Saturday, March 31, 2012

Child-like Curtain~ unabashed existence

photo taken by VeganBeats~
     Until we're in the public eye, and older, we're true to ourselves, honest, unbridled by external "judgement"- we're child-like. Sitting on stage behind a heavy velvet curtain, hearing mumbles just on the other side. How honest will we be once that curtain rolls down the brass hanger? 
     When you pull the curtain to the side, just a little bit- immense vulnerability can wash over you. It's always much deeper than the precise instant or event, a history of events forcing its way through this tiny gate.  No matter how high your self-esteem or great your level on confidence is, outward judgement does make some scratches in our surface. 
     This thought of genuine being has been brushing over my mind for years, could argue decades now. I recall once back in sixth grade I stated that I act differently when with certain people and a peer said I was the "fakest person around." It deeply bothered me, but it was my being honest. Owning a fact that I observed in my behavior. Who doesn't change just a bit due to their environment, people being a part of that? It isn't fake, it's adaptation. 
     Hopefully at a certain junction in one's life, there is a peace that is reached, peace with oneself. Keeping some parts of yourself hidden is some sort of protection or concentration, not allowing all of you to be present has some sort of reasoning behind it, therefor...aren't you always yourself? Unless you are actively putting energy into taking on a different persona, you are in essence, you. 
     I am concerned more with being able to be who you are, free of fear or concern of external judgement. The ability to be you without feeling the need (subconscious or actively) to hinder or chain in parts of you. 
     On a walking reflection I crossed paths with a child who was in his own world. Unabashed by my presence, he continued to sing to himself, do full on robotic role-plays and just be. I can recollect times in my childhood where I was so invested in my interests and my pleasures that the idea of being embarrassed didn't even shine on any distant horizon. The concept of not doing "me" was incomprehensible. I have always been a very creative/'head-in-the-clouds'/imaginative person, I lived in my dreams, and wonder where I'm living now. It's ironic that as children we are told by adults/society/peers that we must grow up, grow more responsible and aware of our surroundings...and in so, confine to them. Then as we grow, we look back on our childhood wishing we could go back. A child-like presence and innocent ignorance is left desired. 
     I want to play and not feel any amount of concern on how others will interpret my child-like state of being. Whether of not others are scrutinizing my behavior is completely internal, my presence may be no bearing on any one's daily life...but parts of my hinder my child-like expressions, notions, and behaviors. As I age, as most people age...we reflect and sometimes wish we did things differently. I hold no regrets, only desires...I want to be unabashed and be... when that curtain opens, I don't want to feel or be any different. 
photo taken by VeganBeats~

Friday, March 30, 2012

Video of Seoraksan~

     Last week, well this week began playing in the beautiful Seoraksan's a video from the lift I got just showcasing the magnificence.
Sorry if the quality isn't doing the mountains justice...iphone~

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

설악산 Seoraksan

     This past weekend started off with wonderful people, and luckily that was a theme that embodied everyday. My brother, mother, and 이모 (Emo-aunt) all got together and drove out of Seoul to Seorak mountain. We stayed in a gorgeous pension where we cooked a simple dinner together and went back in time. When my brother and I were much younger, and my 이모 was living in Boston, we would all get together (my grandparents and uncles as well), pile into a small and cozy apartment and prepare a Korean feast of sorts while laughing, playing, and talking until our mouths were tired. My brother and I would fill our tummies with delicious food while the adults yacked away in rap-fast Korean. Years have flown by, and the  weekly trips to Boston are now impossible. I see my family every so often and half of us are on opposite sides of the world. These moments have me traveling back...I'm so thankful. This time around, we all brought something to the pension, I brought some fruit, waters, and tea, and my mom and 이모 brought more fruit, more fruit, breads, rice, 반찬, lettuce, etc. We were only staying for the night but we were having another "Boston" feast.
the feast~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     After the tiring drive, now filled nourished bodies, we snuggled up on giant couches while watching Korean dramas and sharing life. It's such a strange place to be when you are reminded on being a child when with family, but are now an adult, and viewed as such. Instead of zoning out, I'm involved in the conversations...our opinions are requested, and our thoughts are respected. I bailed on any alcohol, but my aunt knocked back a beer while we stayed awake until our eyes couldn't pick themselves up.
     In the morning, I woke up to this...
my morning view~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     My aunt, brother, and mother wandered to a sauna and I caught up on sleep (I admit I went through a Sex and the City marathon and watched a fair share of action movies before crashing) and some writing. Around noon we piled into a car and got some lunch, 순두부 (soft tofu stew) is very popular here so...can you make a guess?
할머니순두부~ Grandmother's Soft Tofu Stew (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The 순두부 here was different from the usual spicy tofu stew I'm used to. Instead of a boiling red pot of bubbling silky tofu, we all split a couple bowls of tofu curd and several bowls of 반찬. Almost a deconstructed 비빔밥~ sans 밥.The 반찬 was fresh, generous, and delicious. The sauces on the various dishes were very clean, spicy, complex, and left everyone at the table requesting several refills.
오이 반찬 (photo taken by VeganBeats)
시금치 반찬(photo taken by VeganBeats)
sweet spiced 고추 (photo taken by VeganBeats)
맛김치 (photo taken by VeganBeats)
두부~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     I wasn't super hungry, so I grabbed a small bowl and stole some tofu while piling in 반찬. I knew there was a hike ahead of me, so I needed fuel but carrying a Buddha belly up a mountain or during any physical strain is not a way that works for me.
     The restaurant was wonderful though, everything was man-made, fresh, clean, and the staff was more than generous. I mentioned to my family that at 두부집 (tofu houses) they sometimes leave out the soy pulp so people can bring it home...and they gave me a HUGE bag of it!! ^^*
     After this, we drove to the stunning 설악산 where the beauty embraced us and again, I felt like a child, uhh nature, hiking, being active~
     Words won't explain...not well enough~ again, pictures to do the story-telling~
big ol'bear (photo taken by VeganBeats)
by the cable cars (photo taken by VeganBeats)
photo taken by VeganBeats
photo taken by VeganBeats
photo taken by VeganBeats
photo taken by VeganBeats
     The view was spectacular, and though the air was biting cold, I was filled with so much warmth and genuine happiness that my body didn't register any of it. I still can't believe that both my brother and mother are here...and that again, like nearly 15 years ago, we were together on an adventure...and Korean was still a language surrounding us!
photo taken by VeganBeats

