Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Before I get into my kimchi post, here's my interview with Made in Kitchen. Thank you very much Rochelle of Acquired Taste

Last December I was busy making and selling daifuku (mochi filled with adzuki bean paste) for Christmas. Making 120 pieces of mochis a day is not what I have in mind. But at least I know not to make a huge batch in one day. Then, the other day, when my brother saw four bottles of kimchi on our kitchen countertop, he teased me, “So you’re selling kimchi now instead of mochi?”

“Uhm, yes, why not?”

Well, the last syllable rhymes but he forgot to mention the gnocchi that I was making last the two months. But anyway, I’ve been making kimchi these past three months doing different variations every time I make them, starting with Napa cabbage as the main ingredient and building up ingredients from Korean radish to carrots, while garlic and ginger are always added for extra zing and character. Making kimchi is more of an experiment than following a recipe to heart. I'm still not yet done with my other variations. And don't be surprised if you see a bitter gourd kimchi.

I also added some pureed apple, pear and onion to the mixture (an idea from Dr. Ben Kim.) for extra sweetness. Most kimchis in Korea are made by cutting the Napa cabbage in half lengthwise and filled with the spicy mixture in between the layers of salted leaves, but I prefer to cut them into smaller pieces and toss with the other ingredients. The first time I made kimchi, I was only using a moderate-size bowl. The second time, I’m using a bigger bowl and finally I’ve been using two large bowls because I don’t have a bowl bigger than the one I have. Other kimchis have additional ingredients such as rice flour mixed with water to aid in the fermentation process and some people add tiny salted fish to add flavor to it. Well, kimchi could be insipid sometimes but adding  fish sauce or soy sauce should also be used moderately.

Kimchi is a lacto-fermented product that is a good source of probiotics. The procedure of adding salt at the very beginning deactivates the bacteria so it can be stored for a longer period of time. While the salt acts as natural preservative, the lactic acid is produced during the maturing process which suppresses the growth of harmful bacteria.

Koreans are known for their flawless and beautiful skin and that is one of the many benefits of eating kimchi. The health benefits are numerous but I mentioned the benefit of having beautiful skin because people would be encouraged to eat it, just like mom. :) She doesn’t want to eat it but the moment I mentioned that, she actually asked for it. Although she only asked for it once. When I did a post about kefir, I mentioned that it greatly benefits the digestive system, and kimchi and other fermented food does the same thing. They are beneficial for restoring the intestinal flora by promoting and multiplying the growth of good bacteria. While minerals cannot be produced in the body, you can synthesize vitamins in your small intestine by eating fermented foods.

Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Makes enough kimchi to fill about 6 bottles of 500 gram jars

2 whole Napa cabbage (about 2 pounds)
½ cup coarse sea salt
warm water

2 large carrots
3 –inch piece fresh ginger root
½ garlic bulb
8 green onions (Philippine size)
½ Fuji apple
2 fragrant pears
1 small onion
½ cup water
½ cup whey

½ cup Korean red chili powder
½ cup warm water
2 tbsp naturally fermented soy sauce

To prepare the cabbage, cut it in half and remove the core in the middle. Cut each half into 2-inch pieces crosswise. If the cabbage is huge, I cut the lower sturdy part into four. Rinse the cabbage thoroughly. Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Toss to combine. Then add the warm water just enough to cover the cabbage. Let it sit for four hours. 

To prepare the other ingredients, peel and grate the carrots, ginger and garlic. Wash, trim and cut the green onions into 1-inch pieces. Peel the roughly chop the apple, pears and onion, then place in a blender with the water and whey, and blend until pureed.

To prepare the kimchi, drain the cabbage and gently squeeze to remove the excess water and transfer to a bowl. Add the grated carrots, ginger, garlic, chopped green onion and the apple, pear and onion puree. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder and water until it forms to a paste. Add to the cabbage mixture. Then add the soy sauce. Now, put on a pair of gloves and toss all the ingredients together. While I’m tossing the mixture, I also lean the cabbage to release some of their juice. When done, divide the kimchi into 6 individual clean glass jars pressing it down to remove the air bubbles. Cover and leave the bottles at room temperature for 1 to 3 days.


