An Attempt at Kim Chi

2010/06/04

When I think of my first canning project of the summer, my thoughts usually turn to ruby red strawberries or tart rhubarb stalks, but the common denominator is sugar, and lots of it. However, this year, I broke out the mason jars for the first time over kim chi, slightly pickled but mostly fermented Korean vegetables. *Note: I did not process the kim chi in a boiling water bath, so it is to be used up within a month or so. *Related Note: Does anyone want any kim chi?
While the most common vegetable base for kim chi is Napa or Korean cabbage, there are actually many different types of kim chi based on all sorts of vegetables. Anyone who says otherwise does not know what he or she is talking about. Since I was blessed with an abundance of bok choy this week from my CSA membership (more details soon), I decided to make a kim chi based on bok choy, with Korean radish, Korean leeks, and green onions. *Note on ingedients: I went to the local GrandMart (a very extensive ethnic supermarket with an awesome produce department) to procure the Korean radish and chili powder, and I happened to see Korean leeks, which I had not known even existed, on sale for $0.99 a bunch.
I combined two different recipes to make my kim chi, because there were aspects of both that I liked and disliked. I still managed to miss a step and I may have ruined the kim chi, despite my best efforts to save it. I guess I will find out in a few days.

Recipe:

  • 1 large head bok choy
  • 1 Korean radish (could substitute daikon)
  • 2-3 Korean leeks
  • 5-6 green onions (mine had red bulbs)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • A knob of ginger, 3 inches long and peeled
  • 1 1/2 cup Korean red pepper powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup kosher salt

1. Chop the bok choy and radish into bite size pieces. Cover with salt and let sit overnight in a glass bowl.

2. Drain the brine off the vegetables (the salt will have brought out the juices from the vegetables a la osmosis). Rinse the vegetables!

3. Slice the leeks and onions, press or finely mince the garlic, and grate the ginger, combine in a separate glass or ceramic bowl. Add the pepper powder and a little bit of the brine and stir to make a paste.

4. Mix the paste with the vegetables. I used a spoon; if you use your hands you might want to wear gloves.

5. Spoon the mixture into sterilized jars. Too off with brine, fresh water, or a mixture of the two, depending on how salty the vegetables were.

6. Let it sit for a few days at room temperature until it starts to ferment (bubbles will form), then move it to the fridge. Use within one month.

*Never eat anything if you are unsure if it is safe. “When in doubt, throw it out!”


Bread 2.0

2010/02/22

Wow. 2 posts in one day; who would believe it? Well I have made my second loaf of bread, and I must say that this loaf kicks my first loaf’s butt.

1) This loaf had a much better rise. I’m not sure if you can tell by the photos, but this loaf is much taller than the first loaf I baked. I think this is because it used a starter (which proofed for 4 hours), instead of just yeast. The bread is still just a white bread (it is called Shepherd’s Bread in my cookbook, The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook).

2) It has a very nice texture. The outside is crusty, but the inside has a nice open crumb to it, with lots of air pockets, which makes it taste fluffy. This is also a result of the starter. If you look hard you can see the texture in the picture below of a buttered slice.

3) It tastes really, really good. Ian agreed, when we tried it our unconventional post-dessert “bread course” (read: the bread wasn’t finished until almost 10).

The next bread in the book is a wheat bread. I am really looking forward to trying it.


My First Loaf of Bread (plus an apology to my blog)

2010/02/17

Dear Blog,

I have neglected you. I am very sorry. I realize this when I read my last post about what I am doing with my summer, and look outside at all the snow on the ground. It’s not like I haven’t thought about you. There have been plenty of meals that I have wished I had photographed so I could tell you about them, but I forgot. But enough with the with the apology.

I am writing you now because of a very special event. Last night, I baked my very first loaf of bread. Mind you, I do have a bread machine (which I have had since my birthday last November; I don’t just procrastinate with blogging). I do not consider using my bread machine cheating. I am a busy woman with many demands on her time, and the bread machine will allow me to have my freshly baked bread without worrying about kneading and proofing myself.

For my first loaf of bread I followed a simple recipe: Homestyle White Bread from The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook. It was easy to follow and it came out good. As Ian said, “It tastes like bread.” I didn’t want to try anything too complicated, because I was not entirely sure what I was doing.

So there it is. Yummy, right? I thought so. It made a good egg sandwich for breakfast this morning and was really tasty spread with my homemade apple butter.

The only problem I encountered was that the mixing paddle baked itself into the bread. Has anyone else had this problem? The cookbook suggested greasing the paddle first as a solution, and I will try this next time, which will be soon.

And Blog, I promise to tell you about it.

Love,

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