It's that time of year again! The kids are getting ready to head back to school, why not take a few courses yourself?  

I've just added a whole bunch of classes. In addition to  the usual ones-- like handmade soap, soy candles, sauerkraut, pickling and  kombucha-- I've added  2  brand new courses  that you've been asking for:
First, there's  Sprouted Grain Bread.  Experienced whole meal  bread bakers who  want to go to the next level will love  this class. If you haven't yet taken my 100%  Whole Wheat Bread class, I highly recommend taking that one as an introduction before trying your hand at sprouted grains. I am teaching that intro class two times  before the  sprouted grain class happens on Sunday, Sept 18th.


Second, there's my new Vegan Yogurt Making class. I've been experimenting with a few recipes to develop a yummy dairy-free yogurt. We'll try a couple in class, and we'll even make some home made muesli using fresh oats you'll roll in class.

Click  here   for course descriptions, dates, times  and registration.

Click  here  to see the classes in a calendar format. 

See you in class!

Countless workshops,  classes, and more!

We're finally installed in our new roost on Sunset Blvd, near Sunset Junction  in the heart of Silver Lake. It's a terrific spot-- a  warm and welcoming  environment with a teaching kitchen and creative workshop space.  Please come visit! We stock homesteading supplies  and the inspiration for D.I.Y. adventures of all sorts; plus we're thrilled to announce a mouth-watering schedule of new classes and workshops.
Ever get the urge to make your own candles, soap, lip balm, body butter, or bath bombs ? How about ferment your own root beer, cider, ginger ale, kombucha, yogurt, vinegar, kefir, or home-brewed beer? Grow your own sprouts or mushrooms or sourdough starter? Pickle stuff? Make cheese? Tofu? Truffles? Keep bees, aquaponic gardens, or chickens in your yard? Mill, bake, and cook with whole grains? Design with succulent plants?  Concoct fancy cocktails? Upcycle old junk in creative ways?

We're now offering classes in all these luscious subjects... and more!  
Classes for adults meet on weekends and sometimes evenings during the week. 
Our kids' workshop calendar has greatly expanded, as well!  We now provide after-school classes every week on a rotating schedule to make time for each kid's  busy schedule. Young folks can learn to cook (including lots of no-bake recipes), garden, and  recycle things to make cool new stuff and  creative gifts. Most classes are for children aged 6 and up, and parents are encouraged to drop off their kids, although sticking around to watch is always fine, too.

Visit our shop to pick up a calendar, or check out the listings  here.  We're always adding more, so check back regularly to see what's new.

We encourage pre-registration, as some classes fill up fast. Pop into the Roost to register. Tickets to all events and full course descriptions are also available in our online store  right here.

Don't forget! The gift of DIY makes a terrific present! We offer gift certificates for single workshops, series of classes, any item in our store, or  cash-value in any amount.

Thanks for your continued support, and see you soon at The Roost!
WHAT: Swap food and make friends!
WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 11AM
WHERE: King's Roost Patio
HOW MUCH: $10 per  person; kids accompanied by grownups are free

We're thrilled to announce the Eastside Food Swap, hosted by The Kings Roost with special guest, The True Spoon.

The Eastside food swap is a community event celebrating homemade, homegrown, and  foraged foods. This event aims to bring cooks, bakers, gardeners, and foragers together to  swap their edible creations, share stories, and develop new friendships. 

This event is open to anyone who pre-registers through The King's Roost (in store or  online) The only other requirement is that you bring something you made, grew, or  foraged yourself.  If you're bringing kids, please plan to supervise them. There is a $10 fee  to participate.

Most importantly you’ll be bringing food to swap. All swap items must be homemade,  homegrown, or foraged by you. Think preserves, baked goods, fruits, vegetables, herbs,  spices, condiments, marinades, and beverages. You can bring a bunch of one thing or  multiples of a few different things; 10-20 swap items are suggested (bring as many as you  may want to trade for and bring home). Keep in mind that swappers will be examining  and picking up your goods, so be sure to package them in a way that protects the food  and makes it clear the amounts you want to swap. When applicable, it is recommended  that you include food allergy information. If your food swap item is delicious, let it be  known by providing samples to the other swappers. Since swappers will be trading at will, attractive presentation and cute packaging is a great idea to make your products visually appealing.

All swap participants adhere to an honor code;  they agree to using the highest  cleanliness standards in their own kitchens and gardens to prepare their swap items. 

