Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The What Else—Star Anise

Star anise is another spice to look for on your journey through an Asian market or website.

Star anise comes from the seed pod from the fruit of the Illicium verum plant, a small evergreen shrub which is native to Southwest China and northeast Vietnam.

As far as shape, the star anise that comes from this tree has a unique dark brown star shape with six to eight points, each of the points containing a single pea-sized seed.

As far as taste, star anise has a very strong, distinct licorice-like flavor that is both sweet and spicy.

 

Star Anise—The Why

Star anise is an awesome addition to not only your adventures in Asian cooking, but also for your health.

Star anise provides powerful antioxidants that can prevent cell death and DNA damage.

Star anise can be steam-distilled to produce a pale yellow essential oil with a highly fragrant, licorice-like aroma that is often added to such products as soaps,  perfumes, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and skin creams.

Star anise can be beneficial to your body by helping with…

  • abdominal cramps
  • arthritis
  • bronchitis
  • calming nerves
  • colds
  • colic
  • cough
  • digestion
  • digestive problems and complaints—such as gas, indigestion, bloating, constipation
  • immune system function
  • influenza
  • painful muscles
  • sleep disorders
  • sore throat

 

Buying/Storing                      

Star anise can be found either whole or ground into a powder…and of course you could also make ground star anise by grinding whole star anise with your coffee mill.

Whole star anise will maintain its flavor for about a year.

Ground star anise powder will maintain its flavor for about six months.

Regardless, all spices that you buy should be stored in an airtight container in a cool and dark place that isn’t exposed to heat, moisture or sunlight.

 

Tips for Using Star Anise

  • Grund star anise is much easier to work with, but the flavor diminishes faster.
  • Toasting the ground spice sometimes heightens the flavor.
  • Use it sparingly…a little goes a long way.
  • Whole pods are best for simmering—such as in sauces, marinades, and soups—and then removing before serving.

 

Recipes for Using Star Anise

Baking…Star anise is often seen in recipes also calling for cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Beverages…Bring water to a boil in a stove-top pan.Add 2 whole star anise pods per cup of water, along with any additional other spices—such as cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks, ginger root, solomon seal root, and cloves—that you like. Steep for 15 minutes.Strain away any large chunks.

Eggs…Star anise is commonly incorporated in egg recipes. I particularly liked this recie for Star Anise Tea Eggs from Nest Fresh.

Fruits and Vegetables…Stay on the lookout for star anise to be used in recipes that also contain citrus, leeks, onions, pears, and pumpkin.

Garam masala...Star anise is used to make this Indian spice blend that can be then used to make countless traditional Indian dishes.

Meats…Star anise is used to add a licorice flavor to beef, shrimp, duck, fish, pork, and poultry.

Soup…Star anise is commonly used in soup, such as this recipe from Martha Stewart.

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—What Else—Sichuan Pepper

Another item to look for when surfing Asian websites or walking through your nearest Asian market is Sichuan pepper.

Let’s start off by talking about what Sichuan pepper is not…

Sichuan pepper is NOT…

  • a chile pepper at all
  • actually from a pepper plant
  • closely related to either black pepper or the chili pepper
  • hot or pungent like black, white, or chili peppers
  • really a pepper at all
  • related to chili pepper
  • spicy hot like a chile pepper

So now that I’ve confused everybody by saying what Sichuan pepper is not, let’s find out what Sichuan pepper IS…

Sichuan pepper is perhaps the most important ingredient in Sichuan cuisine and is also commonly used in all sorts of Chinese cooking.

The spice actually comes from the prickly ash shrub, a member of the citrus family.

The seeds of the shrub have pinkish-red outer husks which can be dried and then either be used whole or ground into powder.

Sichuan pepper has an aroma that has been likened to lavender

As far as taste, Sichuan pepper has slightly lemony overtones and create a powerful mouth-numbing sensation similar to carbonated drinks.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The What Else—Gochujang

Another well-known Korean specialty ingredient to look for while surfing Korean websites or walking through an Asian market is gochujang.

Gochujang is a dark red chili paste with a savory, sweet, and spicy flavor and a thick and sticky texture.

