Monday, March 25, 2013

Recipe: Kimchee Butter

You can freeze kimchee butter for long term storage... if there's anything left to freeze.
What do you do with that old kimchee? That jar that’s about.. two, maybe three months old? Give that jalapeƱo jam a break and make Kimchee Butter, it makes everything better. It has a creamy balance of flavors—savory, tart, and mildly spiced. I prefer to use fermented radish (kkakdugi) over Napa cabbage kimchee. It gives this buttery spread a smoother texture when pureed and blended with other ingredients. You’ll need a food processor and a mixing bowl. For a non-dairy version use a good quality vegan butter. For cultured butter fans, this is a recipe for you. This recipe makes 1 1/2 cups.
  • 1 cup softened high-fat butter (unsalted), cultured butter or vegan butter
  • 3 tbsp white miso
  • 1/4 cup finely minced scallions
  • 1/2 cup old kimchee, well drained
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp Korean chili paste or Sriracha
Make sure that your butter in softened, if it’s frozen let it thaw overnight in the fridge. Drain kimchee, press gently between paper towels to remove excess liquid. Put butter and scallions into a mixing bowl. Put kimchee, Korean chili paste, sugar,  and miso into your food processor, pulse then blend into a smooth paste. If the paste is too thick, add a little kimchee juice 1/2 tsp at a time; use a spatula to scrape down the sides. Add this paste to the butter and scallions and fold in with a spatula until smooth and all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Store kimchee butter in a small covered container and refrigerate for at least six hours before using.

I use kimchee butter for pan-seared foods, mostly fish or chicken—it makes salmon even more slammin’ in the oven. It’s great for roasting vegetables; it makes potatoes extra crunchy. I also use it for boiling or grilling steaks; it makes the flavor of a fine cut of meat sing. For long term storage freeze your kimchee butter in an air-tight container or wrap in serving-size portions with freezer paper. You can roll it into a log in parchment paper, freeze and cut into medallion as you need.

Kimchee butter on a cheddar brioche bun with a smoked salmon and brie omelet.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kimchee Waffles 2.0

There's a waffled buried somewhere under there.
Kimchee waffles, batch #5—this one is a keeper. I finally got these waffles to a mild heat with a unique flavor that provides a base for savory or sweet toppings. I prefer them savory served with a poached egg, smoked salmon, onion butter and seared shaved mushrooms on a bed of wilted baby arugula. This would work well with smoke turkey or a slice of Serrano ham, and of course more kkakdugi.

I love the warm saffron glow that kimchee lends to these griddle cake. Tomorrow I’m going to try them with maple syrup with warm brie cheese. The good thing about these waffles is they freeze well for future meals... if there are any leftover to freeze. I bet this would make a great sandwich.

Kimchee waffles are ridiculously delicious.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Savory Breakfast with Kimchee Waffles

No kimchee waffle should go out under-dressed at the breakfast table. Instead, dress is up with a fried egg topped with minced scallions, sharp cheddar cheese, toasted sesames seeds, and maybe some caramelized onion jam or seared shaved mushrooms. The only thing better would be seconds.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Buttermilk Kimchee Biscuit

This is my favorite way to enjoy a buttermilk kimchee biscuit—with blood orange marmalade and goat milk brie cheese. My friend Colleen gave me a canning tutorial and two jars of her blood orange marmalade to take home. There’s nothing like home-made preserves with freshly baked biscuits.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

After The Outside In

Sixty mini kimchee biscuits simply disappeared, but it didn’t make it to the evening news. Although I sold a lot of my Hanguk Saffron at the artisanal food bazaar this past Sunday, the kimchee biscuits were the star at my tasting table. Gallery owners Bill Walsh and Joe Sera (at The Outside in Gallery) proudly produced The Outside in Piermont Artisanal Food Bazaar, a unique market for small batch and artisanal food and beverages. The Outside In is a gallery and an incubator for artists looking to develop their portfolio and for those who collect outsider art. The building is a handsome former florist shop with two green houses where creativity is nurtured and grown.

