in the community garden, i chatted with fellow gardener mary. she'd been a community garden member just as long as i have. she showed me her very well-maintained plot, a mixture of perennials flowers and annual vegetables. she managed to do all this despite the lack of strong sunshine, which inspired me to do better with my own plot. my pea plants were doing fine despite the frost advisory issued last night (they like it sort of cold anyway). i'm still hopefully i'll get some lettuce but i should give up at this point. i watered the plants, laid out some brick rows, then left.
at the cafe, i was there to check on the progress of my basement grown seedlings, to water any of them that seemed dry. they're pretty much all ready for transplanting, i just need to figure out which ones go where, because i plan on splitting some of the seedlings between my community garden plot and the soon-to-be-resurrected garden at my parents' place. there was also an old mahjong set someone had given my parents. not sure if it's worth anything, not really an antique because the pieces are still made of plastic, but it seemed to be well-worn from years of use. what's unique are the season tiles, which feature costumed chinese figures. this may be an american set because of the 8 "blank" tiles which could be jokers.
after dropping off my camera equipment at home, i went to CVS to pick up a few prescriptions then headed to pemberton farm. i was looking for some lettuce seedlings (to replace the ones i tried to sprout in my garden) but they only had broccoli. i ended up buying a pair of rosemaries. the clerk was mystified when i tucked the two potted herbs haphazardly into my shoulder bag (since i had to ride the motorcycle back). i went back to the garden once more (after picking up some miracle grow pellets from my house, this time i walked to the garden) to plant the two rosemaries. i put them in one of the rectangular sections where my lettuce originally were supposed to be growing.
coming back, i ran into bruce. he showed me his washington dc photos and we chatted briefly before i came home.
the real excitement of the day came from my renewed attempt at making kimchee. earlier i'd already chopped up a whole head of napa
lettuce cabbage1 and tossed it with some salt to get it to reduce. the cabbage i got from the korean grocery store on sunday. because koreans use so much of it in making their own kimchee, often times the korean grocery store has the lowest price (although in this case, it was 78¢/pound, normal super market price). by the time i came back home in the late afternoon, my place smelled like cabbage already.
properly reduced after several hours, it was time to mix in the other ingredients: ginger, garlic, scallions, red chili peppers, daikon radish, salted shrimp sauce (tablespoon), salt (teaspoon), and dried chili pepper (2 tablespoon). i chopped up the ginger and garlic in a food processor. the last time i made kimchee it was way too salty, so i was careful not to overdo it this time (i can always add more, but i can't take away the saltiness). the reduced
lettuce cabbage was lightly salted, and i also drained all the liquids and rinsed the lettuce cabbage under cold water. that's why i ended up adding the additional teaspoon of salt.
not only was my last batch of kimchee heavily salted, but it also wasn't very fermented. that's where the salted shrimp sauce comes in, to help with the fermentation (you can also use bits of anchovies). not enough to make it taste fishy (only a tablespoon), but hopefully it'll help in getting the microbes to cook. i was originally going to add the daikon as well, but after calling my father he told me i should salt the daikon too. so i ended up mixing what i had (minus daikon) and putting the pre-kimchee into glass jars while i let the salted daikon wedges sit for a few hours.
by evening my house smelled like radish. with the daikon properly reduced (i had to add more salt because it wasn't reducing fast enough; i then drained the liquids), i dumbed the pre-kimchee back into the bowl so i could mix it with the daikon. i also did some tasting and found it to be not salty enough, so i added another teaspoon of salt. i also added another teaspoon of dried pepper flake because i was afraid the spiciness would be diluted with the addition of the daikon radish. properly mixed, i stuffed the kimchee back into jars again. loosely covered with plastic lids (to allow the gases to escape), they're going to sit in my kitchen for the next few days to allow them to ferment. once i see tiny bubbles i'll know i've succeeded.
the house now smells like kimchee.
i had some leftovers my mother gave me for dinner, ate it while watching glee, my favorite new show. later i caught the end of the lakers nuggets game. i was excited because it looked like denver was going to take game 1, but los angeles came back to win it. i know nothing about the nuggets, surprised they're actually pretty good. i knew they had chauncey billups and kenyon martin, but didn't recognize anybody else on their roster. tomorrow night is the big game 1 between the cavaliers and the magic - can't wait!
1 okay, so what's the difference between a lettuce and a cabbage anyway? in a nutshell, lettuce is what you eat in salads, while cabbage is what you use to make sauerkraut and kimchee. although they sort of look alike, they're actually different plants. cabbages are tougher, bland when eaten raw, bigger leaves, and more veiny. cabbage are also cheaper (maybe for those reasons listed previously). lettuce on the other hand is the exact opposite.