This fermented condiment is made from the following ingredients…

  1. Red Chili Powder…This chili powder is made from Korean chili peppers that are spicy yet sweet, providing a healthy amount of lingering heat that’s not burn-your-mouth spicy.
  2. Glutinous Rice Powder…This is what gives gochuchang its touch of sweetness. This rice powder can also be substituted with normal short-grain rice, barley, whole wheat kernels, jujubes, pumpkin, and sweet potato. A small amount of sweetener—such as sugar, syrup, or honey—is also sometimes added.
  3. Meju (fermented soybean) powder
  4. Yeotgireum (barley malt powder)
  5. Salt

Making gochuchang is a long and arduous task that involves fermenting the mixture for years in earthenware vessels called “jangdok” on an elevated stone platform, called a “jangdokdae” in the backyard. That’s the reason that I’m not adding a recipe for it.

Instead buy it from reputable sources such as Chung Jung One or Momofuku.

Tips For Choosing Gochujang

  • Add a teaspoonful at a time. A little goes a long way because of its spiciness.
  • Check the package before purchasing to see how hot it is, kinda like buying salsa.
  • Keep an eye open when searing or grilling meats that have been marinated with gochujang that contains sugar because the meat will have a tendency to burn easily.
  • Look for gochujang that only contains the above ingredients…no corn syrup, starch syrup or hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
  • Look for it to be  sold in small, red square tubs.
  • Store in the fridge once you open it.
  • Thin your gochujang with a liquid of some sort–such as sesame oil, crushed garlic, sugar, soy sauce—because the thick texture of gochujang makes it a bit difficult to use straight up.
  • Unlike sriracha or Tabasco, gochujang is too aggressive to be used as a finishing sauce.

Uses for Gochujang

Butter…Gochuchang can be paired with “everyday” foods—such as steak, tacos, and burgers. One way of doing this is to make your own gochuchang butter.

Marinade…Another common use is as a marinade for meat…such as this bulgogi recipe from Crazy Korean Cooking.

Sauces…Gochuchang can also be used in condiments, salad dressings, and dipping sauces…such as Ssamjang, a thick, spicy paste made from gochujang, sesame oil, onion, garlic, green onions, and optionally brown sugar….as in this recipe from Fine Cooking.

Stews and Soups…One of the most common uses of gochujang is by the spoonful to add depth to stews and soups and stews…such as this Gochuchang Soup from Little Corner of Mine.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The What Else—Five Spice Powder

 

One of the other spices, or spice blends, that you should also grab when you’re ordering from the Asian market is five spice powder.

Five-spice powder or Wuxiang powder is a very powerful spice blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechwan peppercorns—that is a very common ingredient in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine.

Some other spices that are often used to make five spice powder include ginger, nutmeg, licorice, turmeric, cardamom, Mandarin orange peel, and galangal.

Sure, you can buy this five spice seasoning online or at the Asian market…

But some cooks claim that making five spice powder in your own kitchen creates a more fragrant spice mix, allows you to flavor exactly how you want it, and makes the flavor more intense.

Making five spice powder as you need it, will also keep the flavors as rich and fresh as possible.

 

To make your own five spice powder, 

  • Toast 2tsp Szechuan peppercorns in a dry skillet or wok over medium heat, about three minutes.
  • Grind any whole spices—such as whole cloves, fennel seed, Szechwan peppercorns, or star anise—in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. To make sure that you have the quantity of powder once you finish grinding these, start with about 1.5 times the quantity of the whole spice as you need powder—such as 2Tbsp of star anise seeds to make 1Tbsp powder.
  • Mix in 1Tbsp each of the following—ground cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and fennel seed. You could also consider adding a teaspoon or so of black pepper, ginger, nutmeg, or any of the other spices mentioned above.
  • Grind them together in your coffee grinder until the powder is an even consistency.
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place until ready to use.

 

Tips on Using Five Spice Powder.

