• February 8, 2023

If I Have Kimchi In The Fridge, I Know I Have Dinner

I have the same dilemma after every weekend trip to the farmers market. I come home with my tote bags full of fresh produce ready to start a new week. As I start unpacking, I start thinking about how to put everything in the fridge. I dig through my back, pull out forgotten bags and containers: a few tubers of crushed fennel, a leftover half of cauliflower, rubbery radishes a week old. There’s no way I can make room for the new stuff when all of this leftovers is limiting my style!

Clean up refrigerator kimchi

The most bubbly, fun way to use up all of those scraps of vegetables at the end of the week.

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If I have to use up all of those slightly withered but still good vegetable scraps, this is it Clean up refrigerator kimchi is my solution. This small-batch kimchi recipe takes end-of-the-week refrigerator waste that some might consider junk or compost, and instead turns it into a versatile kitchen staple that will give you a flavorful buddy for grain shells, eggs, and stews for weeks.

For the uninitiated, home fermentation can be intimidating, reminiscent of exploding glasses and giant, bubbly pots. But this small batch recipe is perfect for even the most inexperienced, and works in kitchens of all sizes – I made it in my tiny Brooklyn apartment. And you’ll burp your kimchi daily – yes, like it’s your spicy baby – so there’s no chance it’ll explode. (Worried about neglecting your kimchi burping duties? You can use food-safe plastic containers here instead of glass jars that are shatterproof.)

When I have kimchi in the fridge, I know I'm having dinner

Spicy kimchi and sweet potato fritters

A great starter or a delicious snack, these crunchy little donuts are best eaten right away.

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Once your glasses of homemade kimchi reach a state of bubbly, funky perfection, here are a few dishes I suggest you try. (And of course, these can all be made with store-bought kimchi if you don’t want to DIY or run out of your own stash.) For a great starter or fun snack to share, fry a ton. at Spicy kimchi and sweet potato fritters with gochujang yogurt. A variant of traditional potato pancakes, with spicy, tangy Gochujang yogurt, which balances out the subtle sweetness of the potatoes, a dreamlike combination of crispy and creamy.

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Inside-out kimchi grilled cheese

Melty cheese and tangy, crispy kimchi are a heavenly combination.

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If you are looking for some delicious comfort food give this a try Inside-out kimchi grilled cheese, which goes back to my childhood love for Sizzler’s cheese toast. There are a few key elements to perfecting this crispy, sticky, flavorful sandwich: a strong, spicy cheddar to play the flavorful kimchi, the patience to let the cheese melt completely, and most importantly, a quick, confident flip. (Professional tip: The crispy cheese chips in the pan are the ultimate treat for the chef.)

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Kimchi and lentil stew with poached eggs

A hearty handful of kimchi adds great flavor to this quick, filling stew.

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Finally, for a simple weekday dinner that works well on lively evenings, check this out Kimchi lentil stew with poached eggs. In this reef on traditional kimchi jjigae, green lentils add warmth and bite, while runny poached eggs add irresistible wetness to every serving. The flavors are as complex as this dish is easy to prepare.

The versatility of kimchi comes from its ability to be eaten straight out of the jar or used as an ingredient in cooking to add a flavorful kick to your meals. With all of the inspiration in these dishes, using leftover vegetables makes it something to look forward to – and makes room in your fridge for the next fresh farmer’s market.

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Jack

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If I Have Kimchi In The Fridge, I Know I Have Dinner