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What are you doing here?

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If you’re on this page, you’re probably interested in culturing foods. Maybe you’re just getting started, maybe you’ve got loads of experience…either way, this is the place for you!

You probably already know about why cultured foods are good for you. Both raw and cooked (heat killed) probiotics have been shown over and over again to be super important to helping balance our gastrointestinal system, killing pathogenic bacteria, and helping to fight inflammation.

Fermented foods have been used by humans both, medicinally and as everyday foods, for thousands and thousands of years. In modern times, we have moved away from eating cultured foods as much because we started using modern preservation methods like canning and freezing. Transportation of goods has become lightening fast, allowing us to eat fresh vegetables year round.

But more and more doctors, naturopaths, and scientists are recommending a return to cultured foods for health and well-being. This site will inform all about HOW to culture non dairy products to create fantastically delicious vegan foods. We try to think outside of the box, creating recipes as simply as possible, to give you more time to enjoy your full and rich lives! We don’t always post perfectly lit and staged photos…we’re about getting it done and making it delicious. We’re about helping you to learn how to make awesome food, simply.

What you will need:

  • You will most definitely need the worlds best vegan culture to speed your process and make this easier than ever! In case you didn’t notice the hyper link above, here’s a no brainer-

Avellana Vegan Cultures

A super potent culturing mix for making dairy free yogurts and cheeses. (Cost includes shipping.)

$12.00

 

 

Avellana Vegan Cultures CANADIAN SHIPPING OPTION

A super potent culturing mix for making dairy free yogurts and cheeses. (Cost includes shipping TO CANADA)

$13.25

  • A fermentation station
  • A method to remove the fiber from the protein and fat in the non-dairy milk (I use panty hose. Not pretty, but she gets the job done!)

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There is also a forum in the side bar links. Have a question? Post it there and we will answer and others can join in with their observations and tips as well! We’re just getting started, so don’t be shy. If you have a questions, somebody else probably has the same questions…so ask away!

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Vegan spaghetti carbonara with cultured cream, smokey shiitake, and black salt

Traditional carbonara is a hot pasta dish made with pork, cream, eggs, and pepper. Here I veganized the recipe, also making it a lot healthier, using a base of baked zucchini, cauliflower, and cultured soy yogurt for the cream sauce.

What you need-

Cream sauce

  • one small head cauliflower
  • three-four zucchini
  • one tablespoon olive oil
  • one tablespoon tamari
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 easy soy yogurt
  • one teaspoon black salt
  • one small onion
  • one teaspoon lemon juice

Shiitake bacun

  • 1/2 to one pound shiitake mushrooms
  • tamari (drizzled)
  • olive oil (drizzled)
  • one tablespoon liquid smoke

Pasta

  • one package spaghetti of choice
  • salted water

I ran across this vegan parmesan cheese at Whole Foods the other day and WOW! It’s really good. I used it at the end of the recipe as the “hard cheese” component of traditional carbonara.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop up the zucchini and cauliflower, put it on a sheet pan, and drizzle with olive oil, tamari, and black pepper. Put it in the oven.

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Chop the shiitakes into slices and drizzle with tamari, olive oil, and liquid smoke on a sheet pan. Put in oven with the vegetables.

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You’ll need to check and flip both the veggies and the mushrooms several times to avoid burning them. When the veggies are finished they should be soft and browned. The bacun should be chewy and NOT burned to a blackened crisp 🙂 They will get crunchier as they cool.

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Put the salted water on to boil once the veggies and bacun are finished.

Put the roasted veggies and the rest of the cream sauce ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth and warmed through. If the vegetables are still hot from the oven you can blend them for a shorter period. This sauce doesn’t get cooked again though and will need to be warm enough to cook the onion. It doesn’t have to be smoking hot, but definitely warm.

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Cook your pasta and plate everything up. I use more black pepper, Italian herbs, and a little Frank’s hot sauce to finish the plate. Delicious!!

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Prairie Fire bean dip with vegan cheese sauce

In the late 90’s, one of our most favorite things to do was to go to Don Pablo’s Mexican restaurant and order a bowl of prairie fire bean dip. It was sooooo good and soooo cheap. They made fresh flour tortillas to dip in it and it was awesome. Alas, Don Pablo’s closed and we moved away. Recently my little sister mentioned this dip and oh dang, I couldn’t stop thinking about it!! So I went about making a vegan version…I think I did pretty well, though admittedly, it’s been about a decade.

