Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Everything tastes better with Kim Chi

Alright, I suppose it wouldn’t pair well with ice cream, though I DID just discover a recipe for sweet potato and kimchi pancakes, so it’s not completely out of the question. If you don’t know what Kimchi is, you’re in for a real treat! Kimchi is a Korean dish made of vegetables, typically cabbage and radishes, which are salted, seasoned, and stored in sealed containers to undergo lactic acid fermentation. You can purchase Kimchi mild or spicy, or you can make it from scratch if you’re adventurous like that. Think sauerkraut, only much, much yummier.

Don’t let the word ‘fermentation’ scare you. Humans have been fermenting food for thousands of years and you’ve probably been enjoying fermented beverages since you were a teenager turned 21 years old. Beer, wine, yogurt, chocolate, vanilla, kombucha, kefir, tabasco, miso, creme fraiche, and vinegar are all fermented products. To read more about the health benefits of fermented foods, read Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. An excerpt from the book can be read here. Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions also has a chapter on fermentation.

You can eat Kimchi as-is, use it to make a stewKimchi quesadillas, or fried rice (as pictured below). My very favorite recipe of all is Cynthia Lair's version of Bebimbap breakfast. Everything Cynthia touches turns to gold. Try it! You won’t regret it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reporter on the scene

Not that I don’t trust the man in the orange shirt with the interesting mustache or the Courier Journal reporter, but I’m pleased to bring you a second-hand review of the Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger from a trusted source. While I seriously question Christian’s choice of lettuce and tomato as toppings, I can personally vouch for his good taste, particularly in tv shows and women (hi Liz!).

Not quite live from the Kentucky State Fair. Sir, how was your Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger?

Do you care to elaborate?
“I thought a combination that bizarre would be incredibly good or incredibly gross. It was neither. It was just okay.”

You heard it here first, folks.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Festival Food

Festival food conjures up images of fried candy bars, funnel cakes and meat on a stick. This year at the Kentucky State Fair there’s a new festival food on the scene and apparently it’s all the rage. Behold the Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger. If you have a very strong stomach, you should watch this video of Courier Journal reporter, Chris Quay, trying one for the very first time. I love how in his article he refers to the combination of grease from the burger and glaze from the donut as “glease.” Webster’s Dictionary, take note. I’m not going to lie, the gentleman with the orange shirt and the interesting mustache makes me a little bit homesick.

Our neighborhood holds its annual Decatur BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival every August. Fortunately, the festival food at Decatur events is marvelously different than that of the Kentucky State Fair. Good music, good food, good people, and all within walking distance of our house. Our friend’s band, Roxie Watson, took to the stage at 5pm and rocked the house, as usual.

While I like barbecue as much as the next person, it just doesn’t appeal to me when it’s so blazing hot outside. August in Georgia sort of feels like you’re in one of those barbecue smokers and I start feeling empathy for the little pigs. Give me a Chicago winter over this heat any day, but I digress. Thankfully, Badda Bing! didn’t forget about the vegetarians, or in my case, the flexitarians. Owner and Chef Michael Condon offered up one of the tastiest, lightest, fluffiest veggie burgers I’ve ever had.

It was like a gift all wrapped up in silver paper especially for me. Look closely between the burger and the spinach and you’ll find a fried green tomato surprise! Now I’m a whole grain kind of a girl, but sometimes white bread is so good it’s worth every gram of carbs. It gets even better, my friends. Badda Bing was also selling FRUIT SOUP!! I’ve always said somebody needs to open up a smoothie stand at festivals, but this was even better.

It was SO refreshing on a hot, summer day. No one fruit dominated another, so I couldn’t even pinpoint what was in it. Cantaloupe, maybe peaches, oranges, lime, and basil. That’s my guess. I tried making a fruit soup once, but it didn’t go over very well. It too had cantaloupe as its base, but then I ruined it with too much carrot juice and ginger. Lilly didn’t approve. I don’t hold a grudge, but I didn’t share this soup with her either.

She didn’t notice because she was already fixated on getting one of these:

A chocolate sea salt popsicle, handcrafted by the King of Pops.
and a Watermelon Mojito popsicle for the boy. 

They didn’t even check his I.D.


I first read about Congee in an incredibly informative cookbook by Chef John Ash entitled Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food From a Master Teacher. Congee, or jook, is a rice porridge commonly served for breakfast in many Asian countries. It’s known to have a restorative quality and is believed by many to be a great remedy for a hangover. While the only late nights I’ve had in the past eight years involved nursing babies and sleep training toddlers, I have found that congee has a theraputic quality and is easy on the stomach.

To make congee, simmer 3/4 cup of long grain white rice with 9 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer over medium low heat with the lid partially on for 1-1.5 hours. Stir often, breaking down the grains until they have a smooth consistency.

While we Americans like our breakfast sweet, congee is usually served with savory toppings. Some eat it with pork or fish, but I enjoy a vegetarian version topped with Kim Chi, seaweed, peanuts, grated carrots, fried shallots, garlic and soy sauce. While eating white rice morning, noon, and night wouldn’t be the best thing for your blood sugar, this dish is very economical and could be eaten for days on a shoestring budget.


That’s how little I paid for these fresh fruits and veggies at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market. The organic golden beet was the priciest item at $2.60, so if you’re not passionate about biennial Eurasian plants, the rest of the items pictured would only cost you $5.74. Please don’t check my math, but do consider how much a cappuccino costs, or worse, a sad little Happy Meal. For about the same price I purchased an organic Fuji apple, a Minneolos orange (which is a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit), an artichoke, a turnip, 1 organic zucchini, 5 radishes, a bunch of arugula, a golden beet, and a lemon. Even if you haven’t a clue what to do with these items, don’t they make a beautiful centerpiece? It makes a lot more sense to buy fruits and veggies than a vase full of cut flowers that are only going to last 3 days. They’d make a much better gift too, especially for a food nerd like me.

I bought these goodies as a prop for Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool’s Art Auction Jubilee, to which I donated a week of free food coaching. I literally chased the poor winner down, blocking her exit, to ensure she didn’t leave the bounty behind. I really wanted to introduce her to my good friend, the golden beet.

If you’re still wondering what on earth you would do with the above mentioned treasures, here are some tips. Arugula makes a fabulous, peppery-tasting salad and I’d peel and section that orange and put it right on top. A little lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper would make a yummy dressing and goat cheese would be a lovely addition. If you’re not in the mood for a salad or your arugula is wilted and doesn’t come back to life after washing it, just saute it with a little garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Peel and chop both the golden beet and the turnip, remove the outer layer of the fennel bulb, chop it into similar sized chunks, and roast them in a pan with olive oil, garlic, herbs and/or vinegar at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Eat the roasted veggies plain or use them in a salad, on a pizza, or in a sandwich. Don’t be afraid of the artichoke – it won’t hurt you. Steam it, roast it, boil it, you can even microwave it. Ocean Mist Farms has a good video on preparing the artichoke. Radishes can be used in your salad, of course, but I prefer them sliced thinly and served with a little bit of butter on whole grain toast. The zucchini could be sauted, but tastes even better grilled, just try not to overcook it or you’ll make my friend, Manashi, gag. I also like raw zucchini and raw shredded beets in my salads. That leaves the Fuji apple, and I’m not going to insult your intelligence and tell you how to eat an apple (with peanut butter).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A finger, two dots then me.

While this month has not been kind to my friends or my family, this lifted me up.

Produced by Duality Filmworks and Write Bloody Publishing

Written and performed by Derrick Brown
Shot, cut and directed by David and Daniel Holechek

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's almost Thanksgiving

but I'm drooling over our summer photos.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
I feared some days would never end,
but then school started and I missed the noise and the chaos.
It was sweet and exhausting.
Lots and lots and lots of togetherness.
We blew bubbles
 and made our own lava lamps with oil, alka seltzer, and food coloring
 picked blackberries
and strawberries 
 and spent a lot of time on Lake Chatuge.

 It's the most beautiful lake this side of the Mississippi,
AND there are no mosquitos.
Don't tell anyone.

We don't need the big city riff raff from Atlanta mucking up the place like they do at Lake Lanier.
Yes, we're Atlantans (Decaturites, really), but we're RELATED to the local mountain folk,
so they let us in.
 After 15 years of seeing signs for Rock City,
I finally SAW ROCK CITY!
Summer is not my favorite season,
I always dread it
and then I miss it.