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Category Archive for: ‘Blogs of Recipes’
Sushi and how to make it

Sushi means “sour-tasting”.  At its most common denominator, sushi is cooked short grained sticky rice that has been “vinegared”.  It is also known as shari.  Wikipedia says, “The vinegar produced from fermenting rice breaks down the fish proteins into amino acids. This results in one of the five basic tastes, called umami in Japanese”

Many people think of raw fish when they hear the word sushi.  Actually, there are raw forms of fish in some sushi, but sushi can be anything that contains the vinegared rice- shari.  Some forms of sushi don’t have any fish at all.  Raw or uncooked fish is known as sashimi.  That is another story for another day.  Today we talk about sushi.

Sushi Rice

The only thing common to a sushi dish is the rice.  If you can’t find sushi rice at your local store, any short grained rice will do or you can buy it at the Farm Store here.

You will also need:

To Make The Sushi Rolls:

  • Bamboo sushi Mat – available here
  • Seaweed Nori sheets – available here or here
  • Plastic wrap to cover your mat

For the Vinegar Mix:

Heat and mix the following.  Cool to room temp before mixing into the rice

In every 1 cup of cooked sushi rice mix:

  • 1/3 c Rice vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Without A Rice Cooker

  • Rinse the rice until clear
  • cover the rice in the pot by one inch
  • bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook 20 minutes more – never take the lid off while cooking
  • remove rice to a bowl and cool to room temp
  • Fold in the vinegar mixture gently not to make the rice pasty

With a Rice Cooker – video

 

How To Make A Maki Roll- video

 

How To Make A Tiger Roll – video

 

How To Make A California Roll – video

 

 

Stuffed Jalapeno Pepper Poppers

Stuffed Jalapeno Pepper hors d’ouvres.  These meet all the qualifications of a great hors d’ouvre, starter, or appetizer.  They can be eaten with your hands in one or two small bites, they aren’t too messy and they are very good.  In fact, the spiciness stimulates the appetite.  Don’t worry too much about the heat of the pepper.  Capsaicin, the active chemical that causes the the “fire”, is reduced when cooked.

You’ve heard me talk about all the good food we eat when we visit our Alabama relatives.  Well, that inspired me to ask Brent if I could release his stuffed jalapeno pepper recipe to the world and he graciously said yes.

I’m going to have a separate post for Brent’s recipe, but in this blog I’m going to talk about the different variations and components you can use to create great poppers.

Methods

The Cut-

the peppers can be cut in a varitiey of ways.  I’m going to post some pictures below to show some of those great ideas from top cut, half cut, lengthwise cut, cut and capped, end cut to side sliced.

    

    

 

As you can see, there are also many ways to cook them and many things to stuff them with

Ways to cook –

After market devices like the holders shown in the pictures above allow the peppers to be grilled, baked and broiled.  You can also deep fry the little buggers, breaded or not. If your stuffing is just cheese all you have to do is cook the peppers until the cheese melts or gets crusty.  If you use meat, you should either partially precook the meat or cook the peppers until the meat is done.

Ways to stuff them-

Peppers can be stuffed with hard cheese, soft cheese, rice, sausage, quinoa or a mixture of any of those.  I sometimes cut cheddar cheese into long square pieces just large enough to push up into the bottom of a pepper when the end is cut off.  Brent cuts his peppers in half lengthwise then stuffs each half with a cream cheese mixture and finishes by wrapping them in bacon.

To wrap or not to wrap –

Many people like to add flavor and texture to the peppers by either coating them or wrapping them.  The most popular wrap is with bacon.  The coatings could be egg wash then dredged in  flour and bread crumbs or other things like grated hard cheese and cornmeal.

      

 

 

Precautions

When you are cleaning the peppers, ALWAYS, DID YOU READ THAT, ALWAYS, WEAR GLOVES.  You may not write to thank me if you follow my caution, but you will most definitely think of me if you don’t and then either rub your eyes or use the bathroom.  Don’t laugh, it is hard to explain that your “junk” is on fire and you need help putting it out because when you touch it with your pepper hands, it just gets worse.

