Bok Choy Carrot Kimchi

Recently when a neighbor brought us a giant head of bok choy from his garden, I decided to finally get around to making something I’ve been wanting to try: bok choy kimchi. Some Googling suggested that bok choy is often paired with carrots in kimchi, and spring onions were in season at our farmers market, so that’s what I went with — not necessarily authentic, but delicious. I love how colorful this kimchi turned out, with the bok choy’s dark green leafy bits, big chunks of spring onion, bright orange carrots and red spices.

You’ll need to make a trip to the Asian grocery store to find gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) and gochujang (Korean fermented red chili paste). They really are the foundation of kimchi’s flavor — no substitutions will do, though in a pinch you can omit the gochujang.

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A few notes:

  • Chopping: If you’re wondering how thick or thin to slice your vegetables, think about how you will eat the finished product. Do you like to munch on big chunks, or do you prefer a slaw-like consistency? Chop accordingly.
  • Spice: Different brands of gochugaru will have different levels of spice, which obviously will impact the spiciness of your kimchi. You may need a couple rounds of experimentation to attain the heat you want.
  • Fermentation vessel: You can ferment kimchi in just about anything — a mason jar, a loosely covered (non-reactive) bowl, a ceramic crock. Mostly it’s important to keep the ingredients immersed in the brine. There are a variety of weights and mechanisms available to do so (e.g., I have used both Kraut Source and Pickle Pebbles), or you can use a zip-lock bag full of water to keep things submerged. I am the lucky owner of a fermentation crock hand made by my mother-in-law, complete with perfectly sized ceramic weights, so that’s my vessel of choice.

Recipe adapted from Kraut Source’s Traditional Kimchi.

Ingredients

3 lbs bok choy, chopped
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
6 stalks spring onion (or 8 green onion), chopped
1/2 cup sea salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp turbinado sugar (aka “sugar in the raw”)
1/3 cup gochugaru
2 tbsp gochujang

In a large bowl, combine the bok choy, carrots and spring onions. Sprinkle with the salt and toss, massaging the veggies to ensure they are thoroughly salted. The bok choy should start to soften.

Add enough water to cover the veggies, then weigh them down with a plate and something heavy (like a glass of water). Let them sit for 1 hour, then drain, reserving and setting aside some of the brine. Rinse the veggies in a colander, let them drain for 15 minutes, and then return them to the bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, gochugaru and gochujang. Add to the veggies and mix, using gloved hands or a pair of tongs.

Pack the kimchi mixture into your fermentation vessel, pressing down firmly to eliminate air pockets. Top with some of the reserved brine — enough so that the veggies are just barely submerged. (The bok choy will release additional water during the fermentation process.) Cover with whatever weight and lid you’re using. Note: If you are not using an airlock mechanism, make sure your lid is loose enough to release the gas generated by fermentation.

Ferment at room temperature for at least 5 days, longer to taste. The kimchi should have a pleasant fermented odor — strong but not foul. Taste for doneness, then transfer to the refrigerator.

Pictured: Pyrex Gooseberry 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Glasbake J2663 Handled Bowl

Thrifted Find: Glasbake French Casseroles

I see these little Glasbake handled bowls at thrift stores fairly often — usually in plain white milk glass, with slight variations in the shape of the handle. They are frequently referred to as chili bowls or soup bowls, but I think their size is better suited to ice cream. Either way, they were originally sold as “French Casseroles,” intended for individual baked sides.

I was thrilled to find this beautiful set of four colors, complete with original lids, on the Goodwill online auction site. I believe they were part of a “Patioware” set that included square serving tiles — don’t think I’ll ever find those. But the colors are so cheery, I hardly mind. These rank pretty high on my list of favorite pieces!

