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


Drying Oranges for Tea
June 30, 2012, 9:57 am
Filed under: in the kitchen


Almost all my favorite tea mixes (not to mention my very favorite beverage aid – mulling spice) contain dried orange chunks or peel in them. I’ve been contemplating crafting my own tea mixes for a while, and up until the last couple of months, I was certain I would simply be buying dried orange from Mountain Rose Herbs or a similar organic retailer. The thought of buying oranges retail and then going through the effort of drying them didn’t seem cost or labor effective. Sad to say, living where a lot of citrus is grown doesn’t seem to translate to savings at the register.

However, I’ve moved to a new neighborhood in the last year, and lucky lucky me, it seems like everyone has a citrus tree of one type or another in their yard. Even better, the neighborhood directly north of me hosts a Produce Exchange on Sunday afternoons. I’ll post more about that later, but suffice to say for now, it meant I could trade the lemons growing in my yard for oranges growing in other peoples’ yards.  In fact, the day I happened to attend, there were so many oranges up for grabs that it was more like a 6:1 trade than a 1:1 trade.

My kitchen crowded with free oranges, a gleeful me went to work figuring out how to dry them. Turns out it wasn’t hard at all. But what exactly did I want for my teas? The whole orange dried, or just the zest?  Wouldn’t the pith part of drying the whole orange make my teas bitter? An experiment was in order.

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Masala Chai
June 29, 2012, 9:01 am
Filed under: in the kitchen

Long time no see, dear blog. I have been enjoying life very much, and have lots to share. While I work on ramping up content, here’s a fun and fabulous video I’ve been enjoying the past few days. I tested the recipe this morning, and all I would add is half a teaspoon more sugar in your mug when you pour the tea.


How To Make Masala Chai from High Beam Media on Vimeo.

Sorbet Soda
July 3, 2009, 12:46 pm
Filed under: in the kitchen

sorbet soda

I found some of those infamous Meyer lemons at the Japantown farmer’s market and immediately juiced six of them to make strawberry lemon sorbet. Which was dang good in and of itself.

But the later use of it as a concentrate, mixed with sparking water to make soda, was in-cre-di-ble.

Start with this recipe. Prior to chilling, put mixture in your blender and add a large handful of strawberies – fresh or frozen. Proceed per usual.