Almost Summer- Update from our Pickled World

Today was actually hot. I mean sweaty for real hot. So wonderful to see it all come around again. It makes eating different too. More fruit, more water, less heavy dishes, more picnics. Mara and I went to see Michael Pollan speak last week and he had some really great things to say. I am reading his new book “Cooked” and in it he spends a lot of time writing about fermentation.

” There is no “right” way to ferment anything. No hard fast rules. And, given how little we understand about the microbial world, where one bacteria can trade genes and their exact identities are often up for grabs, it would be hubris to pretend to certainty”

It is all uncertain, it is all very miraculous and we are so very lucky to get to play in the field of these possibilities.

We also just participated a few weeks ago in a very inspiring conference here in Boulder- a Slow Money conference- basically investment inspired by the tenents of Slow Food. Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, was there. Such a wonderful man! Here is a link to a video of all the entrepreneurs that pitched, in case you want to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4H-4aCYCKM&list=PLm0tRZthpbLBmChLrDxp26rfKTQw0XF94

Happy Almost Summer pickle people- it’s going to be a great one.

 

 

 

Aunt-Barb-Seaweed-salad-22-321x215

SHINE and Aunt Barb’s Seaweed Salad

Guest Blog by Mignon Macias

Have you had Aunt Barb’s Seaweed Salad? Well, if you have then you’ll know what I mean when I say, YEAH AUNT BARB! And if you haven’t, you should get on into Shine and order yourself some!

Amanda and I took our Barb to try some of the tasty dishes Jessica Emich is creating at her (and her sisters’) restaurant. Of course, I had to order the probiotic slaw sampler by Zuke to start off our birthday bash (It was Barb’s birthday celebration). The raw appetizer included several different zesty pickled things.

Finally, food trends are catching up with Shine, where the Emich sisters strive to foster an atmosphere that nourishes community through food, music, and celebration.  In January, the New York Times named 10 food trends that have ‘legs & merit’. Appropriately, fermented foods were on that list.

For centuries, naturally cultured foods have played a key role in providing sustenance to civilizations across the globe. From Norwegian rakfisk (brine-cured fish) to Peruvian tocosh (fermented potato pulp), fermented foods provide significant health benefits to the human body. Certainly lacto-fermenting evolved as a means to preserve foods, but in modern cultures, the long-standing health advantage is what keeps it contemporary. These foods are rich in probiotics that populate the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria which support the immune system. Additionally, the enzymes in fermented foods help our bodies digest meals more efficiently. Since our birthday lunch began with these delectable condiments, we were off to a good start.

For our second course, we ordered Aunt Barb’s Seaweed Salad. This my friends, is ART in a bowl!

Tender micro greens and subtle wakame seaweed rest on a bed of tangy lemon massaged kale. House cultured carrots, thinly sliced cucumbers, and delicate sprouts make for a vibrant and crunchy salad. This dish is great to share before a sandwich, or to eat as a meal on it’s own.  We all shared two servings along with the more simple house salad, and decided to finish with some house beers as our final course.

We had a nice afternoon celebrating our Barb!  Hope this year’s journey around the sun is filled with fun and adventure!

Shine
2027 13th St.
Boulder, Co 80302
303.449.0120
OPEN FOR LUNCH & DINNER DAILY

 

 

 

vulnerability

First of all, whoever and wherever you are- thank you for taking the time to pop on to our blog from time to time and see what we are up to.  We have so much gratitude for the network of support out there that keeps us going when the days get long.

