Schedule/Links/Money for May 23, 2020

Welcome! On Saturday May 23, 2PM EST to 11:30 PM EST you have to call into each Session when it opens at the scheduled time. No one wanted to stay on a 7 1/2 hour call/event so it was broken up into 3 sessions. Click the name of the session below, and it will take you to the Zoom event. You need a password for each session. They are below.

Note: You will be muted upon entering. You can use the chat. The co-hosts will monitor it for questions. Do not post off topic chat notes or try to advertise anything during any session. You will be blocked from chatting if you do.

You can’t upload files. You can’t share your screen. The co-hosts will decide if you get unmuted. But, that really creates a lot of noise and ruins the recording according to the people that are attempting to record this. Please do not ask about recordings again. Thank You for your interest!

SESSION 1 – Password: MKF1 – Microbes, Koji, Ferments 2:00 PM EST to 6:00 PM EST. Meeting ID: Meeting ID: 822 9354 4287

SESSION 2 – Password: MKF2 Microbes, Koji, Ferments, Part 2 6:00 PM EST to 9:00 PM EST Meeting ID: 812 4792 9598

SESSION 3 – Password: CF1 Cultivos y Fermentos – 9:00 PM EST to 11:30 PM EST Meeting ID: 833 1798 7281


There are two ways to send money to support our work. Make a donation of $20 or more US dollars. Venmo or PayPal will give you a receipt. You don’t get a payment confirmation from us. Again, the links and password for May 23 are above.


Zymes 2020 – May 23, 2020

To REGISTER click on the word REGISTER.

SESSION 1 – Microbes, Koji, Ferments – Meeting ID: 812 4792 9598

2:00 PM EST to 6:00 PM EST

Tepary Bean, Corn and Pepino Tempeh from Ferment.Works

SESSION 2 Microbes, Koji, Ferments, Part 2 – Meeting ID: 812 4792 9598

6:00 PM EST to 9:00 PM EST

SESSION 3 Cultivos y FermentosMeeting ID: 833 1798 7281

9:00 PM EST to 11:30 PM EST

This is the second of a monthly or bi-monthly series of culturesgroup’s Zymes2020 program. Our first event has been recorded at our Vimeo site. Although there are already planned events for the series, it is our goal to not publicize these until the previous event has been finalized.

Check Cultures.Group‘s latest videos:


Session Recordings – Cultured & Cured

All Session recordings are at our vimeo site.

Session 2Cultured & Cured

Check out our new videos:

Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.


Zymes2020 – Video/Next Event/Last Event Schedule

Upcoming May 23rd 2:00 to 11:30 PM EST. Details Friday, May 8th. No Fee. Pre-Registration Required. You must be validated with Zoom. Again, details this upcoming Friday. New York Time. Recording from previous event below. More coming! Thanks!

Koji Mushroom Making Video:

May 3 Schedule and Presenters

All times are EST (New York) Click on the name of the presenter to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do. Because there are space limits, you have to register once for Zoom, then for each Session you want to attend.

Session 1- Flavor of Hands Fermentation and Koji 101 

Session 2 – Cultured & Cured

Session 3 – Hops, Trees and Really Wild Ferments

Session 4 – Fermenting with Flowers, Fungus and Bacteria

Black Soybean Taucho (B.subtilis) Pesto

Check out our new videos:

Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.


Flavor of Hands and Koji 101

Flavor of Hands Fermentation and Koji 101 – Session #1. All times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • 4:00 to 4:30 PM – Opening Chef Ken Fornataro
  • 4:30 to 5:00 – Chef Rick Porter Sowden
  • 5:00 to 5:30 – Chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey
  • 5: 30 to 6:00 – Marcus Im

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.

Using Microbes to Preserve/Ferment/Extend Food Resources

How Bacteria, fungus and other microbes can keep your food and drink safe and tasty. Also, how pickling, fermenting and kojifying food can help to use things that would otherwise not be edible such as beans, vegetables, and inexpensive meat or fish.

Chef Ken Fornataro has a vast knowledge of the science and techniques that all but disappeared with the industrialization of food. Ken’s knowledge of microbiology and rigorous methodology has helped him greatly in the kitchen where he employs koji and bacteria and enzymes to create tasty and nutritious food and beverages. He is currently the Executive Chef/CEO (pro bono) of https://Cultures.Group

Golden Millet Koji with A.oryzae and R.oryzae

All Koji isn’t Created Equal

Chef Rick Porter Sowden will offer a Koji 101 primer for professional Chefs, cooks, and hobbyists that believe they know koji. 

