It's been so long since I've done one of these! It's about time. Trail of Crumbs is the story of Kim Sunee, who was left as a child at a market in Korea. The book traces her story from Korea to New Orleans, after she is adopted by an American family, to Europe where she escapes to learn about life and love.
Sunee's life is shaped and molded by food, from the red beans and rice her grandfather makes to the honeyed figs fed to her by her lover. The story is one of discovery, which is reflected in the cuisines of the countries that become Sunee's home. It's a fascinating mix of cultures and cuisines. And of course there are recipes.
I begin with her kimchi recipe - a staple of the Korean cuisine. Confession: I have no experience with kimchi. Thatdad always had some in the fridge when I was growing up, but the spicy pungent accompaniment held no interest for me. In truth, I was a little concerned about how this would turn out and if I would like it. I was oh so pleasantly surprised. It seems silly to say this is the best kimchi I've ever had, so I'll say it's the best kimchi I've ever smelled. The sesame oil gives it a warm, nutty aroma instead of the burn-your-nasal-hair scent I was expecting. And it was good. OH so good. Thatboy, who has more kimchi experience than I do thought it was the best he'd ever had. The only problem was that it didn't make enough. We were honestly fighting over last bites. We ate that entire jar in a single sitting.
Quick Fix Kimchi
1 head of napa cabbage
1/4 cup sea salt
1 piece fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 Tbsp sriracha
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small head escarole
- Remove outer leaves of cabbage, quarter lengthwise, core bottoms, and cut across into 1-inch pieces.
- Place in a colander in sink and sprinkle with salt. Let sit 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Rinse and dry cabbage thoroughly, preferably using a salad spinner.
- Whisk together ginger and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add cabbage, escarole, and toss to combine.
- Pack kimchi in a glass jar or bowl. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours and up to 2 weeks.