11 May 2009

kimchi jjigae

I recently made kimchi that was about equal parts burdock (gobō), carrot and napa cabbage. I also included dried shrimp for the first time. Like adding anchovies, it adds a je ne sais quoi to the kimchi: you don't notice the shrimp, but it improves the flavor.

I asked a friend how to make kimchi jjigae, a soup made with kimchi.

I sautéed some cubes of pork belly in sesame oil (my friend suggested bacon or spam, and I had belly in the freeezer with is just uncured, unsalted bacon) and took them out. I then added a good deal of kimchi and sautéed that. I added water, cooked for a bit and added the pork and some cubed tofu. My friend suggested dashida, which I didn't have, so I threw in a sqaure of kombu (kelp) and two anchovies. I also didn't have hot pepper paste so I squirted in a nice dose of sriracha. I let that cook on lowish until my brown rice (started while the pork was getting its first cooking) was done.

And it is delicious. The pork belly soaked up so much flavor. The broth is deep red, like a tomato sauce. And not having scallions, I topped it with pickled ramps.

10 May 2009


This is another pickle from Ikuko Hisamatsu's tsukeomono book. Bettara-zuke (べったら漬) is one of the most exciting ferments I've done: it's like nothing I've heretofore done. Daikon radish are peeled and heavily salted. They are pressed until covered in their own brine. They sit like that for a total of three days. They are then re-salted, re-pressed and sit for two-to-three days.

Meanwhile, cooked sweet rice is mixed with koji (as one would to start miso or amazake) and ferments for 20 hours at 140ºF (± 4 hours, basically until it's converted the starch in the rice into sugar). That is allowed to cool. (If you cooked this to stop fermentation and puréed it, you'd have amazake).

While the rice and koji at first seem dry, it comes out very wet after fermentation. Mirin and sugar are added once it has cooled. A small sqaure of kelp is cut into strips and dried chilis or, in this case, chili flakes, are prepped.

A layer of the rice mixture is spread across the bottom of a crock. Here the daikon, in chunks, (well drained and patted dry) is added. Keep layering, sprinkling chili flakes and adding strips of kelp. This is then covered with a small plate and weighted like any brine pickle.

And one-to-two weeks later, it's done (day 10 is shown). The rice seems to pack down and form a gelatinous bed in which the daikon pickle while a sweet brine rises up. No problems with any mold at all, which was impressive. The pickles are mostly sweet, which was a surprise considering the amount of salt used at first. They have a subtle, sweet flavor. Something hard to describe: sweet like a young miso with some of the tang of fresh daikon. It lacks the pungency of other pickled daikon I've tried (like daikon in a nuka bed) and is wonderfully crisp.

06 May 2009

spring. grilling.

Bison burgers, with some ginger and tamari in the patties. Some spring greens from the Florence (MA) farmer's market in need of nothing but toasted walnuts and some walnut oil. And some wonderful grilled asparagus marinated in tamari, garlic and sesame oil. Simple, but perfect for a simple spring meal.

ramps. rhubarb.

Ramps. Sautéed (white part, then green), in an omelet. Even better when the ramps came from the same person from whom I buy eggs. A whole meal from one property.

On the other hand, a local rhubarb galette. The was a super lazy take on Tartine's galette dough. I sliced some butter, rolled it out with a mix of ½ coarse whole wheat / ½ white flour, added salt and enough water to make a dry dough. It was amazing. That held rhubarb, sugar and nutemeg:

03 May 2009


A friend of mine has ramps on her property and asked if I had any interest. Sure do.

First experiment, inspired by The Salted Cod's. The pickling brine is adapted from Ikuko Hisamatsu's Quick and Easy Tsukemono. The recipe is actually for Rakkyo Shoyu-zuke, or Rakko shallots in shoyu. I packed the ramps into a jar and covered with ½ c. shoyu, ¼ c. mirin, ¼ rice vinegar, some Korean chili flakes and a small square of kombu (kelp) cut into strips. We'll see in two weeks!

ramps. asparagus. grill.

A red hot grill + Ramps and asparagus =

Really quite simple, and delicious. Marinate ramps and asparagus in olive oil, preserved lemon, Korean chili flakes and lots of white wine vinegar. Heat the grill up very hot. Make a basic risotto (having stock on-hand helps — this was a very rich duck stock with salt and pepper added at the end). But both vegetables on the grill: this was the ramps are mostly cooked the the asparagus very lightly. Chop them up upon retrieval from the grill and serve on risotto.

01 May 2009

fiddleads, duck & brussels sprouts

Last time
A. came to visit she was very pregnant. This time she was with her adorable six-week old. Something special was in order. We had duck breast marinated in red wine and ground mustard seeds (brown/yellow) with a raspberry melomel (mead) reduction, fiddleheads sautéed in duck fat and a few pickled brussels sprouts (they were embedded in some sauerkraut from the fall!). I was quite happy with the result.

A. also brought Prosecco and pomegranite juice which were mixed to create a cocktail that went wonderfully with the duck. It was really good. And that we finished off with a pear-hazelnut torte (from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors):