Sunday, December 30, 2012

Kimcheelicious Rewards: Home Fermentation Kit

Curiosiety won't kill this cat. Chela likes the shiny foil packs in this kimchee making kit.

These tools and ingredients are essential for making kimchee.
What’s in that box? My new assistant, Chela the Cat, wants to know (Phillip is on vacation). This is the top Kimcheelicious Reward, the kimchee home-fermentation kit. Kimchee is traditionally fermented in large clay jars (known as ongi) which are partially buried in the ground over the course of winter. This isn’t very practical in most urban setting.

But did you know you can make it in your own refrigerator? Lactic acid bateria (LAB) is what turns milk into cheese and meat into hard cured sausage. It also turns Napa cabbage into spicy kimchee. Although LAB does most of the work, this starter kit includes the tools and basic ingredients that are essential to making your own kimchee. Detailed instructions for mak kimchee are included in this kit. Mak kimchee is the “salad style” kimchee that you find in Asian markets. The Korean word “mak” is akin to the word easy. It takes less time to prepare and ferment than the more traditional whole-head kimchee.

This kit includes:
  • Two 16 oz mason jars for cold storage
  • 4 1/2" wide-mouth funnel for jarring
  • Stainless steel tamper for removing air pockets
  • Two pairs of vinyl food-grade gloves to protect your hands
  • 8 oz fermented Korean chili paste (gochuchang)
  • 8 oz fermentation starter with ginger, radish and garlic (LAB)
  • 5 oz sea salt for conditioning and brining the cabbage
  • 3 oz Korean chili flakes (gochucaru) for adding more heat
  • 1 oz toasted sesame seeds, and essential flavor to Korean food
Aside from the vacuum-sealed goods included in this kit, you’ll need a few fresh ingredients. Most of the tools you might already have in your kitchen. Gather these in advance:
  • 2 1/2 to 3 lb Napa cabbage
  • scallion greens
  • a non-large reactive bowl
  • a large colander
  • paper towels
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • shelf space in your refrigerator
  • helper cat (optional)
Your mak kimchee will be ready in about two weeks, although for those who prefer a more crisp texture you can have in in just one week. Kimchee can store cold for up to 6 months, but as it ages it develops a flavor that is more tart than savory. The only thing that can prevent this is... eating and making more kimchee.

The Kimcheelicious ePUB cookbook is a project that was made possible by the generosity of contributors and Kickstarter.

The essential tools and ingredients are included in this kit, but you'll need a few things.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lotus Blossom: Baked Eggs with Kimchee

This baked egg breakfast will warm up any icky wet winter morning. I call it the Lotus Blossom— layers of blue and cheddar cheese, Napa cabbage kimchee (baechu), bread crumbs and egg baked into a buttered wonton wrapper. I kept them warm in a pan of hot water and served with fermented radish (kkakdugi) at plating. Get 'em while they’re hot!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Kimchee or Merely the Mak

Ingredients for mak kimchee: (clockwise) Korean radish, Asian chives, Napa cabbage, carrots, garlic, Korean chili flakes

Kimcheelicious Rewards have left Brooklyn. All shippable food items have now been sent vacuum-packed via USPS: Hanguk Saffron, Napa cabbage kimchee (baechu), fermented radish (kkakdugi) and Korean chili paste (gochuchang). Now there’s room in the refrigerator again. As I prepare the last round of rewards (Kimchee Making Kits) I realize I’m out of all out of kimchee. I gave the last of the baechu and kkakdugi to the clerks at the Park Slope PO. They were super helpful, one of them repackaged a few items for me to get the postal rate down. So now what do I do?

Here’s a quick solution: Mak Kimchee, the typical salad style kimchee also knows as quick kimchee. The word “mak” in Korean is more akin to ease than speed. It’s meant for casual meals. The flavor is not as refined as whole-head style kimchee (pogi), but it’s ready to eat in about a week. Napa cabbage is cut into pieces that are roughly 1 1/2" square, and prepared with salt and the brined, after which it’s seasoned in paste and fermented before it’s stored cold. It should be ready by early week.

After 12 hours of brining, all ingredients are combined and mixed with Korean chili paste.

