FIERY FER­MENTS

70 Stim­u­lat­ing Recipes for Hot Sauces, Spicy Chut­neys, Kim­chis with Kick, and Other Blazing Fer­mented Condi­ments

Foreword Reviews - - Foresight Cooking -

Kirsten K. and Christo­pher Shockey, Storey Pub­lish­ing Soft­cover $24.95 (272pp), 978-1-61212-728-6

Fer­men­ta­tion is an an­cient method of pre­serv­ing the har­vest that has un­der­gone a re­vival as a tasty way to re­ceive the health ben­e­fits of pro­bi­otic cul­tures and en­zymes. But the Shock­eys aren’t just look­ing to repli­cate great-grandma’s sauer­kraut recipe; they are ex­cit­ingly in­ven­tive al­chemists who con­cocted novel ways to fer­ment sixty-four dif­fer­ent veg­eta­bles and herbs for their first cook­book and now blast out 110 more recipes for spicy condi­ments and sauces in their lat­est pub­li­ca­tion, Fiery Fer­ments. Chili­heads will find their fa­vorite pep­pers well rep­re­sented in this cook­book, but other heat sources are ex­plored too, in­clud­ing galan­gal, horse­rad­ish, cubeb, long pep­per, and the de­light­fully named grains of par­adise. The au­thors re­searched condi­ments from cul­tures as di­verse as Hawaii and Bul­garia, and re­count their many ex­per­i­ments, in­clud­ing the flops, in ir­rev­er­ent, ca­sual prose.

These mas­ter fer­men­tis­tas are cre­ative recipe-de­vel­op­ers, but they also pa­tiently ex­plain the ba­sics of lacto-fer­men­ta­tion for new­bies, from the pros and cons of var­i­ous con­tain­ers and lids, to the tech­niques for mak­ing pep­per pastes and mashes, brines, kim­chis, and mus­tards. Many pho­tographs guide the way, in­clud­ing the im­mensely re­as­sur­ing ones in the Fer­men­ta­tion Doc­tor ad­den­dum that di­ag­noses un­set­tling sights, like “when brine looks like snot,” “lava flow,” or the dreaded “bulging lids” (all three are ac­tu­ally not big prob­lems).

Ad­ven­tur­ous and health-con­scious cooks will love to play with these recipes, and they can even ad­just the heat in­dex, which is in­di­cated by a ther­mome­ter in the top cor­ner of each recipe page. Whether it’s Rhubarb Achar, a pick­led rel­ish in­spired by Nepalese fla­vors, or Fer­mented Nopal Salad, there’s a new fa­vorite condi­ment call­ing out for kitchen ex­per­i­men­ta­tion that is “fun, a bit crazy, and full of fla­vor.”

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