Tofu Jorim

This is another Korean side dish I made recently. Wow! I can see an addiction coming on.  Tofu jorim reminds me of tofu I used to get from a place in Arlington, Texas called Viet Tofu. Incredibly flavorful, with the typical Asian balance of salty, sweet, and spicy flavors.

A few years ago, I figured out the secret to really great fried tofu. You have to toss the tofu with flour or cornstarch (or a combination of both) before frying.  The flour or cornstarch keeps the tofu from sticking to the pan and creates a nice little crust, yet keeping the inside moist. Tofu fried this way holds up well in soups and curry sauces. It is also a nice appetizer, especially when paired with a sweet chili sauce.

Tofu Jorim

1 package tofu (firm or extra firm)
flour or cornstarch

4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon Korean red pepper powder
2 green onions, sliced

Drain the liquid off the block of tofu. Cut into fourths lengthwise and then slice  across (about 1/4 ”  to 1/2″ thick). At this point, I usually lay the tofu slices out on paper towels and cover with more paper towels to remove excess moisture. Dredge tofu in flour or cornstarch, shaking off excess. Gently fry in batches in hot oil,turning occasionally, until golden. Remove the tofu from the oil and let drain on paper towels.

Once the tofu is fried, combine soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, red pepper powder,  and green onions in a skillet over medium heat. Add the fried tofu to the sauce, and let simmer, occasionally turning the tofu to ensure coverage. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Tofu jorim can be served warm or cold.

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Korean Cucumber Salad

I’m teaching myself to cook some popular Korean dishes. This cucumber salad is a typical accompaniment to Korean meals. It is delicious.

Korean Cucumber Salad

1 English cucumber
1 tablespoon vinegar (I like to use rice vinegar, but white vinegar works well too)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Korean coarse red pepper powder
Kosher salt

Cut the ends off the cucumber and then cut in half horizontally. Slice and place in a bowl. Add the vinegar, sugar, and red pepper powder. Mix well. Season to taste with Kosher salt. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Cheesecake

This is a basic, plain cheesecake, but it is amazing. Serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or with fresh sliced strawberries to make it extra special. A canned cherry or blueberry pie filling would make for a good topping as well.

Cheesecake

butter
2 lbs. cream cheese (4 8 ounce packages)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position in the oven and preheat oven to 350°.

Butter an 8” x 3” one-piece cheesecake pan all the way up to the rim. You will also need a larger pan (for hot water) to place the cake pan in while baking.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until it is completely smooth, frequently stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Once the cream cheese is smooth, beat in the vanilla, almond extract, and the sugar. Mix the batter well and then add the eggs one at a time. Continue to mix until the eggs are just incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared cheesecake pan. Place the cheesecake pan into a larger pan. Place it in the oven and pour hot water into the larger pan, about 1 1/2” deep.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 1/2 hours. The top of the cheesecake will be golden-brown, but will still be soft inside. It will firm up once it has cooled and been refrigerated.

Lift the cheesecake pan out of the water and place it on a rack. Cool the cheesecake in the pan for at least 2 hours. (Do not cool it in the refrigerator or the cheesecake will stick to the pan.)

Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Place a flat plate or small board upside down over the pan and turn the pan and the plate or board upside down. Carefully remove the pan.

Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the bottom of the cake. Gently place the serving plate upside down over the cake and carefully invert again (be careful not to smush the cake), leaving the cake right side up. Remove the plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.

Hint: It’s easier to cut the cheesecake if you dip a sharp knife in very hot water before making each cut.


Jelly Bean Bark

My son and I made this jelly bean bark for Easter last year. It is incredibly easy. You can tailor the bark for any holiday.  At Halloween, we made bark using candy corn.  At Christmas, we used crushed candy canes. At Valentine’s, we used small conversation hearts. Get creative and have fun with it.

Jelly Bean Bark

White chocolate or candy melts (found at craft stores)
Jelly beans

Line a baking sheet with foil, wax paper, or parchment paper and set aside.

Gently melt the white chocolate or candy melts in the microwave or in a pan over low heat on the stove. If you need instructions on how to do this, I’m sure you can find them on the package.

Once melted, pour the white chocolate onto the lined baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but not too thin. It will not cover the whole baking sheet. Quickly sprinkle the jelly beans evenly over the white chocolate. Press them down into the melted white chocolate.

Let the white chocolate harden. Once hardened, peel the bark off the foil and break  into smaller pieces