It’s even easier to make if you gather and prepare the ingredients in advance. Some ingredients can be omitted or substituted, but I must emphasize that there is no substitute for Korean chili flakes (gochucaru). It has a unique sweet smokey flavor that’s hard to match. The key to making a solid kimchee is in the seasoned chili paste. There are many quality commercial brands on the market, but if you have issues with shellfish or animal products in general, it’s best if you make your own. Here are instructions for making vegan mak kimchee and Korean chili paste.

There is no substitute for sweet, smoked flavor of Korean chili flakes (gochucaru).

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

OZ Kimchee Meat Pies to Go

The crimson band the lay beneath this golden crust is a generous layer if finely minced fermented radish kimchee.

My Aussie friend Andy and his wife Sabrina are literally taking my OZ Kimchee Meat Pies out for a test drive as they take a road trip to Upstate New York for Christmas. He loaned me the secret ingredient: vegemite. This dark fermented paste from Australia has unique complex salty flavor derived from yeast. These hand-held concept is not unlike savory English pasties or Irish Butte pastries. The filling is made with browned lean beef that was simmered in Korean chili paste (gochuchang), vegemite, beef broth, caramelized onions, Worcestershire sauce and a few other things. Finely minced fermented radish kimchee (kkakdugi) was added last before the top crust was sealed.

Of the six savory meat pies, two are taking a holiday road test, three will be frozen. And well... I ate the other one. Yum.

I used a basic butter-Crisco crust and over worked it slightly to make it more portable—firm but still flaky. An egg wash gives the top crust a golden sheen and little tooth. The key to this type of crust is working cold and under-working to form a shaggy loose dough to yield a flaky crust that melts in your mouth. The preferred topper is made from puff pastry. That would be ideal when serving groups of eight or ten people. These pies are good hot but I prefer them at room temperature. Three of them await the frozen storage test to verify that they reheat well. I did work out vegetarian version of this Aussie hand-pie, but that’s a road test for another day.

This is my standard butter-Crisco crust. Toothsome and flaky, it works well with sweet and savory fillings.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Kimcheelicious Rewards: More Mu

It took great skill to get wind through an immovable crowd of anxious shoppers with a bag that weighed more than small child. I lugged 22 lbs of Korean radish (mu) and other Korean supplies from the H-mart in Herald Square yesterday back to Brooklyn. But at last, a fresh batch of fermented Korean radish (kkakdugi) is on the way. This is one of my favorite kimchees, it only take about 5 days to ferment. This batch is part of my Kimcheelicious Kickstarter rewards for contributors.

Korean radish (mu), diced by hand and cured in sugar and salt

Korean chili flakes (gochucaru), shiitake mushroom powder, chives, toasted sesame seeds and dried nori

Tossed in a puree of garlic, ginger, apples and sweet red pepper

A Korean Bistro Lunch

I’m finally taking a break on this overcast Saturday from making 22 lbs of fermented radish kimchee (kkakdugi)... and boy am I hungry. Although most have sat waiting for a bistro dinner for over 45 minutes, “Bistro” is the Franco-Russian word for “quickly.” I made a deconstructed sandwich: chicken breast seared in Hanguk Saffron, sea salt and olive oil; topped with a chili paste aioli, minced scallion and toasted sesame seeds. The toasted brioche cheddar roll wasn’t bad either.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Kimcheelicious Rewards: Vegan Kimchee

Air-tight foil packs of Hanguk Saffron have been shipped out to Kimcheelicious contributors and will arrive shortly after Christmas. I’ve spent so much time at the Post Office that I know each clerk by name. My business cards arrived and I have to say they look pretty slick.

Next week I will be shipping vegan Napa cabbage kimchee (baechu), fermented radish (kkadugi) and Korean chili paste (gochuchang). The style of kimchee that I made is called pogi, which is made by fermenting quartered heads that are attached at the base. This takes longer to make than mak kimchee (the variety typically sold in Asian grocery stores) but has a deeper, much more refined flavor. Mostly it slices up beautifully to make an impressive presentation for entertaining your guests.