Swap participants also must agree to the following terms before registering  for the Eastside  Swap. By participating in these events, you are acknowledging that the food items being  traded are not necessarily prepared in commercial kitchens or spaces inspected by any  Government agency. By participating in these events, you are  also acknowledging that you will use the highest standards of safety and cleanliness in  food preparation.  

By participating in these events, you assume all liability; specifically, you agree to not hold liable food swap hosts, swap venue owners/providers or other swap participants.

If you have any questions, contact!

When you  get right down to it, what the heck *IS* yogurt in the first place? Yogurt is milk that has been cultured with one or more strains  of lactobacillus-- bacteria that eat sugar, turning it into lactic acid. That's where yogurt gets its tangy flavor. 

Why would we want our milk full of bacteria? Good question. 

Like a bunch of other fermented foods, yogurt contains beneficial  probiotics. These tiny organisms live naturally in our gut, helping to break down our food and making nutrients bioavailable. They also crowd out the harmful bacteria, helping to maintain a healthy digestive track. Lacto-fermentation is a natural food preserver, and it's responsible for many of the delicious and nutritious foods  we love, like  cheese, pickles, beer, sauerkraut,  kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and even sourdough bread.

Making yogurt at home is fast and easy, and you end up with a pure product that contains none of the added sugar, corn syrup, flavors, colors, thickening agents,  preservatives and chemicals that are often found in store-bought yogurt. All you need is milk and a starter culture-- which is about a half cup of your favorite yogurt to kick things off.

Warm your milk, add your cultures, and let nature do the rest. A yogurt fermenter makes your job even easier, maintaining a steady 95 -100 degrees F while your yogurt incubates. But even that is optional as long as you have a warm spot to let your yogurt get going. Watch this week's video to see just how easy it is to have homemade yogurt!

If you're into baking and haven't yet discovered the pure joy of cultivating your own yeast, you are in for a treat.

The commercial yeast you've been buying in stores is manufactured, processed, refined and dried out.  You spend money on the stuff, when countless strains of feral yeast abound right in your own kitchen! All you need to do is lure those little organisms into a jar, keep them happy, and feed them. They'll reward you by creating tastier, healthier, vibrantly natural and flavorful  baked goods... AND they'll save you a bit of  dough (HA!) in the meantime. 

You may even find that the loved ones in your life who suffer from wheat belly, gluten sensitivities and other  grain-related maladies are better able to tolerate baked goods that are made with wild yeast instead of the commercial variety.

All you need to begin is a jar, some water, and a bit of flour. Watch the video below to learn how it all works... and pick up  a secret shortcut with pineapple juice!

Catching and keeping yeast is an art form that becomes pretty addictive over time. Crazy as it may sound, you'll become attached to your little yeast colony, learning its idiosyncrasies and individual moods as you play with flavor, texture, rise time, and moisture levels.  Let us know how your personal yeasty adventure is going... or stop into  the Roost to get a jump start with some of our own starter anytime.

We've gotten really into making homemade soda at our house lately. Let's be honest-- sometimes, the stuff we get excited about here at the Roost (growing fava beans! making tofu!  composting chicken crap!) doesn't really turn our kids on. But making soda? THEY'RE DOWN WITH THAT. There are so many delicious  varieties-- your salivary glands will explode just imagining them. Honeydew mint? Vanilla pear? Pomegranate basil? Balsamic date? Homemade tonic water? Sour cherry cola? Cocoa chile tingler? Sparkling apricot nectar? Raspberry white tea spritzer? Lavender grape migraine buster? TOO MANY TO NAME. And if you're at all like Trish and me, the exotic cocktail possibilities just increase the excitement geometrically. Check out this great book at our store-- it's all inside.

And your kids can get onboard, not just because all kids like soda and because the flavors and combinations are endlessly exciting and intoxicating, but because these recipes are fast and simple.  So they can create them with you and enjoy the process of making something from scratch. You can play with different types of natural sweeteners and the quantities you use. These drinks are healthier, lower in sugar, completely free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. You don't even need a soda machine, CO2 cartridge, or seltzer water to make them.

We'll start things out nice and easy with this homemade ginger ale recipe. Very basic and straightforward.. Making ginger ale yourself is so fast and such a no-brainer, you may never buy ginger ale again. But just wait. In the weeks to come, we have countless soda secrets to share. So cut your teeth on this one. And if you go down the soda rabbit hole like we have, let us know your favorite flavors and best discoveries. We'll trade secrets.

