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Delicious & Healing Foods by Dr. Cook a.k.a. the Cultured Cook

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World's Easiest Vegan Yogurt

January 3, 2018

Vegan Yogurt with Cherries and Pomegranate

One day while I was busy straining whey from a batch of homemade dairy-free yogurt, and waiting for what seemed like way too much time, I said to myself “there must be a better way.”  I knew that yogurt had been made this way for hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of years, but that was when yogurt was made from cow’s, goat’s or camel’s milk.  With the substitution of cashews in place of milk, I set to work to find a better, no muss and no-fuss method for making dairy-free yogurt. 

Realizing that the culturing time can only be sped up so much (after all, the little beneficial bacteria need time to work their magic), I figured that the best way to improve yogurt-making was to remove the straining curds from whey process, which is not only time-consuming, and somewhat labor-intensive, it is also messy. I wanted a simple, delicious, and healthy recipe to share in my new book: THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life

After a few tries, I discovered that it is possible to make delicious, cultured yogurt without all of the fuss (or mess) of straining curds from whey.  While it still takes several hours for the probiotics to proliferate, which gives yogurt its signature tangy taste, in a mere few minutes of actual prep time you can make your own yogurt. And, of course, you can set the probiotics to work while you sleep, thereby greatly reducing the seeming wait-time for your fresh-yogurt. 

Not only is this yogurt delicious, it tends to have a larger diversity of probiotic strains than commercial yogurt…and you know from the taste whether it actually contains live cultures, which is hard to know from commercial varieties that often contain many additives.

Additionally, this recipe contains all of the fiber (most unflavored yogurt contains none) and is naturally thick like Greek yogurt.  It even thickens up even more overnight, making it the perfect base for sauces, salad dressings, and marinades. 

Vegan Yogurt with Flaxseeds and Sunflower Seeds

World's Easiest Yogurt

Makes approximately 1 quart/Liter of yogurt

3 cups raw, unsalted cashews

2 cups filtered water

1 probiotic capsule or ½ teaspoon probiotic powder

In a medium-sized glass bowl with a lid, place the cashews, water, and empty the contents of the probiotic capsule.  Discard the empty capsule shell.  Stir ingredients together until combined.  Cover and let sit for 8 to 24 hours depending on how tangy you like your yogurt.  Puree the ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Return to the bowl.  Serve or refrigerated for up to four days.  Enjoy!

 

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a celebrity nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life60 Seconds to SlimThe Probiotic Promiseand Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, ThriveGlobal, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at CulturedCook.com and DrMichelleCook.com.

 

O Christmas Cheese! O Christmas Cheese! (Vegan)

December 21, 2017

Cranberry Cracked Peppercorn Cheese (Vegan)

Photo credit: Michelle Schoffro Cook, All rights reserved.

O Christmas Cheese! O Christmas Cheese! How lovely are your flavors.

O Christmas Cheese! O Christmas Cheese! How silky are your textures.

Not only gluten-free and dairy-free, but also packed with probios.

O Christmas Cheese! O Christmas Cheese!

Thy delicious-ness is astounding!

Okay, it’s not exactly Shakespeare but you get the idea. I wanted to create some cheeses that were perfect for holiday gatherings and parties so I used Chevrew (my own dairy-free, fermented creation that I showcased in my book The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life.

Then I gave the cheese the holiday makeover and turned it into two types: Cranberry & Cracked Peppercorn and Rosemary Chevrew. Both cheeses were an absolute hit and everyone who ate them at my recent Christmas gathering loved them! And, unlike most cheeses these ones are packed with plentiful amounts and a wide variety of health-boosting probiotics. So they are all pleasure and no guilt.

 

Chevrew

Makes two blocks

This creamy, savory cheese is the perfect accompaniment with fruit, crackers, or on a cheese and antipasto platter but it’s so good you’ll likely eat it on its own now and then.  I love it atop a mixed green salad with sweet fruits, particularly peaches or figs, and a handful of pine nuts or pumpkin seeds.  You can also serve this cheese with the peach chutney on page xx.  This delightful cheese has a soft texture reminiscent of the goat cheese known as chèvre.  This cheese is one of my favorites and is packed with health-building probiotics.  It’s so good you’ll probably want to eat it every day—like I do.

Makes approximately 1-1/2 cups

2 cups raw, unsalted cashews

1 cup filtered water

2 capsules probiotics or 1 teaspoon of probiotic powder

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted but not hot

1-½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt

 

Cranberry Cracked Peppercorn Cheese:

1/4 cup dried cranberries + extra for garnish, coarsely chopped

Pinch cracked peppercorns

 

Rosemary Chevrew:

1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced + extra for garnish

 

Soak cashews in the water for 8 hours or overnight.  Blend the cashews and water together until smooth and creamy.  Pour into a small glass dish with a lid.  Empty the capsule of probiotics into the cashew mixture and stir together.  Discard the empty capsule.  Cover with a lid or clean cloth and allow to the mixture to ferment for 24 hours.

Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor and add the coconut oil, and sea salt and blend together until smooth.  Divide the cheese mixture into 2 bowls.

 

Cranberry Cracked Peppercorn Cheese (Vegan)

Photo credit: Michelle Schoffro Cook, All rights reserved.

 

Cranberry-Peppercorn Cheese

In one bowl add the cranberries and cracked peppercorns and combine until well mixed. Line a small round (approximately 3” across) or rectangular bowl (approximately 2” x 3”) with cheesecloth and sprinkle chopped cranberries across the bottom. Pour the cranberry-peppercorn cheese mixture into the bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 to 6 hours or until the cheese becomes firm. Remove the cheese from the bowl and flip upside-down onto the serving plate or cheese board of your choice. Remove the cheesecloth. Serve immediately with crackers, bread, nuts, celery sticks, fresh figs or mandarin slices. Keep any remaining cheese covered and refrigerated for up to one week.

 

Rosemary Chevrew Vegan Cheese

Photo credit: Michelle Schoffro Cook, All rights reserved

 

Rosemary Chevrew

Line a small round (approximately 3” across) or rectangular bowl (approximately 2” x 3”) with cheesecloth and sprinkle chopped half of the minced rosemary across the bottom. Pour the plain chevrew mixture into the bowl and sprinkle the remaining rosemary on top. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 to 6 hours or until the cheese becomes firm. Remove the cheese from the bowl and flip upside-down onto the serving plate or cheese board of your choice. Remove the cheesecloth. Serve immediately with crackers, bread, nuts, celery sticks, fresh figs or mandarin slices.  Keep any remaining cheese covered and refrigerated for up to one week.

 

These cheeses are simple to make, elegant on any holiday cheese platter, and a delicious addition to your festive foods, but they are so good you’ll want to enjoy them all year long.

Photo credit: Michelle Schoffro Cook, All rights reserved.

 

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a celebrity nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life60 Seconds to SlimThe Probiotic Promiseand Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, ThriveGlobal, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at CulturedCook.com and DrMichelleCook.com.

 

 

 

7 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar + Recipe

December 16, 2017

Making Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar is Easier than You Think

There are countless claims on the Internet about seemingly miraculous health benefits of apple cider vinegar consumption, but is it all true?  I hit the research journals to separate fact from fiction and proven claims from the Internet-sustained urban myths. 

I discovered that apple cider vinegar has many beneficial properties but most of the claims floating around in cyberspace are unfounded in research.  Here are some of the evidence-based health benefits of incorporating apple cider vinegar into your daily diet: 

Improve Insulin Sensitivity in Diabetes

Several studies demonstrate vinegar’s ability to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar responses when eaten as part of meals or taken before bedtime, which may offer help in the treatment of diabetes.  Here are links to a few of the studies, if you’re interested in learning more:  Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, another European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, and Diabetes Care

Regulate Blood Chemistry in Diabetics

Improving insulin sensitivity isn’t the only way apple cider vinegar appears to help diabetics.  It has been shown to help normalize other aspects of blood chemistry as well.  Research showed that apple cider vinegar helped regulate blood chemistry of diabetic animals fed the vinegar as part of their regular diet for four weeks.

Killing E. Coli on Produce

The Journal of Food Protection assessed the effects of spraying various solutions on lettuce inoculated with E. coli.  While the apple cider vinegar did not kill the E. coli completely, it helped to reduce the numbers of the bacteria linked with food poisoning yet did not affect the taste of the lettuce or its crispness.

Regulate Effects of Dietary Cholesterol

In a study published in the Journal of Membrane Biology, researchers studied the effects of a high cholesterol diet on animals fed apple cider vinegar versus animals that only ate the high cholesterol diet.  They found that the apple cider vinegar exerted a protective effect on the liver and kidneys, among other protective benefits.

Aids Weight Loss

While there are conflicting studies about apple cider vinegar’s effects on obesity and weight loss, according to research in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, apple cider vinegar can help reduce the number of calories eaten at a meal by between 200 and 275.  Additional study results published in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry also showed that vinegar helped with weight loss in obese individuals.  

Its Chlorogenic Acid May Help with Heart Disease

Apple cider vinegar contains the nutrient, chlorogenic acid which, according to the journal Biochemical Pharmacology, helps prevent LDL cholesterol, also known as the “bad cholesterol” from oxidizing, which is an important step in the progression of heart disease. 

Reduce Bacteria in Oral Infections

A study published in the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and Endodontics found that apple cider vinegar demonstrated antibacterial activity against a bacteria known as E. faecalis, which can be linked to infection in root canals and elsewhere in the body.

Anti-Cancer Effects?

There is a lot of internet hype about apple cider vinegar’s anti-cancer effects but at this point the research doesn’t really support it.  While some studies showed anti-cancer effects of rice vinegar and sugar cane vinegar in laboratory settings, there is little research on apple cider vinegar and whether it has any anti-cancer effects.  So, it may have anti-cancer effects, it might not.  We’ll have to wait for the research to find out.

How to Benefit

Keep in mind that you should never drink apple cider vinegar undiluted.  Always use it diluted in water or juice or mixed with oil in a salad dressing.  The vinegar is an acid that can burn the delicate mucus membranes of the digestive tract.  Most nutrition experts recommend choosing an unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with the “mother” left intact.  This is the collection of beneficial microbes that convert apple cider into apple cider vinegar.

Make Your Own Apple Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the staples in my home.  I use it to preserve freshly-harvested herbs, to add flavor to soups, stews, tofu (organic, of course!), and salad dressings.  With some olive oil and a teaspoon of crushed chilies and fresh or dried basil, I have an instant bread dip that is absolutely delicious. 

While it is possible to buy apple cider vinegar from the local health food or grocery store, it is absolutely simple to make your own and there is no comparison when it comes to the taste of freshly-made apple cider vinegar.  Making your own also allows you to control the level of acidity to sweetness that you simply cannot do with the store-bought varieties.  Once you’ve made your first apple cider vinegar, you’ll probably understand why I insist on making my own. 

Making any type of homemade fruit vinegar is as simple as mashing up fruit (which you can either do by hand or using a fruit masher), removing the pulp, bottling, and leaving it to sit until bacteria known as acetobacter convert the juice into vinegar. 

You can either purchase apple cider or apple juice, if you prefer, in which case just skip the juicing step.  Here’s how to get started making your own apple cider vinegar:

Save up any apples that are beyond their prime—not rotten ones of course, but pulpy or spongy apples that are no longer suitable for eating are great for making vinegar.  Of course, you can use fresh apples that are absolutely perfect too but I find that making apple cider vinegar from older apples is the perfect way to use up older ones, without sending them to the compost bin.  Push them through an electric juicer to make apple juice.  If you don’t have a juicer, just cut the apples into quarters and puree in a food processor (you can leave the cores and skins on).  Then, push the apple pulp through a muslin-lined sieve or muslin bag to remove the fiber from the juice.

Pour the juice into sterilized, dark, glass jugs or bottles without putting a lid on them.  Cover the tops with a few layers of cheesecloth and hold in place with an elastic band.  Store the bottles or jars in a cool, dark place for between 3 weeks to 6 months, depending on the level of tanginess you prefer in your apple cider vinegar.  The longer the juice sits, the more acidic the vinegar will taste, while shorter times taste more like juice and only mildly like vinegar.  Keep in mind that some alcohol may develop during the process, so if you use your vinegar early on in the fermentation cycle, it may actually taste more like apple cider wine than vinegar.  Simply leave the apple juice/cider to ferment for a longer amount of time until the alcohol converts into acetic acid, which means it is now ready to use as vinegar.

