How to Make Fermented Black Garlic

Fermented Black garlic is sweet meets savory, a perfect mix of molasses-like richness and tangy garlic awesomeness. It has a tender melt-in-your-mouth consistency similar to a soft dried fruit. Not only is it delicious but it has twice the antioxidants of regular garlic and in many Asian cultures is said to promote longevity. it has become quite “en vogue” lately in the chef world to add to sauces, dressings, pastas and much more. I myself have fallen in love with it an found a quick ‘n’dirty way to make my own in under 12 days. I have been making it in my rice cooker and it creates such a lovely aroma that permeates the house…yum! If this is too much for you, the garage is always an option.

For more info on the health benefits check out my go-to guru for all things health- Dr. Joseph Mercola and his article on this luscious treat!

Quick "n" Dirty homemade black garlic in a rice cooker.
Fermented “Black” Garlic

2 – 4 cups peeled garlic, rough ends removed
1/2 cup filtered water
Rice cooker or crockpot

Place the garlic in the cooker and turn it on “warm” setting- you want it to be at about 140 F. Leave the garlic in the machine for about 9-12 days on this constant temperature. Check every few days and stir gently. You are looking for the garlic to first turn a nutty brown color and then to a dark brown and then to a black- like it is burnt. The idea here is to keep the garlic at a higher ambient temperature- not to cook it.

The garlic will start to dry out a bit over the days- I found that adding a ½ cup or so of filtered water one day before it is ready will add the moisture back in evenly. Once you feel that it has reached a dark black color; unplug the machine and allow the garlic to cool. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to a month.

Use this garlic in salads, pastas, pizzas, salad dressings or just with bread and cheese, yum!

My Favorite Kitchen Tools

Kitchen Tools
Every chef and home cook alike has their favorite kitchen tools- their go-to items that they cannot live without. I am a pretty simple gal, I don’t need a lot of fancy gadgets, but there are some essentials that rock my culinary world. If you love to cook or you are a newbie looking to improve your kitchen experience, even just a few of these tools will rock your world too. The idea is that these tools will simplify your life and inspire you to cook more. If you need more help in that department we have public cooking classes and private cooking classes that will do the trick! (more…)

Japanese Mandolin 101

There are a few kitchen tools that I find indispensable; A good chef’s knife (8-10 inches), a Vitamix, a food processor and a Japanese mandolin. While the first three are pretty awesome, nothing will turn your veggies into effortless, professional-looking works of art quite like the mandolin. The best part? It is CHEAP, easy to clean, stores super easily in a drawer, no muss no fuss.

MandolinThere are 4 different blades that you can use:

  1. Flat- for things like sliced onions, fennel, paper thin squash, root veggie slices, cheese etc
  2. Wide Strips (1/3inch wide)- for zucchini noodles, carrots, cucumber, root veggie etc
  3. Thinner Strips (3-4mm wide)- a medium julienne, great for many veggies for salad, sandwiches, pickling etc
  4. Super Duper Baby Strip (1-2mm wide)- works only with very dense veggies like carrots, and other root veg

Whatever you do- do not use the silly plastic guard that is included (not pictured here as I promptly throw it out!), invest the $10 in a pair of nylon mesh gloves that will SAVE YOUR FINGERS :).  See the video above for the full demo…I promise you will fall in love!

 

Check out some of our recipes use a mandolin:

 

The Naked Bite in Austin: Personal Chefs, Cooking Classes, Catering

Austin, TXThe Naked Bite has expanded to Austin, Texas! We are offering veggie-driven cooking classes for individuals and groups as well as personal chef services, and boutique catering for our new Austinite neighbors.

This is a unique and bustling city and we are very excited to make an impact on the way people eat and how they cook. With vibrant and pure flavor vegetable-driven recipes, mouthwatering special diet options* and everything clean in between, The Naked Bite is thrilled to become part of the food scene in Austin.

Austin is a wacky, eclectic and dynamic city filled with food, fun, music and plenty of places to get your drink on. Fitness is also a big focus here with plenty of outdoor activity and organized events to sweat and work up an appetite. Exercise may be popular, but food is King here in Austin. The city’s amazing eats still err on the side of heavy: BBQ with a side of pulled pork and bacon, anyone?

The options are diverse and there are strong roots in the farm-to-table and nose-to-tail philosophies; supporting local is almost mandatory. Despite these conscious practices, meat is still the main focus and the veggies are often the side piece. There is room for all, and The Naked Bite will be the perfect complement to all that Austin has to offer.

So if you are a local, we can’t wait to meet you. Check out the services we offer in Austin.

And of course, we are continuing our services in Miami/South Florida, as well as Phoenix, while we are also growing our video recipes, so that we impact even more parts of the world!

*The Naked Bite can accommodate almost all dietary needs. Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Paleo & Vegetarian/Vegan are our specialties.

Mixed Mushroom Parcels with Sherry & Herbs

Everyone is looking for exciting vegetable side dishes. These tasty little parcels are super fun, fast and a neat crowd pleaser. Many different veggies will work and you can even place a piece of fish inside the parchment for a full and flavorful meal.

Mixed Mushroom Parcels with Sherry & Herbs

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups mixed sliced mushrooms, such as shiitakes, oysters or chanterelles or portabellas, cleaned and de-stemmed
1 small head of fennel, tops and core removed and sliced very thin (I use a mandolin)
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
6 large stems of tarragon or dill, stems removed and chopped
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup dry sherry, marsala or madeira
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of butter, about 1/8 inch thick (optional)

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What’s For Dinner? Meal Planning Like a Pro

There is no denying that a home cooked meal trumps going out any day. Yes eating out is fun on occasion, but it is expensive, taxing on the waistline and often uses lower quality ingredients than what I hope you would buy for your home. However the endless question of what’s for dinner plagues everyone, even me (hard to believe I know…it’s like the cobbler who doesn’t have any shoes). In this post I am going to take you through the steps on how to execute meal planning for much of the week and help ease some stress, yeeeee-haw!

Here is a sneak peek into how we execute personal chef services for our clients. These are the procedures that we use to set up families for 4+ days worth of food. We do this everyday and it works, we promise. If you want to drastically improve your health and reduce your stress level- we are going to show you the steps to kick some culinary a#s and eat well while doing it!

the steps on how to plan and prep your meals for much of the week and help ease some stress, yeeeee-haw!Plan Ahead- Choose a day of the week that gives you a good block of uninterrupted time- this will vary depending on your kitchen prowess and if you have assistance either prepping or cleaning (approx 3-5 hours). Give yourself one shot to see how it goes; you will know better how to plan for the week to follow.

Decide How Many Days/Meals You Need – this depends how much variety you need and if you are going out in the evening at all. Are you looking for Monday –Thursday dinners only? Or perhaps you want to throw some lunch in there as well? Maybe your will be out for dinner on Wednesday but home during the weekend. Our rule of thumb at The Naked Bite is that prepared food lasts about 4 days (you can squeak out 5 with soups and stew-type dishes) but there are many items that freeze beautifully. Make them on Sunday and then Thursday thaw overnight in the fridge, reheat, make a salad and viola…dinner in 20! See tips below for some freezer friendly ideas (FF).

Double Down- most all of us appreciate leftovers, so plan for them! The key to cooking once and eating several times is to prepare a dish but make enough portions to eat two+ full meals, this can go for side dishes and salads as well (dress salad only as needed). Dinner on Monday could be lunch/dinner on Tuesday or Wednesday. See some options below for examples.

Example #1- Lunch & Dinner 4 days
(8 recipes- servings varied on number of people feeding) (more…)