 

Look for the recipes I’ll be posting in the near future, or better yet, please send me some of your own.  Thanks again to Brent for his inspiration and great recipe variation – Jughandle

 

 

 

5 Other Blogs on Canning/Pickling

I’ve been reading a lot on pickling and canning the last couple of weeks and I thought you might be interested in a couple of other blogs I found helpful, funny, interesting or all three.

1. Starving off the Land -“My week of pickling dangerously” –  One of my favorite on-going blogs to follow

2. Serious Eats – Garlic Dill Pickles – Great site for recipes of all kinds

 

3. The Smitten Kitchen – bread and butter pickles – A very sophisticated blog on all things food.  Great recipes fantastic pictures

4. Hunter Angler Garderner Cook, Sunchoke Pickles – This blog is everything about living off the land, hunting and fishing.  Great recipes

5. david lebovitz – Moroccan Preserved Lemons – This is probably my favorite blog, I’m not sure why, maybe it is just nicely designed.

Chicken Soup Progressive Recipe (stone soup)

This is going to be fun.  I am going to start out with a “how to make a chicken stock” and you all are going to add ingredients to the soup to make the final recipe. Please

Stock

Start with a very large pot, 12 qts if you have it.  We are going to make a lot of soup to freeze for later.

add 2 gal (8 qts) of filtered water.  If you don’t have a pot that large, fill the one you have about 1/2-2/3 full of water

Add at least 1 whole chicken.  Fryer or a roaster.  I’d pick a roaster because they are larger.

Bring the pot to a boil then reduce to a fast simmer for at least 2 hours.

The chicken should fall off the bone.  Remove chicken from pot and reserve, pulling the bones from the carcass and throwing them away.

Continue to reduce the stock.

1.  (jughandle would add) Salt and pepper to taste

2. (Darlene would add) 2 carrots, 2 celery and  1 onion, diced then sauteed in olive oil before adding.  This is known as a  mirepoix of veggies.

 

3. (Mittie would like to add) fresh thyme & tarragon. If you have a herb garden pick a few stems and strip the leaves into the liquid.  If you don’t like stuff floating around in your soup (I really don’t know why), you can do a bouquet garnie which is just a fancy name for wrapping your herbs in a piece of cheese cloth so it can be removed later.

 

4. Thank you Mittie, it is smelling good now.

5. What we should do now is to remove all the solids from the broth

  • first cool the broth to room temp or cool enough to handle
  • then strain out the solids with a strainer or cheese cloth
  • put the strained broth into a large bowl or pot and put into the refrigerator
  • the next morning the chicken fat will be solid on the surface
  • skim or ladle off the fat.
  • You now have a great chicken stock/broth to use in the following recipes
  • you can also freeze in plastic bags or bowls for later use

6. Darlene wants to make a Tortilla soup from the chicken stock. (please click on the link for the recipe)

7. Jughandle wants to make Italian Wedding Soup (please click on the link for the recipe)

 

 

How to Make Your own Pasta

There are few things more satisfying than to make your own pasta.  It is delicious, inexpensive, healthy (no additives) and looks like you went to a hell of a lot of trouble for your guests.  (but it is easy).  I’ve been making my own pasta and teaching others for close to 40 years.  The following video by Jamie Oliver is a good example of how easy and fast it is to make your own pasta.  You can even dry and freeze your fresh pasta for even quicker meals later.

Jamie Oliver

 

 

Recipe

The recipe I’m about to give you is different than Jamie’s but I’ve had good results over the years with it.

1 cup of all-purpose or whole wheat or semolina flour

1 T olive oil

1 1/8 tsp salt

1 whole egg

1/2 c water (only use as much of it as necessary)

This is enough for 2 normal servings.  For a dinner of two couples I would make at least 3 of these.  If you have leftovers, freeze them or refrigerate and use them tomorrow.

Method

Just as in Jamie’s video, I’d mix the dough in a food processor.  Put all of the ingredients in the processor except the water.

Turn on the processor and as it turns into a grainy texture, drizzle, very slowly, water in through the feed port.  Stop adding water just as the dough starts to ball up.  Continue to process for another 10 seconds until the dough sticks to the blade in a ball and spins around the processor.  Remove and rest the pasta ball under a clean towel for 5 minutes, or while you make the other servings you require.

