Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Momofukin' Kimchi

Turned on the Today Show this morning and David Chang of Momofuku was doing a cooking segment, on how to make perfectly prickly cabbage kimchi! Eyes wide open, I only caught the last minute of it, but could barely understand what he was trying to say. Someone needs to media train him stat! Our little chef was so nervous, knocking over his ingredients and all tounge tied on national TV. Spit it out David, we love you!

Luckily, I found the clip online, along with his renowned reciepe.
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Napa cabbage kimchi (aka Paechu kimchi)
Makes 1 to 1½ quarts

Kimchi is a fermented pickle, like sauerkraut, and the fermentation process is key to its flavor. It's elemental in Korean food and in Momofuku food, and you can make it with almost anything. In northern Virginia, where I grew up, my mom and my grandmother made it with blue crabs (which was totally gross, in case you're wondering). But some kind of seafood is often added to kimchi to help kick-start the fermentation process. Raw oysters are common as are squid, shrimp, or yellow croaker. We use the jarred salted shrimp that look like krill and have a strong but still appealing and sweet shrimp aroma. A little goes a long way, and a 500-gram jar will last even an avid kimchi maker a while, so take the time and hunt one down.

The amount of salt in kimchi stops almost every kind of food-borne nastiness from working except for lactic acid bacteria, and once that bacteria starts to produce lactic acid, the pH of the whole thing drops, and nothing grows that's going to cause spoilage. My friend Dave Arnold, The Smartest Person Alive and a food-science genius, explained that to me, and he also says that using sea salt or any naturally evaporated salt will help the pickles keep and stay firmer longer because of the trace amounts of impurities you can't taste, like magnesium and calcium.

At Momofuku, we make three types of kimchi: Napa cabbage (paechu), radish (from long white Korean radishes or, failing that, Japanese daikon), and Kirby cucumber (oi). Our recipe has changed some since I learned it from my mom, who learned it from her mom. I add more sugar than they would. We let the fermentation happen in the refrigerator instead of starting the kimchi at room temperature and then moving it into the fridge when it starts to get funky. At the restaurant, we let the kimchi ferment for only a couple of weeks, instead of allowing it to get really stinky and soft. There's a point, after about two weeks, where the bacteria that are fermenting the kimchi start producing CO2 and the kimchi takes on a prickly mouthfeel, like the feeling of letting the bubbles in a soft drink pop on your tongue. It's right around then that I like it best.

• 1 small to medium head Napa cabbage, discolored or loose outer leaves discarded
• 2 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
• 20 garlic cloves, minced
• 20 slices peeled fresh ginger, minced
• 1/2 cup kochukaru (Korean chile powder)
• 1/4 cup fish sauce
• 1/4 cup usukuchi (light soy sauce)
• 2 teaspoons jarred salted shrimp
• 1/2 cup 1-inch pieces scallions (greens and whites)
• 1/2 cup julienned carrots

Cut the cabbage lengthwise in half, then cut the halves crosswise into 1-inch-wide pieces. Toss the cabbage with the salt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Combine the garlic, ginger, kochukaru, fish sauce, soy sauce, shrimp, and remaining ½ cup sugar in a large bowl. If it is very thick, add water 1/3 cup at a time until the brine is just thicker than a creamy salad dressing but no longer a sludge. Stir in the scallions and carrots.

Drain the cabbage and add it to the brine. Cover and refrigerate. Though the kimchi will be tasty after 24 hours, it will be better in a week and at its prime in 2 weeks. It will still be good for another couple weeks after that, though it will grow stronger and funkier.
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Have have have to try this "salty and tasty" dish. Pics to come!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mama Mexico

Received an e-mail this morning from Seamless offering 10% off - and even more restaurants added to Delivery Week! With my wisdom tooth fiasco finally over, decided to order dinner.

My $20.09 three course meal? Quesadilla Mexicana (ham), Chimichangas de Pollo O Carne (pictured), and Dulce de Kalhua (homemade).
So so so good. It was worth every penny.

Expires: 11:59 PM ET tonight

***Mama Mexico: 214 E. 49th St. New York, NY 10017 nr. 3rd Ave.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wanna Screw?

Picked these puppies up the last time I was at the Han Ah Reum on 32nd St. Big Screw bars (and yes, that's what they're really called)!
A mix between strawberry and apple, it looks like I found the perfect cure for my poor little mouth.
Now go screw yourselves!


