Due to Vegan MOFO, I didn’t post the last week’s 365 photos. It happens. I hope everyone enjoyed the post marathon that is Vegan MOFO. It is nice going back to the old schedule. So here we are, the remaining photos. I am trying hard to get back into the habit of “taking” photos since Vegan MOFO gave a specific list of things to photograph for the prompts. Now it is nice to explore other types of subjects.
Day 262: I’ve been pretty bad and purposely not bringing my camera to the farm. As we were driving up I knew I made a mistake. There was beautiful fog. I managed to get this cool shot though.
Day 263: I made my recipe of apple dumplings for Vegan MOFO’s prompt of recreate a family recipes.
Day 264: Next day I roasted some miso-harissa acorn squash for some tacos. Recipe on the blog for Vegan MOFO, make a dinner with all seasonal produce- heck even the harissa was made with seasonal food!
Day 265: Nights are getting darker, and taking good photos of dinner food is starting to get troublesome. But I made a vegan Japanese style curry anyways as the prompt for Vegan MOFOs What would ____ eat? I chose YUKI from Judy and Mary.
Day 266: Toulouse is eats her food. I photographed her shadow on the wood floor
Day 267: Some shots of wood coming off on an abandoned building.
Day 268: I got a random call from my Father in Law about going to see a concert in New York City. The band was pretty good, but we also got to eat at Beyond Sushi. It was amazing! Pictured below is the carrot and shiitake mushroom, mushroom roll, and a green roll. More details will be posted in a review later.
Day 269: The cat gazes out the window
Day 270: I used up my spaghetti squash in a soup. It was nice to get rid of it! XD Recipe posted for Vegan MOFO. Okay, I think the last photo of a Vegan MOFO recipe!
Day 271: I got my halloween decorations. I personally love animal skeletons, but they aren’t really vegan? I mean there are lots of interesting ethics going on, which I would love to make a post about in the future. But for now, these cute, kitchy, and totally not accurate cat and rat skeletons from Target will have to do.
Day 272: Basically my work day was canceled and I got antsy. So I got in my car and drove to the old abandoned theater for a photo of the old lights. I couldn’t really go inside because 1) It is a pretty busy street and 2) I know there are lots of efforts to try and open it up again, so I didn’t want to break any glass or doors.
Day 273: Took a photo of some of the succulents growing at work.
Day 274: Another flower at work, not many days left of flowers since it is getting cold out.
Day 275: Nothing but rain the last few days.
Last day for Vegan MOFO, and I have mixed feelings of happiness and sadness. I am glad to call it quits for this year because I AM TIRED! And I have so much food! Our fridge just isn’t that big. I can’t really freeze most of the leftovers, so it has been a real balance between use up my produce, getting the right amount of posts, and eating up enough of the leftovers. And I’ll be a little sad to see Vegan MOFO go since it has been fun, and nice to have prompts to direct my creativity. Or just force me to write up a post. I mean I’ve been meaning to write a post about planning a trip as a vegan for awhile.
For the last post we make a fusion meal of roti and dal quesadillas. I feel like this is a triple ethnic whammy since I feel like quesadillas been bastardized enough by Americans, so it is kind-of a American-Bastardized Mexica meets Indian food. Sounds good to you? What I love about this meal is that it is a great way to put a twist on leftovers. In fact I got the idea from our leftovers from dinner. We had so much dal and roti leftover, and I thought what if? The results are amazing! And will vary as you choose different types of dal and different types of cheeses!
I first tried the recipe out with Chao Slices, the creamy original. It was pretty good, but the downside was it has a higher melting point and you need to break them up. The second time making this I used the Daiya shredded cheddar cheese which worked out well. Both had their own benefits, but both gave a yummy creamy texture to the dryer dal. Feel free to swap out the roti for normal flour tortillas, as most people don’t have easy access to ready made roti (and may not want to make them).
Use any dal you want, as long as it is very thick. I used the dal from Vegan Eats World (the Sri Lankan Red Lentil Curry), and subbed lentils for split peas. If you don’t know a dal recipe, I always like Vegan Richa, as she has easy recipes and knows authentic Indian cuisine. Heck I even made a link for all recipes with “dal” in the description aka I used for the word dal in her search engine.
Right as all the Vegan Mofo prompts were announced my husband and I started planning our trip out to Frederick Maryland for a friends wedding. We never been there and expected it to be a very “Murican” sort of town. Turns out it is a bustling college city. There are some really unique places that are vegan friendly. But in my head I went through the check list of things and figured I should make a post as sort of a “prep sheet” guideline for traveling vegans. Any examples I meant reference what WE did in Frederick or our trip to Maine.
Book Your Room First
Depending on what type of place you book, will depend on what you eat. If you stay at a major chain you will have an option for continental breakfast. That means pretty much having bagels with jam, instant oatmeal, and bananas. You can bring your own foods to deck these things out, like hummus, peanut butter packets, granola, etc. You might also look for a place with a kitchenette. This will allow you to make some light food. Maybe you can make some sandwiches for lunches, or bring a blender to make smoothies. You can do some of these without a kitchenette, but might be a tricky clean up. When were in Bar Harbor we stayed in an independent Inn that had a little kitchenette. I used leftovers for sandwiches so we never went out to eat for lunch. There are also cabins you can rent, so it is worth searching around and reading tour guide books for recommendations. I always stayed at places with kitchens or kitchenettes when I was little, so it makes sense. I never liked the idea of eating out for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.
