Category Archives: Sauces

Homemade Kimchi

Ever since my big brother sent a gigantic Pickl-it jar to me for my birthday (with a card that said, “From the best brother in the world”) I’ve been in the mood to make and eat fermented foods.  I’ve always been a little nervous about fermenting things myself but this gadget takes the mystery (and fear) out.  I’ve got a big jar of sauerkraut going right now…can’t wait to try it out!

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The only bummers about this jar are that a) it is huge so I have to make A LOT of one thing at one time and b) I want others so I can pickle other foods simultaneously.  Recently, while lacto-fermenting a batch of mixed veggies (cauliflower, carrots, celery, and radishes, which turned the batch a nasty pink color…lesson learned) I had a hankering for Kimchi.  Much to my delight, I found a recipe that didn’t require any elaborate process, unless you call hanging out in the fridge for a week elaborate.

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This recipe, from Serious Eats, was exactly what I had in mind.  I wanted an authentic recipe and I wanted to know how to make it without shrimp paste, which I find to be a bit much for me.  This recipe shows you not only how to make it without shrimp paste, but how to make it vegetarian!  I’m fine with fish sauce so made my version with it but it was great to find out that you can use miso as a fine substitution, which I will surely try for next time.

I had some kimchi yesterday with my special grain blend for a snack.  To make my grain blend, cook wild rice and brown rice with water to cover for 25 minutes.  Add farro, black and/or white quinoa, and radish seeds.  Cook another 15-20 minutes covered on low heat.  Turn off and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing.  The radish seeds are my favorite part.  they pop in your mouth and are so fun to eat!

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Homemade Kimchi; from Serious Eats

Ingredients

  • 1 large head napa cabbage, cored and separated into individual leaves, about 1 pound total
  • 1 small daikon radish (about 4 ounces)
  • 8 scallions, greens roughly chopped, whites reserved separately
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • One 2-inch knob ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 cup Korean chili powder (kochukaru)
  • 2 tablespoons white or red miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  1. Place cabbage leaves, daikon, and scallion greens in a large bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Toss to combine, cover, then let sit at room temperature until cabbage is wilted, at least 1 hour and up to 12. It should release about 1/4 to 1/2 cup liquid.
  1. Meanwhile, combine scallion whites, garlic, ginger, chili powder, miso paste or fish sauce, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until rough paste is formed, about 30 seconds total, scraping down sides as necessary.
  2. Once cabbage is wilted, add chili mixture and turn to coat. Add 1 cup water to mixture. Taste liquid and add more salt as necessary (it should have the saltiness of sea water). Pack kimchi into mason jars, pressing down firmly to pack tightly and using a chopstick to release any air bubbles trapped in the bottom of the jar. Cover the kimchi with its liquid.
  3. Seal the jars tightly and allow them to sit at cool room temperature for 24 hours, then transfer to the refrigerator. Allow to ferment at least 1 week before eating (see note). Kimchi will last for up to 1 month after opening. Alternatively, place directly in fridge and taste daily starting after the first week until it’s as sour as you like it. Consume within 1 month.

Notes: This kimchi will get more and more sour as it ages. It can be eaten immediately, but is optimal at around 3 weeks. For a more traditional kimchi, replace the miso paste with 1/4 cup fish sauce or 2 tablespoons jarred brined tiny shrimp. It’s normal for the kimchi to produce lots of gas as it’s fermenting. Your jar’s lids may pop open when you open them and bubbles may appear in the liquid. Do not be alarmed.

As for the kochukaru—Korean dried chili powder, this is perhaps the only ingredient that can be a little tough to track down, but it’s absolutely essential. Korean chilis are a lot more about flavor than heat. You can pack a whole load of chili powder into your kimchi before you end up with a significant amount of heat. I haven’t found any other pepper with a similar flavor profile and heat/aroma ratio.

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Sweet Potato and Corn Fritters With Thai Dipping Sauce

I’m really excited to be hosting The Food Matters Project this week.  It’s been such a wonderful habit to get into, cooking a new recipe every week for this project.  There have been some real surprises as the weeks have rolled by.  I have a tendency to buy cookbooks that have gorgeous color photography but Bittman’s cookbook has nary a photo in sight.  Though at first I wished for some photos, there is something to be said about being able to create something to look like you think it ought to, rather than mimicking what you’ve seen.  My choice of recipe for this week, chosen after thumbing through the entire cookbook (again), was another tasty surprise.

I made the fritters following the recipe to the letter.  For the sauce, I modified slightly, adding carrots and some Habanero hot sauce for a truly spicy dipping sauce.  Hot out of the pan, these fritters are amazing and I recommend eating them as soon as possible.

Head here to check out the other FMP member’s tasty creations.  And stop by the newly updated Pinterest board for visual inspiration.

Sweet Potato and Corn Fritters With Thai Dipping Sauce; from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook

“Crazy good, crazy simple–and not to mention pretty–these pan-fried fritters are best with peak summer corn, but frozen works all right too.  Or, since fresh sweet potatoes are available all year, you can just skip the corn and increase the quantity to 3 cups.”