If you purchased apple juice or apple cider, you can simply secure the cheesecloth over the top in place of the lid and store in a cook, dark place until it becomes vinegar.

You may notice a thick substance that forms on the top of the juice/vinegar.  That’s the “mother” as it is known—the collection of bacteria that form in the juice that are responsible for converting it to vinegar.  You can save the mother to use as a starter culture for the next batch of apple cider or other type of vinegar if you’d like.  Using an existing mother helps to slightly speed up the process of making vinegar.  Once you’re happy with the level of acidity simply cap the bottles and store until you are ready to use.  Enjoy!

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a celebrity nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life, 60 Seconds to Slim, The Probiotic Promiseand Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, ThriveGlobal, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at CulturedCook.com and DrMichelleCook.com.

How to Make Fermented Pickles

November 14, 2017

An assortment of fermented foods

Today is #NationalPickleDay! To If you’ve ever tried naturally-fermented pickles, you’ll never go back to vinegar-based ones. Not only is the flavor much more complex and superior to their counterparts, they are also full of health-promoting probiotics. Thankfully, they are also simple to make. Long before pickles were made by pouring vinegar and spices over vegetables, they were made using the same type of brining and submerging processes that brought us sauerkraut.  Over the years, companies and home cooks opted for using vinegar since the resulting pickles were completed in shorter periods of time, which meant higher profits for them. However, the slow food process of making pickles through fermentation is far superior.  That’s because the flavors are more naturally-developed and less acidic than vinegar-based pickles.

Chop your cucumbers or zucchini (both work well) into the size of pickles you’d like. Alternatively, use pickling cucumbers and leave them whole since their small size lends itself to fermentation. Place them in a  fermentation crock or wide-mouth mason jar . Pick a crock or mason jar that’s close to the size of the amount of produce you’re preparing. So, if you estimate that you have enough cucumbers for a quart jar, use that size. Be sure to leave room for some weights at the top to hold everthing submerged under the brining liquid.

To prepare a brine, which is just a salt-water solution, you’ll mix 3 tablespoons of finely-ground sea salt per quart of water. You’ll need enough to cover the vegetables to prevent them from rotting. You’ll pour the brine over the vegetables, place a plate over the ingredients if you’re using a crock and then food-grade weights on top of the plate to hold everything submerged in the brine. If you’re using mason jars, you can purchase fermentation weights that fit wide-mouth jars and submerged your cucumbers or zucchini in the brine. Cover and allow the vegetables to ferment. 

You’ll also want to add various flavorings to your pickled vegetables; they can include herbs and spices, onion and garlic, chilis to add heat, or any other flavor you might like.

You can experiment with a wide variety of vegetable pickles. I’ve shared my recipe for Spicy Dill Fermented Pickles below but I make a wide variety, including Taco Pickles (which are small enough to fit in a taco shell, hence the name), veggie pickles, zucchini pickles, and good old-fashioned dill pickles. You’ll notice that the cucumbers in my Spicy Dill Fermented Pickles are cut into long slices. Of course, feel free to try whatever suits you best, keeping in mind that you’ll need to keep them submerged in the brine and the smaller the vegetable size the harder that can be.

You’ll need to use sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt instead of iodized salt since the iodine prevents the growth of beneficial microorganisms. 

 

Spicy Dill Fermented Pickles

Spicy Fermented Pickles

While most pickles available in grocery stores are made with white vinegar and have few, if any nutritional benefits, these ones rely on the traditional method of fermentation to develop the flavors and boost the probiotic benefits of the pickles.  Fortunately, once you’ve tried these delicious dill pickles and discover how easy they are to make you’ll be happy to leave the less healthy pickles behind.

Makes approximately 2 quarts.

4 large or 6 medium-sized cucumbers

3 dried cayenne chili peppers

2 cloves fresh garlic

4 sprigs of fresh dill leaves

1-1/2 quarts or 6 cups water

5 tablespoons sea salt (not iodized)

Cut the cucumbers lengthwise in quarters.  Place in the fermentation crock or jar of your choice.  Add the chili peppers, garlic, and dill leaves.

