Vegan's Chronicles + [Vegan]

3 things...

On Thursday, I went down to Cheonan for a few days with three main purposes in mind.

Mission #1: Help my mom make our annual winter gimjang kimchi!

Gimjang Kimchi 2010

This year, instead of buying and salting her own cabbage, my mom saved herself some backbreaking labor by ordering pre-salted cabbage from a company that my aunt recommended. Apparently, a lot of housewives are going this route these days because it really does reduce a lot of the time and work that goes into making gimjang kimchi. Once this giant40kg box of pre-salted/sweated cabbage heads was delivered to my parent's house, it was time to get our kimchi uniform on (old, dark-colored clothes because you WILL get red spots of kimchi paste everywhere)!

Gimjang Kimchi 2010

All that the cabbages needed was a good wash and squeeze before they were ready to be turned into red kimchi!

Gimjang Kimchi 2010

A mandolin slicer definitely comes in handy when prepping the radishes for the kimchi paste.

Gimjang Kimchi 2010

Chunks of radishes for kkakdugi (깍두기)

Gimjang Kimchi 2010

The vegan red pepper paste. Unfortunately, it's really difficult to give a recipe for gimjang kimchi because my mom doesn't use measuring cups/spoons. Everything is done intuitively, or by taste. If you want to try making gimjang kimchi, I know there are several recipes online. To make it vegan, eliminate the fish sauce and any shrimp bits, and add salt instead. Also, since the red pepper sauce/paste will thin out as the cabbage ferments and releases more juices, you might want to make it a liiiiittle on the saltier side initially. Just taste it til you get the right level of saltiness.

Gimjang Kimchi 2010

Mise en place

Gimjang Kimchi 2010

Rub-a-dub-dub that kimchi in a tub!

Gimjang Kimchi 2010

Mission #1, complete! Behold the fruits of our labor. We got about 4 of these giant containers worth of kimchi to last us through the agonizing months of winter.

Gimjang Kimchi 2010

Kkakdugi (깍두기) dressed in sauciness.

Gimjang Kimchi 2010

Vegan Chong-gak kimchi. Looks so delicious, but it's not ready to eat yet!

Gimjang Kimchi 2010

Is the spicy redness of this photo making your mouth water?

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After slaving in the kitchen all morning (making gimjang kimchi is like a workout!), we had worked up quite an appetite and it was time for lunch! We ate a simple yet delicious meal consisting of rice, salad, dwenjang soup, kabocha squash, and some of our just-made kimchi (mixed with a little sugar and sesame seed oil for extra flavoring, since it's not yet fermented). So good!!!

Moving on... .

Mission #2: Drop Bunny off at my parent's place so they can take care of her while I'm away in Cali.

bunny in Cheonan

I'm positive that Bunny absolutely loves going to Cheonan. She gets way more running/dancing space, and she gets to munch on my mom's house plants. My mom moved most of her plants from the veranda floor to higher places, but she left a few of the big pots on the ground-level just to see what Bunny would do, and sure enough, Bunny wasted no time in treating herself to a midday snack.

bunny in Cheonan

nibble, nibble...

bunny in Cheonan

chomp chomp~

bunny in Cheonan

Sometimes Bunny can be such a weirdo. Every once in a while, she would sit there, licking the side of her cubbyhole cardboard box that we made for her. Can you see her tongue in that picture? She even jumped on top of the box and spent about a minute licking the roof til the cardboard got this dark, damp spot haha. "Oh, Cubbyhole Box, I wuv you sooo much, I wick you." She also licked the glass window divider a few times which was absolutely hilarious to watch from the other side!

I'm sure she'll be a happy camper at her grandparent's house for the next few weeks. I think my parents also enjoy having her around. They're always thinking of ways to make Bunny happy like providing that blue mat for her to sit on, or feeding her veggie treats. :)

Mission #3: Have a "pre-Christmas" get-together with my parents since I won't be with them for Christmas day.

I guess this one wasn't so much a "mission," as it was just a wish. Even though I know Christmas in the US will be a blast, I feel a little twinge of regret that I won't get to spend it with my parents. Ideally our whole family would be reunited for the holidays, but this year, it will be the kids in one country, and the parents in another. So before I take off on Wednesday, I wanted to spend some quality time with my folks and enjoy some of our family's Christmas traditions.

Christmas Tree decorating

Every year, we pull out the fake tree and decorations, and get in the holiday spirit while listening to cheesy Christmas music.

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It's small and fake, but it does the job of bringing some Christmas ambiance and cheer into the home.

Christmas Tree decorating
Christmas Tree decorating

This tree and the plastic decorations have been in our family for a long time and we wouldn't have it any other way. :)

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While my dad and I decorated the tree, my mom cooked up some heart-warming dan pat jook (sweet red bean porridge), which is another beloved Christmas traditional treat in my family. My mom's dan pat jook is simply the best. For some reason, I have childhood memories of my mom serving this to church members who would come caroling at our house. :)

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Deeelicious.

So all three missions were accomplished! Done, done, d-o-n-e. Ofcourse, I also did some baking while I was in Cheonan, but that's for another post. I gotta start thinking about packing for my trip now!