Sunday, August 29, 2010

an afternoon in Oakland making kimchi

*side note, lots of spelling mistakes, wrote this in the airport bar and dead-tired!

(that's me-and this blog posted for all to see)

hell week...1/2 way through.
After a grueling week of preparing for the OC Foodie Fest on Sat (while packing the house for the 75ft move), and unloading from that event-i finally got my but in bed (after packing a few more boxes) around midnight.
i can tell i am getting old because i feel like i ran 10 miles this morning @ 5AM...recovery is not what it used to be.

i gave little marge a kiss goodbye while it was still dark...she was still deep under the covers trying to make up for the extra warmth that just left her. i could here the thump-thump-thump of her tail as i neared that! and so i headed to Oakland where i was to do a talk on kimchi.

(seriously gorg produce)

i have to admit i was a little nervous...not too familiar with Oakland and i knew that i needed to purchase the essential veggies for my talk...with only a few hours to go before my lecture i needed a few hours for my cabbage to shrink= need to work FAST. i also wasnt sure on the protocol on Korean pickling salt & chili flakes for carry-on baggage.
luckily for those interested in making kimchi while on vacation-i can attest to the fact that you are perfectly safe to carry on the various kimchi dry ingredients on a plane (plus as one friend put it, you might want to make something out of peanuts or pretzels-especially on the longer flights-they get a little boring at times).
luck was in my favor today, as i had a straight 40 min ride on the BART to a 10 block walk to the Eat Real Festival...on the way i passed though Chinatown where i was able to pick up cheap a** veggies/garlic/ginger for less than $4.

(i bough a sweet shiitake kit from this guy-next is the dang salt!)

i spent most of the time at this DIY, food celebration at the Urban Homesteading Section where chickens hung out in cute coops, local growers displayed beautiful produce (please mail me that gorg baby corn!) and a few preservers where selling their delights. i was able to snack on some AWESOME multi-seed-extra-cheesy-crispy goodness bread sticks that i am going to figure out how to make if it takes the rest of my life. i also talked to a mushroom dude who had this truffle salt-that i SWEAR on my airport margarita i could eat out of my hand (PS it is $24 and if you don't like it send it to me and i will buy it from you-after i slap you silly).

so expecting 5 people for kimchi and when i saw a literal CROWD at first i thought, "oh they must be wanting to talk to the cheese person/ they must need shade/they are giving out a free car here..."...but no- the peeps want to know kimchi and they want to know now! i kind of got stressed for a little because i didnt think i had enough info to to fill my time!  right when i was thinking all of this an older gentleman, Stuart  came up expressing how much he loved kimchi and how he couldnt wait to learn how....and the stress left and all i thought was...f-yeah i'm in Oakland and people are stoked for kimchi!

(Bay Area is for sures into preservation-can they now wake OC the f- up?!)

so after a long winded intro, here is my recipe for kimchi that i told you i would have on this blog.  if you have any questions, please email me and i will help you out-can't wait for next year.

(the finished product, now it needs to ferment)

*this is the BASIC recipe, you can go crazy, use this as your jumping point*
  • 1 head napa cabbage
  • 1/2 c salt (no iodine!)
  • 6c fresh water
  • 3 tbsp garlic OR MORE/LESS
  • 3 tbsp chili flake OR MORE/LESS
  • 3 tbsp scallions OR MORE/LESS
  • 3 tbsp see what i am saying????
-cut the cabbage in 1/2 length wise, gently wash.
-dissolve the salt in water and place in a large bowl. place the cabbage and submerge least 2-6 hours (a plate might help with the submerge part.
-mix other "flavor components" in a large bowl, wear gloves if you are sensitive to chili.
-drain the cabbage, taste for saltiness & squeeze dry.  the cabbage should be soft.
-mix everything together and pack into a glass jar, pack down, cover and allow to ferment on the counter for a few days until it is at the flavor you desire.  place in fridge after-it should last a month

other goodness to add: leeks, carrots, radish, daikon, asian pear, burdock root….

if you were at the event and saw me, please let me know what you think and if you want to see me again next year!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

our little place gets a little bigger

(the new kitchen: perfect for the person who is getting more and more into food!) 

 so instead of talking about my garden expansion plans and where next to find a square inch to plant something we have made the decision to move-about 50ft way.

(before the move: let's see how we fit 8+ bookshelves in here!)
now i know that this blog is all about small: small space living/gardening, local cooking, cheap but tasty eating, etc...why am i moving into a bigger place?  Currently, we live in about 500 sqft, which is actually quite perfect for us, i really love our little homestead and the privacy that allows having the corner, upstairs apartment...people are quite amazed that i have taught a number of canning classes and even had over 10 people over for dinner (still trying to find out how we fit them all!)