In a pyrex or glass pitcher, combine the water and salt.  Stir until dissolved.  Pour over the cucumber mixture until all ingredients are submerged + an additional ½ to 1 inch to cover.  Use fermentation weights or previously boiled rocks to keep ingredients submerged.

Cover with a lid and allow to ferment in a cool, undisturbed location for five days to one week, or longer if you prefer a tangier taste.

 

My recipe for Spicy Dill Fermented Pickles is an excerpt from my book THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life.

 

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a registered nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life, 60 Seconds to Slim, The Probiotic Promise, and Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at DrMichelleCook.com.

Aged Miso Cheese

September 14, 2017

Aged Miso Cheese--Vegan

Earlier I mentioned that there are many types of starter cultures that can be used in plant-based cheese-making.  Miso is one of my favorites.  It has a mild, naturally-aged and rich, slightly nutty flavor that beautifully lends itself to aged plant-based cheeses.  I started a recent holiday tradition where I begin making this cheese a few weeks before Christmas.  Once the initial culturing process is done, I form the cheese block and rub it with sea salt and set it on a wire mesh rack in a cool space to allow it to ferment for the remaining days until Christmas Eve.  Then Curtis and I enjoy a beautiful holiday cheese platter with this cheese as the star.  With three weeks of aging time, it develops a firm texture and sharp taste that is delightful with pomegranate arils and mandarin oranges, walnut halves and figs, making it the perfect Christmas cheese and a wonderful, unique holiday tradition in our home. This year I plan to start early for a longer aging time and a richer, stronger cheese.

2 cups raw, unsalted cashews

1 cup water

1 tablespoon dark miso

1 teaspoons sea salt (+2 teaspoons for the rind)

½ cup coconut oil

Place the cashews, water, and miso together in a glass bowl with a lid.  Stir until combined.  Cover and let sit for 24 hours.

Pour the cultured cashews into a blender.  Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the coconut oil and blend until smooth.  This may take a few stops to push ingredients down until it is blended together. 

Pour the cheese mixture into a cheesecloth-lined bowl that is the shape you’d like the finished cheese to be.  Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or until firm.  Remove from the bowl and remove the cheesecloth. 

Using the remaining 2 teaspoons of sea salt, gently rub the salt over the full surface of the cheese (bottom included).  Gently place it on a wire rack and place in a cool, dark, and undisturbed place to allow the cheese to air-dry for two to three weeks.  

 

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a registered nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life, 60 Seconds to Slim, The Probiotic Promise, and Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at DrMichelleCook.com.

25 Great Ways to Get More Fermented Foods in Your Diet

August 15, 2017

Most people know that fermented foods build great gut health, but a growing body of research shows that they build strong immunity, brain health, heart health, and more.  As a result there are more reasons than ever to eat more fermented foods.  Check out my blogs “9 Reasons to Love Sauerkraut” and “The Surprising Foods that Alleviate Anxiety” to discover several reasons. But, if you’re like many people you may not know how to get more fermented foods into your diet, outside of yogurt with fruit or sauerkraut on your favorite hot dog.  Here are 25 of my favorite ways to get more fermented foods into your diet:

Using Yogurt or Kefir:

1.  Smoothies—Blend some yogurt or kefir (a fermented dairy or fruit juice beverage) with a handful or two of fruit for a delicious smoothie.

2.  Frozen Yogurt—After making a fruit smoothie, pour it into popsicle molds for a frozen yogurt treat.

3.  Yogurt Cheese—Pour yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined sieve and let it sit for at least a few hours for a soft yogurt cheese—simply add your favorite herbs for an unbeatable fresh cheese.  Like all of the yogurt-based suggestions, these approaches work for vegan yogurt as well.

4.  Yogurt Salad Dressing—Blend some yogurt with lemon juice or vinegar and some herbs and sea salt for a creamy salad dressing.

5.  Save Yogurt to Make More—Save a few tablespoons of yogurt or the whey from yogurt-making as the starter culture to make even more.

6.  Breakfast Cereal—Add a dollop or two of yogurt or kefir to your favorite breakfast cereal or oatmeal in place of milk.

 

Using Sauerkraut, Pickled Vegetables, or Kimchi:

7.  Over Brown Rice or Quinoa for a Quick Meal—Simply adding sauerkraut or other fermented vegetable dish to cooked grains (after the grains have cooked) makes a quick, nutritious, and delicious meal.  

