This past Saturday we celebrated the official Grand Opening of Kickshaws Kitchen. It was nothing less than an amazing whirlwind of a day packed with so many people, things and animals! While most of the staff spent the majority of the day slinging burgers, baking bread, getting drinks and washing dishes (SO many dishes!), the pictures that we have seen from the day are simply heart warming.
Three years ago we certainly never thought that Kickshaws would evolve into a restaurant. We wanted to open a market that would increase accessibility to local produce, meats, eggs, personal care and home goods as well as items that were hard to find in our area for those with dietary restrictions. Of course through building our market and inventory we found that there was a huge need for food options for those like my own family- a safe place to eat good food.
I always get a little emotional talking about the people in our lives that have supported and helped us and then those who come and tell us how much they appreciate what we do. One Saturday we had a family come in to eat and after ordering they came to us to tell us that their child, now 6 years old, had never eaten in a restaurant before because he had such severe food allergies. She told us with tears in her eyes how special it was for him to eat a meal just like everyone else. THIS is why we opened Kickshaws Kitchen.
Thank you so much to everyone who helped us get the Kitchen open. We had folks who worked their fingers to the bone disinfecting the kitchen with us, those who painted and patched walls, friends and customers who helped us build shelving and seating and of course those who just encouraged us on an almost daily basis. Opening a business is never an easy task, but once again, we are are blessed and truly grateful to have Fredericksburg support us in such a big way.
Here’s to many more days, weeks, months and years serving Fredericksburg Virginia.
When I was fifteen years old my best friend started to invite me to downtown Fredericksburg for the day. Her dad would pick us up and then drop us off on Caroline Street to wander around for several hours and we would bring a little cash to spend on food and shopping. The day would be spent popping in and out of shops like Corkey’s, the record shop (there was a record shop, I swear), R&R Antiques, Goolricks and many other shops- some still around but many gone.
In high school my best friend was a devoted vegetarian so our lunch options were really limited to the only place that served vegetarian cuisine: Sammy T’s. Even at 15 I still had a sore butt sitting in the benches but we didn’t mind because the place was covered in local art and unique decor and we were treated like adults and not like the children we were. We would sit and talk about the things that young teenagers talk about and fantasize about what our lives would be like when we really grew up. On one visit I remember us talking about the lack of food options in our home town for my friend and I decided that I would one day open a restaurant and make vegetarian foods just for her. (Wow, who knew!) Our visits, at least once a year, to Fredericksburg always ended with a meal at Sammy T’s.
Years later, after having two kids, a failed marriage and moving, I once again found myself back in Fredericksburg. This time it wasn’t for a day visit, but to live. I met my dear husband and we were married. He worked in Fredericksburg so it just made sense to move here. I was in the midst of chronic illness and searching feverishly for anything to help reduce my issues. I had decided earlier that year to remove gluten and casein from my son’s diet which greatly improved not only his health but behavior as well. Through that process I met my good friend Shirley who was running the King George/Fredericksburg Gluten Intolerance Support Group. We decided to meet in town to chat and she suggested Sammy T’s. Having been newly gluten-free, I was scared to death to eat in a restaurant but knew Shirley was the expert in this area. We both ordered crab cakes and enjoyed hours of talk about our lives, being gluten free and the kids. From that day on Sammy T’s once again became a safe place for me to go to eat in town and actually remained one of the only places that I never became ill.
I love Fredericksburg and all that this little city offers. Over the years it has changed so much and transformed into something new and exciting. Though these transformations we hang on to some of the things that have made the city what it has been for decades and Sammy T’s has certainly been one of those places. We are sad to see the restaurant close but are excited and hopeful to see what the new owners have in store for a spot that has held the hearts of many diners; vegetarian, gluten free and of course those who just like good food.
It was a busy week at the shop this week, it looks like Spring may actually have sprung. *fingers crossed*
We have lots of exciting things coming up and a full schedule of classes that are filling up. Classes have been going great with lots of new folks learning the basics of fermentation, bone broth, nut milks and more. Our schedule will soon be posted for April with some new classes and events coming to you too!
