This past Saturday was the second annual Ontario Fermentation Fest – obviously, the highlight of the Living Kitchen year! Seeing all the different types of fermentation happening right here in Ontario is so exciting – and seeing the public support for it is even more so! Kombucha brewers, chocolatiers, book sellers and me…I had a blast!
Another reason I enjoyed this festival is because I was able to be one of the speakers and demo-providers. My talk was about cooking with ferments as a way of using them for more than just garnish or a side dish. One of the ways I do this is by using fermented veggies as a convenience food. Below is my favourite recipe for this type of ferment.
I chose a recipe for something I would like to eat all the time, but the number of ingredients to prep makes that difficult. You probably have a similar favourite in your repertoire; simply ferment the veggies and spices in saltwater brine (2% salt by volume) to make your own version!
My veggie ferment includes:
Two carrots, sliced in rounds
One red pepper, in long slices
Half a red onion, diced
One large thumb of ginger, minced
Two cloves of garlic, minced
Two teaspoons of red pepper flakes
When I want Spicy Peanut Pasta, I simply take my finished ferment from the fridge and…
1. Sauté about 1 cup of the fermented mixture in a bit of coconut oil.
2. Add 1 Tbsp of peanut butter, mixing it around to melt onto the veggies
3. Add 1 tsp of soy sauce, stir to blend
4. Add 4 Tbsp of cream (or more, depending on how thick or thin you want your sauce to be) and stir it well – reduce the heat now that there’s dairy involved.
5. Add this sauce to 1 cup of cooked pasta, and you’re done!
I sometimes jazz this up by adding some cooked chicken, or sliced mini tomatoes and green onion. But the fermented veggies make it quick and easy either way; the sauce is ready by the time the pasta is cooked!
In this dish, the sour fermented taste is pretty hidden in all that creamy, peanutty goodness. But the vegetables retain a crispness to them at their core which makes for a really satisfying bowl.
And guess what? Exhausted from a busy weekend, this is exactly what I wanted for supper tonight. So glad it was half done, thanks to fermentation 🙂