Every morning at dawn, Norberto Piattoni brews himself a simmering mug of raw cacao, mushroom tinctures, ashwagandha powder, local honey, and goat milk. Though, the morning I’m visiting his Brooklyn home kitchen, he’s out of goat milk because ”it’s springtime and all the mom goats are feeding their babies,” as he explains, so we make due with water instead. Before you roll your eyes, consider that the concoction tastes like rich, earthy hot cocoa and feels like starting the day with a nourishing dessert.
Kimchi often gets a rap as stinky, unsightly, or simply strange. Done right, which is easy to do, it's a delicious, low-calorie flavor-rich food that's actually very versatile, and exceptionally healthy. Made of fresh, raw vegetables, natural probiotics and powerful anti-inflammatory spices, kimchi is a great kitchen staple as well as a recipe that can be tailored to your taste, or what's in season at the local farmer's market.
Always better than buying when possible, is making. So, we made kimchi. It was easy, and it's the best kimchi (or 'kraut) I've ever had.
Homemade Quick Cabbage Kimchi Recipe
Massage cabbage. It can be red, green, napa or otherwise. Add a bunch of great sea salt and start kneading. It'll sweat out its water pretty quickly but go for at least a good few minutes.
Chop veggies. Creativity is encouraged, though traditional kimchi inclusions are scallion, carrot, daikon radish... My favorite were the carrots and radish - would definitely recommend including a health quantity of sturdy root vegetables.
Sauté. Just enough to soften, and marry with the ginger, garlic, etc.
Make spice paste. I have the pleasure and benefit of being in love with someone who makes his spices from scratch, but bought ones will absolutely do.
- 3 tablespoons crushed garlic
- half inch ginger peeled and crushed
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 8 - 10 tablespoons ground red pepper
- half a tablespoon coconut sugar
- 8 oz. onion
- anything else you need/want/love!
Mix into a paste.
Combine and pack. Mix everything well and pack tightly into a well-sealing jar.
Wait. Every day, remove the lid to allow in some air. Re-pack vegetables if necessary, and re-seal. Bubbling is normal, and so is some overflow or leaking between visits so you may like to store the jar in a bowl.
Eat. And refrigerate what's left, assuming you don't eat the batch in a single sitting, which would be admirable and also understandable. Refrigerated kimchi will last weeks or more.
Optional: Read up on fermented foods and the service you're doing your belly and brain by consuming them.
First I'll say that I didn't eat much. Chalk it up to a ton of sleep (?), the warm weather (?) or deep relaxation (?) (I'm actually still investigating if any of these really affect metabolism or hunger) but I ate a single, light meal a day, only - every day for 10 there. No idea why, but that's what the body wanted. I worked out a ton - ran, rode, swam, practiced long yoga sessions - didn't matter; wasn't hungry and felt perfect. Most of what we did eat was from the property: starfruit and oranges, bananas, papaya, guava, avocado and coconut. The couple of times I saw town, I was reminded of my penchant for vinegar. Just about everything I bought was some version of (intentionally) fermented.
(Pardon the unsightly labels - it was an 8-mile round trip to town. I'd run there and then backpack home.)