The Spain in Iowa Summer Blogger Series. A series to highlight people and their passion for food, culture and life. These are some of the people that continually inspire me in my own blog and life. My hope is that they will inspire you as well.
Today I am really excited to have Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen.
Winnie is someone that I look up to and admire. Having a degree in naturopathic medicine, she turned to photography, writing and recipe development.
Her blog is filled with scrumptious, seasonal food (much of it gluten free) and amazing photography. She’s a homesteaders delight as she lives in the country caring for her family of four, two dogs, two turtles, four cats, ten chickens and, as of this year, a beehive.
You can see how we share many of the same passions and joy in simple living.
When Diana asked me if I’d like to guest post, I was very excited. I adore the beautiful recipes and photography that grace her blog and was honored when she suggested I contribute something fresh and healthy from my garden.
I’ve been fascinated with lacto-fermented/cultured foods for quite some time. Lacto-fermenting is a great natural preservation technique that also happens to confer numerous health benefits. Cultured foods are high in natural probiotics that aid digestion; they also contain high amounts of vitamins as well as compounds that may protect you from cancer.
One of my favorite lacto-fermented foods to make is kimchi (aka kim chi and kimchee): a spicy cultured condiment hailing from Korea. It is usually made with cabbage.
It wouldn’t ever have occurred to me to make kimchi with cucumbers were it not for the Momofuku cookbook. Author David Chang has a cucumber kimchi recipe in the book, and I just had to try it out since I’ve got a bumper crop of pickling cucumbers this year.
I made some changes to Chang’s recipe based on my preference for healthier ingredients and my own kimchi-making experiences. You can feel free to tailor it to your liking, too: substitute Napa cabbage or other greens for some of the cucumber, or include sliced leeks or daikon radish. Use red chile flakes or dried chilies if you don’t have fresh ones.
This kimchi should keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, and it will continue to ferment a bit during that time. It will get more sour as it ages; eat it up quick if you don’t appreciate that characteristic “tang”.
Kimchi is a delicious and healthy side dish that goes with most Asian-inspired meals. I like it over scrambled eggs and stir-fries, I put it on sandwiches, and I often eat it straight from the jar.
Recipe for Cucumber Kimchi
*2 pounds organic pickling cucumbers, ends cut off and sliced very thin (I use a mandoline for this)
*1 tablespoon fine salt (I like Himalayan salt)
*1/4 cup minced green or white onion
*2 tablespoons organic carrots, sliced into thin half-moons
*1-2 fresh chile peppers, minced (remove the seeds if you don’t like spicy foods)
*2 tablespoons all-natural Thai fish sauce
*2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
*2 tablespoons minced garlic
*1 tablespoon organic wheat-free tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos
*1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
*very clean canning jar(s) with lids- I got about 3 cups out of this recipe
1. Place sliced cucumbers in a large bowl with the salt. Mix well and allow salted cabbage to sit for about 20 minutes. A significant amount of liquid will be drawn out of the cucumbers during this time.
2. Place cucumbers in a colander and drain out the liquid; transfer cucumbers back to large bowl. Add the onion, carrots, and minced chile peppers(s) to the cucumbers.
3. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Add to the bowl with the cucumbers and stir to combine thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
4. Spoon the kimchi into glass jar(s). Push down hard to pack as much into each jar as possible, and transfer any liquid that accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well – this liquid will become kimchi brine.
9. Be sure to leave 1- 2 inches of room at the top of the jar(s) before capping tightly with a lid (if you don’t leave enough room, you may end up with some liquid seeping out of your jar(s) as it ferments). Allow your kimchi to sit at room temperature overnight before transferring to the refrigerator. Enjoy it right away, or sometime in the next few weeks.