Saturday, December 8, 2007

fermentation

right now i'm making kimchee and amasake in my kitchen.

my kimchee habit has grown to embarrassing proportions. i'll really eat anything pickled if it doesn't have animals in it, but kimchee, man, kimchee is the best. amy, one of the chefs at angelica kitchen, makes good kimchee but because the customers at angelica are such fantastic wimps, she puts very little chili pepper in it and too much ginger. i really like sunjas kimchee, which comes in cabbage, spicy cabbage, and daikon versions. i like the spicy cabbage, but hey, they're all good. anyway, the purpose of this post is to acknowledge a new era of making kimchee at home rather than shyly buying two jars a week at commodities or whole foods (plus eating amy's like four days a week. you know, i blame her, really, for this addiction).

so i borrowed her recipe and a book called "wild fermentation" by sandir ellix katz. this book is great! you should buy it. also, i should buy it. anyway, last night i had a big pile of green cabbage (couldn't find good nappa cabbage) scallions, daikon, black radish, carrots, garlic, and dried chilis (fresh would probably be better). i cut everything into various sizes (not all the same, i wanted to expeeeeriment) and sprinkled some salt on top and then pounded it all down in a bowl with a glass bottle. actually shawn did the pounding. i was probably eating kimchee and watching. we added a little but of water and then put a plate on top with some heavy stuff on top of it, and covered the whole bowl with a plastic bag to keep bugs out.

today i poked at it and tasted it and noticed that the water was covering the plate (good sign, i think) but that it was very salty (which is obviously my fault for not measuring). but too salty or not, it's going to sit there in the cubbard for a week or so until it gets bubbly and tangy and mmmmm.

also, while i was at it, i decided to try to make amasake. i cooked some rice with extra water, then let it cool for a minute, then added some rice koji that i found in sunshine market (above st. mark's books) and put the whole pot in the oven at 140 degrees. will it stay at 140 degrees or will the flame blow out and possibly kill me? i'll keep checking. we'll know by the morning whether it worked. i may have done any number of things wrong. like failing to sterilize anything. or not waiting long enough for the rice to cool down. or believing that my oven will stay at 140 degrees all night.

ok, if either of these fermets works, i'll post clearer recipes that account for whatever i did wrong.

next week, maybe kombucha?

1 comment:

John Plummer said...

Wild Fermentation is a great book. Do you know that Sandy Katz, the author, is going to be in New York tomorrow for a workshop? http://www.wildfermentation.com/events.php