Category Archives: Cooking

Homebrew Sake

I have been curious about homebrewing sake for several years and finally decided to try it after watching a youtube video that made the process seem much easier than I had read before. However even though the simplicity of the process in this video inspired me, I decided to do more research and ended up creating a process a tiny bit more complex. My process is mainly based on the recipe posted on the Vision Brewing website. This is the company that produces the Sake Homebrew Kit which is basically the base for creating the Kome-koji and their basic instructions are pretty easy to follow. They also offer some more advanced instructions that I might try later. And the recipe is enhanced by using the water chemistry suggestions from this article in the Americam Homebrewers Association (membership required to access content).

Ingredients

The following are the ingredients required to homebrew sake:

Equipment

As a beer homebrewer I already had lots of equipment that I was able to use for sake making. However I did purchase a few items that made the process easier.

Process

Step 1: Make Kome-Koji

The first step in sake brewing is to produce kome-koji which is rice mixed with a special kind of mould called koji-kin and allowed to ferment at high temperatures for a copule of days. In this process the mould converts the starches in the rice to simpler sugars that later can be consumed by the sake yeast.

  1. Wash, soak, drain and steam 400 grams of rice
  2. Once the rice cools down to 86°F (30°C) mix with koji-kin in the sanitized fermentor
  3. Add airlock and let it ferment for 48 hours at 86°F (30°C)
  4. Mix every 12 hours by carefully shaking fermentor
  5. The rice should become whiter in color, and you might see some white filaments on the rice thanks to the koji-kin mould. I personally did not see those. The rice should also have a cheese/kefir like aroma

Step 2: Make Sake + Primary Fermentation

Now that you have the kome-koji done, the next step is to make the sake. The kome-koji will continue converting rice starches into sugars and the sake yeast will convert sugars into alcohol. These two fermentations will work together to produce the final result: delicious sake

  1. Wash, soak, drain and steam 1500 grams of rice
  2. Prepare 1 gallon of water mixed with:
    • 2 ml Lactic Acid 88%
    • 0.3 g Epsom Salt
    • 3.5 g Morton Salt Substitute
  3. Once the rice cools down to 86°F (30°C) mix it with the kome-koji, the prepared water and the sake yeast in the fermentor
  4. Add airlock and let it ferment for 2 weeks at 66°F (18.8°C)

Step 3: Secondary Fermentation

After two weeks transfer the sake from the 3 gallon fermentor into a 1 gallon jug. I don’t recommend using an auto-siphon for this because you will get some rice into the jug. Instead place a sanitized (boiled) cotton tote bag or grain bag in a sanitized bucket and pour all the contents from the fermentor into it. Use something (e.g camera tripod) to lift the bag above the bucket so you can collect all the liquid via gravity. I was able to fill a 1 gallon jug all the way to the neck which later proved to be a problem since the sake fermentation was still very vigorous and some “krausen” (foam) was produced and filled the airlock which required me to replace the setup with a blow-off tube. Allow for 2 more weeks of fermentation at the yeast recommended temperature range 60-75°F (15-24 °C).

Do not discard the spent rice. This rice contains both the koji-kin mould and the sake yeast and can be used to inoculate a second batch of sake allowing you to skip step 1 and saving you from buying more sake yeast. According to this instructables post, the kome-koji can last up to 10 days refrigerated so you do need to make that second batch soon.

Update – 01/15/2021

The previous paragraph proved not to be accurate. Using the spent rice from a previous batch does not work as I anticipated. The result was a very flavorless and weak sake. You can barely feel any alcohol in it. I believe the spent rice had enough koji-kin to convert starches into sugars, but the yeast didn’t do its part. I’m not sure what caused this, but one possible theory is that the commercial yeast I used on the first batch came with some yeast nutrient in the package. For the second batch I didn’t think of adding any yeast nutrient. Now, on batch #3 I did add yeast nutrient (even before tasting batch #2), so this batch might turn out better.

Next Steps

The resulting sake was good. The sake tastes a bit cheese and sour, but it is still enjoyable and I’m drinking it with friends and they tell me they like it. The sourness could be tamed by reducing the amount of lactic acid used in the water treatment. Maybe a few extra weeks will also help the flavors since this sake is fairly young (4 weeks old).

