Need a bit more description of some of the menu items of the brunch with Sandor Katz? More info on some of the more obscure is below, and if you come to the brunch Sandor Katz will describe each course as it comes out.
the menu is designed to look at a variety of indigenous fermented products from around the world. The Asia dish presents fermented rice in different ways to show how a simple ingredient can yield vastly different foods, complemented by kimchi and fermented tea. The Americas dish aims to touch on ferments of the pre-conquest populations. It will give diners the chance to see preparations of products, like tomatoes and corn, that were an integral part of the survival of Native Americans before making their way to the Old World. The African plate will display foods from a rich, but underrepresented, culture of fermentation. And the Middle Eastern dish will round off the meal by showing that fermentation can bring richness and balance to a dessert just as well as it can bring the funk to a main course.
Lightly fermented congee rice is a Chinese staple. Koji, rice that has been inoculated with aspergilus, is the base for many Japanese preparations. It is rarely enjoyed on its own, despite being sweet and complex. Kimchi, one of the most familiar ferments, is here used to pickle an egg and provide garnish. Pu-ehr is a fermented tea. The fermentation breaks down tannic compounds and is said to add medicinal qualities.
This course will be a tour of some New World crops, including tomatoes, chocolate, and corn. Fermenting corn breaks down otherwise indigestible nutrients and increases the nutritional value, creating a backbone for Native American diets. Cacao, always fermented before being made into chocolate, is hear presented in an aged mole negro. The intensity and depth of this Oaxacan sauce will be further accentuated.
Here, the "pancake" again displays the increased nutritional value of legumes and grains that have been allowed to ferment lightly. Ugiri, a fermented and smoked nut butter, is an unfamiliar but interesting preparations. Fermented honey drinks, like mead or tej, are found all throughout Africa.
Fermentation is one of the oldest forms of food preservation, finding a place across all cultures and geographies. Classically, it allowed civilizations in colder climates to make the most of a short growing season and enabled those in hotter climates to withstand the rigors of the summer. Today, the practice of fermentation is being utilized as a way to promote flavor, complexity and nutrition in our food. From the range of Japanese vegetable ferments, to the dairy ferments of desert nomads and the domesticated mold used by Amazonian tribes, fermented foods appear in fascinating ways and often with surprising cross-cultural parallels. Join us for brunch as we explore the incredible range of techniques and flavors of fermented foods from around the world. Each course will present one of the great fermenting regions and diners will enjoy foods both familiar and new.
some of the specific ferments
Salshir (in Farsi. Known as kaymak in Turkish) is a dairy ferment. It literally translates as "milk head" and is essentially lightly fermented clotted cream.
Dough (again in farsi, known in Turkish as ayran) is a lightly naturally carbonated yogurt drink. It will be served with a fermented pluot jam, saffron accompaniment, and honeycomb garnish.
Koji is a filamentous fungus used in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cuisine to ferment soybeans. It is also used to saccharify rice, other grains, and potatoes in the making of alcoholic beverages such as sake.
Ugiri is an African ferment made of seeds and smoked. In our case, we will use sunflower seeds.