If you want something more personable, there are some vegan Bed and Breakfasts. There is a list on Happy Cow, but the list clearly has a high chance of not covering the area you are going to visit. If you have never been to a Bed and Breakfast you can expect to be eating breakfast with a bunch of strangers (and they are usually 50 years old and up) and get invited to social gatherings. When Jon and I went to Portland we stayed at The Inn at Park Spring. The owners gladly catered to my dietary restrictions (although I wasn’t fully vegan at the time). This will probably give everyone a chance to start a conversation about your diet and beliefs. Look in tour guides for Bed and Breakfasts and search the internet.
But we were the youngest people there, so you might not want to be in the minority (although we had fun talking to everyone!) Enter Air BnB. I hear that there are vegan Air BnBs but there is no way (that I can find) where you can search specifically for them. But the benefit is that there isn’t always a breakfast. Some places are just cabins you can rent out, or apartments. Sometimes the host is there with you, sometimes not. My sister rented one in London where the host wasn’t there because it was his second apartment. We booked a place outside of Frederick that got good reviews, and the owner offers some food for breakfast. But they said we are open to use their kitchen, which means we can bring bagels and hummus or instant oatmeal.
Search for Restaurants
After you book your place, start searching for places to eat. I first like to check out Happy Cow, as they list vegan, vegetarian, and some vegan friendly places. I always find great places there, BUT sometimes it is worth it to look in a traditional guidebook. Sometimes they have recommendations that might be serving meat and dairy, but will have some great vegan options. Pick your favorites, and check out their menu online. Perhaps you find a place from the tour guide and it is listed on Happy Cow too, perhaps that is a sign that the restaurant is very good? Plus you might find some ethnic restaurants that are listed in a tour guide but aren’t on Happy Cow. Happy Cow tries to only list vegan and vegetarian places. When they list omni restaurants they tend to be organic or farm to table.
The next step I do is try googling “eating vegan in [insert town name here].” Seems pretty lame but you can get some interesting results. I am always hoping to find blogs that have vegan eating guides. For example, when searching for places in Frederick I found this blog post about Volt. I don’t think my husband and I will be eating here, but it was nice to see a breakdown of the food for that restaurant. And perhaps one day it will be someplace to keep in mind if we visit the area again.
The last thing you will want to do is refresh yourself with vegan options with major chains. Remember your favorites, then look to see if they have a location nearby. My stand bys are Chipotle and Panera, but the two locations aren’t in the city in Frederick, but are within a 20 minute drive. Perhaps this is too far away? Googling even if you aren’t sure what is near you, can help prevent sudden hangry moments. Or having a significant other guilt trip you for having a lunch of McDonalds french fries. Guys, it totally happens.
Build a Plan
Now it time to pool all your research together. Where are you staying? What are they providing? Where are you going? What type of activities are you doing? What restaurants are on your “must lists”? From here, you can fill in your holes. You don’t need to plan your trip to a T, but you will want to know pack. So here is my break down of our Frederick trip.
- Staying at an Air BnB. We are able to use the kitchen
- We arrive around noon on a Thursday, probably want to pack a lunch for the road.
- We really want to go to Glory Donuts, so breakfast on Friday and Saturday will probably be there
- We have a wedding on Friday night, so we don’t have to plan on bringing a dinner, though we will probably want to bring some fruit and snacks
- We want to climb a mountain one of the days were are there, probably Friday or Saturday before we drive home
- Two booze tours: Flying Dog (probably Thursday) and Distillery Lane Ciderworks (most likely Saturday before leaving)
So that leaves us having to plan dinner for Thursday night, lunch on Friday, and Saturday. I quickly looked for a place for dinner, and found The Orchard to fill in that gap. Then we could either go to That Hummus Place that we found via Happy Cow or plan on making our own lunches. We might want to prep our own lunches on the day we hike a mountain, and we have access to a kitchen so that seems plausible. Thinking of snacks is always important as well. I always pack way more than what we need, protein bars, peanut butter single servings, instant oatmeal, apples, re-usable water bottles, etc. Whatever you think is good.
Also think about what is important for the trip. Are you visiting something specific? Like going to Iceland to see aurora borealis? Is it to soak up the local color? Is it for work? To see a concert? Maybe you are going to wedding/anniversary? These things might change your decisions on eating out. I know my husband and I like to eat out for dinner when traveling, more so than eating out for breakfast and lunch. Maybe you don’t agree. And that is fine. Do whatever you think works best for you.
What to Bring or Make
So as I mentioned we would think about making out own lunch. But maybe you need to make your own breakfast? Here is a nice little list of things you can bring or prep.
