Monday, July 20, 2009

Fantastical Fermentation FIESTA!!!

Hello dear folks,

Talia's potluck was so phenomenol, I have decided to refer to it as the Fantastical Fermentation Fiesta!

Talia's mom, Marina, a physician from Russia, and a raw foodist like her daughter Talia, is the QUEEN of FERMENTED FOODS!!! I have never in my life had so many DELICIOUS fermented foods in one sitting!!!

Tim and I tried to make up a song as an advertisement for Marina's cabbage, "what's all the fuss about? don't pout! without a doubt, you gotta shout, mamma marina's fantastic sauerkraut!"

The 'Fermentation Queen' made for us:
  • Rejuvelac! A fermented Quinoa juice. To make it, you 'crack' open raw quinoa in a vitamix with filtered water for just a minute, and you let the chunky mixture sit for a few days (?), thus, fermenting it, then strain off the liquid into a jar, discarding the quinoa chunks, and oila', that's Rejuvelac. You can use barley, rye, wheatberries, and other grains instead of quinoa. Rejuvelac was BIG at the raw retreat i went to, Optimum Health Institute. (Turns out Marina spent a week there as well!) What i DIDN'T know, was that in old Russia, the Russians used to MAKE a form of Rejuvelac and drink it. It's a very old drink with a history. The bacteria it creates by fermenting are beneficial for our digestion. Tim and I figured out finally after many tastes that the kind of nausiating elixer tastes of buttered popcorn. After that association, i had a hard time gagging it down!!!
  • Kombucha! A fermented tea that is started with an old, old "mushroom" that people pass off to one another. I don't know where Marina got her "mushroom" from. I'll have to ask! She offered ME some of her mushroom. (Uhhhh....i passed...Kombucha actually IS delicious, but i don't think i'll be making any anytime soon!) The drink tastes like a sweet gingerale that's kind of tart and acidic. It also has all of those fabulous bacteria that help us digest food.
  • Sauerkraut! Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. Marina is the queen of the homemade sauerkraut. Talia has brought me some to Arnolds Way before and i absolutely flipped. Marina explained that she takes a big dutch 'oven' (a big thick pot), fills it with 4 shredded cabbages, a few shredded carrots, mixes in sea salt, covers the top completely with cabbage leaves, then an extra big round plate that fits into the pot, and on top of the plate goes a heavy weight to weigh down the plate. As the cabbage is weighted down, the cabbage juices (created from salting the cabbage) gurgle up over the plate. That's normal. You leave the pot in a cool room, around 70 degrees, for 3 or 4 days. On the 4th day, you lift everything up and stir up the cabbage, allowing the gases to escape. You secure the lid on again and let it ferment another 1-2 days. Oila', sauerkraut!!! I can't begin to tell you how delicious Marina's cabbage is. The longer you ferment it the softer it gets and the milder it gets. I have had fermented cabbage before and i hated it, it was so squeeky and strong. Marina's is so soft, it feels like cooked cabbage. I am so inspired to try to make this wonderfully healthy delicacy!!!!
  • Sauerkraut salad! Marina mixed fresh chopped parsley, chopped cucumber and chopped tomato and onion in with the original sauerkraut from above. Man, oh, man, was this ever good!!! It kind of "spread" out the sauerkraut, and created an even milder salad. SO DELISH i cannot tell you how many servings of this i had!!! 5 or 6?? I LOVED it!!!!
  • Fermented vegetables! Marina took a big pot, again, added big chunks of zucchini and carrot and other veggies, salted them, and i think did the same as with the sauerkraut - securing a lid and weight on them and then let them sit for days. Wow! What can't she ferment???!!!!

Marina told us that in Russia, there are no fruits and veggies available during the winter, so before winter, EVERYTHING that could be pickled and fermented WAS - to keep for winter and to eat then. Pickled watermelon, pickled this, pickled that. It is SO good for you and so delish!

The potluck was so fun and so nice! The weather was gorgeous and perfect. The house and grounds, beatiful, provided such a nice ambience. The company fabu. The hostesses, Talia and her mom, so generous, warm and lovely.

Talia is as pretty as ever :-)) What a beauty! She brought down her new kitten, an adorable furball that all of us wanted to sneak home in our purses. The doggies, however, uh, well, Talia can keep those!!!! We were all lovingly attacked and licked to death by her huge rambunctious golden retreivers. I wasn't sure i would make it out alive after their repeated zealous greetings, um, maulings. But i did!!!

We had such a good time! And the food was SOOOOOO good!!!!

Tim and Leslie and i brought the 'toona' salad, which turned out yummy, but not as yummy as Leslie's raw blueberry pie. OMG!!!! DELISH!!! Her pie shell was to DIE, i mean, to LIVE for!!! Pecans, coconut and dates. Simple. And THE best EVER I have tasted to date!!!

