Tag Archives: cooking

Making Kimchi

Hello everyone. It’s been WAY too long since we’ve posted anything on the blog. However, we’ve graduated from residency, and we’re finding that we’ve got a bit more time on our hands. We’ve also moved to our dream house in the Sierra Foothills, so hopefully, we can start sharing our many homesteading projects from the new place.

First up though, it’s getting cold out, and for the Koreans, that means time for kimjang, aka making TONS of kimchi. We had a mini kimjang today and made ourselves 2 big jars of kimchi. Here are the highlights.

First, you start with your Napa cabbage. Chop coarsely, and brine in salty water for 1-3 hours depending on how salty you like your kimchi.  Rinse and drain.

Meanwhile, prepare the kimchi paste. There are many variations to this. I like to use a combination of a lot of gochugaru (korean chili flakes…there is absolutely no substitute for this), water, salt, garlic, ginger and a little fish sauce or korean salted shrimp. Sometimes, I’ll throw some scallions in there as well. Some people add a little sugar, but I omit this step if I’m using fish sauce.

Finally, throw some rubber gloves on and mix the paste and the cabbage together. Find some large jars and stuff away. You’ll want the kimchi to ferment on the counter for at least a few days before enjoying…but everyone has their own idea of when the kimchi tastes the best.

While traditional kimchi is all about Napa cabbage, you can experiment with pretty much any veggie. I’ve had carrots, green cabbage and daikon in this way and they’ve all tasted great.


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Filed under Canning, Cooking

autumn has arrived

despite an amazingly warm and summer-like weekend, it definitely feels as if Autumn has finally arrived.

eunice and i have had various projects keeping us busy lately (other than work).  one of which has been trying to utilize the many habaneros coming off of our plants.  in celebration of the california legislature recently repealing the law against infusing hard alcohols, i have made a habanero-infused tequila.  i took a patron silver and dropped in 3 habaneros.  the peppers had their tops chopped and the seeds and ribs removed.  the orange fruit sat in the tequila for a week and by then had lost their color.  i tried a shot yesterday and the habanero taste really comes through and the heat is just perfect (it burns everywhere).  other than that we have made and canned a habanero-heirloom tomato jam, and am planning on pickling and canning the rest whole.

the green habaneros pack huge flavor and less heat

these are the hot ones


habanero and heirloom tomato jam

our first attempt at canning

in our other local food exploits, i caught my first king salmon on the lower american river. the run has been great this year, and unfortunately due to work i didn’t make it out until this past weekend.  our boat caught a huge bright hen with amazing copper-colored fillets.  the other fish were jacks, smaller and looked to have been in the system for a bit.  those are going to the smoker.

lower american king salmon

have gotten a few days outdoors as well.  up to tahoe and onto mt tallac, a great hike that i can’t recommend highly enough.  and eunice and i completed our first century ride the other day.  we did foxy’s fall, a 100 mile bike ride around davis/napa/sacramento.  it was leg burning but great.  despite the pain, being on the bike this fall has been great.  even got a few races in on the sacramento cyclocross circuit.

mt tallac summit

i made a friend and got the plague

a really rewarding hike

looking forward to the rest of fall and some weather, pickle has already got his rain boots on.

pickle is ready for mud

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Filed under Cooking, csa, Dogs, Food, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

off the beaten path

desolation wilderness from highway 88

taking the dogs off-trail into the sierra nevada backcountry is one of my favorite activities (and theirs); so i try to squeeze it in whenever i can.  i recently became more interested in exploring the mokelumne wilderness, an often over-looked wilderness area.  this is a shame as it has a great variety of terrains and habitats, and is a relatively quick and easy drive from sacramento. i purchased a mokelumne map from REI and am now trying to get myself into all the areas of the park; for exploration, fishing, climbing, anything.

about as stoked as dwight will ever get

i took the dogs on a several mile loop off-trail to several lakes near 8000 ft elevation, a few were rumored to hold golden trout.  this may be true, but i did not witness much trout activity this afternoon.  that being said, it was the middle of the day, and its an area i’d like to return to for an evening or a multi-day trip.

the wild flowers were amazing, maybe slightly slowing from when i was in the area 2 weeks ago, but still great.  i recently purchased “sierra nevada: a natural history” and was eager to identify anything that happened to catch my eye.  several flowers and fungi were pretty curious, and i found myself trying to identify all the various conifers which is turning out to be more difficult than i had imagined.

red-belted conk, it was huge!

leopard or alpine lily

unidentified flower and pickle paw

wandering daisy

dwight and pickle had a blast.  dwight is “dwight on PCP” when we are in the woods, and he went 110% for 5 straight hours per his usual routine.  pickle did well, only one dificult section in the hike with a several foot drop that i had to chimney down that required me to catch and lower him.  made it home by 9 pm and just in time for a rye whiskey old fashioned.  and i have tomorrow off!