Gluten-Free; Vegetarian; Dairy-Free (if whey is not used) 

Fill the bottles only three-fourths of the jar. The contents will expand as the kimchi ferments.

If you prefer kimchi that is less sour, ferment them for only 1 day. They will continue fermenting even if you store them in the refrigerator.

I check on the kimchi the following day up to day three by pressing cabbage leaves with a spoon so they are covered with the liquid mixture.

You can use water if whey is not available.

Here are other variations of Kimchi from other food bloggers I know.
Have fun and enjoy.

Love and light,

Print Recipe

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kulinarya Cooking Club - Roasted Chicken, Salted Egg and Pickled Green Mango Empanadas

The Kulinarya website defined this word as a movement to inspire everyone to refine Filipino cuisine. Although I was born and raised in the Philippines, my knowledge of Filipino food is still limited and while growing up with my late-Father’s Chinese cooking, Filipino food was more of a side dish. Back then, Filipino dishes don’t look presentable enough to be served in a fine dining restaurant and they’re swimming in oil most of the time. I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty of Filipino food only a few years ago as many Filipino chefs are reinventing Filipino cuisine to its highest standards.

This is my first time to join the Kulinarya Cooking Club (see below) and this month’s theme is empanada. Empanada is a Spanish or Portuguese stuffed bread or pastry using ground beef as the main filling. But chicken or tuna can be substituted. I did have second thoughts on my last minute contribution of my empanada for this cooking club but I think they’re still worth writing it despite joining the club on the eleventh hour, the incomplete ingredients, the hurry, and the summer heat.

First is the pastry. I have butter at home but not enough to make a full pastry dough. But I do have some coconut oil and I found a pastry dough recipe using coconut oil from 101 Cookbooks. Making pastry dough in the middle of summer is a pain to do. My first mistake is chilling the coconut oil until they’re solidified. The chilled oil should still be liquid yet very thick in consistency. Second mistake is that I didn’t use all of the water. I thought I had enough when it formed into a dough. Third, the recipe states to set aside ¼ cup of the flour but I used all of them. Fourth, I forgot to add the vinegar. Speaking of reading instructions! So, the result is a crumbly dough that breaks easily but I was able to recover some of it. It wasn’t the best pastry dough I’ve ever made but it’s something to learn the next time I’m going to make it again. This is definitely a nontraditional dough but feel free to use a recipe dough for empanadas. And I chilled everything (bowl and flours) before making the dough.

I have never make empanadas at home because I prefer to buy them than make them. And I didn't grow up eating them. For my filling, I’m supposed to make roasted chicken with mushrooms, raisins and boiled egg but I ended up combining it with green peas, salted egg and pickled mangoes (fermented mangoes or burong mangga). These are not your traditional ingredients for empanadas but I guess including ingredients that are loved by Filipinos will justify it, I hope. The filling itself is really good but when baked in a pastry, the flavor of the mangoes and the salted eggs have diminished. And I prefer them raw. Lesson learned. I will definitely make this again with the same pastry dough but with a slightly different filling and with a more Filipino flair.

Roasted Chicken, Salted Egg and Pickled Mango Empanada

Makes 6 empanadas

Pastry Dough (recipe and procedure Vegan Soul Kitchen through 101 Cookbooks)
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup chilled coconut oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water

½ roasted chicken
1 salted egg
1 medium onion
½ cup diced pickled mango
½ cup frozen green peas
1 tbsp coconut oil
Unrefined sea salt
1 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 – 1 cup chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper

1 egg

To make the pastry dough, combine 1 1/2 cups of the white flour with the pastry flour, turmeric, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Set the remaining 1/4 cup white flour aside. Add the coconut butter to the flour mixture and rub with your fingertip until the mixture resembles fine sand.

Combine the vinegar and water and mix well. Then, without overworking the dough, add the vinegar mixture by the tablespoon, while stirring, just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and begins to coalesce. Squeeze into a tight ball, flatten, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To prepare the filling, remove the chicken meat from the bones and cut into cubes. Then, peel the salted egg and cut into dice. Finely chop the onion and gather the pickled mango and green peas.

