Monthly Archives: November 2011

된장찌개 (Korean Tofu Stew)

I’m pretty sure those characters don’t actually mean “Korean Tofu Stew,” but I think this is typically what 된장찌개 contains. (Minus the seafood because I can’t eat that. :O As a disclaimer, I am totally not Korean, so if I got any of this wrong, please don’t hate me. I blame Google.) It’s kinda like a cross between soup and stew. My roommate made some and asked if I was hungry (I am always hungry), so she had me try some, and upon doing so, I dissected out all the ingredients except the most important one (fermented soybean paste). I ran my list by her and she approves, so here it is! This is all kinds of amazing on cold nights.

된장찌개 (Korean Tofu Stew)

-4-6 tbsp fermented soybean paste
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-1 green squash, chopped
-6 oz. tofu, cubed
-1-2 potatoes, cubed
-1 medium-sized onion, chopped (optional)
-green onion (optional)

1) Peel the potato and cut into about 2 cups worth of cubes. Place into a pot. Repeat with the green squash and onion.
2) Mince garlic and put into pot. Submerge with water (just enough to cover all ingredients) and cook on high heat. When it starts boiling, add the fermented soybean paste, stir, and continue cooking.
3) When all ingredients have cooked, cut tofu into cubes, chop up the green onion (if using), and add them to the stew. Stir occasionally.
4) Serve with a bowl of rice.



I really miss my Davis life because, as crazy and hectic as it was, there was a fine balance (for the most part). Yes, I was at one point taking 11 classes, working two jobs and three internships on top of being an officer for a club while preparing for my senior recital, a competition, and our annual luau (while still maintaining a consistent gym schedule, I might add ;)…but there was a balance.

The balance that I speak of is more along the lines of not just hardcore straight-up science every single day, all day long. I’ve long since referred to my music major as my de-stress major, even though that wasn’t always the case. But…being able to step back and work on something entirely different was a refreshing switch for me. It gave me a much-needed break. The people I run into usually don’t think that I was a science major right off the bat (unless I tell them I was pre-med). My piano teacher was somewhat disheartened that I didn’t choose to pursue music as a career (I can never let her know how terrible I’ve gotten since I stopped taking lessons from her :'( ). A friend today asked me why I was going into medicine, because she could totally see me going into journalism. Food critic, she says, because I love food so much.

This would be pretty awesome, I will admit, because back in the days of journalism, I learned that food critics basically get paid to bring their friends to restaurants and eat the world (this is a definite over-simplification, but bear with me here). This is what I like to do on a regular basis. However, there are distinct differences.

1) I’m not a picky eater. As long as it doesn’t go against my religious beliefs and doesn’t involve some type of strong cheese, olives, or stinky tofu, I’m good to go.
2) The most frequent phrases and adjectives I use to describe food (which you can definitely tell from my yelp reviews) = “full of awesome” and “amazing.” I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t fly.
3) My recipe for a win-win restaurant that I’d give five stars to is simple: food tastes good, ginormous portions (none of that fancy schmancy I’ll-give-you-a-speck-on-a-tiny-plate and charge you $14876 for it), great deal. I’m also pretty sure this wouldn’t go over quite so well.

Anyway, after this huge tangent, what I really meant to write about was the fact that I’m currently editing papers for an undergraduate at Rutgers. This is basically the closest to community service that I’ve gotten since I’ve been here. (I so miss volunteering for clinic. January 7th, mark my words! I’m coming back! ;_; ) The student is in the class that my housemate is TAing for. I happened to overhear that she really wished she could help him more, since he’s a great kid and tries really hard, but just needs help since English is his second language, so I volunteered to help, since I’m a freak and I love editing spelling + grammatical errors. (This is why Smoke Signal loved me as their copy editor. ;)

I am mildly confused at the last assignment he sent in though, because the personal reflection talks about “growing up watching Disney movies as a little girl,” and he is definitely not a little girl. :\ Question mark?

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

This is from a long-overdue recipe post for a couple months ago, but I got 30 flour tortillas at C Town for 99 cents. (It was too great of a deal to pass up. :O ) Thus, ever since, I’ve been thinking of ways to use them up before I uh, go back for more. I like pronouncing “quesadilla” as “kwes-a-dill-uh” just to piss Nadia off, but she’s not here for me to be obnoxious with. :[

I’m still trying to use up my Costco warehouse of a room (dwindling slowly but surely; I think I still have enough to last til, at the very least, the end of this month–I definitely have enough rice to possibly last the entire year.) That said, I have a whole lot of barbecue sauce and canned chicken (there’s also frozen chicken that I sectioned off, but the canned variety works better), so this is what I came up with. I made enough to have some for lunch the next day (doesn’t taste as good when warmed in a microwave, but I can’t be too picky), and my friends hated were envious of me. (I offered to share! :[ )

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

-mozzarella, shredded
-Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce (or you can make your own, but I have another bottle after I finish this one; courtesy of Costco)
-tomatoes, chopped
-flour tortillas
-chicken, shredded

1) Put BBQ sauce on flour tortilla and sprinkle mozzarella on top. As it heats in the skillet, add chicken and tomatoes. (I consider it done when the cheese has melted.) Fold in half with spatula.
2) Eat it. :O
I made some with corn instead of tomatoes yesterday because I’m out of tomatoes. :O There’s definitely a lot of freedom with this.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Before I fled the west coast, one of my Davis trips involved dragging up a couple friends to visit Nadia. We were super happy about the opening of Trader Joe’s, so we decided to do a grocery run so we could make a bunch of food.

