Fire Cider Recipes

It's A Medicinal Tonic. It's A Cocktail Mixer. It's Both…and More!

Zucchini and Basil Sautee

Originally posted on The Candida Diaries:

Zucchini chopped into bite sized pieces.

Zucchini chopped into bite sized pieces.

This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy all the zucchini that’s super fresh right now.  And it’s really easy, just some time and a few ingredients and you’ve got a healthy delicious side dish or meal to go picnicking with!

Ingredients:

Zucchini

Onion

Butter and/or Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Basil

Shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese

Method:

Chop up some onion, I usually use about a 1 to 4 ratio of onion to zucchini.

Add the chopped onion, a few pinches of salt (go easy on the salt if you plan to add cheese to the finished dish, which I highly recommend!) and a healthy dose of butter and olive oil to a heavy bottom pan, the wider the pan the better.   You’ll start with a lot of fat in the pan to cook the onions and then when…

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Sean Callaghan Joins Team Fire Cider!

Dana and Sean with our other new addition!

Dana and Sean with our other new addition!

We are getting ready for our biggest fall yet and so we have hired our first full-time employee, welcome to team Fire Cider Mr. Callaghan!   Sean’s actually been helping us out, officially and unofficially, for years.  Sean and Benny ‘Fingers’ Kohn wrote and recorded a rock n roll theme song for Fire Cider in 2012.  Sean has helped us in the kitchen making Fire Cider, and has personally hand washed many, many pounds of horseradish roots.  Sean is now offering in store Fire Cider tastings and attends the SoWa Farmer’s Market in Boston every Sunday.

Ready to rock at the SoWa Market in Boston.  Nice T-shirt!

Ready to rock at the SoWa Market in Boston. Nice T-shirt!

Now that he’s officially, finally, part of Team Fire Cider, you’ll see Sean all over New England offering free samples of Fire Cider at festivals, shops and cafes.  Sean will be working closely with our retail partners too.  Want to see Fire Cider for sale somewhere?  Feel the need for an in store demo aka free samples?  Sean can be emailed directly at, you guessed it: Sean@FireCider.com

The Big E is held in Springfield MA every year.  Sean, Dana, Brian, Sheri and I will be there, next to the Massachusetts building on the weekends, Friday September 12 through Sunday the 14th, the weekend of the 20th and 21st and Friday the 26th to Sunday the 28th.  Last year we gave out about 15,500 samples of Fire Cider (in biodegradable cups!) over the course of the event.   Let’s see if we can’t beat that record this year!

Sean and Dana having a laugh in the warehouse.

Sean and Dana having a laugh in the warehouse.  DIY Halloween costume!

Homemade Mayo is Wicked Easy

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Mark Bittman’s recipes?  They are easy, accessible, reliable and, of course, delicious!  Here’s one that Dana and I have been making up weekly because mayo goes with everything.  Seriously, my friend eats banana mayonnaise sandwiches!

Mayonnaise by Mark Bittman from ‘How To Cook Everything’

This is the easiest, quickest way I have found to make mayonnaise at home. Making it yourself means it’s made from organic high quality ingredients and costs a lot less than the stuff at the store, win win.  

I have a Bamix wand blender made in Switzerland, it’s the ultimate wand blender and unlike most other versions, it will last forever because it’s all one piece. On models where the stem detaches, eventually the connection point wears down and then you need a whole new one. No good. You can also use a blender or a food processor to make this mayonnaise. Or use a whisk, but remember, when whisking by hand you must add the oil only a teaspoon at a time and whip it in between. It’s a bit of a work out!

Ingredients for 1 Cup:

  • 1 whole egg at room temperature
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard or organic Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice OR 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, sunflower seed oil, grape-seed oil or a combination, or more if needed, at room temperature
  • Pinch or two of unrefined sea salt, to taste

Method:

  1. In food processor or blender combine the egg, cayenne, mustard, lemon juice, salt and ¼ cup of the oil. Blend for about 30 seconds.
  2. Then, with the processor or blender running, add the oil in a slow, thin stream. After you have added about ½ the oil, the mixture should start to thicken. You can add up to 1 ½ cups of oil, to the desired consistency.
  3. That’s it! Taste and adjust seasonings: more salt or lemon. Place in a glass jar with tight fitting lid. It will firm up even more in the fridge and will last about 2 weeks.
  4. If you’d like to, you can add 1 tablespoon of whey (which you can easily strain out of your whole milk yogurt) in the first step, before adding oil. In this case, let the finished mayo sit at room temperature for 7 hours and then place in the fridge. It will last several months this way and contains beneficial bacteria.

