Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sea Weed Crock Pot Creation, Kombucha Vinegar, and Super Green Juice

Crock pot creations are one of my favorite ways to cook.  I like to think that I have more energy in the mornings, and that's why I'm more likely to prepare dinner before I leave for work, but it just may be that I like putting off my arrival to the office as long as possible, and I can sort of justify my tardiness by telling myself that meal preparation is important too.  Maybe.  Of course, it's also important to collect eggs, pick tomatoes, wash some laundry, and read a couple of chapters of a novel while eating breakfast.  Priorities, you know.  

This morning I was trying to leave for work and had already added the beans, which I had soaked over night, to the thawed out chicken stock, which was made from the bones one of our recently smoked farmer Joe's chickens, when I saw the bag of sea vegetables.  Should I?  Why, yes!

The instructions said to soak the sea weed for five minutes in water.  I put a small handful of the dry, green, and crunchy sticks in a bowl.  I nibbled a small piece, and it mostly tasted like sea salt.  It didn't look like enough in the bowl, so I added another handful and covered them with water.  

They immediately began to swell and transform from crunchy sticks to rubbery, translucent leaves.  It was like magic!  I remarked to Jamie and Brandon, who were admiring the transformation with me, that it was expanding so much that I got much more sea weed than I thought for twelve dollars.  Brandon expressed shock that I paid twelve dollars for sea weed, but Jamie pointed out that someone had to pay the kids to pick up sea weed off the beach.  True.  

For some reason I imagined cooking with the sea weed would be like crumbling dried bits into soup, not chopping giant slimy leaves.  I was trying to hurry, so I coarsely cut it up, chunked up a half of an onion that I found in the refrigerator and some mushrooms that needed to be eaten now or they were destined for the compost.  The mystery is the beauty of the crock pot creation.  Would it be good, edible, or chicken food?  I enjoyed the suspense all day.  

When I got home, I stirred the creation, and the sea weed sort of dissolved into small bits.  I'm not sure how much nutrition is left in a super food that gets cooked for nine hours, but hopefully there are trace amounts of something good left.  The sea weed gives the soup slightly viscous consistency, but doesn't add a fishy taste at all.  The mushrooms, bean, and onions are good, and the smokey flavor of the chicken stock is nice.  I wouldn't say this was a five star creation, but it's a solid three.  They passed the first test, so I'll be trying other ways to eat sea vegetables.  

The unexpected success of sea weed in my bean soup gave me the courage to finally taste the kombucha that has been unattended all summer.  Whew!  Sour vinegar!  About a quarter of the jar had evaporated through the cloth tied to the top, but the mother was still there, and didn't appear to have any weird developments.  I'm not sure if it's normal for kombucha that is left for months and months to taste like strong vinegar, but I decided it wasn't toxic, so I brewed up a batch of green tea and put the mother and some of the kombucha together to see if I can revive my kombucha production.  I also bottled up the kombucha vinegar.  Maybe it will be my new favorite, and I will have a way to make my own vinegar from now on.  When Brandon got home from work he wanted to know which of my science experiments was causing the kitchen to smell.  Hmmm?  Which smell, exactly?  

While I was tending the kombucha, Jamie was busy making more fresh green vegetable juice with algea and moringa powders.  I just had to take a picture of the green sludge as he tried to stir in the powders.  Looks appetizing, huh?  

He finally resorted to putting everything in a big jar and giving it a shake to dissolve the powder.  We didn't know if this was adding excess oxygen to the juice, and causing it to loose nutritional value through oxidation.  This may not be the best solution for getting the green powder to dissolve, but it made a wonderfully frothy juice.  

This juice has spinach, celery, chard, lemons, apples, spirulina, and moringa.  How green can we go?  

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