I’ve only started liking yogurt in the last year, but now I can’t get enough: smoothies, dips, soups. I go to yogurt in a pinch because it adds flavor and consistency, yet can easily adapt to a multitude of culinary situations: it can be sweetened with fruit or it can turn spicy with curry.
And then it can turn into a sauce. Ish.
The PR folks for Lifeway Kefir emailed Endless Simmer about its “healthy, nourishing, drink/yogurt shake.” I had absolutely no idea what it was about, but decided to give it a try. I already know I can’t dig the supermarket yogurt, but figured trying this “staple in much of Europe ” would be fun. Who am I to deny free samples of something that could potentially be a new healthy addiction? (And PS, Maids, this is apparently a legit alternative for the lactards, “The cultures in Lifeway Kefir alleviate the unpleasant side effects that can be associated with milk consumption, even in people who are lactose intolerant.”)
It was one of those fridge clearing nights, especially because I received NINE bottles of Kefir (3 plain, 3 strawberry, 3 vanilla) and really needed to start experimenting. I wasn’t sure how milk-like it was going to be, so I had 80 (milk drinker) take the first sip. Upon the pour I knew he would hate it: Kefir is super thick and I could smell the tang from a foot above.
He grimaced. I gloated.
Kefir Parsley Pesto with Zucchini, Peas and Udon Noodles
I poured the Kefir into a sauce pan over low heat and started the reducing process. I added in a few chunks of a frozen parsley pesto. (Side note: I made a shit ton of pesto and thought it’d be best to throw it in a ziplock for freezer storage. Now I need a fucking icepick to gnaw away any of the sauce-to-be. Any storage suggestions, because I’m not going through this again.)
After 20 minutes the Kefir remained drink-like rather than the desired sauce-like. It was rounding 9 pm and I wanted to get this dinner thing going. Now I know this is reverse order, but I resorted to the flour treatment. I added in one teaspoon of flour, whisked super hard, added another teaspoon and whisked again. The sauce didn’t clump and became much thicker. Clearly this isn’t a proper sauce, it was broken from the start with the addition of the oiled pesto to the dairy. But somehow it worked.
When the sauce thickened, I broiled zucchini rounds (salt and peppered one side) and sliced them into quarters. I also got udon noodles boiling and when they were almost finished I threw in some frozen shelling (?) peas for the last two minutes of cooking. I then mixed everything together for a creamy, veggie filled noodle dish. I love when I can turn a cream sauce into something I don’t feel guilty about.