Recently I was up in Washington visiting one of my oldest friends. No, she’s not old. Well she’s my age so that’s debatable I guess. We were best friends in High School and have this eerily coincidental relationship. No mind reading but we used to show up to school in the same outfit without planning and we were on swim team and lacrosse team together. When we were apart for years at a time there was always a thread of similarity in our life circumstances. We didn’t get into trouble in school really but if we had she would have been the brains and I the crazy. Not that I don’t have brains. But I would say I definitely favored showing the crazy. She would quietly suggest “wouldn’t it be weird/funny/____” you know… and I would be off like a shot climbing walls or leaping people like a nut job. Because it was fun and I enjoyed the shock most of our antics gave people. Frankly, I enjoyed (and still do) small and well placed bouts of social awkwardness. I was the girl who would slowly start using your utensils at dinner to see what you’d do. It was a little insensitive. But the part I really enjoyed was seeing what people were like when they were caught with their guard down. Because in that moment you saw someone’s heart. Or their gut. However you wish to look at it. You see a person when they let down their guard. I guess I still do this but in a more redeemed fashion. I believe in just being myself and people can take it or leave it. I have found really good friends really quickly that way. Which is good, because I have moved around a lot. I think if you just show yourself you may get rejected by people who care a lot about what others think, but you find some real gems. It’s possible this is how I have accumulated so many INTJ friends in a world where they are one of the rarest types. I think it’s great and it sparks joy so I’ll keep it, thank you.
Anyway back to food! And kimchi. Gaaaaaah 🤤
My friend handed me a bag of gochugaru, which is a Korean spice I haven’t been willing to drive out to an Asian store (I like grocery shopping mind you, just not with three little kids and a jam packed schedule). My shopping is done in 20 minute speed trips between one appointment and school pickups thank you very much… because my kids (or I should say my girls) so take after their mother that they think any store with a long aisle is an opportunity to race. 🤦🏻♀️
So “M” (yes that’s intentional for you Bond fans) handed me some gochugaru because I have been making my kimchi with everything from jalapeños to cayenne to Hungarian and smoked paprika.
The grocery store had daikon radish in as well so I decided to make up a batch of pretty standard kimchi, minus the fish sauce. I love fermenting… but this is not a particular ferment I like to take part in if I can help it. Thank you Michael Pollan for your wonderful book. It ruined this Asian staple for me forever. Lol.
- 1 Napa Cabbage, quartered and chopped
- 1/2 onion, quartered
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped into 1″ pieces
- 3-6 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2-3″ piece of ginger
- 3 Tbsp Kosher Salt, divided
- 3-4 carrots, peeled and rinsed
- 1 daikon radish (about 1 cup sliced)
- 1 red pepper, quartered and sliced (red retains its color better)
- 1 large green apple, diced
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
- 1/4 cup water (to puree apple, ginger & onion)
- 2 Tbsp gochugaru
- Gallon jar with or without airlock or a 2 quart jar (I use a giant pickle jar for this)
- fermenting weight(s)
- Sanitize a large 68oz jar or two roughly 2 liter jars and fermenting weights in the oven at 170º for 5 minutes.
- Wash and quarter your cabbage lengthwise, then chop to desired length. Thicker is more authentic (about 1 inch), but I chopped mine to about a half inch. Place in a large bowl, toss with 2 Tablespoons kosher salt and set aside for at least 30 minutes to an hour for it to begin to ferment.
- Slice the peppers in quarters and then quarter inch slices, set aside.
- Slice the garlic and set aside.
- Slice the radish in sticks and set aside.
- Peel and slice the carrots in rounds or sticks and set aside.
- Half the onion and quarter it, reserving for the blender.
- Chop the tops off the green onions/scallions and cut off the whites. Reserve the whites for the paste and chop the greens in one inch sections.
- Roughly chop the apple so the blender can handle it.
- Chop the Ginger a bit and combine with the apple, onion scallion whites, gochugaru and 1 Tbsp kosher salt in the blender with the water and coconut aminos. Blend until smooth.
- Rinse the cabbage, drain and then add all the ingredients to the large bowl and toss together.
- Carefully scoop the mixture into the sanitized jars and beat down with a wooden spoon or french rolling pin until you have at least 2″ space at the top. There is an actual tool for this but as I try my best to be minimalist I use what I have. Now don’t freak out! You don’t need brine for this one as it ferments better in it’s own juices and the salt. Really. Set the fermenting weights or a ziplock full of water (sealed) and close the lid.
- Leave for a week or so to culture fully.