Monday, March 26, 2012

명동보리밥 MyeongDong Boribap~

     I've whined for ages and my dislike for rice has been pretty clear, when it comes to that grain, I steer the other way. My 비빔밥 has been stripped of it's rice partner and joins me singly as "비빔." What am I doing in Asia then, let alone Korea? An aversion to rice and inhabiting these Seoul-lands is ironic...brown rice has been suggested, but I just can't (don't want to) do it. I'm not a grain lady, not a fan of any grain-focused meal, quinoa I can do, but sparingly. It doesn't come from pure pickiness, I have a very hard time digesting rice. brown or white, or black, or yellow, etc. Imagine polishing off a keg of beer, three pasta pizzas, and a pound of potatoes~ that's my stomach after just a little rice.
     I love 비빔 too, assorted veggies snuggling into one another, coated in spicy 고추장, I'm happy with that- I'm all for salads. This past week though has been including a little bit more than that, a great substitution for the 밥~보리밥 or barley. I've mentioned this before, but from my understanding (thanks to the tales of Mama VeganBeats) barley was introduced and used for the Korean people due to struggles in the past. The war forced many people to go poor and in that, feeding themselves and their family was very difficult. Barley filled up tummies and kept people full, even though it is low in calories and easier to digest.
     Korea being really into the "health title" turn to 보리밥 and these restaurants are popping up all over the place. The past week I've had 보리밥 twice, Alex is here and my family, as accepting and supportive as they are, while kicking it in Seoul-town are craving some traditional Korean noms. Though, on Saturday my mama beats was wonderful and treated Alex and I to this healthy plate at 명동보리밥 near my 이모's house.
photo taken by VeganBeats
There was a decent spread of 반찬 that you're supposed to throw into your barley and mix up with 청국장, a soybean tofu stew that is literally just soybeans and tofu, and 고추장. I like this option because I can construct a bomb salad!
반찬~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
반찬~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
청국장 (photo taken by VeganBeats)
my 비빔 and no 보리밥~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
This meal went well with the pained heads Alex and I were lugging around.

There are several of these places all over Seoul, the one I went to is by Olympic park.
강동구청역 (line 8) 4번 (exit 4)
Walk straight for about 5 minutes, cross an intersection, then pass by Lotteria on your right, the restaurant will be on your right side!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

"I don't want to drink too much tonight." uhhh~

     I never thought I'd come to be thoroughly grateful for a Sunday, a minor break in the weekend~ 
     Since my brother has been here, we've been on the go, and I love it! The first night he got here was a drunken wander post dinner followed by an early rise and schedule-packed Friday. I went to work, worked out (Red Foo is always mumbling in my ear) then we went to Western Seoul to kick it with my mom and 이모. After that, we booked it to 강남 to meet up with the Wonderful Pol and David for dinner pre-Todde's Woodstock party. My aunt's clinic is nearly an hour away so we had time to chill before dinner. The closer we got to Gangnam, the hungrier I realized I was getting. While scrolling through health dishes in my head my brother looked at me and said:
     "I don't want to drink too much tonight."
     Avoiding answering, once we got to Gangnam we grabbed some mojitos then chilled at a busy restaurant where the guys got 순대 and I got 보리밥 (boribap) which is really 비빔밥 (bibimbap) but with barley versus rice...but being the picky lady I am...opted out on the grains and had a 비빔 salad~
no barley, and pre-고추장 (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     A couple beers and three 막골리's (maekgoli) later we hit up Woodstock where we were to celebrate a final evening with Todde~'s fuzzy, I took a nap...woke up, raring to go, more drinks, dancing loads, smoking hookahs, swilling drinks, then 노래방'n!
     Alex and I walked home, woke up, downed coffees, tried not to vomit, packed bags, met up with the mom at the aunt's house and passed out. 
     On the subway ride there, again, my brother turned to me and though foggy I heard:
     "I'm still buzzed, I didn't want to drink so much...your friends are awesome."
     By the time we woke up, we were brought to a restaurant, got nourished, passed out again, then peaced out of Seoul to Soraksan...