(i will miss sunlight in the morning here-the new one will have less light)

(can you believe that we fit 12 people for our LOST dinners in here?!?)

Moving for sure is not going to be easy, this week in particular is going to be very tough. We basically have to complete our move in the next week, but there are a number of "non-typical workweek" things. not only do i have to do my normal work at the shop (thank goodness we are only open noon-5 for august-this has saved my sanity), i have been asked to visit the Glen Ivy Spa for a consultation, canning class in Irvine, OC Foodie Fest-where we will be running a mini-patchwork (and selling), AND i will be flying to Oakland for a demo on kimchi at the Eat Real Festival....yeah just a little busy this week.
so why are we making life harder for ourselves?
despite the bad timing, we felt that we should take advantage of the fact that a slightly large place is open right next to us.  we have spent the past 2 years building on our little community of businesses and friends (several have now moved onto the block/building) and it would be a shame to have to leave it b/c we need a little more room-preparing ahead of time means that we can stay in one area for several years-putting more time and energy helping it grow.
another big incentive has to do with all of the canning, preserving and classes that have been taking off. while i still can do everything that i normally do in the shoebox, it would be nice to have actual space to work on recipes, class ideas and other food ideas without having to do a massive reorganization project with pots and canners hanging out on the porch until it is their time at the stove.

(one of 2 wooden prep areas-and i am getting a prep counter for dining!)

this kitchen also has 3 special things: 
-a massive closet, which i think used to be the old laundry room (like the other place, it was once a farmhouse from the early 1900's), this is going to be my new canning closet where i can keep all of my books, canners and cases of jars.
-the space is also enclosed form the rest of the apt with a separate entrance, which means a little privacy when i need it.
-there are 2 large wooden prep stations which is PERFECT for bread making and pastas, something that i have been working on a little bit, but has been difficult because i have a tiny amount of space to work.

i will post the after pictures next wed-wish me luck!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

affordble art: Fréya Art & Design


that is all i have to say about these absolutely wonderful prints from Fréya.  Each of these prints look like they could have been block prints, but are actually the work of a graphic artist on the computer.  Besides the playful images of food, animals, boats and other things that look like a playful dream, i really love the print styles...can they make it into a font??

(theme of my life!) 

Fréya also makes adorable wedding and baby announcements-can you image how cute they would be!?! Just make sure that if you do order customs that you plan well in advance, she is based out of London.  Prints run about $75 max and you can also swap up cards for $5, just go on her site and check out the rest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TOMATO CANNING CLASS: mucho mas with Evan Kleiman

On the heels of our awesome pie filling class, Evan Kleiman and I are back at it to celebrate the oh-so-yummy and versatile tomato.  If you haven't noticed already, tomatoes are overflowing at local farmers' markets and the next month is the perfect time to capture the complex deliciousness so that you can savor them in the winter.
This class will focus on canning tomatoes in 2 ways: canning whole tomatoes (from a selection of heirloom varieties) and making a simple tomato sauce with hints of garlic that can be the perfect base for, you guessed it - PIZZA!
Evan Kleiman will be teaching students on how to make a fabulous pizza crust so you can impress your friends with a pie fit for the gods, it doesn't get any better than this!
Students will learn the basics of home food preservation, hands-on preparation, recipes, canned goods to take home and of course yummy tomato snacks while we work.  RSVP now because we are already getting full!

$100 per person
Saturday, September 11 from 11-2pm
Angeli Caffe: 7274 Melrose
to register email or call Delilah Snell

Saturday, August 14, 2010

OC fair 2010: joy, tears, and lessons learned for next year

The OC  Fair ends this weekend and before we left for 127 yard sale, we went to see how some of my entries in preserves turned out.
I was a little nervous.  I didn't get to prepare the way i wanted to-Patchwork got the best of me and I had very little time to make anything. Fortunately, I had most of the items i submitted still left over from sales, so i managed to just barely turn in my items (missed 2 entries though).

We decided to take an evening with our friends Adriana from Anarchy in the Garden and her hubs Hector and partake in some fair.  I was lucky that friends saw my outcome before i could go, so most of the butterflies where gone by the time we got to the tent. Big note on displays: OC Fair stepped it up this year-no white boring room with ugly white displays...lots of decor and interest...looked pretty sweet and in the small corner you could see my 2 little jars of Basil and Habanero Jelly with their tiny awards!  BIG shout out to Melanie Harvey who got mucho praises and awards on her beef jerky-STUD!

(a frosty margie next to my prized jellies)

(part of the "much better" display for preserves, can they work on the fair logo now??)