  1. Add five spice powder to your skillet at the start of cooking so that the spices will permeate the whole dish.
  2. Add small amounts of the spice mixture to your dish while you are cooking. The flavor can be quite intense, and it is easy to ruin a dish by adding too much.
  3. Taste your food frequently until you find the amount of sice that you want.
  4. Use five-spice powder sparingly. A tiny amount goes a long way.

Princess Chicken

One of the most common dishes that contains five-spice seasoning is Princess Chicken…

 

  • 1 1/2Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1Tbsp dry sherry
  • 1/2tsp five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 thin slices ginger
  • 1/2 onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/2tsp paprika (or to taste)
  • 4oz sliced mushrooms
  • 2Tbsp water or chicken broth
  • 3/4C cashews
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2tsp sugar
  • 1/2tsp sesame oil

Marinade your chicken..Combine soy sauce, sherry, five-spice powder, and cornstarch. Add the chicken, coating thoroughly in the marinade. Let marinade in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Cook your chicken…Heat 2Tbsp oil in a wok. Once the oil is hot, add one slice of ginger. Let brown for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove the ginger from the oil. Add the chicken. Cook 5 minutes, until the chicken is nearly cooked.

Cook your veggies…Remove and wipe the wok clean. Add Tbsp oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the remaining slice of ginger. Brown the ginger. Remove from the pan. Add the onion and paprika. Cook 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cashews, red red bell peppers. Add more oil if you need to.Cook another minute.

Finish making the dish..Add the chicken back into the pan. Stir in dark soy sauce and sugar. Cook for another minute. Remove from heat. Stir in the sesame oil.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The What Else—Spices—Dried Chiles

fn the last post I gave a list of sites where you could buy kimchee…

But some of these sites I found quite interesting.

So being the foodie that I am, I did some research on other spices and ingredients that you might be interested in so that browing through these Korean sites might not seem so overwhelming…

Let’s begin this shopping trip through the Asian market or Korean website by discovering the spices commonly used in Asian cuisine, beginning with dried chilies.

Chile peppers are a key ingredient in Asian cuisine.

But there are literally hundreds of varieties of chile peppers available, so how do you know which chile to use for what recipe?

Here are a few of the most common varieties typically found in Asian markets and on websites.

 Aleppo

  • Character…sweet and fragrant, fresh and fiery on the nose, but they’re not too hot
  • Country Most Relate….Syria and Turkey
  • Form…only available ground
  • Uses…great on pizza

Ancho

  • Taste…mild, smoldering heat
  • Same as…dried Poblanos
  • Texture…meaty texture
  • Flavor…rich
  • Uses…sauces

Árbol:

  • Also called ..Kung pao chiles
  • Form…usually found and used dried
  • Size…small, short, thin, and needle-like
  • Taste…intensely hot chiles
  • Uses…homemade hot sauces and spice mixes

Bird

  • Color…either red or green
  • Shape…very small and slender
  • Size…usually less than 1″ long
  • Taste…incredibly spicy

Guajillo

  • Form…:long and thin
  • Color…dark-red
  • Taste…hotter than anchos

Japanese

  • Color…rusty orange-red color with a bright sheen
  • Shape…slender and narrow with a pointed tip
  • Size…about 2″ long

Morita

  • Color…dark
  • Texture…like raisins
  • Flavor…-rich, sweet, and smoky

Pasilla

  • Shape…long and thin
  • Color…dark to the point of being jet-black
  • Taste…spicier than anchos, with a more brooding, chocolate-like character
  • Uses..moles and with beef

Urfa

  • Flavor…not-too-hot
  • Source…Turkey
  • Taste…dark, smoky, and redolent of prune and raisin
  • Uses…kebab mixes and with yogurt

 

Here are a few tips to remember when buying dried chiles…

  • Avoid peppers that are totally dry or look old or shriveled.
  • Buy small amounts when trying differenyt kinds of peppers to not only see which type of pepper you like best, but also to make sure that they stay fresh before you use them.  Note that chile actually have a much shorter shelf life than the eight months to a year stated on the package.
  • Darker colors—such as black and purple—typically mean richer flavors, as opposed to the more fiery red-hued specimens.
  • Look for dried chile that are floppy and moist, like raisins and other dried fruit in the market.
  • Make sure that you can bend and flex the peppers without breaking them.

