This worked out quite well, so I shall post it here for your enjoyment, should you be inclined to try it.
First, you will need kvass. You could buy kvass, or you could make it. In case you don't live near a Russian market, I will tell you how to make it.
1. The Kvass
Kvass is a fermented drink made from bread.
For the kvass, you need sugar, raisins, yeast, and black bread. Very dark eastern-European-style breads with lots of rye work well, as does pumpernickel. I won't tell you how to make the bread here, as it's beyond the scope of this post. I trust you can either obtain it or know what to do with rye flour, wheat flour, yeast, molasses, salt, sugar, and water, and how to wash your talons before sticking them in a bowl of dough. Let's not get too
many levels deep here.
Cut a few slices off the loaf. I recommend two to four (depending on the size of your loaf) about a centimeter thick for ease of toasting. Toast them, and toast them hard. You want Maillard reactions, and you want caramelization. Don't be afraid to burn them a little. Turn your black bread even blacker. Don't turn it into carbon, but toast it well. You want singed croutons here. This is vital to the flavor of the kvass. Inadequately toasted bread will yield not kvass, but beige disappointment.
Next, fill a pot with two liters of water and boil it. (There will be a slight loss of volume to the bread and to filtration later.) Turn off the heat, then toss in the toasted bread slices. Rinse a few dozen raisins and add them. Add any spices you like, if you are so inclined. Cover and leave overnight.
The next day, remove the now-sodden bread slices from a liquid that should smell very bready and be a deep brown in color. Squeeze some of the liquid out of the bread, but don't squeeze too much or you'll make filtration more difficult later.
Mix in a hundred grams of sugar and some yeast, then strain into two well-cleaned quart mason jars or equivalent sealable glass containers. Rinse a dozen new raisins per jar and add them, then cap the jars.
Put these in a warm place for two days. Above my refrigerator there is a cabinet that is terrible for keeping dry goods in because the warmth of the radiator below makes everything rapidly go stale; however, it is perfect for when I actually _want_ to encourage fungal activity.
After the two days have passed, strain the curious fizzy brown solution through a cheesecloth, a towel, or a shirt you don't hold in very high regard, into two new very clean jars, then refrigerate. Kvass is best served cold.
Do not use coffee filters. I repeat, DO NOT use coffee filters. It will take forever and you will hate it.
Kvass is slightly alcoholic, and how much so depends on the quantity of sugar, the temperature of fermentation, and the duration of fermentation. I drank half of it this morning and my head feels slightly funny 9v6
2. The Okroshka
Okroshka is a cold soup that uses kvass as its broth.
Normally okroshka uses sour cream, mayonnaise, and some kind of sausage. These are all animal products and I will have none of it. Here is what you need:
- A potato
- A bundle of parsley
- A bundle of dill
- A bundle of green onions
- Several radishes
- A jar of sauerkraut
- A jar of vegan mayonnaise1
- A kilogram's worth of "grain meat" from the store or homemade seitan2 if you can't find the former
Cut the grain meat into slices no more than half a centimeter thick and fry them in a pan with a small amount of oil and add it to a large mixing bowl. Usually this stuff is made from wheat gluten or soy.
Cook the potato however you like--boil it, microwave it a few minutes, whatever works for you. Then cut it into cubes one to two centimeters in size. Don't peel them. The skin is good for you. Add it to the bowl.
Wash and chop the greens and the radishes, then add them to the bowl. Now dump in a generous amount of sauerkraut, similar in mass to the not-actually-meat. The purpose of the sauerkraut is to add tanginess, since there is no sour cream here. Add mustard to taste, or horseradish if you like.
Next, add a similarly generous amount of the vegan mayonnaise. Mix that all together. You should have a great big bowl of green and white stuff that smells amazing. You are nearly done! This is the most storable form, lacking only one ingredient, so feel free to set some aside to freeze for later.
Now portion some into a serving bowl, pour kvass over it, and salt to taste. Serve with a glass of kvass, because they can't help but go well together.
Except for the footnotes and vegan modifications, this is mostly adapted from this
kvass recipe and this
okroshka recipe, and from my experiences in following them.
Note 1: If you can't find vegan mayonnaise, use the water from a can of chickpeas, a whisk, some salt, some sugar, and some sunflower oil, or whatever other oil you'd like to use, and lemon juice or vinegar. Whip the funky bean-water until it forms stiff peaks, mix in sugar to taste, then gradually mix in the oil; then mix in the sour stuff and the salt until is tangy and salty enough for you. This is easiest with a motorized whisk. You can do it manually, but it's a real workout. This is aquafaba mayonnaise, of course. You can do much more with aquafaba than make meringues.
Note 2: Seitan is easy to make. First, get a five-pound bag of flour, dump it into a large mixing bowl, and add enough water to make a typical dough. Knead until stiff. Divide it into three balls, then soak them in a bucket of water overnight. The next day, take each ball and knead it in some water until you get most of the starch out and you have this weird spongy stringy eldritch-looking thing. That's gluten. Knead some spices into it--I recommend making a Weißwurst spice mix, e.g. salt, parsley, ground white pepper, granulated lemon, granulated orange peel, onion powder, and garlic powder--and cut it into smaller pieces, stuff them into an ice cube tray, and freeze them for later use. If you thaw these and cut them into slices and fry them into a pan, it's amazing.