Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sourtooth

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.
Oh!
Right!
Kimchi.
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.

19 comments:

Chilebrown said...

Oh Jeeze Louise, We are picking up the Red Bearded one and his child. We will be at the coffee booth at 8 am.

cookiecrumb said...

I love it when you bring me a present. I will bring presents for you both. See you in the morning.

Kel said...

i can never find enough ways to eat kimchee so it sits around a while. I NEVER have any dilemma to know what to do with my cabbages...OKONOMIYAKI!!!

cookiecrumb said...

Kel: So use kimchi in your okonomiyaki! Don'tcha think?
I'm making homemade ketchup. For the oko....
mmm

kudzu said...

Glad to hear one can make kimchi is such small batches. I was convinced (through reading Korean memoir/cookbooks) that you had to do huge ceramic crocks, some buried, some out on the porch, etc., which sounded far too complicated and -- far too much. Keep us posted on how this goes. Fascinating. Is the Savoy cabbage holding up as well as "tougher" regular cabbage??

kudzu said...

PS Had to let you know that the word used for id purposes just now was "reer".

Era said...

I can't believe it took you so long to do one of the Wild Fermentation recipes! My sauerkraut is a permanent staple in the pantry now and I'm choosing some pickle-sized cucumber seed to grow this year.

Greg said...

Pickled veg makes me happy.

cook eat FRET said...

ok oK OK
gawd, you're so bossy...

Eugenia said...

I'll second (third?) Sandor Katz's book. Fantastic, wide-ranging, and many easy recipes for the fermentation novice. I've always been put off by my Korean cookbooks' recipes for the same reason as you! Lovely photo, too!

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: The burying is too keep it cool, so it takes longer to ferment. I could probably just put my jar out in the garage and get the same effect.
But, yeah! Tiny batch, one jar, no muss.
The Savoy is performing beautifully; I almost snagged a nappa at the market this morning, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Era: Busted! By you, of course. Yeah, I was actually a little intimidated to try the recipes, but the door's wide open now. :)

Greg: The cool thing is you're sort of inventing vinegar, just by using salt.

ceFRET: You can just visit him online; there are a couple of recipes to look at. ;-)

Eugenia: Thanks for your endorsement. And encouragement. And the compliment!!

peter said...

Wait... you make a giant crock of it sound like a BAD thing. We have a 5L crock so we (almost) never run out. I'm buying a 7.5L in the spring.

Savoy is good, napa is better.

Welcome to the tribe...

el said...

Ah, stinky kitchen counter stuff! Even if you swear it doesn't smell, and I don't think mine ever did...it's still nice to think of something so...alive in there. Yum! I'm months away from another fresh batch of kimchee but I do love the idea that you're doing it in even tiny batches. Yumza.

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: Well, I don't have a Milo to help out eating it up, so I'm afraid I'd get behind on things. Baby steps for me, at first.
Then nappa steps. Mm.

El: I think of you opening the jars of soups and salsas you canned last summer. So sorry you are thwarted in your urge to grow things now. I'm growing... uh, lactic acid?

KathyF said...

My husband loves kimchee, having lived in Korea at one time. If only I had a cabbage, I'd welcome him home (from your neck of the woods, actually) with a jar of kimchee. If I started now, it would be ready...hmmm.

Netts Nook said...

Thanks for the idea I hate to through anything out.

Heather said...

Oh, I can't wait to try this. Peter uses his kimchee in everything, even dessert, and here you are with your beautiful rendition. 2009 is the Year of Preservation.

meg said...

Oooh...Sandor Katz is amazing. I had the privilege to meet him once at a farmers' market. He lives just over the hill from me. And what an amazing little book full of fermenting wisdom!

cookiecrumb said...

Kathy: Aw, that would have been sweet, had you had a cabbage. I recommend you keep a cabbage in cold storage. We've finished our fermentation, and it's just exactly what we wanted it to taste like. {heart}

Netts Nook: I'm always trying to salvage fading produce (though there's absolutely no reason not to use a perfectly fresh head of cabbage). You can adjust the amount of heat you'd prefer in it! Freedom.

Heather: We've been saying the year of preservation for about three years, but I swear we've hit critical mass. I got prunes in my fridge.
Do try the kimchi. Easy!

Meg: How cool is that!? He's become quite the cult superstar; even came through the Bay Area last year to give talks. Eeee. (But I didn't meet him. -frown-)