Kimchi and cookies

annie1992November 6, 2012

Well, both togethe rin the kitchen at the same time, but not necessarily eaten simultaneously.

Shortly before Halloween, the kids came over and we made cookies. The jack-o-lanterns were good with their candy corn faces:

The mummies soon lost their M&M eyes, you gotta eat the eyes first:

Our favorites, though, were the spider webs, frosted with chocolate and spiders made of Whoppers:

While we were doing that, Elery was making a 2 gallon jar of kimchi. We'd purchased a package of "seasoning" at the Asian market, but used it up, so Elery found a recipe on the internet. He said it was good, although very hot, but not as good as the stuff he'd made with the Asian seasoning. the two gallons quickly became 2 quarts and he's eaten most of that.

Anyway, I don't suppose anyone here has a good recipe for kimchi?


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Those are some good looking cookies! Very creative:) Btw, did you ever post pics of their birthday cakes this year? I missed seeing them!

Good luck with the kimchi. I have never tried it, although I would. I seriously doubt there is any sold within a 100 mile radius of this small southern town.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:55AM
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Those are some great cookies !!! I used to do cakes when my kids were little. I may have to start again now that I have a grand baby with a Nov 1 birthday !!

Not wild about kimchi but admire anyone that can make it and eat it :) c

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:08AM
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Annie, those cookies look so cute! It is fun to have kids around to make those treats.:)

And Ellery is a non-traditional eater.:) good for him! Maybe he likes some of these recipes...


Here is a link that might be useful: kimchi

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:23AM
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I love cookies, and I love Kimchee. Your cookies look great! I'll take a bowl of kimchee, and then I'll have some cookies for desert, please!


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:20AM
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thanks for that link, Silvia, I'm sending it to Elery. We both tend to be "non-traditional" eaters, although he likes hot and spicy whereas I'm kind of a wimp about the heat. And I'm a lot pickier!

As far as I can see, kimchi is just spicy sauerkraut and since I make my own, I don't see a problem with making kimchi either, as long as we hit a recipe Elery likes. he shares it with his middle son, who is as adventurous as Elery is when it comes to food, plus he loves to cook too.

Tracey, I did post pictures of the kids' cakes. There was a tropical theme with hula girls for Makayla, and shark cupcakes for Bud, complete with pictures of he and his sister being "eaten". A strawberry "under the sea" kind of cake rounded out the selections. It was interesting, LOL.

As for the seasoning, there sure is none here either, we go to Ann Arbor, 4 hours away from me. Nancy (wizardnm) told us about a great Asian market there, so we hit that and Trader Joe's, sometimes Whole Paycheck, when we go there.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:41AM
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Annie, I love the cookies and I'm sure the kids did too.

So glad you like the Asian Mkt, I need to make a stop there soon. They seem to have everything. The restaurant right there by them has great dim sum... I'll have to watch my timing and go when I'm hungry, then hit TJ's and Whole Paycheck. Time to stock up for winter.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:36AM
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I always buy mine. I like the Cosmos brand, out of Los Angeles. My Costco even carries it. I couldn't find it at the Korean grocery last trip, so I bought a different brand and it was bland.

Try for authentic recipes. The basic kinds are traditional whole cabbage kimchi, cut cabbage kimchi, instant kimchi, summer or water kimchi, and for a non-cabbage version, cucumber kimchi is a favorite.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:06PM
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I've only had a taste of some wimpy kimchi at a Chinese restaurant once. Is it a condiment or a side dish?

Those are some wonderful cookies. I love the mummy!

Where did you post cakes? I missed them.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:17PM
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It's both! Most meals it is used more like a condiment, but some meals, say a simple lunch at home with rice and a soup, the kimchi is more of a side.

And old kimchi is made into a stew with pork belly. Kimchi gets old as it sours from fermentation.

Our local Best Buy carries kimchi refrigerators - they have special removable bins for storing homemade kimchi.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:31PM
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This is the recipe that I use and it is quite good. However, the last few times I have made it I have used Napa Cabbage rather than Bok Choi and much prefer it.

1 1/2 pounds Bok Choi, cut into 2" squares
6 Cups Water
3 Tablespoons Pickling Salt or 41/2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
2 Tablespoons minced Ginger
2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
6 Scallions cut in half and then into 2" lengths
2 Tablespoons Sweet or Hot Paprika
2 Tablespoons Garlic Chili Paste
Dissolve the Salt in the Water and pour over the Bok Choi. Weight the BC with a plate and a quart jar filled with water, or a zip top bag filled with Brine so that it stays submerged. Let stand at room temperature for 12 - 24 hours.