Rick Porter Sowden is a Chef, Charcutier, Culinary Mycologist, and Food Technologist with Native Son Koji, a Native American owned and operated company. Native Son Koji designed, developed and adapted equipment for a modern, semi automated, in-house koji making process based on traditional standards & practices. The products and proprietary processes they developed and perfected are unique, as such, are not replicated anywhere else, in the world. 

Sour Corn in the time of Corona

Chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey will talk about fermented corn. Obviously. Sofkee is a fermented corn drink or porridge (grits and mush). Typically consumed by indigenous peoples of the Southeast, and the loss of the tradition amongst the Haudenosaunee. I’ll talk a bit about how to make it, and the rediscovery of lost traditions amongst indigenous people. 

Chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey is Executive Chef/Instructor/Co-Founder of Local Pop, Augusta Boucherie and Corn Mafia.

American Kimchi & Sohn-Mat – Making kimchi authentic to your self and environment

As a first-generation American, the exploration of authenticity is a life-long journey. What does it mean to be authentically Korean and American at the same time? Food, locality, and wild fermentation allows for the bubbly celebration of our cultures. There is as authentic American kimchi as Korean.

A Korean concept called “sohn-mat” literally translates to “flavor of hands”. It’s used colloquially to compliment a chef for their oustanding cooking, but traditionally, it carries a connotation encouraging the use of your hands. The wisdom of “sohn-mat” especially rings true in kimchi making, where the maker’s unique touch becomes their signature. 

Marcus Im is a Korean-American fermentation fanatic, teacher, and writer currently in Brooklyn. 

Check out our new videos:

Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.

Cultured & Cured

Cultured and Cured Session #2 Times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • Introduction of Session – Sandor Katz
  • 6:00 to 6:30 PM – Alex Gunuey and Amy Kalafa of
  • 6:30 to7:00 – Dr. Johnny Drain
  • 7:00 to 7:30 – Dr. Darra Goldstein
  • 7: 30 to 8:00 – Dr. Ken Albala

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.

Cultured & Cured

Cultured & Cured explores the art and science of cultivating microbes for good health and fabulous flavors. Featuring top professionals in the world of fermentation, brewing, curing and pickling, Cultured & Cured goes beyond food trends, illuminating the biological activities that make food naturally delicious and super-nutritious.

Chef Ken Fornataro of Cultures.Group with Amy Kalafa

Amy Kalafa is a long-time advocate for sustainable food. Her award-winning film, Two Angry Moms created a media sensation and ignited a nationwide movement for better food in schools, resulting in food policy reform locally and nationally. Amy’s book, Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children’s Health (Tarcher-Penguin / Random House) was nominated for a Books for a Better Life Award.  She’s been a writer, producer and editor for Martha Stewart Living and Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia’s Italy PBS series and appeared as a guest chef on the PBS series Cultivating Life. Amy has an MBA in Sustainability. She is also a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and holds a Lectureship at the Yale School of Medicine and Psychiatry.

Co-Host Alexander Gunuey won a James Beard Award as Broadcast Producer for the PBS series Lidia’s Italy. He won an Emmy Award as Senior Editor for Martha Stewart Living and is acclaimed as the editor of A Tribute to Julia Child. Alex is a chef and a specialist in traditional French food preservation from confit and terrine to cornichon and confiture. At the invitation of the Obama’s chef Sam Katz, Alex visited the White House on behalf of Chefs Move to Schools along with Marcus Samuelson, Bea Smith and 1000 other American chefs.  Alex is a co-founder (with Amy Kalafa) of the east coast’s first Certified Organic poultry and game bird farm, Animal Farm. Their innovations in pasture ranging and herbal diets drove demand from Dean & Delucca, Anthony Bourdain, and numerous Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City.

Dr Johnny Drain: researcher, fermenter and food designer. Master of microbes!

MOLD and/or creating tasty things from food waste

Johnny creates delicious things for the world’s best restaurants, bars, and food brands. He’s a world expert in fermentation, using it as a tool to amplify flavour, create new products and increase sustainability. He writes and speaks about the future of food and challenges in global food systems through his work with MOLD, a critically acclaimed editorial platform about designing the future of food.