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Roasted Carrots and Potatoes with Carrot Top Pesto

For a few Saturdays in a row, I’ve watched people flock to the carrots in the vegetable booth at our neighborhood farmers’ market — brilliant orange specimens, stubby, with a ton a fresh leafy greens attached. So this weekend, I bought them too. It was the perfect opportunity to make the carrot top pesto I’d seen in a Bon Appetit recipe, which I’ve adapted here.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1-2 lbs carrots with tops, trimmed and peeled
1 lb russet potatoes, partially peeled (about 2 large)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper
1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil
1/4 cup (packed) fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Move a rack to the top third of the oven.

Cut the potatoes into half-inch slices. If your carrots are skinny, cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks; if they are fat, cut on the diagonal into half-inch slices. Toss in 2 tbsp olive oil and spread out in an even layer on a baking sheet.

Roast until the carrots and potatoes are tender and browned, about 30-40 minutes.

In a food processor, combine 1 cup (packed) of the carrot tops (leaves and tender stems only), basil, parsley, garlic, Parmesan and 1/4 cup olive oil. Pulse until you have a coarse puree. Season with salt and pepper.

Let the carrots and potatoes cool slightly, then toss with the pesto and serve.

Pictured: Glasbake Vegetable Medley J2024 Rectangular Baking Dish, Pyrex Spring Blossom 043 Oval Casserole

Thrifted Find: Glasbake Casseroles

There’s something about Glasbake — the patterns are so cheery and bright, yet mysterious, as they often don’t have a name. I see it a lot in thrift stores, but only buy the patterns that strike my fancy. These two seem to go by generic descriptions: blue (or teal or turquoise) fruit and yellow daisy (or possibly daisy days). I believe both designs came in other colors too. They were quite the find at Goodwill, near-mint condition with lids.

Thrifted Find: Pyrex Divided Dishes

Pyrex divided dishes are especially fun to collect, due to the sheer variety of limited-release patterns out there. My favorite is Dandelion Duet (pictured above), which came out in 1959, advertised for its ability to hold two separate packages of frozen foods in one dish. (The Corning Museum of Glass has a great ad from the era in its library collection here.)

After a flurry of bidding on the Goodwill auction website, I’ve found myself with quite a few dishes (is this what obsession looks like?):

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Clockwise from top right: Verde, Snowflake (x2), Pink Daisy, Opal,  Royal Wheat, Golden Acorn, Town and Country, Dandelion Duet, Butterfly Gold.

Since shopping Goodwill online is sort of like cheating, I also took a picture of the pieces I actually scored in real-world thrift stores (Savers and Hope Thrift). Finding lids is always a particular treat.

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So what can divided dishes be used for? Chips and dip, cheese and crackers, soup and salad, chicken and waffles, spicy and mild, two different sides, different flavors of jello, individual pies with one crust … the possibilities are endless. I’ve also heard of people using them as dinner plates.

It’s worth noting that other manufacturers also made divided dishes. I frequently see Glasbake models in thrift stores, and Fire King seems to have some too.

 

Thrifted Find: GE Beehive Mixing Bowl

I have a soft spot for these utilitarian bowls made for vintage stand mixers. Various glass companies produced them for various mixer brands, usually in two-bowl sets. The bowls in the back of the photo were my first purchases when I started looking for vintage kitchenware in thrift stores: Fire King on the left (found the two-bowl set at Hope Thrift, and was bummed to discover today that the smaller bowl was cracked) and Glasbake on the right (found at Goodwill). Both were designed for Sunbeam mixers. The GE beehive bowl in the front of the photo is my most recent find, snagged at Hope Thrift. I’d been eyeing it on the shelf for a few weeks, and finally caved when it was marked 50 percent off.

The large bowls make great salad bowls, and the small ones are handy for storing leftover soup and such in the fridge. Now I’ll be on the hunt for a replacement bowl to complete the Fire King set.

Thrifted Find: Glasbake Blue Onion

Glasbake patterns are notoriously difficult to identify, but after a lot of Googling I’m pretty confident that this is Blue Onion. I found this divided casserole dish at Goodwill and couldn’t resist it!

The best Glasbake information I’ve found is on a couple of blogs about vintage kitchenware and collectibles: They Call This America and The Kitschy Collector.