Three-quarters of a head of Savoy cabbage going to waste in the fridge.
It's still good enough to eat, but we can't think of what to do with it.
To the rescue, Sandor Katz's fabulous guide, Wild Fermentation.
I confess two things. I have been stymied by some of the kimchi recipes I've read, so I haven't tried it before now, except for that one very salty time that didn't come out right at all. And I've never concocted a single thing from one of Sandor's recipes. Just apprehensive, I guess, though I love to claim to be a pickle fanatic.
But there was that puckered cabbage, crying for redemption. I checked the book, and found that, no, I would not be fermenting vast vats of the stuff. (I don't know why, but I'd been afraid the recipe would have me brewing up giant crockfuls of kimchi.)
It only makes a one-quart jarful! Right in the jar. Oh, so neat. Easy. Doable.
In fact, the recipe is VERY doable. And in a Cookiecrumb sort of way, it's very flexible. You know, like "put in some daikon... or radishes, if that's what you have... or not."
It's supposed to ferment for a week, but even on day one, it smelled perfect. It's not stinking up the kitchen, either. I tasted it today (day three), and it tastes exactly like kimchi. Not as silky-tender as I want it to be (maybe Savoy is too crisp), but I have hopes.
Of course, you know I won't provide a recipe. I will tell you that it includes ginger, garlic, scallions, mandolined daikon and carrots, and sundried red pepper from the Big Island. And salt, always salt. In this case, the salting is done with a brine — so clever.
But I ORDER you to check out Sandor Katz's books. He is very clear and reassuring. You can do this.
I've already cleaned out another jar for the next batch. Can't hardly wait.