Variations…

Fire Cider:  Use Fire Cider in place of the lemon juice- 1 tablespoon Fire Cider plus 1 Tablespoon of water

Garlic : Add 1-2 crushed cloves garlic to the egg yolk mixture. Be sure to use fresh garlic cloves, not jarred paste or jarred cloves, which can have an acrid taste.  This one is great with the Fire Cider version.

Cilantro Cucumber: Replace lemon juice with lime juice. After the mayo has thickened, add 3/4 cup cilantro leaves and 1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber. Puree in blender until smooth.

Herbs: When the mayonnaise has thickened, add 1/2 cup fresh parsley and 1/4 cup single or mixed fresh herbs, such as basil, tarragon, mint, or chives. Puree in blender until smooth.

We Made A Pallet Garden

Last weekend Dana and I spent just 45 minutes – plus gathering materials- to build this sweet little pallet garden!  We have a lot of pallets at our warehouse in Pittsfield, so, if you like this idea and want to make your own, please email me: Amy@FireCider.com and we’ll hook you up with as many pallets as you’d like.  Someone mentioned to me they were concerned about the pallet wood being treated with chemicals.  That is a worry for international shipping pallets, as those are treated, but the ones we get are used for shipping only in the U.S. and are made from the cheapest (it costs money to chemically treat wood!) scrap wood available.  We picked a pallet that was sturdy and unpainted, made of plain, raw wood.  I can’t wait to pick lettuce in a few weeks!

Dana filling the pallet garden with organic dirt, yum!

Dana filling the pallet garden with organic dirt, yum!

First, gather your materials:

one pallet

weed cloth

thin board to cover the back of your pallet

powerful staple gun, tacker or some small nails and a hammer

enough organic dirt to fill the pallet, about 5-6 bags should do

seeds!  choose smaller foods with little roots like lettuce, herbs, flowers, nothing too big, like corn or too deep like root veggies.

How To:

Use the top of the pallet, with the most boards/small spaces for the front.  Tack weed cloth all around the back, bottom and sides, this will help keep the dirt inside the pallet. Leave the top open so you can grow taller plants/flowers in that space.

Using a tacker to cover the back, bottom and sides with weed cloth.

Using a tacker to cover the back, bottom and sides with weed cloth.

Now tack a thin board over the back of the pallet to keep it stable so the dirt doesn’t fall out.

So, can you tell Dana was taking these photos!  We used a thin board leftover from packing material to cover the back of our pallet.

So, can you tell Dana was taking these photos?! We used a thin board leftover from packing material to cover the back of our pallet.

Lean your pallet against a fence or building at an angle and fill it with organic dirt.  Pack it in well so that it’s filled up and won’t wash out when it rains.

About 5 bags of dirt should do.

About 5 bags of dirt should do.

Now plant each row, in the spaces between the front slats.

Planting herbs, flowers, lettuces and more!

Planting herbs, flowers, lettuces and more!

Water regularly and enjoy your little garden!  I’ll be sure to post updated photos of our pallet garden on our Facebook page once things get growing.  Here’s how it looked five days after we planted the seeds:

Radishes are taking off with herbs, lettuce and flowers not far behind.

Radishes are taking off with herbs, lettuce and flowers not far behind.