By hand

To continue by hand, knead the dough  for 5 minutes or until it is elastic without cellulite like bumps in it.  Dust the rolling surface with flour and roll out your pasta into long thin sheets about a 1/16 of an inch thick.  Then dust the sheets again with flour and roll the sheets into loose rolls to slice with a knife to the thickness of pasta desired.

By Machine 

Using a pasta machine is by far the best way to make pasta.  You can find machines everywhere and for all prices.  My machine is a Pasta Queen and has 8 settings, allowing me to make very thin pasta.  Some machines are expense, electric machines that do almost everything for you.  You can get a decent machine for under $40.00

Knead the pasta on the thickess setting until it is smooth.  Then lower the setting one pass at a time until you reach the desired thickness.  Then turn the handle around to the cutting side and cut into noodles.
                                             

Cooking Fresh Pasta

Cooking fresh pasta couldn’t be easier or quicker.  Bring a large pot of water and 3 T of salt to a boil.  When you reach a rolling boil add your fresh pasta.  You’ll need to have your colander ready in the sink because the cooking should only take 45 to 90 seconds.  After the noodles are done transfer them into the colander and briefly run cold water on them to stop the cooking.  After draining the pasta, place the colander, pasta and all on top of or in the still warm (but not on) pot.  Stir in a little butter or olive oil.  Season and serve.

 

I hope you try this pasta making thing.  You can have fun with your guests or kids – jughandle

 

Canning Pickle Basics

I felt that since I was going make my signiture pickle recipe and name one for one of my readers, it might be a good idea to know what I was doing so that I wouldn’t make anyone sick.

 

Basics

Methods

Pressure Canning

 

Vacuum Sealing

 

Water bath – Fill hot, sterilized jars with product leaving 1 inch headspace.  Ladle cooked brine over the product leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe the rims.  Adjust the two piece lids.  Process by boiling in your canner for 10 minutes.

 

Refrigerator Pickles

 

pH

I have found that to be safe while processing via the “boiling water canner” method, the product should have a pH of 4.5 or lower.  That means the more acidic the better.  So, since I want to really mess around with the recipes, I’m going to have to get a pH meter, but I think I’ll just get the cheap strips.

Processing Time

Also important is the amount of time your jars and ingredents are in boiling water.  The high temp. of the boiling water kills harmful organisms that might later grow under the canning conditions.  For that reason alone, I will be making refrigerated pickles.

 

Another Method Of  Making Pickles – Naturally Fermented

Be safe Fat Farmers and have fun being healthy – jughandle

How to Make Kimchi

Kimchi is a tradional Korean dish made from all kinds of different vegetables with an emphasis on cabbage.  I remember seeing it first in the vegetable department of the grocery store in pint jars.  The redish chili stained vegetables pressed tight against the glass jar.  I picked one up to inspect the contents and bubbles rose from the bottom in a effervescent manner.  I was intrigued enough to buy a jar to try.  When I opened the jar the contents fizzed like a warm coke.  Timidly, I first smelled first (I have been burned by Limburger cheese before) then tried a bite.  Wow, the great spicy flavor with the effervescence and crunch of the vegetables was great.  I ate the whole jar in one sitting.

I’m considerably older now and I’ve learned that a true Korean cook would be embarrassed to buy Kimchi in a store.  Every one makes their own in Korea.  So I’m going to give it a shot.  Here is a recipe that sounds pretty good and complete and very Zen.  Try it yourself.  – jughandle

This recipe comes from Treelight.com

Ingredients

Organic foods

1 Napa cabbage

3 Carrots

2 Cucumbers

3 Heads broccoli

2 Bunches scallions

1 Apple

2 Small oranges

1 Lemon

 

Health food store

Unrefined rice vinegar

Unrefined sesame oil

Kosher salt (or sea salt)

Korean foods store

Crushed red pepper (coarse)

Crushed garlic

Sesame seeds

(Roasted more flavorful.

Raw may be healthier.)

 

Cooking tools

Large mixing bowl

Small mixing bowl

Cutting board

Cutting knife

 

Directions

Rinse all vegetables in water and salt.

Cut out stem of cabbage with a V-notch, then cut in half lengthwise. Cut each half lengthwise once again, and slice crosswise into strips.

Cut up the cabbage stem into thin strips.