To cook the filling, heat a pan over medium high heat and add coconut oil, followed by the onion and salt. Sweat the onions until soft and translucent. Stir in the flour and cook for another 3 minutes. The add half of the chicken stock and bring to simmer. Cook the until the mixture thickens and the flour is no longer raw. Add the chicken and green peas and cook for another 2 minutes. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more of the stock. Turn off the heat, transfer to another bowl and add the salted egg and pickled mango. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius) and remove the dough from the refrigerator.

With the reserved flour, lightly dust a clean surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut six 6-inch circles from the dough (you can use a bowl). Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling onto the center of one side of each circle, leaving about a 1/8-inch border. Fold the other half over to make a half-moon, press to seal, and make ridges around the edge using a fork.

Crack the egg into a bowl and beat until combined. With a pastry brush, brush the top of each empanadas.

Transfer empanadas in a parchment-line baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve


The filling yields 10-12 servings while the dough only yields about six 6-inch circles.

When I brought the dough out from the refrigerator, I can't roll them right away. . I waited for about 8-10 minutes before rolling the dough. Chilling the dough for 15-20 minutes would be good enough.

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies (Kath, Trisha and Trissa) living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.

If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment – we would love to hear from you!

Here are the members of the Kulinarya Cooking Club!

Love and light,

Print Recipe

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Meatless Day Challenge: Baked Potato with Black-Eyed Peas Salad


I received a text message from my nephew the other day asking me if I sent him an email about an iPhone. I replied back that I didn’t. "An iphone? I don’t even have one." Later that afternoon, I checked my email and I received a few messages asking me if I really did sent the message about receiving my new iPhone and the email affimrs that they could check it out through the website that was written on the mail stating that their iphones are cheaper and genuine compared to others. First of all, why would I buy an iphone through the web if I could go to the Apple store? Second, have you ever thought that buying a cell phone through the web would make me consider about the voltage we’re using at home? Third is everyone’s nightmare: customs, tax and bureaucracy which doesn't require any further explanations.

For some of you who sent me an email inquiring me if I really sent that email, I really appreciate that you asked first. For some of you who actually believed that the email came from me, my apologies, it never came from me. And for those you who just ignored the email, I think you understand that my hotmail account was hacked and you may have been in the same situation before. We could only perceive that nothing is really safe these days. People are going to do anything just to be one step ahead of everyone else. What ever happened to our ethics?

While the world is an uncertain place to live, I’m convinced that almost everyone loves baked potato, most especially eating them right from the oven. I’m already satisfied eating them with butter, melting on the spot with a little bit of sea salt. But I’m sure you love it with bacon and sour cream, some yogurt or melted cheese. My topping for this baked potato is somewhat different as I don’t have any cheese, yogurt or sour cream. But I love the outcome of the taste and it would have been great if there’s salt-brined capers and roasted bell peppers added for that extra kick. But it was good and I can’t complain. I still suggest a medium potato compared to a large one because potatoes are high in starch and if you eat too much, it will definitely lull you to sleep. And serving this with eggs, beans and vegetables is a good way to serve it.

Baked Potato with Black-Eyed Peas Salad

Makes 4 servings

4 medium baking potato
grapeseed oil

4 eggs
½ tsp salt
1 shallot
1/2 stalk celery
1 lemon
½ cup dill
¼ tsp red chili pepper flakes
2 cups cooked black eyed peas
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
unrefined sea salt to taste
freshly cracked black pepper.

4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 handfuls arugula

To prepare the potatoes, wash potatoes in cold water and pat dry. Prick potatoes with a knife or fork. Rub the skin with oil, then season with salt. Place the potatoes in a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 1 hour or until they are tender.

To cook the eggs, bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. When the water is boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and add salt. Lower the eggs with a slotted spoon and cook for 12 minutes for hard-boiled egg. When the eggs are ready, transfer them onto an ice bath. When cooled, remove from the ice and peel.