Things have been really busy lately- lots of daily tasks, lots of planning for what comes next and frankly, lots of questions. Starting a business has been a great, exciting experience for me but it has also been riddled with the naked feeling of never knowing what is around the next bend and if I have what it takes to get there. There are many challenges and many obstacles to survival and sometimes the odds seem slim. While this kind of feeling still makes me feel itchy and unsure and am starting to realize that it is also the best part about doing what I am doing. As author Brené Brown says “vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.” and I am really starting to believe her. Yes, it is hard to conquer new things and feel like you are learning a new language. It’s hard to bet the farm on something that is fringy, odd and sometimes makes people crinkle their noses, but it is also life affirming and surprising. I have met so many amazing characters, we have laughed a lot, we have fed lots of people good food and we have come to understand the value of just putting ideas into motion and trusting the trajectory.  A dear friend sent me excerpt from an article by Brad Feld, TechStar co-founder, “Being an entrepreneur, or anyone pressing the boundaries of society, can be incredibly lonely. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with people who
can help.”

One thing that starting this company has really driven home for me is how very interconnected we are. The earthworms, the folks who weed the cabbage patch, the faithful truckers, the diligent accountants, the sassy kitchen staff, the late night design guru, the babysitters.. I could go on an on. Basically, I am learning what the micro organisms already know- together we heal.

 

 

Further adventures of Zukemono

We know you have all been waiting for it- folks, Andy Gladstone….

they force their way up through hard crackling ground, desperately seeking the scorching nutrients of a dazzling New Mexico Sun.  each aspiring seedling carries the genetic design of the entire universe within its miniscule cellular walls.  for those that succeed, in this ultimate of Darwinian contests, there’s no doubting the breakthrough moment of their herculean effort.  as they first feel the fiery wall of dry heat, capable of searing the struggling lungs of active breathers, the chilies reflexively relax, & passively, cellularly, absorb the carbon dioxide-laden atmosphere and oooommmmm out the most delicious of oxygens.

Thus commencing the life-long symbiotic journey of chili peppers and their far more rapacious pre-existing lung-powered earthly cousins. These chilies, imbued with the natural, life-sustaining forces of Mother Earth herself, smolder in the blazing sun.  capturing the heat, absorbing that fearsome passion, and permeating all foods fortunate enough to rest even momentarily by their side, with their scorchiocity.  they bring such green, they bring such heat, they bring such a spicy tango of exotic flavor that chili-heads frivolously ignore the protection racket threats of rattlesnake venom, tarantula strikes, wild boar charges and gila monster bites to select the finest of these amazing fruits.  small wonder that Peter Piper (once he’d learned to pickle these prized peppers), jumped over the moon, came tumbling down and couldn’t be put back together again.  but wait, softly, is that brightest of lights, discernible to the east, even under the most brilliant of suns, not Zukemono, exploding into oblivion the shade beneath yonder chili plant?  what creative culinary synapsual firings have led her to pursue, plant by plant, the finest available offerings to be had under this crackling heat?

In an instant, Zukemono dematerializes and softly vanishes from the leathering, anhydrous desert.  within that self-same moment she’s comfortably ensconced in her cool moist overflowing playground of a kitchen.  her movements are testimony to a powerful and loving embrace of the all-encompassing reality of Now.  The picked, being pickled, peppers are mostly just bobbing in fragrant fermenting juices, though, a concentrated focus reveals that several seem to be enjoying a leisurely swim (freestyle, naturally) around their bottled pool.  splashing, laughing and simply celebrating their escape from the fearsome forces of the blistering desert.  Exhaling their celebrated capsaicin chemistry, into the breathtakingly flavored pickle bath and inhaling the remarkable emanations from their briny basin.  A partnership of flavors and natural wholesomeness thus accomplished, these playful frolicking capsicums relax into family form; dry off, slip into their pajamas, and don their ever-present nightshades.

 

 

 

The Market

This weekend we had our second day at the Boulder Farmer’s Market. It is such a vibrant, buzzing Saturday gathering that our first day had us both spinning a bit after the day was done. All of the beautiful vegetables, baked goodies, plants, flowers and people make one feel like they are in a technicolor film and everyone there is off to see the wizard of all things earthy, organic and edible. If I had more a few extra hands like Durga, I would bring my camera and do a Bill Cunningham style photo shoot of all the funky styles at the market- dogs, babies, college students, farmers, bakers and candlestick makers never looked so good. It does make one feel that the idea of buying local, organic food is really catching on and that the stampede of folks there is a hopeful nod to the future. For those of you that live close by, Mara and I look forward to seeing you there and for those of you far away we hope you enjoy your local markets and the colorful cacophony that awaits you there.

