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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sauerkraut isn't just for hot dogs, it's for breakfast too

When I attended the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco a few weeks ago it was the first time I sampled the Raw Sauerkraut from Sonoma Brinery.

One bite and it reminded me of the salt pickled cabbage my grandma used to make when I was a kid. When I mentioned this to the man at the booth he immediately said, and much to my surprise, "Oh, you mean tsukemono" (pronounced sue-kay-mo-no with a slight "t" sound blended with the "sue" as in "tsu" and the emphasis placed on the "ts" sound rather than the "u"). Of course. He was obviously not Japanese but being a pickling expert I shouldn't have been surprised he was familiar with a wide range of pickled products.

A new variation of my favorite brown rice porridge for breakfast

Immediately I knew it would be good as a side dish, particulary with the okayu (pronounced oh-kī-u) brown rice porridge I'm so fond of. Here's how I had it for breakfest with a piece of canned salmon, a minced umeboshi plum, and some powdered wakame seaweed that I ground up using a mortar and pestle.

And not only does it taste good, it's good for you. Because the sauerkaraut is raw, not pasteurized, it's crisp and contains healthy, naturally occurring probiotics that aid your digestive system.

I found Sonoma Brinery's Raw Sauerkraut in a refrigerated aisle at Whole Foods. The expiration date was three months from now so I got two. I'll be having it for breakfast several times a week from now on.

To make okayu just add water to rice at a ratio of three to one. So one cup of rice to three cups of water. It's easiest to simply make a batch of rice, simmer out almost all of the extra water, and put it in the fridge. Each morning I scoop some out, add it and more water to a saucepan, and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the water has simmered away.

Also in my basket were Alexandre Kids Eggs. They're local, organic, and pasture raised. Pasture and free range raised is important to me because it gives the chickens a more humane quality of life.

The bottom pic is of Alaxandre Family Farms pasture raised chickens.

The pictures of the battery and cage free hens are what I wonder consider typical for these production methods. There are lots of pictures online of situations that are far worse (cages that are dirtier, more overcrowded, and filled with sick and injured hens). The battery cages are the worst. The cages are so small and crowded the birds can't even spread their wings.

The images illustrate why I'm willing to pay more for pasture raised eggs. And in the big scheme of things more really isn't all that much. An extra $3-$6 per dozen is what it costs to support the best production option of the three. Considering It takes me at least two weeks to go through a dozen eggs, it's not that bad at all.

Photos by Alaxandre Kids

The Alaxandre Kids chickens have their own movable chicken coop, flock guard, sunshine, clean air, green grass to forage on, and dirt for dust baths. Though their lives won't be long and happy the way a pet animal's life would be they are, at the very least, allowed to live in a more humane manner which is something all living creatures deserve.

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