Drain the BC, reserving the Brine. Add all remaining ingredients to the BC and mix with your hands. Pack tightly into a jar, this should all fit into a one quart jar. Use reserved brine to top up so that the BC is covered. Run a knife along the sides of the jar to release any trapped air, add additional brine if necessary. Loosely cap.
Let stand in a cool dark place, about 68 degrees F is ideal. After a day or two you may see bubbles rising, let sit 3 - 6 days, or until you're happy with the sourness. Store in the refrigerator where it will continue to mature, but more slowly.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 1:21PM
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Love the cookies - almost too cute to eat. I love Kimchee. I get it as a side when I go to a Chinese restaurant downtown.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:01PM
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thanks, Steve. Elery did use Napa cabbage, although I have bok choi in the backyard still. That stuff is amazingly cold tolerant.

I'm sorry, Ellen, I posted the cake pictures on the WFD thread. That takes a long time to load, I suppose I should post a separate thread. It even has Madison, eating cupcakes, she's nearly a year old now!


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:17PM
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The cookies are adorable.

I love kimchi. Unfortunately there aren't asian markets around in Maine the way they are in NJ. So I started making a few varieties last year. My favorite was stuffed cucumber kimchi - I think the recipe was on Maangchi's site. I also had some cabbage kimchi get extra tangy and used it in some stew and soup. Delicious!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Most Asians love pickles. The first time I introduced sauerkraut and sausages to my HK-born DH, he instantly fell in love with them.

Kimchi is easily available here so no reason to make your own except for the fun of it, as my niece does. With the burgeoning Korean population in NorCA, there are quite a few artisanal kimchi vendors as well as Korean fusion restaurants like the one below.

These 'rice bar' places cater to Caucasians with upscale decor and less-greasy food, slanting towards organic/local. I thought some of you would enjoy reading the menus. And don't miss the drinks menu - the list of soju-based cocktails is a fun read.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bowl'd - Korean rice bar restaurant

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:10PM
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Continuing the post above, here is a link to one of the artisanal kimchi makers who offers lunch on a very limited schedule. Local foodies rave about his kimchi as well as his cooking. He's just starting out but the "buzz" is good.

There is still a third category beyond the traditional Korean restaurant style - this will probably be a real eye-opener for some folks! I'll post that one separately below, excerpted from our local paper.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fusebox Korean menu

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:19PM
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jkom, the soju cocktail is so clever - in California, they wangled it so that if a restaurant has a beer and wine license, they can also carry soju and sake. I think sake cocktails were invented first, then soju cocktails naturally followed. I'm trying to talk our favorite sushi bar to create a few of these cocktails to bolster their revenue.

In Beverly Hills and Westwood they've opened the Korean chain, Bibigo. This kind of rice dish is so homey and pedestrian in Korea, but they've turned it into a fast-food concept. Groovy. Now if they could just open one of these Bowl'd or Bibigos in my neighborhood. Hello?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:27PM
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The biggest Korean population is in LA. The cooking down there is phenomenal. One of the hottest young cooks in town started by offering tacos and burritos stuffed with Korean grilled meats from a truck. Now he's opening up his own restaurant.

Slowly some of the businesses moved up to San Francisco. Their entry into the East Bay, across the Bay Bridge, has really only come about in the last 10-15 years. Before that there were just a few of the usual Korean restaurants, a few with BBQs but most without.

Now the food scene is exploding. Artisanal kimchi is sold at Whole Foods and many specialty markets. Non-Asian foodies argue about who makes the best or freshest type. Upscale Asian fusion restaurants of all types are appearing: Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean (e.g., rice bars).

The last category is the smallest and least visible - the "soju bang", or Korean bar food. The HK-born Chinese have their own version of this, tiny plain-Jane cafes with the oddest assortment of Asian and non-Asian food imaginable. Our local paper did an article on the soju bang culture in Oakland, and here's an excerpt. It makes for quite a read!

The Pub Life, Korean-Style
East Bay Express, October 2012

"...You've probably heard of the izakaya, the kind of Japanese pub that by now seems no more exotic than a tapas bar in the savvy food lover's imagination, especially here in the Bay Area. Lesser known is the izakaya's rowdy Korean cousin, the soju bang.

While izakayas have traditionally been the province of the salaryman, soju bangs (literally, "soju rooms") around these parts skew younger, catering almost exclusively to Korean-American twenty- and thirtysomethings: Think bubblegum-sweet K-pop and fruity soju-based cocktails (a version made with the Asian yogurt drink Yakult goes down extra easy). And unlike at an izakaya, where the food often aspires to elegance, soju bang fare is as down-home as it gets - fried chicken, grilled meats, and assorted street snacks.

There are fine examples of the soju bang here in the East Bay, up and down the long stretch of Telegraph Avenue that comprises Oakland's diffuse "Kimchi Row," yet by and large these establishments fly under the radar, hidden away on unlikely street corners. But if you've got the stamina for it and a trustworthy designated driver, you can hit up several in a single night (they're all open till 2 a.m.).

