Archives for posts with tag: lacto-fermented chilis

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Hey, it’s an exciting day for me.  A piece I wrote as a general approach to lactofermenting hot sauces is up at About.Com, which is an authoritative web reference to which I find myself increasingly drawn.  So a small thrill for this aspiring food writer!  Please visit the piece there, though some extra photos are included here for simply the joy of colour! Read the rest of this entry »

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Spicy Pumpkin Vinegar, made from pulps I could have thrown out.  A glorious enzymatic condiment for brightening, souring, finishing and … drinking!  Pumpkin Scrap-cum-Vinegar plus Fermented Chilli Pepper Skins is a match made in heaven…  or Upcycling Kitchen-Counter-Culture paradise, at least…

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Once upon a time we carved a pumpkin for Halloween, and instead of roasting the seeds, I fermented them for a scrap vinegar.  This is such an easy thing to do.  Cover your fruit scraps (in this case, the scooped-out pumpkin seeds embedded in the stringy stuff) in about triple the volume of water.  Add a tablespoon or two of sugar, which will inspire an alcoholic fermentation; keep stirring, periodically exposing your mixture to air, and  you will get acetic acid fermentation– that easy.  (The link above will give more detail if you don’t believe me.)

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A.K.A. Pumpkin Wild Vinegar, after lots of stirring and bottle-burping and exposure to air, and time:

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Fermenting Harisa

I spent some really nice hours today with my friend Joe Purches, a talented portrait and landscape photographer developing a new interest in taking pictures of food.  I had announced to him my intention to begin making a harissa with lacto-fermented chilli peppers and garlic.   Harissa is an addictive North African condiment of pureed peppers, chilli peppers, sometimes tomato puree, and garlic, cumin, coriander and my favourite bitter back flavour: caraway.  Several years ago I experimented with different recipes, but none of my home-made ones were ever actually nicer, IMHO, than what comes in those tubes you can buy in Asian groceries.

Because fermentation will take several weeks, I can’t yet describe what I am going to do exactly, though I made the decision to refrain from adding the seeds (cumin, coriander and caraway) to the brine.  So basically my experiment is to make the paste with chillis and garlic that are fermented rather than fresh.  Today I chopped lots of hot red chlilis, a sweet red capsicum, added some dried chilis, and a head of garlic divided into cloves.  (And yes, I rubbed my eyes prematurely—-argghhahhhh.)  Stay tuned to see how it comes out.  This harissa was inspired by the delicious uses to which we put our fermented jalapenos.

Joe wrote a really nice piece on his blog.  He was amazing to work with, an incredible perfectionist really, but fun and light-hearted.  I feel in awe of people who have the patience– also the tolerance — to contrive a naturalness from their food-preparation scenes.   Everything looks different through the lens of the camera.  Good pictures for a blog take a lot of time.  I’m not sure it’s always going to be worth my time, but in this case, the gift of Joe was a blessing.

His photos are beautiful.  I feel really lucky.  Have a look!

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