Virtual Holiday Baking with Inayat Singh of Prickly Pear Bakehouse

So WHAT or WHO is Prickly Pear Bakehouse?

Our neighbour, Inayat, is a homebaker and avid cookbook collector. She has taken numerous courses on baking as part of her travels (Italy, anyone?) and formal baking classes. On the weekends, Inayat spends time in the kitchen, working on her passion for pastry…and other delicious offerings that are part of her side-hustle.

We’re thrilled to be partnering with Inayat this holiday season for our first ever virtual cooking event! Let Inayat’s enthusiasm and expert tips transport you on the path toward making your very own Chocolate Almond Bars from the comfort of your own kitchen. Connect and engage with other members as you follow a recipe featuring ingredients that can be found package free on Karma’s shelves. Then congratulate yourself for making a low-waste gift for someone you love…or for yourself.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • WHAT: Virtual Holiday Baking (Chocolate Almond Bars) with Inayat Singh!
  • WHEN: Sunday, December 20 from 11 to 12, EST.
  • WHERE: Your kitchen!
  • COST: FREE!!!
  • RSVP: Please RSVP to cookwithkarma@karmacoop.org . Event link and recipe details will be emailed to you closer to the date.

Until then, please spread the word and check out Prickly Pear Bakehouse on social media:
Instagram @pricklypearbakehouse
https://www.instagram.com/pricklypearbakehouse/

The Winter Salad That Keeps on Giving: Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Salad with Herbed Dressing

Recipe courtesy of Sarah Bradley, adapted from Alive Magazine.

We’re nearing winter, when kitchen creations centre on root vegetables, grains, pulses, and other locally available goodies from Karma. But for now, we are still lucky to have access to some bright, colourful produce that brings memories of warmer days to our kitchens. For those of us whose work days can be long and time in the kitchen limited, it’s nice to have simple yet hearty dishes that can be prepared on days off and be savoured throughout the week.

I was inspired to make this salad during a recent visit to Karma, when the discounted produce shelf was brimming with violet eggplant, red peppers, and both yellow and green zucchini – what a luxury! I picked up a clove of garlic, a bunch of parsley, a lemon, and filled a jar of lentils, and rushed home, eager to get cooking.

This dish is bursting with flavour and different textures. It will fill your kitchen with the aroma of roasting vegetables and herbs and the satisfying earthiness of brown lentils. A rich, flavourful dressing holds it all together.

Best of all, it’s one of those meals that almost tastes even better as leftovers! After a long week, it’s so lovely to open one’s fridge to a hearty meal. Just reheat on your stovetop or in a casserole dish in your oven, top it off with more fresh herbs and serve alongside a steaming mug of tea or apple cider. It’s just the meal to fill your belly and hold in the warmth for these increasingly chilly evenings. I hope you enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 mL) dry brown or green lentils
2 medium eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
2 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
2 red peppers, quartered
1 medium red onion, quartered
1 cup (250 mL) extra-firm tofu, crumbled (press first to get rid of excess liquid)
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced Kalamata olives (optional)
1/3 cup (80 mL) olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) white wine vinegar
Approx. 1 cup (250 mL) fresh herbs (I used mint and parsley)
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 tsp (10 mL) maple syrup
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
¼ cup nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper, for roasting veggies

 

Method:

Start by salting your eggplant. Sprinkle cut sides of eggplant with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Pat dry with a clean tea towel.

While that’s happening, preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Prepare two pans either by adding parchment paper or lightly oiling them.

Next, cook those lentils. Place lentils, a pinch of salt, and 4 cups (1 L) water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until lentils have softened. Drain.

Place all veggies in a large bowl. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the two trays in the oven and roast for ~20 minutes. Check frequently to ensure they don’t burn – it really depends on your oven.

Once the veggies have cooled, remove from pans and cut into 1/2 in (1.25 cm) pieces, place in a salad bowl, and let rest for 10 minutes. Toss with lentils, crumbled tofu, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives.

Time to make your dressing! In a small blender, add olive oil, vinegar, herbs, garlic, maple syrup, tahini, mustard, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Add any additional torn herbs as a final touch.