Combining his PhD in Materials Science from Oxford and years of cooking experience, his clients and collaborators have included the Nordic Food Lab (established by Noma), the Argentinian Ministry of Agriculture, Mirazur (#1, World’s 50 Best 2019), and Dandelyan (#1, World’s 50 Best Bars 2018). He set up the Cub Cave in London to provide research and ferments for Cub, founded by drinks wizard Ryan Chetiyawardana, and zero-waste chef Douglas McMaster’s restaurant Silo, using innovative techniques to turn food waste and by-products into delicious things to eat and drink.

Exploring how to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050, MOLD works with next generation food brands, commissions products from emerging designers, and has run summits for Copenhagen’s TechFest. A visionary voice on the future of food, it was described by the New York Times as “one to watch” in a new generation of independent food magazines.

Darra Goldstein (Photo by Stefan)

Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore

The founding editor of Gastronomica, talks about her new cookbook, Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore, and Russian practices of fermentation, which go back over a thousand years. Most people are familiar with lacto-fermented vegetables like dill pickles, sauerkraut, and salted mushrooms, but the Russians also ferment fruits like apples, watermelon, and tomatoes in a light brine that yields a beautiful wine-like flavor. Russians are perhaps most famous for kvass, a lightly fermented alcoholic drink most often made from stale black bread. It can also be made from fruits and vegetables. 

Dr. Darra Goldstein has spent much of the last four decades falling in love with Scandinavia; its people, its landscape, and most of all, its food. She is the founding editor of the James Beard Award-winning journal Gastronomica and a professor of Russian at Williams College. Goldstein has authored or edited more than a dozen books, including The Georgian Feast, which won the 1994 IACP Julia Child Award. She lives in Williamstown Massachusetts.

Living with Microbes

In the past century modern society has waged a speciesist war against bacteria, fungi and molds. Assuming the only good microbe is a dead one, we wiped them off our countertops, out of our soil and nearly purged them completely from our bodies. There are of course pathogenic germs and “good” microbes that have been used for millenia, but it is only recently that we have begun to appreciate what we have lost in terms of the pre-pasteurian food supply. Award winning historian Ken Albala will ramble on about bread, cheese, cured meat, pickles and answer any questions you have about the very unscientific approach to living with microbes. 

Dr. Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where he teaches food history and the history of early modern Europe. He is also a Visiting Professor at Boston University, where he teaches an advanced food history course in the gastronomy program. He earned an M.A. in History from Yale University and a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. Professor Albala is the author or editor of 16 books on food. His four-volume Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia was published in 2011. He is also coeditor of the journal Food, Culture & Society and general editor of the series AltaMira Studies in Food and Gastronomy, for which he has written a textbook titled Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Chinese, which won the 2013 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Foreign Cuisine Book in the World. In 2009, he won the Faye and Alex G. Spanos Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of the Pacific. Other books include Eating Right in the Renaissance; Food in Early Modern Europe; Cooking in Europe, 1250-1650; The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe; and the award-winning Beans: A History. He also coedited Food and Faith in Christian Culture and A Cultural History of Food in the Renaissance, among other books.nd co-authored “The Lost Art of Real Cooking” and “The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home.”

Check out our new videos:

Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.

Hops, Trees and Really Wild Ferments

Hops, Trees and Really Wild Ferments Session #3 – Times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • 8:00 to 8:30 PM – Chris Cuzme of Fifth Hammer Brewing
  • 8:30 to 9:00 – Chef Sean Doherty
  • 9:00 to 9:30 – Mallory O’Donnell

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.

Hops, Brewing and Fermenting

Chris Cuzme and Mary Izett of Fifth Hammer Brewing 

Listen and watch a uniquely talented brewer and fermenter, co-owner of Fifth Hammer Brewing Chris Cuzme of Fifth Hammer Brewing along with his equally brilliant brewing and fermenting partner Mary Izett. 

You can still get some of their amazing brews in Long Island City. And hopefully someday have another meeting with all the incredible fermenters and microbe wranglers that meet there only due to the generosity of The Fifth  Hammer Brewing team. Chris and Mary also host “Ferment About It! (Fuhmentaboudit!), aims to demystify the art of home fermentation with a primary focus on home brewing beer. Chris and Mary take listeners on a journey through fermentation, sharing history, practical methods, recipes and anecdotes from personal experience as well as from those of guest fermenters both amateur and pro.”