On the subject of learning, we thought it would be fun to share the process of making of a celebration cake, namely the 14th birthday cake of our kiddo, Alex. My kids have very high expectations for their birthday cakes, I suppose an occupational hazard of being a cake designer. I started making sculpted cakes for their birthdays when they were very little, and each year the ideas got a little grander. This year Alex’s ideas were a little more than I had the time and energy for so we had to make a compromise. I WILL make a Terraria cake, I will NOT blow sugar for said cake. At the end of the day, he hugged me and told me he loved his birthday, which if you know him is a big deal.
I wanted to talk about some of the products that I used for the cake because honestly, I was experimenting and it came out wonderfully. A friend sent me a box of Enjoy Life’s newish All Purpose Flour Blend which is a nice combo of ancient grains like amaranth, teff and buckwheat, rice proteins and probiotics. I didn’t have a recipe for a cake, so I threw one together. (which I will share) The resulting cake was moist and flavorful, a perfect combination for the banana cream filling (which I won’t share because it is a Kickshaws recipe, sorry!). The Enjoy Life Blends we will have in stock this week… as well as all the other major ingredients we used.
3 cups of Enjoy Life’s All Purpose Flour Blend
1 Cup Cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups coconut palm sugar
2 cups filtered water
3 large eggs
2/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups of organic powdered sugar (we use organic specifically because the sugar is blended with corn starch and we want to be sure it is a non-gmo cornstarch)
coloring of choice (we usually use India Tree colors)
Add the shortening and sugar to the bowel of a stand mixer (for a SUPER fluffy icing, the stand mixer is great) or large bowl for a hand mixer. Start slowly so you don’t blow the sugar everywhere and end up looking like one of the final scenes of Scarface. Combine the coconut milk and vanilla and as the mixer is running slowly add it to the bowl. Once things are starting to look a little more blended, increase the speed of the blender until you get to the highest speed. Blend the icing until it is fluffy and peaks well on its own.
First and foremost, heat that oven up to 350 degrees. I used a 10X10 square pan for this cake, but you could to 2-8 inch pans for a two layer cake with some good height. Give the pan a nice coating of vegetable shortening to prepare it. I usually throw things together and am not a stickler on order of ingredients on cake batters (not always true with everything). So I used a large bowl and put in all the cake ingredients and just blended well. Pour the batter into the greased pan(s) and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it cool 5-10 minutes then remove it from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Once the cake is cooled you can place one layer of the cake on a serving plate, top it with your desired filling and add the second layer. For the 10X10, I cut it in half and then added the filling. It is best to pipe a dam around the edge of the bottom layer with your icing to keep the filling from oozing out. Of course you can just use your “butter cream” as your filling too. When you stack the layers pop that in the fridge to set up for at least an hour. I guarantee you, taking your time to cool the cake completely will make your icing job a million times easier.
Once the cake is completely chilled pull it out and add your first layer of icing. This is what is called a “dirty iced” layer. You are just getting all the holes filled and level. Then stick that puppy back into the fridge to let that layer chill. (again… chilling it makes it so much easier and uniform)
Finally its time to ice the cake for presentation. You want to spread a thick layer over the cake. If you have a straight edge (plastic ruler if you don’t have a cake spreader) you can level out the icing really nicely. From there you can get crazy with decorating or just serve your cake! Obviously… we get a little crazier.
1 bag of Dandies Marshmallows
2/3 cup Tiny But Mighty Kernels
1/2 cup water
Gluten-free Pretzel rods
1 cup Soy/Dairy-free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life or Equal Exchange)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
I decided that I needed trees and would make them by way of Tiny But Mighty popcorn balls. Several years ago (very much pre-dietary cleanup) I had a popcorn ball obsession. If I found them anywhere I would horde them 20-30 at a time. My office desk had a file cabinet and a popcorn ball drawer, pens found a home somewhere else. I wanted to make a popcorn ball a little healthier and functional for the cake design.
