to drain off of the yogurt. The whey is the liquid that collects in the bottom of the bowl.
Wash and de-stem peppers (leave the seeds) and pack tightly into a glass jar. Add salt, whey, and enough water to cover peppers. Lightly screw lid on and give the peppers a good shake to help dissolve salt. Place in a warm, dark spot in your kitchen and let the fermentation begin! It's important to "burp" the jar daily (quickly unscrew lid to allow air out). Let sit on the counter for 5-7 days. The liquid should take on a cloudy appearance. Feel free to taste the liquid at day 5 and keep fermenting until it's to your liking. Once fermenting is finished drain the peppers over a bowl reserving the fermentation liquid. Blend peppers in a blender or food processor until they are fully pureed, using a small amount of the fermentation liquid as needed. Once pureed, return peppers to the glass jar with 1/2 of the fermentation liquid and about 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. Close with a tight lid and let sit on the counter again for another 12-24 hour ferment before placing in the fridge for storage.
*Remember to save the yogurt that you strained. It will be thicker without all that whey but still delicious. You can eat it plain, use as a dip, or spread on toast!
This hot sauce is nice and spicy (as it should be!) and has a sweet tang from the fermentation process. Overall it's a total winner and won't last long. Add this to anything and everything you love hot sauce on. And stay tuned for more home fermentation to come.
Jess and Cecelia
Oh the coconut - an amazing plant with so many culinary uses in so many different forms: coconut sugar, coconut oil, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut meat, coconut flakes, and the list just goes on and on. We just can't pick our favorite but we don't have to! All we have to do is decide which form we want to use in our recipes. For this delectable bar we chose coconut butter or manna that we made right in our kitchen. So let's find out more...
Surely you're wondering what coconut manna is, well it's a fancy name for coconut butter. Coconut manna is coconut meat blended into a smooth "butter". You may be more familiar with coconut oil which is purely fat extracted form coconut meat, whereas, coconut butter is the whole coconut meat which contains about 65% fat but also other key nutrients including fiber. When purchasing coconut manna (most likely labeled as coconut butter), always look for a raw product processed at a delicate temperature of 115 degrees or less to allow the vital nutrients to be preserved. One product that meets our high coconut standards can be checked out here. But if you have a good quality, high speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec you can make your own coconut manna right in your kitchen. There is only one ingredient, coconut meat! We blended raw, unsweetened coconut flakes on high for several minutes and wallah! A creamy, coconut spread worthy of your favorite toast or recipe- just replace for standard butter one to one. Now on to those bars.
Coco Loco Bars
PREP TIME: 5 mins
TOTAL TIME: 45 mins (includes 30 mins in the fridge)
Servings: 12 bars
7 cups dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
2 1/2 cups pitted dates
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup raw brazil nuts
3/4 cup coconut butter
Sprinkle of sea salt
To make the coconut butter, add 7 cups of dried, unsweetened coconut to a good quality, high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec and blend on high for 2 to 3 minutes until a smooth butter is formed. Pour butter into a glass jar and store at room temperature. Please note, the butter will harden as it sits on the counter. If you want pour-able butter you will need to heat it prior to using.
To make the bars, start by lining a 9 x 12 inch pan with parchment or wax paper. Combine the dates, dried coconut, brazil nuts, coconut butter, and sea salt to a food processor and pulse until a crumbly mixture is formed. Try forming the mixture into a ball and it should hold together. If you notice that the mixture is too crumbly and does not hot it's shape, add one or two more dates to the food processor and pulse again until the mixture will hold together. Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly. Using a piece of wax paper, evenly press the mixture down forming one giant coconut bar. Allow to firm up in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once chilled cut into 12 bars. Wrap each in wax or parchment paper for a quick on the go snack. Store bars in the fridge. Bars can be eaten cold or at room temperature.
This bar is so full of coconut flavor and such a perfect use for coconut manna. The coconut fats makes this a satisfying snack or mini-meal that will keep you happy until your next food break.
Jess & Cecelia
We love Labor Day weekend because it's all about taking a break from all the hard work we do day in and day out. And not to say that we don't LOVE this blog but we've decided to take a little break too. But more so to allow you time to catch-up and make one of our delicious recipes that you've been meaning to make, but just haven't had time for with your busy schedule! On this long weekend we're inviting you into our kitchen through one (or more!) of our favorite recipes over the last several months.
The summer heat is still in full swing and these Sunshine Fiesta Tacos are still hot! Feel free to make ahead and enjoy warm or cold and savor the fresh, bright flavors. These will please at any gathering this weekend. Full recipe is here
If you're sitting poolside this weekend like we will be then our Cantaloupe Cooler is a must! When the sun is out and the humidity is soaring the only way to cool off is with a fresh juice that just so happens to taste like a creamsicle. Don't believe us? Try the recipe here
If you're picnicking in the shade this Labor Day weekend and are looking for a worry free meal, go no further than our ultimate BBQ Tofu Wrap. It's quick, easy, delicious and most importantly vegan - meaning it won't spoil in this September heat! The recipe is waiting for you here
Happy Labor Day,
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.