As i become older, i have done less of the "up-side down- make you dizzy and have a headache" rides (plus they always seem like the screws are almost ready to pop out!) and more of the things that i used to think were boring.
Over the years, i have come to enjoy the photography exhibits.  There is so much local talent out there, maybe one of these days i will have the nerve to put something in-there is definitely A LOT more competition in this field than the preserves!

(this was my Best of Show photo)

We happened to go on one of the smaller roller coasters though, something pretty tame for us oldies-but-goodies. Our thrill-seeking days were mostly spent on the ground, shaking our heads in how sick we would get if we were on them.

(just watched from below-i am a little afraid of heights-OK a lot!)

One of my favorite places at the fair is the farm animal section-of course we did the petting area and saw a number of cute babies.  My faves were the 2 week-old pigs that were hiding under their mama's warm belly-one hidden under the straw too!

(LOVE the petting section)

Part of what the fair is most known for is the the various fried foods that are only available at the fair (and thank goodness!).  The Heart Attack Cafe had popular items like deep-fried oreos, veggies and even a stick of butter (heard it was nast-surprising no??)  We ended up sharing fresh tater chips and fried mozzarella-which was awesome because of the marinara sauce, spanakopita, chili fries and of course a few margies (not a fair without).  All was pretty decent, but i would love to see a vegan/strong vegetarian  presence at the fair-i think they would kill it!

(Heart Attack Cafe had deep-fried butter!)

We happened to spend a good amount of time at the garden/ag area as well, the garden section was really given a face-lift this year and there were rows upon rows of veggies on display-very impressive.  One of my favorite groups, the Rare Fruit Growers of Orange County where also present with what seemed like 30 types of avocados...i am seriously wanting to hang with this crowd!
Adriana, a Master Gardener, found her peeps the OC MFP's and had some chat time, but alas no one even heard of the Master Food Preserver Program...maybe in 10 years we can have a presence at the fair.
I did manage to talk to some of the gardeners about doing a class with them in the future and registering for the MFG program in 2011.

(cutie-pie pigglies)

Now that i have actually gone through the process of submitting entries to the fair, i am a little less scared. some ideas for next year:
- preserves: peach-hab jam, pluot preserves, squash pickles and a hot relish
- heat: i am going to expand on the hab jelly success and work on another pepper jelly
- dried: kale or collard chips
- jellies: i have 2 unusual ideas that i am working on, i should have them for sale during the holiday shows.
-veggies or fruits: the fair does weekly judging on ag products, even if you don't win, you receive free entry with the submission, Adriana and I already talked about doing this for next year-i love this as a fun project to do together!
...and if i am lucky, maybe a photo!

Monday, August 9, 2010

127 yard sale wrap-up: tips and signs from the sale

So as we head back home to California, fully-packed car and probably a few added pounds on the ole' waistline from all the fried foods, i have to say we had a pretty good trip (albeit short)!

Learned some new things on this trip and i wanted to shared in case you or someone you know whats to do the sale sometime:

  • pack a hand sanitizer or better yet, baby wipes-the dirt and shopping and'll thank yourself later.
  • one way people know you are from out of town: using too many syllables when saying the towns you have been to/going to.  take out a few or just limit everything to one (practice makes perfect!)
  • Tennessee seems to be the best for shopping and deals, but Kentucky the best for food and adventure-gotta thank Ricks White Light Diner and bourbon for that!
  • buy linens for packing and ask local businesses for boxes: saves you $ and you get to keep the packing material too!
  • if you are driving, be prepared to find something big and having to move stuff around.  we had this great rack on top with a bag-thingie that collapsed where we put out bags and boxed items in...PS: dont pack to much for the trip-this isnt a fashion show-you can look good when you get home!
  • Holiday Inn Express: such a good deal for what you get.  i am all for the small hotels (Jordan Motel in Jamestown is awesome), but if you want all the basic necessities for a decent price-AND need free, fast internet, this can't be beat.  they also have a pool, washing machines, and the rooms are super cold (oh and they have HBO in case you are a fan of True Blood and don't want to miss)....they are in MOST locations on 127-but not all.
  • lastly: if you do visit any of the places on 127 sale or not, try to do a review on Yelp-most places have 1 review if any at all and it could really help other out of towners figuring things out.
  • to see my other tips from last year, click HERE

One of the many things i like from the trip are the cute signs i see while we travel, some funky, some homemade, but all as unique and fun as this trip is to me, here are some of my favorites:

(this is actually a doormat, now at our house!)

Can't wait till next year!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

127 yard sale day 4: Crossville-Nashville

Today was the final day of shopping on Route 127 and boy were the deals hoppin'!  Last year, my mother and i didn't shop the last day, we didnt have any room in the luggage and we had to spend the whole day driving to Birmingham to make our plane back home.

