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TMCNet:  Have you tried: Kimchi

[January 03, 2013]

Have you tried: Kimchi

Jan 03, 2013 (Tulsa World - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The Korean condiment, kimchi, is not as intimidating as it sounds.

Kimchi is made with fermented vegetables, the most common of which are napa cabbage and daikon radish. It can also include garlic, ginger, salt, vinegar, chile peppers and other spices.

One of its biggest benefits is the "healthy bacteria" called lactobacilli, found in fermented foods such as yogurt. This bacteria can help digestion.

Korean restaurants will offer kimchi, but we tried a store-bought variety that you can find in the refrigerated section of well-stocked stores.

As it was my first time to try the fermented cabbage dish, I was expecting an intense taste. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the kimchi I tried was mostly cabbage and carrots, with a strong taste of fresh ginger.

It reminded me of sauerkraut, which I like, and I could see eating it as such, with sausages or pork.

I do understand, however, that the intensity of kimchi can vary greatly, depending on its age and the ingredients included.

Lone Wolf Banh Mi, a local food truck, offers kimchi fries. Find them at tulsaworld.com/lonewolftruck Here are some recipes to try with kimchi.

KIMCHI GRILLED CHEESE 2 slices bread of your choice 2 slices cheddar cheese [ to \ cup kimchi, chopped 1 tablespoon butter, divided 1. Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium heat, so the cheese melts and you don't burn the bread. Spread butter on one side of each of the bread slices. Place one slice of bread, butter side down in your pan. Add one slice of cheese and kimchi and then the other slice of cheese. Place other slice of bread, butter side up on top. Grill until lightly browned and flip over; continue grilling until cheese is melted.

Note: If you use a panini machine, you can save yourself the flipping step and some cooking time, too. You can even cut the butter out of the recipe totally if your panini machine is non-stick.

- adapted from FoodNetwork.com SEARED PORK CHOPS WITH KIMCHI 2 bone-in pork chops, about { inch thick 4 tablespoons kimchi, chopped { tablespoon olive oil \ cup vermouth or white wine 1 teaspoon honey { tablespoon butter Chopped scallions Salt and pepper 1. Place the pork chops in a plastic bag along with 1 tablespoon of the kimchi. Toss well. Set in the fridge and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a day.

2. Scrape off the kimchi from the pork chops. Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the pork chops and cook for about 3 minutes a side. They should be completely cooked, but if not, turn the heat to low, cover the skillet, and cook until done to your liking. Remove the chops from the pan.

3. Pour the wine, { teaspoon of the honey and the rest of the kimchi into the skillet. Turn the heat up to high and scrape the skillet with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits. Cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Turn off the heat and add the butter. Stir until it has created a thick sauce. Add more honey to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Serve with the sauce on top and a sprinkling of chopped scallions.

- adapted from SeriousEats.com, provided by Nick Kindelsperger, freelance writer in Chicago and co-founder of The Paupered Chef.

Have you tried ...

From funky fruits and vegetables to the hottest food trend on the market. You want to try it and we do too. We'll even suggest some ways to try it.

And check out past "Have You Tried..." features and recipes at tulsaworld.com/tryit ___ (c)2013 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) Visit Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) at www.tulsaworld.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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