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Vegan Chocolate Macadamia Truffles with Coconut

Khatta Meetha Chivda

Celebrating 100 Years Since the First National Campaign to Go Meatless

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kefir vegetarian recipes

Red Cabbage, Blueberry and Apple Sauerkraut + Giveaway

September 27 2017 Golubka Kitchen 

Red Cabbage, Blueberry and Apple Sauerkraut + GiveawayThis post was created in partnership with Raw Rutes, fermenting crock giveaway below. I grew up with home-pickling and fermenting as the norm. Food in the Soviet Union was not only scarce, but also highly seasonal, so if you didn’t take care to preserve some tomatoes or cucumbers for the winter, you wouldn’t be able to taste any until the next summer. My mom made sure to stock our cool basement with jars of pickles, tomatoes, and fruit preserves every summer, as did pretty much every woman around. Other common fermentation projects included kombucha (or the ‘tea mushroom’ as we call it) way before it was cool, kefir, and of course sauerkraut. I can’t say that I’ve continued all these traditions. I do make my own kombucha, but I can’t motivate myself to do a big batch of pickles, and you can buy such good ones in the store anyways. Same goes for tomatoes, especially since California grown ones are available all year round, and will do if a big craving hits. Sauerkraut is a different story though, because it takes very little work, and the return is so good. I’ve fermented sauerkraut in jars and in big pots, inventing weighted contraptions out of any appropriately-sized object I could find, but what I’ve always dreamed about is a nice, clay fermenting crock with custom weights that fit inside perfectly. The two things that have stopped me from getting a proper fermenting crock were the hefty price tag and the considerable size that they usually come in, which is not very countertop-friendly. I was incredibly excited when Raw Rutes reached out about their Yaozu 2 Liter Fermenting Crock, because it addressed those two points perfectly. It’s petite and sits on my countertops very compactly, yet it can still fit two small-medium heads of shredded cabbage. It’s also quite a bit more affordable than traditional crocks. I love that it’s a clean white too, because they are often brown – not my favorite color, at least for my kitchen. If you’re not familiar with fermenting crocks, the main thing to know is that they make the whole fermenting process really easy and safe. All you have to do is shred whatever vegetables/­­fruits you want to ferment, salt them with either salt or salty brine until they are covered with water, weigh them down, and leave them be for a few weeks while they magically transform. The natural clay that the Yaozu crock is made with makes the environment clean and safe, and the water channel up top takes away the need for an airlock. The crock comes with clay weights, which fit inside perfectly, and ensure that all your veggies are submerged in the brine, which prevents any mold from developing. It’s truly a magical pot. For my first fermenting project, I wanted to do a sauerkraut that was a bit more colorful and exciting than the traditional kind. I used purple cabbage together with blueberries and apple, with a bit of coriander seeds for extra interest in flavor. It took about a week and a half, and came out really delicious. The predominant flavor is of sauerkraut, but there are juicy, sweet and salty bursts from the blueberries, as