Sprinkle liberally with Kosher salt.

Scoop and stir with hands.

Let cabbage sit while peeling carrots and cucumber. Peel carrots completely. Take strips from the cucumbers.

Section the carrots and cut into thin strips.

Section the cucumbers and cut into thin strips.

Cut broccoli heads into byte-size pieces, cut stalks diagonally to make thin oval slices.

Add salt. Scoop and stir.

Trim scallions, slice the white part down the center, then cut into strips diagonally.

Core and dice the apple and add.

Skin the oranges and lemon.

Slice the oranges, separate into pieces, and add.

Put a handful of chilli pepper into a sauce bowl. Add from a third as much to an equal amount of sesame seeds, and crushed garlic.

Add enough sesame oil to moisten everything, and approximately an equal amount of rice vinegar (enough to make a paste).

Dice the lemon and squeeze into the bowl, add the remaining pieces.

Mix the ingredients in the sauce bowl to make paste, then gently spread the paste into the vegetable bowl.

Note:  When it comes to the amounts, there are no hard and fast rules. It’s all done “to taste”, and I can tell you that when GrandMaster makes it, it tastes a lot better than when I do. (The taste you’re going for is one that balances all of the flavors, so you’re aware of each of them as you eat.)

Preparing the Basic Ingredients

Cabbage

First, cut the Napa cabbage in half lengthwise. Then you are ready to wash all of the vegetables. This is a very important step. Don’t neglect it. Run cool water into the sink or into a bowl. Sprinkle some Kosher salt into the water, and put in a bit of vinegar. Then swish the vegetables around in the water. Let them stand for a little while, but not too long, so they get a thorough rinsing. The salt and the vinegar act to purify the vegetables, washing away any toxic residues from pesticides and any clinging dirt.

As you wash the vegetables, focus on your inner cooking. As you prepare the food, prepare your mind. Recognize that the way you prepare this meal is the way you are preparing your life. Put your total energy and attention into it. Clean your mind of all surface troubles and tribulations, all worries and fears. Focus on this exact moment in time. Observe the colors and textures of the vegetables. Feel them in your hand. Relax. Connect with your purpose and with the purpose of those who will be eating this food. Recognize that you are preparing totally healthy, life-giving fuel. Feel the love that you are demonstrating for yourself and for others as you perform this important service. Smile inside. This is going to be great! Its going to taste awesome!

Now its time to slice up the cabbage. The secret to all Korean cooking is to cut the food into bite-sized pieces, just right for putting in your mouth and enjoying. That way, the meal can be eaten calmly, instead of hacking away with a knife and fork every minute or so!

Put half of the cabbage on the cutting board, flat side down. Then, at the base of the cabbage, cut a V-shaped notch around the stem, and remove it. (If you are an old hand, you can skip this step and leave in the heart of the cabbage. But at first its better to leave out the heart because its pretty tough to chew.) Then cut the cabbage lengthwise again, but leave the two halves together. Now, starting at the base and working towards the top of the cabbage, cut across the cabbage making strips about one inch wide. As you cut, the pieces will begin separating. When you are done, put all the pieces into the large bowl.

Cut the other half and add those pieces to the bowl. Then sprinkle them all with a layer of Kosher salt. This again is a most important step. As the salt interacts with the cabbage, it draws out its natural juices and begins to break down the cell walls so that the spices in the chili paste can penetrate. Salting the cabbage is done early, so the salt can work while the other ingredients are being prepared.

After sprinkling salt, gently stir it into the cabbage. Do this with your hands, rather than with a tool. (We’ll discuss more on this later.) Use your hands like you’re hugging the cabbage. Move them gently around the sides, and then gather them into the center. Then push the cabbage to the sides (gently) and pull your hands around the edges like you’re swimming with a breaststroke.

The hugging motion is gentle. Generate love while you’re doing it. Its hard to overstate the importance of this step. Whenever we make Kimchi, it comes out good, but nearly as good as Grandmaster’s. We’re pretty sure that the missing ingredient is love. No one generates love with the intensity and purity that Grandmaster does. Its interesting to watch Grandmaster at times like these, too. If someone speaks to her, she may nod, or smile, or she may not react all — but her concentration never wavers. She is completely absorbed in what she is doing. She is also completely aware of everything going on around her — who is saying what, who is doing what, and where they are — but she has her attention focused on one thing — and that concentration makes a big difference in her kimchi.

