Making every bite count

02 October 2006

DIY kimchi, broken microwaves and ash-covered cheese

PJ and I went to Jungle Jim's today, this international market north of the city. It's 300,000 square feet of foodie paradise. From durians to donkatsu sauce, it has every food you could ever want.
I bought some really cool stuff to make a Korean feast for PJ and me, including kimchi and pork belly (samgyeopsal). Yum.
The Korean meal inspired me to make my own kimchi. I soaked the Napa cabbage in salt all day, then weighted it. Then I put onion, ginger, garlic, fish cake, a carrot, sugar and salt in a blender with massive amounts of hot pepper powder. The rinsed and drained cabbage was then coated with the spicy, eye-watering mixture. Now it's safely inside a large plastic container atop my broken microwave (another story), fermenting away. In a few short days, I'll have kimchi. But in a few months, I'll have even better kimchi. Like a fine wine, kimchi only improves with age. (Sarah, if you're nice, I'll share my kimchi with you, nae chingu!)
So yes, back to the broken microwave. Living in Korea for a year sans micro-ondes left me not really needing or using one. I only used it to defrost things and occasionally make popcorn. And, once I thought about it, I realized that any food that needs to be made in a microwave is likely something that I shouldn't be eating.
I don't eat any premade foods from a box, can or black plastic tray. That means no spaghetti sauce from a jar (I make my own using no-salt-added tomatoes from Trader Joe's), no soup from a can (check out the sodium levels) and absolutely no frozen meals (again, the sodium and the general mediocrity). I believe that if I'm going to waste the calories, the food had better be delicious. I'm a foodie who doesn't want to look like one! So my microwave starting sparking one day, and I stopped using it. I keep forgetting to move it off the counter, but it's toast. I have no interest in buying/acquiring another one.
My other great purchase today was a log of goat cheese. Frankly, it isn't the best chevre I've had, and it's overly salty. However, it's good, and paired in a salad with some dried cranberries and a nice balsamic vinaigrette, it will be just right. Maybe some shaved red onion and a few grilled mushrooms.
I heart food. I just don't want to look like I heart food.

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