The kimchee has been vacuum-sealed in air-tight FoodSaver bags and will arrive via USPS Priority Mail. The bags are meant for shipping only. Contents should be transferred to an air-tight container and refrigerated for 24 hours before eating... although it tempting to just eat it right out of the bag. Tune in for more Kimcheelicious updates.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hanguk Saffron with Butter Is Better

I just sent out 43 foil packs of Hanguk Saffron in padded envelopes. Now I’m hungry! Kimchee butter is one of my favorite ways of using powdered kimchee seasoning. I let the butter soften, mix in my Hanguk Saffron, then keep it refrigerate until I’m ready to use it. It’s a tasty way to liven up southern high-rise biscuits and corn bread, but I like it best on fresh Challah toast with my eggs... and of course, with more kimchee.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mandu Redux: Kimchee Dumplings

A plate of fried vegan dumplings went out for a test drive and came back with a high score.

Tofu in it’s raw state sticks to my teeth... there are few things less appetizing than food that sticks to my teeth. I’m actually not a big tofu fan, but I took it as a challenge to give my Kimchee Dumplings a re-do. These dumplings are vegan, made with tofu, mushrooms, scallions, sesame seeds and vegan kimchee.

My solution was to deep fry tofu to a golden brown before using them as a filling. First I cut firm tofu into fries, drain it and let it air dry a bit, then fry them lightly in canola oil. I have to say that these fried little critters turned out better than I thought. Most of all they don’t stick to my teeth. I took batch#14 across the street to Prospect Perk Café for a test drive with their staff: a vegan, a vegetarian, and two omnivores. So how good were they? They gave this batch eight thumbs up—great texture, moist, full of savory flavor. I should have made more.

The dipping sauce is a basic soy-ginger recipe, but I used kimchee juice instead of vinegar. As suggested by my vegan friend Emma, I used maple syrup instead of honey. Not being a vegan myself, I found out only recently that honey is not a vegan food. It is considered an animal product, but in my mind a beehive pays it’s co-op maintenance fees in honey... but that’s just me.  I’m not sure if I’d ever make the switch to vegan life-style, but this recipe definitely goes into the Kimcheelicious ePUB cookbook

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hanguk Saffron: Going for the Gold

Hanguk Saffron, a refined powdered kimchee seasoning developed in the Kimcheelicious kitchen.

Whew! I’ve just finished packaging 6 lbs of Hanguk Saffron into 75 individual foil packs, carefully measured out at 1, 1.5, and 2 oz (net weight). I admit I’m getting a little separation anxiety as I ready these for USPS delivery, but I’m slowly reclaiming the shelf space. This has been quite an experience developing this new food product—about a year formulating and refining the Hanguk Saffron. About 15 heads of Napa cabbage kimchee were dehydrated to make 6 lbs of of this powdered kimchee seasoning. So what does one do with Hanguk Saffron?

Here are some ways I’ve used it in cooking:
• a topping for ramen or soba soup noodles
• pan fried noodles (yakisoba) and fried rice dishes
• with fish, scallops and shrimp
• southern (Korean) biscuits, scones and pastry crusts
• corn bread and corn dog batter
• kimchee butter (for cooking or as a spread)
• for dredging fried chicken or pork chops
• dry rub for roasts and BBQ

The test kitchen is still up and running, I’m sure I’ll find more ways to use it. I want to thank my Kickstarter investors once again for making this ePUB cookbook possible. Kimcheelicous: Korean Tapas for American Tables is shaping up beautifully. Stay tuned more rewards are on the way! I picked up the last six jars of Napa cabbage kimchee from the walk-in refrigerator at Freddy’s Bar.

WARNING: If you order qt. 1000 foil packs from a survivalist website, you'll be on their mailer list beyond the end of days.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Road to OZ

I love a hot OZ Meat Pie—savory, portable hand-pies. It’s similar to Irish and English pasties but as with most Aussies, it has an extra kick. I’m giving the kitchen a workout as I re-engineer this savory pie with tangy Korean pickle made from sliced cucumbers (oi kimchee). Oi kimchee has a very short fermentation time and shelf lie. It’s meant to be eaten soon after it’s fermented, but no jar in this kitchen been around long enough to find out how well it performs over time. Aussie friend Andy Bowtel gave batch #1 a thumbs up—good crust but needs much more spice. Tune in for more from the Kimcheelicous test kitchen.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kimcheelicious Who?

Kimcheelicous is an ePUB cooking series that feature Korean Tapas for American Tables. I just uploaded my business card (front and back), ETA delivery Dec. 24. There’s so much more work and late nights ahead. As I play with cover comps and photos for my ePUB cookbook, I return to the identity system that I designed to tighten things up. As a communication designer I’ve broken the visual scheme and content down into components to create support materials.