After you hug the cabbage, taste. It shouldn’t taste “salty”. At the same time, you should be able to taste the salt. Try adding little at a time, and test it frequently. When you reach the point where the cabbage “zings”, you’ve got it. The right balance of salt makes the cabbage come alive, so its exciting on your tongue. Practice! You’ll get it.

As you prepare each of the next vegetables, work them into the bowl with the same hugging technique. Add additional salt as required to keep the flavors tingling on your tongue.

Carrots

The carrots are next. Cut off the ends, then cut the carrots into sections about one inch long. Then stand the pieces on end, and cut downward into flat strips about a quarter of an inch thick. That gives you bite-sized carrot morsels that will taste great and be easy to chew. Go ahead and try one. Sing out “Lachaim” first (“La-kheye-em). Let it ring out! It means “To Life!” After all, that’s why we’re cooking!

In addition to making the carrots easier to chew, this method of cutting them exposes the maximum surface area of the inner fibers, so that they wind up as tender as can be! If you happen to have a very wide carrot, you can cut each “cylinder” in half vertically before making the downward cuts, then turn the piece 90 degrees, and continue cutting downward — every vertical slice now makes two carrot slices. (Don’t try this on the cucumber, though. The interior of the cucumber is too soft — the extra cut makes it go limp too quickly.)

Cucumber

Before cutting the cucumber, use a peeler or knife to take off the skin. Leave thin strips of skin between the areas you peel — they add color and texture — but remove most of the skin. Then cut off the ends, and cut the cucumber the same way you cut the carrot (except for not cutting down the middle unless the cucumber is huge).

Broccoli

Before cutting the broccoli, remove the little leaves growing in and around the stalks. Then cut up the broccoli heads into mouth sized pieces. You can also add parts of the stalk if you cut them on a narrow angle. To see what I mean, try cutting straight across the stalk. That gives you a small circular piece with a lot of rind and very little of the soft, white middle. But if you move the knife to angle the blade up the stem, you slice off a long oval with a lot of the white inside. These pieces are in good balance, with enough rind on the outside to keep a firm texture, and enough fleshy white part on the inside to make them a delectable treat.

Scallions

The scallions are the last of the “standard” vegetables in this recipe. Actually, none of the vegetables are standard. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi. For example there is cucumber kimchi, that uses no cabbage. And there is mostly-cabbage kimchi with a few scallions and not much else. That’s the kind of kimchi you usually find in Korean restaurants, and Koreans love it. But the basic kimchi we are making here is one that is designed to be a tasty treat for people who have never had kimchi before, and who may not even like spicy food all that much! Whenever you make kimchi, don’t be afraid to experiment. Use whatever you have on hand. That keeps it exciting.

No matter what kind of kimchi you make, though, always include the scallions. Scallions are a vital part of Grandmaster’s cooking, and of Korean cooking in general. Onions and garlic have for centuries been eaten as regular staples by the longest living peoples on earth — Asians, Russians, and Bulgarians. That is not a coincidence!

To prepare the scallions, first cut off the hairy ends and cut off as much of the green parts as have started to wilt. The topmost layer of skin on the onion is frequently soft and wilted, too. If you peel it off, you’ll find fresh, crisp onion underneath. All of the onion that remains should be that crisp.

Once the scallions are ready, cut them once lengthwise, from about the middle (where everything joins into a single stem) down to the end of the stem. Opening the scallions in this way unlocks their flavor, and lets their juices mingle freely with the other ingredients in the Kimchi. After slicing them lengthwise, hold several (or all or them) at one time, and cut short sections — about half an inch long. But, rather than cutting straight downward, cut at an angle to expose the maximum amount of surface area.

Fruit

With the last of the vegetables in the bowl, check the salt level one more time, then start on the fruit. Different fruits can be used. Each gives a different flavor. I have seen a pear used, for example, and it tasted great. But the standard blend that Grandmaster makes usually has an apple, a couple of oranges, and one or two lemons. Although the Korean kimchi you find in stores or restaurants generally does not use fruit, I love the little bits of fruit in Grandmaster’s recipe. They taste great! (Hint: If anyone in your family tends to dislike spicy foods, use more fruit and less red pepper. They’ll love it.)

