Make Your Own Kombucha p. 3: Alternate Kombucha Flavors


One of my favorite parts about making kombucha (and all fermented foods) is the experimental aspect. You can try whatever you want and if it doesn’t work, well, better luck next time? Kombucha lends itself especially well to experimentation because you’ve got all those extra SCOBYs to use up. 

As I am an Official Experimental Kombucha Making Veteran (not really, but roll with it), I present three kombucha variations that have worked out really well for me. Give it a try! 

Concerning Homemade Almond Milk and the Byproducts Thereof: Almond Pulp Cookies!

Pictured: four out of eight cookies (I ate the rest...)

Pictured: four out of eight cookies (I ate the rest…)

When I need milk I make my own almond milk because, as I’m sure that most people know by now, adult humans really shouldn’t be drinking milk. Store bought dairy-free milks aren’t really an option either because they normally have an emulsifier and thickener called carrageenan, which likely causes such wonderful effects as “inflammation, gut irritation, and even cancer.” 

The problem with almond milk is once you go through the process of grinding up the almonds in a blender and filtering out the liquid (here is a recipe if you’d like to know more), you wind up with a ton of leftover almond pulp that you have to either toss or dry out and store somehow and hope it doesn’t get moldy.

Or you could use it as an excuse to make cookies!

Make Your Own Kombucha For Cheap

Image via Omar de Armas

Kombucha fermenting. Image via Omar de Armas

This is a golden age of kombucha. It seems that every time I go to the supermarket, a new brand of kombucha has cropped up. It’s a wonder people can keep coming up with clever names for their brands!

Unfortunately, at around $3 a pop, kombucha can be expensive if you drink it regularly. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying kombucha–it’s easy (and cheap!) to make yourself. 

Cold Brewed Ginger-Turmeric Tea

It, er, tastes better than it looks.

It, er, tastes better than it looks.

A while ago, I came across this recipe for ginger-turmeric tea. As it was winter, it involved ginger and tumeric (spices I love), and was a recipe for a fancy-pants drink, I was immediately on board. While I did like it and basically drank it all winter, I was not happy with the fact that most of the powdered spices congealed into a gritty goo in the bottom of the mug. 

So, as I am wont to do, I decided to try cold brewing it. 

Dear Cold Brewed Chocolate, You Are Like Hot Chocolate’s Older, More Sophisticated Sibling


Many moons ago, I learned of cold brewed coffee, a wonderful concoction in which coffee is brewed in cold water over the course of 10 or 12 hours, when it was mentioned in Cory Doctorow’s fantastic novel Homeland. Of course, I immediately had to put the book down, grind up half a cup’s worth of coffee beans and immerse them in two cups of water. As these were the days I worked night shift, I brought my brew with me and downed the whole thing 10 hours later… which was approximately 12:00 at night.

Those who have drank undiluted cold brew know what’s coming next. Little did I know, cold brewed coffee is highly concentrated. I wound up drinking an entire pot’s worth of caffeine in those two cups and then wondered why I was shaking when I went home an hour later. I, uh, don’t always think things through.

Nonetheless, cold brewed coffee is delicious (in moderation)–it’s stronger and less acidic than its traditionally brewed counterpart. I can thank Cory Doctorow for teaching me about it, which is why, when he posted an article about cold brewed chocolate on his blog the other day, I knew I had to try it.

Dear Chicago,

It’s been a long time. We’ve made this long-distance relationship work the best we could, but I can’t stay away from you any longer. It’s time we were reunited.

What does this mean for Dear Food? Well, I think it means more: more Instagrams, more recipes, more adventures and most importantly, more love letters!

Don’t worry, my friend. Things are changing but this change is exceptionally good (I don’t know if you heard, but the James Beard Awards are following me to you, also. Trendsetter!).

So between now and then, it may mean some more downtime between love letters. But I’m hoping for a vibrant and active summer filled with love-filled confessions to food, drink and life!

See you soon!


Image courtesy of AdventureCaravans

Dear Ol’ Smokey (take two),

My love for you will never die. It’s almost not fair to other drinks, really.

I mean, you’re half meal, half delightful libation. I went to visit you last time, there wasn’t much to say then and there isn’t much more to say now.

Spicy, smooth, bacony. Let’s do this again some time. Maybe next Sunday?


The best part about Ol' Smokey from The Roost? Bacon.

The best part about Ol’ Smokey from The Roost? Bacon.

Dear bloody Mary at the Burger Stand,

Call me whatever you want, it won’t change the undeniable fact that I. Love. Brunch. Mostly, I love brunch because I love bloody Marys.

But I’ll be honest, when I first saw this bloody Mary, I was a little apprehensive. I mean, when you’ve had a bloody with a slider on it, it’s kind of hard to go back to regular ol’ olives, lemon and lime. But Burger Stand did not disappoint. In fact, I’d say that it reminded me that what really matters is on the inside (of the glass).

You can order a basic bloody for $4 at the Burger Stand (sidebar: The restaurant occasionally has a full bloody Mary bar, but temporarily suspended it because, well, most people don’t know how to mix a good Mary). And if you’re daring enough, you can replace regular vodka or tequila with their special pepper-infused vodka or tequila.

Talk about caliente. It was as amazing as it sounded. It was firey but not painful, and flavorful without trying too hard. And of course, it didn’t need much garnish (but the last-minute addition of beef jerky log definitely helped).

I love you bloody Mary. Never let go.


Beef jerky. On a bloody Mary. You win, Burger Stand.

Beef jerky. On a bloody Mary. You win, Burger Stand.

Dear Smith & Forge,

I sort of hate to admit that I think most ciders are too sweet. But they sound like they’d be absolutely delicious (and really, they are). Ciders have been on the up and up for the past year or so, and I’ve read about some pretty awesome cider specific bars popping up around the nation, so they’ve got some cred.

And yes I’m guilty, I’ve teased cider-loving friends about drinking apple juice instead of beer (gosh, I’m so cool for liking beer… not), but I haven’t given up on cider-dom quite yet. So when I found myself with a couple Smith & Forge‘s on hand, I drank them down.

Guys, I really tried. I really did. But this line of Miller Coors cider pushed the sweet-o-meter a tad too high. I liked a lot about this cider: the crisp, yet mild, apple flavor; the perfect amount of carbonation; the chance to use my little chalice/glass/cup thingy (next on the list, learn which drinks belong in which glasses). But the sweetness overrode all the goodness. Maybe not ‘overrode’ so much as brought the experience to an even plane: I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. It was a drink.

But fear not cider fans. I will try again. We can’t force love between us, cider but we can tend to this fragile relationship. I have faith in how strong we are (I want to seek out some pear ciders next, if you have any recommendations).