Friday, February 21, 2014

Food Friday: Food for the Sick from 1876

One of the great things about those 19th century cookbooks is that they had a little bit of everything. Yes, they had recipes for food but they also had household hints for cleaning, laundry, and medicinal recipes. These books served as an all-in-one household guide for women.

Since I am now sick with the same thing that has plagued by family for a month and many of my friends, I decided to check out some recipes geared towards feeding the sick.

I don't know about you but all I remember eating if I was sick as a child was chicken noodle soup. I think it's possible my mom served me milk toast one time but typically the food of choice was canned chicken noodle soup.

Earlier generations had all sorts of ideas about what would make you well. Some look similar to what we might suggest today. Take for example some recipe ideas found in the following cookbook.

This section starts off with oysters then continues on with the non-appetizing gruel recipes.

While other recipes utilized alcohol to help the sick person.

Let's see, oysters and wine  sounds like something that would either cure you or help you forget you were sick.

What was  served  to the sick people in your family?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Springtime cauliflower soup


This post is long overdue.. this soup actually won me a competition last year. It was the Swedish dairy producer Arla that had put up a recipe contest with set ingredients. They included cauliflower, chicken, cream, bacon and a number of other things, and as soon as I saw them I knew I wanted to make a light and delicious cauliflower soup with parmesan, bacon and sugar-fried cauliflower. Turned out the jury agreed with me - it was a great dish! (And I later found out I was the only contestant who opted to not use chicken!) My prize was a cookalong with Sigrid Bárany who won the first season of Sweden's Masterchef - a great fun-filled afternoon that I really ought to tell you more about sometime... But for now, make some soup!

Cauliflower Parmesan soup with Bacon
serves 4

1 large cauliflower, broken into florets (set aside a handful for the topping, see  below)
2 small potatoes, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp butter
100 ml white wine
800 ml chicken stock (or vegetable stock, by all means)
100 ml cream
100 ml grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tbsp fresh tarragon, minced
white pepper, salt

140 g bacon, diced

Sugar-fried cauliflower:
100 ml cauliflower florets, cut small
1-2 tbs butter
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Start by frying the onion and garlic in a heavy pot, on medium heat. They should become shiny and fragrant. Add the cauliflower and the potatoes. Add the wine and let it cook away. Add the chicken stock and cook until the veggies are soft - about 15-20 minutes. Use a stick blender to purée the soup. Add cream, parmesan and tarragon. Season with white pepper and some salt.

For the garnish: Fry the bacon until crispy, and drain on a paper towel. Melt the butter and heat until it becomes lightly brown and very fragrant. Fry the small cauliflower florets for about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and salt and caramelize for a minute.

Serve the soup with bacon and the caramelized cauliflower.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why a Capon?

If you look at old recipes, especially those from the Renaissance, the preferred domestic fowl above all others is capon. I've always wondered, why not just a nice young chicken? The sort that we seem to like today? Well I think I finally figured it out this weekend. I suspected it was a flavor thing, sure. But it's actually even more a texture thing. Look at how wonderfully stringy that is. It shreds into a light kind of floss. I removed the breast and legs for roasting and put the rest in a pot for about 9 hours to gently simmer with vegetables for a brodo. The meat left on the bones was pure white, delicate, almost aethereal. Exactly the sort of whiteness you'd want in a blancmanger or the like. Even this dark meat is really light in texture, and I'm guessing this is why it was considered easier to digest than a chicken. It's also really moist and flavorful. Just a little pan drippings is all it needed. So is it worth it to find a capon? Absolutely.  

Here's an easy recipe to try from the Liber de coquina:

Capones et gallinas elixa et, positis speciebus et herbis odoriferis in mortario tere et etiam vitella ovorim et cum brodio distempera. Postea, insimul bulliantur quosque brodium sit gravatum.

Capons or chickens poach, and add spices and aromatic herbs, pound in a mortar and then egg yolks and temper with some broth. Next, boil briefly until the broth is thick.

The spices to use here would be cinnamon, sugar, maybe some nutmeg and herbs, parsley and maybe thyme. In the end you'll have a very interesting thick sauce. And remember to eat with your fingers.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kombucha brewed with Homemade Mother Scoby and 2nd Flavored Ferment.


maybe it's just a "FAD"
(it's reported to go back 2000 years)

maybe i'm looking for "HEALTHY"
(full of probiotics for a healthy digestive system)


it's like a 3rd grade science project

so...after you've successfully made your own "homemade Mother Scoby", you are ready to brew some Kombucha that you've been paying 3$ - 4$ per bottle.  this is a little documentation of what to expect for the novice brewer...from a novice brewer.
UPDATE...i just posted an EVEN EASIER way to make a Homemade SCOBY HERE

note...this is what i do, but Cultures for Health has great kombucha brewing info.