To prepare the salad, peel and emince the shallots, thinly slice the celery, zest the lemon and roughly chop the dill. Then, peel and dice the boiled egg. In a large bowl, combine the shallots, celery, lemon zest, dill, chili pepper flakes, diced boiled egg and the black-eyed peas. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice onto the bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more lemon juice and oil if necessary.

To serve the baked potatoes, remove the potatoes from the oven, Cut an ”X” on top of the potato and squeeze bottom to open. Place a tablespoon of butter on each potato and allow to melt. Transfer to a plate and spoon the black eye pea salad on top and serve with arugula.


Gluten-Free; Lacto-Ovo Vegan; Dairy-Free (if butter is not used)

Do you have a favorite topping for baked potatoes? Any vegetarian and dairy-free ideas?

Here's another meatless meal for you to try:

Almost Ribollata by Jeroxie

Love and light,

Print Recipe

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Abundant Mangoes

Apple Mango

We are blessed with abundant mangoes this year, not only from one tree but from 3 other mango trees. We have two different types of Apple mangoes, then the Carabao and the Indian mangoes. There’s another mango tree in a huge pot but we don’t have any space to transfer it to the ground. It’s hard to choose which ones are my favorites as they do have different flavor profiles with different levels of sweetness and intensity. Some mangoes are allowed to ripen fully while the others are eaten before it becomes way too sweet.

We have to give some away. I was actually having problems as they are ripening too quickly and I have to store them in the fridge. Good thing these mangoes are harvested every week, not every day. If we harvest them every day, I would probably be selling these at Salcedo Market. The dilemma isn’t over when I couldn’t find a space in the fridge to store these mangoes. Oh, Chip and Dale helped themselves with the mangoes and they absolutely loved it.

Indian Mango

Summer is early this year and temperatures are going to rise by April and May. Although they are great paired with other foods most especially in salads and smoothies, maybe some desserts, I just love eating them just the way it is and enjoy the succulent and the most amazing taste sensation.

Apple Mango (sweeter variety)

And yes, right now, they’re the best mangoes in the whole world. But I would exchange one of our apple mango trees for a fig tree.

If only I could share our harvests with you, I would love too. Oh, just heard from my brother that there are new mango blossoms flourishing. I hope it's the same way with avocados.

From L-R: Carabao, Indian and Apple Mangoes

Do you have a favorite mango recipe? How do you like your mangoes?

Love and light,

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

28 Day Real Food Challange: Day 28 - Beyond Twenty-Eight Days

This is the last day of the challenge. Actually, I'm two days behind. Here's day 28 for some helpful guidelines from Nourished Kitchen.

It's our final day on the 28-day Real Food Challenge, did ya make it? For four weeks, you've received the daily emails: the discussions of traditional foods, of properly preparing the foods we consume to maximize nutrient density and now it's time to determine just how you'll use this challenge.

Will you expand upon what you've learned? Will you continue to focus on natural foods, prepared through time-honored traditions that maximized their nutritive value to your diet, or will you revert back to nutrition-less, prepackaged processed and refined foods?

For those of you who are committed to your journey, please read more about how you can get involved at Nourished Kitchen and if you'll miss the daily emails from the challenge, please consider subscribing to Nourished Kitchen RSS Feed. Moreover, in March I'll post easy video tutorials outlining the basic methods of preparing nourishing, traditional foods step-by-step and I'm inviting you to cook along with me.

Lastly, I'll leave you with some simple guidance to maximize what you've learned in the last four weeks. As always, thank you so very much for participating.

