Monday, December 23, 2013

At the Vegan Shop Up

My friend Deb and I hit hit the Vegan ShopUp in Williamsburg. This open artisanal market at Pine Box Rock Shop was buzzing with life, vitality... and vegan food. If this were a country I would declare this destination Veganda. We sampled food and had a healthy delicious lunch of Ethiopian and Mexican food (not on one plate though). There were silk screened goods, chocolate fudge, crafts, personal care items, kombucha, salsa and sauces, apparel, posters, fair-trade incense... just take a look—people were hungry for more than just food.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Yum Pies and BadAss Animal Rescue

BadAss Animal Rescue
This past Sunday, Brooklynites proudly imbibed with a purpose to help save dogs with BadAss Animal Rescue at Mary’s Bar in South Slope. Mary’s Bar has a BEER SPECIAL: from Dec. 15-21, $2 from each pint of Smuttynose Porter goes to this charity. 

Last night we sold delicious Gluten-free YUM PIES, hot with our smoked tahini! Kimcheelcious developed these tasty YUM PIES for Levine’s General Store, a gluten-free food provisioner:
• Knichska: Potato and Kale with Regio Parm
• Sweetie: Sweet Potato and Corn with aged Gouda and powdered kimchee
• Chana: Curried Chickpea with NY sharp cheddar

Mary’s Bar is at 708 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (718) 499-2175. This week, have a beer and save a dog!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Seeing Red: A Short History of Korean Chili

This 20-pound batch of pogi kimchee will be ready by mid-December—quartered heads of cabbage are brined, stuffed with radish and scallions, then smothered in Korean chili paste (gochuchang) then cold-fermented for about five to six weeks. Most people are familiar with mak kimchee, made with chopped-up salad-sytle Napa cabbage. I perfer pogi kimchee; it has more layers of flavor.

I gave a lecture at the Mulberry Street Library yesterday. Through the magic of PowerPoint I demonstrated my cookbook project and the process of lactic acid fermentation. There’s a popular assumption that kimchee is a vegetarian-vegan food. Although my kimchee is in fact vegan, authentic kimchee employs refined anchovy sauce, dried shrimp, raw oysters and in some regions of Korea the use bone marrow or raw pheasant meat. In part it is ying-yang philosophy of eating with the deeper flavors of kimchee derived from a source protein. I use chitin from mushrooms, the same protein found in shellfish. But two kimchee questions come up often: Does kimchee have to be so spicy? Does it have to be salty?

Salt is ubiquitous to the lacto-fermentation process; it conditions plant matter by breaking the cell walls and it creates a suitable environment for lactobacillus to colonize and populate. As recently reported in the Journal of American Medical Association, “A new report finds no evidence that drastic reductions of dietary salt reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke or death.” So regular dietary salt is not terrible for our diet. Being a savory guy, I welcome this news.

There are many varieties of Korean kimchee that do not use pepper flakes. White kimchee (beak) uses the same fermentation method, but without pepper—same as with water kimchee (mul) which is served as a refreshing, cold summer soup. One person at the lecture said she uses paprika because her husband can no longer have spicy foods; it’s not a bad idea, there are so many components to the flavor of kimchee, heat is just one of them. I’ve tried many combinations and types of dried chili, including the Syrian Aleppo pepper. But there is no substitution for dried, coarsely ground Korean pepper (gochucaru); it’s sweet and hot with a grassy, smoked fragrance.The texture is never bone dry, the flakes are always soft and pliable.

In Korea’s culinary history, special foods were dyed magenta or red using plants such as Cock’s Comb seed. The introduction of chili is attributed to the Japanese invasion of the Korean peninsula; the Japanese openly traded with the Portuguese who brought New World foods such as eggplant, sweet potato, corn, squash and chili. Some dispute is taken since Europe and continental China traded goods regularly via the Silk Road (aka, the Suli)—most notably after the Oriental expedition of Marco Polo (1271-1292).