First- pop 2/3 of a cup of the kernels with 3 tablespoons of Chosen Foods Avocado Oil. In a small sauce pan put the Dandies over low heat and add (this is different then regular marshmallows and was a trial and error. Dandies are water based, so an oil or butter added like you would for rice crispie treats DOES NOT WORK) 2/3 cup of water. Let that simmer stirring regularly until it is completely melted and creamy. Add the popped corn to a large mixing bowl and pour the marshmallow over it and get busy evenly mixing it all together. From here you could press this into a pan and make bars, or like I did, into balls for popcorn balls. I wet my hands just a tad and started pressing them together until they held shape. Of course I was making trees, so I made several different sizes. I let them sit and cool and then took a wide basting brush and started powdering them with the Matcha Powder to make them green.
In a double boiler (or microwave in a pinch) melt the chocolate chips (in microwave SLOWLY… you will never get the smell of burned chocolate out of your microwave). When they are starting to melt, blend in the olive oil to make the chocolate smooth and a little more liquid. Then take your pretzel rods and dip them into the chocolate completely and using a fork pull them out one at a time and place them on a plate or cutting board. Stick those into the freezer for a quick chill. When your tree tops are done, pull the rods out of the freezer. If there is lots of chocolate pooled around the pretzels, you can use a paring knife to trim some of it away.
To topped the pretzel, with you finger make a slight indention into the popcorn ball tree top. Dip the top of the pretzel rod into the melted chocolate and press it into the popcorn ball. Set it down on the counter to dry. Once it dries, it should just hold together. From there you can pop those trees on your cake!
Our handsome birthday boy… err teen.
Your wondering about the eyeball aren’t you? Well… the eye ball is just a big popcorn ball that is twice covered with fondant. The first layer is used to smooth over (I literally roll it on the counter to smooth out all the holes), the second layer to look nice. Then I just hand paint the eyeball, generally if I have to use a “real” food coloring, I make it an element that isn’t going to be eaten. With the eye I used red dye, which I hate, but it gets the design done. So in this case, the eyeball was just set aside as decoration. My kiddo has a horrible reaction to red food dye, so we just don’t take chance.
So that is what I came up with to make this Terraria cake. Did I mention I had no idea what Terraria was before I made it? There are lots of other things I could have done, but I think this was simple enough for our small group and definitely made the kiddo happy. I hope it encourages you to get creative and have some fun on your own cakes! Of course if you ever need to bounce cakey ideas off someone, its kinda what I do 😉
There are several products that I get lots of questions about and collagen peptides are definitely one of them. Whenever the topic comes up I find myself referring to various online discussions about it or write Facebook comments detailing some of the many benefits. I thought it was high time that I actually write a post that explains exactly why I use Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides and why we sell them at Kickshaws.
In the last several years bone broth has been a hot topic in the natural food communities. The Weston A. Price Foundation often refers to traditional foods like bone broth for their ability to miraculously heal the body. Truth be told, bone broth has been used for centuries in many cultures for its healing properties and for very good reason. The broth resulting from slow cooking of healthy bones contains various trace minerals, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous in one of the most bioavailable forms. It also contains chondroitin, glucosamine and gelatin- compounds that are very often supplemented for various joint and tissue issues.
So what’s the big deal with Collagen Peptides and are they any better than bone broth? While bone broth contains some of the most important minerals and compounds, collagen peptides contain high amounts of certain amino acids (glycine, lysine and proline) that promote collagen and cellular development in the body. That helps your body more effectively rebuild protein structures like joint and connective tissues. This can help to reduce inflammation, improve joint stability and benefit skin condition. While collagen gelatin hold most of these same benefits, the molecular structure is larger so collagen peptides (hydrolysate) are much more easily absorbable like bone broth.
