Thursday, February 26, 2009

At Market...Cabbage

Today I made something so nasty, I was horrified. Like every home cook, I make the occasional ho-hum meal, undercook the lasagna noodles, or overcook a batch of cookies, but today I was kicked in the gut by some unruly cabbage and its partner in crime, red onion. Together the two rascals created such a foul stench rising up from my kitchen that the boys were sure that something had died. My daughter was sure that her brothers had let off a stink bomb (and heavily spritzed her room with vanilla perfume to defend herself). And my husband was sure he smelled a gas leak. I knew the culprit immediately upon entering the house--the sulfurous essence of cabbage and the pungent smell of an over eager onion. I held my breath and removed the offenders, dumping them in a trash can that was immediately whisked outside (and set by the front door). If we left it there I am quite sure we would be safe from any intruder, for they would faint immediately upon catching a whiff of the stuff...or explode.

Earlier this morning, I had begun a recipe for quick kimchi from my Vegetarian Planet cookbook (which I like very much, by the way). I shredded a head of cabbage, a red onion and a couple of carrots, put them in a bowl, covered them with water, and set them aside to soak all day. This mixture, after draining, was supposed to be tossed with ginger, vinegar, and chiles, to make a mildly spicy salad to go into the Korean kogi tacos that I have fantasized about making ever since I read about them here and here. But the end result was not only inedible, it was just plain dangerous, or at least it smelled that way.

So the thinly sliced sirloin that was to be the bul kogi, ended up in a very nice stir-fry with some broccoli from the farmers market. And the Korean style tacos will have to wait for another night. With a different kimchi recipe. Perhaps the one from this month's Gourmet Magazine tastes better? It is made in a completely different is that recipe, if you are brave enough.

Quick Kimchi

1 3 pound head of Napa Cabbage, quartered then sliced in 2-3 inch slices
3 T salt
2 T chopped garlic
1 T chopped peeled ginger
2 T Asian fish sauce
2 t white vinegar
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3 T toasted sesame seeds, crushed with the side of a heavy knife
2-3 T red pepper flakes
1/2 Asian pear

Toss cabbage with salt in a large bowl and set aside, stirring occasionally for 2 hours. Rinse cabbage well, then drain, squeezing out excess water. Transfer to a large bowl. Puree garlic and ginger with fish sauce and vinegar in a blender until smooth, then pour over cabbage. Add scallions, sesame seeds and red-pepper flakes and toss to coat. Peel, pear, then grate on large holes of a box grater. Add to cabbage mixture and toss well. Marinate for at least one hour.

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