1-2 cups starter kombucha
(this is kombucha from a previous batch or you should receive some with your new scoby)
8 bags of black tea
1 cup granulated sugar
a gallon size glass jar
clean cloth or paper towel and rubber band

isn't she a beauty !

FIRST...brew a gallon of black or green tea, i used black.
boil water.  turn off heat.  add 8 tea bags.  let brew 10 minutes.  remove tea bags.  add sugar.  stir.
LET COME TO ROOM TEMP...important!!!
add sugar/tea to clean gallon size glass jar.

carefully, WITH VERY CLEAN HANDS proceed. can clean your hands with anti-bacterial soap, but must rinse them very well with a splash of diluted white vinegar and rinse very well again.  scobys do not like anti-bacterial soap.   put scoby into tea mixture (shiny side up, if there is one) with about 1-2 cups of the "starter kombucha"(previously brewed kombutcha).  leave about 2-3 inch head room.  see photos.
cover with double paper towel or clean cloth and secure with a rubber band.
place out of direct sunlight, but in a warm-ish part of the house.  NOT the garage or where any strange airborne weirdness may be floating around.  just a nice clean area is fine.
leave UNDISTURBED.  do not poke at it.
the first brew should take about 10 to 16 days.  you will need to do a taste test after 7 days.  dip a clean (new) straw in, put your finger over the end and draw some liquid out.  DO NOT suck it out with your mouth.  you do not want any contaminates.  if it is too sweet, test it again in a few days.  i have found that 14-16 days works for me.  i have also noticed that a "SENIOR" SCOBY (one that has gone a few rounds) will brew faster than a newish scoby.

DAY #1...scoby floating
DAY #2...scoby sank to the bottom
DAY #5...scoby sideways with possible baby scoby growing on surface
DAY #7...scoby is moving back up

i found a great site "Cultures For Health" that has info for trouble shooting.  Scoby on the bottom, sideways scoby and floating scoby are all OKAY.  new baby scoby should form at the surface.

DAY #8 scoby is up top...under the new scoby
DAY #14  new scoby is the top layer about 1/4 inch thick
kombucha seems done.  not too sweet with just a slight effervescence.
time to bottle, add flavors and start second fermentation

first things first...prepare another batch of sweetened tea do this a few hours before you are ready to bottle your second ferment.  prepare sweetened tea as described above and let it come to room temp... so you can put the new baby in and start another batch.  give the mother away, stick it in with the baby in the new batch or store it in 2 cups of the newly brewed kombucha in a smaller jar until ready to use.  some say to keep it in the fridge with a solid lid, some say never put it in the fridge...  mine is in a smaller jar with a breathable top, just waiting....growing, but still looks very healthy.  NOTE...i have since learned NOT to put in the fridge and i now have 3 in the SCOBY HOTEL as shown below.  i have ALSO learned that the hotel will grow another baby scoby.  i have scobys on scobys.
 you'll always have a scoby for a new brew IN CASE ONE GOES BAD.
remove scoby...ewe
just kidding.  it's really not as gross as i thought it would be.  they might be separate or fused together.  place both scobys on a clean plate while you are bottling...then put them in your new sweetened tea with 1-2 cups of the just finished kombucha.
mother scoby on top, baby scoby weird!
choose lock top bottles for safety and better effervescence.
they should be your best.  i have also used clean bottles from store bought kombucha.  they are much easier to clean and DO hold some effervescence.

again, Cultures for Health has some good ideas and more explicit  instructions.
AND...Caroline Lunger at Mygutsy has a great tutorial for the 2nd fermentation.
Kombucha Girl has a wealth of great information.
Spoon Full of Sugar Free has some great flavor ideas.

you can buy some organic juice...make your own flavors.
my first batch i opted for Organic Peach Lemonade...great, but now i make my own.
whatever flavor you choose...the ratio should be 10-20% juice in the bottle you are using. (example of  added juice quantity is in very top photo.)
so far i have used the peach lemonade, crystallized ginger pieces, coconut syrup and homemade ginger vanilla syrup.
after you remove your scobys (new baby and mother) STRAIN kombucha into bottles.   use a filtered funnel for this job.  i use a few layers of cheese cloth. about 1-2 cups to put in your new batch.  seal the bottles and let the them sit on the counter for 3-6 days.  check one of the bottles after 2 days.  mine usually take 5-6 days to regain a little fizz and lose sweetness from the flavored juice..  you want to test for taste, fizz factor AND to make sure they are not going to explode from over fermentation.

