OK so kimchi. I've tasted a spoonful of batch 2 and it's sufficiently good to begin blogging about. *thumbs in suspenders*
Anyhow, despite six years or so in co-op grocery stores, the shameful truth is that this recipe is s̶t̶o̶l̶e̶n̶ adapted from the the New York Times a few months back.
So here's what I got out of it.
1) Sweat the cabbage in brine (while weighing it down and keeping it underwater)
I've used a big plastic bowl with an upside-down plate, and both Napa and Savoy cabbages. Napa are easier to get into the sort of mouth-sized ribbons you may want. I'm reasonably retentive about keeping knives, bowls, cutting boards, my hands, etc. clean, or as retentive as you can be in a kitchen that might make a safety inspector chuckle once or twice. No untoward molds yet!
2) 24 (batch 1) to 36 (batch 2) hours later, scoop it out of the brine (saving the brine), spice it, and pack jars of it along with whatever the hell ingredients and seasonings you want, covering it with the aforementioned brine. Surfaces exposed to air are not your friend.
I put fish sauce in the first one (and no chili powder or paste), so the resulting product was a bright ginger-yellow, somewhat over-garlicked, and unsuitable for vegetarians. Also, I can't get little carrot sticks to come out to save my life. I've still blown through four bottles in two weeks.
For the second batch I knuckled under and bought some gochujang. The color's more on point. You're supposed to use powder which has no extra salt, what with all the salt you're supposed to use in step 1. Hmm. I fudged the salt down a bit on the sweating step and it doesn't seem too bad, a little under-spicy if anything. Shouldn't have cut out the soy sauce too.
Batch 2 has shallots (I'm done with scallions, just done), daikon, and pineapple. I went real easy on the pineapple (I was warned against using too much as it breaks down proteins) and it's a good thing, since it adds a definite sweetish tang which it might be easy to over-do. This stuff is tasty.
The NYT says to start refrigerating it like three days afterwards, but I've got one more jar of batch 1 still sitting in the garage; it's been, what, almost two weeks now. You'll know it's working when the veggies start to levitate in the container; the bit of space at the top of the jar has given me no problems with spoilage but has taught me to keep them on a paper towel. I like mine seriously tangy and with as much bubbles as soda, but I gather I'm a bit strange in that regard. Also I drink the juice. Mmmm.
Below, a blurry picture of the bacon-kimchi sandwich I ate while preparing this post! It was a jocular idea but worked so well I'm going to do it again tomorrow.