Archive for July, 2013

Our First Garlic Braids

The garlic was ready to harvest this week!  It’s the final part of the glorious garlic cycle:  Cloves planted in the fall, harvested some early bulbs for their tender garlic greens in pesto, and chopped off the flower scapes for the grill.  I thought I’d try my hand at making garlic braids this year.  I found this fabulous youtube tutorial for hard neck garlic and here are the results!  I feel so crafty!

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Pickling my Share

You can pickle anything.

I think.

But I know you can pickle crunchy vegetables.  Chop up the veg and put them into a clean glass jar.  You can recycle an old tomato sauce jar if you have it.  Then boil the brine and pour it over them. Add boiling water to top (about 1 cup).  Experiment with cut up pieces of beetroot, kohlrabi, green beans, daikon radish, carrots, peppers, cauliflower, and of course, cucumbers.  They can be ready to eat by the next day.  They keep in the refrigerator for months and develop more of the pickling flavor with time.  This makes enough brine for 2-24oz. ball jars.

  • Pickling Veggies cut into pieces, slices, or sticks to your preference
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Spices (This can be dill fronds and dill seeds for classic flavors or spice it up with the addition of hot peppers or go crazy with some Indian curry… the sky is the limit, but try to use whole spices.  If you must use ground, reduce the amount to under a tsp and allow them to settle to the bottom of the jar.)

This time I used a red beet and a “candy cane” beet with a hot pepper brine in one jar (right).  The other jar (left) is a curried pickle containing a golden beet, a kohlrabi bulb, and a few pieces of the candy candy beet that didn’t fit in the first jar.

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Homemade Kimchi: Harnessing the Power of Lactic Acid Fermentation

It’s that time of year when the produce starts coming in so quickly that we need to find a way to extend its shelf life.  Lactic acid fermentation is used to preserve and flavor this kimchi.  The fermentation imparts a happy, bubbly, almost champagne-like burst in the mouth.  However, I must warn you… kimchi is, um, quite pungent.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since it’s really fermenting cabbage, garlic, and fish.  So intense is this aroma that husband has banned the unsealed product from our refrigerator.  Therefore we learned why Korean families have a dedicated kimchi refrigerator… marital bliss!  Fortunately, sealing it in glass jars does the trick to making everyone happy.
  • 2 heads Napa cabbage ( or 1 one head Napa and 1 head Bok Choy)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 20 garlic cloves, minced
  • 20 slices peeled fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup kochukaru (Korean chile powder)*
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 can anchovies, oil drained
  • 1/2 cup 1-inch pieces scallions (greens and whites)
  • 1/2 cup julienned carrots and/or daikon radish (optional)

* No kochukaru?  Me neither!  However much I like spicy, this is a perfect opportunity to dial down the intense fire.  Instead I used 1/2 c paprika and 1/4 crushed red pepper flakes.  I know, I’m totally getting wimpy on that authentic kimchi heat, but I’d like my family to actually eat some too.

Remove and wash the cabbage leaves.  Slice the leaves in half length wise.  Sprinkle with salt and toss.  Leave out to wilt on the counter for approximately 24 hours.

Once the cabbage is wilted, add the garlic, ginger, kochukaru or substitute, soy sauce, and anchovies to a food processor and process until it becomes a paste.  Toss the paste with the cabbage, scallions, and carrots.

For a more pungent flavor, allow this to ferment in a cool place (<68F) in your lactic fermentation crock for approximately 24 hours.  Otherwise pack it into sealed glass jars and store in the refrigerator.  The kimchi will be ready to eat in as little as 1 day or stored in the refrigerator for months.  The flavor changes over time as the lactic acid fermentation works its bubbly magic.

Ps.  This was an experiment using Momofuku’s Kimchi and the ingredient list on Mother in Law’s Kimchi, which is the best kimchi one can purchase at the market.

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Bifanas (Tender Pork Cutlets)

Bifanas are thin, tender slices of pork that are traditionally served on Portuguese bread as a sandwich and accompanied by their light cooking broth, similar to an au jus for dipping.  For full flavor and tenderness, make sure you have time to marinate the pork for several hours.

  • 1lb. Pork, thinly sliced (If possible, either DIY or ask your butcher to slice it as thin as ham)
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Pimenta Malagueta*, chopped
  • 6 Dashes Piri Piri* sauce
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 cup white wine (My mother in-law uses Vinho Verde, which is a “green” or young wine that is usually effervescent)
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 12-oz. Beer (Try a Portuguese lager, such as Super Bock)

In a bowl, mix the garlic, malagueta, piri piri, pepper, bay leaves, and wine.  Add pork, cover, and refrigerate for several hours.

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium.  Remove pork from marinade, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt.  Sear in hot pan on both sides.  Add marinade liquid, lemon, and beer to pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low heat, and simmer until sauce reduces, about a half hour.

Serve atop slices of Portuguese bread and dip into the au jus.

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