Caramelized kimchi + maple roasted parsnip fries & a little bit about the originality of ideas

This week, the Dutch cookbook author Yvette van Boven talked about the originality of ideas. I translated the paragraph because it's a topic that has been on my mind lately. Here it is:

To what degree are ideas yours? This is a beautiful and important, almost philosophical question. It's a question which almost every artist and every maker faces. People ask me: "how do you think of your recipes?" You use ideas that are already there, but how you put them together, is what makes them unique. It doesn't bother me when someone says: "that person copied your work". Maybe it's something in the air, or maybe I inspired that person, like I am being inspired by others. 

I think what she's trying to say is this: we, food bloggers, aren't here to invent the weel. And I agree with her. We ourselves are often inspired and are trying to inspire you when you maybe don't know what to cook after a day of hard work, or when you want to make something special for those you love and are looking for a recipe.

A very good friend of mine showed me the quote above. My blog means a lot to me. It's a showcase of my creativity, it's a platform for stories that are here to be heard. What you see is a lot of work; hours and hours of it. Not only the development of recipes, or the photography, but also the blog itself, the way it's constructed and styled, the interviews, the general philosophy behind it. I'd call it my intellectual property and so I am not sure if I agree 100 percent with Yvette who implies it's best to not get wound up about people copying your ideas. I actually think it's a courtesy to let someone know you are inspired by them when you take an idea and replicate it, instead of claiming it as if it were your own. It's the least you can do. Credit where credit is due and all of that.

I get it, though. In this food blogging community it's hard to be unique. I have trouble distinguishing myself as well at times and it's not that much of a problem when we all kind of look a like. But I try to be fair, honest, and authentic at all times. And that would be my advice to others as well. If you're real, then there's no need to try to be unique, because you already are. Remember that.

This blog really became what it is during a time in my life when all my ideas about a career, about life as an adult proved to be worthless. Without any plan about the future I was finally able to breathe and creativity happened. What inspires me is all of your sweet comments and suggestions on social media and here on the blog. I am inspired by the seasons, fresh produce, beautiful videos about food & life outdoors, by my favorite bloggers and chefs, by my family and friends. The supply of inspiration is endless. What you see here is the result of a combination of those factors.

On to some 'lighter' stuff. Like the kimchi workshop I attended a few weeks ago at my favorite store DAY Kitchen. Kimchi is HOT, in every way. Nathalie, a South Korean-Dutch chef, taught us how to make your own batch of traditional kimchi. Super interesting and remarkably easy. It is kind of time consuming, though. The chopping requires some time and attention. Also you should protect your kitchen by laying down pieces of newspaper on the floor or whatever, because things will definitely get messy. Nathalie showed us a very funny South Korean instruction video and told us that many people believe that kimchi prevented SARS from spreading in South Korea. After you're done with making your batch of kimchi, put it aside for a week (you will hate the smell), and then store it in the fridge for six months or so. 

If you don't want to go through the trouble of making your own kimchi, you can of course use store-bought. I paired this dish with roasted parsnip fries, coated in maple syrup and paprika powder. The perfect pick-me-up. All these flavors go really well with the spicy kimchi. Finish it with cheddar cheese and some sour cream and you are good to go! (When vegan, replace with a cashew sauce). I used maple syrup from Bushwick Kitchen. It's a gift from Torrance, the founder of Teak and Twine, a Florida based company that composes highly personalized, curated gift boxes with beautiful US-made products. I was so lucky to receive a special food box with a mazama cup, a mix for southern biscuits, bourbon honey, this syrup and much more. And good news! There's also a box in the making for you! But more on Torrance and Teak and Twine later in a special stories blog post. 

A highly irrelevant note on the recipe:

- This kind of finger food is perfect for game nights, impromptu gatherings, or as a snack while watching Super Tuesday for example! Cause let's face it. Next week is going to be exciting! As an American Studies alumna/journalist/former intern in Washington D.C. I am verrrry interested in American politics and I must say I DO NOT understand what the hell is going on you guys!! These elections are crazy. Anyhow, good food is necessary. So try this recipe. 

Caramelized kimchi with maple roasted parsnip fries, cheddar cheese, and sriracha crème fraîche 

(serves 2)

You need:

For the parsnip fries
2 medium parsnips, scrubbed and cut in 1/2 inch sticks
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika powder, sweet/smoked
1 tsp salt

For the caramelized kimchi
1 cup kimchi (leave the zucchini out)
1/4 cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp tamari
1/2 onion, chopped finely (reserve half for later)
1 tbsp olive oil

For the sriracha lime crème fraîche
1/2 cup crème fraîche
2 tsp sriracha
1 tbsp lime juice + zest

cheddar cheese, grated

How to make it:

The parsnip fries
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

2. Coat the parsnip fries in oil and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

3. Sprinkle with salt & paprika powder. Drizzle with maple syrup.

4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Then turn and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

The caramelized kimchi
1. Place a skillet on medium fire. Add oil. Once hot, add half of the onion, kimchi, and sugar. Stir well. Add the tamari.

2. Cook for about 10 minutes, stir frequently so it doesn't burn. Lower the heat when you feel it's cooking to fast. The kimchi should look glazed. 

The sriracha lime crème fraîche + assembling
1. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until smooth. Set aside. 

2. To assemble, place the hot fries on a plate. Add the grated cheese so it can melt a little. Place a large scoop of kimchi on top and drizzle with crème fraîche. Finish with some cut scallions, the rest of the chopped onion, and perhaps some more cheese. Enjoy!