NOTE...a small mini SCOBY will form in each bottle and there will be sediment at the bottom.  when serving, use a small strainer for a nice clean experience..

UPDATE....i've made about 9-10 batches now and have found that my favorite flavor is homemade ginger vanilla bean simple syrup with a splash of fresh squeezed lemon.
i let them sit on the counter for about 5-7 days.


NOTE...i don't like it to be too too syrupy/sweet for this application.
2 cups water
1 big cup of sugar
1 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
OR 1 vanilla bean pod split
about 3 inches of ginger root, grated
put everything in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  turn down heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.  turn off heat and let come to room temp.  taste.  you might like more sugar.
i add about an inch of this in the bottle along with a good splash of fresh lemon juice.

pardon the lazy iPhone photo, but i wanted to catch the beautiful effervescence...too busy for the "beauty shot".

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!


This morning, I suddenly decided that I did indeed want to bring the kids teachers something for Valentine's. I hadn't planned on it, but hey - they sure deserve it, and besides, I like baking.

In the morning. Before breakfast.

No, not so much. But I did manage to swing these little vanilla heart cookies with dried sour cherries! 15 minutes from start to finish - really! Having a stand mixer is very convenient, but I think a food processor will work in a pinch. (But then, add the cherries by hand or they'll be too finely chopped.)

Vanilla Sour Cherry Hearts
15 large hearts

125 g cold butter
250 g flour
125 g powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla sugar (or 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped out)
1/2 egg (just crack it, whisk it a little, and use half.)
1/2 tsp baking powder
30 g dried sour cherries, coarsely chopped

Start by dicing the butter and mix with the flour. I use a Kitchen-Aid here but a food processor will work too. The butter should be very well distributed throughout the flour, and crumbly. Add vanilla, confectioner's sugar, egg and baking powder. If using a stand mixer, you can add the cherries too, but not if you're using a food processor with knives.  Knead until you have a smooth dough.

Roll out the dough, not too thinly as it's prone to crumbling - mine was about 3 mm. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make large hearts, place on a baking sheet and bake at 175°C  for about 6-8 minutes. They should be lightly golden around the edges but not brown.

Cool on the baking sheets.

Food Friday: Valentine's Day 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Are you going out tonight or just making a cozy meal at home? Valentine's Day is one of those special food "occasions" that requires something different and often extraordinary.

In case you are staying home, here's some recipes courtesy of two editions (1925 and a later edition that has no date)  of The Metropolitan Cook Book (Metropolitan Life Insurance).

I have to admit that ever since I first saw the movie When Harry Met Sally I've wanted to have coconut cake with a chocolate sauce poured over it. If you have that hankering as well, here is a Chocolate Sauce from 1925.

If you believe in the power of oysters then you may want some ideas on how to prepare them.

Our ancestors ate oysters more frequently than most of us do. I've written about oysters on this blog and the GenealogyBank blog.

I would love to hear about your Valentine's Day food (or even that of past generations). Please leave a comment!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

BACON...I love you !

nothing says "I LOVE YOU" like a beautiful BACON HEART for your Valentine's breakfast

super easy, super fun
a big hit with the bacon lovers out there.
i found this at "The Paper Mama" on my never ending quest for bacon ideas.
i think it's genius!

not much of a recipe, BUT...

make bacon hearts as shown
put on aluminum foil sheet pan
put the formed hearts in a COLD OVEN and set at 390 F convection
set timer for 15 minutes
take out and drain some fat off corner of tray
optional...sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, chipotle, cumin, or ?
put back in the oven
cook until crispy
remove and set on paper towels, then cooling rack

No-Knead Twisted Cinnamon Buns


Super-easy to make, but time consuming. I made these when I had to stay at home to take care of Titus who had a fever. He spent the day on the sofa, but felt a lot better when these were finished. I got the recipe from one of my very favorite bread bloggers, Pain de Martin.  (Recipe in Swedish.)

I used about 25 g of yeast whereas Martin specified 10 - mine was past it's "best before"-date, so I figured it might need an extra boost. Use your discretion. It's a low-yeast recipe in any case, because of the long rising times.