 

 

De-Seeding…Before you can use your chilies in a recipe, you must de-seed them in order to make them less intensely hot.

The hottest parts of the pepper are closer to the stem, in the seeds,  and along the white membrane on the inside of the pepper

To de-seed the peppers, cut the stem off of the pepper and then simply remove these areas.

 

 

Other Forms…You may also find chile in other forms, in addition to these chiles that we’ve been talking about that can be found in packets or in the dried fruit section.

A few of these other options that will probably be available are chile flakes, chile paste, and chile oil.

 

Chile Flakes...Chile pepper flakes allow you to control the amount of heat in your dish and add small doses of pure heat.

To make your own chile flakes, toast árbol or pequin peppers over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, for about a minute and then pound them into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle.

 

Chili Oil…To make your own chili oil, heat canola oil unti it’s almost smoking, then add whole árbol chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, and ginger. Remove it from the heat. Set the oil in a jar once it cools.

Heat and add more oil and more chilies whenever the jar starts to run low.

 

 

Chili Paste...Chili paste is a spicy concoction consisting of chiles, garlic, oil, and salt. The paste is mor versatile than actual chiles, as well as more convenient because it is ready to be used without any chopping or heating.

Chili paste allows you to get more flavor and heat in every mouthful without any ground-chili grit.

To make your own chili paste, soak dried chilies until they’re soft, and then blend them into a paste.

 

 

Chile Salsa…Soak chiles in a bit of hot water and blend them up into a salsa or hot sauce. Adding inegar or citrus juice extends shelf life.

 

Chile Vinegar...Add a few whole árbols or pequin chiles into your favorite bottle of vinegar. Let sit a week or two before using

 

 

 

Tips on Using Chiles in Cooking…

  • Add them to the oil before adding the other ingredients.
  • Be careful how many dried chiles you add. The more dried chiles you use, the hotter your food will be.
  • Chiles are usually not meant to be eaten whole, just to add flavor…kinda like bay leaves…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The Where

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Okay, so now we all know how to make our own kimchee…

But how many of us actually have time, especially during this crazy holiday season, to actually make our own kimchee.

Sure you could just go to Walmart and order whatever kimchee they happen to have in stock…

Or even take advantage of the convenience of online grocery delivery services such as Instacart…

But if you want to make the best Korean food, you would be better off ordering from an authentic Korean website that carries authentic Korean brands and products—not only kimchee and other cooking spices and ingredients—but also Korean fashion, cosmetics, and clothes.

Here are a few Korean online stores where you find Korean stuff…

Just in time for last-minute Christmas shopping.

  1. 11 Street
  2. Amazon
  3. H Mart
  4. http://www.koamart.com/kimchipickledrefrigerated-foods-c-60.html?uid=fq3skf8kmeg6isg8u7n3citt80
  5. Koamart
  6. Korean Mall
  7. SF Mart
  8. The Mala Market

(Disclaimer…Honestly when I first began writing this post I intended to do much more than make such a simple list and find our that I have been spelling the word “kimchee” wrong all along…but this will come in handy in future posts, so be patient.)

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchee—The How

Since this has been the year that I have tried to eliminate processed foods from my family’s diet, I thought that I’d try making my own kimchee.

Making kimchee involves using the same fermentation as making your own  sauerkraut or dill pickles. This means first soaking the cabbage in a salty brine to kill off harmful bacteria and then allowing the remaining Lactobacillus bacteria, or “good” bacteria to convert the sugars in the cabbage to lactic acid in order to preserve the cabbage and give it a tasty, spicy flavor.

