Canning Cabbage Part 2 – Sauerkraut

A full three quarters of a mightily dense cabbage head remains in the fridge so my Mason jar odyssey continues. First came the Korean kimchee, then the Mexican curtido and now I’m going to finish off this great green beast by hacking it up, salting and fermenting it as a classic Northern European sauerkraut.

Now what we in America refer to with the blanket term of “sauerkraut” actually is part of a great Germanic-Scandanavian tradition of fermenting vegetables to keep during hard times thought to have originated in the Eurasian Steppes and spread by marauding tribes such as the Huns, Tartars and Mongols. Nowadays the name is synonymous with Germany, its culture and culinary traditions. (more…)

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Canning Cabbage Part 1 – Curtido

I found another post-Halloween head in my fridge. Unlike last time this particular head was never part of a large fish, it was pulled from the loamy back yard of my friends ‘n co-workers Cara and Karlee and gifted to me. It is a head of cabbage, and it’s not alone. I still had half a head in there from our last trip to the Willows Market. That’s over ten pounds of cabbage total!

Now I’m more used to cooking with members of the Chinese cabbage family, which are on average much more delicate, sweet and melt away at the hint of heat and salt. I can steam or stir fry pretty much any Choy in big chunks, but not so with these two bowling balls… These Celtic cabbages need to be sliced super fine and require time ‘n technique to get ‘em soft ‘n sweet. (more…)

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Radish Kimchee

radish-kimcheeEveryone I know has been hiding from the snow (we got a foot and a half! Wtf!?) and pre-Christmas congestion in their kitchens, baking cookies into festive shapes and filling the world with the often-neglected scent of nutmeg. I on the other hand, leave the sweet stuff to Crystal and have spent the last couple weeks pickling and preserving whatever herbs and veg the weather didn’t manage to wipe out.

Its slim pickings… If we were legit homesteaders we’d starve this winter *laughs* I’ve got a handful of radishes left from my mid-August sowing in the ‘ol Zen garden, some chard and a couple knobbly carrots. I’m thinking the chard will get eaten right away while the radishes ‘n carrots will live on, packed into mason jars and swimming in Korean chillies.

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Pickled Red Cabbage

Pickled Red Cabbage 5Walking around the local Megalomart produce section in the depths of a rainy West coast winter is a real lesson in our dependency on other places for our food. Yeah, I’d love to eat strawberries, tomatoes and mangos all year long, but the costs (financially and environmentally) of supporting the industrial mega-greenhouses of Mexico, Argentina and China outweigh my base cravings.

So I obsessively scan the “Product Of…” signs, hoping to hit something Canadian, or better yet, from our own backyard. Drives my wife freakin crazy!

These local eats are often hardier root veggies, or tough fibrous greens that look a bit scrubby next to piles of supermodel red peppers and dragonfruits. The kind of tubers, berries and brassica that need a little bit more processing to be as tender and sexy as the subtropical stuff. (more…)

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Pan-Fried Herring with Roasted Potatoes

Pan Fried Herring with Roasted PotatoesNow that our herring have been processed, it’s time to hit the kitchen and turn these trashy little nomads into rock stars! Now, because of herring’s unfortunate reputation for greasy, mealy, unpleasantness, I’m going to cook them simply, keep the flavours fresh and surround them with friends that will complement them. Nothing like a posse to give you confidence. Now, let’s smash some stereotypes! (more…)

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