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Showing posts with label instagram. Show all posts
Showing posts with label instagram. Show all posts

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Triple-Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies

This cookie was my shining star at the No Kid Hungry Bake Sale on October 7th, 2017!
We all need a standby recipe for chocolate chip cookies. This particular recipe is the modified version of my pistachio chocolate chip recipe for smaller batches, which is excellent when I'm baking for just myself. Most chocolate chip cookie recipes can be easily modified, so long as the dough remains consistent and the add-ins are accounted for properly. Baking can be art, so long as the science and chemistry of such are respected along the way.

The No Kid Hungry bake sale was a total success! The bake sale itself raised over $8000 against childhood hunger in the United States. Did you know that 1 out of 5 children in the USA don't know where their next meals are going to come from? Yeah, that's pretty messed up. I work as the chef for a hunger relief network, now, and the amount of hungry people in the United States is pretty staggering, especially considering that 2 out of 3 Americans are considered overweight or obese. What we see is a huge amount of inequality, and you can do something about it.

No Kid Hungry has made it easier than ever to combat childhood hunger. Did you know that you can host your own bake sale in your own community? Just sign up to host your own bake sale!

I realize that I'm a very privileged individual. Yes, I'm a woman of color, and a first-generation American...but I'm also from a good family, have a stable, salaried position, have a group of good friends, have a reliable mode of transportation, and I am a homeowner. I'm also privileged enough to own nice things like standing mixers, scales, fancy equipment and marble countertops, things that the average home baker might not have. In the spirit of checking my own privilege, I'm posting the recipe below in both weight and volume, so everybody can bake these cookies, because everybody deserves to have homemade cookies.

I love this recipe because you can do this one without a standing mixer and only the most rudimentary of tools. Yes, you do want either a food processor or a coffee/spice grinder for the oats, but you can honestly chop them by hand, or throw them in straight if you're feeling lazy. It's 100% cool.

Triple Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies
yield 3 dozen 1 oz cookies
  • 6 oz butter, cubed(Earth Balance butter substitute works great, too, or shortening, for the dairy-free option!)
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar(3.5 oz)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar(3.5 oz)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup flour, sifted (4 oz)
  • 1 scant cup rolled oats (3.5 oz)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
  • 1/2 cup toffee chips/candies, crushed
Melt half your butter in either a saucepot or microwave, and then pour it over the remaining butter in a separate bowl. Stir gently with a whisk to allow the temperatures to come together nicely in a smooth mass and set aside. 

Meanwhile, blitz the flour and rolled oats together in a food processor (or coffee grinder, if you have one) and whisk them together with the baking soda and baking powder. Take out your ritz crackers and crush them by hand ; stir them right in! Don't worry about getting the crumbs to be especially fine, because you actually want larger chunks dispersed here and there. You can also substitute potato chips for this part, and get a very similar result - I've used original flavor and jalapeno, and both are pretty freaking delicious. I know it sounds weird, but trust me on this - the salty and sweet work!

Now that you've taken care of your dry ingredients, let's continue on the wet side! Whisk in both of your sugars, and add in the vanilla flavoring. Whisk-whisk-whisk until quite smooth and fluffy; yes, you can do this in a standing mixer, but the appeal of this recipe is that you feel okay skipping arm day at the gym after doing these by hand. Also, not everybody has a standing mixer or a hand mixer, so let's check our privilege, okay, Nicole? 

Once the sugars are fully incorporated, whisk in the egg until fully blended. Now, let's get rid of that whisk and grab a spatula (unless you want to be dealing with a club of cookie dough). Gradually add the dry mix in thirds, alternating with the chopped chocolate and toffee bits, until everything is incorporated. You can proceed two ways from here:

  1. You can scoop out teaspoons of your cookie dough onto prepared cookie sheets(as in, they've either been greased or lined with parchment paper) and chill them in the fridge by the batch 
  2. You can cover the whole bowl and chill the dough all at once
Either one of these you choose is fine; I prefer option two, just because it takes up less space in my already-crowded fridge. Also, waiting to turn on  the oven to 325 degrees F will give you no choice but to chill your dough. So, hey! Turn on your oven and heat to 325 degrees F while you're waiting.

