Tag Archives: kimchi

Cook Out NYC 2012

Cook Out NYC signageYesterday’s soaring temperatures (reaching almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 35+ Centigrade) did not diminish any of the fun being had at Cook Out NYC (put together by Food Karma Projects) a featured event for July’s Good Beer Month.  With plenty of beer, water, and sangria on hand to keep them hydrated, attendees chowed down on hotdogs, burgers, other grilled meats, ice cream, and kimchi and relaxed on the lawn in front of Colonel’s Row on Governors Island while several local bands took the stage throughout the afternoon.  The day was capped off by the Mama O’s Super Spicy Kimchi-Eating Contest, or Second Annual Kimchipalooza, as it was billed.

Waiting for the start

I attended Cook Out NYC courtesy of a press pass from Food Karma Projects and was also asked by Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 to be one of the judges for the hot dog and burger topping competitions.  Knowing from past events the amazing combinations that the guest chefs pull together for these gatherings, I was more that happy to lend my tastebuds to this effort.  My tour of the food stations was organized around getting to every competitor’s table to give each dish a try.

Hot dog Competition votes for People’s Choice 

Sabrett’s Hot & Spicy Hot Dogs Toppings Competition

Local manufacturer Sabrett’s (they have a production facility in the Bronx) has introduced a new Hot & Spicy Beef Frankfurter to their line up, which features red pepper and jalapeno mixed into the hot dog meat.  These had a great kick to them and were a terrific platform for competing chefs to show of their expertise at creating complementary toppings.  I also felt that for some of the participants, the extra seasoning provided a bit of a challenge, compared to what they might have been used to working with in the regular version of this product.


Event sponsor Sabrett’s brought out the traditional toppings to showcase their Hot & Spicy hotdogs, loading them up with Sauerkraut and Classic Onion Sauce.  While I loved the trademark snap of the casing when I bit into the meat, I was less won over by the balance between the hot dog and the balance with the sauerkraut and onions.  It felt as though the sweet-and-sour profile of the toppings clashed with the fiery seasonings.

Lucky 777 Chili

Greenwich Village-based Lucky 777 Chili entered another classic flavor combination – hot dogs and chili – into the competition.  Using a slight variation on the theme with their Turkey Chili, they created a super-meaty, loaded Chili Dog.  I enjoyed it, although it was a bit too heavy of a dish to really dig into with yesterday’s steamy weather.  I saw several folks walking away with separate cups of their hearty chili to enjoy on its own.

My Friend’s Mustard – 3rd Place Winner

Using Sixpoint Brewerys products (also a sponsor of Cook Out NYC), My Friend’s Mustard has united mustard and beer to create some unique and dynamic condiments that deserve a place in everyone’s refrigerators.  Their Hotdog with Tomatillo-Radish Slaw & Agave-Sixpoint IPA Mustard worked harmoniously together with some heat, a bit of sweet, a slight tanginess, and a nice pop from the mustard seeds.

Chef Josetth Gordon – 2nd Place and People’s Choice Winner

The vibrant colors of the Piquant Celery Slaw and Currant topping for this hotdog made a dramatic visual presentation for this entry.  The cool, crunchy slaw and sweet currants were a favorite of several of the judges, and it seems the event participants.  A few other folks I ran into, as well as myself, weren’t completely won over by it.  I found that the toppings were overwhelmed by and got lost in the spiciness of the meat.

Rich Pinto Catering – 1st Place Winner

A favorite of the judges and my personal #1 pick for the hotdog consumption portion of the day were these Vietnamese-inspired, almost Banh Mi-like creations, by Rich Pinto Catering.  The cool, creamy, spicy mayo and crispy pickled vegetables (carrots, cucumber, dill, Thai basil) provided the perfect balance of flavors, heat, and freshness for the seasoned meat.

High Point Farms grilling up burgers

Burger Toppings Competition


Using meat from Fossil FarmsAlobar dished up a Wild Boar Burger with a savory herb salsa.  The boar was very tender, but several of the folks I talked to (and several fellow judges) felt that it lacked a punch of seasoning that they would have liked to see and that it was a bit bland overall.  “I wanted tusks,” commented one person.  “I wanted it to do more, maybe gore me a little bit,” was the reaction of another.