But the use of fresh and dried chili in Korean cuisine occurred more recently, circa 1590. Since most Korean terrain is mountainous and not ideal for agriculture, early Koreans relied on salt-preserved foods to sustain themselves during the long winter months. Korean food diversified during their Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) with the addition of fresh and dried chilies. Food from that time forward was prepared and  preserved with red pepper. The addition of using a source of protein in kimchee fermentation is noted the 1670s. In the 1800s fermented fish sauce became more popular (source: “Gyuhab Cheongseo”). The use of seafood further inland also marked people of wealthy class. Still popular to this day, the whole-head cabbage style of kimchee came about in the 1800s. Gochucaru is a very unique chili paste that has become the corner stone of Korean cuisine; some pastes are fermented and some fresh. Korea’s ingenuity borne of survival has bloomed into a culinary and social aesthetic that separates them from their other Asian countries. Although not all kimchee is spicy and red-hot, it’s the flavor that I crave the most.

Friday, November 29, 2013

That's Fermentation!

 Join Kimcheelicious for a lecture about the history and process of fermentation by Antonio Limuaco, founder of Kimcheelicious, a project that explores innovative ways of preparing traditional fermented Asian foods for the way Americans cook and eat. Followed by a free kimchee tasting!

That’s Fermentation
Saturday Nov. 30 at 2pm

The New York Public Library
Mulberry St. Branch
10 Jersey Street
New York, NY 10012

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Cheer!

A warm season’s greetings from my family to yours! Kimcheelicious wishes you a safe and happy holiday! Peace. Love. Good Eatin’.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Flaky Gluten-free Salvation

Sweet potato and kimchee vegan empandas in a gluten-free crust are a big hit! These are signature snacks I’m creating for Deb Goldstein of Levine’s General Store, a Brooklyn-based GF food purveyor. The filling is made with sweet potatoes, roasted corn and my Hanguk Saffron (dried kimchee seasoning). WOW! The kimchee flavor and aroma bloom with heat with notes of ginger, garlic and Korean chili.

Initially I didn’t give gluten-free recipes much space in my Kimcheelicious cookbook, it will now have a good share. Just last night my friend, Sarah Kelly, told me she was recently diagnosed with celiac disease—an autoimmune reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. The immune system attacks and damages the villi which lines the small intestine, preventing the absorption of nutrition. The result is malnutrition. Currently wisdom dictates to exclude gluten-based foods, which can prove to be difficult. But Sarah has changed her diet and the way she eats... and carries an EpiPen.

According to Austin-based nutritionist, Holly L’Italien (Merritt Wellness Center), epigenetics (external environment influencing our DNA) is a strong possibility for this growing problem. Ms. L'Italien has helped me greatly advising me on nutritious recipes. In 2010 Mayo Clinic research reported that one in a hundred Americans were diagnosed with celiac disease, but many more go undiagnosed. We are what we eat, and the food on our tables has changed so much—over processed, chemically treated to prolong storage. Over the coarse of 50 years our modern wheat has been genetically modified to yield more sugar than nutrition—speculation is that this may be a cause for gluten intolerance and celiac disease in North America.

I am not gluten-intolerant, but I find it disturbing how many people I’ve met are, especially children. These GF vegan hand-pies may not necessarily be the end-all answer, but boy-oh-boy are they good hot or cold!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sweet ‘n’ Sour Kimchee Chicken

Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken brings back memories of gathering for a fancy occasion. On Guam it marked the advent of the annual office Christmas parties. My Dad’s company would order trays of Chinese banquet food from House of Wong. Four long fold-out tables were set up with white linen and covered chafing pans as Nat King Cole played in the background over the office intercom. Most of families (such as ours) donned the matching mumus and island print shirts; it made it easier to spot whose children were whose.

Mr. Paul Calvo, the company owner, would turn down the music leading everyone in thoughtful prayer of thanks... Dankalu yan si Yu'us ma'ase po' todos... maila fan, chumocho hamyu! The trays were uncovered as two lines formed flanking the long banquet tables... fat kids first (that meant me). My favorite dish was the sweet and sour pork—red, tart and tangy! I always think of it as Guam’s soul food. In recent light of Typhoon Haiyan’s massive path of destruction to the Philippines, I’m reminded me of how we survived super Typhoon Pamela in 1976. Trees and houses were toppled, jungle areas were stripped bare and concrete buildings and roadways collapsed into rubble. The island was left without power and pumping water, for some folks up to 8 months. Despite the tragedy of loss, I’m also reminded of the generosity of neighbors, outdoor cooking over hardwood fires, playing kickball in the dark and sharing dinner with family and friends around the kerosine lamp. That year I very much looked forward to the Calvo’s Insurance Christmas party. As we near the holidays, I have much to be thankful for. My heart goes out the people of Tacloban and Filipino friends and family who now live in a terrifying aftermath. My grandmother would always reminded us pray for the unfortunate ones and count our blessings.

As I finish the Kimcheelicious cookbook I saved the best for last: Sweet and Sour Kimchee Chicken made with my Napa cabbage kimchee (beachu) and crushed pineapple, right out of the can. This meal brings back fond memories of people and a quirky island childhood. I’m also including instructions for using seitan instead of meat.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Little Bliss from Blissville

My buddy Chris moved recently. As he streamlined his move I became the recipient of 96 small Ball jam jars. WIN!! These are the perfect size for my kimchee samples for tastings—2 oz each to be exact. I gave him a jar of my fermented Korean radish (kkakdugi) and a pack of my Hanguk Saffron to show my gratitude. Chris Faga is partner and owner of Blissville Kitchen, eponymous of its Long Island City neighborhood in Queens. On their menu they specialize in comfort foods, like Mac ‘n’ Cheese, hearty grilled sandwiches, house-smoke beef jerky and fine cheese platters. I can’t say enough about Chris’ cooking; there’s a bit of each borough in every bite. The next time you find yourself wandering through LIC, stop in for a bite. Forget that diet and enjoy a taste of Queens.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Taste of Queens

Space, the next frontier
Queens is a borough of mystery to me—winding streets connect the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in New York, yet nothing sits on a city grid. Yesterday I was out and about in the industrial area of Long Island City, Queens. Under the overpass and over the bridge I went to Organic Food Incubator. They have new facilities that I wanted to see. Proprietors Mike  and Angie gave me the tour of the new rooms and filled in the details of installation and lease stipulations. I’m very excited as I move towards the future of my kimchee fermentation company, Kimcheelicious. The next big step is fundraising. I’ve researched my business requirements and licenses for food manufacturing. I’ve priced equipment and services that I’ll be needing. But there’s still more work ahead.

OFI provides facilities for manufacturing gluten and animal free foods. Mike Schwartz is also operations partner of Bad Ass Organics—he was busy was bottling kombucha that day. I don’t know how he juggles everything, but when you love what you do it lightens the burden of task. I met the folks at the natural juice company and got see the organic olive oil manufacturer’s set up. On my way out I introduced myself to Karen Freer, an OFI tenant and partner in FreeBread, Inc., a gluten and nut free bakery. I just followed my nose towards the sweet aroma of bread. She said “I have nothing but great things to say about these people!” as she motioned to Angie with a full pallet of freshly-baked gluten-free bread. Although many Americans enjoy naturally aged cheese, a cold beer, fine wine or a breakfast yogurt, fermentation is still an odd word in the US. Meanwhile a movement towards natural foods is on the rise.

All this talk about food made me hungry, so I went in search of a familiar flavor. I took the subway a little further into Jackson Heights and meandered my way to below the elevated 7 line past Ecuadorian and Colombian restaurants and Chinese markets. There I found Little Manila on 69th Street. Filipino food is a mainstay on Guam’s banquet tables.