Bake your cookies for 11 minutes, or until just brown on the outside, and let cool for at least 10 minutes before eating. I know, I know, it's torture, but trust me on this one - if you don't wait, this wonderful cookie will crumble and fall apart into a big gooey mess. You'll want to wait, so you can dip this in an ice-cold glass of almond-coconut milk blend.

If you wait even longer, to let them cool completely, you can wrap them in groups of five in cellophane packages, instagram them with a special hashtag, and sell them for your own bake sale endeavors. It can be to end childhood hunger, to donate to the ACLU, or even to show your own child how to run a business.

Please comment below if you try it - and tell me all about the results! Oh, and I'm hosting my own bake sale soon...follow me on Instagram to learn details!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Chocolate Cake with Fresh Strawberries

I've been focusing a lot on my Instagram lately. It's odd; I always get notifications for new followers, and when I check, the number almost always is the same, or possibly one or two lower than last I checked. I can only guess that - between the hours that I've checked - I've gained one and lost two, or some combination of that. I can't quite fathom why, but I can only assume it's because I don't post as often as a high-follower-having instagrammer might post. Eh.

I love Instagram because I think it's one of the most-pure social media outlets there are. Minimal ads, no add-ons for the interface, just captured moments with a caption, and that's it. You can like it or not. You can follow or unfollow. There's not a huge amount of drama that can happen in that simple space, and I think that's why I love it. It just captures moments and that's it. It's a beautiful way to experience and savor our reality, and I'm 100% for it.

For those of you that may follow me on Instagram, you'll know that my life revolves around three things: my work, my pets, and my garden. Sure, I'll post the occasional style photo of what I'm wearing and what kind of makeup I'm doing(sometimes in my pink wig), but not as often as the food stuff. That being said, I like to think of myself as more of a lifestyle blogger than a food blogger. I try my best to live sustainably and do my best to recycle and produce as low waste as I can. I buy in bulk, for example, and try to make my own sodas. I also compost instead of throwing away biodegradable waste. I'll admit that it's more of a time-based project than anything, but it's worth it when your garden thrives more and more each year you invest in it. That being said, it's still a food blog, and I love food.

I've been on a cake kick lately, which is lucky considering I'm doing a friend's wedding cake come this Halloween. Since the flavor profile was strawberry and chocolate, I wanted to get a little practice in before the event, so I needed guinea pigs. Luckily, the birthday parties of both a dear friend and a soon-to-be sister-in-law would fulfill this need for me.

The first cake I made was this gorgeous strawberry cake. It was bright pink inside(which you unfortunately can't see because of the lighting of the night club we were at) with an Italian Buttercream frosting, a much lighter and more tasty version of the plain old American Buttercream we all might be used to at this point. I learned this amazing new marbling technique for decoration where you smear the sides of the cake randomly with different shades of a certain color and then frost them all together in irregular ways to achieve this effect. I also love the drip cake trend that we've been having lately, with asymmetrical decorations on top. I think it looks so much more organic and natural than anything constructed, which I find so much more appealing.

This cake is chocolate on chocolate, with the fresh strawberries for color and a little contrast in texture. It's insanely rich and dense, and just perfect for a birthday party. This cake makes three nice layers, so you'll get something that's wonderfully tall, which is completely instagram worthy. Oh, and just in case that wasn't instagrammable(is that a word?) enough, it's entirely #dairyfree!

Chocolate Layer Cake
yields 3 8" round cakes
Adapted from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson

For the Cake

  • 4 oz baking chocolate(I like guittard dark), broken up in pieces
  • 1 oz cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup strong coffee
  • 6.75 oz vegan sour cream(I love the tofutti products for baking)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 oz brown sugar
  • 7.75 oz granulated sugar
  • 4 oz coconut oil 
  • 4 oz grapeseed oil
  • 10 oz AP flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
For the Ganache
  • 1 lb good quality chocolate, 58% cacao or higher
  • 8 oz coconut-almond milk blend(I like Blue Diamond brand)
  • 0.3 oz coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray three 8" baking pans with pan-spray. Drop in a heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder into the middle of one of the pans and knock it around to spread it. You're basically coating the bottom and sides of the pan with cocoa powder, and then knocking the excess into each of the other pans, so that all three are evenly (and thinly) coated to keep your batter from sticking. This allows easy release from the bottom and a good rise on all sides for the cakes when they bake. 