- buy single soy milk containers, cereal, and fresh fruit for cereal *tip bring a cooler and use an ice machine, warm milk cereal BLOWS*
- use your coffee maker in your hotel room to heat water up for instant oatmeal
- if you have access to a kitchenette, you can bring a blender with you to make fresh smoothies. *note don’t rinse your blender in the bathroom sink*
- bagel with vegan cream cheese, hummus, or PB & J
- bring yogurt, granola, and fruit to make your own vegan parfait
- if eating out, look for fruit bowls, oatmeals, bagels or toast with jam, juices, and soy milk options
- pack muffins you made before going on vacation
- cook a large batch of porridge, grits, steel cut oats, etc so you can microwave it in the hotel room
- make simple sandwiches, splurge on deli meats and faux cheese to make quick sandwiches with lettuce, I dig Daiya provolone slices and Field Roast mushroom deli slices
- pack premade chickpea, “egg”, faux chicken, etc salad so you can make sandwiches with them
- cook rice and beans and bring with burrito wraps and tinfoil. You can make quick burritos for lunch in parks and trails.
- Bring a small skillet and you can make a grilled cheese sandwich with your coffee maker
- boil broccoli, carrots, pretty much any veggies in your coffee pot
- use the hot water from your coffee pot to make instant ramen, yes there are vegan ones out there, you just need to search a little
- buy couscous packs, to cook all you need to do is add hot water and steam it
- you can boil vegan hot dogs in your coffee maker
- pack a cutting board and knife, or prechop veggies before leaving to have lots of salads, buy the pre-washed greens to make your life easier
- buy pre-packed baked tofu for making salads, sandwiches, or wraps
- look around at your local or a health food store where you vacationing, look for foods that could be boiled or just needs hot water added
- use leftovers from your dinners, for example if you didn’t eat all your veggie burger, wrap it up!
- if you are feeling adventurous, pre-bake some cookies, you’ll always need them
- bring apples, peaches, berries, any type of fruit, it can be hard to get your veggies in when eating out
- nutritional bars, I always pack store bought – NOT HOMEMADE bars because you can keep them in your backpack/purse when you aren’t near any vegan options but are starving
- splurge in the health food store, grab any vegan chips, popcorn, candy bars, cookies, etc that you wanted to give a try, go ahead treat yourself
Clearly there are more options out there. I always suggest to check out health food stores in the area as there are always different region brands. So you might not be able to get FRESH vegan food, but you will get something local or unique to the area. Farmer Market’s also give some more choices that might not have been listed on Happy Cow, or on blogs. For example, I know there is a company called She’s Got Balls that sells vegan and raw treats at farmer markets and festivals, but isn’t listed on Happy Cow.
I hope this helped out any vegan noobies, or anyone who had a terrible time traveling with a vegan diet. Also keep in mind, you can’t be perfect. If you are going to a very un-vegan area and they put butter on your veggies, try not to sweat it. Only one deep fryer? Is it so horrible to get your fries grilled in the same place as the chicken? Should you be concerned about the animal based fortified vitamins in mass produced cereals? This isn’t a pass to eat all the chicken and beef you can, but let’s be realistic, the world isn’t vegan. And without a kitchen it can be a little hard.
Sadly I couldn’t exicute the original plan for this post. Alexa and I were going to do a joint post of us having a debate on tacos vs burritos. Alexa was all set to make a drawing of us and all. BUUUUT…. she had some issues at work where they were suddenly down a person. We’ve all been there with small businesses, someone is fired, has to leave suddenly, or your boss refuses to replace someone and you find yourself working over 40 hours. So she worked a lot of days in a row and needed a break. Then my husband had to work on an emergency project over the weekend and hogged the computer so I really didn’t touch it. I actually had to plug our old computer in to make the post on Saturday. But luckily I’ve been meaning to post this recipe on this tomatillo tofu burrito.
I might be a little biased in the Taco and Burrito debate. I worked at Animo in the past, and their specialty is burritos. They get pretty creative with it, pretty much pushing boundaries between wrap and burrito. Hey I am cool with that because there is something very satisfying about having hot beans mixed with cold lettuce. I do like tacos, but oddly I don’t make them often. Maybe because I usually don’t plan a meal, and just kind-of pile stuff on. So the end results are too many flavors. But some days I get my shit together and hold back on making too many fillings with my Kohlrabi Kimchi & Adzuki Bean Tacos and Miso-Harissa Acorn Squash Tacos. Burritos are a little hard to add too much. Just rice, beans, salsa, and an add in (tofu in this case, but roasted veggies are pretty good too!)
And what I love about burritos is the portability! If I wanted to have tacos for lunch I would have to store everything in their own containers. Then build them like a homemade lunchables. I wasn’t into them when I was little, so I am still not into it as an adult. But burritos are all wrapped up and ready to go. Just roll in tin foil and twist the ends. Burritos work with a lot of leftovers to hide them as something much more interesting. For example a lot of leftover stews and curries I wrap up in a burrito with leftover rice. That’s it! You can sometimes switch it up. For example I leftover chili and made various types of burritos using different leftovers, sometimes rice, sometimes with lettuce, sometimes with tofu, sometimes different salsa, etc. It makes the lunch fun and interesting.