Should I do bone broth or peptides? My honest opinion is that generally speaking you cannot really over do it with these healing foods. I use both bone broth and collagen peptides on a nearly daily basis. I suffer from a number of issues including rheumatoid arthritis which causes pain and discomfort in many of my joints. Consuming broth and collagen peptides helps support my joints and when I am regularly using them, I rarely feel pain. We always recommend, like any healing food, go slowly and see how things go. Because we are not medical or nutritional professionals we always recommend speaking to an osteopath, natural doctor or nutritionist who can offer you some good guidelines on the best way to introduce collagen peptides for you.
For more information about Collagen Peptides and the benefits check out these sites:
If you have ever taken a stroll down by the river on Sophia Street in Downtown Fredericksburg, you have undoubtedly come across The Pantry Shelf. The Pantry Shelf, owned by Bill Greenlaw has been a cornerstone in Fredericksburg for a very long time. If you had ever asked Bill how long he has been in business, his answer, with a smirk on his face would have been “longer than you and your momma probably been alive.”
Since we opened Kickshaws Downtown Market, we have known Bill Greenlaw… well, really before that. Bill was eager to introduce himself to us before we opened the doors to our market and ready to give us all the advice we needed to make a go at business in the ‘burg. I remember the day I first met Bill, I was working feverishly on sanding and painting and I looked over to the covered window to see his face peeking in at the edge. I walked out of the shop and introduced myself. Bill stood outside, what would soon be Kickshaws and talked for quite a while asking what we would be selling and if we needed help. I fully admit I was very wary of him to start off with as I had heard a number of colorful anecdotes about him from folks in town. And again, admittedly, he wasn’t always the easiest person to talk to. But there were a few really huge redeeming factors for Mr. Greenlaw; he was passionate about health and passionate about teaching people. These are two things that we have built our business on and with that Bill and I were comrades.
Over the last year and a half, we worked together a few times on supplying our markets, splitting items that we couldn’t possibly completely use. He came over many times to bring us organic vegetables that he had grown on his land and of course, lots of advice on how to more effectively build our business. The funny thing is though, that while we were technically competing business, Bill was never adversarial. He sent folks my way for items and of course, I sent folks to his end when they needed certain items I knew he carried. While not all of his advice was completely useful (ie “who needs a computer these days anyway!”) he had his heart in the right place and for that he was loved by many loyal customers in Fredericksburg.
I heard yesterday that Mr. Greenlaw had passed away this week. I think for us, and probably many folks in town, we all knew he was growing older, but he was still kicking about (as he said), tending his land and tormenting college kids who ambled into his shop. I guess we just thought he would always be there.
Thank you Bill for being such a pioneer, keeping natural living, eating and health in the forefront of the minds of everyone not only in our area, but even farther. Thank you for keeping your focus on us and our well being, thank you for dedicating your life to making us better. Rest in peace Mr. Greenlaw, although they might not all admit it, Fredericksburg will miss you.
A few months ago I went to visit my friend Suzy from The Scenter of Town and she asked me if I was going to Expo East. When I responded that I had no idea what that was her face made all sorts of weird angles and she finally asked me what the heck was wrong with me. So apparently it’s a big deal.
I signed up and made plans to head up with Suzy and Karyn and left the shop in the able hands of my husband, Richard. We departed at 5am towards Baltimore to get ahead of traffic although I am still sure it was largely to torture me. We arrived in Baltimore by 7:30 am, a good hour and a half until things really got started. We putzed around a while, I removed
my IV of coffee and finally the expo began.
The Baltimore Convention Center, home of the Natural Products Expo East, is almost 14 acres in size. That, my friends, is really big. The largest area, the first floor, was split into two main sections foods and personal care/supplements/home care. Shortly after arriving we split up, me heading off to the food of course.
I’m not gonna lie, my first day was a wash of tasting gluten-free things, seeing tons of people, bright lights, music and more. I think I only made it through about 1/16th of the actual food area before Suzy said it was about time to head out. Thankfully Reed’s does indeed set up an intense music and bar booth, just the ticket when your brain is fizzled by overstimulation. I did head over at one point to the Garden of Life “booth” (more like a small planet) and met Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain. He is an amazing person and doctor on the cutting edge of research into the effects of our nutrition on our brain and body function.
