Sunday, August 2, 2015

Culinary Corner: CSA Members Speak Out

This week, we are featuring some suggestions made to us by our CSA farm share owners!  As a community, we can be a great resource to each other.  If you have additional thoughts that you would like us to share, please let us know!  Maybe even leave a comment below.

Using Napa Cabbage
We realize that you have already received one or two Napa cabbage in your shares and this might feel like we're closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.  But, we will also be growing a Fall succession of Napa cabbage.  Also, we understand that some of you still have that pesky little Napa cabbage still in your refrigerator!  Yes, YOU!  Caught you we did!  Well, here is an option for the use of that head of napa cabbage.  Personally, we've been using our Napa cabbage in stir fries and soups during our lunches.  Others have found the mild taste appealing and they have used them raw in salads.

The following was submitted to us by Soh Meacham.  Soh, gave us this link to The Kitchn- and we have copied the recipe here.  We recommend that you take the link and read the additional text and view the pictures there if you have any question about what you are doing.

How to Make Cabbage Kimchi

Makes 1 quart

What You Need

1 (2-pound) head napa cabbage
1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt (see Recipe Notes)
Water (see Recipe Notes)
1 tablespoon grated garlic (about 5-6 cloves)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
2-3 tablespoons seafood flavor or water (optional, see Recipe Notes)
1-5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
8 ounces Korean radish or daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Cutting board and knife
Large bowl
Gloves (optional but highly recommended)
Plate and something to weigh the kimchi down, like a jar or can of beans
Small bowl
Clean 1-quart jar with canning lid or plastic lid
Bowl or plate to place under jar during fermentation


  1. Cut the cabbage. Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.
  2. Salt the cabbage. Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands (gloves optional), massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1-2 hours.
  3. Rinse and drain the cabbage. Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times and drain in a colander for 15-20 minutes. Rinse and dry the bowl you used for salting, and set it aside to use in step 5.
  4. Make the paste. Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and seafood flavor (or 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru, using 1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy (I like about 3 1/2 tablespoons).
  5. Combine the vegetables and paste. Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the radish, scallions, and seasoning paste.
  6. Mix thoroughly. Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. The gloves are optional here but highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smells!
  7. Pack the kimchi into the jar. Pack the kimchi into the jar, pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1-inch of headspace. Seal the jar with te lid.
  8. Let it ferment. Let the jar stand at room temperature for 1-5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow.
  9. Check it daily and refrigerate when ready. Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it's best after another week or two.

Recipe Notes

  • Salt: Use salt that is free of iodine and/or anti-caking agents, which can inhibit fermentation.
  • Water: Chlorinated water can inhibit fermentation, so use spring, distilled, or filtered water if you can.
  • Seafood flavor and vegetarian alternatives: Seafood gives kimchi an umami flavor. Different regions and families may use fish sauce, salted shrimp paste, oysters, and other seafood. Use about 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, salted shrimp paste, or a combination of the two. For vegetarian kimchi, I like using 3/4 teaspoon kelp powder mixed with 3 tablespoons water, or simply 3 tablespoons of water.
Kale and Swiss Chard
Here is another one that can give some people grief, while others can't get enough of kale (or chard).  This suggestion comes from Marianne Beck and is located on the All Recipes website.

Rainbow chard at the farm.
Rather than copy this one down, we suggest you take the link.  Instead, we include Marianne's comments regarding this recipe:

"I made this with just one bunch of swiss chard and no kale, and I used just one large chicken breast that I poached rather than grilling it.  I reduced the dressing ingredients by half and used lemon juice instead of vinegar,  but left the oregano, raisins, and walnuts as called for in the recipe.  I didn't have quite as much feta as called for, but it was great with what I had on hand.  This is definitely a keeper!"

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