Now dive into those flavours and the satisfaction of preparing a meal that can be enjoyed throughout the week.

Chocolate Bark, 3 Ways

Recipe and photo courtesy of Kyla Winchester.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, December is a busy time of year. There are parties to attend, relatives and friends to visit, gifts to buy, and food to make. Fortunately, homemade chocolate bark can help with several of these things, in a fairly low-stress and delicious way.

People appreciate homemade treats, and I like to make them. However, accommodating different dietary restrictions can make this more complicated, and, frankly, individually baking dozens of tiny complicated cookies is a skill I have yet to master. 

Chocolate bark is, as treats go, easy to adapt to different diets, simple to make and goes over extremely well! If you are trying to reduce your waste this season, chocolate bark will help: it looks lovely in a label-free jam jar with a little note attached. In half an hour plus chilling time you can put the bark in a jar or box and have something lovely to bring to a potluck, share as a hostess gift, or offer in a gift exchange. It also looks fancy without being over-the-top in terms of indulgence.

Accordingly, here’s chocolate bark, with some variations to see you through this busy time of year.

Chocolate Bark, 3 Ways

This can be vegan if you use vegan chocolate (depending on the brand, chocolate chips can be vegan) and dairy-free margarine; and can be gluten-free depending on ingredients.

Depending on what you mix with the chocolate, here are 3 options:

  • Peppermint Bark has crushed candy canes. Add a couple full-size canes to a sandwich bag, seal and wrap in a kitchen towel, and crush with a rolling pin.
  • Holiday bark has dried cranberries and almonds.
  • Coconutty bark has coconut and your favourite nuts.

However, this are just a starting point! Use your favourite flavours: cranberries would also go nicely with white chocolate and grated orange peel. Flavour extracts can boost the chocolate without requiring too much work. Some people like raisins with the nuts. Dried cherries or more exotic fruits, like mango and papaya, are lovely, too. Some people like a sprinkle of salt on top; I’m one of those people. Puffed rice and puffed quinoa make a wonderful addition to texture. Even crushed cookie bits! You could also go old-school Mexican-style and add chili flakes.

 

Yield: Makes 1 baking tray, which is suitable for one gift or as a treat for 4 to 6 people

Difficulty level: Easy

Time: 1 ½ hours including chilling time

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups chocolate chips or coarsely chopped baking chocolate

Optional: 1 tablespoon coconut oil or margarine helps keep the chocolate shiny, preventing a cloudy appearance, without affecting the flavor.

½ cup of additions like crushed candy canes, mix of dried cranberries and sliced, slivered or coarsely chopped almonds, divided

Method:

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Melt chocolate in the double boiler or microwave. If microwaving, heat for 1 minute, stir, then heat for 30 seconds at a time, alternately mixing, until completely melted. In a double boiler, keep the heat low and stir. When chocolate is melted, add additions but reserve about a quarter. Stir to combine. Spread on a baking sheet until it’s more or less an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining additions on top.

Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, about an hour. Break apart and put in a covered container. If all the additions are dried food, the bark can be stored on the counter. Otherwise, if using fresh food, like orange peel, for example, store in the fridge.

Comfort me with noodles

As soon as I started to think about comfort food, the phrase “comfort me with apples” popped into my head.

Photo by Kyla Winchester

I remembered it as the title of a book of food writing by a former Toronto Star columnist. However, it turns out it’s also the title of a food critic’s memoir and a quote from the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon: “Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.” The exact translation varies—sometimes it’s “refresh me with apples”, sometimes it’s “strengthen,” or “apricots.” Once it’s even, “Support me with citrons,” which I find especially interesting because I learned a citron is actually one of the citrus fruits that the other types were derived from—but also because I find citrus far more refreshing than apples.

All this to say: I don’t find apples especially comforting. 

There are a few things we probably universally associate with comfort: something warm or hot, full of carbs, with nostalgic or sentimental feelings. It’s what we want when we’re sick, or tired, or homesick, or just having a bad day. It’s the thing we want to magically appear before us when it’s January and snowy and we have to get groceries but we’d rather not. It’s the thing we want when nothing else will do. 

