Savory Fennel Kimchee...

My new BFF...kimchee! I never really gave it any thought, not a one really in all my time of cooking. Sad and shallow I say to myself. It is one of those things that never was a part of my heritage, my upbringing, my mom's repertoire and cooking(she was a damn good cook in her own right) and/or on the menus of the places we dined at. Who knew??? I am quite certain that a lot of folks did(the korean locals), they just never were revealing of the secret that many have grown to go into gross facial movements and expressions at the mere mention of this wonderful condiment. I was too damn busy learning the importance of classic French technique, or the Italian art of salumi and pasta making, or the the regional American nuances from across the country that has transformed me into whom I am as a cook. I think I recall it being brought home one time and then once the jar was opened and the wretched smell whaffed out into the kitchen...that was it...that bitch ended up in the trash. What did a young headbanging teen from W.S. know?!? Well...the joke was certainly on me(and others I suspect for those that turn their noses up at it as well). It wasn't really until I had the pleasure to enjoy an excellent meal at a a great local restaurant called Joule, in Wallingford. Rachael and Seif rocked us with their interpretation of Korean-American regional meets French classic kick ass! But still after that, not much play on my part. I contemplated, tasted, envisioned and then when our team had decided to make a batch, I said sure, let's do it. Once it had time to mature, the flavors were alive. We have made dressings and vinaigrettes, soup flavoring nuances, rubs and brushings, marinades for roasts and various meats such as pork belly as well as just simply serving it as a side. From there, and some inspirational reading from the ever popular book Momofuko, we have embarked upon several new variations...fennel kimchee with fennel pollen(my pick in hopes of a star)...daikon radish(our staff's favorite right out of the gate) and a lemon cucumber version that is still on the fence. The aromas and smells of chilies were fragrant and intoxicating to say the least. After tasting them...I am thinking we already need more! The hotter the better! Heat is good...Heat is our friend! Only time will tell as to which one will prevail as our all around fav. Stick around for as we share our results...after all, what are friends for!


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