Bottoms up!
I drink kombucha every morning. Some people claim it reverses arthritis and supports healthy joints, due to naturally occurring glucosamines. Others say it fights cancer, thanks to being chock full of enzymes, probiotics, and glucaric acid. Lots of people tout kombucha's digestive benefits and mood boosting, immune-enhancing properties. All I know for certain is that it tastes great and makes me feel awesome.

But if you've ever grabbed a bottle of the stuff from a store  shelf, you know that what DOESN'T make you feel so awesome is the hefty price tag. Kombucha is spendy! Fact is, we're simply talking about fermented sweet tea here, nothing more than that. Making it yourself is fast, easy, and costs just pennies per batch. All you need are 8 tea bags, water, sugar, and a gallon jar, plus the probiotic colony to kick things off. Just be sure you get your starter (also called a "mother") from a reliable source and heed all precautions for cleanliness and handling so nothing scary grows in your tea. Ditch any batch that may have been contaminated, grows mold, or smells funky.

Try using different varieties of tea, or experiment with adding fruits, herbs, or juices after fermentation and right before bottling your kombucha. The permutations and possibilities for flavors are endless. You'll never buy kombucha again!

I started my first batch of homebrew at boarding school in England around 25 years ago. I brewed 5-gallon batches in plastic barrels using assorted beer kits sold at the local village pharmacy. Teachers and fellow students alike sat around my dorm room, drinking hard cider and ale from plastic cups swiped from the refectory downstairs.

After moving back home to the States, where those kits were not readily available, I took the next logical step and bought all the equipment needed to to brew craft-style beers from scratch, using steeped whole grains, hops, and specialty malts and yeasts. Each batch was boiled in my huge lobster pot and fermented in a heavy 6-gallon bottle, then transferred to a 5-gallon keg and stored in a special beer fridge in the garage where it was tapped with a restaurant-style carbonator and CO2 tank. It was a big deal.

And while NOTHING beats a fresh glass of homebrew, I never looked forward to spending the vigilant four hours it required to sterilize all the equipment, boil gallons of water, soak grains, avoid messy boil-overs, time the hops in the wort, siphon sticky wort (unfermented beer) from one vessel to another, carry the insanely heavy and fragile glass fermenter across the house. UGH.

Rather than becoming more and more excited about brewing beer, I began to dread the process. Plus, I don't have the room to store more than five gallons of beer at one time, so we found ourselves drinking the same beer for so long we got sick of it.

I missed that old British-style kit method that was so simple and easy. You avoid all the preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, additives, chemicals, and weird ingredients (like caramel coloring, propylene glycol and fish bladder, to name a few) and you  still get the freshness and taste of homebrew without all the mess and hassle. These types of kits are more readily available in England and Canada, reason being that their liquor taxes are so high-- people just want good beer without a big fuss and without breaking the bank. For them, it's sensible to make your own, fast and cheap. Here in the US, beer's so inexpensive, most people don't bother.

So I did some research and found a terrific self-contained system that uses far less equipment, brews two gallons at a time, takes less than half an hour to get started (compared to 3-4 hours the old way), and best of all, can be used again and again with different recipes, reusing the same bottles and fermenter. How's that for efficient and eco-friendly? Instead of recycling your old beer bottles, just fill them up with your next batch of homemade beer!

Needless to say, I sell the system at the King's Roost now. And the refill recipes I carry are created by master brewers  in two different breweries in New Zealand and Australia. You can make American ales, IPAs, amber ales, wheat beers, ESBs, winter ales, spiced ales, pilsners, lagers, Mexican-style cervezas, porters, seasonal brews, regional brews, countless hard fruit ciders (apple, pear, cherry, boysenberry!).... the list is endless. You can even use your fermenter to make wine or kombucha.

So the next time you buy cheap beer, just think: you could be paying the same kind of money for fresh, craft homebrew made in a fermenter whose footprint is no bigger than a dinner plate, with no artificial ingredients, while drastically reducing your recycling waste. Look how simple, fast, and fun it is-- in the video below, I walk you through the entire process in fifteen minutes!

People don't always like cabbage... or know what to do with it. In under seven minutes, I'll show you how to make your own sauerkraut from scratch. So simple and easy. Delicious flavor, and YOU control how intense you want it to taste. The only ingredients are cabbage and salt-- the magic of fermentation does the rest. It's incredibly tasty and healthy... terrific on sandwiches, salads, wraps, and roast meats. Check it out!