Photos by Cary Jobe: www.caryjobe.com.

Pickle Prose by Andy- Cabbages & Kumquats

We are thrilled to have Andy Gladstone- foodie, writer, neighbor- guest blogging for us this week. Enjoy the ride!

cabbages & kumquats

Zukemono bowed her head softly, in a subtle, silent and submissive manner belying her fierce passion, power and potencies.  She lightly turned and returned to the kitchen, and having absorbed the spectacular visual vibrations pulsing from the delicious pinkpurple Colorado sunrise, she felt ready to direct that organic cleansing energy toward a wondrous culinary treat.  Just as surely as the sun had scrubbed the night from black to light (and using much of the same energy), Zukemono would transform her lethargic sliced cabbage into a lively, high-steppin’ tangy fusillade of exploding transformative flavor.  As a form of soothing meditation, and in preparation for her morning cabbage capers, Zukemono gently allowed her gaze to settle on the finely sliced red cabbage reclining lightly in its silver bowl.  The light in her eyes reflected the sweetest mysteries of the universe, a light unbounded by the mortal laws of humans, laws which exist for no reason other than to filter us from the terrifyingly incomprehensible complexity and simplicity (different strokes for different folks) of our vast universe.  The energy emanating from her eyes played with the cabbage; first, gently ruffling the slices as if a gust of wind wafted over the bowl, then with a touch more vigor slowly swirling them within the bowl as if with a large wooden spoon, and finally, with one long, deep smooth inhaleexhale, coupled with a lowering of her eyes, Zukemono utilized her harmonic energy to send the cabbage tumbling into the air, gaily dancing several feet above the bowl.  Oh how those cabbage cavorted, bathing in  and absorbing the life affirming energies of the universe, swirling in a manner common to both the whirling dervishes and grateful dead twirlers of yesteryear.  After an irrelevant amount of time, the cabbage slices, now thoroughly exhausted, ecstatically free of all thought, healthily rid of the carbon-dioxide traces of old breath & trembling with the overwhelming inherent power within the purity of Now were finally, fully ready for their plunge to pickledom.

Of course there’ll be a chorus of scoffing skeptics singing, even as the cruciferae joyfully frolic to the rhythms of their whiny declarations.  Yes even the naysayers, with their soulless vision of a blackwhite logical world, helplessly resound with cosmic music every time they open their mouths to deny its very existence.  Just as Nero pickled while Rome burned. The carefree cabbage know, if you can’t beat ‘em, dance to ‘em.  Not that Zukemono would ever wish this tale to be told.  She knew reactions to her curious attunement with the beating heart of mother earth could bear far too many parallels to the Salem witch trials of 1692 and that there had been far too little human evolution since that time.  Only a closer look at the still photo (taken moments before the red cabbage waltz) explains how this story clambered across the table, scampered along the kitchen floor, scurried out the back door and escaped into a world where the magic music of the universe oft terrifies and demands are made for tax-payer funded ear plugs, blinders, and prisons.

It’s the kumquats (no, those aren’t eggs!!), stealthily pretending to languish languidly in a bowl.  In fact, they are maintaining laser-like focus, poised to pick up even a hint of vibration emanating from that large pile o’ cabbage beside them. If ever there was a loose-lipped fruit, bursting out of its skin to make mischief of an innocent cabbage promenade, it’s most certainly those juicy kumquats.  Truth be told kumquats have been a bit jealous of cabbage since first they met.  From the beginning kumquats suffered from a bit of an inferiority complex, to them it seemed size mattered.  And though they were universally praised for their luscious fragrance and spectacularly tart sweetness they always considered the cabbage an obnoxious vegetable due to its showy, lackadaisical style, the way a single head would slouch to fill a bowl designed for 30 or more kumquats. The final straw, however, was the kumquats awareness of the pizzazz produced by a pickled cabbage.  Despite their diminutive physical stature they had lorded their opulent tangy nectarous palette-tickling abilities over the cabbage.  Once they discovered that their vulgarly large & lazy acquaintance could set off its own set of spectacularly flavorful mouth-watering gymnastics it was time to make the Hatfields & McCoys (of the future) look like a couple of BFFs.