In the pyramid of brand development, collateral design supports the main body of a product’s identity system—trademark, color systems, tagline, digital and printed promotions, web presence, blog media, social media are only working parts of the whole. The sum of all these support something greater: the actual tangible product. All of these can be created in tandem only if the identity of the product is clearly defined and mapped. Even in the digital age a business card is still indispensable, it’s a casual introduction to the brand and a component of real-time communication.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kimchee Corndog Redux

This baked kimche corndog has a new corn muffin crust that's as light as brioche bread.
Thanks to our new Kimcheelicious Royal Taster, Niko, I don’t have to eat everything that I make. This Kimchee Corndog is wrapped in moist, crumbly corn muffin crust that is as light as brioche bread—shcmeered with chili paste (gochuchang) and maple syrup before rolling. Baked, not fried, the muffin crust complements the texture and flavor of an all beef frank. Niko is teaching our dog a new trick. Instead of slicing it down the middle and stuffing it, just top each bite with a generous dollop of sweet maple-kimchee relish. His suggestion: more kimchee relish with that dog. Thanks Joy Marchionni for styling this shoot! You made this pic a treat for the eyes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Southern Korean Biscuits

A little overdone but these Southern Korean Biscuits are fresh and hot from the oven.

Butter, butter, butter...
These look so good that I was afraid to eat them. But that feeling ended after ten seconds. There’s an eastern twist to these Southern high-rise biscuits: Hanguk Safforn. Flaky, buttery Southern Korean Biscuits are fresh from the oven—so don’t delay, serve them with honey and more butter while they’re hot!  I love the deep golden color and the mild spicy glow that this powdered kimchee seasoning lends to this melt-in-your-mouth pastry.

The trick is work cold and to work the dough minimally. The butter and flour are chilled before hand and the dough is chilled another half hour before cutting. Each biscuit is lightly brushed with melted butter. Just 12 minutes at 400°F in the oven and you can smell the butter wafting through your kitchen. They literally melt in your mouth. They go well with bacon and eggs or just on their own with your coffee or tea. I like to serve them with more butter and honey. The down side with fresh biscuits is that they don’t keep well after two hours. They tend to become fragile and powdery if left out too long. Fortunately the dough freezes well for future meals.

Serve these Southern Korea Biscuits with butter and honey. The only thing better might be a sausage biscuit.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kimchee Corndog Crust 2.0

So bad, it's good—all beef franks wrapped with a light, moist gochuchang corn crust

This crust seems to work better for my Kimchee Corndog redux. I hacked a good brand of corn muffin mix (brand TBA until they sponsor me) to make this light most gochuchang-based dough. It’s just sweet enough to balance the tang of the kimchee dog. These are egg-washed and topped with (l-r) BBQ pork rind dust, toasted sesame seeds and black sesame seeds. These all-beef franks are wrapped in respective order: triangle, spiral and saddle—of course they should be topped with sweet kimchee relish. This might work well with tofu dogs, but one has never wandered through this kitchen.

A-Pork-Lips-Now kimchee corndog, dusted with BBQ pork rind and sweet kimchee relish

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Kimcheelicious Rewards: Hanguk Saffron

This batch of Hanguk Saffron is finely milled for baking pastries, making rich sauces and more.

Foiled again... for freshness
The first set of Kimcheelicious investor rewards will leave this coming week. Thanks again to all of you who’ve made this quirky Kickstarter idea into a savory reality. I’m very excited about writing this eCookbook and sharing my Hanguk Saffron with you. I’ve been perfecting this powdered kimchee seasoning for about a year now.

Commercial kimchee powder has been used for decades—made from the dried dregs of the fermentation pot (ongi). It’s used primarily as a soup additive. It has a coarse texture and a lot of MSG and sugar to compensate for the burnt taste from high-heat drying. My Hanguk Saffron is made from whole heads of vegan kimchee that are specifically fermented for low-heat dehydration and milling, then carefully blended with aromatic spices to balance the flavor. This powdered kimchee seasoning has no MSG or preservatives, just the pure taste of a fine vegan kimchee—packed in air-tight foil pouches that range in net weights of 1, 1.5 and 2 oz.