No-Knead Twisted Cinnamon Buns
about 30

10-25 g fresh yeast
250 g water, cool
250 g milk, cool
150 g butter (at room temperature)
150 g sugar
6 g salt
10 g cardamom, freshly ground in a pestle and mortar
900-950 g strong bread flour (not all at once)

Cinnamon filling:
200 g butter, at room temperature
175 g sugar
20 g cinnamon
1 tbsp flour
a little water

Sugar Vanilla Syrup:
100 ml water
100 ml sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped out

I used my Kitchen-Aid, but you can do this by hand. Mix yeast, butter, sugar and salt until smooth, and add water, milk, cardamom and about half of the flour. Mix until well combined, then add the remaining flour, a little at a time. You should have a fairly stiff dough. No need for kneading, but make sure it's all come together. Cover with plastic and leave at room temperature for about 90 minutes.

After this, the dough should have risen a bit. Turn it out onto a very lightly floured surface, and fold it a few times. You want it to be fairly square shape. Again, cover with plastic and leave it for another 90 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare your filling - just beat butter, sugar and cinnamon together until smooth, then add a little flour and a little water to make it perfectly spreadable.

When your dough looks nicely puffy, flour your rolling surface, and get rolling. Aim for about 80*50 cm - mine was a little smaller, I don't have awesome rolling skills. Make it as even as possible, though.

Spread on your filling, nice and even. Now fold your dough - in thirds from the top, like you would a letter? I hope that makes sense. Give it a quarter turn so that the long side is closest to you. Roll it a little, aim for about 60*25 cm.

Now come the tricky part, the twisting. Cut thin strips of the dough. Fold twice around your fingers then on top of itself - Martin made a very helpful little video of this because my description is clearly lacking. It's easier than it sounds, if that's any relief.

Let the buns rest on a baking sheet for another hour. Then, bake at 225°C for about 10-12 minutes. Make your syrup - combine water and sugar and vanilla, bring to a boil and let cook for about a minute. When your buns come out of the oven, immediately brush them with syrup to make them nice and shiny.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Homemade Dark Chocolates




treat your loved ones to something HOMEMADE from the heart.
chocolate CAN be a healthy indulgence. absolutely must
i am not a nutritionist, nor do i carry any reputable knowledge in the field, but I DO LOVE CHOCOLATE !  and...of course, i'm stretching it a bit to say chocolate is healthy, but it does carry a "SUPER-FOOD" status. there really are health benefits from the cacao nibs and the bitter seeds from which chocolate is made. 

lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, lowers heart risk, helps fatigue, super high in antioxidants
blah, blah and more blah...

i find it's EASIEST TO WORK WITH, and....

buy some molds,  use some mini cupcake papers or pour it on a sheet pan and make some "bark".
(Chip N' Chipotle Bar recipe found HERE)

you want your chocolates to be nice and shiny?  go buy some molds like the ones shown... do you want it to hold up and not melt in hand? pretty for gift giving?  TEMPERING IS A MUST.  it is NOT hard to do.  i use the microwave method explained HERE.

here are a few flavors i have made...
always starting with 1 lb. GOOD "coverture"dark chocolate
UPDATE...shhhh...i did an experiment with Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chocolate chips in a bag.  it works and the flavor is great.  some, MOST, chips won't work because they have stabilizers for baking.

DARK CHOCOLATE with South African flavors....
1 lb dark chocolate...TEMPERED
2/3 cup roasted salted peanuts
1/3 cup crystallised ginger, diced
1/4 tsp powdered ginger, 1/4 tsp cayenne
So African pepper blend from Trader Joe's
sea salt and more fresh pepper blend to finish

(i used Cacao Barry Mexique 66% for this one)
1/2 cup toffee chips
1/4 cup crushed crushed coffee beans
1/8 cup cocoa nibs
1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp chipotle powder, 1/4 tsp chili powder blend, 1/2 tsp cumin...sprinkle with black salt.

1/2 cup unsweetened toasted coconut
1/3 cup crystallised ginger pieces
1/2 tsp Madras curry, 1/4 tsp cayenne, lime zest, dollop of vanilla bean paste.  finish with sprinkle of sea salt and a little coconut strands.