The secret to a good burrito is portions. If you are using rice and beans, I keep the ratio 43% rice, 52% beans, 5% salsa. Just a slight bit more beans than rice, and a little bit of salsa so the rice isn’t too dry. When you are having a filling like tofu or veggies I make it about 32% rice, 32% beans, 32% filling, 4% salsa. You will get a burrito that isn’t going to leak all over your hands. And there is enough rice to keep the burrito form. Check out that photo below! Keeping to the almost equal portions equation!
These burritos take a good bit of time to make, but need very little actual active time. Sometimes I double the beans and rice so I can make leftovers with it. But this amount should be enough for about 4-5 burritos, depending on how much you stuff your flour tortillas. Learning how to wrap a solid burrito might take some time, but when you figure it out, you will really impress people, making this a great dinner for guests.
I may have fallen behind on my posts. I think I will be short one post in the end, which is fine since I didn’t like some of the later prompts. See on Friday I got a call from my Father in law. Turns out he had tickets to go see Houndmouth in New York City. But his wife was sick and couldn’t go. He would of asked Jon but he knew that he was swamped with work. So I figured why the hell not? Surely seeing a concert is much more important than staying at home working on a blog post, which I think most MOFOers would agree. So I went and had fun.
The band was great, though I wasn’t a huge fan of the crowd. I’ve been to a bunch of concerts including D’espairs Ray and Gwar, and I have NEVER seen so much drinking. Like I was on the balcony looking down thinking “I see a lot of beer cans, does this always happen and I just don’t have a birds eye view?” Then while leaving there was just tons of beer soaking on the ground from people dancing with their beer cans. NEVER had that happen before. Well, I guess it could of happened at Gwar, but then got covered by mystery liquids. But it wasn’t like the crowd is obnoxious drunk, they were pretty enthusiastic. I just tend to not like when the crowd is more enthusiast than me about music, probably. Oh and the pot. So much pot being smoked. ANYWAYS…. moving to the prompt…
I am snowed in and can’t leave the house! What will you do?! I had to think hard about how to interpret this prompt. See I am a pretty good planner. My mother worked weird hours, so she would make a habit of picking out meals for each day of the week, then shopping for all the meals. So if it snowed hard, I would continue to just make what I was planning for dinner. So then I tried to dig deeper into the prompt, what would prevent me from making a dinner? Power outage! I have a gas stove so I could still cook, just couldn’t open the fridge really. So this dish uses all shelf stable ingredients- or fresh… okay technically I used homemade stock, but store bought stock works fine! I also used fresh tomatoes, but canned crushed tomatoes work great too.
So pretty much the only “fresh” ingredients would the spaghetti squash itself and onion/garlic that is chopped up. I think most seasoned cooks always buy bags of onions and has a bunch of garlic on hand. Spaghetti squash not so much. I am not a big fan of spaghetti squash, but I always get some from the farm. I am always trying to expand my palette so I always force myself to eat the squash that is given to me. It isn’t like I don’t like the taste, it is just such a weird texture that I never know what to do with it. Then I saw online that a spaghetti squash could be used in a soup. I thought this would be more interesting than just subbing pasta for squash, like most recipes.
The end result was a thick stew. The red lentils are super cooked, and perhaps slightly “dal-ish.” I loved how the spaghetti squash sort of holds all the parts of the soup together. The active time is pretty low, and there is lots of downtime. But I think this would be a great soup for a snowy day.
Oh and you know how I mentioned how I don’t really like spaghetti squash? Well almost every year I grab the squash, then somehow get my in-laws squash from their CSA share. So the squash last even LONGER! It kind-of gets pushed aside because it lasts longer than say, ripe tomatoes. So by the time I made this soup, the seeds in the squash started to sprout! It was pretty crazy! At first I thought that here was a worm in my squash, nope just the sprout.
I love Korean culture. I use to be big on jpop (which is probably obvious since I posted about a Japanese singer yesterday) and would always try to keep up music from other Asian cultures, Korea, Thailand, China, etc. But finding Korean artists was hard, I was a huge fan of Baby V.O.X, S.E.S, Loveholic, Clazziquai, Se7en, H.O.T, BoA and Lee Hyori. Then there was a huge boom of korean music. 2NE1, T-ara, Big Bang, IU, Wonder Girls, and then all the sudden the underground music started to become easy to access. Korean music even started to become part of American culture! Wonder Girls toured with Jonas Brothers, 2NE1 has a song featured in an American commercial, and Emma Stone professes her love of 2NE1. So I am putting together a little Korean starter kit for readers. What should you cook, how to eat the Korean way, and what you should be listening to while cooking.
Korean eating is serious business. There are lots of food to prepare for a traditional meal with the family. Unlike Western culture, families stay together. Children live with their parents until they get married, and even when that happens sometimes they will still choose to live with their parents (usually when their parents retire, get too old to live by themselves). The dinner is filled with lots of banchan, which are usually various kimchis/pickles and veggies. They are served in many dishes on the table and you grab and eat with your bowl of rice. A lot of the sides are naturally vegan, though they are often paired with non-vegan foods:
- Seasoned Cucumber
- Cabbage Kimchi
- Mung Bean Salad
- Pan Fried Tofu
- Steamed Eggplant
- Sweet Potatoes
- Soybean Side Dish
What to Listen to:
2NE1: If you need something boombastic, 2NE1 will get your pumped to chop some freaking onions. I recommend I Am The Best, because you are in fact the best at chopping.