When you open your foil pack you’ll notice the aroma of Napa cabbage and ginger. Hanguk Saffron lends a sweet pimento flavor to baked goods such as biscuits, scones and pie crust. It also adds a deep savory flavor to stews, soups, fritters and sauces with subtle notes of toasted sesame seeds and garlic. It’s perfect for making kimchee butter to use as a spread or for making short bread cookies. This powdered kimchee seasoning gives food a mild spicy heat and a beautiful saffron glow that complements any meal.

Southern Korean biscuits (top), smothered pork chops (left), maple bacon scones (center), Korean fried chicken (right)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Meet the Kimchee Corndog!

Here’s a tasty work in progress, say hello the Kimchee Corndog, the new kid on the Korean boardwalk! I’m refining the kimchee corn crust, it needs a few tweaks. This is the Korean version of pigs-in-blankets. I love portable food, and what can be more portable than a hotdog baked into a sweet corn crust made with fresh Korean chili paste and kimchee juice. The dogs were marinated in Napa cabbage kimchee (beachu), wrapped and baked (not deep fried). But don’t let these puffy puppies out half-dressed. Split them open and top with tangy sweet kimchee relish, mayo and toasted black sesame seeds.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Three Kingdoms Radish Kimchee

Eight 16 oz jars of Fermented Radish Kimchee (kkakdugi) are labeled and ready for Brooklyn-based fitness trainer and nutritionist, Sharissa Reichert—healthy holiday gifts for good friends and family. She is a constant advocate of healthy eating through probiotics. Although the labels simply read “Radish Kimchee” this batch is made with Korean and Japanese radishes and sweet red beets. The earthy deep flavor comes from the beets. I call this “Three Kingdoms Blend” kkakdugi. Next time I’ll make more space on the label for the name and the URL. This is one of my favorites, it has a very clean refreshing flavor. It’s tart and mildly sweet with a slow spicy heat. This is one way to keep warm and healthy during winter.

Flash Frozen Gochucaccia

Five frozen vegetarian gochucaccia made with mushroom pâte and Korean chilipaste (gochuchang) are slated for departure this weekend, but they’ll keep safely in my freezer until then. I bet this is what Korean astronauts eat. After playing around with different methods of frozen storage, I unlocked to door to home-made convenience food! It’s hot, ready and out of the oven in under 25 minutes with a crust that’s as fresh as the day it was kneaded. Freezing is a great way to store some foods. This frozen pastry will keep without preservatives or additives for months. The only down side might be the extra 10 pounds I put on from all the taste tests.

If you live within three miles of Brooklyn’s 11238 zip code you can buy one. Click Here for more. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bulgogi à la Foodcarte

Finally! I made it to the head of the class. A long food line bears great rewards at lunch time near Baruch College.

“Do you want kimchee with that?” “That’s why I’m here.” I said to the young guy managing the orders at the head of the food cart. I pass this Korean food cart often as I walk past Baruch College. Usually the line is long, crammed with hungry undergrads looking for good cheap eats between classes. I couldn’t pass it this time, the aroma of grilled meat pulled me in like a smokey hook. So I turned around and took my place in line with my $7.

The line moved quickly but the sound and smell of searing meat and onions made me even hungrier. The chef served me a generous portion with extra sauce. The Korean barbequed beef on rice was worth the wait in line—smokey, tender and not too sweet, served with a side of baechu kimchee. I asked him if their food cart has a name, he said “No, we’re just the Korean food cart near Baruch College.”

They’ll be there through the winter, folks. So if you’re cold and hungry, wandering around Lexington and 24th Street and you see a long lunch line forming, don’t hesitate, jump in.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Gochucaccia Bread

WARNING: This blog post contains images of very yummy food. Unsupervised repeated viewing may induce hunger pangs and pacing. If hunger persists due to viewing, go to your kitchen and eat something that is hot, nutritious and tasty. If hunger still persists and you live in Brooklyn, plan ahead and order one by Clicking Here.

This Gochucaccia Bread made fresh, I'm freezing a few for later.

This is hot and ready to eat right out of the oven, but it serves well at room temperature, if it makes it to the table.

I can't say enough about kitchen scissors. It cuts down on man-hours at the table.

Can you really just have one slice? This 8" rustic bread serves one.

The sesame seeds explode with flavor in your mouth.