Vegan's Chronicles + [vegan product]

Family & food

I'm so happy! I had a wonderful weekend~ My sister and I made a trip to Cheonan to hang out with our parents. I have to say, I'm so thankful to have my mum and dad close by, and that my whole family is in the same country right now. I feel that it's a precious gift that we have been given, even if it may only be for a short period of time. So although there are many times when I just really want to get the heck outta Korea, I'm grateful for this time to really appreciate and love my family.

The weekend was filled with a lot of good conversation and family discussion. And ofcourse, a ton of good food! First of all, there is this 'soondubu jjige' place that we go to at almost every visit. I don't even know the name of this restaurant, but the food is deeeelicious. The restaurant itself is very humble- you wouldn't even notice it if you passed it on the road, but it's super popular and always bustling. Their 'soondubu' (silken tofu) is really traditional and rustic. Yummy. But by far, my favorite thing in this restaurant is this one side dish that they serve, called 'biji'. Basically, it's made from the dry bits of tofu that aren't squeezed out when making the silken tofu, and then it's seasoned with a bit of heaven (I don't know what or how), to make it really divine. I don't know what biji is called in English, so I tried to translate it on Babelfish, and it came out as "bean-curd refuse." haha. However, do not be swayed by the unappetizing translation, because even 'refuse' can be turned into something incredibly tasty. It has a great nutty flavor, and it's especially awesome when wrapped in veggie leaves. Tadaa~~ biji in all its glory:

Since I was in Cheonan, I was determined to make good use of my parents' real oven by baking a Tofu Pumkin Pie. I took with me a can of pumpkin puree that I ordered online. BTW, I love the design on the can! It's so simple and old-school retro, kinda like the old campbell's soup cans. Why don't they design all cans like this these days? But anyway, I digress. This was to be my second attempt at this particular vegan pumpkin pie recipe. The first time, for some weird reason, the pie turned out green. To this day, it baffles me on how that happened. Maybe I didn't blend the tofu properly, maybe it was my convection oven (saboteur!), maybe the canned pumpkin I used had some green properties in it, who knows. But, even though it was green, it still tasted good! You just had to not let the green mushiness get to you.

So I figured I would give the recipe one last chance... . And miraculously, this time it didn't turn green! It came out with this lovely pumpkin orange colored top, and the texture was perfect: moist, but not runny, nice and firm! I also reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup, so it wasn't overpoweringly sweet. My whole family loved it. One thing though, the top of the pie was very cracked. I don't know why this happened, so if anyone has any ideas/suggestions, enlighten me! Anyway, I'm super proud of my pie.

I know it might seem that I'm confused about the season, what with the pumpkin pie and stuffed squash and all, but I'm ridiculously excited for Spring. Especially since the cherry blossoms have started to bloom! We were driving around the countryside and saw a bunch of cherry blossom trees that were just so pretty. They aren't all in full bloom yet, but I think they will be by next weekend. You can see a few cherry blossoms in this picture I took of some 'dduk' (rice cakes). Don't they look so pretty and pink?

Sadly, I eventually had to face reality and return to Seoul. I wish all weekends could be like this one. Actually, the whole entire week has been pretty great. Tiring, but productive. This coming week is supposed to be insanely busy at work, so we'll see how often I get round to blogging. Hugs to all my readers (all 3 or 4 of you), and peace!