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon nam pla (fish sauce) or soy sauce, or to taste*
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch of red chile flakes
  • Pinch of sugar, optional**
  • 2 cups grated sweet potato, squeezed dry if necessary
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen are fine)
  • 1 fresh hot chile (like Thai), minced
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  1. Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, chile flakes, and sugar if you’re using it in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon water.
  2. Heat the oven to 275° F.  Put the sweet potato, corn, chile, scallions, cilantro, egg, and flour in a bowl and mix well; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  (You can do this ahead of time and refrigerate the batter for a couple of hours before cooking.)
  3. Put about 1/8 inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When it’s hot, drop spoonfuls of the sweet potato mixture into the oil and spread them out a bit.  (Work in batches to prevent overcrowding and transfer the finished fritters to the oven until all are finished.)  Cook, turning once, until golden on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature with the dipping sauce.
  4. Fancier Fritters:  When dropped fritters aren’t quite elegant enough for the occasion, you can dust your hands with flour and shape the fritter batter into small patties, cylinders, or other shapes.  Cook immediately or refrigerate, loosely covered, for up to a couple hours before cooking.  To make croquettes–which are essentially breaded fritters–set up 3 bowls:  one with flour, one with an egg beaten with a splash of milk, and another with bread crumbs (preferably made from whole grain bread).  Carefully dredge each shaped fritter in the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally the bread crumbs.  Fry until crisp and golden.

*I used fish sauce because I love it…but this recipe won’t be vegetarian if you use it.  If you are vegetarian, use soy sauce instead.

**I did include the pinch of sugar.

Roasted Garlic and Siracha Tofu Mayo With Sweet Potato Fries

My best friend came with her cousin and baby to spend the day with me at Artprize 2012 yesterday.  As we sat down to tuck into some addictive seasoned fries at Stella’s Lounge, we turned to a conversation of condiments for fries.  Gobs of ketchup, mayonnaise, vanilla ice cream (!), malt vinegar, siracha-mayo.  When I returned home and looked at the Food Matters Schedule for this week’s recipe and found that it was tofu mayo (chosen by Sopie at Biographie de ma faim), I knew what had to be done!  The good old fry was about to get a makeover in my kitchen…and it was about to be served up Amsterdam-style with some mayo (albeit a vegan version)!

I roasted up some hand cut sweet potato fries and some teeny fingerling potatoes.  Then whipped up some tofu mayo from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook.  A couple of dips later…I wasn’t really feeling it.  The tofu mayo wasn’t really doing it for me.  Maybe it was because I used Nasoya tofu and it turned out kind of runny…maybe the color was a little too non-mayo for me.  Whatever it was, I knew I needed to make some changes a la Aura.  I roasted a head of garlic (wrap a head of garlic in some tin foil and pop into the oven at 350° until the garlic is smushy on the inside, about 1/2 hour) and pureed it with the tofu-mayo.  Better.  Still not satisfied, I reached for one of my tried-and-true kitchen weapons–Siracha, aka Rooster Hot Sauce.  A generous squeeze went into the mayo and voila!  A perfect, guilt-free vegan dipping sauce/mayo.  For the original recipe, head to Sophie’s blog, where she has also posted a bread-and-nut mayo recipe.  To see what the other Food Matters Project bloggers came up with, head here.  For my Roasted Garlic-Siracha Tofu Mayo recipe, read on!

Roasted Garlic Siracha Tofu Mayo adapted from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Project; Makes about 1 cup

  • 6 ounces soft silken tofu (about 3/4 cup) *
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar, optionnal
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender. Turn the machine to a medium speed that keeps things moving without splattering. Let it run for a minute or 2, then turn it off.
  2. Scrape the sides of the container with a rubber spatula, turn the blender back on, and repeat the process two more times. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve immediately (or store in a jar for up to several days).

*I used Nasoya silken tofu and found my mayo to be a little on the runny side.  I would use Mori-Nu for better results.

Alaskan Salmon with Avocado-Pea Cream and Radishes

Ahhh…hot summer days.  It was another scorcher yesterday–90’s and dry in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Luckily we got some much needed rain later in the day and overnight!  I ate an early dinner when it was hot, hot, hot out and I just wanted something simple, light, and not too hot.  I pulled together this salmon with avocado-pea cream and radishes and ate it at room temperature.  So simple. So delicious!

I just posted something with avocado cream last week but it is worth posting again.  I love this stuff!  This week I added cumin to it for some depth of flavor and some peas for some brightness.  Takes 2 minutes (yes, really!) and worth every second.

Avocado-Pea Cream

Take 1/2 avocado and a big spoonful of sour cream.  Add squeeze of lime and pinch of cumin, salt, and pepper.  Add small handful of peas.  Blend with immersion blender.  Serve with any protein!