I had a toro-toro lunch at Fiesta Grill. I tried to speak some Tagalog, but resorted to pointing because I forgot what most of these dishes are called. They had quite spread of hot Filipino food—whole fried fish, two kinds of pork, crispy lechon, pancit, sauteed marungay greens, sweet rice cakes steamed in banana leaves and the infamous blood stew.  I had the grilled pork and pancit with a generous helping of rice for $7.50. Each table had the essential sauces: patìs, coconut vinegar with garlic and soy sauce. For those who are more daring, they had fermented shrimp paste (bago-ong) at the side counter.

As I closed my eyes I could almost hear my grandmother yelling “Eat now!” over the fence, and we’d come running. With the next bite I could hear my dad yelling “Close the door!” over the clanging of plates, as he pointed at the AC. And as with all family meals we sat down as a family and ate with our hands.

The food was not as good as my mom’s home cooking, but it was as delicious as I remember. I don’t have many relatives out here, and I’ve come to the conclusion I’m the only guy from Guam in New York. So home-town foods are very rare for me. Yet I wanted more. Right next door I saw Pan de Sol in the window at Fritzie’s Bakery. I walked in a bought a bag for $3.50. I was so tempted to rip into it on the train home; I could smell the sweet dough through the plastic wrapper. But I practiced restraint and when I reached home I prepared it the way my father did—lightly toasted with a shaved sharp cheese and very light dusting of sugar. Along with lapsong sausage and scrambled eggs, this was the typical Sunday breakfast before rushing off to church.

It’s funny how the food can jog your memory take you to a far away place, or how a wonderful smell can be more like a time portal than an olfactory sensation. They say you can never go home, but it’s good to know that some of the familiar sweet things in life are only a train ride away.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Rice Is Nice

People often say rice has no flavor. I just think they haven’t had any good rice. Whether they are long, medium or short grain, there’s a purity, fragrance and sweetness to plain steamed rice that make each variety unique. I love Basmati rice for its nutty perfume. It has a slightly dry texture which complements Indian and Middle Eastern sauces. Brown rice has a rich, earthy flavor and with long slow cooking becomes yet delicate. Who does not like hot bowl of creamy risotto? Guam and Micronesia celebrate every occasion with red rice, colored and flavored with achiote seeds and green onion. But my two favorites are short-grain and jasmine rice; I like them steamed. Both have a light, silky texture and a fragrance that always remind me of home.

When there’s no time for a real sit-down meal, simple dishes like this kimchee bowl are the best—roasted chicken leg and Napa cabbage kimchee (beachu) over steamed jasmine rice and green peas, dusted with toasted sesame seeds. Now this is Seoul food!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Brooklyn Boy Makes Hometown News!

Atana taotao Guahan! Dankulu ma'ase si Marissa Borja as reportero
gi Marianas Variety–Guam Edition.

Congratulations to the MSO Audience Award Choice 2013 finalists!

Congratulations to the six MSO American Made Audience Award Choice 2013 finalists. Kimcheelicious was proud to have participate as one of the 2013 nominees. Thank you for voting and for all your support and encouragement; Kimcheelicious came in at a respectable 3,783 votes. For those who wish to continue to vote in the final round, click on the link below for prize incentives. Voting for the grand prize winner ends on October 1.

For those who wish to unsubscribe their accounts, click on this link below.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Kimchee Me: Raising Funds to Start a Small Business

As if writing a cookbook isn’t enough work... I’ve entered into the Intuit Small Business Big Game competition to raise funds. The experience of creating and demonstrating news recipes with my vegan kimchee has lead me down a path that I passionately enjoy. I’ve been working on a solid business plan to start a kimchee manufacturing company, Kimchee Me, Inc. Part of that plan is raising capital to launch a company. There are many steps to this Intuit competition, but the first one is voting for Kimcheelicious. If I get into the next round I’ll be able to vie for the competition by submitting my proposal.

