Kimchili (read that again)


I made my first batch of kimchili because I thought someone else made it first and I got jealous. Then I realized it just said "kimchi," so I went in for the kill!

This pickled stew is a basso extension of kimchi's nose-prickling flavors. First I cooked chives and Napa cabbage, then added diced kimchi, cranberry beans, baby great northern beans, and hand-crumbled tofu. You heat the mixture for about five minutes, but no more! With minimal heating, the kimchi keeps its bite, while its juice trickles into the meatier, cooked elements.

And like both pickles and stews, it gets better after a day or two as the flavors settle their differences and marry. The kimchi wilts, the pungency mellows, the wan cooked cabbage gains stature. And there, I just invented kimchili. Next, other food puns, like Shepherd's Paella (shellfish, sausage, and veggies on bottom, broiled saffron rice on top).

Recipe: Dice 6 chive stalks and 1/2 small head of Napa cabbage. Sautee over medium-high heat with sesame oil until wilted and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup diced kimchi, 3 cups of cooked beans, and 1 block of fresh firm tofu. Stir and keep on stove until just warm, about 3 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Serve the next day, gently warmed and over brown rice. Serves 3-4.