At 5am, Friday morning armed with my clip board and expo map, I made my way with the gals back to Baltimore. Friday morning was the Boulder Brands breakfast, which I had been skeptical about until we walked outside. There was only one section that was glutenful and it was totally separate from all the gluten-free. Glutino and Udi’s are Boulder Brands, and that was what the majority of the breakfast entailed from fresh made pancakes and French toast to bagels and bread with several dedicated gluten-free toasters. There were fresh fruit and veggie smoothies being blended and a table set up with just about every spreadable Earth Balance product. Oh, of course there was also platter upon platter of potato hash, scrambled eggs and bacon. Since we were there early we got first pick and didn’t have to fight for a plate, which is apparently a thing later in the morning. I took a big Udi’s everything bagel, some bacon and eggs, a smear of Earth Balance coconut spread and made a breakfast sandwich. We all ate probably way too much food, but headed off to start the day. I sat and waited for Joel Salatin’s morning lecture and the ladies headed out to the main level to get busy.
If you ever have a chance to hear Joel Salatin speak or meet him, just do it. What he talks about is not exclusive to farmers or foodies, it applies to everyone in our society. Joel’s talk Friday morning was about the orthodoxies of our society, or those things that we have historically considered normal and acceptable and looked back and found how wrong it was, like slavery. He posed a question to the guests: what will our children and ancestors look back on as orthodoxies of our current time? Will my children look back on what we did and ask how and why we did the things we did to our food systems?
Because one of Joel’s largest points was that a system of electronic distribution of food (ie Relay Foods type stores online) make accessibility not only possible but more affordable, my question for him during the book signing was how a market like mine could still remain relevant though we cannot possibly compete with the low prices they offer. His response was that a system like Relay is something that is replacing the large chain grocery store, but offering many foods, natural and local products at a lower cost. He said that a market like mine really needed to focus on education and support to make a difference as well as offer a line of unique products that can’t be found on any store shelf. I felt very reassured by the direction that we have chosen for Kickshaws and the mission of the store given our current climate in the national food systems. Lastly I asked him if I could get a picture and he stood up, leaned over the table and squished next to me so we could get a selfie- he said THAT is how it is done. I do have much more to share about Joel’s talk, but that will come in a later post.
The remainder of the day I buzzed through the expo (minus a few moments of silliness as Carlson Calamari) finding those I needed to talk to and securing products I would be testing with our customers. I met so many awesome companies and employees that are so passionate about what they do and who they do it for. It really rejuvenated my passion for stocking our little market with these incredible products. Of course, now you are wondering what goodies really are coming out of this expo for the shelves of Kickshaws? Well, here we go:
Chosen Foods– Winner’s of the Expo East Best award this year for their new Avocado Oil Mayonnaise! We will be getting their mayo and a few oils
Smart Flour– Smart Flour is a great small company that makes wonderful gluten-free pizza crusts with antient grains like teff, sorghum and amaranth. Also- oober tasty. Cheese pizza NOW IN STOCK!
So Young Bags– An awesome small business with a hot following, maker of beautiful and durable lunch and diaper bags as well as backpacks.
Epic– We started carrying Epic bars last month and can’t keep them in stock. We will have a handy dandy new display coming to fill with bars and harvest packs soon.
Fatface– Winner of my personal favorite deodorant with their “Stank Stop” which works beautifully. We sampled many, many deodorants this week- with some yard work being the deciding factor! We will get Stank Stop as well as a few other Fatface products.
Manitoba Harvest, Hemphearts– Maker of clean, high protein, high omega 3/6 bars and snacks which you all tried Saturday and loved. Tasty, vegan and gluten-free.