Before I even had a chance to try this burger entry, I could smell the perfume of the truffle oil that was used in these Kobe Burgers with Truffle Aioli and see quite a few folks really enjoying eating it.  A sturdy bun held this perfectly-cooked, medium rare burger dressed with a pungent mayonnaise and a sliver of cheese.  The pickle and tomato cut through the richness to pull it all together.

Blind Tiger Ale House – 3rd Place Winner

Several entrants into the competition took the non-traditional route for burgers, like the Salmon Burger with Kimchi and an Asian Relish in this photo.  I saw people coming back for seconds on these and with one bite I understood why.  This dish took salmon from the water to the land, bringing out its meaty heart.  The tart, sour, hot toppings worked really well together to make this a completely unified dish.

Zio – 2nd Place Winner

Unfortunately, I was not able to get a sample of the Lamb Burger with Goats Cheese and Red Onion Marmalade which was the entry for Zio.  The photo above is the other dish that they were giving out yesterday, a grilled Pork Belly with Figs. These seemed to fly off of the table the minute they were set down.

High Point Farms – 1st Place Winner

With a grass-fed burger, perfectly cooked to a tender medium-rare, dressed with just a bit of pepperjack cheese and a squeeze of ketchup, the Classic Burger by High Point Farms came in as the clear winner in this category.  This was a great example of top-quality, locally-sourced meat that needed little dressing up at all to make a delicious dish.

Best in Show – Jimmy’s No. 43

As competition announcer Mike Edison of the Mike & Judy Show on Heritage Radio Network clarified when he gave out this award, there was no fixing involved.  The judges were nearly unanimous in giving the overall, non-hotdog, non-burger Best in Show nod to the Sirloin with Chimichurri Sauce put together by the team at Jimmy’s No. 43.  This is one of my favorite nibbles that I’ve eaten at the food events that Jimmy’s has put together.  The richness of the thinly-sliced, tender grilled meat pairs nicely with fresh, herbally, slightly-acidic sauce.  A thin, crunchy bread round soaks up all the extra juices making it a great treat at the end of every bite.

Mama O’s Super Spicy Kimchi-Eating ContestSecond Annual Kimchipalooza

The Second Annual Kimchipalooza took place towards the end of the afternoon on Saturday, with a fearless group of contestants battling for iron-clad stomach and spice-tolerance supremacy.  Kheedim Oh, the founder of Mama O’s Premium Kimchee, gathered up the group to test their kimchi-eating prowess.

Kimchi eating contest in process

Each contestant was given three jars of the super-spicy version of Mama O’s Premium Kimchee, made with the fiery ghost pepper (which Kheedim says he can only handle while wearing gloves the heat it gives off is so intense).  They had three minutes to see how much they could consume.  One competitor left the stage after about 30 seconds.

The Winner

With 2 1/3 jars of the super-spicy kimchi finished in three minutes, Graham “G-Man” won the day’s contest.  “My face is on fire right now,” he said after he’d been declared the victor, beaming as he held his trophy.

John Brown Smokehouse – Skirt Steak with Vinegary Slaw and Jalapeno Relish

Cook Out NYC continues today, too, with more chefs, lots of other grilled meat dishes, hot sauce tastings, drinks, and music.  Check out some of my other favorite things to eat at this event, like the Kimchi Taco from Bar Bruno or the Skirt Steak with Vinegary Slaw and Jalapeno Relish from John Brown Smokehouse (winners of the 2012 Brisket King of NYC).

The Lex by Melt Bakery (Brown Sugar & Cornmeal Cookie with Maker’s Mark Bourbon Ice Cream)

To cool down and treat yourself, why not pick up one of the ice cream sandwiches from Melt Bakery or the shaved ice concoctions from Wooly’s Ice (note that these items are for separate purchase at the event).

Pat and his wife Vivian manning event sponsor Sixpoint Brewery‘s tent

Thank you to  Food Karma Projects and Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43 for providing me with a press pass to attend this event and for inviting me to be one of the hot dog and burger toppings judges.  Thanks so much to all the volunteers and vendors as well for toughing it out under sweltering conditions yesterday to keep us all well-fed and hydrated.  All opinions in this article (unless otherwise stated) are mine and my responsibility alone.

Tickets for the Third Annual Pig Island festival to be held on Saturday, September 1st, also put on by Food Karma Projects, are now on sale.  The special price of $55.00 is good through July 13th.  If you are a fan of pork in all its forms, you will not want to miss this feast.

Buon appetito!

