We’ve been on spring break here in Oregon, and today I had the chance to spend the day in the city with a girlfriend. As is usually the case for spring break in the Pacific NW, there was plenty of “liquid sunshine” today, but we didn’t let that spoil our fun! Lots of great food and visiting neat local shops. I thought I’d give you all a look at some of the quirky goodness that is Portlandia. Oh, and I’m doing a little giveaway, too. ;)

Adventures in Portlandia

Our day started in North Portland, on Mississippi Avenue. We had lunch at a southern homestyle restaurant called Miss Delta.

MissDelta1

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Stinging nettles turned up the farmer’s market early this year – technically it was still winter! I decided to use them in a kraut that invoked spring, both in ingredients and flavor. Leeks are a must in any spring kraut, and some coriander and celery seed give this a bright, sunny flavor. Enjoy! :)

NettleKraut1

Nettle Kraut
1 quart or liter

1 small head green cabbage (about 2lbs.)
1-2 handfuls stinging nettles*
2 small leeks, sliced thin (white and light green parts)
1T salt
1t coriander seed
1t celery seed

Prepare cabbage by cutting into quarters, removing core, and slicing thinly across the grain. Layer shredded cabbage in large bowl with leeks, salt, and spices. Gloves must be worn for handling nettles. Pluck nettle leaves from stems and add to the bowl. Toss all ingredients together and pound to soften and release juices. Pack into a 1L or 1qt jar, pounding down each layer firmly, and stopping when the jar is about 75% full. Place a cabbage leaf on top and a small jar or shot glass on the leaf to keep everything submerged. Secure lid (loosely, if using a mason jar) and allow to ferment in a dark place for 4-6 weeks.

For detailed sauerkraut instructions, see my Klassic Kraut tutorial.

NettleKraut2

*When harvesting nettles, do so early in spring while the plants are young and tender. Select leaves from the tops of the plants only, and avoid ones that have already made flower heads. Be sure to wear gloves. Read about the health benefits of stinging nettles at Mother Earth News.

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Fancy-up some beans with a bit of cream! Cream makes everything taste better, don’tcha think?? If your family isn’t crazy about bean soups, try this recipe. The flavor is mild and a bit sweet. Beans are usually cooked with a ham hock, but I wanted the sweetness of the cream to shine through, so I used chicken broth. Delicious!

CreamofBean

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Welcome to the next installment of my Fermentation Cycles series! I’ve committed to documenting some of my ferments every month for the rest of 2014, to give you all a peek at what goes on in the Killer Pickles Kitchen. Oh, and I’m making these ferments during my menses to disprove the notion that women emit “menotoxins” which can ruin a ferment. ;)  (Read more about that here.)

Update
First of all you would probably like to see how the ferments from last month turned out:

SourBeetTonic

My Sour Beet Tonic fermented for about 4 weeks. The flavor is tangy, rich, and earthy. This is excellent mixed with a bit of pickle brine or sauerkraut juice. Not for everybody, but I love it!

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Photo of oppressed bacteria by Zakwitnij!pl Ejdzej & Iric (with caption by me).

Photo of oppressed bacteria by Zakwitnij!pl Ejdzej & Iric (with caption by me).

Menotoxin
What the heck is that, right? It was a name given in 1920 to a particular cultural prohibition – that women during their menses exude some kind of vapors that will halt fermentation in its tracks (and also wilt flowers). This idea apparently has not gone entirely out of fashion.

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