Just got my wisdom tooth pulled. I swear that stubborn little sucker was hanging on for dear life. No more eating/cooking real food for the next 48 hours.

What to do with myself...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

HMart Online

Always wondered why there wasn't a Korean version of FreshDirect, until now!

Can't believe I didn't know this but apparently HMart has had their own website this whole time. Complete with coupons and even free shipping on certain items! In case you're not fluent in Korean, the English tab is on the top right ;)

Just placed an order for kimchi and red pepper powder in my pajamas. Ahh. This is too easy. Now I'm debating if I should be nice and send my sister at RISD a box of instant rice and ramen noodles. Nah!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Zucchini Pancakes

So loving zucchini right now. Just the other day I made a zucchini frittata topped with tomatoes and white cheddar cheese for brunch.

And with the leftover veggie, fruit, flower, whatever it is classified as, I decided to make a Korean zucchini pancake (ho bak jun) as a side dish (ban chan).

- 1 medium-sized zucchini
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 2 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil

First, slice the zucchini about 1/4 inch thick.
Then coat it lightly in flour. I had organic Korean pancake mix (bu cheem gah ruh) on hand, and used that instead.
Crack open the eggs, add a pinch of salt and lightly beat together. Then take the flour covered zucchini and dip it well into the egg mixture.
Heat up your frying pan, add a touch of olive oil and pan-fry for a few minutes on each side.
Once it starts to turn a nice golden brown, you are ready to plate and serve!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Stepped out of a cab on the corner of Bowery and Houston and spotted Georgina Sparks! For those of you non-Gossip Girl viewers (you're totally missing out), Michelle Trachtenberg.

Still excited over my celebrity-sighting (I know, I’m a New Yorker, we’re supposed to keep it cool) we headed to DBGB. Can we say the best-burger-I’ve-had-in-a-restaurant-on-the-East-Coast-ever? I’m only saying that to cover my bases since Shake Shack and In-n-Out are technically fast-food joints, and Father’s Office is all the way over in LaLa Land.

We ordered the Yankee with Vermont cheese (no bacon)...
... and the Piggie topped with pulled pork from Daisy May's on a cheddar-cornbread bun.
Tried to work the camera to find just the right lighting, but after several takes, our impatient selves couldn't wait any longer to try the food! We stopped fidgeting with the settings and dove in.

Topped off our meal with a coffee-caramel sundae. I’m pretty sure this replaces Momofuku Ssam Bar as my boyfriend’s new favorite restaurant. Sorry David Chang!

The New York Times also just published a review today.

***DBGB Kitchen & Bar: 299 Bowery St. New York, NY 10003 nr. 1st St.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NYC Delivery Week is Oct 19-31

Just read on Grub Street that Delivery Week is coming up!

Similar to restaurant week, three course meals will be $12.09 plus tax for lunch, and $20.09 plus tax for dinner.

I'm already mapping out my plan of attack. First up on the list, Mama Mexico. Now if only I lived closer to Hill Country!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ox Tail Soup - Gom Gook

I know I know, it's been forever but I finally started cooking at home again! And just in time for fall. This soup will warm your body and your bones. And is so super easy to make. It's actually one of the first Korean dishes that I tried, with my mom giving me the directions over the phone. And it was a success! You just need a pinch of salt, and a dash of patience.

- 1 package of ox tails (found at your local super market)
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped green onions/scallions

First you start off by prepping the meat. Soak the ox tails in cold water for about an hour, then drain. Clean it off by cutting all the extra fat around the outside. But don't go too crazy, we like fat since fat = flavor!

Then bring a large pot to boil and add in the ox tails, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Sit and let boil for anywhere from five to 12 hours. The longer you let it simmer, the more flavorful your broth will be. Skim off the foam and fat every few hours like so:

You may want to pour in an extra cup of water or two when you see your stock reducing. Once it's done you can also add in chopped scaillions or green onions. To make it a bit heartier, I also decided to include dang myun (Korean noodles made out of sweet potato starch), but you can easily substitute somyun as well (wheat flour noodles). Or just simply enjoy it with rice!

I was too impatient (and famished) so I fixed myself a bowl after about four hours and let the soup continue on low heat for a few more hours. Yum!

You can tell the broth isn't as white-ish in color as it should be, but it was still delish! Half way through:

The great thing about cooking in large quantities is that you can keep it in your fridge/freezer and have it again a few days later! This makes around 5-8 servings and is best enjoyed with a side of ripe kimchee.