Our grocery list looked like this:
cream cheese
artichoke hearts
carrots :)

Spinach Artichoke Dip

-2 packages cream cheese
-2 cans artichoke hearts
-grated cheese
-dash of hot sauce
-2 packages frozen spinach
-salt, pepper, to taste
-1 head garlic, minced
-green onions
-pat of butter

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Combine cream cheese, artichoke hearts, nutmeg, cheese, nutmeg, pepper and salt together in large mixing bowl.
2) Thaw spinach. (It makes life so much easier. ;_; ) Press the water out, and add to mixing bowl.
3) Cook green onions and garlic together with salt, pepper, and a pat of butter. Mix well and transfer this along with ingredients from mixing bowl to a loaf pan.
4) Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve on baguettes or, as we did, on toasted slices of herb foccacia bread topped with sliced cucumbers and smoked salmon/prosciutto (I had the salmon, since I can’t have ham).


I spent the last couple days staying with Keat in Boston for Thanksgiving.  We have been friends basically since we were 9(?), largely because he is the next-door neighbor of the first friend I made (Joanne!) when I moved to the other side of Fremont. We have an extremely abusive friendship and the nicknames that have spawned from him usually include references to me being a slut (doorknob, because “everyone’s had a turn,” or streetwalker) or being fat (pudgy fatkins or fatty pudgkins; they’re interexchangable). For the record, he says these all in jest, because if they contained even an ounce of truth, they wouldn’t be uttered. :O I basically make fun of his boobs all the time, so we’re even. I know that somewhere deep down, he does indeed give a crap about me as a human being because he keeps me fed when I’m hungry, surrendered his bed to me and slept on the floor, and cracks my back for me. In return, I put lotion on his healing tattoo, wash his dishes, and sit on him when he does pushups.

I am ashamed to say that I did absolutely nothing productive and my exercise + everything-else schedule went straight to hell. Good times. These are the reasons:

1) Grimm
It’s freaking awesome. I love fairy tales–remakes, adaptations, anything loosely based off of them, and I really like the concept of Grimm. :D I did a Once Upon a Time marathon with Rey last weekend. I think all these TV series addictions are going to be the death of me. ;_;
2) Vampire Diaries
Before you judge me (my friend in my fall PE class last year told me he watched it, and my instinctive response was, “I am judging you so hard right now”), I swear this is actually really interesting. I am an avid hater of Twilight, which I kinda feel is the reason as to why I shy away from anything with vampires now. (Inherent worries that they’re riding off of Twilight and are, as such, devoid of any real plot or character depth.)
3) Diablo II
Since the Diablo III holiday release was obviously axed, I started playing D2 again to wait in [impatient] anticipation for D3. It is hard to believe that this game came out over a decade ago. <3 We started new characters and power-leveled through normal mode and partially through nightmare. I am a number of levels below him because he typically let me sleep in (save for the first day, where he picked me up and dropped me to wake me up >_>).

The combination of these 3, followed along by Batman vs. Superman cartoons completely slaughtered my sleep schedule. We would sleep at 5-6 a.m. and wake up at 12 p.m. to start this all over again. Keat has two monitors, so I’d half be watching Vampire Diaries or cartoons on one screen while he played D2 on another/I’d be on my laptop playing. Multi-tasking. ;]

Um, that said, we did actually venture outside, so I didn’t completely morph into a basement (well, 4th-floor) dwelling gaming/TV-watching addict. (Please don’t judge me. >_>) I got there on Wednesday afternoon and after I dumped all my stuff down, we stopped by a little Japanese bakery before running off to a tattoo parlor where Keat got the rest of his tattoo done (references were made to how he should flex his boobs independently so that the fish and the dragon could fight with each other) and I got my right ear re-pierced. Jewelry is freakishly expensive. :[

We went to a bunch of different places for food in the last couple days (hooray hooray!), including a fancy schmancy restaurant on the 52nd floor (Top of the Hub) of the Prudential building on Thanksgiving day, and we also explored a good fraction of the Museum of Fine Arts (it’s ginormous :O ). So I had a good time, and this definitely makes up for the last time I went there to visit. (He was basically being a hater and I ended up hanging out with his roommate more so than I hung out with him. This partially had to do with the fact that he had a bunch of classes, but only partially.) So much for working out together though. :O But if I were to rationalize, I’m not hardcore enough to run 10 miles with him anymore. :[ I honestly don’t know how I ever managed to complete 13.1 in my lifetime, ever. :\ I am not convinced that I could even do 3 now. :\