Tiny But Mighty Popcorn– Heirloom popcorn, 100% non-gmo, delicious and plentiful! Tiny But Mighty’s owners and staff are amazing and dedicated to what they do and you can tell by the product!
Vital Proteins – Very popular among the paleo community, we got a few samples of gelatin and collagen peptides to try. I hadn’t tried them before, but other similar products. Both are an awesome healing addition to your diet that is super easy to blend in. We will get both items as well as pastured beef live capsules. If I haven’t ever mentioned it, organ meats can be so instrumental in healing the body and gut, and with caps, there is no excuse not to add them in.
Lumi Juices– A local fresh pressed juice company located in Charlottesville, Va. A small, but growing company dedicated to an amazing fresh and healthy product.
Cultures For Health: Makers and resellers of just about every product you could possibly require for all your fermenting and culturing needs. We will finally be stocking kefir grains, rennet and a few other goods to get you on your fermenting and cheese making whey. (See what I did there?)
Lotus Foods: Gluten-free Ramen! Need I say more? NOW IN STOCK!
We will also be stocking up on great products we already carry but got the opportunity meet last week including:
NoBull Burgers– Another great Charlottesville area company with incredible vegan and gluten-free burgers which will be part of Kickshaws Kitchen’s offerings! NOW BACK IN STOCK!
Sweet Note Bagel– The lovely bagel gals knock everyone’s socks off with their amazing bagels, I swear you could never tell are gluten-free.
Health Ade– We just started carrying Health Ade’s Pink Lady Kombucha and it is very popular! We will be expanding our selection to include some of the awesome new flavors they were sampling this past week.
Califia Farms– Maker’s of great nut milks, juice and cold brew coffee. By the end of this year all stabilizers will be removed from every Califia Product!
I am pretty sure there are some I am missing, but suffice it to say that there will be lot’s of new and exciting reasons to stop in and see what is new at Kickshaws Downtown Market! Till next year Baltimore, Expo East Natural Products Expo, you rocked my world.
The crazy bagel ladies from Sweet Note!
Reed’s… you are heaven sent.
Fredericksburg…. he IS real.
Some of the bounty from the expo.
Eden Foods sushi lunch!
I was made fun of for how excited I was about this AMAZING mayo.
Most folks know about my long journey to healing, which is always continuing. A few years ago I started AIP (Autoimmune Paleo Protocol) to eliminate triggers and promote healing. It is not something that may be right for everyone, but it certainly has been a huge help for me. On my personal blog Cake Cooks Gluten-free, I added an update to my journey as well as a link to an update from a year ago when I guest blogged on Paleo Parents. (awesome AIP recipe with that one!)
Eliminating any large food group is very hard. Because its such a hard process, one of things that we talk a lot about it support. Support and access is exactly why we opened Kickshaws Downtown Market. This coming month, we are introducing a new AIP Freezer Meal Workshop. It will be a great opportunity to meet others who are on the same journey as you, get support and information and learn about meal prep for your new AIP lifestyle. The first workshop will be July 19th, 2pm-4pm. The cost will be $25 and include AIP Approved spice blends that you can use during the workshop. To sign up, please shoot us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can get you set up with a shopping list. If you bring your shopping list to Kickshaws, any purchases made for the workshop will be 10% off. Registration is limited to 8 people (space is limited!) so please register as soon as possible.
It has been one week since the Indiegogo campaign ended and we have lots of annoucenments! First and foremost, thank you SO much for all those who championed our cause. Without such amazing and supportive folks in this community we would never have opened Kickshaws to begin with, let alone planned on expanding for Kickshaws Kitchen. We raised a total of $3,421, just under 20% of the funding goal. Sure that seems low, but we did set the goal considerably high. We went back and forth on how much we should set it for and went for the whole amount because we wanted to be completely transparent with our supporters. So really, 20% isn’t terrible!
A number of folks have come to us asking if we would still take contributions after the Indiegogo Campaign ended. The answer is- of course! We would love your support. Through the end of June, we are still going to be honoring our supporters with the same prizes available through the Indiegogo campaign for any in-store donation. To check out those prizes go to the Indiegogo page here.