Since this has been the year that I have started trying to use fewer and fewer processed foods, and since “simple”  kimchee…also know as “mak kimchee”…is actually “simple” to make at home, here’s the basic process…

Prep veggies…

  • Cut the cabbage into 2″ strips. Place in a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle ¼C sea salt or kosher salt over it.
  • Use salt that is free of iodine and anti-caking agents, which can inhibit fermentation.
  • Gently massage the salt into the cabbage so the leaves start to soften.
  • Add enough water to cover the cabbage.
  • Use spring, distilled, or filtered water. Any chlorine in the water can prevent the kimchi from fermenting.
  • Cover with plastic wrap or a baking sheet.
  • Let sit at room temperature at least twelve hours.
  • Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times.
  • Gently squeeze out the excess liquid,
  • Set aside to drain in the colander for 15 to 20 minutes.

Make spice paste.

  • Combine whatever spices you have chosen to make your spice paste.
  • This is a matter of personal preference, depending on how spicy you want your kimchee to be once you’ve finished making it.
  • Options might include 1Tbsp-5Tbsp gochugaru, 5 to 6 grated garlic cloves, 1tsp ginger, 1tsp sugar.
  • In addition to the spices, you will want to add some sort of seafood or vegetarian alternative–such as 2Tbsp fish sauce or salted shrimp paste or 3/4tsp kelp powder mixed with 3 tablespoons water or 2tsp minced Korean salted shrimp–because this is what gives kimchi its expected taste.
  • Stir spices and fishy whatever to form a smooth paste.

Finish making the sushi.

  • Combine the cabbage and spice paste in a bowl.
  • Squeeze rhe cabbage gently to remove any remaining water from the cabbage.
  • Add any other vegetables if you want to add them—such as 8 ounces Korean radish or daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks or 4 medium scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces.
  • Work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. I would suggest wearing gloves because the spice mix can sting, stain, and smell.

Pack the kimchi into the jar.

  • Pack the kimchi tightly into a wide-mouth glass jar.
  • Press down on the kimchi until the brine rises to cover the vegetables, leaving at least 1″ of space at the top.
  • Seal the jar tightly with a lid.

Wait a week or so.

  • Set the jar in a cool, dark place for one or two days.
  • After these first two days, open the jar and press on the kimchi with a spoon.
  • Check the kimchee once a day by pressing down on the kimchee with a spoon to keep the veggies under the brine and to
  • Keep pressing down on the vegetables with a finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine and to release any gases produced during fermentation.
  • Keep checking the jar for the next several days.
  • Once bubbles appear at the top of the jar and the kimchee tastes tangy and sour enough for your liking, it’s properly fermented and ready to be refrigerated.

Refrigerate your kimchee

  • Now set the kimchi in the fridge for another week or so.
  • The longer you refrigerate your kimchee, the better the flavor will become.
  • Your kimchee will stay edible for the next three to five months, as long as there’s still brine in the jar, kimchi can last for several months in the refrigerator.
  • But if the brine becomes particularly fizzy with bubbles, your kimchee has gone bad,

Now that you’ve made your own kimchee, you will find that it can be used so many different ways in your everyday cooking—such as rice, noodles, and soup—

But first if you simly haven’t have enough time or honestly don’t want to bother with making your own kimchee, let’s look at a few great sources for buying kimchee, and other Korean roducts, online.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchee—The Why

But perhaps the biggest advantage of adding kimchee to your diet is the fact that is has been fermented.

Fermenting foods involves converting a carbohydrate into an acid or an alcohol, Food that has been fermented has a high content of lactobacilli, “good” bacteria also known as probiotics.

Probiotics are important to our overall health in many ways, including…

Health benefits of fermentation include…

  • helping you lose weight by helping to control your appetite
  • keeping our digestive systems healthy
  • preventing stomach ulcers
  • preventing yeast infections
  • reducing inflammation
  • reducing your blood sugar levels 
  • treating various skin conditions

Kimchee and Vitamins/Minerals

Kimchi is a rich source of vitamins and minerals.

Not only does kimchee provide over 50% RDA of vitamin C, kimchee is also rich in vitamin A, vitamins B1 and B2, calcium, and iron.

The vitamins and minerals in vitamin C specifically help with anti-aging, increasing longevity, lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels, preventing plaque buildup in the artery walls, helping your immune system, and reducing the risk of cardiac disorders—such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, or stroke.