well as a bit of crunch and sourness from the apple. I can’t wait to experiment more. I even know my next project – the fruit kimchi from Sandor Ellix Katz’ book, The Art of Fermentation. Making your own kraut/­­any fermented vegetables is a really addicting activity. Once you try your first batch, you won’t be able to stop, which is great, since fermented foods are so nourishing. Probiotics are on the tip of everyone’s tongue nowadays – we’ve all heard that having a balanced microbiome is key for good health. Completing little fermenting projects at home and enjoying the results daily is the perfect, incredibly affordable way to contribute to that gut health of yours :) Giveaway: Raw Rutes, the charming online shop full of back-to-basics kitchen tools, is giving away their Yaozu 2 Liter Fermenting Crock to one Golubka Kitchen reader. To enter to win, leave a comment here with your favorite item from the Raw Rutes offering or favorite fermented food until October 11th, 2017 (USA only). Red Cabbage, Blueberry and Apple Sauerkraut   Print Serves: about 2 large jars Ingredients 2 small-medium heads of red cabbage 2-3 tablespoons sea salt 2 green apples - peeled and sliced into 1-inch sticks 12 oz blueberries 2 teaspoons coriander seeds (optional) Instructions Rinse your cabbages and remove the outer leaves. Save a few of the leaves and set them aside. Cut the cabbages in half and cut out the core. Cut each cabbage half into quarters and shred on a mandolin slicer or with a sharp knife. Put the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and mix in the salt, then massage it well until the cabbage starts to release juices. Let the cabbage sit in the bowl for about 30 minutes to release more juices. Mix in the apple slices, blueberries, and coriander with your hands. Pack everything tightly into your fermenting crock using your fist. Cover the surface with the reserved cabbage leaves - this will make sure that nothing will float to the top. Place the ceramic weights on top. At this time, all the contents of the crock, including the ceramic weights, should be completely submerged in juices. If thats not happening, let everything sit for a few more hours and see if the cabbage releases more juices to submerge. If there is still not enough liquid after a few hours, make brine with 1 cup filtered water and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Pour the brine into the crock, until the weights are just covered with the liquid. Its important to have everything submerged in liquid at all times to prevent any mold from forming. Pour brine or filtered water into the water channel and cover the crock with its lid. Let everything ferment for 1-2 weeks, tasting periodically, until the flavor is sour to your liking. Refill the water in the water channel as it evaporates. After a few days of fermenting, the brine should be nice and bubbly. If you have a cool basement, you can also start out the fermentation in a warmer room for the first week, and then move the crock to the basement to finish off the process (the basement should not be too cold!). Once your sauerkraut is done, pack it into clean glass jars, covered with brine, and keep it refrigerated. Save some of leftover brine to use as a starter in your next fermentation project, which will kick-start the process much quicker. You can also take little shots of the brine for a nice probiotic, booster. Have fun! 3.5.3226 You might also like... 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Penang Laksa

