21 November 2014

Sake Process Pictures

Lovely look at the moto

Steaming 5 pounds of rice

The moto bucket

Bamboo steamer getting burned!

Gallon +1 cup of water for the 5 pounds of rice

Fermentation: 3 Weeks

Yesterday there was a mild fiasco with my ale pale. The spout decide it would be good to start leaking the precious sake on the floor. Much to my dismay and my dog's glee. With the help of my spouse, we transferred the ~3 gallons of sake mash into a big mouth bubbler. I sampled some of the brew and it is fabulous tasting. Sweet, alcoholic, floral, yeasty. I moved the bottle to attic. My thoughts being the outdoor temps are around 30-40 degrees and ambient building temperature ~65 degrees. I figure that should be somewhere around 50 degrees.

The bottle will sit for roughly three weeks, undisturbed. On December 9th, I will start Yodan. Because I am unrealistically ambitious, I am planning on starting another batch on Thanksgiving weekend.
I took this picture as fast as I could !
It's cold!

18 November 2014


Tomezoe started this morning with the addition of 20 oz of more koji. This evening I set aside the final five pounds of rice (10 cups) to soak. Tomorrow night I will steam the soaked rice in batches. I'm really getting my money's worth on this steamer. I think I've learned the best approach for this steamer too. The steamer must be propped on the edge of a large water filled pan. Soaking the cheese cloth or fabric before putting the rice on top prevents it from sticking.

Newsflash: I tasted the moto this evening and it tastes amazing! Sweet, yeasty, floral. I am beside myself with joy. I can hardly wait to get to Yodan.

I plan on starting another batch on Thanksgiving weekend and another on Christmas weekend.

Interesting note:
At the time, sake was brewed only 5 times a year. Each sake, brewed in different season, had its name and were called "Shinsyu", "Aisyu", "Kanmaezake", "Kanzake" and "Haruzake". "Shinsyu" was brewed around the autumn equinoctial week. "Aisyu" was brewed in the season between "Shinsyu" and "Kanmaezake". "Kanmaezake" was literally brewed just before winter. "Kanzake" was brewed in the depth of winter, and "Haruzake" was brewed in spring. Not surprisingly, it was hard to beat "Kanzake" for its quality and flavor. kikusui-sake
Sake and Rice

 In this vein, my batch would be classified as "Aisy" sake. I started it after the first day of Fall and before the first day of Winter. My Christmas brew will be "Kanmaezake". I'm curious to see how these all compare.

17 November 2014

Nakazoe: Sake

Nakazoe began this morning with the addition of more koji (aspergillus covered rice). When I arrived home, I began steaming the 6 cups of rice for the moto and the 2nd addition-Nakazoe. If you think 6 cups is a lot, just wait until Wednesday. I will be steaming 5 pounds of rice! 

When I cracked the lid this evening to add the steamed rice and water, the moto was happily bubbling and emitting pleasant odors. The rice in the moto has maintained its shape. I wondered if it would melt down into a goo. The smells are still yeasty, fruity, and sweet. I tasted it again, not something ready to be drunk yet. 

After Wednesday, Tomezoe, fermentation will commence for 2 weeks. The final step is Yodan. You will have to wait and see what happens in Yodan. 

Fun side note: my loving spouse returned from a trip to Maine and stopped in New Hampshire along the way. He acquired many bottles of different sakes for my drinking pleasure. I was so pleased. I sampled an aged, blended nigorizake. Blended sakes typically have fruits like plums or lychee added into the final product. I love the beautiful unfermented rice solids (Lees) suspended in this unique beverage. I'm starting to get really excited about the future prospects of this fermentation. 

15 November 2014

Hatsuzoe: Sake

If you are following along, the past two weeks the moto (mash) had no rice additions. The first week of November I stirred it twice a day. Last week I dropped the temperature to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and let it sit undisturbed. 

Hatsuzoe began yesterday evening. I added one cup of Koji and stirred it. Last night I soaked two and half cups of rice and steamed it this morning.  I feel like my bamboo steamer has a significant learning curve. The first addition of rice I steamed all stuck to the cheese cloth. This time the rice was a bit mushier than I would have preferred. 

