Kimchi Latkes!

Every year I choose a different culinary tradition to model our Holiday dinner around.  We’ve done Victorian England, with Roast Goose and Christmas pudding, we’ve done Shanghainese Soup Dumplings, once visiting my Sister and Brother in Law we did Puerto Rican Christmas. Bringing in these varied traditions helps to educate me as a cook and to educate my children with the many flavors of our abundant human experience. I can’t remember which year we chose to cook traditional Hanukkah treats but now Latkes always make an appearance in our home around this time of year.  So simple and so good.  And I love how the story of Hanukkah resonates especially around the time of the Winter Solstice.  As the nights get longer and the days get shorter the story of Hanukkah meditates on finding a miracle of light in the darkness and finding freedom in the midst of oppression. And of course the tradition of eating fried foods to celebrate the miraculous oil that lit a single lamp for 8 days…  a holiday that celebrates with fried food!!!!  That is a wonder for sure!

This year I can’t believe that I’ve never thought to replace the onion in the Latke recipe with kimchi before.  It is simply amazing!  You can add more spiciness, more chiles or gochugaru to the mix if you like.  I doubt you can make these and not fall in love.

Wishing you all a great miracle this Hanukkah.


Kimchi Latkes

2 cups shredded potatoes (I like em with skin on but either peeled or not is fine)

½ cup of kimchi that has already had all the juice squeezed out of it.

3 eggs

3 heaped Tablespoons flour

Salt and Pepper

More chiles/gochugaru (optional)

Oil for frying (we used peanut oil but your choice of high heat oil)


Put shredded potatoes in cheesecloth or nut bag and squeeze as dry as possible.

Cut the squeeze dried kimchi into small dice or tiny strips.

Beat eggs.

Combine potatoes, egg, kimchi, flour, (gochugaru if you want), salt and pepper.

Heat a heavy skillet with a ¼ inch of oil on the base to medium high heat.

Press heaping spoonfuls of potato mixture onto the hot skillet squashing the pancakes down to ¼ – ½ inch thickness.  Cook until brown on both sides…  approximately 3 minutes each side.

Serve hot with apple sauce and sour cream – YUM.

Dem Bones- Quick Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

It’s Mojo Mastery time again.  This time I taught broth making which was a first for me.  I love that making chicken broth in my own home is a second nature act.  Bones never get thrown away and I like to roast a whole chicken every couple of weeks or so.  I can’t help it when I look at a whole chicken from the store nestled in it’s plastic with “giblets included” written ostensibly on the outside I can’t help but think “mmmmmmatzo balls”.  (ok I actually think fried chicken, a whole bird quartered with gravy and biscuits, but that’s just me, my stomach to brain neural connections fire at double time and I like to include butchering in my imagination).

I’m a busy lady so cooking for my family it is good to have some good solid building blocks around.  So amazing what one can make when you have the right things just hanging out.  In fact the beef marrow chicken soup that we threw together on Thursday night was one of those great happy accidents…  thanks Bob Ross.  bob_ross_amigurumi-300x300

The group we had gathered greedily drank up the chicken broth that I had preprepared.  I don’t blame them it was dank, slow simmered for more than 36 hours, zero salt added it was seasoned with one of my favorite flavorings…  chicken, chicken, chicken.  But I was going to use it for my chicken noodle soup…  good thing I had also preprepared some beef bone broth. I very rarely make beef bone broth at home, and I think I’ll have to change that trend.  My spine tingled when I drank just the plain broth before we fancied her up, like it was hungry for some of that celular building block goodness.  So anyways here is the recipe for the bone broth     chicken “noodle” soup, the five vegetable blood cleansing mineral broth as well as the recipe for the split pea soup I demoed at Mojo as a easy dinner application once your fridge is “stocked”.


Beef Bone Broth

Stock Bones (split open so the marrow shows)
2 Dates
2 Umeboshi Plums
2 Dried Shitake Mushrooms
Bouquet Garni  (i used fresh rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley) wrapped in cheesecloth

Bake bones at 374 for 45-60 minutes.  You will see the bone marrow start to plump out of the bone showing that it is cooked all the way through.  Pour off the fat (this was a nice treat for the dog) and transfer the bones to your pot or crockpot.  Clean and scrape pan droppings from the bottom of your cooking dish with a little boiling water and throw that in the pot too.  Now top up the pot with water, bring almost to a boil (or all the way if you’re not fussy about cloudy broth)  and turn down to just under a simmer and let it steep that way for at least two hours, or much much longer.  Note: I only added the Bouquet Garni for the last 10-15 minutes, if you put the herbs in for too long your broth will go greenish grey.


Quick Chicken Noodle Soup.

1 Roasted Chicken
Mire Poix Vegetables (1 part Carrot, 1 part Celery, 2 parts Onion)
1 package Kelp Noodles
Bone Broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

Notice there are no real measurements here.  Remember in 20 years of cooking my own dinner I’ve only completely failed and had to order out twice…  So use the force and make a great soup!

