I enjoy the finer things in life: red wine, poetry, cheese. Er.. wait. That’s not the type of cultured that I’m talking about!
Who we are
Cultured Girls Club is about all things fermented. It’s a group of local Hampton Roads women–and occasionally their husbands as well–who discuss food. The club is comprised of rookies and teachers alike, there is a lot of Q&A on topics ranging from kefir to salsa. Leslie, the mastermind behind Kombuchick, hosted the first of what will be monthly potlucks. Also in attendance was Sharon Greenspan, author of Wildly Successful Fermenting and founder of Wild Success. Plus us, plus husbands, plus toddlers and children. We all ate, drank, and were merry.
What it is
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ~Mark Twain
If you’re not familiar with fermented foods then just do a search on Google for “What are Cultured Foods”. The headlines boast of foods that heal your gut, how healthy they are, the benefits, etc.
The technical definition: Fermentation is the chemical process of breaking a complicated substance down into simpler parts, usually with the help of bacteria, yeasts, or fungi. During the fermentation process, bacteria both enrich and preserve the food. This process breaks down elements that are sometimes difficult to digest, such as gluten and sugar. The activities of these bacteria benefit digestion, increase the availability of vitamins, and promote the growth of healthy flora (bacterial balance) throughout the digestive tract. Because of their helpfulness in the fermentation process, and because they usually help to counterbalance the presence of other potentially problematic bacteria in our digestive tract, the bacteria deliberately used to help carry out fermentation are often referred to as “friendly bacteria.” (WHFoods.org)
In layman’s terms: You introduce healthy bacteria into foods, the bacteria breaks down the sugar or yeast that it contains. The byproduct (aka poop) makes your food easier to digest and adds some extra vitamins and nutrients. Plus once those little things are in your belly they keep on working to balance the bacteria in your gut.
What we brought
Despite what may appear like a lot of kraut, our potluck proved to be amazingly filling as we were offered a variety of cultured foods to sample. I managed to snap pictures of most of the dishes. I couldn’t get a good picture of the kids getting down on it. I can’t speak for the others but Colette had seconds (possibly thirds!)
Cortido, a South American Sauerkraut. The recipe came from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, I found an adapted version of it here.
This version of sauerkraut was a little different. The red comes from the combination of red and green cabbage. The best way to describe this sauerkraut is like a kimchi that lacks the spice. It’s a hodge podge of ingredients with no recipe, I seem to remember and kale and carrots in there. I may be wrong.
My version of sauerkraut is the most traditional one. It’s so ridiculously easy to make that I’m planning on sharing my tutorial. I’ve been planning on it since June, so don’t hold your breath.
This “seed cheez” was enjoyed by the adults and children alike. The recipe can be found in Sharon’s book.
My steak-loving husband was so excited to see this Kombucha Marinated Steak Salad that Leslie brought. She had this explanation of it:
- -2 pounds grassfed steak
- -1 cup kombucha that has been infused for 2-3 days with fresh cayenne pepper (including the seeds)
- -2 tablespoons olive oil (coconut or any other variety will also work)
- -organic spinach
- -clover, alfalfa sprouts or radish sprouts
- -raw button mushrooms
- Soak beef in ½ of the kombucha, overnight, in the refrigerator.
- When ready to cook, sautee the steak lightly, using the marinade. Be sure to only lightly cook the steak in order to help preserve flavor.
- Rinse the spinach, sprouts, and mushroom gently. Arrange them on serving dish.
- Spread the beef over the salad mixture.
- Stir the remaining kombucha and oil well to create a dressing. Mix together.
- Serve warm.
If you’re local to Hampton Roads and interested in joining us then you can contact me privately to get more information. Our meetings will rotate between the north and south sides.