Kimchee and Fiber…The high concentration of dietary fiber found in kimchee can help by…

  • cleaning out the intestines
  • helping to lower their body fat and body mass index
  • helping to prevent a drop in blood sugar
  • keeping you satisfied and full for a more extended period
  • lowering your chance of developing metabolic syndrome.
  • preventing constipation
  • promoting digestion
  • slowing down carbohydrate metabolism 
  • stimulating the body to absorb nutrients better

Kimchee and Antioxidants…The antioxidants found in kimchee protect your body against harmful free radicals and oxidative stress. These antioxidants also hel give you better looking and stronger hair and nails.

But enough about the health benefits of kimchee, let’s move on the more fun and functional stuff—like how to make our own, where to buy our own, and what to do with it once we do buy or make it…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchee-The What?

Forget cigarettes…Give me kimchee.

Forget making cookies in the weeks before Christmas…Let’s all make kimchee.

Forget quilting bees and craft nights…Let’s all get together to make kimchee.

Forget cheese…We want kimchee.

Supposedly this can all be said of the Korean nation, where the average person consumes about fotty pounds of kimchee per year. To put that in better perspective, that’s more than the typical American consumes of coffee or cocoa or nuts. cheese, eggs, shellfish, or fish.

ve-american-average-food-consumption1

Why even bring up the topic of kimchee at this point?

Because we’re talking about cabbage and refrigeration, and I always seem to have at least one jar of kimchee in my fridge at all times…and found some yesterday as I was cleaning out my fridge.

So what exactly is kimchee?

Kimchee, the traditional Korean dish, is a condiment of salted and fermented vegetables such as napa cabbage and daikon radish, sices such as chili powder and ginger, and salted seafood.

Kimchee, the national dish of both North and South Korea, is do revered by Koreans that during the Vietnam War, negotiations were made by the Korean and American government to ensure that kimchee was available to the Korean troops.

Koreans have been eating kimchee in some sort of fashion way back since 37 BC.

During this timeframe Buddhism, and the related vegetarian lifestyle, became important factors in the Korean lifestyle.

These ancient Koreans were highly skilled in the art of fermenting and pickling  vegetables in order to help preserve the lifespan of certain foods.

Koreans can, and do, actually make kimchee out of anything edible.

This fact leads to infinite possibilities and preferences depending on what region you may be and what season it is and what ingredients you have close at hand.

In fact, today there are over 180 recognized varieties of kimchee available.

The most typical type of kimchee available today is “mak kimchi,” or simple kimchee…a type of kimchee typically made with cut cabbage, radish, and scallions and a seasoned paste of red pepper, garlic, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce, salted shrimp, or kelp powder.

More than 70% of the kimchee sold on the market today is mak kimchee.

But here are a few more ingredients to consider as you would like to make kimchee yourself…

Vegetables...Even though napa cabbage is the vegetable most commonly used to make modern versions of kimchee, the cabbage was only introduced to Korea at the end of 19th century.

Other vegetables used to make kimchee can include…

  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Mustard greens
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Radishes (Korean radishes, ponytail radishes, gegeol radishes, yeolmu radishes)
  • Scallions
  • Soybean sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Sugar beets
  • Sweet potato vines
  • Tomatoes

Spices…

Chili Pepper…Even though chili pepper is now the expected spice in kimchee, chili pepper was not used until much later than the early days of kimchee. In fact, chili peppers were introduced to the Korean people around the year 1614 by Portuguese traders.

Gochugaru, or red pepper powder…This spice gives kimchee its expected spicy flavor. You can find this spice in Korean grocery stores and online…and in different grades of coarseness and spiciness…more on this later…

Other spices used to make kimchee include garlic and ginger. Garlic wasn’t used as a spice to make kimchee until the early seventeenth century.

Fish…

The most common fish used to give kimchee its authentic flavor is saeujeot, Korean salted shrimp. These shrimp are very small and naturally fermented.

You can find these shrimp in the refrigerator case of Korean markets….more on this later.

Two more options as far as the “fishy” part of kimchee would be kelp powder and salted anchovies.