Beer-Batter Fried Fish Tacos with Kimchi and Guacamole

1- Fried Fish-Kimchi-Guacamole TacoBeer-batter fried Fish Taco with Kimchi and Guacamole

After taking the Culinary Techniques course at the International Culinary Center, I have been having serious food cravings any meal that is not doused in a rich sauce or steeped in butter or that has the classic French flavor profile.  Looking at the jar of kimchi in my refrigerator from the demo last week with Kheedim of Mama Oh’s Premium Kimchee, my brain decided it was time to try to reverse-engineer the Fish Tacos from ABV (by the owners of Vinyl Wines and Earl’s Beer and Cheese).  Since its opening in January, ABV has become a popular gathering spot for Upper-Upper East Side folks (i.e., those living in the 90s and above) due to its extensive beverage list and unique dishes like the Tartare Pizza and Charred Strawberry Sorbet.


I was completely hooked from the very first bite I had of this dish with all the different layers of tastes and textures.  A slab of delicate, flaky fish surrounded by a hot, crisp crust lies on a base of spicy-sour kimchi and cool, creamy guacamole all held together by a soft, corn tortilla.  It is topped with a last-minute squeeze of lime, an extra sprinkle of cilantro and a few crumbles of queso fresco to give it an extra pop of freshness and tanginess.  This was my initial attempt at making this recipe, and I think I managed to capture most of the elements that appear in the dish at the restaurant.

ABV’s Fish Taco

I’ve marked this down as a Weeknight Supper option, as, with a jar of kimchi on hand, it really doesn’t take that long to pull this meal together.  I know that the ideal spot for eating this is on a beach, cold beverage in hand and ocean breezes wafting by.  Hopefully, that scenario is in your near future, especially with how hot it has been lately, but if it isn’t, at least these tacos might help keep things cool and refreshing.

Beer-Batter Fried Fish Tacos with Kimchi and Guacamole

Prep Time: 30-45 minutes

Serving Size: 4 appetizer portions (one taco per person) or 2 meal-sized portions (two tacos per person)


1/2 cup Kimchi, chopped

1 Avocado

1/2 Jalapeno pepper, minced

1 Tbsp White Onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped

Zest of 1 Lime

Juice of 1 Lime

1 pinch ground Cumin

1 pinch ground Coriander

1 pinch Black Pepper

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 cup Flour

1 pinch Salt

1/2 cup Beer (doesn’t have to be the highest quality)

1 whole Red Snapper (or other white fish), about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds OR

1 to 1 1/2 pounds Red Snapper fillets

Corn or Sunflower oil for frying

4 large White Corn Tortillas (I used ones from Hot Bread Kitchen)

Queso Fresco

12-16 whole Cilantro leaves

4 Lime wedges



Place the chopped Kimchi in a serving bowl and set it aside until ready to put together the tacos.


Cut open the avocados and remove the pit.  Scoop out the green interior and place it in a bowl.  Mash it with a fork until there are no big chunks.  This version of guacamole should be fairly smooth in texture.  Add chopped jalapeno, onion, cilantro, and lime zest.  Stir to combine.  Pour in lime juice, cumin, coriander, pepper, and salt and mix together thoroughly.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to put together tacos.

Ingredients for Beer Batter

Put 1/2 cup flour into a shallow bowl with a pinch of salt.  While stirring with a whisk, pour in 1/2 cup of beer and mix together until the ingredients are all combined completely and there are no lumps of flour.  It should resemble the batter for thin pancakes.  Let this sit for a few minutes while preparing the fish.

Red Snapper

I chose to use red snapper for this dish, but any white fish that won’t fall apart when fried would work.  I went by the guidelines at the fish counter at Whole Foods, truthfully, as I still find it confusing to figure out which is a “good fish” to buy versus a “bad fish,” environmentally speaking.  Feeling adventurous based upon my exploits in culinary class, I decided to buy a whole one and practice on it.  Needless to say, it is not really possible to take pictures while cutting up a fish, so I’ll have to let you imagine that I did much neater job of this task than was the actual reality.

Red Snapper Fillets

In the end, I had several large pieces.  To test the recipe, I cut a couple of them into long strips and left the others as they were.  I’m still not sure which size I prefer for this dish.  They both fry up really quickly and seem to hold onto their texture while maintaining a nicely crisp exterior coating.

