it was cold enough in the house that the furnace fired up this morning while i was still in bed. typically it takes 3 days of cold weather for it to lower my indoor temperature enough that a heat call is required. just yesterday it was still a comfortable 70 degrees inside my house. but the outside drop in temperature was too great (and perhaps with more moisture, which can also lower the temperature faster) so it dropped my indoor temperature that much faster.

despite the cold, grey, raw weather outside, i still went out this morning to leave a pokemon (tyranitar) in a gym to earn some coins. i noticed the trees outside of pho and rice were flowering. it had a tag, Prunus subhirtella 'autumnalis' AKA winter flowering cherry. there's a similar tree with more flowers about a mile away outside of the beacon street walgreens, but this had some unopened flower buds so should produce more flowers in the coming days. GLX project seemed to be doing something along the train tracks along somerville avenue outside of porter square. are they realigning the tracks? maybe it's not GLX related, since the green line doesn't connect to porter square, but it'd be awesome if it did, not sure why that wasn't an option during their design phase.

for lunch i made some scrambled eggs, some 10-year old homemade quince jelly on toast, kielbasa sausages, and some old homemade sauerkraut. the kraut was a little dry and didn't smell fresh anymore (no surprise, it's nearly 8 months old), i'm probably going to toss it to make room for more fermented food experiments i probably won't eat and will have to toss out eventually as well.

i had an old dragon fruit in the fridge that i needed to eat before it went bad. i'd totally forgotten that it was a magenta-flesh variety and was surprised by the color when i cut into it. photos don't do it justice, it was so neon magenta it almost hurt my eyes to look at it. it was pretty sweet but not as sweet as the yellow varieties.

tongbaechugimchi (통배추김치)
(12 bundles)

8.72 lbs. napa cabbage
1 cup kosher salt

3 cups water
3 tbsp glutinous rice flour
3 tbsp brown sugar

3 tsp ginger, processed
3 head garlic, processed
1 onion, processed
1 asian pear, processed
3/4 1/2 cup fish sauce
3/8 cup salted shrimp paste
3 cups red pepper powder

3 cups daikon radish, julienned
1.5 cup carrot, julienned
2 cups garlic chives, chopped
12 bunches scallions, chopped

halve cabbage, splitting open by hand. score 3 lines on base. salt individual leaves then let reduce for 2+ hours, turning the cabbage halves every 30 minutes. make glutinous rice porridge: water + flour, added brown sugar when starting to bubble, stir until sugar dissolved, remove from heat let cool. make chili paste combining all ingredients except for cabbage. wash cabbage to rinse off salt. make additional split in cabbage from previous score marks (1 head divided into 6 parts). wearing gloves, rub paste into individual leaves. roll up cabbage, leave outside to ferment for a few days until bubbling before put in fridge.

today was a good day to be inside making kimchi. i made tongbaechu kimchi for the 2nd time, following maangchi's recipe. the only difference from last time (2-1/2 years ago) was i was using more cabbage, didn't have any garlic chives (saw them at the asian supermarket, they were too expensive, i decided to just rely on scallions instead), and i added an asian pear (processed). her recipe called for 6 lbs. of napa cabbage while i had nearly 9 lbs. so i scaled up the ingredients accordingly. i can't remember how well it tasted the last time, but after 3 days of fermenting i had a taste test and it still wasn't sour enough. after that i didn't make any notes of how it tasted after it fermented a bit longer.

i also had better containers this time around, including a large stainless steel bowl and a jumbo size plastic basin. my 2 heads of napa cabbage were much too large. in maangchi's recipe she used smaller cabbages that were the right size for rolling once they were quartered. i split the cabbages into halves, and then scored 3 marks on the bottoms so i could later split each halves into thirds once they finished reducing. in hindsight, i should've just cut them into quarters to begin with, scoring the bottom of each quarters, then split the quarters again after reducing so from one large head of cabbage i could get 8 pieces.

as for salt portions, the 1 cup is just an eyeball estimate. the salt is just a reducing agent, and would get rinsed off afterwards. even 30 minutes or so i'd turn the cabbage pieces. i ended up letting them reduce for 4 hours, i think the longer the better. i saw another youtube recipe where this korean woman was making kimchi from 10 heads of cabbage and she let her cabbage reduce for 10+ hours.

when the cabbage were nearing final reduction, i made the glutinous rice porridge and left it to cool. i then prepared the rest of the ingredients. i took out my large found cuisinart food processor because i had too much ingredients to chop everything up in my smaller ninja blender. the cuisinart is to food processors what vitamix is to blenders. the one that i have is heavy and industrial looking, and when i run it i can feel its power, like there's so much torque it jumps from the table if i don't hold it down. like i mentioned before, i added an asian pear this time (peeling it first before cutting it into quarters for the food processor); i don't know if it'll add anything to the flavor.

i'm also getting better at cutting my vegetables into matchsticks. the secret is to slide the radish/carrot into thin diagonal slices before cutting them into strips. the way i did it last time was cutting my carrots into thick rounds that i had a hard time chopping into matchsticks and it took forever. i could julienned all day with this newfound faster and easier technique.

i rinsed the reduced cabbages and split each halves into thirds. the side portions were thinner than the central portions. next time i should just split the whole cabbage into quarters first before splitting the quarters into halves.

the recipe called for 3 cups of hot pepper powder, but i ended up going 3-1/2 cups because i wanted to use up all the powder (so i could get a new bag). that made the final chili paste a little dry but still good enough. the portion also asked for 3/4 cups of fish sauce. i'm not a big fan of fish sauce in my kimchi because it makes it tastes really fishy. fortunately i only had 1/2 cup of fish sauce so that's how much i added.

i wore gloves for the final "pasting" phase. the first few pieces of cabbages were sauced so much i could hardly fold them over. that's when i realized i might have enough chili paste for all the cabbages, so i started to get more conservative with my paste application. fortunately in the end i managed to paste all of the cabbages, but definitely the early ones will have the most flavors. i used a plastic container, a glass lasagna dish, and one pyrex bowl to hold all the kimchi. i'll need to visit the dollar store to see if i can get more lasagna size containers because my glass lasagna dish doesn't have a lid (i used plastic wrap as a cover).

so now i wait for the kimchi to ferment before putting them in the fridge. learning from last time, i'm going to give it a good amount of time to ferment, even if it starts bubbling.

in the evening the furnace kicked in again for scheduled heating, but only briefly (20 minutes) before it switched back off.

i couldn't eat anymore pasta today. earlier i put my meat sauce in a smaller container and put it in the freezer, save that portion for when i do want pasta again (which will be a while). instead, for dinner, i just had some taiwanese beef noodles ramen. nothing fancy, but just enough to keep me fed.