White Kimchi with Pear & Fennel

Inspired by the fermenting demo at 610 Magnolia with Chef Edward Lee, I made this white kimchi with pear and fennel within days of returning home from the IACP conference in Louisville. It’s loosly based on the recipe from Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee.

White Kimchi w/Pear and Fennel

  • Time: 1hr + 2-6hrs soaking
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*Note: Allow 2-24 hrs to soak cabbage in salted water at room temperature

Ingredients

  • 1 large savoy cabbage 3-4lbs cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 4-6 qts water for soaking cabbage
  • 1 bulb fennel, tops trimmed(save for something else), chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 pear, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 8 ounces of daikon radish,peeled and chopped
  • 6 green onions cut in ½ inch pieces
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ bunch cilantro, stems trimmed and discarded, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2oz ginger, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • 2 TB fish sauce
  • 2 TB honey
  • ½ cup of whey if available

Directions

  • Cut the cabbage into quarters, cut out the core and discard. Coarsely chop cabbage into 1-2 inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
  • Toss in 1 cup of salt and massage into cabbage.
  • Cover the cabbage with water and place a weight (like a plate) on top to submerge cabbage. Let sit at room temperature for 2-6 hours (I’ll let it sit overnight even).
  • Drain cabbage and rinse. You will see it has begun to soften.
  • Chop the fennel, onion, pear, bell pepper, daikon, green onions and jalapeño pepper.
  • Mince the garlic and ginger and mix together with the ¼ cup of salt, honey, fish sauce and whey if available.
  • Mix cabbage and all remaining ingredients thoroughly and stuff into ½ gallon mason jar. Have an extra quart jar available for back up!
  • Take your fist and mash down the kimchi to bring up the liquid.
  • Place swatch of cheesecloth on the jar and place a lid on it.
  • After two days, gently open jar, “burp” it and make sure contents are under the liquid.
  • Leave at room temperature for 3-7 days and then refrigerate.
  • NOTE: I will let mine ferment on the counter for up to 2-3 weeks if it’s in a cooler pantry. This comes down to factors of room temperature and personal taste preferences. It will continue to ferment in the fridge- just not as quickly.

I packed all this into a half gallon canning jar along with another quart jar. It’s always a little give and take depending on the size of the cabbage.

I tried something Chef Lee did, putting a swatch of cheesecloth just under the lid. It keeps the contents off the underside of the lid.

After only 3 days it was burping and bubbling and the solids were completely immersed in the liquid. Using the whey does help expedite this process. You can either find someone who is making cheese, strain some from yogurt…Or just skip it. I’ve made pounds and pounds without whey and they turned out great. I also prefer not use the rice flour slurry that Chef Lee uses in his recipes.

Chef Lee and Darra Goldstein, editor of Cured Magazine, hosted this pre conference event. If Darra has a fan club, I want in. She is a walking food fact and history encyclopedia.

He prepared Chow Chow, a fermented green tomato relish I’ll surely make in August.

A white kimchi like the one I’ve made today, pickled beets and pickled watermelon with peppercorns, fennel fronds, celery, dill allspice, clove and garlic.

These deviled eggs served at Chef Lee’s demo are garnished with pickled watermelon.

I’ll be making the white kimchi again for sure as well in the summer with produce from our own gardens (and may sell it under a new business name- #StarRouteOrcas). But I could not wait until summer to try putting together this recipe. For lack of napa cabbage I went for a nice big head of savoy.

So this conference really rocked my boat. I’ve hovered over it for years waiting for the right time to land.  And 2017 was it. Ollie came with and had the opportunity to teach for a day at the University of Louisville to boot. Score: Double tax deduction. There were informative breakout sessions on writing and cookbook publishing, the workings of SEO, finding your niche, keynote address on the culture of Southern Foods and plenty of networking and good food. My elevator pitch was pretty, how shall I say, weak. But I actually have a fair amount of confidence behind my year of exploration. My midlife awakening. I was quite chuffed around 4am the night before the conference thinking about midlife crisis and how that’s not what I am experiencing. I couldn’t wait to wake up and coin the midlifeawakening hashtag. Yeah… if I had thought about it three years ago maybe. Well, I wasn’t shy to # my thoughts to an already existing stream of midlife consciousness. It’s true. I’ve never been happier than I am right this moment. I had a lucrative couple years doing a job from which I gained friendships and knowledge to carry through life but a job I don’t want to carry into the next decade. My fingernails yearn to be packed with dirt and dough.

So I’m workshopping and conferencing to my hearts content this year. This winter/early spring at least till our four does have their babies (kids) and start making buckets of milk! And then I’ll be making loads of cheese!

Happy fermenting!

xx

wendy

A year in sourdough

I’d like to start with a story of my one hundred year old starter, passed down from generation to generation but alas this is just not so. It started with this little packet of freeze-dried magic from Ed Woods… who I assume was a real person but I’ve no personal connection to except for our http://www.com encounter. sourdough@wendyellenthomas.com I ripped open the packet and followed the instructions to start developing my newbie starter. It took a mere five days if I remember correctly. We have had a relationship for about 18 months now so the beginning is a little fuzzy.

sourdough@wendyellenthomas.com

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kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs

So this is far from Irish… but I’m not so on top of the calendar:)
Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-8Spring is so near I can practically touch it. The sun and cold do their dance like a strip tease that excites and taunts. You don’t know what’s coming next. I picked delicate new spinach and arugula leaves from plants in the greenhouse creating a bed for my baked salmon lunch today. This first minimal picking sparked a little excitement for the coming growing season. What I realize too, is I don’t mind the winter break and it almost takes a strong nudge to get me in the growing mood. Fresh garden food does not arrive without somebody’s hard work. My first little seeds, planted last weekend will become the seedlings for the first of spring planting. Brassica’s, lettuces, peas… the tomatoes and peppers will grow longer in the glass house.

What we relied on this winter besides store bought veggies was our fermented foods.

Kimchi @wendyellenthomas.com

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