To prepare the apple, either core it or slice it into sections and remove the core from the sections. Then dice the apple into half-inch cubes. Add them to the bowl.

For the orange, first remove the skin, then slice it like a pineapple, making slices between a quarter-inch and a half-inch thick. As you put the slices into the bowl, gently separate them into sections of one or two pieces. These pieces act like little surprise packages, giving you little bursts of flavor now and again as you enjoy the kimchi. They’re wonderful!

When adding the lemon, first remove the skin and slice it into round sections, the same as the orange. But then dice the lemon into tiny bits before adding it to the bowl. Brush off the juice on the cutting board into the bowl, too. It adds a lot of flavor.

Note: Rather than adding the lemon to the bowl, it can also be used for extra moisture when making the chili paste. I’ve seen Grandmaster do it both ways. Actually, I’ve seen Grandmaster do a lot of things differently each time. What matters most is the energy you put into the project, not strict attention to detail. If you perform each step with a purpose, and are consciously aware of that purpose, then that is sufficient. If something doesn’t work out, then rely on Grandmaster’s second principle of mental conduct: Learn from your mistakes! And if it does work out, great! Adding your own creativity and ingenuity to the process makes it that much more wonderful!

Preparing the Chili Paste

That takes care of the basic ingredients. Now for the chili paste. This is the big step! So far, its easy to see why Kimchi is healthy. After all, its all raw fruits and vegetables, something we all need a lot more of in our diet. But much more healthy and energizing surprises await!

Chili Pepper

The first ingredient is Korean ground chili pepper. This is a very coarse grind of pepper. It consists of large flakes that are very flavorful and very hot. Take out about as much as you think you’ll need to cover the Kimchi and put in the small bowl. (Usually a small handful will do.) Don’t worry about taking too much — anything that doesn’t get used on the kimchi can be used later on as a flavoring for soups or rice or sandwiches. (Sparingly!)

Along with garlic and onions, chilli pepper has been recommended by some very long-lived peoples! Its worth using, even if you are not all that fond of spicy foods. Remember to keep it in balance — it should add flavor and zest, not cry out for a fire hose!

Garlic

This is without a doubt the secret ingredient in Kimchi — large amounts of fresh, crushed garlic. Grandmaster recommends eating kimchi with every meal. Anyone who looks as young as she does at 46 has got to be on to something. Along with meditation, exercise, stress release, and positive thinking, the garlic in her diet has a lot to do with that.

You need about half as much garlic as chili pepper, or a little more. You can relax, though. You don’t have to crush it all yourself. Any Korean store (or a good Oriental store) will have small tubs of crushed garlic in the freezer section. Later on, I’ll go into a lot more detail about how Kimchi and garlic act to make you healthy. For now though, let’s finish up the recipe so we can enjoy the eating!

Sesame Seed, Rice Vinegar, Sesame Oil

There are only a few steps left. Now that you have added the garlic to the chili powder, add an equal amount of roasted sesame seeds. The total mixture so far is about 1/2 chili powder, one quarter crushed garlic, and one quarter roast sesame seeds. Add rice vinegar and knead the mixture with your hands. Add enough vinegar until you begin to form a smooth paste. Then add a dash of sesame oil — about a tablespoon. Now is the time to add the diced lemon, if you haven’t already added it to the large bowl.

Test the chili paste for flavor — it will be hot, but the sesame and garlic flavors should also be pronounced. Add more ingredients as needed. Blend the ingredients until the paste has a uniform color. The dry chili pepper will be bright red. As you add rice vinegar and other ingredients, it becomes more orange. Try to keep it on the bright side, rather than a dull orange.

Spreading the Chili Paste

Ah. The final step. Take a bit of the chili paste in your hand, and rub it into the top of the Kimchi. Softly. Gently. Now practice your hugging exercise, gently moving the Kimchi around until all of the pieces are evenly coated. If you can see uncoated pieces, then you need to add more. The goal is to just cover the Kimchi — any more chili paste than that, and its going to be a lot hotter. If you are not used to spicy foods, add the chili paste a little at a time. Try it as you go. When you get to the point where your tongue says, “Wow! That’s exciting!” then its time to stop. Get a bowl, put in some rice, and treat yourself to one of the best dishes you could possibly make.

