Monthly Archives: December 2013

Korean-style Tofu

Korean Style Tofu

A couple days ago I made one of my go-to meals, Korean-style Tofu, and decided to create a brief 1-minute video showing how easy it is to make.

The dish is basically just seared tofu with a chili, garlic, and sesame dipping sauce.  I should mention this sauce is not for the faint of heart – it packs a strong punch, but it stands up well against the otherwise bland tofu.  I also added the broccoli as a side because I like how it acts as another vehicle to soak up the sauce 🙂

People often ask what the quintessential flavors of Korean cooking are, and I think some of the key players are really represented in this recipe:  red chili pepper, garlic, soy sauce, green onion, and sesame.

The recipe calls for Korean red pepper flakes, also known as gochugaru, which can be found in any Asian store like H-mart.  This is what is used to give kimchi its red color.  You can substitute the Korean red pepper flakes with normal red pepper flakes but I recommend using half or a quarter of the amount listed in the recipe as they tend to be spicier!  Use with caution 🙂

And now for a visual aid…

Korean-style Tofu

1 lb Firm Tofu (sliced)
2 tbsp Cooking Oil (I used grapeseed oil)
Salt + Pepper to taste

For the sauce:
1-2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
1 stalk Green Onion (sliced)
2 tsp Korean Red Pepper Flakes (or 1/2 tsp regular Red Pepper Flakes – to taste)
2-3 tsp Sesame Oil
1/4 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 tsp Honey or Sugar

To prepare:
1)  Dry the tofu slices well with a paper towel to prevent the hot oil from splattering.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.
2)  Heat a saute pan or cast-iron skillet (recommended) over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add the cooking oil and tofu slices.  Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown and crispy.  Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
3)  Make the sauce:  Combine minced garlic, sesame seeds, sliced green onion, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar.  Either heat in a microwave/saucepan until warm or serve room temperature.
4)  You can serve the sauce on the side for dipping or spoon over the tofu.  I recommend serving with rice and steamed broccoli.

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San Francisco Revisited – Day Two

Day Two in the Bay area was all about the gorgeous scenery.  First thing in the morning, we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge and discovered this breathtaking view of the city:


Which, of course, could only be further enhanced by adding our own faces into the mix:


And why waste a perfect opportunity for more perspective shots?  I thought I was pointing at the top of the bridge, but the photographer decided to go for a different target.  


These next two are open for interpretation.  Holding up the bridge?


High-fiving the bridge?


Our destination for the day was Point Reyes National Seashore, a little over an hour drive north of San Francisco.  We decided to take the scenic route along the way, making several stops for more fantastic views, including this one.


Getting to the viewpoint required a little concentration as there were a number of stairs leading down to it.  So I brought out the Thinker pose to help me out.


To quote Patrick:  “It makes no sense…”


Sue got in some Thinker pose action as well.


At the bottom, Patrick was there to offer his mother a warm greeting with a firm handshake.


Before reaching Point Reyes, we reached “point famished” and decided to stop at Breakers Cafe in this little town called Stinson Beach tucked into the mountains along the way.


The food exceeded our expectations.  I had this chicken tortilla soup that was amazing.


When we finally reached Point Reyes, we stopped at the information building where Sue and I did some modeling with this seal.



Meanwhile, Patrick and Bill got down to business asking questions about the park.  Little did they know, a whale was flying over their heads.


Driving through the park, we saw a ton of animals – mostly farm animals, but we also spotted this family of deer just hanging out at the top of the hill.


We also did our own hanging out at the top of the hill.



The main attraction of Point Reyes is this historic lighthouse that was first lit in 1870 and retired in 1975.


For some reason, I’ve had this inexplicable fascination with lighthouses lately, so I was quite blown away by this place – both literally and figuratively.  We had to walk over three hundred steps to get down there and battled some extremely fierce winds that nearly knocked us over.

According to their websitePoint Reyes is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent.


You can’t really tell how windy it was by looking at the photos, but you can kind of get a sense by looking at how lopsided this tree has grown:


But despite all that, we all made it down in one piece.



The inside of the lighthouse was bright and colorful and we learned more about the history of this place, particularly the lives of the lighthouse keepers, which was not so bright and colorful, as this sign indicates.


DSC_0140Sue’s paparazzi shot:


Before long, it was time to head back up the 308 stairs.




Once we made it back to the top, the sun was just beginning to set.


We quickly made our way to the beach to catch the sunset in all its golden glory.


And then we got creative with more perspective shots.  For instance, Bill has the whole sun in his hand…


Sue appears to be giving the sun a squeeze.. or maybe she’s just getting ready to throw a fireball.


Here’s me trying to stomp the light out.

DSC_0186We did manage to get some normal poses in as well 🙂


And before too long, the sun was replaced by this glowing full moon.


For dinner, we made a stop at Fish. in Sausalito, a fantastic restaurant known for their sustainable seafood.


There were plenty of good-looking choices on the menu to choose from.  We of course tried their clam chowder.


I ordered the seafood stew, which was a daily special.


Patrick, Bill & Sue ordered the crab roll (aka the best crab roll everrr..)  This thing was pure, delicious crab meat.



Back in San Francisco, we stopped at Ghirardelli square for a little nightcap.


DSC_0262Inside the shop, this machine made me feel like we were at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.


We have Ghirardelli’s in Chicago (and of course their chocolate can be found in nearly every supermarket), but here in San Francisco is where the company originated – back in the 1850’s when Ghirardelli moved from South America after news of the gold strike – so it was fun to experience the real deal.

According to Wikipedia:  Ghirardelli is one of the few chocolate companies in the United States to control every aspect of its chocolate manufacturing process, rejecting up to 40% of the cocoa seeds shipped in order to select what the company calls the “highest quality” seeds. The company then roasts the cocoa seeds in-house by removing the outer shell on the seed and roasting the inside of the seed, or the nibs. The chocolate is then ground and refined until the flakes are 19 micrometers in size.

I ordered the salted caramel hot chocolate, which I can attest was definitely the real deal.


The next day I had to catch a flight back home, but the fun lived on in my absence, as evidenced by these photos that were later texted to me.

IMG_0785 IMG_0788

And thus concludes another memorable trip to the Bay area 🙂

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