dwight high on life

pickle struggling to climb onto a log

here are a few pics of recent meals, an almond sole dish with a heirloom tomato salad with goat cheese pesto and blackberry vinagrette.  also, a pic of my pitcher plant i recently purchased.  contemplating making a bog of carnivorous plants, we have too many flies.

heirlooms from the CSA

this was delicious

already caught a few flies


Filed under Cooking, Dogs, Food, Outdoors, Travel

a few new projects and the meals that fueled them

vacation has been nice. but with last month’s busy schedule and hurried move, there were several projects (new and old) that needed to get done over the two weeks. a few were required due to the move. the kitchen needed a table to hold the microwave and the craft room needed a table/shelf for the loom. these were quickly built and may not be earthquake proof. also, i had to rebuild the bonsai shelter which was more complicated than it should have been.

the microwave plug doesn't reach the outlet so don't bring us hot pockets

the bonsai deathstar is fully operational

more creative projects include a small stool for eunice in front of the vanity in the bathroom and an ottoman for the main room. these aren’t quite done, just picked up the upholstery foam this afternoon and have yet to choose fabrics for the ottoman.

on its way to becoming a stool

cube in the works

awaiting foam and fabric

in between all the creativity i have managed to dedicate my vacation to bacon, with blt’s, rasher’s, and pancetta all making an appearance and frequent encores. these last few days may have a few pimm’s cups as well.

central valley summers are great


this never happens when i have to wake up at 5 for work

irish rashers are the greatest form of bacon, discuss

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Filed under Cooking, Crafts, Dogs, Food, Furniture, Outdoors

an ode to vacation

intern year is over.  and we have been awarded 6 days off.  earlier in the year we had grand plans of sonoma cabins, vineyards, good eats, and wide open spaces.  sadly, we have been forced out of our current house that we adore (i dont want to talk about it) and so much of this break is being spent packing, boxing, taping, and moving.  but my god, even with the chore of moving, vacation is god!

surf 'n turf

moving has provided a steady task, but it has been interspersed with bike riding, drinking, yoga, and good meals.  day 1 we got a lot done, and were rewarded with some home-made surf n turf of bison filet, shrimps, and scallops on the bbq.  also found time to get on the bike in the heat and spent a few hours on the american river trail.  it’s great when time off gives us a chance to soak up all the reasons why we have fallen in love with sacramento over the past few years.

covered in shallot butter

love these new metal skewers

i ate these shrimps, heads, skin and all!

day 2 and we were off to the farmers’ market;  70 degrees at 9am, ranier cherries, squash blossoms, and a market packed to the brim.  we made off with a few choice items including the afore mentioned blossoms, baby back ribs, pretzel croissants, and a first for us, crawfish!

love these!

everything should be filled with ricotta

and also then fried!

the rest of the day was filled with yoga followed by so many pimm’s cups, with some packing as well.  lunch was squash blossoms filled with ricotta, battered and fried (recipe at the bottom of the page).  yum.  dinner is still going.  yet another version of baby back ribs with some home-made chipotle-maple bbq sauce and a crawfish boil!  this should be interesting.

two racks of farmers' market baby back ribs

on a bed of onions, covered in beer, in the oven for 2 hours before the grill

mud bugs

so scary

homemade bbq sauce is the only way to go

these turned out amazing!!!!!


needless to say, we are soaking up this time off with good meals, good rides, good yoga, and good drinks.  we will have a mini-vacation for a day out of town and then back to work in a few days.  looking forward to our new place, and in the meantime, trying to salvage what we can from our beautiful garden; rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, and oregano have been potted; but still planning the rescue of the tomatillos, edamame, eggplant, habanero, jalapenos, broccoli, corn and brussel sprouts.

our new obsession, pimm's cups

a proper pimm's cup with borage foraged from our garden, who knew?!?!

Eunice’s Stuffed Squash Blossoms

12 squash blossoms
1/3 cup canola oil

1 cup ricotta
1 tsp Rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
salt to taste

1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup water
pinch of cayenne
pinch of salt and pepper

1. Prep the squash blossoms by cutting off the stems if they came with stems. Then, reach inside the blossom and snap off the stamen. It’s ok if you tear the blossom a bit, but try to be careful.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, thyme, oregano and salt and scoop this into a pastry tube or a ziploc bag with a corner cut off (improv pastry tube).
3. Squeeze about 1 Tbsp or so of the filling into each squash blossom and twist the ends of the blossom to secure.
4. Mix together the flour, water, cayenne, salt and pepper in a separate small bowl. Add extra water if the batter seems too dry.
5. Heat the canola oil in a frying pan.
6. Dredge the stuffed squash blossoms through the batter and once the oil is hot enough, fry the squash blossoms until the batter starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
7. Place on a paper towel to soak up extra oil and enjoy!


Filed under Cooking, csa, Dogs, Food, garden, Outdoors, Travel