And yet, I find my comfort foods are changing. When I was a kid, my dad’s chicken noodle soup and my mom’s homemade muffins, fresh from the oven, were the perfect comfort foods. As an adult with the flavours of the world at my door, I now crave things I didn’t even know existed when I went to high school in small-town Ontario: sushi, pho and ramen, dumplings, panini, tamales, and anything with peanut sauce. 

My go-to for peanut sauce is thick rice noodles with baby bok choy and grilled tofu, but it’s a delight on many things: dumplings, summer rolls, even a fusion burrito… and if you dipped raw veggies in it, I’m sure no one would object. If you’re being responsible, add the sauce to your favourite noodles with a veg and a protein and you can have a healthy, filling meal. If you’re not, just pour the sauce on cooked noodles and delight in the saucey goodness.

I make no claims as to the authenticity of this peanut sauce: the original recipe may have been, but since I started making it from the recipe in my head with the ingredients I usually have on hand, it may have strayed. Fortunately, the recipe is flexible: use whatever soy sauce you have around, you can skip the ginger if necessary, make it thinner or thicker as you see fit. The beauty of comfort food is that it only needs to make you happy. 

Peanut sauce

Attributes: Vegan, can be gluten-free with tamari instead of soy sauce (check the label to confirm)
Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty level: Easy

½ cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or substitute with 1 tablespoon lime juice)
Grated or chopped garlic to taste (start with a half a large clove or 1 small clove, then add more as desired)
Approx. a 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or chopped
Chili flakes or chili sauce to taste
Cold water to thin sauce, if needed

Add all ingredients except water to a bowl and whisk to combine. Add water to achieve desired consistency. It will thicken in the fridge, so if you’re saving it for later, check consistency before adding to noodles, etc. 

Submitted by Kyla Winchester

Easy, Crowd-pleasing Autumn Apple Crisp

Recipe and photo courtesy of Kyla Winchester.

My dad was the one who cooked in our family, and I can only conclude he didn’t like making pies. For Thanksgiving, he made apple crisp, or occasionally ‘pumpkin pudding’—which as an adult I now realize is an easy way to get sweet, creamy pumpkin filling and vanilla ice cream without the fuss of making a crust. (Yes, pumpkin pudding was just pumpkin pie without the crust—sneaky, huh?)

Apple crisp is a great fall recipe, and an easy, less-fussy but still delicious dessert for Thanksgiving—and simply modified for various diets. It’s also easy to delegate to eager but less-experienced cooks who can help with peeling and coring apples. My dad’s recipe was of the ‘some of this, some of that’ variety: light on amounts and heavy on winging it. So if someone offers to make it while you and/or others are taking care of the rest of the meal, let them take it on—it’s pretty easy to have delicious results.

 

Portions: 6 to 8

Difficulty level: Easy

Time: 30 to 40 minutes active, and up to 1 hour passive cooking

 

Ingredients:

Note – For vegans, use non-dairy margarine. For gluten-free folks, use rice flour or another gluten-free flour mix. If cross contamination is an issue (such as with celiacs) be sure to get gluten-free oats.

6 large or 8 mediums apples

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup flour (You can use whatever flour you have on hand: white, whole wheat, pastry, whole wheat pastry, spelt, etc. or substitute with rice flour or other gluten-free flour.)

½ cup sugar

½ cup margarine, room temperature

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

Pinch nutmeg, if desired

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and core apples. Slice apple 1/8”- to 1/4”-inch thick. Put in a large bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add oats, flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon; stir to combine. Add margarine and use the back of a fork to ‘cut’ the margarine in, until the mixture comes together and has a ‘crumbly’ texture.

Pour out half the oat mixture onto the apples and stir to combine. Add this to an oven-safe dish around 10” square.

Pour the rest of the oat mixture on top of the apple-oat mixture and spread out evenly on top. (Don’t press it down; part of what makes it delicious is the uneven texture and the crispy bits.)

