Friday, July 6, 2012

Her beloved ...

Once upon a time, in a jar far away, lay Brassica Oleracea. For many years, she had been nursing a quiet and profound loneliness in the land of cabbage. Time had long gone on since she had first come over from her native home along the Mediterranean seacoast. She often sat in the stillness, and missed the rich soils and the salty sea air breezing through her leaves on a sunny day. She had had a good life, served her loved ones well, providing the most robust of offspring, blooming for them to enjoy every Summer and Fall and of course, the most delectable of fares. And even though she was often overlooked for her prettier friends, Capsicum, Citrus Sinensis and many other relatives, she offered her quiet, powerful life force to those who stopped to look. She had felt very fulfilled for many years. But there was something missing. And through all that time, through all her lives, the very deepest part of her, waited.

She knew one day, they would meet again. She had prepared for him many times before. She enjoyed her ritual of peeling off all her old leaves, cutting off the hardest middles, and visiting her friend Mandoline to have herself finely prepared. She would enlist the help Mandoline's grandfather, Hands, to place her in the jar, and there she would wait. But he never arrived. 

And so her seeds were sown once more, and she grew again, year after year waiting for him. Hands had long gone, and Mandoline missed him dearly. Brassica waited still. Days and years melting together like the butter she had so often been braised in. 

But today was different. She could feel it in her leaves. She could smell it in the air. It was a smell she recognized well. For a while now she had felt the difference, but she had dared not hope. Her seeds had felt different in the soil. But today, today she was certain. She was back home. Brassica was back home on her beloved seacoast, the salty sea air tousling her leaves and she knew with everything in her being, that today they would meet again.

There were new Hands and a new Mandoline to help her prepare and she began her beloved ritual one final time. Peeling off her old leaves, as she had done countless times before, she thought of him.  She thought of how much she had longed for him, of how perfect they were together, of the sounds they made and of how time would make them better and better. Every moment was a gift.

She was ready then. Mandoline and Hands had done their job and she was in the jar. Curvy and colorful, the rich soil had given her an extra boost in her red, and she waited for her beloved. She could hear him coming. The unmistakable sound of Mortar crushing him before the final step. And so, after all these years she had spent waiting, all these lives and soils gone, here he was before her. Grey and distinguished as she had remembered him, she could smell his mineral scent as Mortar approached the jar. Her breath caught. There he was. Sodium Chloride. Or as she affectionately called him, Salt. Her beloved. And in one moment, he was cascading onto her from above, his grains slightly bruising her and releasing her juices as he tumbled in. Just like that, in that one moment, Brassica Oleracea and Sodium Chloride were complete again, and the dance began ...

The End

Time to dish.

Lacto-Fermented Red Cabbage Sauerkraut
Please read about the i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. benefits of lacto-fermented cabbage, and then make this.

I took a workshop here with Haley and it was so awesome I am sharing a recipe with you. It was the best Sauerkraut I ever had. And not just because I made it.

Here is what you need:

  • Mason Jars
  • 1 Organic Red Brassica Oleracea (aka Cabbage) Medium sized (about 1kg)
  • Sodium Chloride (aka sea salt) about half a cup
  • 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds

Here is what to do:

  1. So simple guys. Slice Cabbage as thinly as you like with a knife or dear Mandoline. Then put it in a giant bowl. Now, pour Salt over Cabbage and here comes the fun part, knead it all together until juice starts to flow. This part must be done well. Salt will bruise Cabbage and release her juices. Takes about 10 minutes or so. 
  2. In your impeccably clean Mason Jar, add your caraway seeds, and then Cabbage until the jar is almost full and then press down really hard. You want Cabbage squashed as much as possible. Pour the liquid from the bowl in to cover Cabbage in jar (leave about an inch for bubbles and expansion), seal and voila. They will dance together in the jar for a few weeks, ideally 3-4, making sounds of love, the jar usually pops, and once done, they and you will be in heaven.
**Use your nose** with all fermenting, if it smells funky, like more funky than usual, you have to start over. You can taste it if you want but it might not be that ...shall we say ...delectable ...