After making my first batch of sake I wanted to make a second batch using some of the spent rice of the first batch. If this second batch works, it means I can keep this process and skip step 1. The second batch has already been fermenting for 2 weeks and the sake is much thicker than the first batch.

For the second batch I wasn’t able to get the same brand of rice, but I got one very similar. I also got a bag of sweet rice as I want to experiment with this very different rice and see what the resulting sake tastes like.

Update 1/15/2021

So far I have done 3 batches of sake:

Batch #1

Did everything from scratch following instructions and sake turned out well.

Batch #2

Tried to save time/money by skipping the creation of the kome-koji and the purchase of sake yeast and instead inoculated the sake with the spent rice from batch #1. As I mention above this produced a flavorless and weak sake. My educated guess is that the koji-kin did convert the rice starches into sugars (I can tell by the way the rice texture changed from firm grains to mush) but the yeast did not convert sugars into alcohol and aromatics/flavors (phenols and esters). One possible explanation is that there was no yeast nutrient for the yeast to reproduce.

Experiment: Recovering batch #2

If my theory is correct, and the sake from batch #2 currently contains converted sugars produced by the koji-kin, all I need to do is add yeast to it and the sugars should then convert into alcohol, aroma and flavor.

Experiment: Sake batch #2 split into two mason jars

So I went ahead and split part of batch #2 into two ½ gallon mason jars:

  1. One of the mason jars contains 1000 ml of sake and 250 ml of the most cloudy sake from batch #1. This very cloudy sake from batch #1 seems to have viable yeast since I can tell it built some pressure in the bottle and the sake even has a slight hint of carbonation.
  2. The other mason jar contains 1000 ml of sake and 1 teaspoon of kveik yeast. This is a Norwegian beer yeast that contains multiple strains and can ferment under very tough conditions. We’ll see if this yeast which is very good at fermenting maltose, can ferment glucose. I did not use sake yeast because I had none available and it is expensive.

Batch 3

For this batch I used the spent rice from batch #2, so I’m afraid I will run into similar (or worse) problems, although one difference is that I did add a teaspoon of yeast nutrient to it. This batch is less than a week old, so I’m several weeks away from knowing how it turned, but anything I learn with batch #2 experiments can be applied to batch #3 and future batches.

Sancocho

Con motivo de mis 34 primaveras y de mi nueva casa decidí organizar una fiesta y preparar un Sancocho. No es la primera vez que preparo uno, pero si fue la primera vez que hago uno tan grande. Hice una olla completa de 22Qt, otra de 18Qt y otra chica de unos 5Qt, para un total aproximado de 45Qt que equivalen a unos 11 Galones (casi la misma cantidad con la que tanqueo de Diesel mi carro). Los ingredientes fueron: 15 libras de papa, 12 plátanos, 12 mazorcas, 10 zanahorias, 10 tomates, 3 cebollas, 2 ramilletes de cebolla de rama, 1 ramillete de cilantro, 5 libras de yuca congelada, 5 libras de carne de res, 4 libras de carne de cerdo, 2 libras de costilla de cerdo y 10 libras de muslos de pollo.

Al final calculo que comieron unas 60 personas y hasta hubo para repetir, pero se acabo completamente, lo cual es prueba contundente de que el Sancocho fue un éxito rotundo. En las ollas solo quedaron un par de huesos de pollo solitarios.

Fue muy divertido cocinar el sancocho, tener tantos amigos celebrando en mi casa, recibir unos regalos súper chéveres y bailar hasta las 4am.

Agradecimientos
– Karin: por ayudarme a preparar el Sancocho desde las 2pm y quedarse hasta las 4am!
– Jorge, Gabriel y Marina: por ayudarme con la limpieza al día siguiente
– Anmar/Jud: por las sillas de picnic, los tenedores desechables y el ‘I ♥ U S A’
– Adriana/Rob: por el picador de regalo
– Bogdan: por el reloj de Guinness, por la botella de ţuică y por tomarse la botella de ţuică
– Crystal: por la planta de albahaca
– Jorge: por la media de guaro
– Raluca/Christian: por los vasitos de regalo
– Kristina/Pucho: por regalarme la tasa ‘D’ dos veces!
– Karina/Alejandro: por la elegante botella de vino
– Daniela/Jeronimo: por las vasijas de vidrio para servir comida en las fiestas
– Barbie/JoseA: por el fino Whisky Escosés
– Jocelly: por los deliciosos fríjoles
– Daniela/Vasilis: por los ricos cupcakes
– Inna/Mario: por la sandía amarilla
– Erika/Alejandro: por el Mono Rosado: la sorpresa más inesperada y graciosa de la fiesta!
– Ashley, Jorge, Anmar: por venir a mi fiesta desde Dallas o Houston

Y a todos los que vinieron e hicieron parte de la diversión: Gracias Totales!