Once the doors opened at 10AM people hungry for a taste of hand-crafted foods rushed in. Kimcheelicious was one of the 18 vendors there on March 17, 2013. I met new folks, and got reacquainted with some old freinds, but mostly I got to meet some of my Facebook friends in person—two very funny and talented ladies Nata Traub (Nata Traub Catering) and Tamika (Humble Pie). Nata made her signature “Bottoms Up Punch” and Tamika baked savory and sweet gluten free goods.

Alexandra Crossier of Granola Lab; local honey fromWildwood Hives; a Kimcheelicous guy
I caught a ride with my friend Alex Crossier (Granola Lab), she makes the most delicious small batch granola and grain energy bars right here in Brooklyn. We got a little lost getting there, but the Hudson Valley must be the charming place to wander. There were a few Brooklyn-based vendors aside from us.

Serious foodies and looky-loos; stone cold faces; warm hand-crafted woodwork
Vegan, organic and gluten free are the new keywords in the artisanal food lexicon. I’m not a vegan, but my kimchee is. I fermented a batch of medium-heat vegan Napa cabbage kimchee for my tasting table. I’m always surprised how many people don’t know that true kimchee involves an animal product, usually shrimp or fish sauce (oops, sorry city vegans). I created a method that involves mycoprotein, an amino acid found in mushrooms and crustaceans. How good was it? A fourteen year-old boy and his friends ate most of the kimchee samples... I can’t believe I got kids to eat vegetables.

"Ted Heads"; Tamika Adjemian of Baked House and Belljar Preserves; the art garden
It was a busy day on the floor, I didn’t get to meet most of the other vendors. I just saw a sea of roving heads and hands but I had a great view of the Sparkill Creek from my kiosk. I had a brief reunion with my friends Nisa and Dave. I even ran into an old college classmate Paula. Nisa had to give her a reminder from back in the day: “Worked at the Tool Crib... sloppy mohawk... lots of black eyeliner and earrings...” “Oh that guy!” Now that I’m older I sport the no-hawk. Male baldness pattern happens.

The outside of The Outside In gallery
Vendors came from all over—from Kings County and up the Hudson. We all sold well to a hungry crowd. I created a lot interest in my ePUB cookbook and found new fans of my Hanguk Saffron who follow my blog. I met some restauranteurs and food foragers, and I made great contacts for future batches of Kimcheelicious Foods. By request I’m selling my vegan kimchee by the pound at the next event.

A spectacular sculpture garden surrounds the campus with whimsical and art.

A toast to all the tastemakers and the town of Piermont NY: Anarchy in a Jar, Balthazar Bakery, Center For Safety & Change, Granola Lab, Growler & Gill, Gypsy Donut, Heat Sweets, Honeybrook Farms, Humbled Pie gf Bake House, Kimcheelicious, Kontoulis Family Olive Oils, Maura’s Kitchen, Mimi’s Plate, Nata’s Cocktails, Plowshares Coffee, Sprout Creek Farms, Wild Hive Farm, Your Spice of Life and mostly a special thanks to Bill Wlash and Joe Sera for putting this incredible event together.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Inside the Outside In

I went out and bought this massive stainless steel tub (18" diam X 5.5" deep) to make my Hanguk Saffron for The Outside In Artisanal Food Bazaar. Eight pounds will be portioned into 2 oz. foil packs available for purchase. I’ll also have kimchee and fresh-baked kimchee biscuits on hand for tasting.

My vegan kimchee is fermented in glass containers. Although food grade plastics are an industry standard, they always leave me a little weary. When I started making my own kimchee about eight years ago I used both plastic and glass containers. Over the course of two years the plastics containers became thin and brittle, which means I’ve been eating plastic. I was advised that I should discard the plastic containers after a couple of uses. So plastics... industrial grade food containers are currently not recyclable; even at that, where do our regular recyclables really go? What is it doing in my body? I’ve been using the same 16 oz mason jars for at least six years, replacing the lids as they wear out. I find I have better control over the quality of fermentation.
It takes roughly over 30 lbs of fermented kimchee (and brined root vegetables) to dehydrate and mill into eight pounds of powdered seasoning. After kimchee is treated with heat it looses its pungent quality and takes on other characteristics; for one thing, it’s sharper.