Steaming Rice inside a pot
Today I will be stirring/agitating the moto every two hours and tomorrow I will soak more rice to for steaming. Monday begins Nakazoe. More rice and Koji is added to the moto. Fermentation is but a few days away. The process is lengthy but exciting. I tasted some today and the smell is on target for sake aroma but the taste is dry, fermented. Not something I'd want to pour in a glass and gulp down. I am excited to see how the rice characteristics pan out and create multidimensional flavors.

mmm...Future sake....

30 October 2014

New Fermentation Adventure

I was talking with a friend recently about all the wild and crazy fermented foods I have made. She was intrigued by what encouraged my  craziness  creativity. She asked if blogs or articles inspired me or if I just struck out on my own. I pondered the question for a moment and realized it was the latter. I get "hair brain" ideas about things I want to eat or replicate and I just go with it. 

So here you have it-my next adventure:

An Ale Pale for Fermenting
1 Step and Star San: Two great bucket clearners
I was celebrating our fourth anniversary with my husband recently. We ordered a bottle of nigorizake to go with our love boat platter. It hit me! I have to make sake. The nigorizake was floral and sweet. I was in love with sake...and my husband, of course. He was incredibly supportive of the idea. He is a seasoned homebrewer, so he had the equipment I would need. 

The following entries will be a road map of my sake brewing experience. This is no sourdough bread culture or kombucha. This is a 45 day adventure with a bunch of steamed rice, cool water, koji (glorified mold) and sake #9 yeast.

Tonight, I have to soak 1.5 cups of rice and start .5 cup of koji liquid to sit overnight in the fridge. This is the moto or the mash. The moto creates the moromi which is a nine day process. I will be using Nishiki sushi rice and Cold Mountain Koji.

First addition of rice steaming away

29 July 2014

Recipes XXVI: Blueberry Pineapple Rustic Tart

Our CSA (community supported agriculture) was really laying the blueberries to us. I love blueberries. We had two pints and I wasn't sure we could eat all of those before they lost their luster. I had one jar of pineapple left from last year's canning extravaganza. A plan started a-brewin' in my mind. I thought the sweetness of the pineapple would meld well with the tartness of the blueberries. It worked! And it was a beautiful piece de resistance!

Blueberry Pineapple Rustic Tart

 Serves 8

2 pints of fresh blueberries
16 oz of crushed pineapple
4 tbsp corn starch
1/8 cup of turbinado

1 3/4 cups spelt, white/wheat, unbleached and/or wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
5 tbsp room temp butter
1/3-1/4 cup cold water
2 tbsp turbinado

Roll out crust into a circular shape. Flour lightly and place onto silicon baking sheet on pan. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Fill with the blueberry pineapple contents. While filling the center, start folding the edges of the crust over and pinching the seams shut. Place pan into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven. Serving suggestion: dust with powdered sugar and a side of vanilla ice cream.

21 July 2014

Recipes XXV: Weeknight Soup

I was feeling under the weather this week and needed a pick me up of sorts. Chicken noodle soup is not vegetarian, so that wasn't happening. I rustled around in the cabinets. I literally whipped this up in a few minutes. It made for a perfect evening with a steady downpour of rain and snuggly blanket.

Weeknight Soup

2 servings | ~170 calories per serving

4 cups of water
5 oz mixed frozen Cascadian Farms veggies
Small handful of rice noodles
2 vegan not chick'n bouillon cubes such as Edward & Sons
Splash of olive oil
Fresh chopped rosemary
Dusting of poultry seasoning
2  crush cloves of garlic

Mix everything into a pot and boil for 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Serve piping hot with some garlic bread or a baked potato.

02 July 2014

Recipes: XXIV: Bean Burrito

Its been a while, I'm ashamed to say. Between graduating from my yoga teacher training, raising our puppy- Rufus and all of life's side dishes, I've forgotten to add some new ideas on here.

What's the deal with refried beans? I've pretty much hated beans all of my life. Enter refried beans, about 1 month ago. I've become obsessed with their savory goodness. I've even consulted Google on the matter of this craving. Well if you find yourself screaming yes for refried beans, even before lunch; I completely understand.

