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

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