Cook 45 to 60 minutes, uncovered. Check the tenderness of the apples in the middle after 45 minutes by testing with a fork. Make sure the top is crispy before removing—if it’s not, turn on the top element in your oven, place the dish on the top rack and brown for a couple minutes. (But set a timer so you don’t forget!)

If there are any leftovers, cover the dish and refrigerate.

Note – you can modify this recipe to your preference, e.g. add dried cranberries to the apple mixture, or add chopped nuts to the oat mixture.

 

 

Intro to fermentation: How to make your own sauerkraut

In the six years I have been facilitating sauerkraut workshops, there has been a common thread among attendees: most arrive not knowing what to expect, and with a bit of fear about what will come of this experiment. Much of that fear, I believe, has to do with the reputation that accompanies all things fermentation. I hope to dispel any myths by describing what to expect from one of my sauerkraut workshops.

In a typical workshop, I begin by describing my motivations for fermenting vegetables: health, ecology, budget, and community. Then, I describe the stages of the process: chopping the vegetables, massaging them with salt, stuffing the soggy product into a mason jar, and the at-home fermentation. That’s it! Normally I sense a little relief at that point. During the workshop I add some tips and tricks that we will handle as needed.

Here is a quick overview of the process, with complete instructions included below.

Preparation:

The participants stand around Karma’s member room table with a cutting board, a chef’s knife, large bowls, and some combination of cabbage, beets, carrots, turnips, etc. Then, the chopping commences and the cut veggies are placed into bowls. This part of the workshop takes 20–30 minutes.

Massaging the vegetables:

This is the magical moment where the fermentation process begins. Sea salt is added to the bowls full of vegetables and participants then massage the salt into the vegetables until it becomes evident that a sufficient amount of liquid is produced. I once did a workshop for children between 8 and 12 years old along with their parents, and I will never forget the look in one girl’s eyes as she witnessed the water extract from the vegetables. She said, “Mummy, water is coming out and we didn’t add any water.” Intellectually, we know vegetables contain water but it’s another thing to witness it in real time.

Stuffing the soggy mess into a mason jar:

Once the salt has sufficiently extracted the water, we simply stuff the vegetables into a mason jar. When the vegetables are pushed down into the jar, the water rises up and over the vegetables. This provides the anaerobic environment needed for the fermentation to occur.

After finishing the hands-on work, I distribute the handouts. I give a number of pointers for success with the sauerkraut fermentation process, which occurs at home. At this point, some people’s fears come to the surface but with the handout, there is a sense that these fears can be overcome.


Detailed instructions

Gather your materials:

1. Ingredients

  • Cabbage (purple, green, or a mixture)
  • Sea salt
  • Extra goodies of your choice (optional; examples include caraway seeds, juniper berries, grated carrot, grated ginger, and countless other possible ingredients and recipes)

2. Tools

  • Cutting board & chef’s knife (food processor or mandolin are also options)
  • Fermenting container: mason jars with two-piece lids OR crockpot
  • Wide bowl (e.g., salad bowl or mixing bowl)
  • Mason jar funnel (optional but reduces mess — worth it for $7)
  • Tamper device of your choice (e.g., Vitamix tamper, potato masher, or big spoon)
  • Ladle or large spoon (to scoop and transfer cabbage)

A note on using clean containers (mason jars, crockpots, or other) for the fermentation process: You must clean the containers thoroughly prior to fermentation. Fermentation containers can be reused but should be cleaned before each use. They do not necessarily require the sterilization that the canning process calls for, but the containers should be clean. Also note: if using mason jars, replace the lids if they become rusty.

Prepare and massage the cabbage:

1. Chop cabbage:

a. Rinse cabbages thoroughly & remove outer leaves (save for later).
b. Chop cabbage to medium-small pieces and remove the core (save for later).