Put the cocoa powder and broken-up baking chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and pour in your hot coffee, and whisk until everything is smooth. You might have to microwave the mixture to get the chocolate to melt, but cross that bridge if/when it comes. Once that's all nice and together, scrape in your tofu sour cream and whisk to combine, ending with the vanilla extract. Set aside. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. Set that aside. (Yes, you're working with a lot of bowls. Deal with it.)

Combine the sugars and coconut oil in the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until incorporated, which will take about two or three minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is. Yes, it'll look crumbly and not that creamy - that's okay! Add in your grapeseed oil in a thin stream as it whisks, and it'll get nice and fluffy...or, at least, fluffier. Add in your eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, leaving at least 30 seconds between each addition, and scraping down your sides between so as well. This takes some time, but trust me - the next part goes fast!

Remove your bowl from the standing mixer and grab a spatula, then alternate folding in your flour and the chocolate mixture, about a third at a time, ending with the dry ingredients. You don't want lumps, of course, but it's okay if you have them, as you don't want to overmix your batter. It should be rather smooth and smell quite chocolatey. 

Using a disher, divide the batter evenly between the three pans. I love using ice cream dishers to do these kinds of things, as the results are always consistent, so plan on investing in a large-ish ice cream disher should you plan on producing layer cakes on a regular basis. Once all of your batter is divided, knock the bottom-sides of your cake pans to evenly distribute your mix and knock out any particularly large bubbles that may be lurking insidiously. Yes, you want bubbles, but you want small and even bubbles rather than large ones. 

Bake for 20 - 24 minutes at 350, or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and springs back when the top is lightly touched. Let the cakes cool, in the pans, for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, make your ganache.

Simply combine all ingredients in a metal or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water and gently melt together. Use a spatula and not a whisk to combine everything, and please be gentle with it. You don't want to create air bubbles in a ganache, lest it turn sandy and the color go off. Once everything is mostly melted together, turn off the heat and let it hang out for about 15 minutes. By this time, your cakes should be ready to come out of the pans and ready to layer up.

Simply take each layer and spread about a third of a cup of ganache between each one, then coating the entire concoction with a thin layer of the ganache before setting in the fridge. Remember, you only want this to set, as you'll be glazing more ganache on top. I personally like the more rustic approach for these kinds of cakes, but you can be as refined as you like with it. I used fresh strawberries, mini meringues (a la Dominique Ansel's book, The Secret Recipes)  and shards of Hershey's special dark chocolate bars to decorate the top of this cake. You can decorate with whatever you want, so long as you play with height, color, and texture. Just make sure to set it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving it, especially if you want nice and neat layers at the end!

Okay so it's not the prettiest picture - that's why it's not on Instagram!
It seriously only took a couple of hours from start-to-finish, and most of that was just waiting on things to bake, cool, or set. There was a lot of Netflix between those times, as well as plenty of time to perfect my party makeup or get a nice outfit together. However you spend your time waiting, I hope you've enjoyed this brief tutorial. Now get out there and share your life! Happy cooking and happy eating!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Date Mint Scones

I'm currently in the middle of rebranding my Instagram to reflect my blog versus my business page. I've come into a different job that requires 100000% of my attention, so my farmer's market stall has taken a back seat. I'll still take orders, of course, but when one is called to service, one serves. That being said, pushing things more towards my blog allows me to do this at leisure, which will put me in an entirely different mentality; it's for fun! When things are done for fun, I'm far more motivated to keep up on the maintenance of it. (Piscean attention spans, amirite??)

