After a year of hemming and hawing, Fleur-de-Blog moved from Blogger to WordPress with the hope that it will be more reader-friendly. Kathleen, who is the brains, organizational skills, and computer behind Spring Creek Homesteading, did it for me in ONE hour. A full year ago, I came home from the San Francisco Writers Conference with the move in mind. It took me 11 months to act, and Kathleen, a single hour to do the computer magic.

I installed a recipe index, but there’s still a lot of “polishing” to be done. If you call up some of the archived newsletters, you get an intro of computer gobbledygook, which I will eventually eliminate. Please bear with me. And, the little bank of smiling faces on the right is gone. I’m not sure if people have to join or I have to do something to invite them. It’s a work in progress.

In the meantime, please use the comment section. That’s for you! And, I’d like to get a dialogue going. There is a dialogue going—people send me emails directly, but those interesting comments aren’t shared with the rest of you unless they are written in the comment block.February Fantasy

So, this time, I hijacked an email from Val with comments on lacto-fermentation, so that all of you can learn from her experience:

“I love fermenting vegetables.  I do cabbage the traditional way—using only Celtic sea salt.  For all other vegetables, I use 1-cup water, ¼-c. whey, and about 2 Tbsp Celtic sea salt. With the whey, it takes only three days until it is ready. I don’t ever use anything to keep the vegetables submerged. A few might float and might get white mold. Just remove them. That white mold is harmless.  Also, I cover the jars tightly. I’ve found that if I leave them a bit loose, then everything spoils.  I then store the jars in one bedroom that is rarely heated.

“One important point to make about the water used for this method—if it’s city water, filter it to rid it of fluoride and chlorine. Fluoride is bad and chlorine will kill all the good bacteria.

“Who taught the class?

“My only problem is that sometimes, after it’s all gotten nice and sour, it will go back to being salty—very salty. I don’t know what makes this.”

In answer to Val, my instructors were two PSU plant science graduate students named Scott and Matt. They mentioned NOT to use iodized salt and to use distilled or filtered water if any water is necessary. (I just forgot to write those details.) One of the instructors, I think it was Scott, said he actually has eaten the white mold that Val mentioned just to make sure it was harmless—but then he’s a crazy grad student, what do you expect? He is still alive, though. I hope this helps any of you potential sauerkraut makers.

My colorful confetti kraut is now all purple (the red cabbage is a powerful ingredient) and bubbling away in my bedroom closet. No sightings of mold, but I each time I open the lid to check on it, the fragrance of fermentation wafts through the room and down the hallway.

Fasta Ravioli Update: We had another Master Gardener meeting on Valentine’s night, so our three-course dinner was postponed to Friday. I made a butter, garlic and sage sauce for the red heart-shaped cheese ravioli. My mom and I had the appetizers with a glass of Prosecco.

For the squid-ink striped ravioli stuffed with lobster and crabmeat, I heated some lemon-infused olive oil with lemon zest, poured it on the dinner plates, and then served the ravioli on top, dressed with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. (We only used a half-pound of the ravioli, saving the rest for another night.) I served that with No-Shrink-Needed Broccoli Salad. Dessert (chocolate gnocchi) was postponed indefinitely; as my mother frequently says, we were “stuffed to the gills.”

Quick note about cooking ravioli: Fasta Bob boils his ravioli and then removes them with a slotted spatula when they float to the top. Then, he adds more frozen ravioli with out having to boil more water. I tried this and noticed the water from the “heart” ravioli turned pink, but slid the squid ink striped ravioli in anyway. No harm done, the “pink” didn’t transfer.

And now, let’s see if we can get this WordPress comment section cooking! Richard sent an email this week. He’s been invited to dinner at an Italian student’s apartment. Each guest was asked to bring a dish representative of his home country that many of the other international students probably haven’t tasted.  What would you bring and why? Laurie Lynch


8 thoughts on “Fleur-de-Comments

  1. The best sources on fermenting are Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, and Wild Fermentation by Sandor Elix Katz (I might have spelled his name wrong.)
    I read in one book that you can also just stir in that white mold, but I’ve never tried that. I’ve never had mold with sauer kraut, only with other vegetables when I use the whey mixture. How do you know if it has spoiled? Smell it. If it smells delicious, eat it. If one goes bad, it smells really bad.
    I also learned that as the sauer kraut jar gets empty, pack it into a smaller jar or eat it up. The air space will cause spoilage, but only of the top layer, which you can pull off and then eat what smells good. Fermentation is actually a whole lot safer than home canning. And better nutritionally also.
    I love making sauer kraut with purple cabbage. It’s so pretty. Did you ever saute purple cabbage with eggs? The eggs turn green!

    • Green eggs and ham? With all of the hundreds and green and blue eggs I gathered from under our hens’ warm bellies and placed into cartons over the years I never heard this red cabbage secret. I must give it a try!

  2. For Richard – Marina had great success with the chocolate chip cookies, or maybe peanut butter cookies. I bet none of them have ever tasted Tuna Casserole. (just kidding about that one)

    • Richard is the chocolate chip cookie king but his No. 1 choice for the party was cherry pie. One little problem…no oven at his kot. In the shared kitchen, they’ve got a stove and a microwave, that’s it. Maybe he’ll take an assembled pie to the other apartment and bake it there. I must say that both of my kids are braver in the kitchen than I ever was. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I said to myself, “You’ve got to learn how to bake a pie,” and I went about doing it. The first few were not pretty, and, as I recall, were especially runny and had to be eaten with a spoon. But eventually, my cherry pie became Richard’s birthday request instead of birthday cake.

      As for the Tuna Casserole…

  3. Laurie, Suggest to Richard some good choices would be Chicken Pot Pie or a Shoo-Fly Pie. To me they represent the PA Dutch culture that has been so prevalent in our area since Wm. Penn’s time. Depending on where the other students are from, he shouldn’t have to worry about someone else bringing the same thing.

    I’m enjoying the posts about fermentation. I’ve been hearing about it recently on some local NPR cooking programs.

  4. Marie,

    Good idea about the Chicken Pot Pie or the Shoo-Fly Pie, although he couldn’t get any cooking tips from dear old Mom because I’ve never made either. Two suggestions I did give him, especially if the lack of oven presents problems, was sweet potatoes (cut like French fries –or frites in Belgium–and sautéd in a dash of olive oil in a frying pan) or pumpkin soup with ginger, a simple, hearty meal I made the other night. Of course, he would need a blender…and I’m not sure if the Delhaize supermarket across the street from his kot carries neck pumpkins or sweet potatoes in their produce section.

    I missed the fermentation programs on NPR, but it seems to be a culinary art that’s a darling of the Slow Food movement.


    • Amanda–brilliant! Comfort food is the perfect idea for college students far away from home and facing mid-terms next week! Must be your sixth-sense as a teacher kicking in. Richard just loves macaroni and cheese, especially. And for dessert, his mom’s sweet tooth is hankering for Rice Krispie (or the European equivalent) Treats. Laurie

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