March 13 2017 The Lotus and the Artichoke 

Penang Laksa Incredibly, I’d been in Malaysia for almost two weeks before I got to try Laksa, the legendary noodle soup. Even before the trip, I’d read about the intensely loved, powerful and fiery, somewhat-sour soup in food blogs and food guides to Malaysia. I’d checked out plenty of recipes and seen lots of super tasty photos. Once I got to Malaysia, whenever I asked locals what dishes I had to try, I heard again and again: Laksa! Okay, great, but where? And the answer was: Penang! Penang was hands-down my favorite place to eat on the Malaysia trip. (Singapore was a fairly close second. Penang was just more artsy, soulful, and real). I collected maps with locations of the best street food in Georgetown (Penang) and scoured the web and my travel guides for addresses of must-try vegetarian restaurants. On my second day in town, I had lunch at the vegan restaurant Sushi Kitchen, and met the chef/­­owner, who made a list for me of Must-See places and dishes. That night I went to Luk Yea Yan, a vegetarian Chinese restaurant known for fantastic flavors and inexpensive eats. I ordered up the Laksa soup. Three minutes later my oversized bowl of hot, steaming, bright red soup arrived - with countless ingredients and toppings piled up to the rim. There were at least three kinds of noodles, tofu cubes, soya and seitan chunks, numerous vegetables, about four kinds of fresh herbs - and balanced on top: a soup spoon with a thick, red curry paste on it. I’d read about this… Traditionally Laksa is usually served with a generous spoonful of rempeh - spicy red curry paste for you to stir in to the hot red broth yourself. I knew what to do. I did it. A half dozen flavors immediately exploded in my mouth: tamarind, chili, lime, pineapple, cilantro, mint. This was followed by a second wave of flavors: an army of vegetables, tofu, and seitan slices. I slurped down the noodles and paddled pieces of everything with my chopsticks into my hungry jaws. I had to take a break a few times to catch my breath and cool the spice alarm with generous draws on my lemon iced tea. When I was done, my forehead was light with perspiration and my lips and tongue were tingling and alive. There was never a doubt whatsoever that I would include a vegan recipe for Penang Laksa in my new Malaysia cookbook. Several weeks later (after having tried vegan Laksa soup at least three other times in Malaysia) I was back in my kitchen in Germany and set to work. It took a few attempts to master the recipe, each try better than the last. And then I had it: my own epic Laksa recipe! Since then, I’ve made it probably ten more times, including for several dinner parties large and small, and plenty of times for lunch. It’s best on cold, cloudy days to fire up your mood and open you up! But I’ve also made it lots of other times, even in the summer, well… just because it’s so awesome and is always a dish guests talk about long after the meal. Penang Laksa classic Malaysian noodle soup recipe from The Lotus and the Artichoke – MALAYSIA serves 2 to 3 /­­ time 45 min - 5 oz (150 g) seitan sliced - 3.5 oz (100 g) smoked tofu sliced - 1/­­3 cup (45 g) pineapple chopped - 1 Tbs vegetable oil  - 1 Tbs soy sauce or Vegan Fish Sauce - 7 oz (200 g) udon noodles (cooked) - 2 1/­­2 cups (600 ml) water  - 2/­­3 cup (150 ml) coconut milk  - 1 kefir lime leaf or 1 tsp lime zest  - fresh mint leaves chopped - fresh coriander leaves chopped - fresh thai basil leaves chopped - bean sprouts for garnish laksa spice paste: - 4 candlenuts or 2 Tbs cashews soaked 20 min in hot water, drained - 1 stalk lemongrass chopped - 1/­­2-1 large red chili chopped - 2 cloves garlic chopped - 1 shallot chopped - 3/­­4 in (2 cm) fresh galangal or ginger chopped - 1/­­2 tsp paprika ground (more as desired, for red color) - 1/­­2 tsp fennel seed ground - 1/­­2 tsp coriander ground - 2 tsp coconut sugar or agave syrup  - 3/­­4 tsp sea salt  - 1 tsp tamarind paste (seedless) - 2 Tbs lime juice or lemon juice  - 2 Tbs vegetable oil  - If using dried Udon: Cook, rinse, and drain 3.5 oz (100 g) noodles according to package instructions. - Blend spice paste ingredients in a small food processor until smooth. - Heat 1 Tbs oil a large pot or wok on medium high heat. Add sliced seitan and smoked tofu. Fry, turning regularly until edges are browned and crispy, 3-5 min. - Stir in chopped pineapple. Continue to stir-fry, 2-3 min. Add soy sauce (or Vegan Fish Sauce). Fry 2-3 min. Transfer to a plate or bowl. - Return pot or wok to medium high heat. Fry blended spice paste until it darkens and oil starts to separate, stirring constantly, 3-5 min. - Gradually stir in water, coconut milk and kefir lime leaf (or lime zest). Bring to simmer. Add cooked udon noodles. Return to simmer. Cook until noodles have slightly softened, 3-5 min. - Stir in fried seitan, tofu, and pineapple. Turn off heat. Cover until ready to serve. - Portion soup and noodles into bowls. Garnish with chopped herbs and bean sprouts. Serve. Panang Laksa vegan recipe from The Lotus and the Artichoke – MALAYSIA (available as printed cookbook & ebook - in English & German) The post Penang Laksa appeared first on The Lotus and the Artichoke.

