Suddenly Sauer: Preserving Food and Tradition in a Modern World


Dilly Beans and A Happy New Year!
September 8, 2010, 1:30 am
Filed under: food, Pickled Anything, Producers

Alright… it might be a little far fetched to claim that lacto-fermented Dilly Beans are the perfect treat for this year’s Rosh Hashannah festivities, but they’ll be gracing my family’s table where dates, beets, and honey occupy the spreads of Jews across the globe.  And I’ll give you one simple reason why… they’re totally delicious.

I first learned to make Dilly Beans at ADAMAH: the Jewish Environmental Fellowship run out of Falls Village Connecticut’s Isabella Freedman Retreat Center.  I apprenticed at the Fellowship’s pickle kitchen for a spell in 2008 and, needless to say, my life has never been the same.  One of the many things I was introduced to there was a deep respect for the rhythm of the seasons, and the way that Jewish Holiday’s beautifully capture the ebbs and flows we all experience in a year.  Rosh Hashannah, a holiday that celebrates the New Year with sweetness, freshness, and all things at their burst blooming peak of life, is full of delicious food traditions.  The mass consumption of apples dipped in honey is the one most strongly crystalized in my memory.

But this year, alongside the sweet things that will fill our table, I’ll be setting a little bowl of dilly beans with all their fantastic flavor just within arms reach of my family.  I love these beans, not only because they’re complexly sweet and sour, or because they never fail to impart the perfect crunch, but also because they’re simply the best thing to come out of the crock lately.  They’re ready NOW and NOW is the time to CELEBRATE!

I picked up the beans for these dilly’s from Earthworks Urban Farm‘s Medlrum Fresh Food Market

Then I brought them home, and fermented them with gusto.

Dilly Beans

(2 Gallons)

1 gallon+2 cups H20
1 cup salt
8 quarts green beans
1.5 cups peeled garlic
10 dill flowers
20 cayenne peppers
Spice mix (bay, cinnamon, orange peel, anise, clove)

I chopped the stems off all the beans, mixed a brine with the salt and water, placed all the ingredients in the crock, and poured the brine over them until they were submerged.  Then I put on one of my lids with a boiled stone for a weight, and put the whole crock in the basement (68 degrees) to ferment.  I plan to let them go three weeks, after two weeks they’re already divine.

I am really looking forward to sharing these beans with my family and friends.  I know it’s a little late to ferment them for this years’ holidays, but I highly suggest it for the future!  Nothing says new year like a batch of bright tasting pickles that are sure to keep you fed in the months to come!



Tamarind Ice Cream for Neighborhood Noodle
September 1, 2010, 7:20 pm
Filed under: food, Ice Cream, Producers | Tags: ,
ice cream in the making

Tamarind Ice Cream meets its maker.

I think this post needs to begin with a bit of context.  There is a new noodle shop in town, operating out of a ground floor teeny little apartment (teeny for Detroit, anyway) where you can go on Monday night to carry out creatively and lovingly prepared Asian noodle dishes.  The proprietor of this new shop asked if I’d prepare an Asian style Ice Cream for this week’s event and I excitedly obliged.

Once of my more repeatable ice creams creations is a Thai Ice Cream with a coconut milk base, flavored with tamarind and hot pepper, sweetened with agave, and thickened with egg yolk (making it a dairy-free custard style ice cream).  I instantly knew this was the one I wanted to make for Neighborhood Noodle.  It also seemed appropriate to take this opportunity to use this blog as a space to tell my consumers what I’m making for them- both through the process as well as the producers who grow the food.

Thus began my journey to bring you delicious, sweet, sour, icy cold Ice Cream.

Of the relatively small list of ingredients in this ice cream, the most contentious one is certainly the eggs.  With Salmonella scares in the millions and concerned vegans aghast at the thought of eating baby animals, I wanted to highlight my egg producer, for whom I have the utmost respect and trust.

Will and I worked together at the Greening of Detroit as Urban Ag apprentices until the end of this summer.  As I’m striking out on my own to work towards being a full time pickler (yes, it’s true…!) He’s working full time on his community and market garden project: Edgeton Community Garden.

With almost 2 full acres in Northeast Detroit, Will is one of the more production focused farming operations I’ve gotten to traipse around in the city as of yet.  He’s got it all: livestock, veggies galore, compost, irrigation, community focused space and production space.  It’s a truly inspiring operation.

So I drove out to Will’s to pick up 2 dozen eggs for the Ice Cream and I snapped a few shots of him with the chickens and their environs.

Will with one of his hens.

This is where the magic happens (i.e. this is where they lay)

Once I got my eggs home, and gathered the rest of my ingredients from the suburbs (I’m still waiting for a food co-op downtown…) and picked up some tamarind pods from Honey Bee Market, I was ready to make the Ice Cream.

Tamarind Coconut Milk Ice Cream

(for a 1.5 quart batch)
1 can whole coconut milk
Water to bring total liquid to 4 cups (about 2 cups)
3/4-1 cup agave nectar
3 Tbs Tamarind (or about 6 whole pods)
1 hot pepper (if you like)
2 egg yolks
A few tablespoons of toasted coconut flakes

Bring the coconut milk/water mixture to a soft boil with the agave, tamarind, and hot pepper.  Once it’s cooked for about 30 minutes and the tamarind is soft, pour the mixture through a fine sieve and press the tamarind until most of the pulp is soft and can be stirred back into the coconut milk.  Discard the seeds.  Ladle one cup of hot liquid into egg yolks, stirring constantly, and then pour the tempered yolks into the pot of coconut milk tamarind mixture.  Stir constantly in one direction over low heat until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Cool.  Churn.  And top with toasted coconut flakes.

P1010488.RW2

I ended up making 3 gallon sized batches, each churned in my one gallon hand crank ice cream maker:

Cranking the Ice Cream

And this is what I ended up with!  67 6oz servings and a lot of cranking later… I hope the folks @ neighborhood noodle enjoyed!

The Finished Product!!!