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For much of my life trying to appreciate sauerkraut and kimchi reminded me of a few first dating relationships with men that went sour. Some had an unappealing order and left a bad taste in my mouth. There was no relish in the experience.

Over the years, my taste in men improved, and I found my Prince Charming. The same goes with sauerkraut and kimchi. My palate evolved and so did my desire for these probiotic pleasures.

Strangely, a bout with breast cancer helped. The chemotherapy altered my tastebuds, and I started craving fermented food. That was a good thing since fermented foods are loaded with  probiotics which can help boost one’s immune system, fight inflammation, improve digestion, and optimize one’s gut flora. I eat for health and I seek out foods that taste good.

Trying different sauerkraut and kimchi products, as well as trying to make out own versions, I discovered Cleveland Kitchen and its fabulous selections that tantalize the tastebuds without overpowering your palate.
 
Cleveland Kitchen was started by brothers, Drew and Mac Anderson and their brother-in-law, Luke Visnic. They each had other jobs at the time not related to food but beneficial when launching a consumer products brand- analytics, law and finance. Drew and Mac also helped out at their mother’s nonprofit, the North Union Farmer’s Market in Cleveland. Luke was a practicing architect who started fermenting and joined his in-laws in the startup.

Cleveland Kitchen founders (from left to right): Mac Anderson, Luke Visnic, and Drew Anderson

The brothers’ experience working with farmers helped hatch the idea for a farm-to-table kraut. Drew Anderson started making his own sauerkraut, added creative touches. Mac Anderson was wrapping up his senior year in college when he hatched the idea for Cleveland Kitchen. The three founders held down professional day jobs and while working evenings in a commercial kitchen to make their sauerkraut to sell at weekend farmers’ markets.

Cleveland Kitchen was officially launched in 2014. “Our biggest challenge was understanding the landscape of a totally new industry; we were lucky to have great industry mentors and advisors,” said Mac Anderson. Today, their products are sold at leading supermarkets (e.g., Publix, Albertsons, Sprouts) and foodservice (e.g., PJ Chang’s, Yardhouse, Bibipbop Asian Grill and Quiznos).

Cleveland Kraut’s sauerkraut and kimchi are unpasteurized and lactofermented and certified gluten free and vegan. Bonus: a one-ounce serving is ten calories. Sodium levels are under 300 mg (12%DV). The products add a sassy crunch to any sandwich, veggie and grain bowl or tacos.  

Selections of what we tasted:

Classic Kimchi: a mashup of mustard greens, apple, garlic, sugar, carrot, onion, salt, gochugari, red pepper and ginger. The flavor was balanced, not too spicy or overly garlic or barnyard. Add to grain bowls or traditional Korean bibimbap

Bebimbap
Photo: Cleveland Kitchen
Link to Recipe

Classic Caraway: simply green cabbage, kosher salt and caraway seeds. Pair will grilled sausages; top on burgers.

Roasted Garlic Kraut. Just cabbage, garlic salt and pepper. I topped a rather dull cheese pizza with this kraut for added oomph. Not too garlicky.

Whiskey Dill: cabbage, kosher salt, garlic whiskey and dill. Ta da! My fabulous favorite. Maybe it’s the subtle nuance of the barrel aged whisky notes with the kick of dill. This kraut made me want to spoon it up, but it also mixes well into a chicken or tuna salad sandwich or avocado toast.

Chickpea and Sauerkraut Avocado Toast  (click link for recipe)

So, the heart of rock and roll is in Cleveland, and – no doubt- so is the crunchiest most delectable kraut. www.clevelandkitchen,com Follow @clevelandkitchen

Now, bring on the pickles!

Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Kraut

Ingredients:  

  • 1-pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 6-8 small flour tortillas 
  • 1 mango, peeled and chopped into chunks 
  • 1 cup lettuce, chopped 
  • 1 tomato, chopped 
  • 1 cup Cleveland Kitchen Spicy Kraut 
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped into chunks 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Cilantro, to taste 
  • Cleveland Kitchen Miso Jalapeño Dressing, for serving 
     
    Instructions:  
  •  In a mixing bowl, evenly coat the shrimp with taco seasoning, salt and pepper. 
  • Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Cook the shrimp for about 4-5 minutes, flipping as needed until opaque and cooked through. 
  • Combine the lettuce, tomato, Cleveland Kitchen Spicy Kraut, mango, and avocado in a bowl. Stir gently. 
  • Fill each tortilla with a serving of shrimp and the toppings mixture. Add a drizzle of Cleveland Kitchen Miso Jalapeño dressing and a bit of cilantro. 

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An engaging speaker and writer, Melanie Young hosts the weekly national radio shows, The Connected Table Live, featuring conversations with global thought leaders in wine, food, spirits and hospitality (a Feedspot Top 10 Food & Drink Podcasts for 2021), and Fearless Fabulous You, a lifestyle show for and about women (both on iHeart and more than 30 other podcast platforms). Young has contributed articles on wine, spirits, food, and culinary travel to Wine Enthusiast, Seven Fifty Daily, Wine4Food and Jewish Week. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Wine Media Guild, and Women of the Vine & Spirits. Young’s former marketing and events agency, M Young Communications, worked with global wine, food organizations, publishing companies and nonprofits. She had an integral role in the creation, launch and management of The James Beard Foundation Awards, New York Restaurant Week, and Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund (2001) which raised funds to provide for the families of restaurant workers killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks. www.theconnectedtable.com www.melanieyoung.com Instagram @theconnectedtable

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