Spiced and Seeded Multigrain Loaf & A Giveaway

September 15 2016 Golubka Kitchen 

Spiced and Seeded Multigrain Loaf & A GiveawayBefore I tell you about this bread, I want to mention that we are hosting an amazing giveaway for one KoMo grain mill this week, so be sure to read on for the details – it’s a beauty! I have a friend who inspires me to no end (hi Ira!). When she comes over, we sit at my kitchen table for hours, exchanging stories and drinking way too many cups of tea. My husband is always amazed – what can we possibly be discussing for that long? Ira formally studied Ayurveda and has an amazing wealth of knowledge when it comes to a good wellness routine, so there’s one answer to his question. We can go on and on about things like oil pulling, abhyanga, herbs, Tibetan rites, and food, always food. She is one of those cooks who is just naturally really good at it. As in, every one of her ‘recipes’ sounds as if she threw a bunch of things together, always eyeing and never measuring, but the result is devastatingly delicious every time. The idea for this bread comes from this magician of a friend, who prepares something similar weekly. It falls into the category of soda breads, which is a lower maintenance breed of bread that rises with the help of baking soda instead of yeast. The approach here was to make a ‘complete’ loaf of bread, full of freshly ground flours, grains, seeds, nuts, and aromatic spices. It’s not a traditional loaf, being more dense, nutritious and filling than your basic sourdough – one slice goes a long way. I feel okay about making a simple sandwich with it for my eight year old’s school lunch, knowing that she will stay full throughout classes and an after school activity after eating it. It’s special and it’s powerful. Make it, and you will have a dependable accompaniment to any one of your meals throughout the week. This week, we are hosting one of the most exciting giveaways we’ve ever done. It’s for one KoMo grain mill from Pleasant Hill Grain – a beautiful, electric stone-grinding appliance for dry grains and beans, which I used/­­talked about in last week’s recipe. I utilized it to grind the wheat and rye for this bread, and baking with the super-fresh flours it produced was such a pleasure. I talked in depth about the benefits of stone grinding in my previous post, but basically, stone grinding preserves all of the grain’s nutrition and produces the most delicious flour. The mill itself is almost a museum-worthy object, skillfully crafted in Austria. I truly can’t wait for one of you to get a hold of this beauty. To enter the giveaway, Pleasant Hill Grain asks that you like their Facebook page, visit their website and leave a comment here with the product(s) you like from their offering – they will appreciate your feedback. The giveaway is for U.S. 48 Contiguous States only and open until 9/­­22/­­16. Good luck ;) Spiced and Seeded Multigrain Loaf   Print Serves: 1 loaf Ingredients 2 cups sprouted/­­whole spelt flour 1/­­2 cup rye flour 1/­­4 cup corn grits/­­polenta 1/­­4 cup steel cut oats ½ cup mixed chopped nuts and seeds (ex: walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia and poppy seeds), plus more for garnish 1/­­4 cup coconut sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 tablespoon coriander seeds - freshly ground 1 tablespoon cumin seeds - freshly ground 5 cardamom pods - freshly ground 1/­­2 teaspoon cinnamon ¼ cup millet - soaked overnight 1 1/­­3 cups plain kefir or yogurt neutral coconut oil or other vegetable oil for oiling the baking surface Instructions Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Combine spelt and rye flours, corn grits, steel cut oats, nuts and seeds, sugar, salt, baking soda and spices in a large bowl. Drain and rinse millet and set aside. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour kefir/­­yogurt in, then add the millet. Mix by gradually incorporating flour into the kefir in a circular motion. You should end up with a very soft dough thats not too sticky. Turn the dough onto a well-floured working surface and gently roll into the flour. Shape into a round loaf. Place the loaf onto a well-oiled baking surface - a cast-iron pan or tray. Alternatively, put the dough into a well-oiled or lined loaf pan. Slice the top surface of the bread a couple times and sprinkle with nuts and seeds of choice. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the crust is golden. The base of the bread should sound hollow when you tap on it. Notes If you dont have rye flour, use 2 1/­­2 cups sprouted/­­whole spelt flour. 3.5.3208 You might also like... 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25+ Healthy Foods Vegetarians and Vegans Should Eat with Kale

