Monthly Archives: April 2014

Home Brewed Kombucha!

Recently, I have developed an obsession with Kombucha. So, the hubby and I did some research and decided to start home brewing it. Yes, we can do this! I never realized how easy it would be, and how much better the result than most of the store bought brands I have tried. The best part is you can personalize it to your own taste.

Right about now, some of you maybe thinking kombu-what?!?!? Kombucha is basically fermented tea. It is tangy and sweet all at the same time. It is also chock full of probiotics and nutrients.

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We decided to start with a half gallon kit from Kombucha Brooklyn, and our first batch was started with all the ingredients therein. We decided to switch from the standard Black Tea to organic Dragonwell Green Tea and organic cane sugar for the first fermentation of our second batch, shown here.

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Once the tea is brewed and sweetened, it is time to add the additional water and the SCOBY. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. In other words, the good bacteria and yeast needed in the process of fermenting Kombucha. We obtained ours from Northeast Homebrew Supply, however, more SCOBYs are produced during the process for future use or sharing.

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Once the SCOBY is happily floating in the nute, also known as the sweetened tea, it is time to cover it with some organic cotton. This prevents anything from getting in to the Kombucha and allows it to breathe. Now, for the primary fermentation. For the sourness level I prefer this step took seven days.

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From the half gallon, we were only able to fill three sixteen ounces bottles. Not nearly enough to support my new habit! Since we are new to this, we decide to flavor during our secondary fermentation using dried fruit. We used strawberry ginger, blueberry and raspberry. The secondary fermentation takes about two days for light carbonation which is my preference.

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After our first few batches we realized brewing a half gallon at a time was not going to work for us. We decided to purchase these beautiful one gallon crocks. Now we can brew two gallons at a time!

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One happy SCOBY waiting to get to work in it’s new home.

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It’s new home? Our first one gallon batch! We are using organic Wu Yi Oolong Tea for this gallon.

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For the second one gallon batch we are again using organic Dragonwell Green Tea. This SCOBY is smaller since this is it’s first batch.

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Now we wait! In seven to ten days we will be bottling two gallons of Kombucha for our drinking pleasure.

The basic ingredients for one gallon are:

Twelve grams of loose tea
One cup of organic cane sugar to feed the SCOBY
Fourteen cups of water (four to heat and brew the tea, ten cold to add once brewed and sweetened)
One cup of nute from your last batch
SCOBY

If you want to check out Kombucha Brooklyn, this is their website:

http://www.kombuchabrooklyn.com

I purchased their book Kombucha! I read it from front to back in one day and learned so much! Here is the link:

http://www.kombuchabrooklyn.com/supplies/books/kombucha-the-amazing-probiotic-tea-that-cleanses-heals-energizes-and-detoxifies.html#.U0qhWye9KK0

Also, a shout out to our local Homebrew store, Northeast Homebrew Supply! Check them out on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.

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Sausage Pasta skillet

Whenever dinner can be ready in under thirty minutes while only using one skillet, it is a good thing. Lately, there have been an overwhelming number of pasta one pot wonders floating around the internet. I admit, I was skeptical, but it really works! This recipe is my first attempt at one of these meals and I will definitely be creating more.

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First, lightly brown one pound of sweet italian sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. This will add flavor and make the sausage easier to slice. When the sausage is lightly browned, remove from the skillet and set aside until cool enough to slice.

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While the sausage is browning, slice one onion, two shallots and five cloves of garlic.

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Add one tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil into the skillet and add in the aromatics. Salt well and sauté until they begin to soften.

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Add the sliced sausage, oregano, basil and red chili flakes to the aromatics. continue to sauté until the sausage is almost cooked through. The onions and shallots will be beautifully caramelized by now.

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At this point, add in one quart of tomatoes, two cups of chicken broth, and one-half cup of plain almond milk. We canned tomatoes this summer so I used those. You could substitute one can of whole or diced tomatoes. You can also use milk or soy milk instead of the almond. Bring to a boil.

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Add in the pasta, turn down the heat, and cover. You want it to remain at a strong simmer. Cook for ten to twelve minutes until the pasta is cooked to your taste.

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When it is done cooking, the pasta should be tender and the sauce will have thickened up nicely.

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Now it is time to add in the cheese! I used dairy free ricotta, but soft tofu, full dairy ricotta, or even fresh mozzarella would also work well. Also add in a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast, or parmesan cheese if you prefer.

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Stir well until the cheese is fully incorporated. The sauce will take on a beautiful pink hue.

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Allow to sit off the heat for a little while prior to serving so the sauce thickens up to your desired consistency.

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Serve topped with additional nutritional yeast or parmesan. Had I not forgotten, I would have also served garlic bread on the side.


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