 

 

Ozuke Shirt

Good Medicine and Digestion

Often in the depths of winter I get hit with a serious humdinger of a flu and this year was no exception. I returned home from a lovely holiday with my family and after a few days I had the distinct feeling of being pulled down by a heavy weight that has kept me in bed for three days now. Being sick is not all bad. It seems to be part of a ritual of renewal  that happens for me at this time of year, usually around the Celtic festival of Imbolc.  Having some time to rest and think about ones life and ones health can create an odd sort of inspiration- just the thought of walking around and feeling good seems a true blessing and it makes you want to continue to realize that blessing and take good care of the carriage. I have (along with a stack of long neglected New Yorkers, Harpers, and Atlantics) been re-reading Green for Life, Nourishing Traditions and some other oldies but goodies that encourage balanced, sustainable good health. I also cut out a page from an old NYTimes Magazine by Mark Bittman about going mostly vegan as a way Ozuke Shirtto boost your energy and improve the state of the planet. I have been reading about pH balance in the body and as it turns out food protein, which is vital for maintaining your health, can also create an acidic condition in your body’s pH balance.  An acidic body pH condition facilitates accelerated aging, system degeneration and increased susceptibility to sickness and disease.

What else affects pH and causes it to become unbalanced? A mild acidosis condition (an overabundance of acid in the blood) can be caused by improper diet, but also by poor lifestyle habits or toxic emotional states. The amount of acid in the body can increase through ingestion of acid-forming foods, but it can also be affected by an abnormal metabolism or kidney malfunction. As we age, our body’s systematic removal of excess acid has begun to slow down which is why you sometimes feel like you need a new carburetor.
Although it seems a bit illogical, our bodies metabolize acid foods as alkaline and metabolize alkaline foods as acid. Acid foods (citrus fruits, vegetables, vinegar and other fermented foods- zuké!) all become alkaline when consumed and metabolized and so are called “Alkaline-forming foods”.On the other hand, alkaline foods (meats, flour, sugar, soft drinks, alcohol, aspirin and various medications) are metabolized by the body into “acid-forming foods.” That’s why the average American diet of hamburgers and processed food can and usually does contribute to a condition called “mild acidosis.” Although eating some acid-forming foods is okay, it is best if we consume 60-80% alkaline-forming foods for optimum health.

So, there you have it- along with a new found addiction to Downton Abbey  and a pile of used handkerchiefs I have a renewed resolve for revitalizing with more simple pH balanced foods, plenty of deep breaths and a healthy dose of gratitude.

clarified_butter

Clarifying Butter

In honor of simplicity I chose to make my own Ghee this week. I’ve often bought ghee from the store before and even though I have a middling tolerance for dairy products I seem to have no problem digesting butter or ghee.  The smell of ghee on the frying pan is simply delightful and I’ve recently enjoyed using rendered fats in my cooking, saving chicken fat from the last roast that we did inspired a round of excellent chopped liver (onions cooking in chicken fat illicit an awe inspiring drool worthy smell), and saving lard from a recent pork roast made some of the most beautifully textured oven roast potatoes.  One of these days I want to do some lard and flour baking.  That is what they would use when I was a kid to make Dan Tarts (chinese style puff pastry with egg custard), the smell of warm lard is a sure fire flashback to my youth, I am quite sure that pork fat is one of the cornerstones of traditional Cantonese cooking. There’s been much written recently on the undue vilification of saturated animal fats. All I can really add to that conversation is that I was extremely relieved to hear that fat free milk is bad for you.  I have always been drawn to fats, seared fish sends happy shivers down my spine, avocados make me smile and along with strawberries they were a very rare childhood treat (berries and avocados were very hard to find in Hong Kong in the eighties). As long as I can remember I had a deep love affair with fat.  I’m the weirdo that will cut a slab of fat off my steak and eat it first before diving into the lean meat and one time age ten when I got in trouble for fighting with my mom I went to the store and I bought her a gorgeous rib eye steak to express my deep remorse and future good will.  As far as minimally processed foods, fats and rendered fats are perfect…  butter is made of the following emulsion:  the two dissimilar substances are butterfat (roughly 80%) and water (roughly 17%) along with about 3% milk solids. The emulsion breaks on being heated and the components separate. Clarified butter is nothing more than pure butterfat. Fats will keep you full for longer, they help to balance moods, provide essential fatty acids for cell development and body processes and we cannot generate these fatty acids ourselves, they must be received from an external source.

