Holidays are all about coming together with friends and family, delighting in good company, expressing gratitude and reflecting on our blessings. And for many of us, food is an important part of the holiday season. Unfortunately, many of us spend the holidays indulging in foods we later regret! This year, why not swap out some of the ingredients for more nourishing, cultured options and surprise your friends and family with food they will feel good about eating?
Using some cultured foods in your dishes or as accompaniments will leave you feeling light and nourished after the big meal, and you’ll have the pride of serving new and delightful treats.
Did you know that many of today’s popular condiments are actually traditional fermented foods? That is, unless you’re buying their processed, un-cultured counterparts. Too many food products on the shelf these days that were once healthfully fermented are now processed with chemicals and un-natural preservatives without that healthy fermentation we’re encouraging you to add to your diet. Learn more about real, natural condiments and foods at Cultures For Health and check out more from us on here The Chalkboard.
Mashed, baked or roasted potatoes – russet, red or sweet – are often a staple at holiday meals. You can dress up the old standby with cultured butter or cream cheese as add-ins for mashed potatoes, or top them with delicious sour cream or Greek yogurt for a creamy, tangy treat.
A favorite for winter holidays, cranberry sauce becomes a new and delightful side dish or condiment with a little fermenting to bring out the flavor. Try a lacto-fermented cranberry chutney that will have your guests begging for the recipe!
I’ve seen many a debate about the nature of the ubiquitous stuffing. Is it stuffing or is it dressing? Is it in the bird or baked separately? Either way, try starting your stuffing with sourdough bread this year. The addition of cultured butter with the celery, onion and sage makes for a wholesome and delicious side dish.
A good wine is a fine option as one of the oldest fermented beverages available, but for something lighter, consider kombucha tea or a fruit-flavored water kefir. Water kefir is bubbly and tangy, and the whole family will enjoy it.
Try adding cultured carrot sticks, fermented green beans, natural pickles and home-cured olives to your vegetable platter. All of these options offer delicious flavor and are a sure conversation starter!
Homemade artisanal breads, muffins and biscuits are surprisingly easy to make and will guarantee your reputation as a baker! There are no shortages of fantastic bread options for your holiday meal: buttermilk biscuits, sourdough biscuits, corn muffins or bread made with sprouted corn flour or even just a beautiful loaf of light and fluffy sourdough bread in the center of your table will make any meal festive. Don’t forget plenty of cultured butter!
Did you know you can make cookies with sourdough starter, too? Sourdough chocolate chip cookies and soft sourdough cookies are both easy and delicious. Try a festive sourdough spice cake complete with coconut cream frosting, or a chocolate torte with yogurt cheese. Or cut fruit into bite-size pieces and top with a generous dollop of kefir cheese and a few chocolate curls. Decorative and delicious!
Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup Rapadura or Sucanat (whole sugar)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup fresh sourdough starter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-2 cups organic chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream together butter, coconut oil and eggs. Mix in the sourdough starter and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Mix the wet and dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Incorporate the chocolate chips. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes. Shape the dough into small balls (roughly 2 tsp). Flatten and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Makes approximately 4 dozen small cookies.