I was at Eastern Market earlier today. As kimchee has been on my mind (given the recent and resounding success with homemade sauerkraut), I checked for napa cabbage and daikon radish. I didn’t see it, but decided to ask anyway (after all, if we don’t ask for what we want, it is far less likely that we will get it–whether it is ingredients for kimchee, or help from a yoga teacher, or needs met in relationship).
Yes, they had a gorgeous napa cabbage and a big, beautiful daikon radish. They sell their own fresh made kimchee (it’s delicious), so I thought they might have the other key ingredient I needed: powdered Korean hot pepper.
I said that I enjoyed their kimchee and that I guessed they made it the traditional way, with a rice flour slurry and anchovies.
Yes, indeed, they do it that way.
I said I was making a simpler version, but did want the right kind of pepper. Did they have some?
The woman serving me, said yes, went in the back, cut open an enormous bag of powdered pepper and, along with the vegetables, sold me a few ounces of the pepper. From this enterprise, I’ve already made a deeper connection to one of my local small businesses, and in a week or two, I’ll also have a big batch of kimchee.
ps. I used Michael Pollan’s recipe as a rough guide. What I like especially about the recipe is that it expects variation based on quality and age of produce and personal taste. The cook is invited to pay attention instead of just follow by rote.