My Hanguk Saffron has a savory flavor that’s slightly sweet with a pronounced tang. It’s mildly spicy with notes of ginger, sesame seed, Korean chili and garlic. I sift my Hanguk Saffron three times to get a silky texture and a well blended flavor that lends itself to cooking. I like using is as a dry rub, especially for pan-seared foods; it adds depth to soups, stews and noodles dishes. It’s great for grilling delicate foods like shrimp or fish, but it definitely adds life to that ho-hum burger. I’ve used to flavor cream sauces for pasta, especially gnocchi. Well, maybe I’ll some left for me after this event in Piermont.

for more information about The Outside In, go to:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Outside In Piermont Artisanal Food Bazar

This batch of Napa cabbage kimchee was fermented for a month to achieve a deep flavor.
This batch of pogi beachu kimchee (above) is prime for serving, but it’s slated for dehydration to make my Hanguk Saffron. I’m getting ready for The Outside In Piermont Artisanal Food Bazar on Sunday March 17, 1013, from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM.

My vegan kimchee is dehydrated at a low temperature for 26 hours, then milled to make this savory powdered seasoning. It’s blended with other spices and sifted three times to create a light, silky texture with a balanced tang. It’s great to use as a dry rub for pork or chicken and as a seasoning for hot soups. One chef uses it as a secret ingredient in his salmon tartar... but you didn’t hear that from me. I’ll have 2 oz foil packs of Hanguk Saffron for sale at the food bazaar. I’ll also have some fermented radish and kimchee biscuits for little tasting to promote my ePUB cookbook. If you’re up by Piermont NY, check it out and look for Kimcheelicious.

Fairy wings and dragon scales make a powerful magic  powder.

Friday, March 8, 2013

My First Batch of Water Kefir

Somethings brewing in Brooklyn, my first batch of water kefir.

I had a very refereshing glass of my friend Bryan Dentz's home-made water kafir. It’s similar to kombucha and has slightly sweet and tangy flavor that’s similar to good apple cider vinegar. Water kafir grains are close cousins to the grains used to make goat milk kefir. They are composed of a variety of live yeasts (Species Saccharomyces) and bacteria (Lactobacillus) —not a cereal type grain such as wheat, barley, rice, etc. When germinated the symbiotic relationship processes sugar water into lactic acid. Some alcohol is formed but not much, anywhere from .2 to 2% depending how long it’s allowed to ferment.

These plump kefir grains are formed from a symbiotic partnering of yeasts and bacteria.

It’s not an exact science but Bryan gave me some guidelines.
• Use non-chlorinated water only
• Cover the jar with gauze, but no not use a lid
• Dont let the grains come in direct contact with metal
• Do not use anti-bacterial soap
• Do not handle the grains with bare hands

I’m kinda nervous about blowing this. I already spilled some of the starter from the jar the he gave me. When germinated in sugar water, the grains plump into translucent blooms; 1/2 cup of starter and 1/2 cup sugar make 16 oz of water kefir. I filled a large mason jar with tap water and let it sit overnight to allow the chlorine to evaporate. This morning I dissolved sugar into the water and then added the grains. It will ferment in a dark place at room temperature for 24 to 28 hours. After that I’ll strain the liquid though gauze and start a new batch with the same grains.

Although goat kefir has its history in the Caucuses mountains, the origins of water kefir are unclear. It has been made traditionally in Tibet as well as in Mexico. This batch definitely comes from South Slope Brooklyn. BTW, Bryan also makes his own beer.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Slammin' Salmon Salad

Smoked salmon and kkakdugi salad—there’s a treasure waiting in the refrigerator if you dig around. This cold egg noodle salad is made with leftover smoked salmon, peas, asparagus, and fermented radish. I tossed it with a little Korean chili paste, salt, sesame seed oil, a little heavy cream, toasted garlic and sweet caramelized onion. Verdict: SLAMMIN’! The tang of fermented radish and smoked salmon pair well with the texture of egg noodles. A little gochuchang and heavy cream pull it all together.

