of course karen wouldn't be going to work today, with her boyfriend's last day in boston. in fact, she's been going to work late most of this week, leaving as late as 10am. it was cold in the house this morning, temperature dipping to 63°F, but i don't think my houseguests noticed because they woke up late same as me. i did turn up the heat to 68°F when i woke up. once the both of them were up by 11:30am, the house became a noisy place as they chatted animatedly and loudly in the kitchen while making breakfast/lunch. i held on to the fact that miguel would be leaving early tomorrow and that later they'd be going out to keep me from being even more annoyed.
i shared lunch with them, my sole contribution a scoop of rum raisin haagen-daz ice cream onto each warmed up piece of apple pie. they made an omelette using leftover vegetables from the fridge. i casually asked what their plans were, and was dismayed to learn they intended on staying home the whole day. the weather was a factor, as today was both rainy and cold. there was an italian food demonstration at noontime i thought they were going to, but karen said they never reserved a spot.
however, they did leave after all, around 2:30pm, for harvard square, despite the rain. miguel really wanted another shake from the shake shack, and wanted karen to try it to. he'd also take her to newbury comics so she could find presents for her sister and family.
my father stopped by shortly afterwards to drop off the ingredients i needed to make korean kimchi. my mother requested i make some, as sometimes they sell the batch i made the last time, which was back in late january. i haven't made it since because fermenting cabbage has a tendency to stink up the house. my 2nd aunt also likes to eat it, says it's better than the ones she buys in the stores because my kimchi instead as soggy (that's because i let it reduce for 4 hours then pour out the cabbage brine).
i was still missing an asian pear and i wasn't sure if i'd have enough hot pepper powder, so i asked my father to take me to the korean grocery store in union square. i also got another head of napa cabbage (99¢/lbs.) because i only had about 4 lbs. worth of cabbage, and i wanted to make a bit more. i got a package of hot pepper powder and a large korean pear. only when i went to go pay for my stuff did i receive sticker shock: the pear was $5.99. in chinatown i could score asian pears at $2 for a bag of 6. this was outrageous. i asked my father if i should return it and substitute apple instead, but my father said asian pear had better flavor and i really didn't have any other choice. but throughout the ride back i couldn't stop thinking about how expensive the pear was, and whether it was really necessary, and that the price of all these additional ingredients actually made my homemade kimchi cost more than the store bought variety.
i began making the kimchi when i returned home. from the last two times i made kimchi, i figured out the key portions for 2 essential ingredients: 0.54 tbsp of salt per lbs of vegetable (cabbage plus radish), and 1.30 tbsp of hot pepper powder per lbs.
while weighing the cabbages i discovered something interesting. the korean grocery store sold me the cabbage as 2.35 lbs., but when i weighed it myself i found that it actually weighed 2.58 lbs. that means the scale at the store was underweighted, meaning i paid 0.2 lbs. less for my cabbage. of course this depends on which scale you think is accurate, but when i did the same experiment with produce i bought from a chinatown supermarket, i discovered that their scales were overweight, meaning i paid slightly more. i sort of want to go back to the korean store and tell them about their mistake, yet at the same time, the prices they charge on some of the stuff (ahem, $6 for an asian pear? c'mon) makes me hesitant.
i'd salted the chopped cabbage and radish by 4pm, and would wait 4 hours of reduction before mixing in the other ingredients. once 8pm came around, it was time to finish the kimchi. the expensive asian pear was large enough that i only used half and ate the other half. i let karen and miguel try some, and they said it tasted like a very sweet jicama. earlier i had to run across the street to star market to get another head of garlic, as i only had one and needed two. once all the additional ingredients were peeled and processed and chopped, i added everything together (minus the reduced cabbage brine, which i poured out). i managed to completely fill 4-1/2 jars.
for dinner i finished some leftovers my father left me earlier when he dropped off the kimchi ingredients. karen and miguel came home around 7:30pm. they brought back a case of downeast cider. likewise, when i went to the supermarket earlier, i brought back a 6-pack of woodchunk amber cider. miguel took karen back to the shake shack, where he got the exact same malted vanilla shake he got yesterday ("why mess with perfection?" he said). they ended up spending a good part of their day eating through the menu, with a total of 3 burger orders (he actually texted me a burger photo in the late afternoon, rating the shake shack burger 9 out of 10). karen also got a beer there, as the shake she ordered was just too sweet.
we finished the evening drinking hard cider and watching arrival on HDTV. i'd seen the movie and didn't really like it all that much, but told miguel don't let my personal feelings interfere with his enjoyment. they also sampled the flan i made on wednesday. afterwards i taught him use to use torrent to download his own movies. they went to bed around midnight, but not before miguel came out to thank me for the past 2 weeks (although i wasn't really here for the first week) just in case he didn't see me tomorrow morning.