A Day of Fermentation and Slow Living + Roasted Vegetable Recipe

A little over a month has passed since Fermenterie, the fermentation collective I am apart of with my dear friends Chrisso Babcock and Doug Cullen, ran our first day long event. “A Day of Fermentation and Slow Living” was an incredible day of workshops run by myself and my wizard accomplices. Chrisso ran workshops on Cheese Making and Broths and Infusions. Doug led on Bread Making and Beer Brewing. And I guided Setting The Wild Table and Slow Food Cooking. The day was an incredible filtration of wisdom on how we can make love with our food experience, and how we can share that love within our communities. As I ran my workshops, occasionally looking over to see Chrisso and Doug working their magic, and all the days participants taking in such a wealth of knowledge from them, I felt a deep sense of warmth. I knew that the vision we hold of supporting more sustainable living by reclaiming traditional food wisdom was unfolding.

A little about my workshops, the first being Setting the Wild Table. Gatherings are an essential part of our being. We come together in celebration to create, inspire, connect and unwind with good food, friendship and environment. Everything about a gathering tells a story, from the food to the table. Being conscious of what is sourced from the table to the fork has a direct effect on the feel of a gathering, which lies at the heart of our human experience. We utilized the local terrain to create place settings and table decorations of the season and region to add depth to what it means to feel nourished. We bottled black walnut ink to be gifted to our participants, along with a hand carved bamboo quill pens, harvested from Chrisso’s front yard. We gathered wild flowers for the table, and hand wrote the menu using the black walnut ink. When we sat down at the end of the day for our meal, I felt a deep exhale from everyone as they settled towards the grounded and prepared table. It was as if the table was alive, ready for us to create memories upon it.

My second event was Slow Food Cooking. Slow living brings our focus on the plate. As we take the time to nourish our bodies, the softness of our mind can follow, allowing our whole being to rest at ease.  We complimented the culinary creations of Chrisso and Doug within their workshops of infusions, beer, bread and cheese to bring forth a meal which was truly a feast for the senses. We prepared the menu focusing on seasonal abundance from the garden as well as the field. Each and every meal is to be memorable, with each bite as delicious, beautiful and local as can be. The workshop was when we created, envisioned and explored what it meant to make that possible.

About the food. All day we offered an array of snacks of various realms. The morning was a light breakfast of coffee, tea, homemade granola bars by Doug, various forms of yogurt, milks, sweeteners and fruit. After the AM workshop our group feasted on light pizzas made by the Bread Making 101 workshop participants, along with fermented cheeses and vegetables made by Chrisso and myself. The idea was to take it slow. Learn something great, nibble a little, learn some more, break. Celebrating food, community and traditional wisdom.  No stress allowed.

After the second workshop, we were all ready to feast on a meal prepared mostly within the days workshops. The menu consisted of Stuffed Grape Leaves, Salad with an Infused Fennel-Sundried Tomato dressing, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with a Lavender Infused Coconut Mylk, Roasted Vegetables, Spent Grain Sourdough Bread with Raw Butter, Fermented Vegetables, Local Hard Cider and Kombucha elixirs, and an Apple Tart with Coconut Ice cream. Mostly local. Mostly made by scratch. All nutrient dense and delicious.

I often think about a time when we lived together in true community, and all worked together to create an honest life. I often find that my days can get swept away by homesteading. Baking bread, making lactofermented sodas, preparing the stew for the evening. It all seems so important to me. Yet oftentimes I feel perplexed about how I can find the balance between feeding myself well, putting energy and attention into my career as a yoga facilitator and therapist, and have enough time to get outside and connect to the land and my body. Moments when I am working in community to create real food always brings me back to the realization that we are not meant to live alone. We are not meant to live in big houses separate from each other. We are meant to live in community. Taking turns baking the bread, soaking the grain, fermenting the mead. Moments that this event highlighted feel crucial to me. They are more then just a day of good food and relaxation. They are about sharing the knowledge that will heal this land and the people upon it.

Below is my recipe for Perfect Roasted Vegetables, which I shared during my Slow Food Cooking event. I also use this recipe as a basis to roast butternut squash, which I puree with homemade stock to make delicious soup, a treat I also made for the event.

Perfect Roasted Vegetables

A mixture of your favorite root vegetables (beets, potatoes, butternut squash, sweet potato, parsnips or carrots are all great options)

1 bulb garlic

1 red onion

1 large handful aromatic herbs (I enjoy a mixture of rosemary, thyme and sage)

salt and pepper

Good Glob of Fat, (either grassfed butter/ghee or virgin coconut oil)

Balsamic Vinegar

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375F. Cut all of your vegetables into 1″ cubes. Break the garlic bulb up into individual cloves and de-peel the cloves.

To De-Peel Garlic Cloves: Place the clove flat side down on your cutting board and laying the flat side of a chefs knife onto the top of the clove.  Use the palm of the hand not holding the knife handle to forcefully smash the side of the blade against the garlic clove, which should be easy to peel thereafter.

Lay the vegetables out on a baking tray or two lined with parchment paper so none of the vegetables overlap. Place a generous glob of fat onto the vegetables and place the trays in the oven.

After 10 minutes, take the trays out and dust with salt, pepper and herbs of choice. Add a swig of balsamic vinegar. Mix thoroughly, evenly coating vegetables with fat and seasonings. Place back in the oven. After 15 minutes, mix the vegetables again. If using two baking trays, switch the placement of the trays in the oven. Place back in the oven and after another 15 minutes, take the vegetables out and re-mix.

The vegetables should be tender and slightly caramelized from the balsamic vinegar. If they need more time, put them in for 10 more minutes until they are perfect.

Bon appetit.

Here’s a short film on the Day of Fermentation and Slow Living event. Password is “ferment”. Enjoy!

All Photos from this post taken by Matt Stauble. Check out more of his work here.

Elizabeth Gross