Big Bang + T.O.P + G-Dragon: This group is under the same label as 2NE1 and have some great tunes as well. I personally love T.O.P and G-Dragon, who have done some solo releases and some songs exclusively together.
Eating alone is a big social taboo in Korea. As mentioned above, families stay together for awhile, so there is in theory, no reason to eat by yourself. If you want to eat out, most restaurants actually sell food with the intention of sharing. You would buy a “set” according to the amount of people you are eating with. In fact some restaurants won’t let you eat by yourself, and require more than one person (which is used in the plot for episodes of Let’s Eat). It is common to eat as a group with friends, as a couple, or going out afterwork with coworkers. Pretty much everyone shares what is ordered at the table.
This is becoming a problem as it is becoming more and more common that children move out of their parents house to live by themselves (and by children I mean 20+ year olds XD) This means eating at home by themselves. So there is a movement of people who broadcast live of themselves eating, mukbangs. There is a video app in Korea that lets you watch free streaming videos. Then you can donate small amounts of money to the people you are watching. Some people can make a living from broadcasting videos, earning a lot more than they would from their traditional jobs. You can learn more about this culture from this YouTube Documentary. It is very interesting, though there are questions about the disorders that might associated with these videos, fixation on food, binge eating, anorexia, etc.
If you don’t mind watching a little non-vegan food (although it isn’t hard to imagine a vegan substitute) Eat Your Kimchi talks about mukbangs while doing a mukbang. It is weirdly interesting. Maybe we should start a vegan mukbang channel? XD
Veganism In Korea
The movement is still pretty small but is growing. There are a few restaurants popping up, mostly in Seoul. The chain Loving Hut has locations in korea. Eat Your Kimchi does a great video and blog post about the variety of food they have and directions on how to get there. They also did another video of a bakery in Itaewon (the foreigner district) called Plant. I recommend checking that video too since they give directions and such on how to get there. There are lots of restaurants in Korea that are popping up according to Happy Cow.
It is a movement that will probably take awhile since meat is viewed as a sign of wealth and health. Plus seafood and meat produces are introduced into meals in small amounts. And although animal by products like dairy aren’t used in traditional Korean foods, Western dishes are gaining popularity like cream cheese, milk, and other cheeses.
The good news? If it doesn’t have meat or seafood, there is a good chance it is vegan. Vegans are known as “strict vegetarians” so it must be somewhat common. Many of the sides are vegan, though stay away from kimchi as they usually have seafood stuffed in it. Tofu is a great source of protein that is easily found. And you may be surprised by some of the desserts that are vegan! Traditional desserts don’t use milk or eggs, so you can get some yummy mochi and other rice cakes.
As mentioned, most Korean dishes are served in small dishes, but there are few that can be eaten all by themselves. These are the foods you would get at a restaurant, although they are usually serves with little sides as well.
- Bibimbap – Sizzling Rice Bowl
- Spicy Rice Cakes
- Jajangmyeon – Black bean noodles
- Scallion Pancakes
- Kimbap – Korean “sushi”
Dramas to Watch:
Coffee Prince: Netflix & Hulu
Although I love Asian dramas, they are very different from the US. They don’t have seasons, they are more like mini-series. And there are lots of cultural differences. But I think the first drama I watched and though “Any American would love this” was Coffee Prince. The story is about a girl, Eunchan, who works so hard to support her family that she sacrifices her girlish charm. So many people confuse her as a boy as she has no shame taking up jobs that are traditionally for males. After a misunderstanding, she finds herself having to pose as a boy to get a job at a coffee shop, and falls in love with her boss. Clearly we can see the issue here right? It is a great show, and doesn’t have too many stylistic choices that might isolate Western viewers. But a word of caution that Korea is a little behind on gay acceptance, so the show was pretty groundbreaking. Oh and I little tidbit, the main actress is a singer from Baby V.O.X, one of the groups I mentioned in the beginning of the post.
Dal Ja’s Spring: Hulu
Marriage is a huge deal in Korea. Confucianism rules Korean etiquette, and it views marriage as a necessary part of life. Which is why it seems odd to viewers that Dal Ja is 30, successful at her job, and still single. She gets hounded by her mother to start dating and get married, and is viewed as the equivalent of a spinster. That all changes when she bumps into a male “gigolo,” Taebang, who pretends to be boyfriends for single women. Taebang find himself coaching Dal Ja how to win her perfect dream date. The story is great, and there are lots of fun and interesting characters. It gives a little bit of a more realistic view of Korea’s dating scene, which pretty much means PEOPLE ARE HAVING SEX! It isn’t a risky show by US standards by any means, though.