Cut Meat from the Chicken….  save bones to make soup.  “Sweat” your mire poix veggies for about five minutes, that means gently cook with a little cooking oil (I like to use the chicken fat I saved from roasting the bones) try not to brown them.  Add Broth, Chicken and noodles (these are precooked they only need to be reheated) and voila, you have just made an amazing dinner in under 10 minutes (if you don’t count the three days it took you to make the broth ;))

Ham Bone Pea Soup

1 Ham Bone (you can use Raw or Smoked, either works fine)
4 Cups dried Split Peas
1 Gallon Chicken Stock
2 Cups Mire Poix Veggies
Salt and Pepper to taste

If you are using a smoked ham bone you don’t need to do anything to it.  If you are using a raw one you can either preboil or preroast the bone.  Sweat mire poix veggies in a little oil for about 5 minutes, I sometimes put whole cloves of garlic into this soup at this point. Throw in the ham bone top up with broth.  Sort and rinse your split peas…  like lentils they do not have to be soaked, but pick through and make sure there aren’t any rocks, give em a rinse and toss em in.

Bring the whole shebang to a boil and turn down to simmer.  Cook this dish uncovered nice and slow for at least 2 hours so the meat will be falling off the bone.  Stir occasionally to make sure the peas don’t stick to the bottom, also skim occasionally to get the foam off the top.  When the peas have broken down and thickened the soup and the ham is where you want it, this easy dish is done.  Pull the hambone out and shred the meat and add the meat back to the pot.  Season to taste.  I personally love a little olive oil drizzled on top of this hearty soup.


Five Veggies Mineral Broth for Blood Cleansing

Daikon Radish
Radish Greens (can substitute Kale if the Daikon comes without greens on)
Burdock Root,
(I like to add Kelp too for extra mineral goodness, that’s six ingredients but I won’t tell if you don’t tell)

Wash and rough cut veggies (roll cut is great here for the daikon, carrots and burdock). Top with water.  Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for between 30 minutes and an hour.  You can cook for longer, but if you cook a long time you might want to strain out and not eat the veggies, just drink the broth like a tea or use it in cooking.  Serve hot or cold.


Fat Chance… Easy Homemade Mayonnaise

I had an epiphany last week.  It was a rich moment quite a few weeks in the making and has left me with a conviction that I feel from deep within my heart all the way down to the soles of my sandals.  I will never again buy another jar of mayonnaise.  The fact that it took me so long to come to this seems ridiculous to me now however let me polish off my rear view mirror and explain.

Mayonnaise is extremely easy to make.  All you need is a bowl, a whisk, an egg and some oil.  I used to make it five minutes before service banging together my last minute mis-en-place not because I was late for work that day and didn’t do my prep… but because I knew how little time it would take me and how glorious and glistening it would be freshly whipped from the robot coupe, slid into the top of a refrigerated pantry station in a clean stainless steel nine pan nestled next to cut herbs, edible flowers, fresh fruits and other delightful touches with which to finish the perfect plate.

I’ve been reading labels at the grocery store. I know, occupational hazard right?  Well I’m not just looking at the art although food packaging is a stimulating form of media for my family and between myself and my dear husband we could work through an entire grocery isle and endorse or eschew hundreds of items by their visual representation alone. No, I am interested in what things are made of.  Our own company’s preparation for organic certification as well as the recent article in the Times about Eden Foods and the peril slash pitfall world of U.S.D.A. Certified Organic versus truly health giving versus healthy for a robust corporate bottom line – absurdly complex sentences aside this got me thinking constantly about why things are made the way that they are made.

NYT – Organic Food Purists Worry About Big Companies Influence

I’ve been in the food business for a long time and I’ve received plenty of deliveries off the backs of trucks that deal specifically in large packages of food for industrial use.  Industrial Mayonnaise is very disgusting stuff.  It comes in a 5 gallon bucket which is lined with a bag.  At one restaurant where we used to go through obscene amounts of the stuff the bag would get hefted out and inevitably abused. Raucous games of slap and squeeze, toss and wiggle would ensue to giggles and guffaws.  I would feel sick in the pit of my stomach watching that sad sack of plastic encased oil emulsion passed from one set of disrespecting hands to the next.  Sadder still I knew little about nutrition at the time however somehow I instinctively knew that there was very little goodness in that bag.  Even more incredulous to think that one might be able to buy the same bag of “Extra Fancy” mayo of a “low fat” sensibility.  Egads!  If there’s no fat in that schloop what on earth truly is? Have a quick look at these ingredient lists…Mayonnaise

Soybean oil, water, whole eggs and egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, natural flavors, calcium disodium EDTA (used to protect quality).