Thai Fermented meat called Naem (sour) using Beef and Fish

The Thai fermented meat preparation that Chef Sean Doherty will demonstrate is called Naem (sour). He will use both a beef tri tip and a filet of Cobia. This type of fermentation employs lactic acid bacteria so it’s essentially a “souring” taking place. The meat/fish are safely preserved by these (food safe)bacteria which is possible through precise ratio of salt combined with sticky rice plus fresh garlic. After the items are sufficiently fermented, they can be grilled, deep fried, etc., with no need to rinse off the cure. This only contributes to the flavor, becoming crispy and deeply satisfying. This is a relatively unknown method that could very well be the next “umami bomb”.aem (sour) using Beef and Fish. 

Chef Sean Doherty earned a Grande Diplome from the renowned Le Cordon Bleu program in 2004. Having worked with great chefs such as Larry Matthews Jr. at Back Bay Grill and Melissa Kelly at Primo, Sean was tapped by Harding Lee Smith to be the opening Chef of two of his successful restaurants: The Corner Room and The Oyster Room at Boone’s Fish House shortly after. Sean has spent the last ten+ years learning the ‘oldways and traditions of food preservation’ which includes fermentation, foraging, baking, and brewing; with a strong focus on Asian pathways (koji, miso, soy sauce, garum and vinegars). He now resides in Brunswick with his wife, two daughters, and countless culinary experiments. 

How to Ferment a Tree – Wild Food Fermentation with ingredients from the Trees – Flowers, Conifer Needles and Tips, Ornamental Flowers, Sap, and Syrup

Sauerkraut and kvass are two vegetable ferments that require a minimum of special equipment and Mallory O’Donnell is a wild food gatherer, cook, writer and teacher who focuses on sustainable and ethical ingredients. Many of the most abundant foods come from ornamental or invasive plants,  common garden weeds, and native or introduced trees. These ingredients not only tend to be the most nutritious but also are often the most culinarily intriguing. Items like the Japanese sansai taranome (collected from the invasive Aralia elata), the sap, flowers and leaves of the Norway Maple, and the flowers of ornamental quince, cherry and crabapple trees can and should be used by both enthusiastic amateurs and world-class chefs. When it comes to fermentation, these ingredients also excel, providing exciting flavors that can be added to conventional ferments as well as used to create unique original concoctions.

Check out our new videos:

Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.

Fermenting with Flowers, Fungus and Bacteria

Session #4 – Times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • 9:30 to 10 PM – Kirsten Shockey
  • 10:00 to 10:30PM – Alex Henao
  • 10 30 to 11 PM – Heidi Nestler 
  • 11:00 to 11:30 PM – Josh Hembree
  • 12 to 12:30 PM – Alex Lewin

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.

Flower Yeasts to make Alcohol and Vinegar

Kirsten to discuss how to make vinegar and alcohol from yeast collected from flowers.

Kirsten Shockey is an author, writer, educator and speaker who has co-authored 3 books including “Miso, Tempeh, Natto & Other Tasty Ferments”, and two others that are available through the https://Ferment.Works website or any independent bookstore. They just started an online fermentation school at . Their first course is out: “May Flowers bring June Brews. Learn to harvest wild yeast for delicious wild brews.” It includes 11 videos and a 20 page mini-book workbook. 

Ferment.Works Tempeh (look for the upcoming online class!)

How to preserve and add digestive value to foods using Koji products

Alex Henao is a chef by trade. Mostly self-taught, he is always striving to learn from new people, anyone willing to share and from unconventional sources. Over the past few years, Alex has been interested in the micro world around us we so unknowingly depend on, and the chemistry of bacterial and enzymatic fermentation. Mostly focused on preventing food waste, and promoting Indigenous type food systems emphasizing food sovereignty, local community farmers and keeping most food in the local markets, and of course broader trading of excess and regional specialties.

Making natto with soy and other beans

hoto by: @sandrinehahnperez

Natto truly is a superfood superstar.  Typically eaten as part of a traditional Japanese breakfast, natto is rich in Vitamin K2 and the enzyme nattokinase, which are important for bone and cardiovascular health.  Natto is also highly probiotic and has been used for centuries in Japan as a folk remedy for an upset stomach.  Heidi will show how she makes natto using soybeans and other beans.  Also she will share some recipe ideas- both traditional and more unexpected. 