 

 

Cool Drinks for Hot Summer Days

Drinking vinegar for its myriad health benefits goes back to ancient Greece, no wait, even further, to 5000 BCE when Babylonians were using date palms to make vinegar.  Warriors throughout history have used vinegar mixed with water for strength and energy. Vinegar drinks and vinegar tonics infused with herbs, roots, flowers, you name it, have been around for many centuries.  In New England farmers have been making a drink called ‘switchel’ to keep them hydrated and ward off heat stroke during the long, hot summer days:

“They drank a quenching beverage that functioned much like modern Gatorade: switchel, also called switzel or haymaker’s punch. It contained water, a sweetener—either molasses, maple syrup, honey or brown sugar—ginger, and cider vinegar. All the ingredients (except water) happen to be sources of potassium—an electrolyte. Molasses is especially high in potassium.” Read the rest of this article HERE!

Apple Cider Vinegar is an incredibly medicinal food since it contains several different beneficial acids plus beta-carotene, amino acid, bone building minerals, enzymes, magnesium, potassium, pectin and tannins.  No wonder humans have been using this super food since we figured out how to preserve apples in the form of vinegar!

Here are my three favorite vinegar drinks, aka, switchels, to help keep you cool and healthy this summer:

Dana’s Pomegranate Switchel

Ingredients to make one cup of Switchel concentrate:

  • ¼ cup of Fire Cider
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh ginger juice
  • 3 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey

Shake well to combine all ingredients.

Serve about 2-4 ounces of concentrate over ice, top with soda water to make a pint.

Store leftover Switchel mix in the refrigerator.

Citrus Switchel

Makes 2 servings-

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or Fire Cider
  • juice from 1/2 a grapefruit
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons, or more to taste, raw, local wildflower honey
  • Soda water or plain water
  • 2 lime wedges

Combine the first 3 ingredients and makes sure to dissolve al the honey.  Fill two pint glasses with ice and split the switchel mix between the glasses.  Top with soda water and garnish with a lime wedge.

Dr. Earl Mindell’s Switchel- from his book ‘Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar‘ which is also where I got some of the information for this blog post.  Makes 2 servings-

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or Fire Cider

1 1/2 tablespoons black strap molasses

2 cups warmed water (to melt the molasses)

Combine and pour over ice.

Fire Cider Photo and Video Contest

Show us your best Fire Cider face!   Or your Fire Cider tattoo (no, seriously, we heard this was a real thing!), your friends trying Fire Cider for the first time, the funniest, weirdest, coolest way you use Fire Cider.  Get creative and you could win one of four $25 gift certificates to your favorite Fire Cider retail shop.  Sound like fun?  Here’s how to enter the contest:

Send us one photo OR one 60 second or shorter video along with your favorite place to buy Fire Cider.  We’ll let our Facebook fans pick two photo winners and two video winners and each will receive a $25 gift certificate to the shop of your choice.

Amy and Dana say: Beware The Underdose!

Amy and Dana say: Beware The Underdose!

Email your photo or video with the subject line “Fire Cider Contest” to Amy@FireCider.com by Monday July 14th at midnight est.  We will post your photos and videos on our Facebook and Twitter during and after the contest.  Brian, Dana, Sheri and Amy will narrow down the entries to our top favorite picks and let people vote on our Facebook page starting on Tuesday July 15th.

Our daily doses, down the hatch!

Our daily doses, down the hatch!

Like us on Facebook if you haven’t already!  The four winners will be emailed directly with how to redeem their gift certificates.  You can send in as many submissions as you like, one per email please.  Here’s Amy and Dana’s Fire Cider faces, show us yours!!

Hurts so good!

Hurts so good!

Curry Fire Cider Marinade

This past Father’s Day weekend I did what all good children do: grilled with my dad!  It was really fun, especially since I was trying out a new marinade that Chef and Butcher James Burden recommended to me.   I went to Berkshire Organics in Dalton to stock up on everything we needed for dinner.  I picked up fresh, organic veggies: eggplant really soaks up marinade so it’s great for grilling, plus onions, zucchini and some red and orange bell peppers.

Red Apple Butchers, at Berkshire Organics, had 30 day, dry aged steaks, so I had to try a few of those.  And I also bought about 2 and 1/2 pounds of chicken thighs with the skin on.  Here’s the marinade recipe plus a bonus curry mix from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything, which is as useful as it sounds.   Last week I wrote to Mr. Bittman about Fire Cider and his assistant wrote me back saying she had tried it the last time she was in the Berkshires and would be happy to share a sample bottle with her boss.  How cool is that?!