October 1 2015 Vegetarian Times 

25+ Healthy Foods Vegetarians and Vegans Should Eat with KaleChef Jennifer Iserloh, author of 50 Shades of Kale and one of the founders of National Kale Day, offers great suggestions on how vegetarians and vegans can maximize this green ingredient for good health. The Skinny Chef and healthy cooking expert features kale in our latest online course, Gentle Cleanse 7 Day Detox, with delicious, sustainable meal plans designed to get you looking and feeling your best. Use code KALE25 to get 25% off for a limited time. Making Kale Healthier for Vegetarians and Vegans Plant-based diets are definitely in vogue, and for good reason. Plants provide a wide range of nutrients with few calories.  But if youre limiting your diet, make sure you maintain nutritional balance so that you feel your most energized, sharpest self! Vegetarian Kale combines well with many foods for a variety of dishes. If you are vegetarian, you have plenty of kale combo choices that will help aid in nutrient absorption, improve digestion, and provide crucial nutrients that a lot of vegans and vegetarians miss. Check out this list below to find out how to pair kale with ingredients that will provide balanced nutrition. B12 Eggs (Try: Sweet Potato and Kale Frittata with Goat Cheese) Swiss Cheese Manchego Cheese Parmesan Cheese (Try: Kale-Pecan Pesto) Iron Lentils Spinach Navy beans Sesame Seeds Gut Health/­­Fermented Foods Kefir, dairy or coconut Pickles Olives (Try: Tuscan-Style Spaghetti with Kale and Cannellinis)  Sauerkraut For Vegans B12 Nutritional yeast (Try: Garlicky Cheezy Kale & Crispy Chick’n Salad) Fortified plant milk Fortified Tofu (Try: Asian Kale, Green Bean, and Tofu Salad) Vegan Mayonnaise Iron Lentils Spinach Navy beans Sesame Seeds (Try: Sesame Noodles with Kale) Gut Health/­­Fermented Foods Pickles Olives Sauerkraut Coconut Kefir Fats Antioxidant-rich fats like those found in nuts, coconut, olive oil, sesame oil and safflower oil are useful to cook with kale since this green vegetable is high in fat soluble vitamins such as A and B. Healthy fats are important for proper brain function and maintaining glowing skin. Mix kale with foods that are high in  fats, such as avocado for a tasty kale guacamole, or use coconut oil to cook up amazing shishito peppers with kale.

Cherry, Pistachio, and Cardamom Kefir Smoothie

May 13 2014 Vegetarian Times 

1. Pour milk into 16-oz. glass jar, and stir in kefir grains. Cover jar with several layers of cheesecloth or paper towels, and secure with rubber band. 2. Store jar at room temperature out of direct sunlight, and allow kefir to ferment 24 hours, or until thickened. (Healthy kefir grains will thicken milk in 24 hours, though this process may take as few as 12 hours in warmer temperatures, or as long as 48 hours in cooler temperatures.) Check kefir periodically to gauge thickness. 3. When mixture reaches desired thickness, strain kefir into glass, stirring gently until only kefir grains remain in strainer. (To keep kefir grains viable, stir into new batch of milk within 48 hours.) 4. Blend prepared kefir, cherries, pistachios, honey, and cardamom in blender until smooth and creamy.

Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola

March 6 2014 My New Roots 

Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola Having a baby really puts your priorities under a microscope, because the little time that they are actually asleep during the day is your opportunity to get important things accomplished. Things like bathing, eating, laundry, doing your taxes, calling you mom. Funny then, that lately my priorities dont include any of those activities. Instead it seems that the most critical thing to do as soon as my son shuts his eyes, is making chocolate granola. And yes, I really need a shower. This trend began a couple weeks ago, nearly at the completion of my cookbook manuscript, the most overwhelming deadline of all time looming over me, that I got the most intense craving, not only for carb-y chocolate yum yums, but just to do something other than work and change diapers. When I finally put my finger on what it was I wanted, I whipped up a batch of chocolate granola so fast I even had time to sit and enjoy it before I heard the little waking whimpers of my babe. It was awesome. Needless to say, that huge jar of chunky, chocolate-y, uber-satisfying granola was sooooo gone almost as fast as I had made it. Obviously this granola recipe is really, really yummy. Dangerously so. In fact it is so good, Ill admit to pulling a slightly crazy/­­selfish move and telling my husband that it was burnt granola so he wouldnt eat any of it. When asked why I was shoving scorched cereal into my mouth I sheepishly told him that I didnt want to waste any food. Shameful! And since hes reading this, now he knows Im crazy. This granola is the kind of thing that you can eat right out of the jar by the handful, and its saved me on all the afternoons when I needed something filling and indulgent-tasting when my energy was waning. Although you can eat this stuff for breakfast, its a little on the rich side for my taste so early in the morning. I like to think of it more as snacking granola. Ill leave the application up to you. Your Buddy Buckwheat One of my latest obsessions, besides this granola, is buckwheat. Although the name suggests otherwise, buckwheat is actually not related to wheat, nor is it even a true grain. Buckwheat is the fruit seed of a plant similar to rhubarb and sorrel and a super substitute for people with wheat or gluten sensitivities. Buckwheat has a high protein content, and contains all essential amino acids, making it an excellent choice for vegans and vegetarians. It is high in magnesium, a mineral with a pleasant muscle-relaxing effect. Side-note for the ladies: eating magnesium-rich foods before your period will help ease cramping, headaches and back pain. Buckwheat is a wonderful food for improving cardiovascular health. Buckwheat contains rutin, a flavanoid that helps to maintain blood flow, keeps platelets from clotting, and strengthens capillaries. Buckwheat also reduces serum cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. If youve ever tasted buckwheat honey or anything containing buckwheat flour, youll know that it has a strong, assertive flavour. Although its delicious as a porridge, or replacement for grain in a salad, stir-fry or stew situation, I would call it an acquired taste. In this granola however, it just becomes crispy, crunchy and adds a great texture You can find whole buckwheat, often referred to as buckwheat groats at natural food shops and good grocery stores. Its natural colour is verging on pale green and has a distinctive, pyramid shape. The dark brown variety of buckwheat is called kasha, which has been toasted. Although delicious, for this recipe you are looking for the raw version of buckwheat so that you can toast it yourself. Although you could pretty much use any grain you like in this recipe, I chose oats and buckwheat for a tasty, textured balance of gluten-free goodness. And I can say with total confidence (as I admit to testing this recipe more than once) that any nut would be delish - hazelnuts and walnuts were my favourites, but almonds, cashews, pecans or Brazil nuts would also be great. To serve, get creative. I really dug this granola with sliced bananas and homemade almond milk (which turns into chocolate milk!!!), but it would be delicious with yogurt, kefir, or sprinkled on top of cooked cereal, such as oatmeal. And as previously suggested, delish right out of the jar by the paw full.     Print recipe     Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola Makes 8 cups Ingredients: 3 cups /­­ 300g rolled oats (gluten-free if necessary) 1 cup /­­ 200g buckwheat 1 1/­­2 cups /­­ 65g coconut flakes 1 cup /­­125g hazelnuts (walnuts are also delicious) 1/­­4 cup /­­ 30g chia seeds 1/­­2 tsp. fine grain sea salt 1/­­4 cup /­­ 35g coconut sugar 1/­­3 cup honey or maple syrup 1/­­3 cup coconut oil 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1/­­2 cup cocoa powder (organic, fair-trade if possible) Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350°F /­­ 175°F. 2. In a large bowl combine oats, buckwheat, coconut flakes, chia seeds and coconut sugar. Roughly chop nuts and add them to the mix. 3. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add honey or maple syrup, vanilla, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine until smooth. 2. Pour liquid ingredients over dry and fold coat. 3. Spread mixture out in an even layer on a lined baking sheet and press firmly with the back of a spatula to ensure that the mixture is compact. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip granola in large chunks, and place back in oven to bake for another 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes until toasted and fragrant. The dark colour of the granola makes it hard to tell if it is cooked or not, so go by smell. Another good way to test it is by tasting a hazelnut, which takes the longest to cook - it should taste nutty and pleasantly roasted. Whether you choose to eat this granola for breakfast or an afternoon snack doesnt matter. What does matter is that you make chocolate granola a real priority in your life. Laundry can wait, emails can wait, and your hair looks just fine a little on the greasy side.

