Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mom’s Minestrone

Another family favourite.  Mom has been making this soup for years and it’s always a hit.  It’s a tasty, hearty and warming soup on a chilly day. 


There’s a little bit of chopping involved but it’s worth it.

Mom’s Minestrone

  • EVOO
  • 1/2 lb Italian Sausage
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 (or 5, I love garlic) cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup each chopped celery, carrot, pepper (colour of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • pinch thyme, and crushed red chilies
  • bay leaf
  • 19 zo can diced tomates
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup pasta
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped fresh parsley

Remove sausage from casing and sauté in a little EVOO till browned.  Add onion, garlic, celery, carrot and peppers.  Sauté till soft. Stir in basil, thyme, bay leaf, chillies, salt, pepper, tomatoes and stock.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add cabbage and pasta.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add beans and heat through add chopped fresh parsley when cooking is done and stir in.

IMG_1167  IMG_1165  IMG_1168

Serve as is or top with a few croutons and some fresh grated parmesan cheese.


~~ Jackie

* note – The ingredients in the pictures are for a larger batch of the recipe.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Brew Your Own Kombucha–Part 2

Now that you have your own Kombucha brewed it’s time to flavour and bottle it.  Before I get to that here are a few points to remember when brewing and drinking your Kombucha
  • Kombuca and Scoby’s do not like metal.  Don’t brew your Kombucha in a metal container (I use glass) and avoid using metal utensils.
  • Sterilize your brewing container and bottles with hot / boiling water and white vinegar.  Residue left from dish soap can harm your Scoby.
  • If you are taking a break from brewing or have extra Scoby’s you can store them at room temperature in a container with some unflavoured brew and cooled sweet tea mixture. Make sure they are covered in liquid.  I keep mine in a glass jar with a lid.  Some say cover with a lid some say cover with cloth as you would when brewing Kombucha.  You can also store them the same way in the fridge for longer periods of time.
  • Your Scoby should be white, ivory, beige or brown (depending on the type of tea used.  Darker tea has a tendency to stain the Scoby).  If you notice any other colours (blue, black, red, or green) this is a sign of mould.  You will have to throw out your batch and Scoby.  That’s why it is a good idea to keep a couple spare Scoby’s.
  • Brewing temperature should be between 75 and 85 degrees.
  • When your brew is finished the ph will be between 2.6 and 4.0
  • The Scoby may sit on top or sink to the bottom.  It doesn’t matter.  If is sinks to the bottom of the jar the new baby Scoby will form at the top of the jar.
  • If you are new to fermented foods/drinks start off slow when consuming Kombucha.  More isn’t always better, so start off small and work your way up to a cup or two a day.  It is recommended that you don’t drink it all in one sitting and spread it out over the day.
Bottling and Flavouring
Once your brew has reached the flavour you like (at least 7 – 10 days brewing) it’s time to bottle it. (Remember the longer you brew the less sweet it is). You don’t have to flavour your Komucha you can bottle it as is. 
Sterilize your bottles.  I use glass flip top bottles you can use mason jars or any other glass bottle you have around.
With clean hands or clean non-metal utensils remove your Scoby’s and at least a cup of the unflavoured finished brew and set aside. 
New Scoby
Get your flavouring ingredients ready. You can use fresh fruit, fruit juice, and herbs.  The amount of flavouring used depends on your taste.
  • strawberry lemonade (organic strawberries , lemon) If your lemons aren’t organic you will want to slice  the yellow skin or peel the lemon.  Pesticides would not be beneficial to the brew.
  • Pineapple
  • Apple cinnamon
  • lemon and fresh ginger (my favourite)
IMG_1176         IMG_1177
Put whatever flavouring you choose to use in your bottles using a funnel pour the kombucha in the bottles cover and let sit on the counter for another day for the second ferment.  You can then store them in the fridge.  They will continue to ferment in the fridge but at a very slow rate.
For the batch above I added some fresh grated turmeric root in with my lemon and ginger.  It was a nice addition.
This is picture of my Scoby hotel.  It sits on top of my fridge. You can see the different layers.