On a personal note, I've been pushing away my "Yes Man" tendencies and practicing more realistic goals for myself. This means letting go of the farmer's markets so I can have my weekend off, to relax from work. This also means that I have much more time on my hands, and when I bake for fun instead of production, I get to goof around a little more without worrying about breaking even. Just yesterday I got the urge to bake, and so I did! I have, after all, a fully-stocked pantry of goodies to use...

B was going to his grandparent's new apartment to help them set up their new TV. I knew about it late Friday night, but since it was our gaming night, I didn't think to make something for them until that morning. What's quick, though? Why, quickbreads!

Quickbreads are categorized by the speed in which they can be thrown together, without the need for yeast to rise them. Muffins, scones, biscuits, etc., all count as quickbreads. I didn't feel like muffins, so I thought scones would be a nice thing for me, for them, and for later. I ended up making enough for B to take to his grandparents' place, for us to keep, and for me to take some to my friend's birthday party later that evening.

A scone is a wonderful vessel can be sweet or savory, and you can put virtually anything in them. Being the responsible wannabe-homesteader that I am, I wanted something to use up some of the stuff that I might have a little too much of, and when I saw the container of dried dates in my cabinet, I just couldn't resist.  Using what you have is not only being financially smart, but it makes you sometimes be a little more creative. Trying new things in the kitchen and figuring out if something works or not is a sort of exciting gamble that lets you eat your experiment. So what if it fails? You only lost a little flour and sugar; not your house.

I love peppermint!
Dates are a wonderful fruit that have a ridiculous amount of sugar. There's a wonderful company that I've worked with called The Date Lady which makes caramels, syrups, sugars, chocolate spreads, and more from dates! I simply adore their date syrup on pancakes, because it's just as sweet as maple syrup but has so much more depth...and I can feel a little better about it because it's made from fruit. Seriously, check them out!

What goes with dates? Why, mint, of course! Mint grows like a weed, and I've got an honestly ridiculous amount all around my garden, in various locations on my property, too, as I've planted it, forgotten about it, and then seen it pop up randomly the next spring. Mint is a perennial, which means it comes back every year. Mint flowers are also extremely popular among foraging honeybees, so you can definitely feel good about having it in your garden, be it for tea, for baking, for making oils, natural shampoos and air-fresheners...the list goes on and on. Anyway, time to bake!


Date Mint Scones with Honey Glaze

yields 12 scones
Adapted from "The Afternoon Tea Collection"


  • 30 g coconut oil
  • 55 g honey(you can use date sugar, though!)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 375 g AP flour
  • 7 g baking powder
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 115 g chopped dates(this is an estimate, as I just grabbed a handful)
  • 10 mint leaves(I used peppermint, but spearmint or apple mint would be fine)
If you can invest in a marble slab, do it. They keep doughs cool
when you need them to be (Hello pie dough) and you can even find them at reclaim stores.
Honey Glaze
  • 120 g powdered sugar
  • 15 g coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp honey

Combine your flour and baking powder in the bowl of a standing mixer and fix with a paddle attachment. Mix for about 30 seconds, just enough to make sure everything is combined. Add the honey and the coconut oil, and mix until the mixture looks just crumbly. Add in your chopped dates and fresh mint, then stir for about 10 turns, just to coat everything with flour. Add your coconut milk and that's it! This is an extremely quick recipe that produces a rather wet dough, but you can use a nice ice cream scoop or two large tablespoons to make dollops on a baking sheet, lined with parchment or a silpat mat. You can attempt to roll it out and just cut off pieces that you think you'll want for the size, but I didn't want to risk over-working it with a floured surface. Quickbreads should be just that: quick!

Bake at 425 for about 17 minutes, or until the bottoms are crisp and color on top is set. You can also give the tops a bit of an egg wash, but that's up to you. While everything is baking, clean up and make the glaze. If you're feeling a little crazy, you can even add some fresh mint in to the glaze, for some of that pretty color! Garnishing with candied mint leaves, as well, is a good way to use up that quick-growing mint.

All you do is combine everything with a whisk until it's smooth, and then set in the fridge to chill just enough to be pourable but not solid. Simply let your scones cool for about 10 minutes before you ice them, and you're good to go. 

