Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Growing! (The Garden, That Is...)

Cilantro sprouts
The beautiful location where I source all of the shortbread herbaceous goodness is GROWING! The place I speak of is my mine and parent's home garden down in the Peninsula where I grew up. This garden is way older than I am and this year we just made renovations to the aging beds of dirt. Our dinky and ineffective wooden beds were no match for squirrels and bunny rabbits. After lots of lots of dirt shoveling, my dad was able to raise the beds about two feet! This especially makes me happy because of the abundance of root veggies I can now grow...Dragon carrots, daikon radish, watermelon radish, Nantes carrots...mmmm.
 adjustments and

Itty bitty herb sprouts
Anways, we started planting seeds and seedlings about a week ago and we're already getting some sproutage! Plenty of herbs. An entire bed devoted to them. Multiple kinds of thyme, rosemary, sage, cilantro, parsley, chives, and more than enough basil for all of the pesto! And the onion bulbs are already peeking through as well. Shallot shortbread anyone? Definitely chive.


The baby tomato plants were the first to take root. We have hybrids this year that started to sprout thanks to the many different kinds of tomato varieties we had last year. My mom is an heirloom tomato fanatic, so you can be sure that we had at least 8 kinds of tomatoes co-existing in our cramped, little garden. I feel like our black cherry tomatoes would go pretty well with the basil shortbread...Any maybe some pickled baby Green Zebras?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

New Shortbread Member!

In honor of this beautiful weather, and the greens that grow as a result, I've decided to add another seasonal shortbread flavor: BASIL.

There was beautiful basil up for grabs in the discount section of Monterey Market this past
Been bakin' away all day.
week and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to incorporate it into the shortbreads! It's a beautiful ingredient to add just alone--it's delicious in its simplicity. After tasting the final result, I feel like these could be paired with anything ranging from sweet or savory flavors. After visiting INNA Jams  in Emeryville this week and buying some beautiful spreads, my mind immediately thought of pairing their Seascape Strawberry jam with the shortbread. Perfect pairing of sweet and savory.

While experimenting with this new seasonal flavor, I simultaneously made more batches of the existing trio of shortbreads! I'm now offering the goods in rounds instead of squares for more uniform and even cookies. Pictures of everything to come!!

Meanwhile, all of the pickles are bubbling away in their crocks...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Getting Started!

Finally! Ferments + Flour is the result of endless experiments in the kitchen. Whether it was messing around with my many shaped vats of bubbling vegetables or the late night cookies I would make for my boyfriend and me.

I've spent all of my time in the kitchen since I was old enough to stand on a stool to help my mom. I'm Italian and Armenian, which just means that all my family does is cook then eat, then repeat. My earliest food memory is picking fresh basil from our garden, only to immediately stand over the food processor with mom and blend it into the pesto that set the bar for all pestos to come. Ever since then, I've been making each and everything that reflects my heritage--from dolmas to risotto to cacciatore--as well as every other heritage as well. There isn't a food culture that doesn't interest me.

My love for all things fermented and floured is very unique to myself. There aren't too many people I know that get super psyched about fermenting vegetables than myself. It's a beautiful thing to preserve a summer veggie and enjoy it in the harsh winter. I've always loved fermenting sweet tea into Kombucha because it made more sense to me than buying it all the time--especially when I grew to like mine more! And once I read The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, my inspiration began and grew ever since.

As for baking--that's something that came to me later in life. I prefer a savory snack much more than something sugary, so why couldn't I make a treat that was satisfying in a way that chocolate chip cookies weren't? I kinda get bored with the flavors of typical baked goods (no matter how close they reach to perfection) so I wanted to mess around with flavors and combinations that are uncommon but still make sense. That's how the shortbreads came to be! They still have a sugary undertone, but I've added some tasty odd herb-i-ness to the mix!

I wanted to create Ferments + Flour for everyone because I know that what I make is special and amazing enough to be shared with others. When my mom, my toughest critic, gave her seal of approval, I knew that I was up to something of the right sorts. (Her tastebuds are hard to please.) More importantly, there's nothing as gratifying as when someone tastes my creations and has the most pleasing reaction on their face. I love it when a shortbread is slowly savored with pure enjoyment and I equally love it when it's devoured in a giant mouthful. And nothing feels better than when someone tells me they like my Kombucha more than the popular store-bought brand...