Kombucha Vinegar with Berries and Herbs
March 7, 2014, 12:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


We went out of town for a weekend, and that week I never did get around to decanting a batch of kombucha.  So the crock went for 2 weeks without fresh tea and got pretty strong. When I tested the pH, it was 2.9, so I figured everything was normal and went about my business of adding fruit puree. I really should have tasted it. A day or two later I poured myself a big glass of berry kombucha and got an equally big surprise. Major acid burn. The stuff is vinegar.

What good is berry vinegar? Sounds like salad dressing to me. So let’s stew it a little while longer with fresh herbs. We’ll see what happens.

Second Batch of Double Ferment Kombucha
January 31, 2014, 3:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Really really really delicious stuff. Hitting all the right pH markers, yet not at all as vinegary tasting as store bought kombucha. I looked at the use-by date on a bottle of GT’s today and it was good til June of this year. That’s a long time for the stuff to continue aging! Might explain the strong taste of commercial kombucha – given transport and shelf time, it’s probably pretty mature by the time you get it. I decanted a bottle today that was 2.5 pH, and it was still milder than GT’s. It will be part of the third round of experiments, flavored with lemon juice, Hibiscus flower, a scant bit of sugar to help it carbonate, and finished with chia seeds. Swoon.

Kombucha: First Round of Second Fermentation
January 27, 2014, 1:25 pm
Filed under: in the kitchen | Tags:


We’re experimenting with varying levels of fruit puree to kombucha. This is about 14 hours after setting up the second ferment.  The additive consists of Costco’s frozen organic berry mix pureed with some water and strained, +/- 100ml of puree per bottle.  Bottle on the right is carbonating right up. The other two to lesser degrees. Fourth bottle, not in picture, is a GT Classic tinted bottle that we keep stealing from, nevermind waiting, because the stuff is so dang tasty (read: sweet) after you add the berries. We’re measuring pH with a handheld meter calibrated with a 4.01 buffer solution.  Currently reading 3.7, online camps are mixed to whether kombucha belongs in the 2.5-4.0 range or 2.5-3.5 range. I feel pretty safe where I’m at, but we’re going to let one bottle go to the end of today, and the rest go into tomorrow, and see if the pH lowers noticably. It’s also fair to note the kombucha was three and change when we added the fruit. I don’t think I’d like it at 2.5…too tart for me.

Growing a SCOBY from Store-Bought Kombucha
January 24, 2014, 4:39 pm
Filed under: in the kitchen


Here we have the first week result from attempting to grow a SCOBY from GT’s Classic unflavored commercial kombucha. The word classic on the label reputedly means that the bottle contains the pre-reformulation recipe and can therefore grow a healthy mother. From what I’ve seen online, most blogs note that it will take weeks to grow a SCOBY from scratch and that it will be much weaker than one you can get from a friend or online. This one seems to growing pretty fast to me, especially considering it’s winter and I’ve got lousy insulation. I plan to also get a SCOBY via trade on Craigslist. We’ll do some side by side testings for taste, pH, and whatever else I can think of.

Berber Whisky
June 2, 2013, 1:40 pm
Filed under: in the kitchen


Occasions you might drink complimentary Berber Whisky:

  • Visiting any local family (know your saha from your besaha)
  • Each and every time you check in to a new riad or kasbah
  • If there’s a whiff a business transaction might occur

Why you might drink complimentary Berber Whisky:

  • To be a gracious guest
  • It might be accompanied by delicious coconut cookies
  • Half the sand between Ouarzazote and Rissani is in your mouth
  • The optimist in you is holding out that maybe this time you will be able to finish the glass

How to make authentic Berber Whisky:

Put twice the amount of inexpensive Chinese green tea (of any variety) than you need per person in a heavy cast metal teapot with no thermal breaks between pot and handle.  Top off the rest of the pot cavity with washed, loosely packed fresh mint leaves.  Fill teapot with boiling water. Steep way overlong for green tea, to insure end result will be eye-crossingly bitter. Reach for the teapot handle and acquire a second-degree burn. Grope around the tea set until you find the I-really-can’t-take-that-back-to-the-US handle cover and put it on the handle.  Again reach for the teapot, fill one tea glass with tea. Return that tea to the tea pot. Put a cube or three of sugar in the bottom of each tea glass. Pour tea slowly into each glass, starting from close to the glass and then pulling the tea pot up and up and up such that the tea froths in the glass. Froth = easier to pick out flies or dirt with the tip of your finger.

Assuring your host that this cheek-puckering, tongue-curling bitter brew is perfect, drink tea as slowly as possible, with the hope it will be time to leave before you reach the bottom of the glass.

*Everyone in Morocco is gracious and hospitable and you will drink the tea and like it.

**Photo taken at Kasbah Ennakhile in Nkob, where they were very nice to us and the jack-of-all-trades waiter/bellhop/busboy/unlocker-of-doors was very handsome.

Herb Steeped Vinegar and Ancho Chilis from the Garden
January 7, 2013, 11:57 am
Filed under: in the garden, in the kitchen


Labradorite Hoop Mod
December 18, 2012, 9:15 pm
Filed under: DIY, projects

Labradorite Hoop Mod

One year Anthropologie sold a pair of pearl earrings that I lusted after. I bookmarked them hoping they’d go on sale, but they sold out at full retail. Ever since, I’ve had a will-not-go-away itch to recreate them.

I love pearls, but I also love labradorite, and when I found a stretchy bracelet of labradorite chips, I bought it immediately with just this pair of earrings in mind.

It then took year(s) to find a gold hoop that was the right mix of clasp-type, gauge, quality, and price. I found the hoop this weekend on sale at Banana Republic.

Done and done.