About ten years ago, I found myself temporarily employed at a nameless accessories company during Fashion Week.  My job consisted of being attired from head to toe in black (easy for me) and to silently follow clients around the showroom modeling the insides and various views of the handbags.  I assure you, it was not very exciting and I spent most of my time fantasizing about what I would have for lunch.

Fortunately, the showroom was located in Koreatown (Midtown area) and boasted a few grocery stores and restaurants.  I loved wandering and then getting food from a take out joint where I would just point to what looked good on others plates.  I gravitated almost every day to a noodle dish that was sauced with a roughly chopped spicy, sweet, and salty (heaven) kimchi sauce with thinly sliced vegetables strewn over it.  Kimchi, if you haven’t heard, is a fermented cabbage (and other vegetables) condiment that most likely originated in Northern Korea for the purpose of preserving vegetables for the long winters.  Kimchi is used as a main dish, side dish, and condiment on Korean home and restaurant tables.  Nutritionally, it boasts being high in fiber, low in fat, rich in Vitamin C, and full of belly healthy probiotics, which aid in digestion.  It has also been suggested that kimchi can aid in reducing cancerous growths.  Allegedly, if eaten in LARGE quantities, kimchi can increase the risk of gastric cancer, so no eating vats of it, please.

I love creating new meatball flavor profiles and these did not disappoint.  The kimchi added moisture and sharpness to the meatballs that I mellowed with a bit of maple syrup.  I baked them and served them a top http://testkitchenette.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1121&action=edit and a sauteed red and Savoy cabbage and arame seaweed slaw.

Kimchi Turkey Meatballs
Makes about 24 meatballs

1 lb. organic ground turkey (I used 94% lean)
1 c. finely chopped kimchi (I used Mother in Law brand)
1 egg
1/3 c. whole wheat matzoh meal (I buy boxes of whole wheat matzoh and grind it in my food processor to make bread crumbs)
1 tblsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground flax seed
few grindings of black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Put the turkey in a large mixing bowl.  Combine kimchi, egg, matzoh meal, maple syrup, sea salt, ground flax seed, and black pepper in a small bowl and add to the turkey.  Mix well until all ingredients are combined.  The mixture will be soft, don’t worry
  3. Form the turkey mixture into meatballs about the size of a walnut.  I used my ice cream scooper.  I’d say it’s about 2 tblsp. per meatball.
  4. Place meatballs on line baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.  Turn the meatballs and bake for another 5-8 minutes.

Sauteed Cabbage Arame Salad

1 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion (about 6 oz.), finely diced
1/2 red cabbage (about 1 lb)
1/2 Savoy cabbage (about 1 lb)
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 tsp. finely chopped/grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped/grated
1/2 – 1 tsp. sea salt (more/less to taste)
1/4 c. arame/hijiki seaweed soaked in 4 c. water for 10 minutes and drained
2 tblsp. shoyu (soy sauce)
1-2 tblsp. brown rice vinegar
1 tblsp. toasted sesame oil

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onion until translucent and softened (about 5 minutes), add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the salt, then the cabbages and carrots and cook until softened but still holding shape (about 7 minutes).  Add in the arame/hijiki seaweed and turn down the heat to low.  Stir all the ingredients to combine.

Finally, add in the shoyu, brown rice vinegar, and sesame oil and give it another stir.  Taste for seasoning.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

*I also had some collard stems on hand and chopped them up in small pieces and threw them in at the end to give it some extra crunch.

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