Day #28 Check List:

Your assignment for Day #28 is to determine just how you'll expand upon what you've learned here, but take these guidelines to heart.
  • Stay Natural & Unrefined. Eat only natural, whole foods in their unrefined state.
  • Avoid Modern, Processed Foods. Avoid processed, packaged, refined foods even those sold as "natural" foods. If you're great-great-great-great-great grandmother wouldn't recognize it, don't eat it.
  • Sour, sprout or soak. If you eat grain, beans, legumes, nuts or seeds, make sure that you properly prepare them to maximize your body's ability to assimilate their nutrients.
  • Love healthy fats. Enjoy wholesome, healthy, unrefined natural fats liberally - and especially on your vegetables.
  • Brew mineral-rich stock. Make homemade, mineral-rich broth and stock weekly, and consume it daily.
  • Eat grass-fed, pasture-raised and wild-caught. Eat meat, including offal, and make sure it's from a trusted source that relies on traditional methods of raising their animals: on fresh pasture.
  • Keep dairy raw and fresh. If you eat dairy, keep it raw or, at the very least, make sure it comes from grass-fed animals and is not subject to ultra-high-temperature pasteurization.
  • Get Your Good Bacteria. Consume naturally fermented, probiotic foods and beverages daily.
  • Get involved. Grow your foodshed and give back to the community. Fight for farmers and consumers rights and against the industrialization of our food supply.
  • Maximize nutrient density of your foods by preparing and consuming them with time-honored tradition.

Real food is a real challenge in the 21st century. Our life today is different compared to what it was before. But there is really no excuse that real food has to be real food. I may already be familiar with this challenge before but I'm still overwhelmed because while I'm doing my part promoting whole foods, there are a lot of companies and advertisers, even chefs working together to get your attention so you can buy their product that comes with a label. There are so many of them out there. Although I am not against other wholesome products (good quality natural yogurt, for instance - how many brands do we actually have?), the public still needs to be educated about the truth. Aside from this blog, I'm still finding some inspiration on where and how to start.

There are also some ingredients that I need to keep. For instance, I need to keep some all purpose flour at home so I could it to make some gnocchi until I could find a better alternative. Although they are available in health food stores, would you still buy it if you're on a real tight budget? Sometimes I have to compromise and use whatever ingredient I have at home. And sometimes it's not practical to buy a healthy product online when the shipping and handling is more expensive than the product itself. Use whatever you have in your own country and work from there. When it comes to real food, there's always the practice of moderation, balance and flexibility. It's not going to be perfect and I don't have to do it perfectly.

This challenge is just the beginning. I still have a lot of projects to do, posts to write and recipes to cook.

Hope you learned a lot from this challenge.

Love and light,

Monday, March 1, 2010

28 Day Real Food Challange: Day 27 - Give Back

I"m almost done with the challenge and this is the challenge that I would like to be a part of. Day 27 is giving back to your community by Nourished Kitchen.

So here we are, just one day away from the end of our 28-day Real Food Challenge. We've addressed giving up refined foods, purchasing farmer-direct, how to properly prepare grains, nuts and seeds. You may have brewed your first batch of kombucha, or started your first sourdough. You learned the difference between mesophilic and thermophilic yogurts and maybe, just maybe, you took Thursday's advice to heart and found a way to incorporate nutrient-dense offal into your family's meals.

But, there's one last task I'll ask of you as we wind the challenge to its end: give back to the movement and to your community. A change to our community will only occur when individuals take it upon themselves to effect that change locally, and nationally.

Give back to the movement.
Take time from your week to spend a few hours organizing a community garden or a community potluck featuring local foods. If you're headed to your farmers market, why not spend an extra hour or two volunteering at the information booth? If you have a few extra dollars in your pocket after your grocery shopping is finished, why don't you purchase some wholesome, natural foods for your local food bank?

Considering supporting the work of nutrition and sustainable farming advocacy groups - providing them with the financial support, however little you might be able to afford, to effect their goals on a national level.

Change only happens when you take the time to make it happen.

Continue your real food journey.
We only took a brief look at each of these components of nourishing, traditional foods during the last few weeks. As this intensive challenge winds down to its end, if you're eager to learn more about traditional foods and how to prepare wholesome recipes in your own kitchen, please consider subscribing to Nourished Kitchen's feed for video how-to's, wholesome recipes and lessons in traditional foods from cultures across the globe.

Day #28 Check List:
Give back to the movement by effecting change in your own community.
Further Reading:
Read more about how we've contributed to growing our foodshed and how you can contribute to growing yours.
Good food doesn't have to complicated. Just start with real and whole foods.

Love and light,