What you need-

Cheezy sauce-

  • one small onion
  • 1/2 c cashews
  • 1/4 c nutrition yeast
  • 1/4 c salsa
  • one jalepeño
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 c water

Place this all in your blender and blend til heated through (around one minute).

For beans-

  • two cans refried beans
  • one can green chilis
  • one cup easy soy yogurt
  • Tortillas (flour or corn) oven heated in foil for 10 minutes.

Heat the beans, add as much cheese sauce as you like, salt and season as desired. If you like it chunky, leave it as is. I prefer the the smooth creamy like Don Pablo’s used to do, so I put it all back in the blender and blended it smooth. Add sour cream yogurt, salsa, garnishes and serve!

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Fettuccini with cultured cream sauce, shallots, chanterelles and parsley.

What you need:

For the Alfredo

  • 1 c easy soy yogurt
  • 1/3 c pine nuts or cashews
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/3 c nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic

For the pasta

If you’re using baked tofu, put your oven at 400 degrees and crumble up the tofu. Drizzle with olive oil and tamari. Bake for around 10 minutes stirring often.

Place all the Alfredo sauce ingredients into the blender and blend on high for one minute.

Cook pasta according to directions.

Dry sauté the chanterelles first to cook off the water.

Add chopped shallots and olive oil.

Chop up your parsley. Once all the elements are done, place a scoop of pasta, a scoop of tofu (if using), a scoop of mushrooms, and pour Alfredo to taste. Garnish with parsley!

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Baked potato with shiitake bacun and easy cultured cheeze sauce

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What you need:

Cultured cheese sauce

  • 1/2 c easy soy yogurt
  • 1/2 c cashews
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/4 favorite salsa (I use Trader Joe’s salsa especial-medium spice)
  • Jalapeño or canned chilis
  • Salt to taste

Shiitake bacun

  • 2 c thinly sliced shiitake
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • Drizzle liquid smoke
  • Drizzle tamari
  • Preheated oven at 375 degrees

Other

Spread the shiitake out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, liquid smoke, and tamari. Bake at 375 degrees, stirring well every five minutes for the first fifteen minutes, then every three minutes until done.

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The bacun will seem almost burned but will still be chewy after twenty minutes or so. Once you take it out it will get crunchy like bacon as it cools.

For the cultured cheese sauce, put all the ingredients into the blender and blend well for two minutes.

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Bake the potatoes and steam the broccoli as preferred. Plate them up and mow them down!! The savory umami of the bacun is perfectly paired with the creamy cultured cheese sauce. Zam! You won’t be disappointed.

I baked up some Brussels Sprouts as well as the steamed broccoli and added a little plain easy soy yogurt in place of sour cream. A few dots of hot sauce and you’re ready to take on the world.

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Healthy cultured potato salad

What you need-

  • 3-4 pounds Yukon or red potatoes
  • 4 ribs celery
  • One small onion
  • One cup easy soy yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons mustard (Grandma’s special touch! Any kind will do)
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes and boil them until they are al dente. Run them under cold water to cool. Add in remaining ingredients except pepper and stir with a large spoon to keep potatoes from breaking apart.

Sprinkle with pepper.

The yogurt adds a light creamy tart flavor and reduces the need for so much mayo. Yum!!

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Cauliflower roast with lime cream sauce

What you’ll need for the sauce:

As an aside, you can use this versatile onion, pine nut, sunflower seed and yogurt sauce as a base for many different kinds of cream sauce- sriracha, curry, cilantro-jalepeño, etc.)

What you’ll need for the rest of the meal:

  • One head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning
  • 1/3 teaspoon cayenne or Berbere (I prefer Berbere because of it’s rich flavor with the lime and cream sauce)
  • Baby potatoes (optional)
  • Asparagus (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Blend the sauce ingredients except the lime on high until smooth and creamy. I like to blend until the sauce is slightly steamy, to cook the onion a little bit so that some of the spice level and onion flavor comes down.

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Squeeze the lime into the cream sauce and mix well.

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Remove the leaves and stem of the cauliflower as best you can without separating the florets.

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Slather the cauliflower with cream sauce and place on a cookie sheet or skillet.

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Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. I quartered the potatoes and baked them with a diced onion, olive oil, and Italian herb spice at the same time. Adding the diced onion brings the flavor and texture up infinitely, because the onion caramelizes in the process of baking. I finished the potatoes with a healthy sprinkling of flake salt.

