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 jalapeƱos 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. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Kimchee Bowl for Lunch!

One of my favorite quick meals is a kimchee bowl—grilled chicken marinated in kimchee juice, pan-seared Italian squash on a bed of seasoned rice with a generous side of fine-aged Napa cabbage kimchee (baechu). It’s a nice combination of flavors and textures: the grilled chicken is savory, tangy, and sweet; the rice is seasoned with toasted sesame seeds, katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and sweetened rice vinegar. Of course everything is much better when it’s served with kimchee and toasted sesame seeds.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Kombucha and Beet Kvass

As I harvest the raspberry-ginger kombucha, I’m starting my first batch of beet kvass, a fermentd beverage made from red beets. I had this bag of herbal raspberry-vanilla tea for Ikea that sat around for over a year—it was kinda gross. But in second kombucha fermentation it made a very subtle fruit flavor with a nice perfume. Now to figure out what to do with that box of decaffeinated green tea that tastes like bamboo.

I found very simple instructions for vegan beet kvass that don’t not require whey. It’s really just red beets, salt, lemon juice, water and a piece of star anisette. Some variations of flavor include garlic and bay leaves. I want to start out with a simple fermentation and maybe later I’ll try the deeper flavors. So far it’s bubbling away, it should be ready in a few days. The magenta color is soothing and it gets a little deeper each day—crossing my fingers for a good batch.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Kimchee Pulled Pork at the Freddy's BBQ

I’m celebrating Independence Day with kimchee pulled pork on red slaw and a corn cake waffle. My buddy, Pat O’Shea, and I are grillmasters at the Freddy’s Bar Big-ass BBQ. This pork shoulder was seared in a spicy dry rub marinated and slow-cooked for right hours with a vinegar sauce I made from kimchee juice, Coca Cola, garlic... and various spices. Although it sounds a bit trendy, soda and beer are some of Guam’s traditional cooking liquids. I imagine it was the invention of post war ingenuity.

Manners are what separate us from the animals—yet some folks get grabby. Last year I recall a young woman and her friends crowding over my grill. I told them “Foods ready inside.” But when I turned the wee lassie grabbed at someone’s steak. It was about five awkward seconds of watching her burn her hand on a slab of meat before I bonked her blistered claw with my spatula. She called me “mean.” I replied “Yes, tell you’re friends and get some manners. Foods inside.” These incidents are far and few. In general the crowd is well behaved, jovial and civilized. Last year we had a very funny British woman drop by while on vacation. She read about Freddy’s Bar in an airline magazine and took the A down from Harlem. She said that this type of food festival never happens in London, as she brought her knitting “just in case” and marveled at the gathering.

We grill for 2PM to 6:45PM, but the music and fun goes on way after I leave. Everyone brings out their best in summer. I hope Ellen makes more of her wasabi potato salad again; it goes quickly, so you have to act fast. Bartender Mike Sternfeld made a fresh batch of basil-mint syrup for his signature July 4th cocktail he calls the “Delicious.” Anna Martin made her bottle-it-and-sell-it BBQ chicken sauce. Corn and Italian squash are in season and if the vegans aren’t to picky we have space on the new charcoal grill. I’m bringing my pulled pork, slaw, kimchee and SPF 30 sun block. Nothings better than good times, good eats with good friends. Happy July 4th!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Kombucha Harvest

This heat wave has taken its toll in Brooklyn; our cats have wilted. The only thing good thing about this weather is that it has sped up kombucha production. I harvested two batches in just five days, along with two new scobies. The batch of water kefir just needs one more day before second fermentation. There’s nothing like coming home to a full cold pitcher of ginger flavored kombucha.

Some of the Kings County Fermentation Group met last week for an evening of making curtido (a fermented Salvardorian slaw) and freshly made pupusas (stuffed corn cakes). We also got to sample Adam’s kombucha and Pablo’s pineapple cider—both explosively good.

After harvesting, kombucha requires a second fermentation in which the liquid is strained, flavored and allowed to carbonate for two or three days before refrigeration. I never get too crazy with the flavors, usually ginger and cranberry. But now that watermelon is in season it’s time to expand my selection.