(next year we are doing the wish list on the car!)

We missed out last year, there are some serious deals!  At every fair that we stopped at there were at least 2 vendors that were pulling the 50% off sales for the last final hours-time to move fast!

The whole time i have been also looking for this one particular vendor that i bought an old book (now worth $300) and a gorgeous rolling pin from-best rolling pin that i have seen on this trip and the last.  We ended up finding them at one of our last stops and i had a long talk with Buck Creek Antiques. This time i got their card, where on the bottom  said, "When you love what you're doing~ it shows"- I love this booth because out of everyone else i have seen-this vendor has incredible merchandising and you can just tell that they really takes care of the items-no rust or dirt on a single thing! Of course we bought stuff!

There were also a few other things that even now, not even 24 hours later i wish i picked up: old canning tools including a few pot racks that i actually needed, 2 beautiful copper laddels and a PERFECT lime green kettle, with a filer and paper filters...some other things...

so long 127 for now...i will be posting tips and fave photos tomorrow!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

127 yard sale day 3: Albany-Crossville, TN

Saturday morning marked the 1/2 way point for our shopping adventure and you can tell because the car was getting pretty packed! One thing that was helpful was that our hotel was next to a florist and the owner was really sweet and let me take boxes to pack our belongings, this definitely helps with stacking breakables and allowing us to have more room for more stuff!

(taking everything out to start organizing)

Another thing that was helpful was and a good note if you decide to do 127 is to buy a few of the several lovely linens, napkins or other embroidery goodies at the sales-they make great packing material and i took full advantage of them as you see below:

(one of the packed boxes)

Unfortunately, i dont have any grand reports of breakfast foods for Albany-there weren't too many choices and we needed the internet so we went to McYucks, i had only coffee and ate local peaches-but you have to go where the internet is sometimes (our hotel didnt have any)!
So off we went, out of Kentucky and into Tennessee. We stopped by a few sale points that my mom and i had went to the year before but really didn't see too much until we entered Tennessee where we stopped at a large sale that we had also visited last year where i bought a cute table, a large embroidered table cloth for my jam booth and this cute pink coat with faux fur among other things.

(green cast iron braces, have no idea what to use them for but LOVE them!)

This part of the trip had a great deal of traffic, lots of large sales on both sides of the road where people are crossing. We managed to spend part of it taking pictures of signs (a later post) and we picked up this AWESOME Mexican bar caddy-super cute!

The super hot weather has died down a little, which has been nice-still sweating as soon as we get out of the car, but not dropping dead.  Just one more day left of 127, and we head for home!

Friday, August 6, 2010

127 yard sale day 2: Danville-Albany

(loved this booth: salt box, metal cake container and an egg basket-score 1)

today was the first full day of shopping and i was super excited to find treasures and surprises in Kentucky.  we got a quick boost of energy to start our day at the popular chain (but not franchised as we found out later), Cracker Barrel where i had catfish, poached eggs and raspberry lemonade. Cracker Barrel is actually pretty good for a chain-service is always friendly and prompt, decent breakfast for a good price and they offer slightly so "non-fried" options and vegetarian-i can most certainly say that i am not used to this much fried food.
with a full belly, we headed out south on 127 to our next destination Albany, 80 miles away.  now normally, this would only take about 2 hours but this weekend, it could take up to 10-so one thing you need to be careful about is making sure you keep track of time so that you don't end up driving in the dark (really dangerous, so don't do it).
for this particular trip, i am trying to focus my shopping a little more than last year (easier said than done) to things for the kitchen, small furniture items and vintage canning items.
one thing you have to keep in mind about this trip is that you can't get too excited too early-of course i didn't listen to my own advice and found a number of cute things for fabulous prices.

(awesome little kid's desk with chalk board)

(i didn't buy this doll, but i loved it in the chair)

(sweet book with tin-types!)

one thing that i didn't notice but noticed a lot this time was the large Mennonite population in the Kentucky area.  a few of the larger markets had crafts from local Mennonite's and we were able to pick up a few beautiful objects like baskets, sun hats (you'll see them at the shop) and homemade noodles!

(gorgeous baskets and noodles)

(me with one of the beautiful hats that many of the men wore)

i was also on the look-out for vintage pie items for Evan, who gave me a little list of things to look for-girl, we have some great stuff for you!!-here's a peak.

lastly, we happened to come by a camping area that i remembered going to last year, where i saw an awesome cast iron bottling contraption....well guess what-the 2 guys with 5 teeth were still there are they still had it!  they even remembered me-we ended up buying it and an old-school coffee grinder from them.
it looks like we are going to need a trailer soon, we still have 2 days!!