Dovga – Azerbaijani Wedding Soup

August 20 2014 Golubka Kitchen 

Dovga – Azerbaijani Wedding Soup I recently talked a bit about my home region in Russia, and its array of food cultures and cuisines. Its unique geographical positioning near the republics of the Caucasus mountains allowed me to form all kinds of connections with people from the neighboring areas, while living there most of my life. My sister-in-law, Alla’s, family resided in Azerbaijan for many years. Visiting their home for lunch is always a treat, as the table is guaranteed to feature some authentic Azerbaijani dishes, learned first-hand during their stay. This time around, Alla’s mother introduced me to Dovga, an Azerbaijani wedding soup that is traditionally served at the celebratory table between meat dishes, as a vitamin and digestion boost. I couldn’t believe I’d never tried the soup before – it is exactly the kind of thing I want to eat during the summer. The base for dovga is made up of several types of fermented milk beverages, refreshing and healthy probiotic drinks, such as matsoni, ayran, and kefir. All of these cultured dairy drinks originate from the mountains of Caucasus. As it turns out, kefir, which nowadays is one of the most beloved beverages in Russia, was not introduced there until the beginning of the 20th century. People from the Caucasus have always been known for their incredible longevity. In 1908, the Russian royal scientists were determined to unveil the mountain people’s fountain of youth. They sent a young woman scientist by the name of Irina Sakharova down South, to fetch some kefir grains from Bek-Mirza Baichorov, a Karachai prince who was rumored to have the goods. Baichorov did not want to give up his people’s secret, but legend has it that upon seeing Irina, he fell in love and proceeded to kidnap her, which is a customary courting routine in those parts. Later, in court, the freed Ms. Sakharova offered to drop the charges if Baichorov gave up some of his kefir grains, to which he agreed. Soon after, the nation, and later the world, fell in love with the miraculous drink. Who knows how much of this legend is true, but I like thinking of it as fact – a beautiful story of kefir and unreturned love. Back to Dovga – it is packed with a great amount of herbs and leafy greens. Now is the time to eat as many greens as you can, while they are still fresh and abundant at markets, before fall sneaks up on us. Dovga can be served hot, right after making it, or cold. It is not recommended to reheat it after it’s been chilled. It is delicious either way, but the cold version is my favorite.   The photos you are seeing here are from Sochi and its surrounding areas – a magical place where the Caucasus Mountains meet the Black Sea, where the climate is subtropical and summer nights are lit up by fireflies. Dovga makes a big batch/­­large pot of soup Notes: 1. If you do not have authentic matsoni, feel free to use kefir or yogurt, or a mixture of both. Whey (leftover liquid from ricotta cheese making among other things) is also a great addition. You can substitute the herbs and greens according to your taste. 2. Back home, there is a type of rice that is typically used in dovga, which cooks very fast. Therefore, the rice is added in uncooked rice, and it’s ready by the time the dovga is done. Here, I used cooked rice because none of the rice available to me would cook so quickly. 3. Alla’s mom also adds 1 1/­­2 tablespoons of flour, but I left it out. Adding the egg helps to make this soup creamy and prevents the liquid from separating. I haven’t yet tried making it without the egg. If anyone tries it, please let me know how it goes. 2 large bunches spinach 2 bunches cilantro 1 large bunch parsley 1 large bunch dill 5 green onions handful of mint leaves plus more for garnish handful of basil leaves plus more for garnish 2  liters mixed fermented milk beverages – kefir, yogurt, whey, or just kefir/­­yogurt  (the ideal mixture would be: 1 liter kefir, 1/­­2 liter yogurt or matsoni, 1/­­2 liter whey or water ) 1 cup cooked rice (I used brown rice) 1 egg – beaten 1 generous cup cooked chickpeas – optional sea salt to taste 1. Chop the spinach and herbs, set aside. 2. Whisk together all of the beverages in a large pot. Add in the rice, egg and chickpeas, and whisk everything together. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. 3. Add spinach, herbs add salt. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, continuing to stir. Remove from heat. 4. Serve immediately or chill at room temperature and then in the refrigerator to served chilled. Garnish with mint, basil and cilantro leaves. Enjoy!

Kefir Orange Julius

May 13 2014 Vegetarian Times 

1. Pour milk into pint-size glass jar, and stir in kefir grains. Cover jar with several layers of cheesecloth or paper towels, and secure with rubber band. 2. Store jar at room temperature out of direct sunlight and allow kefir to ferment until thickened. (Healthy kefir grains will thicken milk in 24 hours, though this process may take as few as 12 hours in warmer temperatures, or as long as 48 hours in cooler temperatures.) Check kefir periodically to gauge thickness. 3. When mixture reaches desired thickness, strain kefir into glass, stirring gently until only kefir grains remain in strainer. (To keep kefir grains viable, stir into new batch of milk within 48 hours.) 4. Combine prepared kefir, orange juice, vanilla, and sugar in blender. Pulse to combine. Blend in ice cubes individually until as creamy and frothy as you like. Taste, and blend in more sugar to sweeten as desired.


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