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Cook's Corner

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If you go
What: “Classic Kefir” with Lori Foltz. She will demonstrate how to make kefir out of various milks, waters, and juices. She will also offer samples and recipes as well as lead an informal discussion about the health benefits of kefir.
Where: Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St.
When: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday
Cost: $7, $4 for conservatory members
To register: Go to http://bit.ly/w8pbgR
Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette
Teacher Lori Foltz makes kefir, a probiotic, fermented drink.

Add kefir to boost healthy recipes

– Healthy-driven – that’s how Lori Foltz describes her cooking style.

She might not always get there but that’s what she hopes for as she serves her daughters “a great meal like salmon and broccoli. Those are two powerhouses.”

It was also that healthy-driven style that led Foltz to kefir. The French teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School says she became interested in the probiotic beverage about a year and a half ago.

“I started trying to eat real food. I found about it online. I like to teach myself how to do things so I kept researching,” she says.

Thursday night, she will she lead a program called “Classic Kefir” at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.

“Being probiotic, (kefir) has 30 to 35 major strains of friendly bacteria not found in yogurt. You need grain to make it,” Foltz says. “The one in the store has a lot of sugar added and it’s pasteurized.”

Foltz ordered her kefir grains online (CulturesForHealth.com and CulturedFoodLife.com), and used them in milk she bought from the grocery store.

“It’s a real small package that’s all dried. And it’s so easy, I mean you put the grains in milk and wait for it to grow. I started some with store (bought) milk in the beginning and then I used raw milk. The grains when producing and rehydrated grow in three days. You can give away or eat them. It’s like an extra vitamin. You can put them in a smoothie,” she says.

Kefir grains will grow in water, too. The grains grown in water are transparent white while those grown in milk look alot like cauliflower florettes.

Foltz also uses whey from the kefir in other recipes she serves her husband Tom and daughters, Celeste, 9, and Nora, 7.

“Whey from the kefir you get when you strain it. You can use whey (the liquid part) to ferment vegetables. I have a recipe for lemon punch that uses whey. My youngest likes that. She’ll say, ‘Mom, make lemon punch.’ ”

Foltz says she made gradual changes from processed foods to real foods.

“It was a gradual change to have more real food and less processed food. My whole food journey has taken time. I couldn’t have done it all at once. That’s OK,” she says.

Q. Where do you get recipes for kefir?

A. There’s lots of real food moms online. I get tips from them too. Like I said, I like to teach myself. Check out books from the library (on the subject of kefir). I’ve had five out at once. The only thing I created was a smoothie. I do cook but I do like to try things on my own.

Q. Do you have a favorite cookbook?

A. I love to read cookbooks. I love the classic Julia Child. I have volumes I and II in French. For kefir and real food and fermented vegetables, it’s called “Nourishing Traditions.” That’s popular among real food moms.

Q. You mentioned that you make fermented vegetables. Which vegetables do you use?

A. Sauerkraut. I try to do kefir or fermented vegetables at every meal – if I remember. I make one with carrots and garlic. I’m doing Brussels sprouts now, it’s not ready.

Q. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what’s one food you would have to have?

A. Ice cream, a good quality ice cream with full fat. Good.

Lemon Kefir Yogurt Ice Cream/Popsicles

2 cups of second fermented lemon kefir

2 cups plain yogurt

Juice and zest of 1 large lemon

1 teaspoon lemon extract

2 whole eggs

10 (1.75-ounces) packages of stevia (may substitute with honey)

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend for about 1 minute. Taste to find whether it is to your liking; may add more stevia. Pour into an ice cream maker and process with manufacturer’s instructions. If making popsicles, use half of the recipe and pour into molds; freeze. Makes 1 quart of ice cream or 4 popsicles.

Ronís Kefir Onion Dip

1 medium or large onion

1 large leek, optional

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

8 ounces sour cream

5 ounces of homemade kefir cheese

1 small lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

1 teaspoon paprika

Finely chop onion and leek. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add onion and leek and cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool until warm and not hot. Transfer onions to a food processor and add remaining ingredients. Pulse several times until onions and cheese are well combined and smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with homemade potato chips, if desired. Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

Kefir Smoothies

1 cup kefir, second fermented

1/2 to 1 cup berries, frozen or fresh

1/2 banana, fresh or frozen

Honey, to taste

Milk, just enough for desired consistency

Blend all ingredients in blender and enjoy. Makes 2 servings.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know of someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-0088; fax 461-8648; or email dparker@jg.net.

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