So now that I have prayed for a sufficient amount of time at the temple of tummy I’ll post that recipe :) Clarified butter is so simple to make and a superior tool to cook with as it resists high heat sauteeing and has a mellow and comforting flavour.

Ingredients

1lb Unsalted Butter

Method:

Melt butter on medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Skim off the first foam that forms on the butter’s surface.  Reduce heat and continue to let butter simmer.  You will see the liquids separate from the butterfat as the butter boils.  Its quite pretty – roiling and rolling globules of golden emulsified liquid. After the butter has bubbled away for about seven to ten minutes a second foam will form.  Take butter off heat and let it cool for fifteen minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth.  Make sure to stop before straining liquids at the bottom of the pan. Note, you will see those three distinct parts in separation: milk solids you skim off the top, butterfat in the middle and water settles to the bottom.

Store in a sealed glass jar.  You can keep it at room temperature for up to a month.

 

 

sheep-pig

Art meets Process

sheep-pig

Andrew Plotsky’s film on pork butchery. Caution: Some images may be graphic for some viewers.

“His favorite cut of a pig? The trotter, or the foot. “If you have a trotter on a plate, you should feel blessed and not say ‘Ew,’” he says. “They’re kind of everything a chicken wing dreams of being.”

I simply had to share this film.  I found the following article this morning on NPR.  This work is inspired and inspiring.  Connect, create and feed the future.  Thank you Andrew Plotsky.

NPR: How One Former Vegan Learned to Embrace Butchering

 

god of cookery

God of Cookery

charsiufan

Hong Kong actor/director Stephen Chow made it into the mainstream US consciousness with 2001′s Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle 2004.  Both films were solid examples of Chow’s already well established comedic styling.  Hong Kong movie makers are no slackers IMDb lists 68 separate movie appearances for Chow, he’s definitely a seasoned pro. There is something about his earnest and soulful depiction of the underdog that cannot help but win your heart, especially when one is wiping away tears of laughter from his zany, over the top slapstick humor.  God of Cookery holds a special place in my heart.  Long before there was Top Chef, long before anyone in the US even knew what Iron Chef was this film rocked my world. Combining two of my favorite things, supernatural kung fu movies and insane attention to detail in food. One of the central precepts in this movie is one of my own life mottos.  Every one can cook. Actually my motto is “if you know how to eat you know how to cook”, but it’s pretty close – we all know how to eat.

dvd cover

 

Chinese language characters are dense in meaning the two characters in the title of this movie can translate as “the god of cookery” but could also translate as “the spirit of cooking”, “the spirit of eating” or “eat god”.  I like the last version of this translation because it is at once sublime and also ridiculous. There are beautiful circular references in this film where the same words are spoken on separate occasions to both the highest and lowest form of self, where lowbrow food is made into unforgettable food, where simple ingredients are imbibed with subtle life force. Nods to magical Taoism and Buddhism somehow sit easily side by side with some of the crudest over the top and simply stupid situational humor imaginable. It’s a rollicking good time and even though I’ve seen this film so many times, somehow, a few minutes in and I am committed and ready again for the ride.

Link to clip from God of Cookery