Want to know a biiiiiiig secret? I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I know, I know. Shocking! Scandalous!
Want to know another secret? I am a cookbook
hoarder lover. Seriously. It is a little out of control.
While my recipe collection is vast, there has always been a black hole. A hole where a cookbook devoted to ferments should be.
Yes, I have a couple of really good fermentation “cookbooks.” But I don’t have a great one. Oh wait, hold on just a minute! YES I DO!
A couple of weeks ago, I welcomed a new baby, er, cookbook into my home. She is beautiful. She is everything I have ever wanted. She is brilliant. She fills that void.
Let me introduce you to:
Lisa’s Counter Culture (Pickles and Other Well Bred Food)
The Ferment Section includes tons recipes and details on temperature, duration, and salinity (when appropriate). The recipes include:
- Beverages: Kombucha, Beet Kvass, Ginger Ale, Water Kefir and Dairy Kefir
- Condiments: 6 Chutneys, 3 Salsas, Mayonnaise, and Ketchup
- Vegetables: Pickles, Green Beans, Carrots, Daikon and more
- Cabbage Based Ferments: A special section dedicated to the complexity of cabbage (Kraut and Kimchi)
- Starches: Dosa, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Buckwheat
- Dairy: Kefir and Yogurt and innovative recipes to use them too!
Ferment Companion recipes include:
- Broth & Soup
- Salad, Dressing and Dip
- Organ Meat
- Meat: Beef, Chicken, Lamb
- Special Section Dehydrator
On top of all these goodies, you will find tons of great resources, like what kitchen equipment is desirable, where to find real food/ingredients, tips for successful fermentation, and a comprehensive index of recipes.
Second, who the heck wrote this book? The master chef behind this book is Lisa from Lisa’s Counter Culture. Lisa is passionate about “real food” and loves being able to share her recipes and techniques for creating nourishing and traditional food. She is especially interested and skilled in fermentation and can go on for hours on all the crazy and fun things you can do with ferments while supporting your health and wellness.
Lisa also offers focused hands-on workshops and coaching (in the San Francisco Bay Area). All workshops and recipes posted are gluten-free and include a few traditionally-prepared grains and nuts. Workshops include offerings such as Organ Meat Made Easy, Kombucha!, Krazy for Kefir, Kimchi and Kraut, or Fermented Condiments.
I think you will all agree that Lisa know what she is talking about when it comes to nourishing foods and healing ferments.
Third, why do I
like love it? Wow, I mean the question really should be what didn’t I like. (Insert crickets chirping). I’m being serious. I have been waiting for Lisa to finish this book up because I knew it would be brilliant. And it is. This is really such an amazing recipe collection.
Here are just a FEW reasons why I love it:
- The book itself is gorgeous. From the layout, to the fonts, to the photos…really, this book is some serious eye candy.
- It makes you feel good just looking at it. Even the real food and fermentation newbie will feel a sense of peace and calm just looking at the book. It really does give you a “I Can Do This” energy. (Sounds a little woo woo but I am totally serious here folks!)
- Lisa does NOT assume that you know your way around a real foods cookbook so she takes the liberty of addressing the ins and out of properly using this book. Everyone should read it. It will help you get the most out of the book.
- The required reading section on ferments and the process will put you at ease! If it is your first time fermenting or your thousandth time fermenting, Lisa walks you through it step by step.
- The recipes are classics, updated. If you are looking for some crazy exotic recipes, you aren’t going to find them here. Lisa has created a cookbook of recipes that HEAL and NOURISH the body. These are recipes that will give you a solid foundation of health.
- The recipes are easy to prepare and use ingredients that you can reasonably acquire.
- There is a wide variety or recipes, guaranteed to please any palate. While not everything will be your cup of tea, I am positive that there will be a lot of recipes you will add into your rotating list of favorites.
- You really can’t mess Lisa’s recipes up. She provides clear directions in an easy to follow sequence.
- And the list could go on and on and on….
Fourth, what did I create from it?
I whipped up three recipes from Lisa’s Counter Culture. I went with one basic recipe, one middle of the road, and one for the more advanced food palate. I made:
- Savory Simple Tomato Soup
- Watermelon Salsa
I’ll talk about each in a wee bit more detail but let me just tell you that ALL of them were easy to make and turned out FABULOUS! Especially the sweetbreads. YUMMY!
Savory Simple Tomato Soup (Basic Palate)
The name of this recipe describes it perfectly! It is savory, it is simple, and it is delicious! I actually made this soup on a HOT day (97 degrees) and added some diced zucchini to it since I had some that needed to be used up. What I loved about this soup is that it was quick to make, which means no heating up the house, and it tasted like it had been simmering away all day. It is rich without being heavy which made it a great soup for a warm day. My daughter is not a tomato soup fan but she actually ate an entire bowl full! My husband even loved it and he typically avoids any of my soups for the mere fact that they aren’t “real dinner foods.” The best part was it was even tastier on the second day. This soup will be in heavy rotation this winter!
Watermelon Salsa (Middle of the Road Palate)
I love watermelon. I love salsa. I had never thought about making a fermented watermelon salsa. However, I am having a love affair with fermented watermelon rind right now and I certainly did not need to be coerced into making another ferment that would also leave me with my coveted watermelon rind. This recipe took about three seconds to prepare and is ready to eat in just a few days. Let me tell you – it is AMAZING! The herbs and spices mixed with the mint and lemon combine so well with the watermelon. You might notice that there is no photo of the salsa. That is because Tiny and I ate it all in about 5 minutes. We didn’t even let it finish fermenting. You could just tell by looking at it that it was going to be sensational. So I have already made more. This salsa is a HUGE winner!
Sweetbreads (Advanced Palate)
For those of you who are new to or leery of organ meats, let me preface this review by saying that personally, I love sweetbreads. They are, in my opinion, the tastiest organ meat to consume as they are very light and smooth. I have had several versions of sweetbreads in various restaurants over the years. I have never branched out and made them at home because, well, they are organ meats and I’m still a little ambivalent about preparing them myself. However, Lisa’s recipe looked so easy and full proof that I thought why not? Let’s give this a try. I am SO glad that I did.
Lisa calls for lamb sweetbreads but crafted the recipe so you could use veal or beef sweetbreads. I opted for beef since it was what I had. The recipe itself is very forgiving so you really cannot mess it up. I added in some mushrooms and onions (both of which she suggested as optional additions to the recipe) but otherwise followed the recipe to a “t.” The sweetbreads turned out perfectly. While the ingredients are simple, making you almost wonder how on earth these can possibly be so flavorful, somehow everything comes together perfectly leaving you with tender, savory sweetbreads that are second helping worthy. Even Tiny ate them until Rasta Daddy ruined the moment by declaring his disdain for an organ meat entrée.
So are you convinced that this book is a must have? I hope so. I certainly think it is!
How would you like to win your own copy? Lisa is generously offering two copies of Lisa’s Counter Culture. One lucky winner will win a hard copy (must be a U.S. resident) and the other will win the eBook (open worldwide).
Entry is easy using the Rafflecopter form below. This contest opens today, September 15, 2012 and closes on September 28, 2012 at 11:59pm.
Can’t wait to win it? No worries! Lisa has plenty of hard copies as well as eBook version available. So go buy one now!
a Rafflecopter giveaway