Red Curry Kimchi

>> Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Every year I say I'm going to learn more about preserving foods. Then the peak season comes and goes, some of our produce ultimately spoils, and -- in the end -- I've only frozen a couple things and made a few rockin' batches of homemade applesauce. Not this year. I'm trying to be more intentional in everything I do, food included.

Our garden is bursting with pak choy of all things. For me, it falls flat in stir-fries. So, we decided to do something fun and, at least for us, educational. Just as with Stephen's annual pickles, this recipe came (in part) from Put 'Em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook.

For the rest, I sampled some methods from an article I found on The Kitchn. Oh, and since we were missing most everything for the spice paste, I reached deep into the refrigerator to grab a heaping tablespoon of leftover red curry paste. Some garden-grown chives to replace scallions, too. We still have several more days till it's "done" and ready for consumption, but already this red curry kimchi smells incredible.

Reading and learning more about preserving foods and all the different methods for doing so has unlocked this whole new appreciation for cooking in me. I think bloggers can get bogged down by the frantic day-to-day need to create the hottest, most pinnable recipe. We forget to continue our culinary education (for which I'm homeschooled, right?).

I can't get over how gorgeous this batch looks in jars. I guess it will last three weeks in the refrigerator. If it lasts that long at all. I've been known to polish off a jar of kimchi in one sitting.

I'm feeling good with all this motivation coursing through my veins. And with this recipe, I'm working toward one of my goals with food. Cook more, appreciate food for its flavor and not so much impact on my weight. Use seasonal ingredients in new ways. Learn new techniques. (Which reminds me that I want to get going on a new + improved starter for fall's sourdough adventures!)

I also uncovered another book I'd like to pick up on this subject while researching an article I'm writing for Wise Bread. It's Kevin West's Saving the Season: A Cook's Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving. It's a cookbook, but I guess West weaves in a great deal of storytelling (personal essays, etc.). I like thinking of the intentional preservation of food as a way of life and not just for the joy of my stomach.

Today on Writing Chapter Three, I wrote about another one of my goals: To get a handle on the mess in my house (and -- let's be honest -- inside my head). Everywhere I look, I'm seeing how the little things I do -- every 2 minutes of my time, in fact -- can have a huge impact on my everyday life.

It's been good slowing down and paying attention, however long it took me to get to this place.

What new cooking methods have you tried lately? What else do you want to learn?

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