Es la hora, es la hora! La hora del vegetal

Si eres uno de los cientos de lectores que ha comenzado ha seguirnos recientemente, es muy posible que pienses que lo único que hacemos aquí es tomar cerveza y mamar gallo. A pesar de que tomar cerveza y mamar gallo, son elementos fundamentales en este espacio, también hay cabida para otros temas de gran interés para chicos y grandes. El tema que nos concierne el día de hoy es la sana alimentación; en particular el consumo de frutas y verduras.

I will show you mine, if you show me yours...

Recientemente, conversaba con mi amigo y jardinero amateur Blair acerca de lo dificil que se me hacía comprar frutas y verduras en el mercado. En general me cuesta comprar comida en el mercado: no hayo que productos comprar o termino comprando las mismas cosas. Poco espacio doy a la variedad, y esto es especialmente cierto con las frutas y verduras. Rara vez compro frutas, y en cuanto a verduras casi siempre compro lo mismo: tomate y cebolla que me encantan. De vez en cuando compro espinacas para hacer en sopa o como me enseñó Eva recientemente (mezclándolas con queso crema y sofriéndolas en un sartén aceitado) o compro una bolsa de ensalada César que ya viene preparada y sabe bastante regular. Otra de las pricipales razones por la cual no compro muchos vegetales, es porque se dañan rápidamente y odio estar botando comida a la basura. La única excepción es cuando preparo el super delicioso Gazpacho que me enseñó Sayuri, pero que hago únicamente una vez por mes o menos seguido. Fue entonces cuando Blair me sugirió registrarme a un CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) que en español viene siendo como un club de gente que apoya la agricultura local. La idea es que uno paga por adelantado el derecho a recibir los frutos de lo que se coseche en una granja por los próximos meses. En mi caso me suscribí a la granja Johnson’s Backyard Garden para recibir 4 entregas, una cada dos semanas. Cada entrega es una caja repleta de vegetales variados y no hay posibilidad de escojer que vegetales o frutas recibes, siendo lo divertido del asunto. Hoy recibí mi segunda entrega y la caja contenía: tomates, cebolla, ajo, pimenton verde, pimenton amarillo, ocra, pepino, zucchini, chile dulce, chile picante, berenjena, calabacín amarillo, un ramillete de Albahaca fresca y un melón. Los productos son todos cultivados en Austin y de manera organica, así que son más saludables, mi huella de carbono es menor y además saben más rico. Esto último lo pude corroborar con los tomates: usualmente los que consigo en el mercado son grandes, carentes de defectos y perfectamente rojos y brillantes; los tomates que recibí de la granja eran deformes, con algunas manchas cafés, y de color amarillo-rojizo. Sin embargo cuando los probé me supieron delicioso.

Gracias a esto, he estado comiendo muchos vegetales últimamente y ensayando nuevas recetas. He hecho vegetales al vapor, vegetales sofritos, sopa de calabacín amarillo y calabacín de verano, gazpacho, salsa picante mexicana, espaguetis con atún, pimenton, cebolla y ajo, tomates con queso mozarela, albahaca, vinagre balsámico y aceite de oliva, y lo más diferente que hice fue una receta griega de berenjenas bañadas en una mezcla de harina, sal y agua mineral y fritas en aceite de oliva.

Después de 30 días de cerveza, creo que me vienen bien 8 semanas de vegetales.

Actualización: link a la receta de Eva:
https://www.salon.com/2010/06/26/eggplant_pasta_sauce_recipe/

All the turkeys in tha house, c’mon and let me hear you say Ho!

