Fermented Salsa (Fermentation is the New Black)

Fermented Salsa: What? How? Why?Fermentation is the new black in the health food world. I’m just as guilty as anyone else- if you tell me something is fermented, or could possibly be fermented, I’m automatically giving it more credit as a health food and I’m gonna try to make it myself. Kombucha, kefir, you name it- let me have it!

So, why do we like fermented stuff so much? It’s amazingly good for you! Fermented foods and beverages contain large amounts of enzymes, antioxidants, and friendly bacterias that colonize the gut and promote healthy digestion. These beneficial bacteria also help to balance out any type of bad bacteria that may be colonizing the gut, as well. My midwife actually recommended that I consume fermented foods daily, not only to aid with digestion, but to prevent pregnancy-related infections, such as Group B Strep.

When I ran across a few fermented salsa recipes on Pinterest, I knew that this was a concept I couldn’t pass up. My countertops have been brimming with late summer tomatoes, hot peppers, and a stash of local onions and garlic for the winter- I had all the ingredients already! So one afternoon, I set to work making homemade salsa to ferment.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

3-4 organic tomatoes
3-4 organic peppers (mild or hot, based on your taste)
1 organic onion
2-3 cloves organic garlic
Juice of 2 citruses (lime, lemon, or one of each)
2 tablespoons of sea salt
*Optional: cilantro, cumin, cayenne pepper powder, to taste

Chop all ingredients to desired texture and mix together. If desired, pulse in a food processor or blender to a smoother consistency. Store in a glass jar, leaving some room at the top, and leave on the kitchen counter for 2-4 days to allow fermentation to take place. You may even be able to see it- mine looked a little bit fizzy! Then, store in the fridge until it’s gone. It won’t take long 🙂

This salsa operates on the most basic type of fermentation: lactic acid. The salt simply transforms the ingredients into probiotic goodness! I honestly could barely taste the difference between this salsa and my regular homemade salsa. Maybe a little bit more tangy, a little bit fizzy or vinegar-y, but nothing too crazy. I left mine for 3 days, so maybe if I’d left it longer, it would’ve been stronger.

Have you ever fermented anything at home? Kraut, Kimchi, Pickles, Kombucha, Yogurt? Have any idea for something you could ferment? Share it with us!

thehomesteadinghippy.com

My Signature Quick Curry Recipe

There is nothing more satisfying, to me, than a piping hot bowl of curry on a winter (or, let’s face it, summer) night. This recipe has been perfected over the last few years, is easily adaptable, and kicks that sluggish winter digestive system into gear with lots of spices and fiber. Very easily doubles and triples for company, and can even be made in the slow-cooker.

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By the way, I didn’t leave out the curry powder. Traditionally, curry is a blend of regional spices- whatever a certain town had a lot of or favored, that’s what went in. This is my favorite blend. I have been known to add in some sweet cinnamon a time or two, but beware- it definitely changes the flavor to a more fall/winteresque stew. Still delicious, though. Come up with your own signature curry spice blend!

2 cans organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained

1 medium-sized white onion, diced small

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 medium-sized tomatoes, diced (or 1 can organic stewed tomatoes)

2 T olive oil

1 T crushed red pepper

2 T cumin

1 T turmeric

1 T ginger

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon ground red pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large sauce pot. Once the oil begins to shimmer, sauté the onions until barely translucent, then top with crushed red pepper to toast and make fragrant. Once the onions are nice and soft, add the garlic until just browned- be careful not to burn it. NOTE: It is important to cook the onions before the garlic; not at the same time, so as not to burn the garlic. This will ruin your curry, and nobody likes that!

As soon as the garlic is cooked and fragrant, stir in the tomatoes. You’ll be ready to do this because you’ll be scared that everything is burning and that there isn’t enough liquid- the tomatoes solve that problem! Stir them in and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck bits off the bottom. Now, pour in the rest of the spices and thoroughly combine. Let this tomato-onion-garlic-spice mixture simmer for a bit, maybe 5 or ten minutes.

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When you are ready, stir in the garbanzo beans. Let this simmer and soak up flavor for as long as you like, then serve it up nice and hot. At our house, we make homemade whole wheat na’an bread (or get storebought na’an or pita in a pinch) and eat the curry with our hands- way more fun and less dishes to clean up!

Quick and Easy Lunch: Black Bean, Feta, and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad

Happy Monday, Foodies!

A lot has happened in the past three weeks- tour ended, Matt and 
I moved back into our old apartment (joy!), and life has been all around busy.  SO busy, in fact, that I missed my one year anniversary of writing this blog!  I guess I need to have grace with myself since it was on our moving day, but alas, it has come and gone.

Thinking about how I felt starting this blog a year ago really makes me want to put more time and effort into my learning and take it more seriously.  I don’t want to make any promises, but my goal is to seriously step it up for this second year! I am excited about the journey I am on, and that you’re here to read along with me 🙂 

With that said, here’s a yummy, nourishing recipe for your lunch this week! Enjoy!

One of my new favorite go-to lunch (or even dinner) recipes comes from Heidi Swanson’s newest cookbook, Super Natural Every Day.  It is incredibly quick, full of flavor, and nutritious- not to mention very filling!  The quantities below make enough for at least 2-3 servings- I make a large portion and eat it throughout the week.  The flavors get better as it ages, too! 

 2 15-oz cans of organic black beans

1 jar olive oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes-chopped into small pieces, liquid reserved

1 6-oz package of feta cheese (flavored, if you prefer- black pepper is nice here)

¼ cup of slivered almonds, toasted (optional)

 Rinse the beans thoroughly in a colander- this really effects the recipe.  Not only are canned beans packed in liquid that changes the color/flavor of the dish, but the cans themselves contain BPA, and we don’t like that!  Giving the beans a good rinse (until they stop ‘bubbling’ on water contact) gets rid of most of the liquid and, therefore, chemicals that we don’t want to ingest.

 Once rinsed and patted dry, combine the beans with the tomatoes and their oil, coating the beans so that everything looks uniform and sort of ‘glistens’.  Fold in the feta and almonds, and you’re done! you can add some salt and pepper or even a splash of lemon juice if it suits you.

 I eat this raw with a spoon, but I think it would be lovely wrapped in a whole-grain pita for a little bit more substance.  You could even heat it up!  Enjoy!