So, you might be wondering, why am I writing a post about it, then? Well…
Kombucha is good for you. Similar to other foods, like saurkraut, kimchi, sourdough and miso, kombucha is naturally fermented. Fermented foods are really good for you–they contain good bacteria that help with digestion and also support your immune system.
I’m a big fan of probiotics, and I try to get them into my system every day. Usually I take them in pill form, but I like to try to get other forms through my diet as well.
Which brings us to kombucha.
You see, kombucha is fermented tea, and it has a sharp, vinegar-like flavor that I find hard to swallow (literally). However, I recently had some that I didn’t absolutely hate, and I thought that I’d try to go on a mission to see if I could make myself like it, for health reasons.
I decided to start by trying to brew my own.
Making your own kombucha is actually pretty simple, but it takes time.
The key to kombucha is the “mother” or the SCOBY (which is an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”). Yeah, I know, appealing. But again, really good for you.
There are a few ways to get a SCOBY. If you have a friend who makes kombucha, you can ask them if you can have one of theirs. They reproduce pretty easily. You can actually also buy them online, or try Craigslist.
And, you can grow your own.
Grow your own Kombucha SCOBY
5 tea bags (green or black)
1/2 cup sugar
large mason jar
1 bottle plain kombucha (purchased from the store)
As a food blogger, I draw inspiration from a myriad of sources; cooking shows I watch on TV, other food blogs, cookbooks, and food I eat at restaurants and friend’s houses. Sometimes, one recipe can be inspired by more than one thing, and that’s where we find ourselves today.
I tried this dessert a few months back at The Wellness Show. It was at the booth of Julie O’Brien and Richard Climenhage, who are the authors of Fresh & Fermented: 85 Delicious Ways to Make Fermented Carrots, Kraut, and Kimchi Part of Every Meal. They are all about fermenting, and over the last few months, I’ve been pretty obsessed with it, as well. I got a copy of Julie and Richard’s cookbook, and have been making things from it over the past few months. But those things have been things like kimchi and pickles. I’d never even considered before the possibility of turning a fermented vegetable into a dessert.
A selection of the amazing dishes at the Forage Ferments dinner.
I was pretty excited to get invited to a dinner at Forage last week. Forage is one of my absolute favourite restaurants in the city–their values of cooking local and seasonal align with mine, and additionally, Chris Whittaker is a fabulous chef. The dinner was called Forage Ferments, and it was a collaboration between Chris and Todd Graham of Hand Taste Ferments. Todd and Chris met a while back while Todd was head brewmaster at R&B, and the collaborated with 6 different Vancouver chefs (including Chris) to create their own beers. Todd has since moved on to fermenting all things of all kinds, full time, not just hops and barley.
The dinner was exciting and inventive. I love eating things I’ve never had before, and this dinner was filled with cool new things, like miso paste made with local chickpeas instead of soybeans (which are primarily grown in Asia), kimchi devilled eggs, caesar salad dressing made with herring from Quadra Island in the place of anchovies, hay-smoked confit potatoes and an ice cream made with the aforementioned chickpea miso.
Forage sent me home with a jar of sauerkraut, so, I decided to take inspiration from the Forage Ferments dinner and use a fermented food in a place you’d never thing to look for it: dessert.
This is yummy. It’s lemony, but not too tart, and the cream cheese adds a rich mouth-feel and also amps up the tartness. Now, you might be wondering where the kraut comes in. Well, you chop it up fine and add it to the mousse at the end, along with a little coconut. It adds a bit of a crunchy texture to the mousse, but if anyone asks, you can just say it’s shredded coconut. Trust me, they won’t be able to tell the difference, it’s that good.
I served mine in tart shells, but it would make an equally good parfait, over top of crumbled cookies, perhaps, or cake, and layered between whipped cream or coconut cream.
Delicious! Plus all the benefits of sneaking in a fermented food.
Lemon Mousse made with Sauerkraut
(recipe courtesy of Fresh & Fermented)
2 tbsp butter
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 tbsp lemon juice (or juice of one large lemon)
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sauerkraut
6 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1 tbsp shredded coconut, toasted
NOTE: you can skip this step entirely and buy store-bought lemon curd if you like, or you can use a different recipe. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the lemon zest and sugar, and beat again. Add the egg, beat. Finally add the lemon juice and salt, and beat one last time.
Place the lemon mixture into a small saucepan, and turn on low-medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring up to a boil, and allow to thicken. You will know it’s done when it coats the back of a spoon, and remains apart when you swipe a finger though it. Remove from heat, and place in the fridge to cool.
Take the sauerkraut out of the jar with a fork, allowing the brine to drain off. Place into a food processor, and whiz well to chop finely. Add the cream cheese, and combine the two well. Finally, fold in the cooled lemon curd.
Serve in a tart or pie shell, or in dessert glass, garnished with toasted coconut.