Making Kim Chi and Reading Reichl

I've been a long time fan of Ruth Reichl, her memoirs particularly, and this latest, Save Me the Plums, is another engrossing read.  So many books, about one life!  Amazing.  This memoir chronicles the years of her Gourmet magazine experience, until just after its sad demise.

Reichl's major talent is an ability to convey an immediacy of taste, the perceptive description of personalities, surroundings and ambiance, in her writing, so that you are at one with the experience, along with her.  You can savor the duck, "rare, with the wild taste of lakes and forests," smell the salty caramel topping, and wonder at the magazine back of house shenanigans, intrigue and silliness.  Delicious fun and inspiring reading. With recipes!  I'm looking forward to making her German Apple Pancakes.   From the Publishers:

"When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. Yet Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?

This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media—the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down."

Well, you may ask, what in the world does all this have to do with Kim Chi?  Nothing really.  Just that I figure occasionally what I'm cooking up might be of interest, and I enjoy the sharing process of writing.  So, wee though the connection, I do have that in common with a favorite author.

This recipe is another from my ancient card file, though I haven't made it in quite some time.  Bob was the inspiration.  He hated the kim chi that I bought!  Plus it's so easy to put together.  I wanted to make it a week ago, but the market didn't have any won bok at all, (Napa or Chinese cabbage) then just the other day, there was a solitary perfect head!!  I grabbed it of course.  

 Mrs. Lee's Kim Chi

For the First Step:
1 head won bok, halved or quartered, then cut into 1.5 inch slices
1/2 cup rock salt
6 cups water (more or less)

Place the cabbage, salt and water in an enameled pot or glass bowl and weight down with a plate and jug of water, or anything heavy.  I used a rock mortar and pestle.  Soak 8-10 hours or overnight.

After soaking, rinse through several waters and drain.  Taste a piece of cabbage.  It should be salted through but not salty to the taste. If not salty enough for you, just add a teaspoon in the next step.   Drain well.

Second Step
1 tablespoon minced red peppers or dried chili pepper flakes
1 teas. paprika
1 teas. sugar
1 stalk green onion, cut in 1/2 inch lengths or 1/4 sliced onion
1 thumb size piece ginger, cut in half lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, minced fine

Mix together thoroughly with the drained cabbage, pack into jar(s) and add 1/2 cup water (more or less).  Set aside for one or two days to ripen, then place in refrigerator.

I'll share this over at Heather's July edition of the Foodies Read Challenge, and with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event.  I hope you'll visit and enjoy the good cooking and books.


Literature and Limes said...

This looks delicious!

Mae Travels said...

You are brave to make Kim Chee! I know fermenting things is popular now, but it kind of scares me.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

judee said...

I'm allergic to hot pepper- but I wonder if I could leave it out. I hear Kim Chi is really good for you.

Claudia said...

I don't know Judee, as I can't imagine Kim Chi without those little red chili peppers. You might cut up a sweet red pepper and increase the amount of paprika. If you can tolerate paprika. I used the smoked spice.

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

So many people I know are raving about Save Me the Plums, I must read it.

Carole said...

Still waiting on this one from the library. Cheers

Deb in Hawaii said...

Your Kim Chi looks delicious. One of the librarians at my local library brings in her ARCs to share and I grabbed this one. I hope to start it soon. ;-)

Beth F said...

Ditto what Diane said . . . first ate kim chi many years ago when I was working in Hawaii. I've never made it myself, but how I'm inspired.

A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

I love Reichl's books too and I thank you for the introduction to her writings years ago.

Tina said...

I want this one but I haven;t put it on my library list yet. I am behind with my TBR stack already!