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Listing all posts from February of 2015. Show all posts.
  1. Cacao Cashew Date Truffles        yields 40 truffles

















     




    All the ingredients are wholesome and nutrient dense – no empty foods here.
    These truffles do melt in your mouth yet keep your blood sugar levels even.

    They contain plenty of protein, good fat, fiber and superfood cacao.
    Read more about the amazing properties of cacao here.


    1 cup (240 ml) pitted dried dates, cut in half lengthwise (this way you make sure, there aren’t any pits left)
    1/4 cup (60 ml) water
    2 cups (480 ml) raw cashews
    3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
    5 tablespoons raw cacao powder
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract or a couple of scrapings of the vanilla bean
    3 pinches fine sea salt
    ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
     
     
    1 Soak dates overnight in ¼ cup water

    2 Place cashews on cookie sheet and roast at 400 F (200 C) for about 10 minutes, until slightly golden

    3 Process nuts in blender until quite fine, set aside

    4 Process dates including any leftover soaking water and the maple syrup or honey in blender until they become an even paste

    5 Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix with spatula, if necessary knead by hand to produce an even consistency

    6 Take 2 teaspoons of the mixture and form into a small ball, rest on a paper towel first so that any excess nut oil can be absorbed

    7 Continue making little balls out of the entire mixture and rest on the paper towel

    8 Then transfer truffles onto serving platter
     
    ENJOY! 

    Matcha Cacao Truffles        yields 30 truffles

    9 tablespoons raw cacao powder
    2 teaspoons matcha powder
    1 pinch fine salt
     
    3 tablespoons cacao butter
    1 tablespoon coconut oil
    4 tablespoons maple syrup
    1 drop almond essence or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
     
    Dusting:
    2 teaspoons matcha powder
    ½ teaspoon fine salt
     
     
    1 In a bowl mix all dry ingredients.
     
    2 Warm the cacao butter in a small pot on lowest heat until molten.
     
    3 Add the coconut oil and stir until molten.
     
    4 Add the maple syrup and almond essence and stir some more.
     
    5 Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
     
    6 Place the bowl into the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
     
    7 Form 1 teaspoon size balls and place them on a serving plate.
     
    8 Mix the dusting ingredients in a small bowl. Use a tea strainer and teaspoon to dust your truffles.
     
    ENJOY!
     
    PS: It can be hard to find cacao butter (the cold pressed fat from cacao beans) in the health food store. I get mine through Amazon. Here is the link to a brand I like:
     
    Terrasoul Superfoods Raw Organic Cacao Butter, 16 Ounces




  2. General guidelines for lacto-fermenting vegetables


    To start a batch of lacto-fermented vegetables, all you need are the vegetables, water and salt as well as a large jar with a wide opening. 


    The relationship water to salt is always the same: two cups (500 ml) of water to one tablespoon of salt.
     
    The salt is needed to keep the pathological bacteria in check. It does not affect the good bacteria adversely. Once the friendly bacteria have gathered strength in numbers, the pathological bacteria can do them no more harm. The lactic acid formed in the process of fermentation eventually kills off the pathological or putrefying bacteria completely.
     
    Lactobacillus can be found in abundance on the surfaces of all plants, especially those growing close to the earth. Your vegetables naturally come with them.
     
    Use a large glass or ceramic jar—around two to three quarts (2 to 3 l) in size—with a wide opening.
     
    Ingredients:

    any vegetable, cut into small, thin pieces
    5 to 6 garlic cloves or a piece of ginger, peeled and cut into thick slices (optional)
    a sprinkle of whole spice seeds such as caraway, fennel, mustard or cumin (optional)
    a handful of fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage or tarragon (optional)
    6 cups (1 ½ l) water
    3 tablespoons salt
     
    Directions:

    Wash your jar with hot water and detergent and set aside.
                   
    Bring the water to a boil and add the salt. Stir to dissolve and let the mixture cool a bit. This is the brine.

    Place the vegetables and the garlic, spices or herbs into the jar. Pack tightly, but leave about 2 inches (5 cm) at the top of the jar.

    Cover the vegetables with the warm brine.

    Cover the brined vegetables inside the jar with a plate small enough to pass through the jar opening. Press down the vegetables by placing a clean weight, such as a glass filled with water on top of the small plate.

    Make sure the vegetables are always covered with the brine. If there is not enough brine to cover, boil some water, dissolve a proportionate amount of salt, cool the new brine to warm and then add it to the jar.

    Place the jar into a bowl or deep plate to catch any brine that might spill over the rim during fermentation.

    Cover the jar opening with a large plate or a kitchen towel. In the initial fermentation stage, the vegetables should be covered loosely to prevent dust or insects from falling into the mixture. But the jar should not be closed tightly so that any fermentation gases can escape.

    Let the jar sit at room temperature for at least three days. Check once in a while to make sure that the vegetables are always covered with the brine, as lacto-fermentation is an anaerobic process. If vegetables float to the surface, mold can develop on them. Skim off and discard any foam that might form on the surface of the brine.

    Carbon dioxide is released during fermentation. So the appearance of bubbles around the submerged vegetables is a clear sign that lacto-fermentation is indeed underway.

    Taste the vegetables on the third day. If they taste pleasantly sour, close the jar with a lid and place it into the refrigerator. From my experience, vegetables taste just right after three to four days, but it all depends on the temperature in the room. The process might take a day or two longer.

                      ____________________________________________________________________
     

    Do not despair if the vegetables taste just salty at first. Be patient. With time, a lovely tartness will come to the forefront and the salty flavor will subside.
     
    Some vegetables take longer to ferment than others. Beets take at least seven days, and cabbage takes from seven to ten days to become sauerkraut. 
     
    When you refrigerate your jar of vegetables, the lacto-fermentation does not stop but it slows down considerably. Do not discard the brine after you have eaten all the vegetables—it is loaded with friendly bacteria and enzymes. Drink it as an aperitif before your meals to enhance your digestive power. (I remember from my childhood in Germany that the health food stores sold bottled sauerkraut juice for that reason.) If you find the brine too salty, dilute it with some water.
     
    Make it a healthy habit to have some form of raw lacto-fermented vegetables every day. A little goes a long way. A sensible portion might be two heaping tablespoons full. You can have them as an appetizer before your meal, as a little side salad, or as a snack in between.

    ENJOY!

    Benefits of lacto-fermented vegetables

    Lacto-fermentation is the only food process that actually enhances the nutrient content of the original produce. The vitamin content can increase tenfold.
     
    Lacto-fermented vegetables have probiotic properties. That means, they provide an abundance of friendly bacteria. These bacterial good guys replenish our beneficial gut flora and balance out the bad guys—the harmful gut bacteria that produce toxins and attack our good bacteria.
     
    They are a “living food” and serve up powerful digestive enzymes.
     
    Lacto-fermented vegetables protect our health because they contain antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances.
     
    They maximize nutrient absorption in the digestive tract by increasing the number of friendly bacteria.
     
    The friendly bacteria curb our cravings for sugar and processed carbohydrates, de-stress our liver and promote clear, radiant skin.
     
    Lacto-fermented vegetables store well. In the process of lacto-fermentation, as good bacteria break down carbohydrates found in the vegetable, lactic acid gets released. Lactic acid not only imparts a lovely tangy flavor, it is a powerful natural preservative and buffers the friendly bacteria so that they can make it unharmed through the extremely acidic environment of our stomach and arrive safely in the intestines, where we need them most.
     
    Lacto-fermented veggies are delicious. There is something about their pleasant tartness that makes you perk up with clean energy and makes it easy to want to eat them daily.
     

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