The Master’s Sun: Hulu
This is one of the most unique dramas I’ve come across. Super natural elements aren’t exclusive to dramas, but it isn’t as common in romantic comedies. Gong-shil can see ghosts and she is terrified by them. Her whole life revolves around avoiding them. She can’t hold a normal job and becomes a recluse. Then she bumps into Joong Won, who apparently makes ghosts disappear by simply touching him. Gong-shil vows to stay by Joong Won’s side, but he is pretty much bachelor of the year, rich and handsome. But Joong Won finds some finical benefits to Gong-shil’s talent, and the two work together. I ended up watching this whole series with my husband and it translates well for Westerners. There are only a few cultural things going on, like knowing what a Korean funeral looks like, and knowing some Korean horror films. You don’t NEED to know these things to understand what is going on though.
100 Year Inheritance: Hulu
I normally don’t recommend these long dramas to people. But my god, this show is cray-cray! You hear people joke about over the top soap operas with eyepatches, evil twins, and the like. Well this pretty much puts those shows to shame. And you wouldn’t think you would be into it, but after each show I want more! I am pretty sure I neglected the blog for a few months just mindlessly watching this show. So what is it about? Hard to sum it up since there are many plots that evolve to a whole lot more. But the story opens with Chae Won, getting flack at a formal event. She huffs and puffs and leaves the event in a big scene, making the viewer think she is some rich bitch. Oh no, she was a poor girl who married into a rich family. The marriage was for love but her Mother in Law is convinced that she is trying to steal all of their money. We find out Chae Won is a perfect bride and daughter in law but is brutally abused, verbally, mentally, and physically. She tries to escape the marriage, but fearing a huge pay off, the Mother in law kidnaps her and forces Chae Won into a mental institution. Look if you are still not convinced, there is like amnesia, semi-incest, and orphans. This show has it all.
Let’s Eat: Hulu
Remember me talking about Mukbangs? Well, kind-of serves the same purpose. I found myself spending many late nights watching this when my hubby was working late. Soo Kyung is recently divorced. She lives in her own apartment with her pomeranian and is loving her new independence. But she has a problem, she loves food. There are so many restaurants she wants to try but has shut herself out from other people. Until she befriends her neighbors, a young girl and younger male, using them to go to all the hot spots. No, the food in vegan, but some are close to it. It provided me with lots of inspiration. I think the only scene that didn’t make me drool was the Korean pizza. That stuff is funky.
I think the flavors of Korean foods are amazing, but they aren’t the most vegan friendly cuisine. That is why we need to eat Korean fusion meals. These are recipes that use or are inspired by Korean foods. So bashing on the authenticity, alright?
- Broccoli and Adzuki Bean Noodles
- Raw Kimchi Detox Soup
- Adzuki Bean Burgers
- Kohlrabi Kimchi and Adzuki bean Tacos
- Tofu Bibimbap Sandwiches
- Kimchi, Mac, & Cheese
- Korean Fried Cauliflower
Korean Drinking Culture:
Maybe you want to serve some booze with your Korean dinner. And that probably an authentic audition. Koreans can sure drink. There are some rules to drinking, like you aren’t suppose to pour your own glass, someone else must fill your drink up. When you take a sip of your drink you must face away from your elders, which you see often in Korean shows and movies. So what should you be drinking? I am only listing options I have found in the US.
Beer – Yes there are a few Korean beers. The major brand that is available in the US is Hite, which isn’t very good. But microbreweries are slowly growing in Korea.
Soju– This is the most popular drink in Korea. It isn’t uh… pleasant, like cheap vodka. The strength in between a hard liquor and a glass of wine. You drink it in little shot glasses, and compliments many of the spicy dishes.
Cheongju– This is a clear rice wine, basically the Korean equivalent of sake. Actually, there are many different names for Rice Wine as it is made in many parts of Asia. It is just that sake is more well known. You can usually find these in the US labeled as sake but will have korean letting.
Makgeolli– This is another type of rice wine. This one is unique because it is a milky color. Usually there is some pulp in the drink, varying in the amount according to the region. This wine is also lightly carbonated, making a really unique drink for Westerners.
Fruit Wines– I’ve seen both raspberry and blueberry fruit wines from Korea in the US. In Korea it is common to include grains in their wines, so you get a flavor that is different than some of the Western fruit wines. Korean versions are also much sweeter but have a more complex flavor.
I love YUKI. Most people don’t know who the heck she is, and I don’t blame most western readers! YUKI is a singer from Japan, and I fell in love with her lead vocals in the band Judy and Mary. I pretty much love all projects and collaborations that YUKI does including a duet with Chara, an album with some B-52 members, and her superband Mean Machine. And if you click on any of those links- sorry for the low quality videos. The songs are pretty old, 13-15 years old, plus Japan doesn’t really like using YouTube as a way to promote music videos.
My love for YUKI got stronger as I got older because of her bold personality. She is creative, spunky, cute, and sexy all into one. Then as she went solo, she got married, had children, and snag about it all. She seemed grounded, and still continues to sing even with children, which isn’t that common on Asian countries. She has released lots of photograph books, novels, and drawings that show she really does more than just music. Oh her music videos are visually awesome!