2. Massage cabbage:

a. Put chopped cabbage in the bowl and add sea salt with the following ratio: 2 to 3 tablespoons of sea salt (30 to 45 mL) for every 5 pounds of cabbage.
b. Massage until water of cabbage is sufficiently removed. Salt water should accumulate and you should now have a soggy cabbage (note how much the volume of cabbage decreases).
TIP: If massaging is tough for you, try this:
Do the massage up to a point of around 5 minutes, and let the bowl sit for 1 to 6 hours. When you return to continue massaging, time will have helped you a lot as it softens on its own, and from there it is easier to squeeze to the point of being done.

3. Transfer cabbage to fermenting container:
The goal is submersion!!

a. Transfer the cabbage into the jar (with any optional ingredients) while using a tamper device as needed to push cabbage down tightly to get the water level to rise.
b. Keep filling. When you get near the top, add the outer cabbage leaves and core that you saved earlier to ensure total submersion. Finally, put the lid on. The finished jar should have all your fermenting cabbage submerged under the salt water.
Remember to leave air space!

After the workshop — at home

VERY IMPORTANT— Submersion: As the days of your fermentation go by, note that the cabbage should be submerged under the saltwater to ensure it ferments and avoids mould. In most cases, this requires no action. In the case that your salt water level seems to be a little below the cabbage, top it up with some more salt water.

VERY IMPORTANT— The temperature should be within or very close to the range of 15°C to 21°C, which likely is the case in your home for a good part of the year. You may need to find a cool spot if your home gets very warm.

VERY IMPORTANT— Gas pressure buildup: Note that if you use a crockpot designed for fermentation, there is no need to account for gas pressure building up because a release valve is built into the container. However, when using mason jars, because we tighten the lid firmly to avoid mould, it is necessary to burp the jars to release the pressure once or twice a day during fermentation (especially from days 2 through 5). This is very important to prevent exploding jars and/or leaking. PROACTIVE BURPING IS THE BEST INSURANCE AGAINST EXPLODING GLASS!


Frequently asked questions

1) What exactly does burping mean? How do I do it?

The lid remains tight during the fermentation, but gas is produced inside the jar. Burping means opening the lid for a brief time to allow air to escape, and then tightening it again. Burping can be anywhere from 2 seconds if it is a mild burp to 2 minutes if the jar needs more time to release the built-up pressure. Keep the jar open only for the needed time to allow air to escape and tighten as soon as possible to avoid mould.

2) What location should I choose for my jar to ferment?

Remember the temperature range required for fermentation to be successful is 15°C to 21°C. This is a cool room temperature. Avoid locations near heat sources like heating vents and stoves. Avoid locations too cool in your living space like next to a cold exterior wall. Avoid direct sunlight on your jar, although room light is ok. Darkness is ok, but not required. If you choose a dark location, like in a cabinet, be sure to set up reminders to burp the jars frequently and avoid exploding jars.

3) I am concerned about how much gas will emerge from my jar when I burp it?

The recommended process is to place the jar in the sink and then burp. Also, a good optional tip is to use a dry rubber dish glove to burp. It makes it easier to grip a tight lid when attempting to open it, and it prevents spraying around of gas and liquid.

4) When I burp the jar, the fizz and gas and water spills into my sink. Is that a problem?

It’s no problem. In this case, your jar had a lot of gas to release. Scoop out the fizzy bubbles from the top and give the jar up to 2 minutes to breathe.

5) Even if I burp the jar frequently, some liquid is leaking out of the lid as it sits tightened during fermentation. What can I do about this?

Rather than placing it directly on the counter, place it either on an old rag or inside a non-metal bowl (a glass or plastic bowl will work).

6) Even if I burp the jar frequently, I’m still worried about even the slightest chance of glass exploding. For example, what about children or pets coming near the jar? Is there anything else I can do to prevent an explosion?

Ok. Safety first for sure. One tip here is that while your jar sits in the bowl or on the cloth, cover it with an old kitchen towel or cloth and weigh it down a bit to limit how far glass can disperse. Keep the jar located in a convenient place so you will remember to burp it and check on it, but make sure it is far enough away to ensure safety. Some people have had success with placing the jar in a sealed box or inside a cabinet. Again, if you proactively burp and you leave enough air space at the top of the jar, the probability of a jar exploding is very low.