The goal of this step is not just to spread the chili paste, but to put your energy into the food. Perhaps you are familiar with the concept of “energy circuits” in your body. This is a very traditional concept in the Orient.

One of the body’s main energy pathways runs along the arms down to the palms of the hands. It terminates right at the base of the hand, in the center of the palm heel. For an exercise in energy sensitivity, put your hands out to a fire (from a distance), or up to the sun. Be aware of your body. Note how much more you feel the energy in your palms than elsewhere on your skin.

As you spread the chili paste and hug the kimchi, focus on generating energy through your palms. Generate all the love, strength, and power that you can. Put your heart into it. You will feel stronger, and the kimchi will come out that much better!

Bottling

Transfer seasoned cabbage leaves into a large glass bottle. Be sure to use firm pressure with your hands to push down on cabbage leaves as they stack up inside the bottle.

Transfer any liquid that accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well – this liquid will become kim chi brine. Some liquid will also come out of the cabbage leaves as you press down on them as they are stacked in the bottle.

Be sure to leave about 2 inches of room at the top of the bottle before capping it tightly with a lid. Allow bottle of kim chi to sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Your kim chi is now ready to eat. Refrigerate and take out portions as needed. The refrigerated kim chi will continue to ferment slowly in the refrigerator over time. So long as you use clean utensils to take out small portions, it will keep for up to a month in your refrigerator.

Fermentation

Why Fermentation is Healthy

The definition of fermentation is “breaking down into simpler components”. Fermentation makes the foods easier to digest and the nutrients easier to assimilate. In effect, much of the work of digestion is done for you. Since it doesn’t use heat, fermentation also retains enzymes, vitamins, and other nutrients that are usually destroyed by food processing.

The active cultures that pre-digest the food as part of the fermentation process actually generate nutrients. So there are more vitamins–especially B-vitamins–and minerals like iron are released from the chemical bonds that prevent them from being assimilated. In effect, the nutritional value of a food goes up when it has been fermented..

The fermentation process also preserves the food. You start with a wholesome, raw food and preserve it in a way that leaves its nutrients intact, so you have the health benefits of raw food with having to run to the grocery store every other day for more–which is what happens, unless you’re lucky enough to have a garden.

Note, too, that it’s especially important to ferment (or otherwise prepare) the cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabibrussels sprouts, and turnip greens.) Those vegetables have important anti-cancer properties. But if they’re not cooked or fermented first, they tend to depress the thyroid, which lowers your energy and gives you a tendency to gain weight. (That’s generally not a problem in small quantities, but it can become one if you eat a lot of these vegetables.)

On the other hand, the cruciferous vegetables can be overcooked, too. That makes fermentation an ideal way to unlock the nutrients in cruciferous vegetables, because there is no risk of overcooking.

The bottom line is that fermentation is an important part of the process, when making cabbage-based kimchi.

How Fermentation Works

The critical ingredients for the fermentation process are:

  • Salt (sea salt)
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Cool temperature

Salting the food preserves the food and protects it from bacteria, so it doesn’t spoil before it ferments. Sea salt is most desirable for that purpose, rather than table salt. (Table salt has been bleached and has had other important minerals removed.)

Once the food is salted, it needs to be kept in a cool place with minimal oxygen.

To keep the contents cool, Koreans have traditionally placed their Kimchi pots in the ground, which stays at 55 degrees year-round. Basements and root cellars are also good. For the rest of us, one author recommended using a small refrigerator at the least cool temperature setting.

The final step is keeping the air out, which allows fermentation to occur. It’s a process that only takes place in the absence of oxygen. That’s why an apple core rots at the bottom of a garbage can, but simply dries out at the top. So you keep stirring compost to keep it from fermenting (and smelling), but you want your kimchi to ferment. Go figure. (The fermentation does produce a bit of an odor, but you get used to it.)

The ideal way to keep the air out of the process is to put a stone (or a plate)  in the jar that fits to the edges. The stone keeps constant pressure at the top, continually squeezing air out as the contents condense and settle