Cooked Cabbage Kimchi-Style

I know, I know. Kimchi isn't cooked. It's pickled.

But what if you want the flavors of kimchi and don't have time for the fermentation process? That's how I came up with this dish. I thought about kimchi: cabbage that ferments in a brine including chilies, garlic, ginger, green onion and other ingredients.

I minced some garlic, ginger and onions, then mixed it with sriracha hot sauce. I added soy sauce because it is salty and made from fermented soy beans. To add to the fermented flavor, I used a little bit of fish sauce. (Some regions use salted anchovies or shrimp.) I also added some rice vinegar for more acid and because it too is fermented.

I briefly cooked some cabbage (regular green since I didn't have napa) in a hot pan with just a little water to soften the leaves, but maintain crispness. Then I added it to my sauce, which I wanted to leave uncooked to keep the sharpness of the onions and garlic. I sprinkled on some sesame seeds and let the whole thing cool.
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It's not quite kimchi, but it worked well with the kogi-style beef and lettuce cups we had for dinner. The next day I made some more kimchi-flavored cabbage and ate it hot over rice.

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Indian-Style Scrambled Eggs

indian-scrambled-eggsWhen someone asks me what my favorite type of food is, it's hard to narrow it down. I love so many kinds of cuisine, and I don't know enough about them all to make a definitive declaration.

Indian food is always on the list, but it just might be the top. The more I learn about it, the more I taste it, the surer I feel. Ginger, garlic, chilies and cilantro…what a combination, those ingredients should be in everything.

And in much of Indian food they are. Even scrambled eggs!

I read about this dish in Mangoes and Curry Leaves. The authors said it was something they had in a small tea shop in a rural area of India. I made it for lunch yesterday and loved it.

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Goan-Style Roast Chicken and Gingered Split Peas

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Cilantro, lime, garlic, ginger, jalapenos, cinnamon and cloves…

If that ingredient list doesn't get you excited, then I don't know what you're doing here. Now, imagine all those cooking together on a chicken. Smelling that in the oven for an hour and 20 minutes was the best and worst thing ever — tortuously incredible. It was worth the wait though. This Goan-style chicken came from a recipe from chef Floyd Cardoz of Tabla in New York. I had to make it when I read that ingredient list.

Normally I would resent spending $1.50 on 40 grams of cilantro, but a 5-pound chicken only cost US$3, so I can't possibly complain. I recently calculated that I have spent $200 on two months' worth of groceries in Buenos Aires. That includes several items that will last me the rest of my time here. When I don't cook at home, I mostly get street food, which will fill me up for $3 or $4. I love it here.

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But back to the chicken, it was incredibly tasty. I ate it with gingered split peas and chapati, an Indian flatbread. A very satisfying dinner with plenty of leftovers.

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Ginger-ade

I have a growing obsession with ginger. It’s a strong flavor, but I love it. Ginger ale is the only soda I still drink. Reed’s Ginger Brew or Bundaberg’s Ginger Beer are even better.

I tried making my own ginger ale after finding a recipe at An Hour in the Kitchen and I had whey leftover from making cheese. Then I tried a ginger beer recipe from a Caribbean cookbook I found at the library. Waiting for the proper chemical reactions to take place wasn’t my favorite, so I started experimenting.

I came up with something I call ginger-ade. It’s not ginger ale, ginger beer or ginger juice, but a very flavorful ginger drink. It’s ginger-infused water, mixed with honey and other fruit juices. And you don’t have to wait a few days for the mixture to ferment. (If you want bubbles though, add soda water.)

The recipe can be tweaked depending on your tastes and what you have on hand. I’ve made versions with orange juice, limeade and pineapple juice. However you do it, the result is a tangy, refreshing drink that’s a mix of citrus, spice and ginger. And it makes your stomach feel amazing.

Also see: Ginger Berry Ice Cream

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Ginger Berry Ice Cream

It’s putting it mildly to say I like ginger. I love the stuff in the most potent of forms — pickled, candied, dehydrated, juiced. The only way it’s too strong is if I take a bite raw… but don’t think I haven’t tried.

This ice cream was maybe a bit heavy on the ginger if you’re not in love with the ingredient, but for Kat, her mom and me, it was perfect. (Just reduce the amount in the recipe if you’re iffy.)

Ice cream is my favorite way to end any meal, but the digestive properties of ginger make this flavor an extra pleasant dessert. And the recipe isn’t too difficult because you don’t have to make a custard first.

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Craig Cyr’s East Meets West Salad

I am sure this salad sets the record for most ingredients — steak, mushrooms, goat cheese, hard boiled eggs, pecans, bacon, sage, cilantro, chives, basil, lavender, honey, croutons and many others. But Craig Cyr’s point was to show off the great local products from Saturday morning’s farmer’s market. It worked. The executive chef

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and owner of The Wine Cellar & Bistro in Columbia put on a cooking demonstration using almost entirely fresh and local goods. He made the most elaborate salad I’ve ever seen, but it was one of the best I’ve tasted, too.

“The market this morning seemed to scream salad,” Cyr said. But with a slight chill in the air he decided to make a warm vinaigrette for a hearty lunch or dinner salad. The idea gradually came together at the market and in the kitchen, then continued to evolve as he prepared the dish in front of the crowd.

He put an Asian style marinade on the flank steak from Show Me Farms. Then he sautéed mushrooms in butter and white wine, and made a red wine vinaigrette with bacon and chives — very French. Thus, he dubbed the salad “East meets West.”

I loved that every bite was different from the previous. Sometimes you got a lion’s mane mushroom and lavender-scented pecan. Then it would be a bite of cilantro, bacon and egg. You’d get steak with goat cheese. Or spinach and a crouton. There were different textures, and the sweet, sour and savory balance was perfect.

Craig and Sarah Cyr, owners of The Wine Cellar & Bistro
Craig and Sarah Cyr, owners of The Wine Cellar & Bistro

I don’t know how much of each ingredient Cyr used, but I’ll go through the ingredients and process he went through. You can try to create something like it, or at least try some of the elements in a salad of your own.

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