Sunday, March 15, 2009

CSA: Daikon Kimchi / Bahn Mi pickles

So what did I do this weekend? I made kimchi. A lot of kimchi.

It began with a giant daikon in this week's CSA box. Then watering the garden I noticed that one of the bok choi's had flowered. And we also had a bunch of chard this week. The solution: monster batch of kimchi. More, in fact, that I had ever planned for. Ok so not super traditional, no Napa cabbage, etc., but I figure it will work out just fine. I also didn't feel like running out to Lucky Mart (closest decent Asian grocer), so I grabbed a small bottle of (crap) fish sauce at the local supermarket and decided to use my own copious stockpile of dry chile powder rather than use authentic Korean chiles. The recipe is roughly based on this one from the New York Times.

The veggies were as follows. I washed the stalks of the bok choi, then using a v-cut removed the stems from the leaves. Then I halved lengthwise and chopped the bok choi stalks and put in a large glass bowl. The leaves were saved for later. Then about 3/4 of the daikon was peeled and chopped. Then the chard was again v-cut, slicing the stalks and keeping the leaves separate. At this point I realized I had about 4 quarts of veggies when I'd planned on about 2. Time to double the recipe... So the stems were mixed with 4 T kosher salt and 4 T sugar, and left for two hours, stirred occasionally.

While they were soaking I made the chile paste. Into the Cuisinart went:
  • about 20 coins of ginger. (All I had).
  • about 25 cloves of garlic. (Got tired of peeling garlic.)
  • a cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground New Mexico Red chile
  • 1/2 cup ground Nambe Pueblo Heirloom chile
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 t dried shrimp
  • 1/4 cup water
Blitzed until it was a nuclear red paste. Smelled great.

After two hours I drained off the stalks. The leaves were rolled up and chopped into a chiffonade. I chopped two green onions and a fist sized shallot. Everything was mixed together and was placed into jars. I rubber-banded some paper towels on top to let them breathe for a day or two, then they're getting their lids back.

Looks like we'll be eating a lot of Korean in the near future... and I was all set on Kalbi Beef Short-Ribs when I made a serious mistake at the butcher today. Without thinking I asked him to cut me some short ribs, not realizing that while in Seattle 1) there certainly would have been Korean cut short-ribs in the case already and 2) "short ribs" would have at least caused the follow up question: "Thick or thin?". Around here they're often called "Flanken" and I just spaced on it and the guy cut me some monster 4" x 4" short ribs.


So alternate plan B is to use the stew meat that was going to be Guinness stew for St. Patty's in something closer to a Korean noodle dish and I'll braise the short ribs in Guinness instead. Take the bone out and serve the rib meat in a boxty, should be awesome.

Bahn Mi Pickles

I also made a jar of picked daikon and carrots for this week's Bahn Mi's. The rest of the daikon was shredded, as were three carrots, and placed in a quart jar. Mixed three cups of water, 3 T of rice wine vinegar, 2 T of sugar and 2 T of salt. Into the jar. Into the fridge. They're ready in an hour and get more sour as the week goes by. Chicken is marinating and I'm going to go light the grill in a minute. One breast will go toward a Vietnamese themed salad tonight, the rest will be sandwiches this week.


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