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Uncover and bake for 45 more minutes to an hour. Check for desired level of browning. I put a little more cream sauce on mine and baked for five more minutes. I used this five minutes to steam up the asparagus with a little water and a little olive oil.

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Sprinkle with Italian herb and cayenne or berbere.

Slice the cauliflower into quarters (large slices helps keep it from falling apart into florets). Spread a little more cream sauce onto the cauliflower and serve!

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Vegan fettuccini alfredo with king oyster scallops

 

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What you need-

Scallops-

  • 4 king oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (black and white)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons dulse (seaweed flakes for extra seafood-ish flavoring-optional)

Noodles-

  • one packages fettuccini noodles (I use Tinkyada gluten free brown rice)

Asparagus-

  • 1 pound trimmed asparagus
  • sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon herb seasoning

“Alfredo” sauce-

  • 2 cups vegan easy soy yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8-1/4 cup cashews (no need to soak if you have a powerful blender)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • salt to taste

Garnish-

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat the oven to 425 degrees and salt a pot of water to boil. Once the water has come to a boil, add the fettuccini noodles.

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Slice the oyster mushrooms to approximately the same width and spread on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, tamari, sesame seeds, and dulse. I cover this loosely with another inverted cookie sheet for the first 15 minutes, then remove. You could also use tin foil.

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While the mushrooms are baking, trim and slice the asparagus. Put in a skillet with sesame seeds and italian seasoning. I find that mixing various elements of a meal together melds the final result well. Add one cup of pasta water to the asparagus in a skillet and cover, steaming for 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour any liquid left into your blender container.

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Flip the mushrooms over to get a good brown on both sides.

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Start the alfredo sauce in your blender. Add all the “alfredo” ingredients to the water in the blender container. Blend until smooth.

Uncover oyster mushrooms until liquid has mostly evaporated (you will need to check this to make sure it doesn’t burn off totally). Remove mushrooms from the pan.

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Add a bit of “alfredo” sauce to the baking sheet to deglaze. When you have finished deglazing, add all the sauce to the asparagus.

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Garnish-

Wash the bunch of parsley. Put on a cutting board with salt and lemon. Chop finely.

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Plate up a serving of noodles, add “alfredo” sauce with asparagus, and finish with garnish. This meal may seem complex at first, but once you make it you will start to see the rhythm of mixing one part with another, as well as the intelligence of not reheating water or wasting good flavors by washing them away. Finish with a sprinkle of cayenne (optional).

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Cultured dandelion leaves

Most frequently, dandelion is used medicinally to heal the liver, however, this widely used herb has been used over thousands of years, from China to Canada and Arabia to America. It has been used to treat maladies of all shape and size, as a supportive all-over tonic, and as a delicious food. In her book Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, Rosemary Gladstar calls dandelion “one of the great tonic herbs of all time.”

I was reading and article by Yashpal Chhabra about dandelions at this fantastic website. Chhabra compiles a great list of information about the magical dandelion, including a list of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients that dandelion provides (zinc, boron, copper, molybdenum, cobalt, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, iron, calcium, magnesium, thiamine, riboflavin, beta-carotene, fiber, and even protein!). Dandelion cures liver disease, purifies the blood, clears up skin eruptions, dissolves kidney stones, can treat diarrhea AND constipation, can balance blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. He quotes a Russian chemist called Gerasimova as stating that

“dandelion [is] an example of a harmonious combination of trace elements, vitamins, and other biologically active substances in ratios optimal for a human organism.”

Of course when I read about these wonder herbs, full of bright nutrition and health giving agents, my mind immediately jumps to fermentation. Any herb can be fermented, which makes the nutritive aspects that much easier for our bodies to process and utilize. Therefore, I’ve prepared a fermented dandelion recipe from foraged dandelions.

Rosemary Gladstar says that you can safely use the leaves, stems, and roots of the plant for medicinal and culinary use. When harvesting the greens for eating, it’s best to harvest in the springtime, when the leaves are still tender and less bitter. Foraging dandelions is easiest in the spring after a good rain, both because they are easier to clean and because you can often get the whole root to come out as well.

For future information, I read in one of my favorite books The Flowering Plants of Great Britain by Annie Pratt (written in 1855) that if you’re planning to roast the roots to make a coffee alternative, you should dig them up in the fall when the plants energy goes down rather than up, and be sure not to scrape off the brown skin, which makes them more aromatic. I’ll be trying this in the fall. I recently learned that most coffee beans are fermented in order allow bacteria to break down a layer of mucilage that encases the coffee bean. I think that a fermented dandelion root coffee alternative could be pretty interesting! I did pull a and clean a number of roots today, but for this recipe I will stick with the stems and leaves.

