Tuesday, August 11, 2009

sticking it to big kimchi: an essay in photos

I have heard through the grapevine that this doesn't really taste like Korean kimchi, so if any of y'all were looking for authenticity I'm sorry to disappoint you. It does taste really good, though. Maybe it would help if you buried it.

Recently a neighbor friend of mine made some kimchi, as though rotten cabbage were a totally reasonable-and desirable-foodstuff. Patently false though I knew this to be, I value her opinion enough to dare to taste her finished product. And my friends, fellow wandering sheep, travelers in the dark and dreary wilderness: let me affirm to you that I felt an electric thrill course through my body, bearing witness of the divine goodness of kimchi. It was like eating the sun and the moon and the starry, starry night all at once. And I've been jonesing for it ever since. You stick this in with all the other stuff I've learned to enjoy over the past ten years, and Past Me would look at Current Me and say, "You are so weird it's scary." And Future Me would show up and say, "Shut up, the both of you, because you don't even know from weird. Come on over here and eat some of this frog that hatches its babies in the flesh of its back." I don't think I want to be Future Me.

But back to our story. Since I've been having fever dreams about it, I would swear Wendy put some as-yet-unnamed addictive chemical in the kimchi to make it so hideously delicious, but I know she doesn't abuse her body or the world she lives in. So it would seem that kimchi is just good, despite my palate's xenophobic convictions. And perhaps the sauerkraut I had at a Relief Society meeting years ago is a gateway food.

Wanna make some? Sure you do, because it's way easy. Here we go, fermenting our own foods! WOO! Here's what you will need:
One bunch of green onions, chopped--they're roughly five to a bunch.

One head of Napa cabbage, cored and shredded.

One cup of shredded carrots--I didn't even peel mine! Shh.

Two tablespoons of grated ginger.

Three cloves of garlic, minced.

1/2 t crushed red pepper.

1 T sea salt.

1/4 C whey from all that yogurt and cheese you keep making.

Toss it in a bowl.

Get a meat hammer or similar poundy tool.

And pound the snot out of it until it makes a swampy sucking noise and has made a goodly amount of liquid.

Stick it into a jar--depending on how big your cabbage was, it should fit in a quart with not too much left over. Make sure the mixture is at least an inch below the lid.

Push down on the mess with your poundy thingie until the juices come to the top, put the lid on nice and tight (otherwise air gets into it and messes with the process and you've either wasted a bunch of vegetables or created a potent botulism serum, depending on whether you're a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full person), and let it sit on your counter for three days. Then it's edible and you can keep it in the fridge. MAKE IT.

adapted by my friend Wendy from Nourishing Traditions
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 head of Napa cabbage, cored and chopped
1 C shredded carrots
2 T grated ginger
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1 T sea salt
1/4 C whey

Mash and pound the whole lot of it in a big bowl for five to ten minutes until it makes a bunch of juice. Put it in a jar, close the jar tightly, and let it sit at room temperature for three days, after which it should be stored in the refrigerator.


Barbie said...

I've read your blog for quite some time and find you fascinating in your tastes and the things you do. Mostly because I am trying many new things, and then read about the same thing on your blog. Chickens, gardening, kombucha, yogurt, healthy everything...I do them to and thought that I was the only one in Utah that was quite this strange. I love kimchi but have never tried making it. Thanks for the recipe.

Layne said...

Why thank you--I find "strange" to be quite a compliment. I bet before long you'll be raising goats!