Heidi Nestler is the owner of Wanpaku Natto and one of the organizers of the Portland Fermentation Festival, now in its 11th year.  She also teaches fermentation and cooking at the non-profit Quest Center for Integrative Health in Portland, Oregon.

Sake, Sake Lees and Fermentation

A presentation on sake, sake lees and fermentation. 

Josh Hembree is an American sake brewer at Setting Sun Sake (

Covid Cabbage and Confinement Kvass

Sauerkraut and kvass are two vegetable ferments that require a minimum of special equipment and ingredients. Sauerkraut is a great way to keep a vitamin- and enzyme-rich raw vegetable food for years, without the need for refrigeration. Kvass is a versatile fermented health tonic that can also be used as the basis for soups, as a cocktail mixer, and much more.

Alex Lewin is the author of “Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen” and the co-author of “Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond”.

Alex will demo sauerkraut and kvass, talk about ways to eat them, provide lots of context, connect the dots with the current challenges in the world, and answer any questions.

Seeking to remove barriers to home fermentation, he offers simple processes and recipes that are easy to execute in home kitchens, using as little special equipment as possible.

More generally, he seeks to create a healthier, tastier, and more just world by spreading the good news about fermentation and nutrient-dense real food. He leads fermentation classes and workshops in the US and abroad. He served on the opening board of the Boston Public Market, an indoor, year-round market selling only local food. He has also been involved with the Boston Fermentation Festival since the beginning.

He believes that applying high technology to food has caused many of the problems of the last hundred years, and that applying more high-tech may not help: part of the path forwards is a return to low-tech foodways. He lives in Cambridge, MA and Oakland, CA.

Check out our new videos:

Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.

Mother Sauces

Mother Sauces: Tomato

Classic French cooking has a long established tradition of using five sauces that pair with specific traditional ingredients. They are called mother sauces. If you were going to make a gratin of potatoes or macaroni and cheese, you would make a Béchamel sauce. If you added salt, pepper, nutmeg and Gruyere cheese to it a Mornay sauce was created – a child of Béchamel.

The five types are Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Hollandaise and Tomato. We count Mayonnaise and Vinaigrette in with the Hollandaise since all three are emulsions of an acid base with fat that can be the start for thousands of variations.

Classifying something as a mother sauce is useful because it makes it easier to keep track of the variations. The French have a highly regarded cuisine, but so do the Chinese, Indians, Mexicans, Japanese, Italians and, really, every region and ethnicity throughout the world.

Sometimes, depending on what culinary tradition you were following, the classic mother sauce was made with rigorously chopped celery, carrots and onions (called a mirepoix), and aromatics. An aromatic could include almost anything like mushrooms, peppers, garlic, bacon, etc.

Defining specific techniques and defining basic preparations, such as what the mother sauces are, is what makes varying from these standards so important and interesting.

Today there are a lot more types of mother sauces, including jiangs. The Jiang category includes all kinds of legume based pastes, soy sauce, shoyus, misos, fermented grain or nut pastes. It also includes other protein rich sauces typically made from animals as in fish sauce, garums, and beef sauces.

The way we make any sauce today often ends up using concentrated essences and other ingredients that are easier and faster made with things like sous-vide cookers or pressure cookers. But they can also include short or long fermented ingredients based on jiang such as soy sauce or a fish sauce as mentioned above.

We also consider pestos, barbecue and dessert sauces as mother sauces.


All of these sauces can actually be turned into something you are already familiar with. They are typically easy, and usually tastier than store bought. But you can make some part or all of them to make them your own. Or just add a dash of soy sauce or fish sauce to a store bought one.

We will explain how to make and use these all of them, classic and unique sauces, condiments and other things we consider essential items to have in your larder. You’ll learn how to cook and ferment everything as we go along, or at least become a better informed eater.

The French perfected the food preparation protocol of mise-en-place. It’s not like they invented it. It’s that they codified it, and described it. Everyone was pretty much taught that to make a basic Béchamel sauce you made a flout and butter mix and cooked that with milk.

The traditional French mother sauces are great classic sauces, but cuisine is being invented, reinvented and recycled all the time. We know so much more about what cultures around the world have been doing, sometimes for thousands of years, that it’s clear that the French way only way to create a mise-en-place.

