Dukkah Kraut

If you aren’t familiar with Dukkah, you’re in for two kinds of treat today. Dukkah is an Egyptian spice blend that I put on just about everything. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with toasted nuts and warm spices, especially toasted cumin. I’m a huge sucker for toasted cumin.

Dukkah Spices in kraut

The smell tempts me, but I try not to eat Dukkah with a spoon.

I’ve tried a lot of dukkah recipes, and a couple store bought brands and they’ve almost all worked really nicely in sauerkraut, so feel free to use a store-bought version instead of making your own. If you do want to make your own (way cheaper), though, these two recipes (one from Bon Appetit and one from The Kitchn (I use almonds in the latter recipe)) have done me well.

This is very likely to be the last kraut recipe you see from me for a while. The farmers’ markets are about to open, and we’ll be seeing asparagus, strawberries and rhubarb in no time at all.  Enjoy!

Finished Pink Dukkah Sauerkraut

I used 1/3 pound red cabbage to give me this mauve shade.

Dukkah Sauerkraut


Sauerruben and Seasonality

Have you noticed all the recipes for rhubarb, peas and other spring things popping up? Yeah, me too. I have to admit that it kind of gets on my nerves. I totally get the pressure to make seasonally relevant recipes, but the truth is, seasonally relevant recipes in early April, in hardiness zone 6b and below are generally overwintered root vegetables!

What seasonal vegetables look like in early April

This is what seasonal vegetables look like in Philadelphia in early April. They came from the farm stand exactly like this.

In a few more weeks, we’ll be seeing the bright, fresh, colorful goodies pop up in the markets. We’ll have greens and lettuces galore. We’ll have rhubarb. Now, though, we have beat beets. And wrinkled cabbages. And turnips. And I am SUPER cool with that, because it means I get to eat sauerruben for a few months more.

Sauerkraut: sauer = sour. kraut = cabbage. Sauerruben: sauer = (still) sour. Ruben = turnip. So yup, we’re making a spicy, tangy packed ferment of turnips today and you’re going to love it. That’s not an order, it’s a prediction.

Sauerruben fermentation recipe

A pint of sauerruben doesn’t last long.

Sauerruben is punchy and pungent and it has the tiniest bit of horseradish bite. I can’t get enough of it, and I do become a bit of a lady hulk when someone eats the last of the jar before the next one is fermented. I like it fermented on the short side, because that horseradish tang is still really strong, but it will keep fermenting like a champ for a month or more.

Fermenting turnips for seasonal sauerruben



Video: Eco Philly on Phickle’s Eco-Ferments

I was recently interviewed by a young and talented videographer, Frances Dumlao, about the potential eco-friendliness of fermented foods. I’ve written about how to conserve through fermentation a few times, so if you want some ways to do it yourself, check out the recipes below.

Enjoy the video! Frances took some beautiful shots, so I definitely recommend watching full screen. Just ignore my hair, makeup and bad shirt choice, please :-).

Food Waste Prevention Pickles

Pickled Collard Stems Pickled Kale Stems

Need those leaves for a salad or a wrap? Don’t let the stems go to waste!

Wine Vinegar from Leftover Wine (Insert “What’s That?” Joke Here).

Making Wine Vinegar without a mother with leftover wine

Party Foul! Did you leave that half full bottle unsealed overnight? No worries, and no tossing it down the drain.

Bread Kvass from Stale Bread

Bread Kvass

Any stale loaves of bread sitting around? Great! Kvass is the next step.

Marinated Kefir Cheese

Marinated kefir cheese balls

Serve them in a bowl or on toothpicks with olives or tomatoes

While my lifestyle for the past year + (work, work, work) has not allowed for it much, I LOVE entertaining. Having friends over for quiet dinner parties with great conversation and wine, or for ragers that span from brunch til dawn and include sourdough waffle bars and lots of dancing is a pleasure that I sorely miss.

Whatever the event, I love to serve small bites to whet the appetite and, of course, they frequently include a wide variety of ferments. One of my favorite is a a take on the traditional mini-skewers of mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes and a basil leaf. Although I do enjoy making cultured mozzarella, there’s an easier cheese out there, and it requires no special cheese cultures.

I make little kefir cheese balls, (bocconcini-style) and I marinate them. It’s seriously easy and very customizable with herbs and spices.

Straining kefir cheese

If you’re seeing a cracked texture rather than smooth, crumbles are a better option than marinated kefir balls.

The key to this recipe is to time the kefir draining so that the consistency is dry enough to hold together, but not so dry that it starts to crumble. This can take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. The quickest way is to let the strained kefir sit on the counter in a covered container until the whey separates. Make a hole and pour off the whey before starting your strain. If this is difficult or too time-consuming at the start, just pour the whole thing into your cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh strainer and give it time to lose its liquid.

Click to see how to make probiotic kefir bocconcini