Water, soybean oil, vinegar, modified corn starch**, whole eggs and egg yolks, sugar, salt, xanthan gum**, lemon and lime peel fibers** (thickeners), (sorbic acid**, calcium disodium EDTA) used to protect quality, lemon juice concentrate, phosphoric acid**, DL alpha tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), natural flavors, beta carotene**. **Ingredient not in mayonnaise

As with many low fat foods notice the addition of sugar as well as in this case loads of chemical thickener.  Note the calcium disodium EDTA keeps your egg based product stable at room temperature… it’s also in certain face creams that will stop your face from going bad at room temperature too. Of course the organic versions of the above listed must be better for you right?  Wrong.  Although there are fewer scary additives I generally find that the organic mayos all use predominantly soy oil, canola oil and palm oil all of which I have been taught for various reasons to avoid.  Soy is a known adaptogen, shown to bind itself to estrogen receptors it confuses our hormonal balance.  There is no such thing as a Canola plant.  Rapeseed is a kind mustard seed.  Rapeseed Oil is known to produce a high amount of a toxin called erucic acid.  This fact was generally known by the early 20th Century public – the Mustard Gas that was manufactured from the plant I guess was a dead giveaway. The Rapeseed plant was re-engineered (bred in a laboratory) to have low toxicity at which point they re-branded it changing the name to CANOLA (Canadian Oil Low Acid).  Canola Oil is generally “refined” which is a nice way of saying it’s been heated up already, and as we are learning now we want to keep to expeller pressed oils as preheated oils are more unstable and quite likely they are poised to oxidize or are already oxidized and ready to release free radicals that cause illness, rapid aging and general stress on our bodies and our guts.  Palm Oil, well it’s in 50% of everything you see in a typical grocery store, and happens to be the cause for massive equatorial rain-forest destruction.

So for now…  in my home I am happy with the following fat choices.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Butter and Ghee, Coconut Oil, Chicken, Pork or Duck fat and the occasional nut or seed pressed oil (kept refrigerated).  Since there is no acceptable mayonnaise available (don’t even get me started on the travesty that is veganaise) I will make my own.  It keeps up to two weeks in the fridge and I get to make sure that the oil used is up to my personal standard.  Here’s a recipe…  you don’t really need one.  A great rule of thumb or ratio to remember is that 1 egg yolk will only support up to 1 cup of oil in emulsion…  if you break your emulsion, never fear…  start again with a new egg yolk and add your broken mixture to the new yolk.

Best hand whipped mayonnaise

2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons zuké Just Juniper brine (can substitute water)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil

If you are worried about eating raw egg yolks heat the egg yolks, lemon juice and zuké brine in a small skillet over very low heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan constantly with a spatula. At the first sign of thickening, remove the pan from the heat but continue stirring. Dip the pan bottom in a large pan of cold water to stop cooking. Scrape into a round bottomed bowl, whisk for a second or so, then let stand uncovered at least 5 minutes to cool.

If you are not afraid of raw eggs you can skip this and just whisk the above ingredients together in your round bottomed bowl until they start to pale a little and thicken a little. Add the mustard, seasoning, and cayenne if using.

Drizzle the oil in very slowly at first, down the center hole into the egg mixture whisk like a pro – facial expressions indicating concentration will only increase the excellent texture of your emulsion.  You will see the oil start to emulsify, each time your emulsion stabilizes you can add more oil. Transfer mayonnaise to a clean container and chill immediately. This will keep for at least 7 days refrigerated.

Do the above in a food processor or a blender if you are in a hurry or are wrist / whisk challenged.  Switch up oils…  I’ve had great success mixing nut oils with olive oil or adding flax seed oil to my mayo.  Add more brine or favorite vinegar to thin for a creamy salad dressing, add dill and sour cream for ranch, add worcestershire, garlic, anchovies and parmesan for Caesar, add fresh ground garlic for aioli.  Put a dash of your bomb diggidy on just about everything. 🙂


Haute Brats


Today was just one of those days. Locked the keys in the car etc. etc.  There was work and school and soccer and by the time we got to dinner we wanted it FAST. So: Brats (if you are brave enough to make your own, here is a little tutorial) buns, our Ozuké dill,caraway and fennel kraut, some pickled peppers, mustard and done. Dinner was a hit, the probiotics even out the white buns and everybody goes to bed full and happy. You can make your own mustard too- fun and easy (on a day when you don’t have much else going on.)
Homemade mustard:
* 1/4 cup yellow mustard seed
* 2 Tbsp. black or brown mustard seed, heaping
* 1/4 cup dry mustard powder
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
* 1 small onion chopped
* 1 tsp. salt
* 2 garlic gloves, minced or pressed
* 1/4 tsp. ground allspice (optional)
* 1/4 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
* 1/8 tsp. turmeric

In a small bowl, combine mustard seed and dry mustard. In a 1- to 2-quart stainless steel or nonreactive saucepan, combine remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, on medium heat until reduced by half, 10-15 minutes. Pour the mixture into the mustard mixture. Let mixture stand, covered, at room temperature for 24 hours, adding additional vinegar if necessary in order to maintain enough liquid to cover seeds. Process the seeds and mixture in a blender or food processor until pureed to the texture you like –this can take at least 3 or 4 minutes. Some prefer whole seeds remaining, others a smooth paste. The mixture will continue to thicken. If it gets too thick after a few days, stir in additional vinegar. Scrape mustard into clean, dry jars; cover tightly and age at least 3 days in the refrigerator before using.
Makes about 1 1/2 -2 cups.