Slow Food RVA Microgrant
On May 17th, we attended GRAZE, a Slow Food RVA event at Origins Farm in Hanover Virginia. If you are unfamiliar with Slow Food, Slow Food is an international organization that is focused on growing and maintaining sustainable food sources, supporting local agriculture, consumers and our environment. They have a big focus on education, which makes Kickshaws Kitchen a perfect fit for this year’s Microgrant program. On the 17th, Kickshaws received a $1000 grant from Slow Food RVA to support the educational focus of the kitchen. Thank you SO much Slow Food RVA for all your support. Once we get Kickshaws Kitchen set up, we hope to get Slow Food FXBG going!
Fredericksburg City Economic Development Authority, JumpStart Grant
This month we were also awarded a matching grant for $10,000 from the City of Fredericksburg’s EDA JumpStart Grant program. This grant will help support a large chunk of the build out cost for the kitchen with our general contractor including a costly ventless hood. The city is excited about our plans for Kickshaws Kitchen and the continued development of the historic district and we are excited to be part of it all.
This week we are in the throes of preparing for the ground-breaking of construction for Kickshaws Kitchen. With all our funding sources, we are at about 60% funded for the build , so if you do want to make a contribution it would help immensely. Our contractor is ready to get moving so we just need to give the go ahead. We hope to have all our ducks in a row by the end of the week and start the permit process either next week or the following. Because permitting and such can take time in Fredericksburg, we don’t want to anncounce a definitive timeline, but we are projecting completion by Fall 2015.
Again- THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the support as we work towards opening Kickshaws Kitchen! It is a new and exciting time for downtown Fredericksburg!
This week we signed the lease for our new space at 103 ½ William Street, Fredericksburg Virginia. (aren’t half addresses awesome!? We think Harry Potter….)
If you haven’t heard yet, we are building Kickshaws Kitchen- a kitchen serving food and education in Fredericksburg. Kickshaws Kitchen will offer breakfast and lunch service (always completely gluten-free with vegetarian and vegan options always available) via window and in the late day and evening we will host our educational workshops.
Over the last year that Kickshaws Downtown Market has been open we have met so many amazing people, many who are working on improving health and wellbeing through nutrition. That is why we started to offer our workshops on various whole foods and living subjects. Through these workshops many of our great customers have found direction and help, but they want more. We want to offer Fredericksburg more, but to do that, we need more space.
In the new space we will be able to expand on our classes with more times available and many more subjects that we cannot currently do in our current space. We will also be able to consistently provide excellent vegan and gluten-free baked goods which we currently have a hard time keeping up with in our tiny store kitchen.
Our goal is to continue to not only provide access to healthy foods and products, but to provide the education that is needed to utilize those products for better health and living.
There it is… your SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast)… sitting on your counter. It appears to possibly be staring at you, it is alive after all. You made your first batch of sauerkraut and it is doing its fermenting thing, but this thing… it sort of scares you. So what do you do now?
In class we do a demonstration of what you are doing through your first ferment. You get to see and touch a living SCOBY and of course, get your own to take home with you. Because we feel that transporting a gallon of fermenting kombucha to and fro would be a little arduous, we only demo kombucha brewing. But we have found that folks are really hesitant to get moving forward on brewing.
After the class:
First and foremost- the most important thing to remember is that you should use your SCOBY much sooner than later. If it remains dormant for too long (refrigerated or room temp) or with its starter evaporating out in the open, it will become stale. What is stale for a SCOBY? Stale basically means that those amazing colonies of bacteria are dying off. Ideally you should use your SCOBY within two weeks of receiving it. The longer it sits, the less you have to work with.
I always fall back on the movie The Robinson’s when I think about failure. The motto of the Robinson family is “keep moving forward” and they celebrate the failures because you learn from them. So let’s just say for instance you brew a batch of kombucha and it tastes horrible? Celebrate; glitter, streamers- shoot- go out to dinner! Why? Well because at least you have started and from that, you are beginning to learn. When you get back from your dinner, brew some tea, blend in the sugar and start again!