I picture YUKI being a pretty traditional Mom. So I imagine her making homemade Japanese style curry from scratch. She would probably use Beyond Meat Chicken-free Strips since she friggin loaded, and because she just doesn’t have time to make her own seitan. If you want you can use a curry packet, I found that some of the Japanese curry packets are actually vegan, but still read the backs before buying. I find Japanese foods love to sneak in bonito flakes at any given chance! Also check thetonkatsu sauce when buying it in a store. The brand I bought was vegan, but there weren’t any others to compare ingredients to. Making this curry at home isn’t that much extra work. All you need to do cook a roux in another small pot, adding maybe like 5 extra minutes to the cook time.
YUKI would be a little fun so I think she would shape her rice into animals for her kids. This isn’t very hard, and I was even able to do it with brown rice! Just try and get a short grained brown rice, and I got sticky results using this method. Remember- steaming the rice afterwards is key and you will want to let the rice start way before you start the curry so it can cool down to comfortably shape it. Oh! And don’t forget to wet your hands, otherwise all the rice will stick to your hands. I used nori sheets and kitchen shears to cut out facial features. This makes the rice characters cute, and the nori melts in the curry, giving you some extra vitamins and much needed iodine.
Sorry for the delayed post, I had a very weird day yesterday. It was full of highs and lows, and by the end of the day I decided I needed to take a mental day off from blogging! I think after vegan mofo I won’t be posting much about food for October. Maybe a vegan candy post, and a pumpkin spice popcorn ball recipe. But I will probably spend October catching up on blog posts I started, mostly about exercise and a restaurant, and I think I am going to try and do a few horror movie reviews. I never really talk about movies, and I sure love them.
I started my morning with a very fall breakfast. I mixed a 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1/2 almond milk, some spices, 1 tbsp honee, and 1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds. I let it sit overnight and topped it with some chopped apples that were covered in sugar and blackstrap molasses. It was pretty awesome. It was quick to eat and very light which was a good thing because I ended up taking a really long run that morning. I’ve been trying really hard to get back into exercising, which has been hard since I fell out of exercising in our new home. I think things have gotten easier now that the weather has gotten cooler.
It ended up being 50 degrees outside so I got to wear my running jacket. I miss wearing it! I used my new iPhone to track my running, which is always kind-of fun to see new numbers instead of me thinking “I’m probably running slow…. I think I am making good time…” Since I was going for a long run, it meant exploring my new neighborhood. I was a little nervous because my old Haddon area was full of small houses, and old fashioned streets. That meant lots of trees and sidewalks. I never grew up in areas where you had closed off developments and the streets connecting them were very busy. So it was a learning experience of which roads are best for running.
I decided to run through the development across from mine, and round to the local park. I am not a huge fan of man made park, you know the ones with no trees, paved trails, and baseball fields, but this one is really close to us. So I ran through it, and found this guy! I wish I could run with my SLR camera because I could of gotten a cool photo! Ugh! But oh well. I think what makes long distance running so cool is that your world get smaller. Places you think are just too far to do anything but drive to, you soon realize your body can travel you there, and it is pretty rewarding. Is it practical to run to the grocery store? Probably not, well depending on what you are getting. I use to run to my CVS to pick up prescriptions. That wasn’t too weird.
Then when I got to work, my boss offered me some squash. He has been growing them on the fence, and these cashaw squash got huge! They are a variety of heirloom squash that is suppose to be a secret specialty in the south. They are kind-of like a mix of a butternut squash and a pumpkin. They make great pies, and desserts. My favorite was making Isa Chandra’s butternut alfredo with the cashaw plant. Very yummy.
Then when I headed back to my car it turned out my boss got my squash already to drive me home. Maybe I should start locking my car? Well, I will briefly go into the details of the “bad” part of the day. Basically a day or two ago my mother texted all of us that my dog Madison (the dog we adopted when I was in high school) was very ill. She is now hitting 15 years, and woke up unable to walk. After a nap she seemed fine again. Well yesterday I got a text from my Mom saying “call me when you get off of work.” So I though “I think Madison died…” then thought there was a 25% chance it was my Mom asking me something stupid and not just calling me after 5 pm. So I sat at work trying not to think about it, and got all worked up. Turned out she wanted me to come over and pick fabrics. UGH! When I told her what I thought she might be calling for she was “oh yeah, that makes sense, but no”
At that point I was happy to stop by Iron Hill Brewery on the way home and fill up my growler. Sadly, I don’t like stopping her often. They aren’t the most vegan friendly restaurant, and their menu gets increasingly smaller for vegans. But I do love fresh beer. So I filled up my growler with the pumpkin ale and brought it home. I think that is a great way to end the day right?
I originally was going to post a recipe for pumpkin spice popcorn balls, but I think I need to make one more batch to perfect the recipe. So you will probably see it after vegan mofo!
This was kind-of a weird prompt since I pretty much eat “seasonal” all year long. Why? Well my CSA gives out a LOT of food. Unlike most CSAs that just give you a basket full of food, my CSA is only one farm, that we go to each week. There they have some pre-picked foods and some we need to pick ourselves. There is a big board that says how much we are allowed to take. Some of it is a “pick and choose whatever fills this bag” sort of deal, others are you can pick one of various foods (for example I could of taken two heads of lettuce this week, two bundles of chard, or one of each), and some is take x amount of food. There are also other foods we can buy from other local producers, like pickles, coffee, meats, veggie burgers, and cheeses. Sometimes with the food we are allowed to pick we can take as much as we can if the produce is super abundant. And sometimes they sell some of the extra produce.