Marinade for 2-3 pounds of Chicken 

Yes, of course you can use this marinade on tofu, fish or veggies.  For fish and veggies, about 20 minutes in the marinade will do.  For meat, like the chicken, make the marinade the day before and let the meat marinate overnight.  I made double this recipe, one half for the chicken and one half for the veggies.

Ingredients:

a generous 1/4 cup Fire Cider

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons salt

1 big tablespoon fragrant curry powder blend (see photo below for the recipe! Yes, you can use store bought as well.)

a pinch of asafoetida

a pinch of chipolte pepper

1 teaspoon garam masala

 

Method:

First, make up the fragrant curry powder blend, this will make enough for this recipe plus plenty left over for all your curry spice needs, it’s awesome on pop corn!

Mark Bittman's curry blend.

Mark Bittman’s curry blend.

Get the spices together and toast the spices in a dry skillet.

Whole spices ready to toast!

Whole spices ready to toast!

Mmm, toasty and very fragrent!

Mmm, toasty and very fragrant!

Use a small spice grinder to turn toasted spices into powder and then add

Use a small spice grinder to turn toasted spices into powder and then add powdered ginger and turmeric.  Homemade curry powder!

Once you’ve made the curry blend,  combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl.

Yes, that's a gallon of Fire Cider. Beware the underdose!

Yes, that’s a gallon of Fire Cider. Beware the underdose!

Pour all the marinade over the chicken and marinate over night in a sealed bag or sealed container.

The next day, when you are ready to cook, remove the chicken, discard any leftover marinade and grill the chicken til it’s done!

For veggies: chop bite sized pieces of onion, bell peppers, zucchini and eggplant, make up more marinade and marinate for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat each piece.  Slide onto skewers and grill with the chicken.

Grill ready chicken, veggies and steak.

Grill ready chicken, veggies and steak.

The 30 day dry aged steaks were perfect as is so I let them sit out at room temp for about an hour, lightly salted them and then grilled them for a few minutes on each side for perfectly rare, melt in your mouth awesomeness.

Happy grilling, all summer long!

Happy grilling, all summer long!

Team Fire Cider 5k Run July 4th

Team Fire Cider is looking for 20 or more friends to join us for the annual Pittsfield MA, Independence Day 5 K race!

We are giving out Fire Cider T-shirts to wear for the race and keep forever for the first 20 team members to show up for the race.

Prizes will be awarded for first place, last place and best costume; think red, think fire, or just dress up like a pirate!  I have a feeling the prizes will be Fire Cider.

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We will meet at 9 am at Wahconah Park to hand out shirts, trash talk, stretch like we mean it and take a vote for best costume.

Pittsfield Independence 5K Road Race, Wahconah Park , Pittsfield, MA, 9:30 am start time, Before Pittsfield Parade

Here’s a link to all the official details of the race: http://www.plattsys.com/waspeview.asp?eventid=1154

Send in your application for the race and run with Team Fire Cider!  Find the event here on Facebook and we’ll see you on the 4th of July.

A loud and clear message on the back!

A loud and clear message on the back!

No Matter The Dis-Ease, Food as Medcine

I wanted to share this story since it’s something that I wasn’t aware of until recently: cancer caused by asbestos exposure and because Heather Von St. James relied on her healthy diet during her treatment and recovery process.  No matter what the disease or imbalance, part of the answer is always food as medicine!  Here’s Heather’s story, I’m happy to help her spread awareness about safely avoiding asbestos exposure:

“During my cancer treatment and beyond I have maintained a balanced healthy diet. Eating nutrient rich greens and lean protein I was able to maintain my weight and energy to fight off infection and recover more quickly. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to remove my lung all affected my ability to eat as I normally did before I was diagnosed, but I could not let the side effects take control over my life. Foods do have healing powers, and adding more fibrous options, fish, and green tea to my diet I believe helped my healing process. I do advise to consult a doctor before making serious changes to any diet to determine if such changes are beneficial for them.

