Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kimchi - HTCE p230

Very spicy pickled vegetable it is, alas, kimchi it is not. While this tasty marinade can be reused for pork, chicken, beef, or anything meant for the grill, it is nowhere close to traditional Korean kimchi. Oh, let me count the ways.

First of all, the savoy cabbage never properly wilted to the right texture. This batch was started over the winter and the leaves are still crunchily raw. Letting it sit for 2 hours does zilch to a sturdy variety like the savoy. Secondly, and probably the most glaring, kimchi does not use soy sauce. I seriously paused when looking at the recipe, but fought my reputation as a recipe tweaker and followed the direction for 1/4 cup soy sauce. Thirdly, the sugar made this concoction way too sweet. The resulting taste of soy and sugar would be a tasty marinade for any grilled meats, but is nowhere in the realm of kimchi. Finally, whatever this should have tasted like, 2 pounds of caggabe is a heck of a lot for a measly 1/4 cup garlic to infiltrate.

8 months later, I find this interesting condiment still sitting on my fridge door. Maybe I can cuisinart what remains and convice people this is an asian-inspired cole-slaw? So what would I do differently next time? Start with chinese napa cabbage, lose the soy sauce, make a salt brine, increase red pepper and garlic. The color should be like the cheery fiery jars looking up at you in the Korean delis. And most importantly, it needs to sit out at least overnight to start the fermentation process.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chocolate Souffle 2 ways - HTCE p958

I was gifted with 10 dozen eggs from a Catskills farm this weekend, so it seems egg dishes are in my immediate future. I started with a New York Times recipe (Feb 11, 2009) from Mark Bittman that requires no flour. This simplified version relies on beating egg yolks with sugar until thick, to be combined with stiffly beaten egg whites.

The second recipe is more time consuming as it begins with a roux (equal parts butter and flour cooked over low heat). The roux is mixed with yolks, and combined with stiffly beat egg whites.

Both versions baked for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. The first version is airy and disintegrates into sweetened chocolate air in your mouth. The crust is slightly crisp and is reminiscent of toasted marshmallows. The second version is moist, less sweet, and has more of a bread pudding texture. Both recipes are rather timid with the chocolate, treating it more as a flavoring, rather than the point of the souffle. Maybe with 2 to 3 times the porportion of chocolate would you get the rich, dark chocolate souffle served at bistros.