Click on the link below, you don’t have to register info, you just have to click the “Vote for Us” button and please share this link. You can also re-vote after 24 hours.

Tony Limuaco
Chief Fermenting Officer

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Recipe: Gluten-free Miso-ginger Fried Chicken

Clockwise: fermented Korean radish, miso-ginger chicken, creamy miso potato salad (not shown, miso soup)

My home-made miso is ready! I consider miso to be an essential ingredient in this Brooklyn kitchen. Why should anyone make their own miso? If you read some of the ingredients that go into commercial brands they might include sugar, MSG, soy sauce; true miso is made simply from soy beans, sea salt and an inoculated rice called koji. It takes at least six months to ferment a proper miso, but it’s worth the wait. The flavor is clean with a nutty, savory flavor.

Recently I demonstrated a few recipes for Japanese TV Asahi for their news segment Miso in America. On the menu: miso-ginger panko chicken, creamy miso potato salad and of course miso soup. The crew definitely enjoyed my fried chicken the most, they couldn’t wait to take a break. I made sure to sneak in some kimchee too, a perfect compliment to this Japanese bistro meal. So let’s get cooking! Here’s my recipe for miso fried chicken nuggets made with panko.

Miso-ginger Fried Chicken
Panko is a flaky crumb coat used in many Japanese pan-fried dishes; it gives my chicken an extra-crunchy coat that stays light and crisp long after desert arrives. This dish can be served at room temperature for up to four hours, it’s a great dish for casual parties.
  • 2 large skinless chicken breasts, cubed into 1" nuggets
  • 3 tbsp white miso
  • 1/4 cup ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free panko crumbs
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups canola oil for pan frying
  • a cast iron skillet
  • 3 containers with lids
In a large bowl, combine miso, ginger, garlic, onion and egg and mix well. Lightly salt the chicken cubes and coat pieces in mix. Cover and allow to macerate in the refrigerator for at least an hour, although resting overnight yields the best flavor. Grated onion is not just a flavor, it tenderizes the chicken keeping it moist and juicy when fried.

In a plastic container, add three tsp of potato starch; add chicken, cover and shake until all pieces are evenly coated. Add potato starch as needed. Let chicken rest on a cutting board for about ten minutes. In a large bowl add panko crumbs. Press chicken firmly into the panko, make sure all pieces are evenly coated. Pre-heat your skillet and get your oil ready.

When frying a lot of chicken, work in small batches and change your oil as needed to prevent burning the crust; check and adjust the heat between batches. Also, never crowd your pan.

In a cast iron skillet add oil to a depth of about and 1 1/2" and heat to 350°F. Here’s an easy way to check proper frying temperature: stick a wooden chopstick into the oil; when bubbles rapidly form, it’s ready. Fry nuggets for about four minute, or until they are a light golden brown. Drain well on paper towels and allow crust to set for ten minutes.

Now here’s the magic part: fry your chicken nuggets again! Twice frying chicken is the key to getting crisp crust. Fry for another six minutes turning pieces until everything is evenly browned. Drain well, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve hot. There you have it—a well seasoned chicken that's juice, light and crisp. How mouth-watering good was my miso-ginger fried chicken? Even Chela the cat wanted to sit in on this shoot.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Quick Kimchee Lunch

I love quick meals made with fine-aged fermented radish kimchee (kkakdugi). It’s the most versatile ingredient in our fridge. I use it as a side dish and for cooking. It’s such a great way to brighten up the average meal. For today’s lunch we had kimchee dogs. I made a relish with kkakdugi, honey, minced jalapeños and a litle srirascha. A good way to use up leftover white rice is to make kimchee fried rice for a hearty brunch.

As we finally got a cool reprieve from two weeks of this July heatwave, I made a hot savory rice porridge (juk) with dashi, a little chicken stock, garlic and ginger with a generous serving of kkakdugi. Even the cat wants some.