Eating turkey and shopping during black Friday are the two most important things you must do during the Thanksgiving holidays. I’ve been keeping this secret for many years, but I think it is time to share with the world two important facts about me:
* I’ve never cooked a turkey
* I’ve never gone shopping during black Friday

I know is hard to believe, but that’s the sad true.

However it is never to late to get back on track, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, to return home like the prodigal son, to glide like the Hidenburg: this year I’m cooking a turkey and I might even go shopping!

The first step was to buy the turkey. Since I was going to spend thanksgiving with only four other friends (Alejandro, Sofia, Esther and Raffaele) I realized that a whole turkey was going to be too much for 5 people. So I bought a 3 lb ‘Boneless Young Turkey Roast’ from Diestel Turkey Ranch for $20 at Whole Foods.

Then I did the broth to marinate the turkey:
4 cups of water
2 packets of chicken broth
1 spoon of brown sugar
1/3 onion
1/2 tbs of ginger
the juice from 1 orange

Mix everything and bring it to boil. Then remove it from heat and let it cool down. Finally put it in the refrigerator for later use.

You don’t want to marinate the turkey for too long. Eight hours seems to be the magic number. I placed the turkey in the broth last night around 2 am. Added ice to the broth and stored it back in the refrigerator. This morning around 10 am I removed the turkey from the broth, washed the turkey with cold water and then dried it with paper towels. Finally I placed the turkey in a glass Pyrex and spread it with a mix of olive oil, salt and paprika as suggested by Diestel’s recipe site.

Here is how the turkey looks at this point:

Marinated Turkey with olive oil, salt and paprika
Marinated Turkey with olive oil, salt and paprika

After preheating the oven at 325, I placed the turkey in the middle and let it cook uncovered for 1 hour. Finally I placed a sheet of aluminum foil on top of it to prevent it from over over-roasting and let it cook for another 20 minutes. Here is the final result:

Delicious Roasted Turkey
Delicious Roasted Turkey

Loving the Paella

Last Friday I was hanging with some friends enjoying a few beers at the Crown and Anchor pub when someone mentioned that the 6th Annual Paella Lovers United was going to be held on Saturday. I’ve never heard about this Paella event so my friend explained how it works: several teams compete by cooking Paellas in two categories: traditional and keep-paella-weird and the crowd can taste all of them. Besides the Paellas, there are also tapas and drinks (Sangria, wine, beer), and live flamenco music for people to enjoy. You pay $30 dollars to get in, but it is totally worth it.

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Check all the pictures here.

Medellín 2008: The food

Bandeja PaisaWikimedia Commons – Description = Bandeja Paisa – Source = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Banpaisa.png – Date = 12/16/06 – Author = Wikipedia Author F3rn4nd0 – Permission = Author released into public domain

Every time I come to Medellín it is mandatory for me to eat as many typical dishes as possible and this time it hasn´t been the exception.

These are the things I´ve been able to enjoy in the past few days:

This list will be updated soon with more dishes!
No worries, the Bandeja Paisa will be there!

Gazpacho

Two days ago I made my first Gazpacho soup thanks to a recipe that my friend Sayuri gave me. It turned really good so I think I want to share the recipe with all the Chichipanguanorrea 3.0 visitors.

Ingredients
3x Red tomatoes
1/6 Onion
1 Cucumber
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Carrot
1 Red Bell Pepper
The equivalent of 5 slices of sliced bread, but of an old (hard) baguette.
1 tbl spoon Olive Oil
1 tbl spoon Balsamic Vinegar

Preparation
Cut and cook for 15 minutes the bell pepper, the carrot and the garlic with 2 cups of water.

Peel the cucumber and cut it in chunks. Cut the tomatoes as well and break the baguette into pieces.

Pour 1 cup of the water used to cook some of the ingredients into the blender, and blend the cucumber, the tomatoes and the onion. LET THE WATER COOL DOWN A BIT BEFORE USING THE BLENDER.

Add the oil and the vinegar and half of the bread and turn on the blender again.

Put the cooked ingredients in the blender, the rest of the bread and slowly add more of the water you used for cooking if necessary (probably half of what is left). The gazpacho is supposed to be very thick.

Add salt and pepper.

Put it in the refrigerator. Before consuming, take it outside the refrigerator for 20 min.