Thursday, 6 December 2012

arugula-cucumber-kimchi 'sushi'

today i went to a neighbourhood that isn't normally on my route, and happened upon a place i've  meant to check out for years (since they opened).
Granger Grocery, home of Connie's Cookin', is a mini corner grocery store with a super small scale korean kitchen where Connie, a lovely and sweet foodie, makes a different meal everyday and when you go, that's what you get. she also makes her own kimchi and sells it in the shop (see where i'm going here?).
i'm not usually running around town looking for new small businesses- sure, i'm glad they exist (relative to big business) but it takes a personal connection for me to actually care.

back when i worked at a bakery on main street, Jamie (co-owner with Connie of the grocery store/diner) used to come into the shop about once a week and buy 12 loaves of bread. he refused to call ahead so we could be prepared with the bread sliced and packaged when he arrived, and preferred to slow the errand down as he chatted with us about the excitement and frustration of starting his business. taking his time was an important part of his ideal business model. needless to say, if you've every worked in service, people like this are memorable and definitely make the job much more tolerable.
i had mostly forgotten about though, until i started working at the farmer's market where Jamie also regularly orders from the farm i work at. so there he was again, hanging around and chit-chatting. my curiosity was peaked as he mentioned the kitchen element of the shop and promised me that if it wasn't too busy Connie would surely be able to cook me something that would fit my diet.
so today, i was at Heather and 16th for a bodytalk session, and saw this cute looking grocery store. then i saw "Connie's Cookin'" and Jamie's friendly face inside the window. i stopped in.

i'm not going to go on about the character of the place, for that you should check out this article about Connie's Cookin' where someone with a good camera and nice words can give you the picture much better than i.
what i can say is that Jamie and Connie are nice. Connie really cares about food and promised to cook some millet and freeze it so it would be ready the next time i come in, and i agreed to get them some garlic from the farm as they've been too busy to come by recently.
i also bought some amazing kimchi that Connie made. if my memory is correct, she said it has in it nappa cabbage, pear, carrot, green onion, ginger, garlic, and just a little bit of hot pepper. it is fermented, no added sugar, and not canned (ie killed).

so i got home and was hungry and wanted to do something special with my treat.

kimchi sushi:
toasted nori wraps
leftover quinoa and fermented millet porridge (use whatever grains you have, you just need to make sure it's sticky so cook with a lid on and extra fluid/time, or use something porridgy like i did..)
sesame oil

cook/reheat your grains to get the right texture(sticky, but not too moist. think of sushi rice but it can be more blendy than that). add sesame oil, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. allow to cool.
take a nori sheet and place on clean/dry counter-top, shiny side down.
spread a thin layer of your grain mix on the nori, about covering just under half of the sheet.

it begins

put arugula (or any soft greens will work), cucumber, any other veggies you like, and some kimchi on there too. when it comes to nori wraps, remember, less is more. you don't want it to be too big to get your mouth around, or it's a kinda hard to eat.

ready to roll

 roll, starting with the covered side, and when you get to the edge dip your fingers in your kimchi brine and moisten the edge of the nori sheet. then finish rolling it. the moist edge will help it stick together.
i prefer not to cut my sushi, as it's hard to get right without a pretty damn good knife. i eat it like a burrito.

ready to scarf by candle light



  1. So I'll admit that I recently starting lurking on your blog.... Each word I read makes me miss you more and makes me hungrier and hungrier!

    When I saw the word "Arugula" in the headline I laughed out loud... I remember visiting Nana many years ago and making salad with her, and she just could NOT pronounce the word right -- she kept saying "a-ruh-GOO-la" (emphasis on the third syllable) and totally cracking herself up. it was awesome. so are you, fantastic fermentation fiona!

  2. I went in here for the first time today - it was the second time I'd passed recently, which is funny because I'm never usually in that area. It's so lovely! She has a really great selection of homemade things. I bought some homemade Daikon Pickles and demolished them.
    Anyhow, I was chatting at the counter (with Jamie I guess) and found out they're closed indefinately within a week. Connie's going back to Korea for family emergency stuff. It's too bad, they're doing something awesome. If you want to get more delicious Kimchi and bid 'em farewell best go now!

    1. Oh no! I'm so sad to hear that. Thanks for letting me know, I'll try to make it by this week.
      I'm glad you made it in before it was too late.