But First…

But before we go and buy the first jar of kimchee that we see and look at recipes for making our own kimchee and finding ways to kee it from rotting in the back of our fridge, let’s see why we should eat kimchee…and all fermented foods…in the first place.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

10 Ways to Improve Refrigerator Raids These Holidays

Having a bigger fridge will be the perfect answer to your food storage needs. Like everything else, a bigger space simply gives you a bigger area to make a bigger mess, right?

Instead of a bigger fridge, you need a smarter fridge…or at least a smarter fridge organization system.

Having a “smarter” fridge means having a clean, tidy, and organized fridge.

But before we move on to ideas to help you organize your fridge, let’s look at why we need to even store food in a refrigerator in the first place?

Four basic factors affect the nutritional value of your food once you bring it home from the grocery store. These are…

  • Exposure to air
  • Exposure to heat
  • Exposure to light
  • Length of time in storage

Refrigerating foods can help slow down this process.

But what good is refrigerating your food if you can’t find a darn thing whenever you open it?

And now is possibly the best time of the year to clean and organize your fridge— before the upcoming holiday season baking and partying season begins to make your kitchen way more messier than normal, and also blows your grocery budget.

Here are some really great ideas…

1.  Binder Clips,,,The first tool that will come in handy as you are starting to organize your fridge is a binder clip. Not only are binder clips great in the kitchen for closing that opened bag of Fritos, but can also be used to keep round bottles on their sides in your fridge so that they don’t roll around in your fridge and to hang opened bags in your fridge or freezer so the contents don’t spill out all over the place.

2. Bottle Loft…($ 38.00 from Uncommon Goods)…Each set of two 8″x1.5″ heavy duty magnetic strips with peel-and-stick adhesive holds six beverage bottles suspended from the ceiling of your fridge, keeping them handy and freeing up space for other food. These stris are especially good for the ourside “beer” fridge that you hoe that all of our Southern Baptist friends never know even exists. Not only do these strips save much needed space, they also keep bottles from tipping over in the fridge.

3. Door-Sized Drink Dispensers… I am a total fanatic when it comes to almost anything sold by The Container Store, and these pitchers are no exception. These two refrigerator pitchers are made from heavy-weight glass with a locking plastic lid that seals tightly and a grip handles. The smallest of these two pitchers measures 9x4x3 and will hold about four fus. This pitcher costs $9.99.

eggs

4.  Egg Storage Box…Egg Storage Boxes, such as this Girl12Queen Refrigerator Egg Storage Box av.available at Walmart, can store up to rwo dozen eggs inside a compact and durable container that you can safely tuck beneath other goods.

5. Lazy Susan…Lazy Susans, such as these allow you to reach food in the back of your fridge without having to move two dozen condiment bottles to find the one that you’re actually looking for.

magazine

6. Magazine Holders…Plastic magazine holders, such as these clear  8″L x 11-7/8″H x 4″D STORi Clear Plastic Magazine Holders, can be stacked on their sides to maximize vertical storage in your fridge.

7.  Snack Bins…Snack bins, such as this mini 3-drawer organizer, allow your kids to grab their own snacks out of the fridge without having to rummage sort through the entire fridge.

pods

8. Spices and Herbs…To help keep fresh spices and herbs fresh and also prevent them from ending up crushed and rotten at the bottom of a your “food rotter,” try these Prepara Herb Savor Pod 2.0.

9. Storage Bins and Boxes…Storage bins and boxes are a given when it comes to organizing your fridge. These bins and boxes come in handy for everything from making snacks accessible to making sure that opened wedges of cheeses or packages of deli meat don’t simply find their way to the pits of your fridge and make your fridge end up stinking until you can clear everything out of the fridge in order to find out what is making your fridge smell so bad.

Two great sources for storage bins and boxes are Fridge Binz from InterDesign and storage bins from mDesign.

mdesign

10. Vegetable and Fruit Bags…Taking reusable mesh bags, such as these Purifyou Premium Reusable Mesh/Produce Bags, with you to the store when shopping for produce makes so much more sense than using standard plastic produce bags typically found at grocery stores will not only keep your fruits and vegetables fresher, but are also “politically correct.”