When kimchee is heated it looses it’s pungent umami qualities. Its flavor mellows in stews and baked dishes and takes on a piquant quality. To get the full kimchee punch, it’s best to add it towards the end of your cooking, or in a cold dish. Personally, I prefer to eat it right out of the jar.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Meet the Kings County Fermentation Group

This delicious home-made golden miso is gift from my friend Tomo Tanaka. I only wish you could lick your screen and taste this. It’s not over salted like the most of the Japanese commercial products sold in tubs. It has sweet and deep components, a meaty aroma and a long lasting savory flavor. This is the handiwork of a skilled fermenter. Miso has probiotic qualities, known to enhance health and beauty... bla bla bla... I could just eat this up with a spoon. Heavily salted foods are like a person who sports too much perfume or cologne. You have to wonder what it’s masking.

On Oscar night at Freddy’s Bar the Kings County Fermentation Group met for the first time. Natsuko brought sweet miso dip and a sweet rice porridge called amazake, literally “sweet sake” but non-alcoholic. She also made sweet miso scones! Her husband Greg is quite a fermenter. He makes tempeh and kombucha among other fermented foods. Gerg said he’d get me a kombucha scoby at some point so that I can make my own. Ritsuko shared her fresh batch of miso served with cucumber and carrot slices, a classic combination. I brought my fermented radish and pogi kimchee to serve with Tater Tots. Tomo and I just ate everything, but we did share food with the crowded room on Oscar night.

In our discussion I learned that the key ingredient in most Japanese fermented foods is kogi, a rice-based starter that is cultured with a fungus named aspergillus oryzae, which naturally occurs on rice bran. In March I’m taking my first miso making class from Natsuko Yamawaki. Her Brooklyn-based enterprise, Hakkoan, produces quality fermented Japanese goods. So why make my own miso? Red barley miso is one of the key ingredients in my vegan kimchee. The higher quality small-batch products are great, but the price is dear at an average of $12 for a 16 oz jar. Dont get me wrong, it’s well worth the money, but I need volume. I’m very excited about taking this class.

KCFG will meet again at Freddy’s Bar in April, and from then onward on the four Sunday each month. For more information on Hakkoan fermented foods and classes contact Natsuko Yamawaki.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Kimchee Pie Squared

Greetin’ and eatin’! I met with Zeke Mandel, aka The Savory Pie Guy at his Mt. Vernon facility—on the table at this private tasting (inset photo) were my vegan Korean chili paste (gochuchang), fermented radish (kkakdugi), Napa cabbage kimchee (baechu) and Hanguk Saffron (powdered kimchee seasoning). We are cooking up a tasty collaboration and kimchee meat pies are top of the list.

“Bacon?” chef Adi asked; everyone should be greeted this way. I set out my samples and chop sticks and we all dug in. All I could say was “Wow, umami bomb”; crisp slab bacon and kimchee are very good friends. Katie and Adi were surprised that all my kimchee is in fact vegan. I’ve worked very hard to achieve a full bodied taste by using mycoprotein, sea vegetables and a few other ingredients that complete the flavor. He and his staff get what I’m trying to do—create a high quality natural food that’s gluten free, vegan, with no preservatives, MSG or artificial colors. Much like fine cheeses and good wine, these small batch foods take a watchful eye and a careful hand.

Adi really enjoyed my Hanguk Saffron, he sees many possibilities—stir fry, dry rub, BBQ... but everyone really enjoyed my kkakdugi. I want this to be the new American kimchee—crisp, crunchy and tangy with a deep savory flavor and high notes of ginger an just a light kiss of the ocean... bla bla bla... it’s good stuff. Zeke broke out the red cabbage slaw and mixed in the chili paste. It gave the slaw a beautiful deep saffron color and an even deeper flavor. Next he broke out the true test, his steak and mushroom pie. He should have a warning label that reads “East slowly, good eatin’ ahead.” His crust is incredibly flaky and buttery and the filling, rich and perfectly seasoned. Zeke saw many possibilities from potato salad to red slaw to a kick-ass kimchee meat pie. He also gave me some flash frozen pies to take home. Thanks for dinner, Zeke!

Clockwise: Steak & mushroom, two chicken pot pies and Thai chicken in a curry crust from the Savory Pie Guy