An Oakland soju bang crawl might start at the unfortunately named Oriental BBQ Chicken Town (OB Town for short), where picnic tables, paper lanterns, and an indoor "roof" create a tiki-bar effect. No surprise, chicken is the star - thirteen different versions, ranging from "extremely spicy grilled chicken" to several different takes on the über-crisp double-fried chicken that Koreans are famous for. For maximal crunch, order the standard batter-fried chicken; for a saucier experience, go for the soy-and-garlic marinated Gan Jang, whose only flaw is that it's sometimes overcooked.

Other crowd-pleasers include the garlic fries (frozen steak fries, but loaded with fresh garlic) and the ramen dduk bok ki, a street dish that consists of toothsome rice cake sticks, instant ramen, tofu triangles, and a hard-boiled egg; all of it swimming in a bright-red sweet-and-spicy sauce. Wash it all down with a cold OB or Hite beer, both available in comically oversized plastic bottles.

Next, head over to Kang Tong Degi - if you can find it. The only signage is yellow Korean characters superimposed on big metal barrels, and the building's dingy exterior belies the fact that there's a restaurant inside. (Look for the Chinese restaurant called Big Daddy's next door.)

Even more than Oakland's other soju bangs, the place has the feel of a secret club. From the private booths (perfect for handsy young couples and backroom business deals) to the spare decor (papered-up walls covered with Korean and Chinese characters), there's no other way to put it: The place is freaking cool.

Kang Tong Degi is also the one soju bang where humble dishes rise to the level of - and sometimes even surpass - the city's better Korean restaurants: Sautéed chicken gizzards were grilled to chewy-crunchy perfection and served with sliced garlic, jalapeños, and lightly charred lettuce. We picked up a little of everything with our chopsticks and dipped it in a thick slurry of sesame oil, coarse salt, and black pepper - an addictive combo.

Then there was something called "cheese corn," a soju bang standard: corn kernels (almost certainly out of a can) cooked in mayonnaise and sweet condensed milk - a weird but delicious thing, halfway between a stoner's snack and a dessert. (Avoid OB Town's savory version, made with actual cheese that congeals, unappealingly, as it cools.)

But the pièce de résistance is the spicy ham-and-noodle stew, which Koreans know as budae jjigae or "army stew": a pot of soup filled with every imaginable thing: tofu, kimchi, rice cakes, instant ramen, Spam, hot dogs - I loved it for the gutsy, seamless blend of wholesome and not-so-wholesome ingredients. What sets Kang Tong Degi's version apart is its deeply savory gochujang (red pepper paste)-spiked broth. Nothing's more comforting on a cold night.

Finally, end your evening at Kang Tong Degi's sister restaurant, Dan Sung Sa, aka "Porno Palace" - the most well known, and maybe the most raucous, soju bang of the bunch. Fortunately (or alas), no porn is involved - the restaurant is actually named after an old movie theater in Seoul, hence the (non-pornographic) movie posters plastered everywhere.

You can, however, order the Porno Fries, a fusion-y riff on chili cheese fries topped with pickled jalapeños, spicy Korean-style barbecued pork, and Velveeta. We also ordered a fried Cornish game hen that had awesomely crispy skin, though the meat was pretty dry at the breast and wings. Still, it was satisfying to pull the bird apart with our bare hands, dipping each bit of meat and skin in a zesty salt-and-lemon-pepper blend.

The weirdest thing on the menu is chrysalis soup: a spicy broth chock-full of maybe a hundred peanut-size silkworm pupae. I'd read Chowhound accounts that described the dish as resembling "cigarette butts in a watery ash tray" - an experience akin to eating a "very musty sleeping bag." But hey, our waitress said she liked it, so my dining companion and I figured, why not?

I won't lie: This was one of funkiest things I've ever eaten. The little buggers (they really do look like bugs) had the grainy, slightly crunchy texture of dried shrimp and a swampy aftertaste that permeated the whole bowl."

Please note that my DH and I are old 'sticks in the mud' - we have absolutely no acquaintance with the soju bang culture, LOL. But I saved the article because I thought it was such a wild read. It made me think, "Oh, THAT'S why there's all those useless reviews on Yelp I skip over!"

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Kimchi is on my list of things to make, but I haven't gotten around to it. I do keep jars of it that I buy at a Japanese market because I prefer their brand (made locally) because of its flavor. My recipes called for much larger batches - now that I know you can make it in small batches, I will have to give it a try soon - when the weather decides to stay cool for a while. I often add it to soup. If I make something decent, I will let you know!


