Radish and Green Onion Kimchi

This is my favorite kimchi to make, because it’s fast, easy and delicious. With cabbage-based kimchi, you have to massage the salt and spices into the cabbage leaves, but with radishes you basically toss it all together and that’s it! Plus, radish kimchi ferments in about three days, while cabbage kimchi usually takes more like six.

The recipe is based on Karen Solomon’s Cubed Radish Kimchi in Asian Pickles, which is a fascinating cookbook about pickles from Japan, Korea, China, India and Southeast Asia. In traditional radish kimchi, the radishes are cut into cubes, but I prefer mine sliced and quartered because it’s easier to pack into mason jars and I think the texture comes out better. I also love adding green onions, or occasionally incorporating some carrots. I find kimchi is very forgiving, so it’s hard to go wrong!

Note: In the photos below, I was making an extra large batch (about 6 1/2 pounds of daikon radish), so a regular batch should fit in one large bowl and two quart-size mason jars.

Ingredients

3 pounds daikon radish, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch slices and quartered
3 tbsp sea salt
3 tbsp sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger root, unpeeled, minced
1/2 cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
3 tbsp soy sauce or fish sauce
1 tbsp gochujang (Korean fermented red chili paste)
4 stalks green onion, chopped

In a large bowl, combine the radish slices, salt and sugar and stir until evenly distributed. Let it sit for 15 minutes, stir, then let it sit for another 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, gochugaru, soy sauce and gochujang.

Drain the radishes, then add the spice mixture and the green onions and mix thoroughly. Pack it all into mason jars or your preferred fermentation vessel, pressing down firmly to eliminate air pockets.

Cover the jars loosely (for example, with a half-tightened lid, so gasses can escape) and ferment at room temperature for about three days (keep out of direct sunlight). Shake the jars once a day to distribute the juices. The kimchi should have a pleasant fermented odor — strong but not foul. Taste for doneness, then transfer to the refrigerator.

Pictured: Pyrex Speckled Lines 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Verde 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 2 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Fire King 472 Casserole

Easter Dinner 2018

My Easter meal planning this year was inspired by two things: 1) the desire to use my Pyrex pink daisy divided dish (because pink and daisies are so Easter), and 2) the beautiful rainbow carrots and red fingerling potatoes we got in our produce box this week. The divided dish will be perfect for a berry and whipped cream dessert, and the carrots and potatoes will be roasted and tossed in a carrot top pesto.

For everything else, I’ve pulled together the most Easter-y pastels I could find in my collection: lime green, gold and sunny orange.

Rough menu:

  • Spice rubbed rotisserie chicken (recipe)
  • Roasted carrots and potatoes with carrot top pesto (recipe)
  • Brussels sprout quiche (recipe)
  • Simple salad with kumquat dressing (recipe)
  • Parker House rolls
  • Assorted berries with fresh whipped cream

 

Pictured: Pyrex Pink Daisy Divided Dish, Pyrex Lime 024 Round Casserole, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Lime 232 Oblong Open Baker, Corning Ware Butterscotch Round B-2 1/2-B Saucepan, Corning Ware French White F-3-B Quiche Dish, Fire King Gravy Boat

Honey Lemon Dressing with Preserved Kumquats

We have a huge crop of kumquats this year from our patio tree, so I’ve been trying out some new ways to use them. And since I’ve been into fermentation lately, I preserved a jarful of kumquats in brine with a few spices. The result: a little spiced jewel with the pleasant funkiness of a preserved lemon and a fruity taste somewhere between a sour orange and a sweet tangerine.

Now, what to do with these preserved kumquats? They have cocktail potential, or would be great on a cheese board, but to me salad dressing seemed like the easiest place to start. Here I’ve added them to a basic honey lemon dressing, and the result is so good I think I’ll be making it again and again.

Fermenting kumquats is easy and fun — I used this recipe from the Kraut Source website. But you can also make this dressing with fresh kumquats, leave the kumquats out altogether or use a teaspoon of grated zest from another citrus fruit.

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp coarse Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 preserved kumquats, thinly sliced (seeds removed)

Whisk together all ingredients except the kumquats, until well combined. Stir in the kumquats, then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, let sit at room temperature for a few minutes and then whisk before using.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 441 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Fire King Gravy Boat, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup

7 Layer Chicken Chili and Cornbread Dip

A few years ago I came across a Food Network recipe for an eight-layer chicken chili dip and whipped it up for a Super Bowl party. It was fantastic, but so much work! It required a ton of chopping and prepping, and that got me thinking of ways to cut corners without sacrificing taste. For example, instead of dicing tomatoes, why not use pico de gallo salsa?