So I give you :

Le Bean Burrito (Freezer version)

Makes 8 large burritos

1 package of 200 calorie burrito shells
2 cans of vegetarian refried beans
2 avocados
1 package of Mexican cheese
Cherry tomatoes
8 oz Sour cream
1 cup of dried rice in its cooked form
Taco seasoning (dry)

Here are your two options depending on how many calories you want:

610 calories | 22 grams protein

1 shell
1/2 cup of refried bean and avocado mixture
1/2 cup rice with taco seasoning sprinkled on
1/8 cup of cheese sprinkled on
4 cherry tomatoes cut in half

Layer and wrap the burrito shell. Then fold the wax paper over the burrito and tape it shut.
Takes 1 minute per side (2 minutes in total) to heat.

443 calories | 20 grams of protein

1 shell
1/2 cup of refried bean and avocado mixture
1 tablespoon dollop low fat sour cream
1/8 cup of cheese
4 cherry tomatoes cut in half

Layer and wrap the burrito shell. Then fold the wax paper over the burrito and tape it shut.
Takes 1 minute per side (2 minutes in total) to heat.

17 March 2014

Recipes XXIII: Chocolate Craisin Cookies

I was having a lazy, rainy Sunday and wanted a treat to match my mood. I made a batch of apple cinnamon vegan cookies but it didn't hit the spot. During the week I had thought up a hypothetical cookie and wanted to see how it would work out. I was quite pleased. One could probably get away with eating these for breakfast...

Chocolate Craisin Cookies

Makes ~12-15 cookies

1 cup flour
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
5 tbsp coconut oil (non-melted)
3 tbsp chopped craisins
1/4 or 1/3 cup of dutch cocoa powder
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup of steel cut oats
optional: non-dairy choc chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In stand mixer, combine all ingredients at one time.
Mix/mux it around until it forms a nice brown doughy consistency.
Using a spoon, drop cookies onto pan with parchment or silicone baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Cool on rack.

07 March 2014

Froyo + Veganism

I was all down and out thinking, "drat, I won't be able to get any froyo on my breaks at work". But then I remembered froyo is only half of the fun. How about the huge buffet of toppings?!?! With a little discretion and research, I had one hefty bowl of topping with raspberry sauce. No sadness or frowns there! It probably was healthier too since I had nuts and fruit and oreos.....well sorta.

05 March 2014

Veganism Day One

Today is my first day of going vegan for lent. I'm kind of nervous actually, uncharted waters I suppose. Yesterday I did my best to get my dairy fill to last me 40 days. I had homemade cheese pizza and a coconut Popsicle.

If you remember correctly, I've been transitioning my foods to vegan. I'm hoping this lent it won't be too terrible like the time I gave up sweets/candy/cookies as a hormonal teenager. Egad, that was awful.

I found an outstanding website VeganWolf that gives an extensive list of foods that are vegan (surprise! Swedish Fish are!) and recipes to make vegan sour cream, whipped cream, etc.

I'm taking on the challenge today!

24 February 2014

Recipes XXII: Cashew Cream Sauce

One thing holding me back from fully giving up dairy is cheese. Oh delicious morphine, pus, antibiotic and hormone rich -cheese! Sounds delicious right? That's when I met Cashews. I have hated cashews plain by themselves. But when blended up right with herbs and nooch, they morph into a glorious sauce you want to get inside. These nuts can make a sauce for your pasta you can feel good about indulging in, instead of guilty!

Cashew Sauce (adapted from Vegweb.com)

1/2 cup raw cashews
3 tbsp -1/3 cup of nutritional yeast
1.5 tsp pink salt
Dash of pepper
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 squirt of lemon juice
1 cup of water from boiled pasta (contains starch)

For Alfredo: Less nutritional yeast, garlic
For macaroni and cheese: more nutritional yeast, thyme, parsley
For thin cream sauce (ie: salad dressing): more pasta water
For sweeten condensed milk: less water, add sugar, a bit of corn starch and vanilla extract in place of herbs and salt

Blend the nuts into a fine powder. Add herbs, lemon juice, oil and yeast and blend until uniform. Pour in water and salt. Blend until thickens. Adjust as needed for thickness and desired dish.

