Monday, March 24, 2014
A Sweet Cabbage Rose for Spring
Early roses of cabbage line my work table. It’s spring, but you wouldn’t know it today, as the temperature dropped back down to 27°F this morning. Yesterday the Q was packed with people trying to take advantage warm 55°F Sunday. I came back with all the essential ingredients for making Korean chili paste. Stock is low and it’s time to make more kimchee.
Salt is ubiquitous to the lacto-fermentation process, not only for conditioning vegetables for rubbing with paste, but for creating an environment that allows lactic acid bacteria to colonize. For that matter I never use anti-bacterial soap or hand lotions.
With so many pastes pre-mixed and available, I’m often asked why I bother make my own. Reading over the FDA labels, I found that most commercially made chili pastes (gochuchang) and miso use wheat as a filler. Some brands list corn syrup and MSG at the front of the list. My fine-aged foods are gluten-free and free of preservatives, the only way to ensure that my goods are naturally flavorful I make all my pastes, and my own miso for that matter. On the chopping board today I have make and pogi baechu kimchee (Napa cabbage) and two varieties of mul kimchee made with Brussels sprouts and green beans.