I hope you've enjoyed the recipe! Follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and look for my tags, #wannabgourmande! Of course, you can get more info and more fun content on my Facebook page. Thanks for hanging out with me! Happy cooking and happy eating!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ja-PANcakes - Japanese Cotton Pancakes

I'm all about Instagram. You've probably seen these adorable little Japanese Pancakes all over Instagram, in fact, and I frankly couldn't resist the siren song of Keeping Up with the Joneses. Everything about these are just so satisfying to look at! Perfect uniformity, height...anyway. 

See, B and I are pancake fiends. I've got my stand-by recipe that I do if I want them quickly and they haven't failed me, yet. I have my recipe from Martha Stewart, adapted for our dairy-free lifestyle. I'm not horribly lactose-intolerant, but having a partner that is severely so, you learn to work around it, and it's actually been quite a bit of fun to learn under constraints. Coconut milk has been a spectacular dairy alternative, and I'm a big fan of lard as a butter alternative for cooking and baking, as well as coconut oil. Coconut oil is also really good for your scalp, so if I'm at home, alone, not baking for anyone other than me, and I get some coconut oil on my hands, I'll rub them on my scalp or my ashy knees or lips or something. (Don't judge me or pretend like you don't also have secretly sorta gross habits. You do.)

The thing about these pancakes is that you actually do need some special equipment to do them exactly like these. You'll need:

  1. A blender(pitcher or immersion)
  2. A few metal ring molds of same size
  3. A nice nonstick skillet
  4. A disher*
You CAN get passed the blender bit, but it'll require several extra steps. Either way, here we go!

Japanese Cotton Pancakes
adapted from Popsugar's recipe
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 fl oz coconut milk + 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 oz AP flour
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Pan-spray A/N
Heat your skillet on a medium-low flame and prepare your ring molds. I used pan spray for the molds, but you can use some vegetable oil with a pastry brush, if you prefer, just to make sure that both the pan and the molds are well lubricated. Have your disher or large spoon set up, as well, just to make sure you're ready to cook at your pancake station. Pop your ring molds on there, too, and 

In the pitcher of your blender, combine the eggs, coconut milk, vinegar, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Blend together, starting at the lowest setting, to combine, then turning it all the way up to high just for 3 seconds, to really whip those eggs up. (It's the fluffy eggs that make this pancake rise!)  Add in all the rest of your ingredients and blend on a low setting for a few seconds, until it's a smooth batter with no lumps. You may have to stop and scrape your blender down, and that's fine, so long as you end up with a lump-free product in the end.

By now, your pan should be plenty warm, so go ahead and turn it down to the lowest possible flame you can. If your pan also has a lid that fits on it, go ahead and grab that, too; it's not necessary for success, but it will help you in the end, especially when it comes time to flip your cakes.

Using a disher, drop some batter into the center of your prepared ring molds until they're half-full. If you have a lid, use it now, and put it on. Set your timer for 4 minutes, and walk away. Don't mess with them, don't poke at them...just let them do their thing. 

I only had two ring molds of the same size, so I did two at a time!
Your leaveners are creating bubbles, along with the ones created by your eggs, and as the heat transfers from the pan to the cake, the cake around the bubbles is getting firmer and firmer. You don't want to jostle your cakes at the wrong moment, or your bubbles will collapse and fall flat...which is the absolute opposite of what you want. 

Image may contain: food and indoor
I also made a couple using an egg-shaped cookie cutter, just because I was curious...

While we're waiting, let me tell you a quick way to get past the "no blender" thing, if you're dealing with it...

Before you begin, separate your egg yolk from the whites. In a medium bowl, using a whisk, whip my hand the egg yolks, salt, vanilla, and sugar, until they're light-colored and thick. Add in your coconut milk and vinegar, slowly, to create a thick sort of custard. In a separate bowl, take your egg whites and beat them with an extra teaspoon for sugar using a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a standing mixer) until stiff and glossy peaks form. Fold in your whites to your yolks, one third at a time, until combined. Simply sift in your dry ingredients, a little at a time, folding in gently until everything is incorporated. You've just created, basically, a sponge cake that's ready to be fried. Awesome!