Recipes XXI: Tofu Yogurt

Does dairy have your gut in a bunch? Too much mucus muck? I know the feeling. To ease my lenten vegan challenge, I'm introducing vegan foods into my diet. I have been fighting to make non-dairy yogurt. Its freaking tough. I follow recipes and end up with a great big pile of fail. I believe I've found something that works. Sorry in advance if you're not on the soy train; this one is not for you.

Tofu Yogurt

1 high powered blender
1 banana
2 tubs of silken organic tofu (ie: nasoya)
half pint organic strawberries
7 vegetarian probiotic tablets
4 oz of non dairy sweetened milk
1/3 cup raw sugar
vanilla extract
Jam(if desired)

In the blender, add: tofu, fruit, sugar, and extract. Blend well until smooth. Pound the probiotic tablets into a fine dust. Microwave the 4 oz of sweeten non dairy milk until temperature reaches 115 degrees F. Dissolve the probiotic dust to the warmed milk. Then pour it into the blender and blend again. Blam-o! Yogurt with probiotics.

30 January 2014

Vegan Challenge

The Challenge: So I've been vegetarian for almost 2 years. It's been great. I've always held the vegan title on a high pedestal, surrounded by glimmering clouds and angels singing. Not sure if I'd ever make it to that glorious place. So for Lent, even though I'm not currently a practicing Catholic, I challenge myself to go Vegan for 40 days and 40 nights minus Sundays.

Currently: I've been easing in vegan products and reducing my dairy/egg intake. I've been practicing with flaxseed and cornstarch instead of eggs. I've been experimenting with cooking vegan dinners. I made a beautiful round of vegan cinnamon rolls with vegan icing. I found this link (yes, I know crazy old Peta) to actually be quite helpful in exchanges for baking: Vegan Exchanges

-Things I'm finding:
*Earth Balance is fantastic ( I actually ate a spoonful of buttery spread-by itself!).
*Vegan Tofutti is better than cream cheese and faintly sweet.
*I made a vegan carrot cake with vegan icing and the omnivores crushed that haus in less than 2 days.
*Eating vegan-ish things =ability to eat more food. I am a chow-hound.
*Alfredo cashew cream might save my life. I need to find the creator of it and shake their hand.

My goal: Go vegan for roughly 1 month and see how well I do.
* I hope to successfully make tofu cultured yogurt
* Make more cashew cream
* Incorporate more vegetables
* Challenge myself
* Eat more cauliflower, possibly try to eat kale

13 January 2014

Recipes XX: Vegan Freezer Burritos

Its been a while since August. The winter slump, has not visited me. I almost feel a little sad about this. In fact, December became the highest speed month so far. Thanks to our newest family member, Rufus, our Brittany puppy. I still manage to find time to create something between yoga school, work, Rufus, and chores. I'm working with an 100 year old potato bread culture passed to me by a friend. I'm dabbling in vegan food and tried my hand at almond yogurt last night. But here is one recipe I must share with you. It is clutch when you're running out of the door to yoga class or don't have enough food in the fridge to make a proper meal. Its brimming with protein and fiber. My omni husband crushed through the remainder I had after running out of burrito shells.

Vegan Freezer Burritos: when life is just too f^cking busy

Makes 8-9 burritos. Roughly 410 calories per burrito. 

1 package of burrito shells (I like the Mission flour 200 calorie ones)
1 can of black beans
2 jars of taco sauce
2 ripe avocados
1 can of organic corn
1 cup of organic quinoa
1 cup daiya shredded "cheese"
1 roll of wax paper
1 roll of tape

Start by soaking the quinoa in a bowl of water for 5+ hours. There are saponins naturally occuring in quinoa and they are rough on your system.

Rinse beans and corn in strainer. Cook quinoa in broth of choice until moisture is driven off. While its simmering, peel, deseed and mash avocados in small bowl.

In a large bowl, combine: beans, corn, faux cheese, cooked quinoa, avocado mash and taco sauces. Stir gently to homogenize.

Roll out a 9-10 in piece of wax paper on the counter. Place tortilla shell on top. Scoop heaping 1/2 cup of mixture into center of shell. Fold up the tortilla (instructions on package for novices). Wrap the wax paper up well over the burrito, secure shut with piece of tape and then insert into freezer. Repeat until all mixture is gone or shells run out. If the shells run out first, grab some tortilla chips and start dipping. :)