Joan and her brother, Frank, and their Aunt Mary brought such good stuff, a yummy shredded cabbage slaw, a absolutely divine peach and raspberry "pie" filling (fresh peaches, quartered, with a tub of raspberries poured over in a blenderized sauce of fresh peach, agave and coconut oil), oh my, was this ever good! Joan also made jicama fries from the Boutenkos cookbook, "Eating without Heating." Amazing!!! Joan also made a shredded cabbage slaw. She also made this interesting drink! It looked exactly like coffee with cream in it, and had the mouth texture of prune juice. It was made of spearmint leaves blenderized with mango and watermelon!

Talia made a delicious corn salsa, "What i've been eating daily," remarked Talia, and a zucchini hummus with raw bread. The zucchini hummus was so light, wow. Oh, there was fresh Kolrabi (?) from Marinas' garden as well, sliced thinly. Delish! Like a sweet turnip! I was gifted my own Kohlrabi...which i will shred and make a salad for Cliff! He already thoroughly enjoyed sauerkraut leftovers with his lunch!!!! OOOhhhh, one of THE BEST dishes, and one of the SIMPLEST and total 80-10-10 was the mango durian pudding!!!! Awesome! Just mango and durian blenderized. WOW!!!

Arnold, my boss, was so gracious to come, too! His sons wedding was yesterday, but he still made it out! He brought some luscious green smoothies!

I brought some Ranier cherries and we all devoured those.

I must be missing something...but you get the jist. It was FABULOUS!!!

Aunt Mary sang several songs for us and led us in singing Happy Birthday to Tim.

I will soon be interviewing Tim and Leslie for the blog. They are so amazing. They run daily. They are over 50 but have the bodies of 20 year olds. They are committed raw foodists, so on fire for raw. One can't help but get caught up in their zest and enthusiasm for life, for raw, for living, for loving!

I, uh, really enjoyed myself at the party, um, really, really enjoyed myself, did i say, really? (tee hee) i think i ate 3 plates worth of food. But, so did Leslie, so i didn't feel so badly!!! I was hungry. It was late, almost 5pm when we ate and i'd only eaten fruit until then, so it was worth it!

I can't say i felt totally in control, i didn't, there was some significant panic, especially because some of the items were well salted, absolutely heavenly, but life is too short to always be...perfect!!! Fiestas are a time to enjoy beloved friends and enjoy good times. Everyone eats too much at a party, so it's not such a biggie. I enjoyed myself :-)))

Thank you Talia and Marina for such a lovely day!

I took 3, 3, can you believe it, 3 poops today, haha! It must have been all of that cabbage!!!

I'm staying away from salt today since yesterday was a high salt day. I weighed in this morning at 256.5 and that kinda freaked me out. It's still not as bad as 258, so i'm overall doing better than last week. The only problem with this week is the lack of time off of work to do my salt free recovery days.

Oh well.... Rome wasn't built in a day!!!

A PRODUCTIVE DAY...a good day!!!
No walky yet today. Would be nice to get one in. [i just did...35 mins of fast pace!]

Very productive day today, however. I practiced my singing, practiced my monologue, did several loads of laundry, several loads of dishes, went shopping, did some cooking for Cliff. All good. I also put all of our laundry away.

Always saying to myself, "i wish i had more 'pure raw joy'. i'm always complaining and bemoaning my fate on the blog."

But, i had a good day today, though. It felt very joyous, indeed! It was a mix of decadent and 80-10-10ing, yet all salt free. Quite an enjoyable, moderate day, if i say so myself. A very productive, luscious and joyfilled, pure raw joy day.

As was yesterdays potluck!!!!!!!!!

1 glass of chocolate strawberry shake. Craved something decadent. (Strawberries, bananas, cacao, almond butter, agave, vanilla). Permitted a decadent breakfast and in so doing realized i'd had enough after one glass. I think this is the way to pure raw joy. Listening and learning it's okay to want, partake, and lovely to stop.

blended salad soup (1 tomato, 1/2 cucumber, a little water, celery, 1/2 zucchini, some lemon juice, blenderized. no salt no oil. first bite? blech. 2nd? yum. last bite? wish i had more!

vanilla banana pudding (5 small bananas, vanilla, ice) yum. simple. delish.

salt free 'ceasar salad'. YUM! big bowl romaine, red onion, lots of nutritional yeast, dressing of: garlic, cashew butter, water, juice of 1 lemon)

3 glasses leftover chocolate strawberry shake. uh, yummmmmo!

EXERCISE: 35 mins kickass walk!

SNACK: raw lemonade (lemon, lime, ice, filtered water, agave); chopped romaine salad (pulse chopped romaine, onion, carrot, kohlrabi) with leftover cashew/garlic/lemon dressing. yummmmmmmmmmo!

Much love, xoxo michelle joy

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