yardgyal extra spicy

UPDATE: i have achieved fizziness. the plastic bottle expanded and was hard as a rock. i bunged it in to fridge #2 and in a few hours opened it up – fizzy, slightly boozy, delicious. i would like to know what the alcohol content is. the process seems wildly complex. investigating.

the ginger beer smells and tastes fantastic but it is not fizzy whatsoever. i am a bit confused about open fermentation vs closed fermentation. for some reason i thought that the ginger brew in the open crock would get all fizzy and boozy but no. what i am coming to understand is that to achieve CO2 and alcohol you need a closed vessel along with the sugar and wild yeast. this is called in beer-making circles “bottle refermentation” or “bottle conditioning.”

i’ve decanted a portion of the brew into a 3 liter plastic bottle (the contents of which had been generic tonic water  – i know – THE HORROR – poured it down the sink – how did it even get into the house??? whatever.) and have closed it tightly and stashed it in a dark corner. the plastic bottle technique seems much safer at this stage than the bail-top glass bottles i bought last week. who knew that this soda-making was so dangerous with the fizzing and the exploding in one’s face and whatnot. i also topped up the original brew with more ginger bug, a bit of fresh water (it was overly sweet, i have adjusted the amount of sugar in the recipe below) more lime, more black pepper and cardamom, some chunks of ginger and…. a dried habanero pepper from last years crop.

with this foray into beverage-making, frank and i have been discussing the idea of habanero soda. it will be the next project once i get more ginger bug going. i have to admit i have been considering boughten yeast. cheating, i know. i guess the ginger bug just needs to be stronger… yeastier.

i’m thinking of calling the ginger beer “yardgirl” as an homage to my jamaican roots (mon.) the derivation of yardie is all very sociological but in essence it refers to the housing projects in the kingston ghetto of trenchtown where people had nothing better to do than hang out in the courtyard. chav with more flavor. “yardwife” was also considered and discarded. seemed too much like “fishwife.” i picture a label sporting a big-bottomed girl in poom poom shorts: a bit r. crumb, a bit russ meyer, a bit bettie page as a dancehall queen. frank’s tattoo artist friend is contemplating drawing it for me.

dude had some serious mother issues.

i’ve also thought up a name for frank’s yet to be created beer: “silverlake peckerwood ale.” i nearly fell over laughing. oh come on, have a sense of humor. if i can be  a jamaican yardie in poom poom shorts, frank can be a peckerwood.*  this is actually how we plan to dress for our wedding.

 

 

* frank can trace his cracker lineage from the 17th century. “As early as the 1760s, this term was in use by the upper class planters in the British North American colonies to refer to Scots-Irish and English settlers in the south, most of whom were descendants of English bond servants. A letter to the Earl of Dartmouth reads: “I should explain to your Lordship what is meant by Crackers; a name they have got from being great boasters; they are a lawless set of rascalls on the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, and Georgia, who often change their places of abode.” – wikipedia (which is always right.)

 

ginger bug aka the exterminator

here’s the pitch:

ok so it’s 2039 and the world is ruled by humans set upon exterminating what remains of a robot race. they are  controlled by a sort of sentient global defense system, earthnet. and like, one of earthnet’s human minions is sent to kill the mother of a girl who will eventually leads a resistence movement against the humans and destroy earthnet. at the same time a robot assassin is sent from the future to protect the woman and her unborn daughter. it’s called THE EXTERMINATOR. whaddaya think?

it’s not that i thought i was the only person interested in food, or blogging for that matter, but as they say, there is no story that hasn’t been already told.

with sandor’s book back in service, i’ve taken to reading it like a nightstand novel and became intrigued by the section on fermented beverages. frank bought a beer-making kit at whole paycheck as a part of our post-apocalyptic sustenance program. he hasn’t ventured into it as of yet but he’ll get there now that the pantry isn’t housing every pickle on the planet. at bäco mercat they have a bunch of great cocktails (not to mention the food which is amazing) that use a shrub. let’s just say i had no idea what that was until reading sander’s book. i also read about ginger bug: the base for lacto-fermented ginger beer. long story short: i made the ginger bug (which consists of ginger, sugar and water left to ferment) and it was fizzing and frothing away nicely until yesterday when i added some more ginger and sugar and somehow killed it. it stopped frothing and only has a light, sort of pathetic fizz about it.

with the festival of yeasts i have come to love all of my starters and cultures like pets. i feed them and shake them and decant them into clean jars when they get icky. but i seem to have killed or at least deactivated the ginger bug. so i turned to the interwebs and found that everyone and their mother is making ginger bugs, roots beers, fermented sodas, fermented everything, and generally living the post-apocalyptic sustenance program. there are oodles of  blogs concerning wild fermentation, home bread-making, cheese-making and general housewifery (which doesn’t mean they are all written by women by any means.) many of them are cute, a few of them highly irritating and twee. i really have no desire to be highly irritating and/or twee but i am afraid i am falling into a very specific category: the person-with-far-too-much-time-on-their-hands. i do have a bit of a twist with the movies and such but i really don’t want to become a sort of dog-lady of the interwebs.

i feel like every girl in eastern los angeles has got some sort of ferment going. or home farm. or loom or something. probably in venice too. the rest of the city is a hideous hive of slick consumerism, velvet-roped nightclubs and chain food. frank has a funny joke:

q: how many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

a: it’s a really obscure number and you probably haven’t heard of it.

this amuses me to no end for some reason. when i was a kid i always thought that a “hipster” was a person who liked jazz. a sort of bohemian, quintessentially cool and kind of classic in a miles davis meets the ramones, PORTRAIT OF JASON sort of way. wrong again marge. todays hipster is a post-post-modern creation, an aggregator, a co-optor,  a skinny-pants-with-a-low-crotch-wearing/chloe sevigny-looking ironic scourge upon humanity. they live in silverlake, echo park or downtown (guilty); they wear horn-rimmed glasses (x2 guilty ’cause frank has them too) they drive vintage cars, drink vintage drinks and are “locovores” (guilty on all counts.) thing is, both frank and i have been all of these things and more for YEARS (yes years, as in decades.) so what do we call ourselves? hipsters? i think not. we are un-definable, un-marketable to, un-catagorizable. we are generation x.

ginger beer

the juice of the ginger bug

ginger – a lot, sliced

peel of two limes

2 cardamom pods

2 cloves

2 peppercorns

water

sugar

make a ginger bug. try not to kill it. for a gallon of beverage, boil a half gallon of water. add the sugar (about 3 cups for a gallon) ginger, peel and spices. let it cool until tepid. pour it into a gallon jar or crock. top off with cool water. strain the bug into the jar, retaining the ginger (add water and start another.) give it a stir and cover with cheesecloth and set in the pantry. i want to see how alcoholic i can get it – a dark and stormy in a bottle. stay tuned for adventures in carbonation.