Capturing Your Essence: Dubu Kimchee

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The past few weeks I’ve been seriously missing Asia. The landscape, the people, the inability to understand the conversations going on around me, the 24-hour markets, the endless hours wandering the streets exploring, the freedom

Recalling how healthy and energetic I felt, actually preferring Asian food at times (oh, and getting sick of it plenty, too…kimchi and I had a love/hate relationship), I looked up the nearest Asian market in Oxnard and proceeded to stock up.

A wise friend and Naturopath commented that subconsciously, I’m beginning to channel the essence of myself that I happened to find in Asia. The free spirited me.

A cartful of tofu (Korea calls it ‘dubu’), kimchi, gochujang (Korean Chili Paste), and ‘gim’ (seasoned seaweed), I came home and made a Dubu Kimchi meal on the stove.  How? Sautee kimchee and tofu, add some sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds, add in some gim, and you have yourself a healthy meal of fermented vegetables and quality vegetarian protein.  Yum!

Also in the cart from East Asia? Dried Black Fungi (aka Anti-Cancer MEDICINE in Chinese Medical Wisdom) and dried wakame (a type of seaweed, good for the female system) to add to soups, and an enormous tub of Miso. I didn’t stop at Korean goodies, either. Capturing my essence, of course, I foraged flavors of Thailand and India (a land I’ve yet to explore, but have a feeling I will find some of my future ‘essence’), as well. Panang Curry Paste, Coconut Milk, Curry Powder, Tumeric…warming spices that  which Mother Ayurveda would highly approve. Next blog!

Mmmmm…Kabocha

fall is in the air.  which means PUMPKIN cravings for me.  i will eat this stuff out of the can (ya libby’s for making unsweetened, pure pumpkin).  i love it so much.  fiber, vitamin A, versatile…mmm.

luckily, tonight i didn’t have to resort to a can…but fresh, fresh amazingness.  

tonight busted out the plug-in stove top (it was hidden in my closet) to make my first cooked meal in months.  seriously, since March.  That’s 5 months if anyone’s counting.

picked up a baby pumpkin at the produce stand across the streamed, steamed that sucker, and mashed it up–skin, seeds, and all it’s goodness–with some fresh nigari dubu and flax seeds.  the flesh is so full of bright orange vitamin A goodness that it almost hurts to look at.  

Kabocha Squash…yep I went on a google hunt for this baby.

protein, fiber, omega 3’s.  

although i’ve been eating a big percentage of my diet as raw as can be all spring and summer long, in Ayurveda, it is recommended to begin eating hearty winter squash such as (cooked) pumpkin as the weather shifts from warm to cool.  

it was a nice mushy, warm dinner (did i mention i went to the dentist earlier? no? well i did.  mush, mush) and it will make the perfect lunch for tomorrow’s yoga saturday…maybe pack some sliced cucumbers and eat it like a dip.  

 excellent friday night in.  

mmmmmm

fall is in the air.  which means PUMPKIN cravings for me.  i will eat this stuff out of the can (ya libby’s for making unsweetened, pure pumpkin).  i love it so much.  fiber, vitamin A, versatile…mmm.
luckily, tonight i didn’t have to resort to a can…but fresh, fresh amazingness.  


tonight busted out the plug-in stove top (it was hidden in my closet) to make my first cooked meal in months.  seriously, since March.  That’s 5 months if anyone’s counting.


picked up a baby pumpkin at the produce stand across the streamed, steamed that sucker, and mashed it up–skin, seeds, and all it’s goodness–with some fresh nigari dubu and flax seeds.  the flesh is so full of bright orange vitamin A goodness that it almost hurts to look at.  

Kabocha Squash…yep I went on a google hunt for this baby.





protein, fiber, omega 3’s.  


although i’ve been eating a big percentage of my diet as raw as can be all spring and summer long, in Ayurveda, it is recommended to begin eating hearty winter squash such as (cooked) pumpkin as the weather shifts from warm to cool.  


it was a nice mushy, warm dinner (did i mention i went to the dentist earlier? no? well i did.  bleh.) and it will make the perfect lunch for tomorrow’s yoga saturday…maybe pack some sliced cucumbers and eat it like a dip.  


excellent friday night in.  