(i forgot to write this recipe bad)
but i always use fresh rosemary that is dried in the toaster oven.  store bought just isn't as flavorful.  i also used crushed potato sticks that come in a can from Mother's Market and fresh ground pepper with sea salt finish.

when your chocolate is tempered at 90 F degrees, add your ingredients.  i like to keep my glass bowl inside another bowl with a towel inside to cradle and keep everything warm.  have a small hairdryer handy in case you need a blast of warm air to keep your chocolate at or around 90 F degrees.  pour or spoon your chocolate into molds of choice.  try to work fairly quick or you will lose you more ways than one. 
give the molds or tray a few knocks on the counter to release any bubbles and settle the chocolate.  sprinkle with salt, pepper, your extra what-evers.  set in the fridge for about 15-30 minutes and remove from fridge.  let them come to room temp before packaging for gifts.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sweete Pies of Veale

For the IACP Conference in Chicago I'll be talking about coffins, as described in cookbooks and Shakespeare. Funeral Baked Meates, served as leftovers in Hamlet. We will be tasting too. The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchen (1588) has a lovely recipe. The crust is hand raised. The proportions of filling seemed so perverse to me, that I had to test it. The crust is perfect:

To Make Paste, and to raise Coffins:  Take fine flower, and lay it on a boord, and take a certaine of yolkes of Egges as your quantities of flower is, then take a certaine of Butter and water, and boil them together, but ye must take heed ye put not too many yolks of Egges, for if you doe, it will make it drie and not pleasant in eating: and you must take heed ye put not in too much Butter for if you do, it will make it so fine and so short that you cannot raise. And this paste is good to raise all manner of Coffins.

To Make sweete pies of Veale:  Take Veale and perboyle it verie tender, then chop it small, then take twise as much beef suet and chop it small, then minse both them together, then put Corrans and minced Dates to them, then season your flesh after this manner. Take Pepper, salt, and Saffron, Cloves Mace, Synamon, Ginger, and Sugar, and season your flesh with each of these a quantitie, and mingle them together.

What does this mean? For a small pie that will serve 4, take 1/4 lb of veal shoulder. Braise it until tender and chop finely. Then take 1/2 pound of suet, chop finely by hand, add 1/4 lb of mixed dates chopped and currants. Throw in about a half cup sugar, a lot of cinnamon, other spices. Chill. Then take 2 cups of flour on a board, add an egg yolk, stir about. Boil 1/2 stick butter and 1/2 cup water, and mix it in. This will make a perfect malleable dough to raise your coffin by hand. I didn't use a rolling pin. Well, you can see that. Let it cool and no, you don't slice it. You break it and spoon out, with a 16th c. spoon like this. Set your table like this too.


I've had a tabletop grill for several years but I finally gave in and bought a proper panini press. I LOVE it! Here's my lunch - cream cheese, st agur blue cheese, and some smoked ham. Awesome! And it took me all of five minutes.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pork tenderloin in Blue Cheese Sauce


Not the prettiest of meals, but I assure you you're in for a taste sensation!

Pork tenderloin in  Blue Cheese Sauce
400 g pork tenderloin
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp butter
100 ml marsala wine
150 g blue cheese (I prefer St Agur)
100 ml cream
100-200 ml milk
black pepper

Cut the pork into small dice, and fry along with the onion in butter until mostly cooked through. Pour on the marsala and cook on fairly high heat until it's mostly absorbed. Lower the heat and add the cheese. Let it melt, then add cream and 100 ml of milk and stir together. Let it cook on medium-low heat for a few minutes, and then season with black pepper. Add more milk if you want it to be thinner. Check to see if you need any salt - the sauce will be pretty salty without it.

Serve with plenty of veggies - we had steamed broccoli, green beans, wax beans and tomatoes - and rice to soak up the delicious sauce.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pink Peppercorn Potato Chip Bar with Sea salt and Toffee bits


this is one of my favorite bars and i forgot to publish the post.  i've made so many bars in the last few months i can't remember them all.  i will post about the flavors in a few days...BUT... this post explains the way i temper chocolate.  it's quite easy once you get the hang of it.  it's possible to go from "plain disc-to-flavor bar" in about an hour.
i am not a chocolate expert, i have a regular kitchen like anybody else, no fancy equipment just a few molds and i use the simple microwave method.

i prefer the microwave method as seen here from Alton Brown.
BUT i have an adapted method without cocoa butter as noted below...
BIG NOTE... microwaves may vary.  you do not want this to happen too quickly.  you might lower the times by 5 seconds or need to power down your microwave a bit..... the point is small intervals of heat and stirring well in between to reach 115 degrees.  this will make for a good temper.