So for this year’s Super Bowl I’ve made the dip again, but with my own tweaks. I’ve swapped out ingredients for things that are easier to chop or don’t require chopping at all. And I’ve scaled up the recipe a bit to fit in a basic salad/mixing bowl. I’m pretty happy with the result! It’s still a little time consuming, but definitely easier than the original, and pretty tasty.

The dip is best served with a big spoon, so that you can scoop all the way through the layers, transfer to a plate and eat with tortilla chips.

Serves 16

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (roughly 1 whole chicken)
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 bunch chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1 1/2 cups)
zest of 2 limes plus about 1/4 cup juice
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch green onion, chopped
2 heaping cups crumbled cornbread (about half a batch of cornbread from the Jiffy boxed mix)
1 16 oz container pico de gallo salsa, drained
1 14-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the onions in the vegetable oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, salt and cayenne, then add the chicken broth and simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shredded chicken and stir until well mixed. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, cilantro, and lime zest and juice. In a separate bowl, stir together the corn and green onions.

In a straight-sided salad or mixing bowl, layer the dip in the following order: cornbread (tamped down gently), pico de gallo (use a slotted spoon so that you leave behind as much liquid as possible), black beans, cheese, cilantro-lime sour cream, chicken chili, corn and green onion mixture.

Chill, covered, for at least 1 hour or overnight. Serve with tortilla chips.

Pictured: Fire King Sunbeam Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-322 Square Cake Dish, Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex 532 Measuring Cup, Assorted Pyrex Round and Cinderella Mixing Bowls

Double Streusel Coffee Cake

This is my all-time favorite coffee cake: a simple white cake sturdy enough to hold plenty of crumbly brown sugar streusel. It comes from an old Betty Crocker recipe — when I was growing up, the 1969 edition of Betty Crocker’s Cookbook was my family’s go-to for a lot of baked goods. But over the years I’ve made a few changes — most importantly, I’ve always liked to double the streusel topping. It’s the best part! So here’s my take on updating the recipe with the “proper” amount of streusel.

Ingredients

Streusel:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter, softened

Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.

For the streusel: In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter, using a fork or pastry cutter to distribute the butter evenly. Set aside.

For the cake: In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Add the shortening and blend with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse sand. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and egg, then pour into the flour mixture. Stir until all the flour is incorporated.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and top with an even layer of streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes.

Pictured: Fire King Meadow Green Square Baking Dish, Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Agee Pyrex Paisley Round Mixing Bowl, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup

Thrifted Find: Fire King Meadow Green

I try not to collect Fire King. Even though I love a lot of the patterns, it’s functionally the same as Pyrex — and I already have a lot of Pyrex. I don’t have the space to collect both!

Still, I’ve managed to accumulate a few pieces. In this case, I picked up the oval casserole lid first at Goodwill, thinking it would fit another dish I had (which turned out to be round, not oval — damn that memory of mine). As a result I was on the hunt for an oval casserole to match the lid. I ended up finding it in the Meadow Green pattern (along with an 8×8 baking dish) on Goodwill’s online auction site.

Fire King is also known for jadeite, a type of pale green milk glass tableware first produced in the 1940s, as well as peach lustre, a line of iridescent orange ovenware that came in a huge array of shapes and sizes. I also recently learned that Anchor Hocking, manufacturer of Fire King, briefly made a line of cookware similar to Corning Ware — so naturally I am dying to get my hands on some. I will be keeping my eyes peeled in the thrift stores!

Thanksgiving Dinner 2017

I love cooking for Thanksgiving, but I love planning the cooking even more: looking for recipes, thinking about logistics, choosing the right dishes, coming up with a schedule, etc. I think I like cooking projects more than the cooking itself.

So when I saw this article on The Kitchn about organizing serving dishes for Thanksgiving, I knew I wanted to do something similar. I had already been thinking about setting out my vintage cookware in preparation for the big day, but now I needed to take pictures.

I think this will be a new tradition for me, documenting the mix of dishes I use for holiday meals. For this Thanksgiving, I am going with a variety of greens and floral designs, drawn from my favorite Pyrex and Corning Ware patterns.

Pictured: Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition A-3-B Casserole, Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition P-43-B Petite Pan, Fire King Gravy Boat, Pyrex Lime 024 Round Casserole, Pyrex Verde 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 045 Oval Casserole, Pyrex Spring Blossom 043 Oval Casserole, Pyrex Spring Blossom 72 Butter Dish, Pyrex Spring Blossom Pitcher