Reiki in Samcheong Park

This past Sunday I branched out and joined a Reiki group. Reiki is an energy healing modality that I’ve been interested in since introduced by my Santa Monica hairdresser, Mary-Cate. There are different levels of Reiki Practitioners, and the most trained are called “Reiki Masters”. In this group, we had a few practitioners, one Master, as well as newbies like me.

We all met up at Anguk Station in Insadong around 2pm. I instantly felt comfortable with several of the people in the group, it just felt good to be around holistic-y people again. I immediately connected with 2 of the other women over yoga talk. I missed that aspect of my friends from the holistic rehab where I worked before Asia.
We headed to beautiful Samcheong Park, where I’d never been before, and Kevin, the organizer of the group, led us all to a clearing just off the paved park paths. It felt like we had gone deep into the woods.

We started the group off with a “Sea of Oms” meditation led by Christian. The meditation is supposed to be free-flowing, with everyone “om-ing” at their own pace. However, our group was shy with each other at first. Everyone waited until they heard Christian or Kevin “om” to start “om-ing”.
We talked about the practice for a bit, then got down to business.
I volunteered first, I was excited!
So, I layed down on a yoga mat and for 30 minutes, Kevin practiced Reiki on me. I didn’t feel much during the session, but afterwards I was extremely emotional, and after talking to Kevin about what he picked up from my vibes, I started crying. Bawling my eyes out, cannot stop, crying. Every practitioner there said it was normal, and that I might even feel sick and thirsty for a day or two, then start to feel really good. I was thinking, “ya…maybe…not!!! you hocus pocus people”…
But, boy, they were right, I woke up the next morning with throbbing ears…
and I cannot get enough H20. I’m talking two 2L bottles a day.
I’m amazed by Reiki and I can’t wait for the July group.
After the group, I took a walk through the park center myself and take some photos. I swear, one of the greatest things about Korean parks are the acupressure foot paths. In Seoul, all you do is walk walk walk. which = tired, sore feet. These paths are very common…and very welcome.
 
After a walk, I sat down on a bench and took out my Korea guidebook to figure out where
to go next. A group of ajjumas (older ladies) were sitting on the next bench. One got up and handed me 4 rice cakes. It was very sweet, and I must have said “ganhasamnida” (Thank you) about 20 times. I have to mention that this isn’t the first time a stranger ajjuma has given me food…apparently it’s quite common. Just never something that would happen back in the States. Maybe they’re trying to tell me to eat more. With all this walking, the majority of my diet being veggies, plus dancing with the kiddos all day, I can hardly keep any meat on my bones!
 

Home Cookin’, Korean-Style

Let me just start by saying I adore Asian food. The parents took me to the sushi bar at the ripe ole’ age of six, and Western food just never tasted good again. Give me Japanese, Korean, or Thai any day over pizza, burgers, spagetti, and tacos. 

 During college, I used to drive a half hour to the Asian market just to get some of these ingredients to eat at home. Now they are available in alleyways all over Korea for radically insanely cheap prices.

Even though eating out in Korea is extremely cheap, it’s even cheaper to eat at home if you get the right ingredients. Plus, in Korea, eating usually is a social thing, and if you are in a meditative mood, well, sometimes home cooking is good for the “Seoul”.

The Kitchen…

yes, this explains why most of the food is raw and uncooked in the following pictures. I avoid turning on this hotplate…

The creations…

 Dotorimuk + Nigari Dubu (tofu) + sesame oil + soybean paste + green onions

Dotorimuk is a jelly made from acorn starch. It’s low in calories, high in protein and several vitamins and minerals. 

Mung Bean Jelly…same idea as Dotorimuk, but made from mungbeans…


Homemade yogurt by Elisa! 

After being on antibiotics for two weeks, it was important to get the good bacteria going again my system.  Korean yogurt tends to be loaded with tons of sugar, so I made my own lower-sugar option by adding store-bought yogurt (for it’s cultures) to milk. 

How to make homemade yogurt:

1.Dump 1 cup of yogurt and 1 carton of milk into tupperware.

2. Fill sink up with hot water. Cover tupperware and allow to sit overnight.

3. Voila, fresh plain yogurt in the morning. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Afterschool snacks! Dried squid and xylitol sweetened gum.