Asian basic sauces including miso and soy sauces are now incorporated into all types of cuisines.

Mother Tomato

Here is how we make our classic tomato mother sauce. Remember that the more things a mother or base sauce contains, the less adaptable it will be. If you add meat or a specific spice to it, you can’t use it for a vegetarian dish or something that just doesn’t taste good with that spice.

Our tomato sauce is not very much like the French original but it’s uses are incredibly varied. You could just as easily make a concassé or a coulis from fresh tomatoes and herbs – we consider those more as vinaigrettes or pan sauces – but this sauce works for us.

The use of peppers makes this an ideal stepping off point for Cajun, Creole and other cooking styles, including Italian, Spanish and Indian cuisine.

Adding proteins such as peanuts, vegetable protein (TVP) make this a quick and fast meal sauce to have on hand. You could add ground meat or shrimp this, but we’ll exlan those sauces in upcoming posts.

Use toasted almonds or sunflower seeds for an equally tasty sauce. If you to go bean free skip the textured vegetable protein and use dehydrated tomato flakes, sun-dried tomatoes, or a cup of chopped carrots or parsley.

Regardless of whether you choose to add meat or a fish stock or lots of mushrooms, it will be tasty and last at least a few weeks. If the fennel bothers you add basil or some other spice. The variations are almost endless.

Remember that you can’t remove meat or anchovies or cheese or rosemary from a sauce, but you can always add things.

Dried fermented soybeans or shih, make a great base taste for tomato and other sauces. We make out own. You can buy them readily online on in Asian grocery stores. These are plain. Some are already seasoned. If you use pre-made seasoned ones, rinse and soak well before frying unless they suit the dish you are making.

Tomato Mother Sauce

  • 1 cup or 3.1 ounces or 88 grams TVP or protein substitute
  • 1 small or 1.5 ounces or 45 grams chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup or 125 ml olive oil
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 TB or 1.4 ounces or 40 grams fermented black beans (shih)
  • 1 cup or 250 ml water or stock
  • 1 cup or 60 grams dried celery
  • 1/4 cup dried garlic chips
  • 1 cup or 84 grams dried peppers
  • 2 cups sake, white wine or stock
  • 2 TB dried oregano
  • 6 3/4 cups or 53 ounces or 1500 grams crushed plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup or 60 ml extra virgin olive oil

To make the sauce cook the textured protein and chopped yellow onion in the regular olive oil with the fermented beans and fennel seeds until golden brown. Add the water, then the dried peppers, garlic and onions. Add more sake, wine or stock and simmer for ten minutes.

Add tomatoes and oregano and simmer another 15 minutes, gently. Add a very small amount of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, although it is not necessary. Add the extra virgin olive oil and any fresh, chopped parsley you like at the end after removing from the heat. Usually, we use a cup of parsley.

Put this tomato on sauce on rice, or spread on a pizza crust with cheese, or eat with toast on on vegetables. Mix it with beans and you have chili. Tempeh curry or parmesan with or without dairy or nut cheese is tasty!

We will publish several other basic recipes for tomato sauces. Each one will serve to illustrate why sauces typically vary depending on what you are going to cook in them, what ingredients you have at your disposal, what you are putting them on, blending them with, or how you will finish a dish right before serving.


Microbes Eat Corn

Corn Tempeh made by Ferment.Works

Aspergillus oryzae (koji) chomping down on corn to make koji that will serve almost a hundred purposes, about as many as the types of corn (races) known to exist.

Corn Shoyu – Recipe

  • 10 cups/2200 grams steamed yellow grits corn koji (A. sojae)
  • 2 cups/300 grams kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups/425 grams ground corn masa koji
  • 2 cups /500 grams water
  • 3 cups/550 grams corn masa, toasted
  • 2 cups/275 grams dark brown roasted corn
  • 1 cup 120F water

    Keep at 92F to 100F for two weeks, stirring every day. Cover but not tightly. Then add:
  • 2 cups 120F water
  • 65 grams coarse sea salt
  • 3/4 cup 170 grams non-nixtamalized whole corn koji, ground

    After 6 weeks at 92F to 95F (3 to 6 months if at 72F) strain. Use the lees or dregs, if any, for a pickling bed, a moromi type miso, or the base of another shoyu or amino sauce or paste. This should yield a solid gallon.