7) You told me that my cabbage should remain under the salty water and now, during the fermentation, but it seems that the water is below the cabbage at the top of the jar. What should I do?

Remove any dried, discoloured leaves or any leaves showing signs of mould growth. Then, add back enough salt water to cover the cabbage, while leaving a reasonable air space. Mix your salt water using this ratio: 1.5 tablespoons of salt per litre of water.

8) I burped my jar and noticed mould on the surface of the water line and on the lid. What should I do?

Sometimes this happens and naturally occurs during some ferments. Do not throw it all away. Scrape away any mould (white fuzz or small pieces of cabbage that turned blackish colour above the water line). Continue to monitor for any mould as the days go by. The cabbage under the water is protected by extremely strong acidity.

9) I burped my jar and it smells like someone took the garbage out three days ago and then brought it back inside. Is this a problem?

It is understandable that the smell of fermentation may turn some people off. Let’s deal with this, as first impressions are very important. While we should respect our smell senses to tell us if food is ok or not, we should also keep in mind that on health journeys there is plenty of room to change and broaden our senses and tastes. For countless generations, our ancestors smelled the same scents that we smell today and went on to safely enjoy their fermented foods. Consider that it is quite possible to reject a smell at first and, given enough patience, later enjoy a safe and delicious food.

10) The cabbage core we used at the workshop is not submerging the cabbage under the water as much as I would like. It is moving around too much or it looks like a little mould is on it. What should I do?

You have options. Try another piece of vegetable from your fridge that can substitute for this purpose, OR, remove the cabbage core and carefully use a clean, glass shot glass or other clean, small object instead. Just make sure the shot glass is strong and sturdy and that you are careful as you press it down and place the lid over it. Glass can break so only do this if you are confident about doing it.

11) How do I know the ferment is happening as I move into days 2, 3, 4, and beyond?

1. Burping your mason jars is evidence as you hear the gas pressure release: bubbles from the carbon dioxide are often noticed and you will get the feeling that you are witnessing biochemistry in action, as though a living active process is under way. Some ferments have more subtle gas buildup and bubbles, while others are more dramatic.
2. Colour change often happens and you may wish to take a picture on day 1 and compare to a later day.
3. The ultimate way you know that the ferment has been successful is your taste intuition. Taste your sauerkraut after 6 or 7 days, and if you like it, simply put it in the fridge. If you taste it at that point, and your body tells you a little more time is needed, give it another 3 to 5 days, and then put it in the fridge. Whenever you do your taste tests, you will look for your personal sense of the sour, crunchy taste of sauerkraut. Less fermenting time will yield a more subtle taste. If, for example, you taste it after 14–16 days, and you prefer that, it suggests you prefer a stronger, more sour sauerkraut.

12) How do I know the fermentation is complete and what do I do with it once it is complete?

No perfect answer to how long it takes. Consider the three points mentioned above as principles. Variables such as room temperature mean that there is no specific rule. For the sake of this workshop and the first time doing this, you cannot go wrong with considering your ferment complete anywhere between 6 days and 14 days. Notice that by day 6 or 7, the gas pressure in the jar will be zero or close to zero, which indicates that the necessary chemical process has essentially happened by that point. Once the fermentation is done, the sauerkraut goes in the fridge or cold room. Now you have a preserve of a minimum of 6 months and many people feel it lasts a lot longer.

13) OK. The time has come for my first taste and even after reading all of the above and following the instructions, I am still scared. How can I trust putting this new type of food in my mouth?

No one other than you is the final arbiter as to what you eat. Remember though, we are eating a time-tested food. Remove any parts of the cabbage we used to submerge the water like the core and big outer cabbage leaves. Scoop a small amount of sauerkraut out from under the water and eat on an empty stomach, and pay attention to your body in the next little while. If you still feel scared, connect with someone experienced with ferments, and have your first tasting with them.

14) I heard someone made their own home-made sauerkraut, ate it, and felt sick to their stomach afterwards. Does that mean it’s risky?