Fermented Dandelion Greens-

What you need-

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Put the herbs and salt in a pot with two cups of water. Bring to a boil and let cool to room temperature.

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I cut the dandelion greens in half and stuffed into a 3/4 quart jar.

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Pour the brine over the dandelion greens. Add in a level blue scoop of Avellana cultures.

Make sure the leaves don’t float out of the brine water, if they do they may start to decompose. Cover loosely and Place them in the fermentation station for 24 hours. They will be tangy with a nice bitter bite! You can cook them as you would cook greens like kale or spinach, or chop them and eat them fresh out of the brine.

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Super duper easy cultured tofu

What you need-

Drain the tofu and place in a bowl. Fill pot with enough water to cover the tofu. You may want to use distilled water to decrease chance of unwanted bacteria growth.

Add the blue scoop of Avellana cultures.

Cover and put this in your fermentation station at around 100 degrees for 8-24 hours, checking it every four hours or so after the first 8. (If you leave it too long it may begin to grow undesirable bacteria. This can cause a slimy texture and bad smell.)

You can cook this just like you’d cook regular tofu. It is a little bit springier, but mostly very similar to non-cultured tofu!

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The mighty nettle! (plus a cultured nettle drink recipe!)

My first encounter with a nettle was near the beach in Florida. I was walking barefoot on a gravel road when I stubbed my toe. I jumped on my one good foot, waiting for the stinging to stop…right into a stand of nettles. Despite the fact that I was nearly killed that day, the plant and its ability to protect itself fascinated me.

Nettle hairs are tiny silica tubes filled with venom, like a mythical glass serpent fang. When you brush against them the glass tips break off as they pierce your skin and the venom is released. Despite this gruesome defense tactic, or in some cases because of it, nettles have been used since antiquity for a myriad of reasons, from the medicinal to the magical to the mundane.

In ancient Egypt nettle flogging, called urtication, was used to treat arthritis, lethargy, typhus, and cholera. When the Roman soldiers marched to Britannia with Julius Caesar to kill the Druids, they planted nettles in the cold climate and rubbed it on their extremities to combat their weary muscles and freezing skin. Got a bloody nose? An old European remedy was to put a nettle leaf on the roof of your mouth. Supposedly the venom will coagulate and stop the bleeding!

For those in the magic realm, nettle sprinkled around the house or thrown in the fire wards off danger. A practitioner can hold nettle in her hand to keep ghosts at bay or wear it as an amulet to keep negativity away. If kept with yarrow, nettle can also bring courage.

Nettle fibers have been used for thousands of years to make burial shrouds, sacks, fishing nets and lines, as well as sails and sailing cordage. The strength of nettle fibers is said to rival that of hemp fiber. In World War I, nettle was used as an alternative to cotton during textile shortages. European army uniforms were both woven from and dyed by chlorophyll rich nettles. In Siberia it was used to make paper, in China, a silk like material.

We have all the paper and cotton we need…what’s nettle good for now? Fresh, its a gourmet green, to be used in pesto or spinach pie. Dried, its used to treat anemia, allergies, inflammation, exhaustion and even cabin fever.

Rosemary Gladstar calls it “one of the best all around women’s tonic herbs…one of [her] personal favorites.” Rich in easily digestible iron for the blood, calcium and boron for the bones, selenium, zinc, and sulfur for immune building, and chromium for metabolism, nettles are incredibly good for many systems in our bodies. Susan Weed says that “Nettle smoothly and persistently carries optimum nourishment to every cell in the body, and brings a smile to your face.”

Once you hear all of the fantastic benefits of the mighty nettle, it’s quite easy to understand the old proverb-

Better to be stung by a nettle, than pricked by a rose!

Cultured Nettle Drink

What you need-

Warm up a mason jar by running it under hot water. Put the two cups of nettle in the jar. Boil around three cups of hot water and pour over the nettles. Stir, cover loosely, and let this mixture cool. Once it’s around room temperature, strain out the nettle, add the molasses, vegan culture, and the fruit juice (you can add plain fruit too, if you prefer). Put this into your fermentation station for 24 hours. Refrigerate and drink!

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Studies have shown that culturing foods makes the mineral content more accessible, along with the many benefits that come with eating cultured foods. Since nettles are so high in so many vitamins and minerals, you can be sure to get a good shot of life with this drink!