put approx. 3/4 of chopped chocolate in a glass bowl, set the remainder aside.  NOTE...i use a little less than 1/4 of the chocolate amount i am going to temper.
heat chocolate in glass bowl for 30 seconds...stir
heat again for 30 seconds...stir
heat for 15 seconds...stir
heat again for 15 seconds...stir
do this until 100 degrees
check temperature.  if it is 100 degrees stir and heat for 8-10 second intervals until it reaches 115 degrees for dark chocolate.  i only use dark chocolate.  the temperature is different for lighter chocolates.

at 115 degrees add the remainder of the chopped chocolate that you set aside...stir well to incorporate.
let it rest for a moment and stir again.  keep "gently" stirring until it reaches 90 degrees.  use a spatula to incorporate the sides so the whole bowl will be consistent.  it might take longer than you think, but do not rush this step.

90 degrees is the perfect temp to work with.

(not really for this mix and pour recipe, but might be helpful if you are dipping or need it to stay tempered.

to help keep it at 90 degrees....keep your digital thermometer handy.  place the chocolate bowl inside a larger bowl with a kitchen towel inside.  this will keep it cozy and warm.  always remember to stir and keep the whole bowl/batch consistently 90 degrees.  ALSO... have a hair dryer handy.  if it starts to cool... blow a little hot air over the surface and stir at the same time.  not too much, just enough to keep it at 90 degrees.  ONE MORE....i have seen that you can also use a heating pad under the bowl, SET ON LOW.  i tried this once and it didn't seem to work.  maybe i own the wrong heating pad.  the element was not warming the bowl.


2 bars, 9.8oz. each, of Valrhona dark chocolate...chopped very well
1 cup Kettle One Salt and Pepper Krinkle Potato chips, crushed
1/2 cup toffee chips
3/4 tsp fresh ground pink peppercorns
flaked sea salt and fresh pepper for finish

NOTE...before you begin, cover your work surface.  chocolate can be a messy job.
once your chocolate is tempered, add in your ingredients.  add potato chips last so the salt doesn't mix in too much.  stir to incorporate.  pour into molds of choice.  work fairly quick or your chocolate temp will lower.  keep a hair dryer handy to give it a blast of hot air if necessary.  stir while using hot air.
NOTE...if you do not have molds, make "bark" OR use mini muffin cups, set them on a small tray or cookie sheet, spoon in chocolate.

tap and jiggle molds gently on the counter to level and get any bubbles out.  sprinkle with sea salt and red pepper flakes to finish.  put in fridge until set, about 15-30 minutes.  remove from fridge and let come to room temp before packaging.
if your chocolate has been tempered correctly it should stay nice and "snappy", not melt to the touch and package well for gifts or hidden chocolate stash.

Easiest Homemade SCOBY for Homemade Kombucha


go out and buy a bottle of GT's ORIGINAL RAW KOMBUCHA

pour it into a sterilized 1 quart jar
cover with cloth or double paper towel, secure with rubber band
put it in a nice warmish place.
do not disturb the jar.
WAIT at least 2-3 weeks
(mine was in the jar for 24 days.  photo below)
DONE...proceed to brewing homemade kombucha

 raw GT scoby day 24
about 1/2 of the original kombucha liquid has evaporated...or been eaten? 
there seems to be a few layers in there.


surprize!...3 scobys developed after 24 days
i thought i better put them in a hotel of some sort, so i added 2 cups tea sweetened with 1/8th cup sugar and put them in a new clean jar (along with the liquid they were growing in)  until i have time for another brewing...i already have 2 separate gallon jars brewing now....YIKES !

 it seems this looks like a super "clean" it needs to grow some "ewe factor".  i will let you know what happens after the first brew...

UPDATE... 11-5-13
as you can see from the photo, i started this experiment 8-14-13.  then i moved them to a hotel for a few weeks.  on 9-17-13 i started the batch with the new scobys.  i put all three small discs in to brew.  within a few days the new larger baby scoby started to form.
I WAITED ABOUT 16 DAYS for the brew to finish...


UPDATE 1-31-14
i have continued to this date to make 6 more DELICIOUS batches...
AND... my scoby hotel is more like a "RESORT"

in conclusion...there is no need to hunt down a scoby or pay for a kit with shipping and handling.  all you need is a little patience and a few bucks for a bottle of GT's RAW ORIGINAL KOMBUCHA