Thursday, February 07, 2013

A New White House Recipe: Simple Kimchi

The national dish of Korea is the first new recipe release of President Obama's second term...
UPDATE:  Korea is thrilled
The White House on Wednesday night released the first new recipe of President Obama's second term, posted on First Lady Michelle Obama's @FLOTUS Twitter account.  Made with spicy, fermented vegetables, Kimchi is the national dish of Korea, and the easy White House concoction uses Napa cabbage grown in Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden. On Tuesday, Jan. 29, a photo of the cabbages and broccoli newly plucked from the garden was posted on @FLOTUS, and the recipe is a follow-up.

"Last week, we picked Napa cabbage in the garden. Now, we're using it to make kimchi in the kitchen. Make it at home," read the tweet, with the photo compilation of bottles of Kimchi and the harvested cabbages, above.

Unveiling a recipe via Twitter is a first for Mrs. Obama and the White House chefs, who don't have their own Twitter account.  There is a separate Twitter for the Let's Move! campaign, but the recipe was posted on Mrs. Obama's East Wing account, which after launching three weeks ago has far more followers (227,145 for @FLOTUS; 69,997 for @LetsMove).  Mrs. Obama marks the third anniversary of Let's Move! on Feb. 9.  (Above, Mrs. Obama's Twitter avatar is a 2011 portrait in the Kitchen Garden with First Dog Bo)

The ultra-easy White House recipe includes scallion and white radish, spiced with fresh Thai chilies or dried Korean chili powder, garlic, ginger, sugar and saltIt calls for fish sauce, which vegetarians can skip, according to the instructions.  It requires a mason jar with a tightly sealed lid, and there is no cooking: The cabbage and other ingredients simply ferment in the refrigerator after being mixed.  But it is a two-step process:  The cabbage must be salted in a bowl and refrigerated overnight before continuing.  Then, after completing the mixing, the Kimchi "should be ready in about four days."

The White House chefs have been pickling, preserving, and making teas and herbal satchets with bounty from the Kitchen Garden since 2009.  In 2010, Mrs. Obama presented the spouses of world leaders with gifts of pickled vegetables in jars with her autograph (l) and other garden goodies when she hosted a farm-to-table luncheon in New York.  And at Mrs. Obama's Fall Harvest in 2010, Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses gave a garden-side pickling lesson to visiting school children.  The recipe for White House Kitchen Garden Pickles is here.  Though President Obama honored the Republic of Korea's President Lee Myung-Bak with a State Dinner in October of 2011, but the menu did not include Kimchi. Check the sidebar for all White House recipes. 

Executive Chef Cris Comerford has also shared her own family recipe for pickles, Easy Homemade Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles.  

Pickling requires a focus on food safety, and if you're a novice pickler, make sure your mason jar is boiled and sanitized before use, and that it has an air-tight seal.

Last week's harvest photo of Napa Cabbage and Broccoli

White House Simple Kimchi

*2 Heads Napa Cabbage, washed

*1 Cup Kosher Salt

*1 TBSP Fish Sauce, any brand (could skip for a vegetarian)

*1 TBSP Minced Fresh Ginger

*4 Cloves Garlic, minced

*1 TBSP Turbinado Sugar

*1 Small White Radish, sliced paper thin

*1 Bunch Scallion, sliced

*5 Thai Chilies, or 5 TBSP Korean Dried Chili Powder

1.  Cut the Napa Cabbage into 1-inch slices.  Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the Kosher salt.  Mix with your hands and set aside in the refrigerator overnight.

2.  Rinse the salt from the leaves and squeeze [out] as much moisture or excess liquid [as you can].  [In a bowl], mix in the rest of the ingredients [with the cabbage].  Place in an airtight jar (mason jar works well) and store in the refrigerator.

3.  The pickle should be ready in about four days.


*White House photos; portrait  by Lawrence Jackson/White House; pickle jar by Chuck Kennedy/White House