It’s been a while since my last post. We’ve been away, in case you were wondering. We finally went to Italy and Greece, a trip we’ve been talking about doing for years. And how was it? Well, there was a little bit of unexpected culture shock, with some disorganization and chaos, but awe-inspiring and wonderful! But then again, when are vacations not great? What I always enjoy about going away are:
Being able to see in person what the city/country is known for – basically all the main tourist attractions (lots of duomos and art and of course the Colosseum in Italy and archeological sites in Greece).
Meeting the locals and seeing how they live day to day.
Meeting other fellow travellers and swapping interesting travel stories.
Spending quality (no tv or internet) time with the hubby, taking a moment to enjoy the view, relaxing….
……and of course not working!
But there are a few things I do miss while travelling: my own bed, home-cooking and being from Vancouver, the diversity of foods/restaurants available. Don’t get me wrong, I love not having to cook and we’ve had some delicious meals abroad, but after a few days, we get tired of looking for places to eat, not knowing if they will be any good, and eating the same thing over and over again. In Italy, it was what my travel companions (Annie and company) called the 3 Ps – pizza, pasta and paninis.
In Greece, our staples were goat cheese in Greek salad and gyros.
We ate more Italian and Greek food in a month than we’ve eaten in our entire lives. So in the few weeks since we’ve been back, we’ve had our fill of mainly asian foods. Our meals out have been to eat pho, sushi and ramen.
I’ve also been cooking mostly asian dishes (kimchi chigae and jeon, Korean ribs, stir-fried rice noodle with beef, etc). The first dish I made when we got back was one of David’s favorites – tofu with stir-fried kimchi and pork (dubu kimchi).
This dish combines a whole lot of spice and kimchi, both of which David was missing quite a bit on our trip. And boy is this dish spicy! So spicy in fact that you can feel the linings of your stomach thinning as you eat it. No joke.
But I guess that’s what the plain tofu is there for – to soak up some of the spice.
So this is what we’ve been up to the last little while. It’s good to be back. Good to be home….for now….until we get the itch to go again…..
What do you love about travelling and what do you miss when you’re away?
Recipe (from eating and living):
- 2 cups fully fermented kimchi
- 1/2 pound sliced pork or pork belly
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 scallions
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 – 3 tbsp gochujang
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 18-oz package tofu
- Cut kimchi and pork into bite sizes.
- Thinly slice onion and scallions.
- In a large bowl, combine kimchi, pork, onion, scallions and the remaining ingredients and mix well. Let it stand for 15 minutes.
- In a medium size pot, bring about 4 cups of water to a boil and add the tofu. Boil for 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the tofu to a colander to drain. Cut the tofu into two blocks. Cut each block into about 1/2-inch thick slices.
- Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add the kimchi and pork mix. Cook until the kimchi becomes soft, the pork is cooked through, and most of the liquid generated during the cooking process is evaporated.
- Arrange the tofu slices nicely on a plate leaving an open space in the middle part. Place the stir-fried kimchi and pork in the middle and serve.
Notes and Tips:
I usually use pork shoulder/butt, which is not as fatty as pork belly. Also, if you use more meat, it’s not necessary to increase the amounts of other ingredients, unless you can handle the extra spiciness!