Sometimes you go shopping. Sometimes you get grabby and buy a bunch of things that look great but you have absolutely no use for. Well, this was oneof those times. I needed 2 Thai chilies and I bought a hand full. Now usually these extra products will sit in your fridge, get smelly and then end up in the trash. Why not make something that can sit in the fridge for much longer! Pickling requires zero brain power, just throw some type of neutral vinegar in a jar, drop in your favorite herbs and spices, salt, and cram in your product. Let it sit and done.
Now, that being said some veggies require a blanching before hand due to their density or it simply helps out the flavor. Things like: cauliflower, asparagus, beets, broccoli,onions, etc, you get the idea. If you don't eat it raw most likely you should blanch it first. For this jar I used Thai chilies, garlic, whole coriander and some salt. I then topped the whole thing with rice wine vinegar. The chilies won't put out that much flavor so I wanted the liquid to taste a bit sweeter. Mumblety-peg and I were discussing things we have pickled in the past, although no human body parts came up in the list I won by having previously pickled lambs tongue. We'll leave that recipe to another day.
I'd also like to point out this does not qualify as me writing another recipe, so I don't want to hear any talk of selling out! That'll happen soon enough.
Let's be frank for a minute. As I'm sure all of you are aware "local" is the new skinny jeans. Whether it's food, clothes, or furniture, everybody wants to slap the term local on their product. But the question arises where do we draw the line? Somebody in the 'burbs might have a farm 5 miles away while we here in the big city don't have anything that close. Can we still call something local if it arrived from Wisconsin? What about North Wisconsin? That's pretty damn far even though its our neighboring state. Personally I'd love to only buy from producers within an hour or two of the city, but while this is possible for some of us there is no way they could keep up with demand.
We have to realize that supporting small farms and producers is nice and cuddly, but the point of purchasing locally is to cut out the insane amount of shipping, packaging and storage involved in the usual production line. In case you weren't aware here are some scary facts for you:
-Aircraft transport has the highest fuels consumptions and greenhouse gas emission per mile then any other mode of transport.
-Transportation by shipping uses 11 billion gallons of fuel annually.
-The amount of sulphur oxide pollution produced by the 15 largest ships equals that of ALL the cars in the world.
-The U.S. produced an estimated 11.9 million tons of plastic packaging and over 90% of this went into the landfill after one use.
-Transport trucks spend about 50% of their time on the road at idle. 1.2 billion gallons of fuel and 200,000 tons of nitrous oxides are expended each year while these trucks idle at rest stops.
Ok, I understand that all these methods of shipment also cater to other forms of industry beside shipping perishables. Fact of the matter is that these numbers are reason enough to not buy that apple from New Zealand or cherries from Chile just because you have a hankering for some. As a society we MUST understand that simply going to a restaurant that is supplied by farmers is not a going to change a thing. This needs to be an everyday thing we do and not simply a charity case, like giving a bum a dime and thinking his life is going to turn around because of you.
I got off track, the point was to define "local". Here's the problem, the whole idea of locally produced goods is nothing new but it is new idea to the majority of the population. As of right now we don't have the infrastructure to support large cities with all locally produced goods. So for now I think we should be content with supporting neighboring states and developing local agriculture as best we can. Weening people of mangos in the middle of winter is going to take decades, but if the numbers above are any indication we don't have that long.
We had some friends over for dinner the other night here at Salted Pig HQ and I learned that ramps are "hipster scallions". Pretty funny since they are the "in" thing now, or were the "in" thing since the season is now over by about a couple weeks. I've heard reports of people on the west coast paying insane amounts of money to get their hands on some of our local ramps. Now, here is where I would normally go off on a massive tangent about how stupid this is and how wasteful it is to put something on a plane that has a growing season of a month. Thankfully I haven't had enough coffee (or beer) yet to be full of caffeinated angst. Suffice it to say that if something doesn't grow in your area be content with what you have, come visit us during the season and try some (this is mostly directed at that new Gilt website trying to sell NW ramps for 30 bucks a pound plus shipping!).
Woah, that was close, I almost got off track. Ok, so the whole point of this post is to put up a ramp kimchi recipe. Yup, that's right I'm putting up a recipe. I've said in the past I wouldn't put recipes up but I've grown up and people can change and frankly I can do whatever I want. The caveat with this recipe is that you will not be able to make it till next year since all the ramps have become mulch by this point. So tuck this one away in grandmas Betty Crocker recipe card box along with that nasty spinach jello with marshmallows, you know the one.
Mumblety-peg and I gathered these (and many more) ramps from a clients property in Three Oaks MI. They were gracious enough to allow us access to their Back 40 for the day where we could forage with abandon and let the dog roam free. Ramps are pretty easy to spot, they grow in fairly tight groups and have long broad leaves that stick up out of the ground.While the root is fairly shallow they can't simply be pulled out, they need to be cut or dug out. A little messy but not bad, and once you get
the hang of it, a pretty fast procedure. Like any other plant you need to get at them early. They are best when they still pretty tender and the shoot hasn't become to tough. You will quickly end up with way more then you can every possibly consume by yourself, so you have to options, give them away to friends or preserve them. We did both.
- Ramps (amount depends on the size of your container or what you have on hand)
-1 cup Korean red pepper powder
-1 1/2 Tbs sugar
-2 Tbs honey
-1/4 cup fish sauce
-3 Tbs rice wine
-6 Tbs water
-1 Tbs sesame seeds
-1/2 Tbs salt
-1/2 Tbs ginger powder
Simply mix all these ingredients together in a bowl and then add the ramps. Massage the paste onto the ramps and let them sit for an hour or so and they will begin to soften a bit. Get yourself a storage vessel, I recomend glass as plastic is semi
pourous and will allow air in later on. Also, you will never get the smell off the plastic! Stuff all the ramps in, it is supposed to be tight as to decrease the amount of air in the jar. Now, depending
on how stinky you want this stuff, leave it out on the counter to ferment for a day or two but no longer then 4 days (trust me I know, don't ask). After you get your desired level of fermentation stick the jar in the fridge and enjoy. You can eat it as is or make some nice kimchi pancakes out of it.
P.S. Sorry about the terrible alignment on the pictures, I'm still trying to get a hang of this new site!
As some of you know I'm a total sucker for baked goods and like everything else I'm a complete snob about my desserts. For a town with so many bakeries, frankly the majority of them blow. Bland, boring and poorly executed is pretty much the norm at these places. Now, let me go out on a limb here and say that I have no place to talk. I can't bake, really, don't even try to get me to make cookies. Thankfully a couple bakeries have recently opened up and are firing on all cylinders. Don't expect any reviews, not my game.
You can easily figure out where I got this monstrosity called a Malted Pretzel Cupcake. Don't know if they make them all the time, its the first time I've seen them. All I can say is F$%K!! There are no descriptives to describe the combination of all my favorite things on top of a spongy cake, pretzels, salt, and butter. Don't be surprised if I wind up dead with two of these on my person. One half eaten, the other shoved down my pants. Too much? I think not.
While most office workers don't enjoy getting new pens or computers for their job, people in the culinary world get the joy of geeking out over the tools of their trade. We spend copious amounts of time trying to find obscure handmade knives and pans. The hunt is most of the fun and it usually ends in a celebratory lunch at some new found hole in the wall.