Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is slightly effervescent + quite tart + rich in probiotics. It’s definitely an acquired taste and often infused with herbs, spices and fruit. It’s got an earthy, vinegary, yeasty flavor. I used a “Harvest” variety flavored with apricot + tarragon and it worked beautifully in this bread recipe.
Parmesan rinds are my “not so secret” ingredient for the richest + most savory + outrageously delicious stock. I collect them all year long and keep them frozen until ready to use. We eat a LOT of Parmesan in my house so I always have a pretty good stockpile. I use them to make vegetable stock, but also add them to my meat stocks. These rinds will change your life (and your stock) forever!
Fresh fava beans are in season late Spring to early Summer. They are sold in their large, thick pods and require some minor manual labor + preparation before you can enjoy them. However, they are SO worth the effort as you will be rewarded with a bright green bean that has a nutty flavor and buttery texture. Fresh favas are a great source of protein, vitamins A, B + C, and fiber.
They are longer, thinner, more dense and virtually seedless when compared to the more common “slicing” variety of cucumber. English cucumbers have a mild, almost sweet flavor and the skin is less waxy and thick. I never, ever peel them.
All butter is NOT created equal. I always, always use cultured butter. It’s a European-style butter that is “cultured” by adding live bacteria to the cream before churning. And the fat content is higher than the “sweet cream” butter generally sold in the United States. The cultured cream and higher fat content create a more tender crumb and crust when baking. Plus, it’s SO much more flavorful than sweet cream butter.
Broccolette, also known as broccolini, should not be mistaken for broccoli rabe. While they do look similar with their smaller florets and long, thin stalks, broccolette is more tender and not as bitter as broccoli rabe.
Umami Paste and Pomegranate Molasses
If you do not have umami paste and pomegranate molasses in your pantry, GO get them. Umami paste is a savory condiment every kitchen should have stocked. Umami, by definition, is one of the five categories of taste (along with sweet, sour, salt +bitter). Pomegranate molasses is a sweet, but tart syrup often used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It adds a rich, exotic, intense flavor to any dish and pairs beautifully with the savory umami and mild eggplant in this recipe.
I always use caster sugar when I make homemade jam. Also known as superfine sugar, the granules are so finely ground, they are almost like powder. Caster sugar dissolves very quickly and is therefore ideal for jam making.