what we lacked in snow we made up for in low temperature: the thermometer hovered in the low 20's all day.
in the early afternoon i suddenly realized i had some kimchee to make after my mother bought me a large head of napa cabbage (5.8 lbs. 37¢/lbs) and a few daikon radishes when we were in chinatown yesterday. i also grabbed some ginger from my parents' place. it's been a while: i don't think i made any kimchee at all in 2012, and the last time i made it was on the final day of 2011 (13 jars, a personal record).
the first part of kimchee making is to reduce the cabbage and the radishes, remove as much liquids from the vegetables as possible through generous salting. i chopped everything up into nice squares and wedges (peeling the radishes first) and added about 4 tbsp of fine salt. i left it to reduce for the next few hours.
in all my recent kimchee recipes i've added some korean salted shrimp sauce. i don't know if i read it from a recipe, but my father said it helps with the fermentation. i have an old jar of the stuff. it had no expiration date, but digging through my records, i discovered i bought it back in 2009. supposedly since they're salted, they can last indefinitely if refrigerated, but i didn't like the looks of the shrimps, and figured it wouldn't hurt to get a new jar.
so i got out my bike from the basement (i had it in storage because i was expecting some serious snowfall) and went to the korean grocery in union square. on a side note, i discovered yesterday that there's going to be a new h-mart opening in central square sometime around march. not sure how it'll affect reliable supermarket but it's definitely going to add some new shopping options. anyway, prices on salted shrimp have gone up: 4 years ago, 500g was $2.99; now it's $3.69 for only 453g. curse you inflation!
i then peddled down somerville avenue in the opposite direction, to porter square, to get some brown (chocolate) cozy wool yarn (50% wool, $3.50) for my mother. i thought she was at the cafe but my parents actually had the day off today, so i'll deliver the yarn tomorrow.
as far as outdoor conditions, it was cold enough that my ears hurt from all the biking. tomorrow is supposed to be even colder.
it was still too early to mix the rest of the kimchee ingredients, so i relocated to my bedroom office to do some code work for client N. when it got dark, i crawled into bed with my computer and watched a bootleg screener of life of pi.
about to make dinner, i suddenly realized i still had to finish my kimchee. i added the other ingredients and began mixing everything by hand. i forgot to pour out the liquids first, so i had to move everything into another container so i could pour out and save the liquids. i continued mixing bare-handed, which was a bad idea because the combination of salt and hot chili pepper made my hands hurt. i then transferred the mixed kimchee into jars, for a total of 4 jars. i then topped off the jars with the reduced liquids i'd saved earlier.
i was just going to make some ramen for dinner when i suddenly realized i forgot to add the garlic. so after chopping up 15 small cloves of garlic, i emptied out the 4 jars of kimchee into the punch bowl and remixed everything. some liquids were lost in the process but fortunately i still had some reduced liquids saved up that i poured into the jars. i screwed on the lid, shook up jars, then unscrewed the lid to allow gases to escape during the next few days of fermentation. this is the stage where the kimchee really comes to life.
i ate some ramen with a can of roasted eel, all the while watching the taste on ABC, a new reality cooking competition pitting 4 celebrity chefs and their chosen teams against one another. anthony bourdain is in it (i personally think he's an egotistical asshole) as well as nigella lawson (probably the one reason why i watch in the first place). tonight's 2 hour episode was about assembling each of the teams. even though the celebrity chefs can't see the cooks when they're judging the food (hence the show title, it's all about "the taste"), for some reason bourdain only seems to have pretty women on his team (i missed a chunk of the beginning, maybe he picked some guys, i don't know).
i have forced air heating in my house, so there's a heating grate on the floor in every room. in my living room, the heating grate is located in the middle of the longest wall. so what? well, it presents a challenge when it comes to interior design. that wall is perfect for a sofa, but because of the heating grate, i can't put a sofa above the vent, so i end up putting my sofa diagonally so i don't cover up the grate. this has been status quo for more than 10 years. all that may change however, because i discovered something i never knew existed: air vent deflectors. clip one of these plastic widgets to a heating grate, and instead of the hot air being blown upwards (directly into, say, a sofa), the air is redirected horizontally forward. in fact, i could probably make my own using a cardboard box, cut up in a way like a periscope to deflect the heat. i believe there will be a new golden age of living room furniture rearrangement!