There is very little to really worry about. If you use best practices when brewing your booch, you are NOT going to kill yourself or anyone else. That being said, I have heard some horrible stories of folks brewing their batches under bathroom sinks and such… which, let me tell you- that is just a terrible idea. TERRIBLE. Be certain that all your brewing materials (bottles, fermenting vessel, blending spoons, etc) are all clean. A good vinegar wash or run through the dishwasher (no soap needed, just heat) will ensure that you’re starting off with a clean working surface. And for the love of Pete, place your fermenting kombucha in a place of glory, on a shelf or on top of the fridge or build a dedicated pedestal for it- just don’t stick it in a dark dank place that is breeding with nasty UNHEALTHY bacteria.
Ok… mold is the enemy to fermentation… seriously. BUT do not mistaken dark spots in your SCOBY or dangly dark bits as mold. If you see some funky things happening, look at the surface of your SCOBY… is there fuzz? No? Keep moving forward (cautiously). Just keep an eye on it; check on it every few days to see how it is developing. You do see mold? Welp, it’s time to find a new SCOBY. There are ways to recover a SCOBY, but really, the easiest and healthiest thing to do is find a new SCOBY (which we usually have in the shop). Whatever you do, DO NOT consume moldy SCOBY booch…it tastes terrible, but more so, it could make you sick. But with all honesty, mold is a somewhat rare occurrence if you follow the guidelines above. So don’t be afraid… just keep moving forward.
My mother had Amish Friendship Bread when we were growing up. A co-worker gave her a starter and she kept going forward with it. I remember watching the bag fill with air and look like it would pop and she would add the next ingredient and mash it all together. It was tasty… but she hated it so much because it was a continuous bread making adventure. It took a considerable amount of commitment to keep it going.
Kombucha is sort of like Amish Friendship Bread… only the benefits are much better. For a little time, it gives you amazing gut health, probiotic benefits and so much more. Plus… the minimum you want to let your booch run is a week-10 days, but if you let it go for several weeks… well benefits are still there too. You can brew your kombucha for a week or taste it and brew it until you like the way it tastes. After you have been brewing for a little while, you will get a feel for your own preferences in your first ferment. If you happen to totally forget about your booch and it tastes like some wicked vinegar… it’s ok. Keep moving forward. Just dump the batch, be sure to keep enough fluid to use as a starter for a new brew (at least ½ cup) and start again. If you are worried there won’t be enough oomph (a.ka. bacteria) to start a new batch, you can always add some already made kombucha that is store bought (just be sure it is raw and unflavored).
Stinky, vinegary, bubble-less? There are a lot of things that can happen when you are brewing. The longer you do it the more comfortable that you will get in what you are doing. I tend to fall back on a number of great resources like Len Porzio, a kombucha fanatic and master. He has an incredibly detailed page called Balance Your Brew which offers an amazing breakdown on some troubleshooting once you start to get a little more comfortable with what you are doing. I find that the longer I brew, the more I get into the details of balance of flavor, dryness, sweetness and more. He is a great resource for finding that perfect booch balance. I often reference Jill Cicirelli in class as well, a great resource for awesome small batch fermenting. She has a page dedicated to kombucha making here and of course there is her book- Fermented, A Four Season Approach to Probiotic Foods.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if after a few brews you are the only one who will drink your kombucha. First of all, well, yay, more booch for you! Secondly, as you keep going, your brew will get better. I had been brewing for several months with very skeptical looks from my kids until one day my second ferment just suddenly disappeared… into their bellies. Once you get the hang of your first ferment, you can start to work some magic in your second ferment. But, you don’t have to do a second ferment to have beneficial kombucha. Enjoy what you are doing, experiment and have fun. Remember if you screw up, you can usually just start over. So… just keep moving forward.