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Annie, your creations not only stimulate the palate, they also stimulate the mind.

jkom51, thank you for the very interesting write up.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:08PM
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beachlily z9a

And in Daytona Beach, our favorite 3 Thai restaurants have gone out of business in the last 6 months. Wish some of the people down here would be more adventuresome.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:41PM
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Ack, Arlene, that's too bad. I like a lot of different kinds of foods, and I keep trying the ones I don't like. That 7 year rule, you know. I'm picky, but I'm adventurous, if that makes sense. I'll try nearly anything once, but don't care for extremely strong flavors. Nothing really incendiary hot, mouth puckeringly sour, extremely bitter. I'm a middle of the road adventurer, LOL.

Whole Foods has artisnal kimchi? Wow. I can even get commercial kimchi here in my small grocery, canned in jars with pink lids. It tastes more like sauerkraut than anything, though, and Elery doesn't like it very well. If we found a very good commercial kimchi we might just buy that.

No, scratch that. We wouldn't. You know me, I gotta MAKE IT MYSELF! (grin) Plus Elery shares with his son and his daughter has a friend that makes kimchi soup, so now she wants some too.

We're definitely going to try a bunch of recipes, maybe Elery can get a batch mild enough for me.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:51PM
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Lars, you just add it to any old soup recipe, or do you have a recipe for soup that has kimchi as an ingredient, like the one posted in Silvia's link?

Elery's daughter has a friend that makes "kimchi soup", but I don't know if it's actually just that or if it's vegetable soup or such with kimchi added.

Definitely try a batch. One big Napa cabbage and a Daikon with a few other vegetables made enough to fit into a 2 gallon glass jar and within a day it had "shrunk" to be about 2 quarts, and it's easy to use that much up in a week or so.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:54PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Love the spiders and that Elery loves cabbage! I wouldn't have guessed!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:16PM
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Great article jkom! Yes, Koreans have imported their crazy bar scene to the U.S. Unfortunately, it is still acceptable to drink yourself sick enough to go pass out in your car, but many of my Korean ping pong buddies get drunk then drive home. In Korea you can take a cab or the subway and not risk your life and others on the freeway. In New York, many Korean bars and restaurants are now open 24 hours a day.

Annie, do try the cucumber kimchi. I think you would like it.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 3:29AM
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Thanks, Gina!

While looking for a recipe for cucumber kimchi I found Dr. Ben Kim and a recipe, also a recipe for Korean pancakes made with mung beans, which I happen to have.

Elery and I will go to Trader Joe's this weekend, as well as our favorite Asian market. We need to get kuchukaru for kimchi and I want to look for those purple sweet potatoes.

I'll let you know how that cucumber kim chi goes, LOL, it'll have to be mild for me to eat it!


    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:53PM
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Annie, if you go to the Asian store and if yours is well stocked and inexpensive like mine, check for items to stack up. For example I get a 50 pound bag of shushi rice for almost the same price that I pay in the local supermarket for a little container. Dried mushrooms are also a good buy. Some herbs are sold with roots that you can grow if you want.
I love Trader Joe's but we don't have one in my area, last time that I went to one I was living in Mass.
Have a great time with Ellery shopping this weekend!


    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Annie, I usually add kimchi to any kind of noodle soup - either udon, soba, or ramen. If it is shrimp or seafood soup, I add wakame instead, but if it is vegetable, chicken, beef, or pork, I will add chopped up kimchi. I will omit chilies when I add kimchi. I also add minced ginger, garlic, mushrooms (dried or fresh), lime juice (or Kaffir lime leaves), and toasted sesame oil. At the Japanese market, I found a small bottle of Yuzu sauce, which is made with the yuzu fruit and chilies, and this also adds a good flavor, and I use it instead of lime juice. I should have my own Yuzu fruit next year, however. If you find Yuzu sauce at your market, I recommend trying it - it's a different flavor.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 5:52PM
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whgille, this market is very well stocked and very inexpensive. I don't buy much that is perishable because we have to haul it 4 hours back to my house plus exta times for any other stops.

I always stock up on things like Indonesian soy sauce, nori for sushi, any kind of unusual produce like dragon fruit. I'm definitely looking for those purple sweet potatoes you mentioned.

I wouldn't use 50 pounds of sushi rice in my entire lifetime, LOL, but I always buy black rice and red rice. I always buy unusual items that I don't even know what they are, then I look them up on the internet to find out how to use them. (grin)

Lars, I'll definitely look for Yuzu sauce, and Elery's just waiting to try kimchi in soup.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:26PM
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I'm headed to LA later this week. I'll have to track down some Korean food!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 3:08AM
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I hope you have better luck than I did, Jessica.

No one at Hua Xing Market had even heard of Yuzu, at least not anyone that spoke any amount of English at all. Also no kuchukaru but we did manage to get some packets of kimchi seasoning. I bought cucumbers at Horrocks so I'll try the cucumber kimchi.

I also bought some purple sweet potatoes and Elery bought some kimchi flavored rice crackers that he loves, we'll buy more of those.


    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:05PM
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