Heather Von St. James

Heather Von St. James

 

n 2005, at the age of 36, and only three months after giving birth to a beautiful daughter Lily Rose, Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer caused by asbestos exposure. She was exposed to asbestos from her father’s work coat that was routinely covered in the harmful fibers. After a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, she made it her life’s mission to spread awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos. She carries out her mission to be a beacon of hope for those afflicted with mesothelioma by sharing her story of faith, love and courage as a keynote speaker at conferences, through social media forums, and blogging for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

 

Education is very much the first step in dealing with asbestos issues. Asbestos is not dangerous when it is in tact, but only when it becomes friable, or the fibers are loose, and airborne is when it becomes dangerous. As with lead, the same applies. Encapsulate it, or have it removed by a licensed and bonded abatement company. Do not attempt removal of asbestos on your own. It is dangerous.

 

The symptoms of asbestos exposure have a long latency period and can take years to show up. It can be 30 years before any health problems arise, so it is important to know what you are dealing with. Knowing where asbestos could be in your home is key. A few examples: attic insulation, called vermiculite (it looks like gravel) also spray insulation around boilers and such, tape, drywall, floor tile and adhesive, roofing, siding. Educate yourself before your renovate. Household exposure is a growing danger with people doing their own renovations and unknowingly tearing into asbestos containing walls, etc. One can never be too careful!

 

If you’d like to check out more information about Heather feel free to check out her blog!

New Equipment, Thanks to The CDC!

Have I mentioned lately how amazing it is to be working in partnership with the Franklin County Community Development Corporation- say that 5 times, fast!   They offer guidance to anyone interested in starting a business and they have provided us with a space to produce Fire Cider and continue to grow our small business.  The CDC is currently under construction to expand their cold and dry storage as well as their commercial kitchen.   We are stoked to have more space to make more batches of Fire Cider.

Last year the CDC’s loan program, headed by Alan Singer, made it possible for us to upgrade all of our equipment to food grade stainless steel.   We were super happy to say goodbye to all of our plastic barrels.  We found them homes as rain barrels!

Stainless steel steeping tank, stainless steep pump parts, only the best for your Fire Cider!

Stainless steel steeping tank, stainless steep pump parts, only the best for your Fire Cider!

Less than a year later, we approached Alan with another loan request, this time for two pieces of kitchen equipment that would save us many long hours in the kitchen, taking a lot of stress and physical labor out of making Fire Cider.  The result?  An awesome scrubbing tunnel that has turned a 10-12 person hour job into a 30 minute exercise.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It used to take 2 people working non stop scrubbing organic horseradish for hours on end just to prep that one ingredient for 2-3 batches of Fire Cider.  Now, we can achive even better results in just 30 minutes, and that includs set up, clean up and break down!   Here’s a fun video of Dana and Brian trying out the scrubbing tunnel for the first time.  It’s a bit loud, so turn the volume down!

Here are the before and after photos, can you tell we are super impressed with our investment?!

Organic horseradish, covered in not so delicious organic dirt!

Organic horseradish, covered in not so delicious organic dirt!

So fresh and so clean and ready to be turned into Fire Cider.

So fresh and so clean and ready to be turned into Fire Cider.

With our second loan we were also able to purchase a chopper for the lemons and oranges.  Processing hundreds of pounds of citrus by hand is just asking for carpal tunnel, not to mention an injury waiting to happen.  This chopper, with it’s graphic warnings, is definitely scarier than the chef’s knives we’ve been using, and will save our hands and arms, as long as we keep them away from the blades!

All thumbs ups, not to worry, we have cut resistant gloves to protect our hands while cleaning the machine.

All thumbs ups, not to worry, we have cut resistant gloves to protect our hands while cleaning the machine.

And here’s our new chopper in action, making batches Fire Cider just got a lot easier, which means that the three of us can safely continue making you Fire Cider for many years to come.   Yup, this video is loud too, what can I say, I’m working on my videographer skills!

We are super thankful to the CDC and their staff for supporting the growth of our small business, we truly couldn’t do this without them!  If you are thinking about starting a business, the CDC has you covered from the very beginning.

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