Do not automatically assume the problem is with the sauerkraut. Sure, follow the instructions above to get the process right. That said, this brings up a good point. This is a powerful, non-pasteurized ferment loaded with beneficial bacteria. Depending on the individual, it can be challenging to handle too much of this goodness all at once. If someone’s digestive system is out of balance, a big serving can cause a die-off response (like a detox) and that can feel yucky to say the least. If this happens to you, instead of swearing off sauerkraut, consider it an important learning opportunity. If you are unsure how you may react to this food take the patient approach. Have your first serving be 1/2 a teaspoon. Then, see how it feels as you try to gradually build up to 2 tablespoons per serving and so on.

15) My sauerkraut has now been sitting in my fridge or cold room for a little while and the water level has dropped quite a bit below the top of the cabbage and it even looks like there is little water left.

Quite normal. Once it is in the fridge, the water level sometimes remains high and sometimes goes down. It is still perfectly fine either way. It still preserves for many months. Notice that once it is in the cold temperature, no signs of mold occur, even if the water level goes down. 

submitted By Leor Israelski

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Photo and recipe courtesy of Emma Kula

These sweet + spicy ginger molasses cookies are an absolute must for these colder months! The delicious smell that fills your home while they bake, is itself, reason enough to bake these cookies. 🙂 Perfect with a hot cup of coffee or tea!

Ingredients:

½ c. butter or solid coconut oil, softened

¾ c. brown sugar

¼ c. molasses

1 egg

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour (can replace with gluten-free or almond flour)

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

Extra sugar for rolling, if desired

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, cream together your butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Add in your molasses and egg and beat until thoroughly combined.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices and add to your wet mixture. Stir until combined and smooth, then chill the dough for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

When ready to bake, roll dough into 1 tbsp balls and roll in extra sugar if desired. Bake for 12 mins or until lightly browned. Let cool completely and enjoy!


A soul-warming parsnip-carrot-potato soup and an intention for 2019

Raise your hand if you’re craving warm, hearty, nourishing meals during this time of year. Though it’s been a mild winter so far, it’s nice to have a few easy meal options to whip up on those days when the bitter cold, howling wind, and limited daylight hours encourage taking refuge in the kitchen. 

The calm rhythm of scrubbing, dicing, and mixing 

The spicy aroma of ingredients mulling together on the stove

Getting lost in one’s thoughts while stirring soup

Ladling it into a favourite ceramic bowl before adding a handful of herbs 

The joy of sharing a favourite meal that is equal parts delicious, nourishing, and beautiful 

One of my intentions for the new year is to spend more time preparing food with others. Last fall I started a monthly Sunday night soup club. The idea is that a group of about a dozen friends gathers at a rotating host’s home the last Sunday of each month. The host cooks a large pot of soup, featuring a seasonal ingredient or two, and guests bring something complementary to share, like a hearty loaf of bread, seedy crackers, fruit, or a bottle of wine. We enjoy a slow meal, generative conservation, and good music, and warm our hearts and bellies for the week to come. 

Soup Club has been successful so far, thanks in large part to having access to a bounty of seasonal produce at Karma from which to find inspiration.

Every time I enter Karma during the winter, I head to the produce section to see what beautiful root veg is on offer. I love to use what catches my eye to create simple soups and stews to cook, share, and enjoy during the week (if there are leftovers).

From baskets overflowing with vibrant orange, green, and yellow squash, to jewel-like beets, earthy and grounding, to bright, crunchy multi-coloured carrots, we are lucky to have choices, even in the coldest times of the year.

One root vegetable whose call is sometimes drowned out by more extroverted veggies is the humble parsnip. I like parsnips—their mild but slightly spicy flavour lends itself well to gentle roasting, or a light sauté, perhaps sweetened with a miso-maple syrup glaze. But I often forget about them, drawn to flashier colours and bigger flavours.

After many glances at those parsnips in the corner, I decided it was time to integrate them into a well-loved soup recipe in my household: a zesty root vegetable soup made richer with a bit of peanut butter and coconut milk and enlivened by a generous sprinkle of cilantro and green onions. Bonus: its flavours intensify over time, making this an excellent soup to cook on a Sunday for plenty of weekday leftovers.

