Glowing, radiant health is the new black. Our Green Table is serving it up, for the whole body! Healthy recipes and tips, the latest on eco-friendly food and "skin food"products and a head's up on ingredient safety are all woven into family-centered stories and discoveries. Bring informed, aware and empowered looks good on everyone!

Abrazos! xox Penny

Friday, April 8, 2011

I left my Mothers in New York

Literally, I left my real mom. But I also left my Kombucha mom. What? Who's that?

Given that "she" was a topic of conversation last night, I thought you might like to meet her, too. Kombucha is a beverage that is probiotic-rich and I drink it a lot. I know how to make it and want to teach a class on this tasty and sparkling drink. I also wanted to get a new "mother" ie: starter in New York. However, I didn't make it home with her. Decided having to explain her odd appearance to airport security might not be worth it and so I am having her sent. I opted to carry on a loaf of yummy sauerkraut rye instead.

My favorite kombucha...from the tap!

Kombucha belongs to a whole family of foods containing probiotics. In a nutshell, probiotics are beneficial bacteria and found at highest concentrations in fermented foods. In yesterday's post, the batter used for the dosa "pancake" is also fermented and there are many other tasty fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, kimchee, tempeh, kefir and honest-to-goodness real yogurt, not the over-processed stuff.

Most everything I share food-wise, from skincare here to food on the fork, I want to help boost the immune system and clean up the environment. (Stretching a bit, even the candy from Tuesday's post does the trick...a smile and a dash of childish glee work wonders!) Fermented foods promote the production of "good" bacteria in your gut by creating a healthier environment and they also inhibit the growth of yeast and other bad actors, help break down sugars, balance the intestinal pH, etc. Given that the bulk of your immune system's strength is in your gut, these foods play a really big role in helping fend off illnesses, allergies, fungal issues and a host of other woes. You can also take a probiotic supplement but you have to be sure it is really live and active, contains the right strains of good bacteria and is not expensive fairy dust. Eating probiotics is much more fun!

Fermenting foods takes time and can be a little tricky. Here is the easiest recipe I have in my stash. It is from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and makes absolutely the most gorgeous pickled onions on the planet. I love them on so many dishes...fabulous on beans, salads, baked potatoes, burgers and sandwiches or just to munch on as is.

Pickled Onions

1 pound red onions, peeled (red as you can find!)
1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
4 marjoram or thyme branches
several small, dried red chilies, optional
bay leaf (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon black or mixed peppercorns, bruised
sea salt

Slice onions crosswise, about 1/4 inch thick. Separate into rings and put in a colander. Pour boiling water over them. In a bowl, mix other ingredients with 1 1/2 cups cold, filtered water and several pinches of sea salt,. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add onions, submerging them totally in the liquid. Use a plate if need be to squish them all under the brine. If there is not enough liquid to cover all the onion slices, mix equal parts vinegar and filtered water. Watch 15 minutes or so, you will see the color change to an absolutely gorgeous rose-y pink. Chill and then devour. Store in fridge for up to 3 weeks. 

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