We get so much shelf stable food at the end of the year that we usually still cook with it in November and December. So I guess I stop eating seasonally from January to May when I don’t have any incoming produce. I could sign up for their winter produce sales, which I think they just store some of the fall crops but I usually just want to relax and skip it. For todays prompt I tried my best to use 100% all food I got from CSA. I used some other foods, but hey, it probably would be impossible otherwise, right? I mean outside of something like a salad.
So this dinner is a nice mix of crops that are on their last legs, and crops that are just coming in. I started by making a freaking harissa paste with a bunch of red jalepenos. I used the recipe from Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World cookbook, but you can get the recipe off of her blog. Pretty much you just roast some peppers, peel them, and puree them with some spices, tomato paste, lemon juice, and garlic. So the tomato paste, lemon juice, and garlic aren’t seasonal. No biggie right?
Then I proceeded to mix the harissa with some miso and olive oil and toss it in some acorn squash. It seemed a little early this year, but they were so cute and small. I grabbed three. I roasted them along with some peppers and onions (both were from this week at the farm!). I placed them on a flour taco wrap with some lettuce and cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes are pretty much on their last leg at the farm, which is nice and frustrating because they keep popping open! Ack! The lettuce isn’t something that is normally grown in the fall, but you can trick plants into growing.
And I think that is what we all need to remember when buying local and seasonally. Sometimes you can trick crops and still get great results. I remember first learning about this when I was reading about growing peas. Sites suggested that you can grow them again in the fall by planting seeds and constantly spraying the seeds with cold water in try and “trick” the seeds that it is early spring. There are also foods that we don’t think about getting “fresh” like onions, garlic, and roots. And it is true, they don’t NEED to be fresh exactly. But my CSA divides these up through out the year. For example we get spring beets then again in the fall. We get a few heads of garlic when the pick them from the ground, then we get them again in the fall once they are done curing. Oh and the garlic scapes too!
This dish was insanely easy and I was really excited how tasty it was! I will happily make this again (next week even if I get more peppers!) You can easily wrap it up in a burrito with some brown rice too!
So to sum it up, these are what I used that AREN’T seasonal produce
- flour tortilla wraps (you could probably make raw corn tortillas though!)
- 1 tbsp miso
- 1 tsbp olive oil + some more
- salt & chili powder
- lemon juice + garlic + spices for the harissa
What 3 foods would you bring on a deserted island? It was in fact a tough question. We are always asked if we could bring only one book, 10 albums, and so on, but never which foods. This would be hard since I love variety, and I wouldn’t have anything to do on a island. Yes, there would be a lot of things to do to just simply survive, but surely that couldn’t take all day? So I thought about what could give me the biggest bang for my buck.
I thought that there would probably be some produce on the island like leafy greens, roots, and fruit. So I thought, about what I could bring for starches and proteins, and thought rice and beans. Complete protein, okay doing good. But what about the third item, then it hit me- KOJI! So what the heck is koji? It is a strain of bacteria (it’s scientific name is Aspergillus oryzae) that is purposly grown on rice and soy beans to help preserve them. It is a much more complicated version of our pickles.
The earliest documentation of koji goes back to 300 BCE in the Rites of Zhou Dynasty. This bacteria is so important to Asian foods, that it was named as the “national fungus” in Japan. There is even a story book character that is the koji bacteria. So what can koji make? Soju, amazake, soy sauce, miso, douchi, gochujang, huangjiu, makgeolli, and shochu. So while all you chumps thought to bring “food” to your desert island, I am able to get crunked!
There a few kinds of koji variations. White koji is the earliest version. It was easy to cultivate and it’s enzymes worked faster than earlier koji strains. Black koji is another early strain. It is rarely used and pretty much used in Okinawa just to produce awamori. It is most known for spreading spores very easily. Workers will often get their clothes black in spores by the end of day. This is why it isn’t as popular today. Yellow koji is used often in sake production but it is extremely sensitive.
So what can I make with my three items? I made a list, which might have to altered slightly to make it work with only koji, soy beans, and rice.
- Soy Sauce*
- Rice & Soybeans
- Natto (cooked soy beans can naturally ferment into natto)
- Soy Milk
- Rice Vinegar*
- Tofu Cheese*
- Rice Noodles
Items with the * would use the koji spores. And depending on the island I could make maekgoli (with a starchy tubar), gochujang (with spicy peppers), miso pickled foods (with local veggies), coconut aminos (if the island had coconuts), miso soup (if I could cultivate seaweed), and tofu stir-fries with local island veggies.
I personally haven’t dabbled in making foods with koji. But you want to take a dive, you can buy some cultures from Cultures for Health, they have rice koji and barley koji. Each koji culture works better for certain types of foods. South River Miso Company sells koji, but only the rice koji. I think if I am going to be stuck on an island I would have pleanty of time to hone into my craft of koji fermenting.