Soup Club is a reminder that cooking isn’t just about the end result. It’s also about the process: the slowing down, appreciating the resources and labour that produces ingredients, the conversations that make habitual acts meaningful. 

I hope you’ll give this soup a try! 

The recipe is inspired by the Minimalist Baker’s Creamy Thai Carrot Soup with Basil. https://minimalistbaker.com/creamy-thai-carrot-soup-with-basil/

Serves 8 medium bowls

What you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2-inch knob fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 2 pounds carrots (scrubbed, peeled, and diced)
  • 1 pound parsnips (scrubbed, peeled, and diced)
  • 1 pound yellow potatoes (scrubbed, peeled, and diced)
  • Pinches Herbamare and pepper, your favourite soup spices (e.g. chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika)
  • 6–8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, crunchy or smooth (get it from Karma’s bulk section!)
  • 1 cup coconut milk 

Optional toppings:

  • Fresh cilantro 
  • Chopped green onions
  • More coconut milk, to drizzle
  • Lime wedges
  • Hot sauce (Karma has many options, including Simply Natural sriracha)

How to make it:

1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat.

2. Add 1 Tbsp coconut oil and let melt, then add curry paste.

3. Finely chop onion, garlic, and ginger. Add to pot, stirring and enjoying the lovely aroma.

4. Add diced carrots, parsnips, and potato, and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Season with a Herbamare and pepper, and any other spices you like. I find a bit of cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika are nice.

6. Add the stock and stir gently, making sure the vegetables and spices are integrated.

7. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. 

8. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Then turn off the heat and move your pot to a pot-holder.

9. Now the fun part! Grab your immersion blender, and blend the soup until smooth (on low speed). 

10. Whisk the peanut butter and coconut milk in a bowl, then add to the soup pot and blend to combine (on low speed).

11. Return the pot to the stove, over low heat. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. 

12. Prepare your toppings (cilantro, green onion, lime wedges, extra coconut milk, hot sauce) in small bowls.

13. Serve immediately! 

Submitted by Sarah Bradley

Veggie Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

Photo and recipe courtesy of Emma Kula.

No fussy pie dough here! This quiche crust is simply made with thin rounds of sweet potato, and it’s packed with delicious summer veggies. The perfect dish to make any brunch date!

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato, sliced into thin rounds
4 large eggs
2 egg whites
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. garlic
Fresh black pepper
¼ c. milk of choice
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
A few handfuls greens of choice (spinach, kale, etc.)
Soft cheese for topping (optional)

 

Lay your sweet potato rounds in a pie dish and coat with oil. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 mins.

While it’s cooking, sautee your vegetables in some olive oil until browned and soft. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, whisk your eggs, milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder until fully combined.

Once you’ve removed your potato crust from the oven, place the sauteed veggies on top of the crust, then pour the egg mixture over. Sprinkle with cheese if desired.

Bake for another 30-40 minutes or until it is puffy and slightly brown. Slice into 8 pieces and enjoy!

Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars


Photo and recipe courtesy of Emma Kula

These incredible oat bars feature the best of the much-anticipated local summer produce, and are the perfect mixture of tart and sweet. Enjoy them for breakfast, snack or dessert, or bring them to your next BBQ or backyard patio party!

Ingredients:

1 c. rolled oats
¾ c. oat flour
½ c. coconut sugar
Scant ½ tsp. Salt
⅓ c. coconut oil, melted
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 c. strawberries, small dice
1 c. rhubarb, small dice
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ tbsp. Cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl (or right in the square pan you will bake them in), combine your dry ingredients (oats through cinnamon) and mix. Add in the melted coconut oil and stir to combine. Remove HALF of this mixture and set it aside. Press the other half firmly into an 8×8 square pan to form the crust.

In another bowl, combine your fruit, maple, lemon and cornstarch and stir to combine. Add this strawberry mixture on top of your crust, then use the other half of the oat mixture that you saved to crumble on top of the fruit.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until slightly brown and bubbly. Store in the fridge to help them firm up, then slice and enjoy!