8.  Over Salad—I threw some sauerkraut on top of a homemade Caesar salad and it was delicious.  You can add fermented veggies to almost any salad for a quick probiotic boost.

9.  On Noodles—Tossing brown rice or other whole grain noodles with kimchi or pickled veggies makes mealtime a cinch.

10.  Sandwiches—Adding pickled turnip, fermented onions, kimchi, or sauerkraut to your favorite sandwich gives it a flavor and nutritional boost.

11. and 12.  On Burgers and Hot Dogs—This one is fairly self-explanatory.

13.  Lettuce Cups—Place freshly-grated vegetables, bean sprouts, and fermented veggies or kimchi in a large leaf of lettuce and wrap it up for a simple snack or meal.

14.  Salad Rolls—Soak rice paper wraps in hot water, pat dry, and wrap them up with fermented and fresh veggies and kimchi.

15.  Tacos—Top your favorite tacos with fermented vegetables like carrots or onions for a flavor boost.

16.  Salad Dressing—Blend sauerkraut or kimchi with some 2 parts oil and 1 part vinegar for a quick and easy salad dressing.

17.  Condiments—Add pickled vegetables or kimchi as a condiment to almost any meal.

18.  Guacamole—I mix an El Salvadoran fermented salsa known as Curtido with mashed avocado for a simple and amazingly delicious guacamole in minutes.

19.  Salsa and Chips—Mix fresh salsa ingredients:  chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, lemon juice, and minced chilies with the contents of one probiotic capsule and let sit for at least a few hours but preferably overnight.  Then serve your fermented salsa with chips for a great snack.

20.  Hummus—Blend sauerkraut (or sauerkraut juice) and chickpeas with a little extra virgin olive oil for a quick and probiotic-rich hummus.  The sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice adds flavor and replaces salt in this recipe.

Using Other Fermented Foods:

21.  Fermented Juice—Empty the contents of a probiotic capsule into your favorite fruit or vegetable juice, cover and leave at room temperature overnight or for a day.  Not only will you get the probiotics found in the capsule, but the beneficial microbes will proliferate and actually reduce the amount of natural sugars present in the juice.

22.  Choose Kombucha over Soda—Skip the sugar-laden soft drink and instead enjoy a naturally-sparkling kombucha (a probiotic-rich beverage).

23.  Cultured Cream—Soak raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, pine nuts, or macadamias in enough water to cover and the contents of one probiotic capsule.  Let sit for 8 hours or overnight.  Blend.  Use over fruit in place of cream.  Use only as much of the soak water as needed for a thick vegan sour cream.

24.  Vegan Cheese—Follow the instructions under 23 but use only enough water to cover the nuts and allow them to ferment with the probiotic powder for at least 24 hours or longer for a sharper cheese flavor.  Blend until smooth and creamy for a quick and probiotic-rich soft cheese.

25.  Vegan Pudding or Cheesecake—Follow the instructions for vegan cheese but add some fruit and sweetener (if you wish), along with a couple tablespoons of a thickening agent like ground chia or flax seeds.  For a cheesecake, crumble some graham crackers or cookies with a small amount of coconut oil and press into a small cheesecake mold.  Pour the fruit-cashew mixture over the crust.  Refrigerate until firm, et voila!  Enjoy a simple, raw, probiotic-rich pudding or cheesecake.

 

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a registered nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life, 60 Seconds to Slim, The Probiotic Promise, and Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at DrMichelleCook.com.

Meet Dr. Michelle Cook

International best-selling & 20-Time Author Dr. Michelle Schoffro CookHi, I'm Dr. Cook, the Cultured Cook. You may already be familiar with my work. I am an  international best-selling and 20-time book author whose works include: THE CULTURED COOK, 60 SECONDS TO SLIM, THE PROBIOTIC PROMISE, THE ULTIMATE PH SOLUTION.  I am a food and health blogger on Care2.com, a professional recipe developer, and food photographer. My work and recipes have been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, WebMD, Reader's Digest Best Health, Prevention, Huffington Post, RodaleWellness.com, Care2.com, Closer Weekly, Vegetarian Times, and many other publications. I'm on a mission to help people become healthier through delicious, nutritious food.

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