Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kimchi Pancakes

Yup, that there is vegetarian kimchi with a clever emphasis on ginger and fresh chilies, and garlic downplayed.
It's much like having to finish meals as a kid because of starving kids in China: you really ought to be enjoying lots of kimchi because people in South Korea are freaking out over their shortage.
As promised at our kimchi shindig, we'll be posting a bunch of great recipes here that use kimchi. (If you're making your own kimchi, there are a zillion recipes available for that, too.)

Let's start with KIMCHI PANCAKES, adapted from the NYT.

for the pankcake:
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c potato starch
  • 1 mashed potato with 1 t flax meal folded in
  • 2 scallions, cut into 1 1/2-inch-long pieces
  • 1 1/2 T garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 T Korean red pepper powder or 1/2 T cayenne
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 c prepared cabbage kimchi, cut in 3-inch-long pieces
  • 2 T kimchi juice
  • 6 T vegetable oil

for the dipping sauce:
  • 1 T tamari
  • 1/4 t sesame oil
  • 1/4 t vinegar
  • 1/4 t minced scallion
  • 1/4 t ground sesame seeds
1. Make dipping sauce: In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, scallion, sesame seeds and one-half tablespoon water. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, potato starch and mashed potato until smooth. Add scallions, garlic, red pepper powder, salt, kimchi and its juice. Mix well. Batter will be pale pink.

3. Place an 8- or 9-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. When oil is hot, pour in one-third of the pancake batter. Fry until golden and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Lift pancake with a spatula, add 1 tablespoon oil to pan and swirl it. Flip pancake and fry other side until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip again, without adding oil, and fry for 1 minute. Flip one more time and fry 1 to 2 minutes. Pancake should be dark gold.

4. Repeat with remaining batter and oil, making 3 pancakes. Remove to a large round plate and cut each pancake into 6 wedges. Serve with dipping sauce.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kimchi Fest

Our kimchi always causes a fuss at the market. Sometimes that means people stomping and hollering over the heat, groups of Koreans excited to find a familiar flavor, people yelling at us for not warning them properly about the spice level before they taste, and vegetarians excited to finally find a fish-free version of this beloved food (it usually contains anchovies and fish sauce). Besides the spice and ferment phobic few, most people are incredibly happy to find kimchi at the market, even if it is made by a white girl. We're often scolded for not making enough of the stuff.

The main ingredient, nappa cabbage, is in shortage this year in Asia, but growing in abundance in the Hudson Valley. There should be a ton of kimchi as well! At market, after the sweating and yipping are past, and as people are tucking jars of kimchi into their bags, they often ask for ways to serve it.

And so Kimchi Fest is born. We've made three times the amount of kimchi we usually do, and will be cooking up some sample ways to eat it. These may include kimchi pancakes, kimchi guacamole, kimchi soup, and more. Come try this treasured Korean staple for yourself.

Growing Brazil

Here are a few photos taken in the spring of this year of various farming methods in the Northeast of Brazil. I guess I saved them to look at again on a chilly day.

Banana, coconut, and mango trees in a valley, Areia, Paraíba, Brasil.

Raised garden bed using plastic bottles, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

Tiered hillside farm, in the countryside in Pernambuco, Brasil.

Sugarcane fields with small patches of jungle still visible on the hilltops. near Tamandare.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Harvest Season

frozen peaches
This time last year was a flurry of activity in preparation for the winter C.S.A. We'd been working hard since March, but the first touch of cold kicked us in the pants and made us very aware that we had limited time to prepare and store food for all our member families. This winter, the C.S.A. won't be operating, but all that means is that people who've had a taste of what it's like to eat local food through the winter need to take a few steps to make that happen. Saving food for a bunch of families is a challenge, but it's really not that hard to do it for just one.

I recently led a fermentation workshop with the Putnam County Holistic Moms, which was great fun, and we also had a discussion about easy things to do to extend the harvest. Cold mornings may make you think the growing season's all over, aside from a winter squash or two, but that's far from the truth. Here are some quick (and incomplete) lists I shared with the mothers:
Top 10 Tips to eat local year-round
  1. Befriend your freezer.
  2. Rig up your own root cellar.
  3. Cover your crops.
  4. Dehydrate.
  5. Learn about wild food.
  6. Plant edible perennials.
  7. Ferment.
  8. Can like granny.
  9. Sprout.
  10. Plant in sunny windows.
There's nothing complicated in that list, and detailed information online about all of it. Type "solar dehydrate onions" (for example) into search and you've got everything you need.

If you're thinking you're done in the garden and that its time to sit by the fire with soup, you're wrong! (Save that for January.) For now, there's work to be done.

September has passed, but I'm including some Sept. chores because there are some that still apply:
  • Freeze & can peaches
  • Freeze raspberries
  • Freeze red peppers
  • Freeze zucchini
  • Freeze greens
  • Dehydrate tomatoes
  • Dehydrate beans
  • Make hot pepper sauce (I'm doing this today!)
  • Ferment everything
  • Can pears and apples
  • Freeze cooked squash & pumpkin
  • Dehydrate herbs
  • Freeze pesto
  • Freeze greens
  • Peel & dry black walnuts
  • Eat pawpaws & kiwis (they'll make you feel like you're in the tropics)
  • Pickle wild grape leaves
  • Ferment everything
  • Cover garden
  • Make sauerkraut
  • Root cellar apples
  • Root cellar potatoes
  • Freeze greens
  • Root cellar turnips, radishes, etc.
  • Move mushroom logs to basement
  • Ferment everything
  • Root cellar carrots
  • Eat last covered garden vegetables
  • Prune perennials
  • Can fancy, time-consuming recipes with frozen produce
  • Visit winter farm markets
  • Ferment everything
If, like me, you find yourself with a gazillion berries or apples or tomatoes all at one time, preserving makes great sense. Nothing goes to waste, and with a little effort now, winter is far, far tastier.