it's been a long time since i made kimchee (last time was 10/2009) and now that i don't have a roommate it's the perfect occasion to get back into the cabbage fermentation game.

i started by collecting all my empty jars and putting them through the dish washer for cleaning and sterilization. i can't even remember the last time i used the dish washer (i usually run it for kicks every few years or so). the box of cascade dishwashing powder that i have underneath the kitchen sink is almost a decade old, so ancient that it still contains phosphates. besides empty jars, i also loaded the machine with other dishes; they were washed by hand, but i could never get them as clean as the dishwasher.

my father was going to the korean supermarket in union square so i tagged along. since kimchee is nearly synonymous with korea, this place usually has the cheapest price on napa cabbage, the key ingredient of traditional kimchee. they were selling massive heads of cabbage the size of thanksgiving turkey at 39¢ per pound (this week's special). my father wanted to get a whole case but they only sold them individually. i bought 2 heads of cabbage that probably weigh 15 lbs. combined (a lot of that weight will decrease once i begin the salt reduction process). i also got 2 big korean radishes, which resemble daikon radishes but are thicker and have a green top. finally, i bought a package of crushed red pepper flakes.

i still need to visit chinatown and haymarket tomorrow to pick up a few more ingredients: ginger, chinese chives, garlic. other than the chinese chives i could've bought everything locally (even the chives i could substitute with regular scallions) but this gives me a good excuse to bike into the city. after that i'll begin making the kimchee.

it's been a long time since i've done any knitting and i definitely need to practice since i've yet to knit a real project other than some sample swatches. i've been meaning to learn how to knit cables and i finally got around to it today. i've read enough about the procedure to know that it's relatively easy to do, just involves slipping off a few stitches and knitting them out of sequence. i started with a single color and once i got the gist of it, i worked my way to 2 colors.

the things i've discovered about cabling with 2 colors are: 1) i get those ugly transition lines on the reverse stockinette pattern when i switch to a difference color; and 2) since the cable section is in a different color yarn (blue), it's not actually attached to the background (biege) and only held in place tenuously by the crossing strands behind the cable. there had to be some sort of technique i don't know of, because i had the same probably when i was practicing knitting a 2 color ribbing pattern. i was so engrossed in the color change that i forgot to do a cable crossover so my cabling is a little off.

next i want to try a cable pattern with i use different colors in the strands of the cable itself. after that, i want to learn how to make knitted i-cords.

for dinner i had some leftovers my father dropped off when he came to pick me up earlier. i also managed to give him my single rosemary plant, to be wintered in the grow house at the cafe where there's more (artificial) light.

the latest book i began reading last night is absolute monarchs: a history of the papacy by john julius norwich. i think i saw it in some best of 2011 book list. normally papal history doesn't interest me very much but i decided to take a chance, possibly learning something i'm not too familiar with. i was also intrigued by the idea that the papacy is in fact a ruling dynasty stretching back almost 2 milleniums. in the course of a few chapters i discovered things about catholicism that i never knew before. for instance, i finally realized the significance of saint peter (supposedly the first pope).