You could replace all the corn koji with barley koji. or brown rice koji, but still keep the toasted masa and the browned corn.

Soy sauce, but really corn sauce because of microbial enzymes and corn without beans. Next post we’ll include another corn shoyu made with beans and another corn koji, while we slowly hit you with just a little science behind the bacteria, yeasts, fungus and koji types behind shoyu.
September 9th Events at Resobox
  • Monday, September 9 , 2019
  • 2:10 PM –  3:50 PM, $20 register here
  • Resobox, Long Island City, New York, New York (MAP)

Asian ferments like miso, tempeh, shoyu, pickles, amasake and shio koji, and even sake and vinegar, can be made with corn. Chef Ken Fornataro of culturesgroup and Kirsten Shockey of will demonstrate how wild and cultured microbes like koji (miso, sake, shio koji), lactobacteria (pickles) and Rhizopus (tempeh, oncom) make tasty, unique and nutritious foods. Class participants will be learning about and tasting:

  • Caviar Lentil soup with Corn Tempeh croutons
  • Hokkaido Ramen corn chowder (in red curry broth)
  • Corn and radish and roasted shrimp kimchi
  • Hominy and onion salad and pepper salad, corn shoyu dressing
  • Sweet corn, lavender lemon cornbread
  • Tomato salad with parsley, corn vinegar, and extra virgin corn oil dressing
  • Corn shio-koji roasted glazed corn nuts
  • Corn Amasake Chai (Iced Tea) 
  • Doboroku (country style sake made with corn and rice)

Everyone will receive a bag of corn miso. Depending on seasonal availability we may have to have substitutions for the above dishes, and we may also have some things you can buy to take out:

  • Eggplant and ginger namemiso, spicy eggplant corn hagosuchizuke (corn koji)
  • Corn, Raisin, Cinnamon, Molasses and spice corn cookies
  • Assorted one, two and three year old misos will be for sale during the event, as will as take out bento boxes for those unable to attend class

If you would like to purchase one of the Shockey’s books at the event let us know at or order online at

Corn, Squash, Black Bean and Rice Tempeh

Fermentation Workshop

  • Monday, SEPTEMBER 9 , 2019
  • 4:00 PM –  6:00 PM
  • Resobox (Map)
  • $20 Event Fee


Ken Fornataro

Ken has been cooking, fermenting and preserving vegetables, seeds, grains, fish and legumes with A. oryzae, yeasts and bacteria since childhood. He was taught traditional Japanese, Chinese and Russian foods, fermentation and preservation techniques to make koji, miso, shoyu, vinegar, sake, jiangs and pickles by Aveline and Michio Kushi, William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi, and Jewish and Christian Eastern European immigrants. He is working on a book related to food, fermentation, microbiology and semiotics as Executive Chef for

Kirsten and Shockey

Kirsten and Christopher are the co-authors of bestselling Fermented VegetablesFiery Fermentsand the new Miso, Tempeh, Natto and other Tasty Ferments books that came from their desires to both help people eat in new ways, both for the health of themselves and the planet. They got their start in fermenting foods twenty years ago on a 40-acre hillside smallholding which grew into their local organic food company. They travel worldwide helping people to learn to make, enjoy and better connect with their food. Their current work is building their relationship with R. oligosporus and R. oryzae and how these fungal ferments interact with grains and legumes to transform our foods for both nourishment and flavor. You can find them at Ferment.Works

Contact culturesgroup:

Like the Aztecs considered ashes in their corn pots as a blessing, so did the Chinese recognize and make use of the microbial gifts that natured blessed them with. Microbial enzymes make corn’s nutrients available while disarming anti-nutritional factors.

All cultures depend on the ability to metabolize potential food sources. None of this would be possible without the enzymes created by the yeast, fungus and bacteria present in and on corn. 

Just as we have learned how to use Potassium or Calcium Hydroxide with corn, Chef Ken Fornataro will describe how corn treated with microbial enzymes from Aspergillus, Rhizopus, and Lactobacteria can make tasty pickles, vinegar, beer, miso, beans, sauces, meat and fish. September 8th at The New School.

  • Sunday, September 8, 2019
  • 9:00 AM to  3:00 PM
  • New School, Tishman Auditorium, New York City (Map)

Recent Posts