Lactofermented Ginger Beer

Last soda recipe!  Ginger beer.  Ginger is a traditional remedy for upset stomach, remember mom bringing you ginger ale when you were sick?  There isn’t a whole lot of ginger in the store brands, but something like this is sure to deliver the healing power of the root *and* it tastes awesome.

Another bonus this time of year is that it’s the right season for the classic Dark & Stormy cocktail…and to make a good Dark & Stormy, you need a Ginger Beer that can stand up to the spiced rum.  This one should do it *and it’s pretty good for you* – could balance out the alcohol?

Ginger Beer Ingredients:

  • 8 cups water (filtered preferred)
  • 4-6 inches of ginger root (grated)
  • 2 limes (you could use lemon, but lime is better) juiced
  • 1 cup ginger bug (recipe here!)
  • 1-2 cups sweetener of your choice (not honey – it’s anti-bacterial and you need the bacteria)

Do this:

  1. In a heavy bottomed pot: add the water and ginger.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat, add sweetener and stir to dissolve completely.
  4. Leave the pot covered for 30 minutes.
  5. My favorite part of all the recipes I found involved cooling the wort (the thing about to be soda) to blood temperature! Generally you want to cool it to somewhere between 80 and 90 degrees so as not to hurt your ginger bug. I found that I had to pop the pan into the fridge for about 15-20 minutes to get there – but spot check it, you definitely don’t want it cold. I also found that none of my kitchen thermometers got cool enough and I had to use my under-the-tongue medical thermometer. When your ginger beer has cooled, squeeze in the lime juice and stir.
  6. Strain it to remove the plant material (ginger gratings and lime pulp). To get it all out, your might need a jelly bag. Mine still has a small amount of plant material which will generally settle out.
  7. Strain off a cup of your ginger bug liquid and add to the ginger beer.
  8. Pour your soda into bottles (again, I’m a fan of swing tops like these). Allow it to sit in a warm or room temperature spot in your home for 3-5 days.
  9. After 3-5 days of fermentation (watch for bubbles rising!), you will have ginger beer unlike one you’ve ever tasted.

For a solid Dark & Stormy, you’ll need 3 ounces of this (a little less than a half a cup), 2 ounces of dark rum (1/4 cup) (Gosling’s is the traditional brand), and a squeeze of lime juice.  Place ice & all ingredients in a bar glass, stir, and garnish with a lime.  That should chase any early-Fall chill away. 🙂

 

 

Gluten-Free Coconut Chicken with Mustard-Lime Sauce

I’m super obsessed with coconut and always jealous when I’m at a restaurant where there’s coconut shrimp and not coconut chicken.  I’m working on seafood as a concept, but generally struggle with it.

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So that’s coconut chicken, sweet mustard-lime sauce, fried yucca, and some raw spinach (pre-balsamic coating).  I’m really loving yucca right now – I always, however, love coconut and lime.

Coconut Chicken
Package of Chicken Tenders (or breasts, cut up)
2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 cup cornflake breadcrumbs
1 egg lightly beaten
lime juice
salt and pepper
olive oil

Combine 1 cup coconut, a half cup of breadcrumbs and a few pinches of salt & pepper on a large plate – the crumbs will sort of coat the coconut as you mix and that’s ok. Put lightly beaten egg into a shallow bowl or onto a plate. Squeeze a little lime juice on both sides of the chicken, dip into the egg and then dredge in the coco/crumb mixture. Repeat this until all pieces are covered. When you run out of coating, mix the remaining coconut and breadcrumbs into a second batch – I like doing it in two stages because I think the mix is more even and it provides better coverage.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and put a cookie sheet with some olive oil in it. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and brown the chicken on both sides. As the chicken is browned (becomes white) put it into the oven for about 15-20 minutes to cook through. The smaller the chicken pieces and the longer they were in the pan, the less time it will take – so check them periodically.

Sweet Mustard-Lime Sauce
Yellow Mustard
Dijon Mustard
Lime Juice
sugar, honey, or stevia

Mix one part yellow mustard with one part dijon mustard – squeeze in enough lime juice to thin the texture down quite a bit – add a little sprinkling of sweetener. You could probably add a little mayo in there to make it creamier, if you’d like – but then I’d half or leave out the sweetener.

Also, for a good yucca prep method – peel it, boil it for about 20 minutes, cut it into pieces and then fry it in a little olive oil and a LOT of garlic. I need to work on my yucca as a whole, maybe a nice sauce or something…and I know you can mash it like potatoes…I’ll add that to my to-do list.