Once your 4 minutes are up, remove the cover(if you're using it) and carefully flip over your cake-in-mold and let it cook for another 3 minutes. Once it's done, you can simply remove your cake from the mold and pop them in a warm oven on a plate while you make the rest, repeating the process until you have no batter left. If you have made too many pancakes(somehow) then simply wrap the remaining cakes in plastic and pop them in the freezer. Pancakes and waffles freeze perfectly, and are easily brought back to life with a quick blast in the microwave or on the stove. (Side note: waffles will reheat fine in a toaster.)

These may not turn out perfectly your first time, but that's okay. The fear of doing something wrong should not stop you from trying anything new. It's exceedingly rare to get something perfectly right on the first try, so don't beat yourself up if they haven't perfectly risen. After all, at the end of the day, you'll still have pancakes. 

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Plus, if you have a few that have risen uneavenly, you can have fun stacking them in different ways...

Enjoy with maple syrup if you want to go the American way, but in Japanese restaurants they use fresh fruit and custard sauces to eat them! They're still pancakes, though, so they're 100000% up to you on how you eat them. I personally love this date syrup I found from a company called The Date Lady. Date syrup has a really exotic and deep flavor to it, and it's a great alternative to honey! These pancakes are quite sweet already, so I don't think they need a lot of syrup, but you be the judge on what you like. They're like little cakes, but with a crispy exterior...super fun and expertly delicious!

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Another great thing about date syrup is that it goes great with maple syrup, because you CAN have it all.

I hope you've enjoyed this simple recipe! If you try it for yourself, please comment below, and let me know how it went. I love hearing from all of you, and I love answering the questions you all send in. Seriously, it makes my day to know that at least one or two people are somehow benefitting from these silly little recipes. As always..

Happy cooking and happy eating!
Image may contain: food
If you wanted to eat these by hand, I wouldn't judge you.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fast & Fizzy Kimchi

A photo posted by Kolika of Pistachio Bakehouse (@wannabgourmande) on

I'm a big fan of instagram. I use it to promote my business, keep up with my friends, and learn all about exciting new things that pastry chefs around the world are doing. I especially love instagram because of its purity; minimal ads, only 'like's, you only see what you want to see, and it's all in a nice, clean form that's just perfectly streamlined. It's because of instagram that my page gets so many views, and people know about me, in their own small scale. Anyway...

I've talked about fermented foods before in some of my wellness blogs. Naturally fermented foods are so great for your overall gut health and I highly recommend that you--yes, you--start incorporating them in your diet. Something as simple as "eat better" is truly attainable when you introduce more fermented foods  as your 2017 resolution. After all, after the dumpster fire of a year this has been, it's going to be pretty easy for it to be a good year, with the bar being set so low.

One of the staples in my pantry is called a ginger bug. I talked about it on my homemade ginger soda blog, here, some time ago. Did you know that you can use ginger bug to make lots of fermented foods that are super-good for you? Sauerkraut, soda, even making fizzy berries for a feel-good topping over ice cream! (Locally sourced, of course.) So long as you keep your ginger bug alive and well, you can do anything with it.

Ginger Bug

  • Organic ginger(yes, it has to be organic)
  • Cane sugar(no, not coconut sugar, not date sugar, not beet sugar, not honey; CANE SUGAR)
  • Filtered water
  • Clean and sterilized mason jar w/ lid
To make your ginger bug, simply roughly chop your ginger, skin included, and combine it with equal parts by volume, if you please, in a clean mason jar. Simply seal, shake, and allow it to sit in a sunny window, undisturbed, for two or three days. You'll soon see bubbles forming, and that's a good thing. Do not refrigerate, simply feet sugar and water every once in a while, and leave it in a cupboard until you're ready to use it. My own personal ginger bug is at least a year old at this point, and hasn't failed me yet. 

Is this the most-authentic recipe ever? Absolutely not. Is it even remotely authentic? Eh. I mean...it was made by a half-Asian person, and it tastes good. So....does it count as kimchi? By definition, Kimchi is spicy, pickled cabbage. So, yes! Yes it does count as kimchi. (If you want an authentic recipe, though, try this one right here.) This is just a quick-and-easy recipe that your average millenial can do at home to have some nice kimchi in a couple of days. 