Beer Batter

Put 1/2 inch of Canola or Sunflower oil into a heavy frying pan and turn it to a medium-high heat.  This is a great excuse to pull out the cast iron skillet as it will hold the heat better than other pans, which is why it is often recommended in fried chicken recipes.  While the oil is heating, prepare the fish.  Pour the other 1/2 cup flour onto a plate or into a shallow bowl.  Cover each piece of fish in the flour and shake off the excess.  Dip each piece of fish into the beer batter.  Shake off the excess and put it on a clean plate or cutting board while you check to see if the oil has reached the right temperature for frying.

Frying Fish

Drop a bit of batter into the oil.  If it sizzles immediately and begins to turn golden on contact, it is ready.  Gently place several pieces of fish in the pan, making sure not to crowd them together as they need room to cook.  Fry about 3-4 minutes on the first side, until golden, turn it over and cook another 3 minutes on the second side.  Remove fish from the pan and dry on paper towel.  You may have to cook the fish in a few batches.

Prepping Tacos

Set up the ingredients and begin to construct your tacos.  Begin by slathering some guacamole on a corn tortilla base.  Then spoon some of the chopped kimchi.  Gently lay a piece of the fried fish on top of the kimchi.  Sprinkle a few whole cilantro leaves plus a couple of large pinches of crumbled queso freso on top of the whole thing.  Serve on a large plate, accompanied by lime wedges.  These should be eaten while the fish is still warm to hot so that you get the right balance of hot and cold, crunchy and sour, and creamy and tangy.

Buon appetito!

Preview of Cook Out NYC with Kimchi-Making Demo by Mama O’s Premium Kimchee

Have you been out to Governors Island yet this year?  If not, here’s another terrific reason to plan a day out of the city (sort of) to check out this bucolic spot just a short ferry ride away from Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Cook Out NYC will be taking place July 7-8 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  This event will feature delicious dishes prepared by fantastic local chefs, refreshing brews by Sixpoint Brewery, and for all you kimchi lovers, a Spicy Kimchi Eating Contest to be held on Saturday.  I’m pleased to be able to offer you a $5.00 discount on tickets to this event, courtesy the sponsors.  Enter the code “BlogOutNYC” at check-out.

Kheedim Oh of Mama O’s Premium Kimchee

As part of the press launch for this event, several fellow bloggers, local media folks, and I gathered at Jimmy’s No. 43 last night for a kimchi making demonstration by Kheedim Oh, the founder of Mama O’s Premium Kimchee. Both Jimmy and Kheedim met when they each had stands at the New Amsterdam Market.  Kheedim started off by explaining the origins of his four-year-old company.  After relocating from Maryland, he missed his mother’s kimchi and hadn’t been able to find any store-bought version that stacked up to her homemade one.  After convincing her to teach him how to make it, he would travel to and from New York with coolers full of it.

Ingredients for Kimchi

Not able to eat all of it himself, he offered it to friends who told him that he should be selling it.  A butcher in his Lower East Side neighborhood fell in love with it and started to carry it.  Things grew from there, and now his product can be found in many Whole Foods stores in the region as well as at Murray’s Cheese Shop and other specialty food retailers.  He said he goes through about 500 pounds of cabbage a week making kimchi.  He treated us to a brief explanation of how it all comes together:

Explaining how to prep the cabbage for brining – slice it lengthwise

After 24 hours – unbrined (left) vs. brined (right) cabbage

Making the spicy paste – pounding garlic by hand (he did most of this by machine)

Making the spicy paste – slicing ginger

Making the spicy paste – pulverizing ginger

Making the spicy paste – juicing a few limes (with help from the audience)

Making the spicy paste – adding dried red pepper

Making the spicy paste – adding more dried red pepper

Making the spicy paste – oh, let’s just add a little bit more dried red pepper

Spicy Red Pepper Paste

Cutting up the brined cabbage (cut out the core at the bottom and discard it)

Slice a few scallions

Chop up a pile of cilantro

Give it all a good toss together

Guests were able to pack it up to take home with them

My own personal jar of kimchi, ready to go home

Thanks so much to Kheedim for his highly-entertaining demonstration of how to make kimchi.  I’m not sure I’m going to try doing this in my own kitchen, but I’m looking forward to tasting the results of last night’s event when they are ready.  Remember, Cook Out NYC will be taking place July 7-8 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  There’s a $5.00 discount on tickets to this event when you enter the code “BlogOutNYC” at check-out.  I’ll be there as well, covering this event for my website courtesy of Food Karma Projects.

Buon appetito!