My boyfriend saw the cabbage on the counter and sighed deeply before leaving the house; he hates kimchi day
Fast & Fizzy Kimchi

  • 1 medium-sized head organic Napa cabbage
  • 1 small yellow onion, julienned
  • 3 Tbsp ginger, peeled and diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder(I use New Mexican chili powder because it's what I have in the pantry; you can use Korean chili powder, of course! If you like more spice, add it! Please, let's not forget who is eating it...)
  • Strained ginger bug, A/N
  • Kosher salt, A/N
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned(optional)
  • 1 cup scallions, julienned(optional)
Note: Is this the most-authentic recipe ever? Absolutely not. Is it even remotely authentic? Eh. I mean...it was made by a half-Asian person, and it tastes good. So....does it count as kimchi? By definition, Kimchi is spicy, pickled cabbage. So, yes! Yes it does count as kimchi. (If you want an authentic recipe, though, try this one right here.) This is just a quick-and-easy recipe that your average millenial can do at home to have some nice kimchi in a couple of days.

Take your cabbage and slice it in nice thin strips(julienne) and pop it in a large container. Take a generous amount of kosher salt and dump it into the container, then work it in with your hands to make sure the cabbage is evenly coated. Cover with a moist paper towel and let it sit for 1 hour to overnight, undisturbed. When you're ready, remove the paper towel and, using your hands to press down the cabbage and keep it there, tip it over the sink to drain all of that liquid out. There will be lots, so do be patient. 

It's really a stupid amount of liquid that comes out...
In a large glass bowl, combine your onion, garlic, ginger, sugar, chili powder and any other vegetables you've chosen to include with your kimchi. I like to keep it just plain, but some like nice julienned carrots and scallions in their kimchi. Toss everything together with your cabbage and put your mixture in sterilized containers. I prefer glass jars, as they're so easily reusable. I'll put kimchi in anything, even if the label of what it originally was is still attached to it!

Now that you've packed your kimchi, it's time to finish it off! Strain enough ginger bug over your kimchi mixture so that each jar is about 3/4 of the way full with it. Top it with one more pinch of sugar and some (ideally) filtered water. (I've used tap water for years, though, and it's been fine.) Once you've depleted your ginger bug, don't forget to feed it again. Just add back some sugar and water and leave it to grow. Those bacteria are hungry, after all, and they do deserve a little snack for all of their hard work.

Leave your kimchi, undisturbed, in the back of the cabinet(or on top of your refrigerator) for at least two days. By then, it should be fizzy enough to be eaten, but the longer you let it sit, the better. I've kept kimchi, undisturbed, in a cool dark place for up to 3 months and it was still fine. For the sake of safety, though, I'd keep it in the cellar or in the fridge once you've opened it...and toss it when it turns blue or grows hair. 

Eating fermented foods in the dead of winter helps your immune system, too!

This makes me two large jars, so it might make you several small jars.  I have a big, wide-mouthed mason jar and, on the right, is a jar that used to hold coconut oil, but has been washed and repurposed. I'm trying to lead a more trash-free lifestyle, so I'm all about reusing things when I'm able. If you have an odd array of different jars, all the better! Don't conform to sameness; dare to be different. A varied diet will keep your guts happy and healthy, so please don't be afraid to try this basic recipe with other vegetables as well. I don't recommend, however, using porous veggies like squash; stick with the harder stuff, like carrots, onions, bok choy, etc.

As always, if you try my recipes, please let me know in the comments! Happy cooking and happy eating! 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sweetheart Brownies

A photo posted by Chef Kolika (@wannabgourmande) on

So February 13th is, apparently, National Breakup Day. I don't really know how to feel about that, but it's still nice to learn something, isn't it?

Have a picture of a Sweetheart Brownie, courtesy of my new bakery, Pistachio Bakehouse. If you want to buy some of my stuff, just head to Pistachio Bakehouse's Facebook page and send a message! Thanks, guys, and happy eating!