The "nourishing" place will be a later post...same with the mountain...for

Friday, March 23, 2012

반찬 with the Family (Alex and mom's in Seoul!)

     My brother and mom are kicking it in Seoul!! They got here yesterday afternoon and though tired, my uncle came over and we all went out to dinner. We went to a barbecue/meat house that's a stone's throw away and parts of me were slightly concerned about vegan options, but the 반찬 spread left me full and more than satisfied. I'll let the pictures do the talking~
lettuce, 고추, spicy spring onions, and 단호박 (sweet pumpkin) 튀금 (photo taken by VeganBeats)
pickled radish (photo taken by VeganBeats)
Spicy kale and carrot salad!! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
shredded cabbage in a sweet rice and apple vinegar sauce (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The best 반찬 (banchan- side dish) was a green salad with a raw blueberry dressing! The salad was full of bok choy, spinach greens, romaine lettuce, and cabbage. I usually hate sweet dressings but this was a great change to the mix. There were chunks of little blueberries that hid in the sauce. Considering how everyone around me was throwing back flesh, I was throwing back antioxidants and crunchy glory~ and some maekgoli! >.<#
the blueberry dressing on greens! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     After dinner, Alex and I wandered my hood, did some coffee binging, and caught up! I still can't believe that he's here! The journeys that await us!! 
I look like I'm balding, he's exhausted, and we're both tipsy...ehhh Seoul (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     Oh and~ my mom's friend made a batch of sesame crackers for me! I'm a crunch woman, I've always wanted food that way. Crunchy veggies, snappy greens, toasted breads, thin crackers, if it's got a snap it's better in my book. I was genuinely surprised for this~ 
     This post is rushed but I promise there'll be more places I'll talk about~

Until next time^^*

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

IN-N-OUT Burger

     Today was a big day for Californians! My friend invited me to an event that was held in Sinsa over on Garusogil! She, being from Cali, and being an omnivore said that the "comfort" fast food of Cali-kids is the burgers from In-N-Out Burger. This morning/early afternoon, the franchise came to Garusogil and specially prepared their "famous" hamburgers to growing lines of people. I don't think I'll ever understand the fast-food trend or comfort it seems to provide (and I don't want to), but it was interesting none the less to be part of all these eager people.
     My friend is a CA gal and she's been craving fast food, Western food, home-food (there's someone growing in her ^^*) and during class this am she texted me~ she invited me along and I got to witness a load of stoked Gyopos! I don't have much to say but here are some pics!
photo taken by VeganBeats
     The In-N-Out was set up inside Cork for Turtle (Mug For Rabbit) cafe and looked all diner-esque! (Is it bad that I just wanted to binge on coffee while people nommed on buns?!)
photo taken by VeganBeats
my friend's box of food~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
up close (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     I was the only vegan around, I honestly felt a bit guilty for taking up a seat and stealing a bracelet for a spot, but...meh~
     The lines grew exponentially, we were only inside for maybe 20 minutes and by the time we left, the crowd was easily over 200 people! I heard it sold out...ehhh
     After fulfilling the cravings, my buddy and I wandered around and did some shopping...I bid farewell with a cheesy hat!~
glamorous~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)

the external-internalized digestion of externalized process.

A longer walk and thought~
the external-internalized digestion of externalized process. (drawn by VeganBeats)
     The external is recycled into our internal so that we can externalize it. Insecurities are natural, rampant, and will never be endangered or near extinct when it comes to our systems.
     Insecurities are birthed from countless situations; influences in our childhood (peers, family systems, etc), environments, inspired through relationships (romantic/sexual/casual/work/etc.) , societal standards, etc etc etc. We can't quickly destroy them but we can work with them and eventually work them through. Like a clogged pipe, with the right materials, chemicals, advice~ things can get back to flowing freely...until another clog, right?
     We all have a digestive system, one that works out the physical fuel and calories we pack into our system, but there is an emotional and internal digestive system too, the one I'm focusing on is how we process a view or judgement of ourselves.
     Of course, this is theory, hypothetical on my part~ I'm speaking from a point of view that is of my own and in my own observation of others. People generally have a sense of self that can alter and change due to the words and behaviors of others, it's not due to being artificial, more so survival. Within each of our cliques, there are certain actions that we mentally feel "fit" better or are easier to behave through when with a certain community.
     ie: How I act in the workplace is generally different from how I behave amongst my friends. 
     In my past, I used to carry a lot of self-doubt, it controlled a lot of what I did, what I said, wore, did on my free time, etc. The community I surrounded myself with I constantly doubted. I didn't know whether or not they genuinely wanted me around. Now, was this due to those individuals on a personal level? No, it was my own parts placing assumptions upon their own parts. I was manipulating my own fears into a false sense of reality. But it also didn't help matters that that community was not a positive one.
     Where am I trying to go with this post~ we take external values, statements, beliefs and digest them internally so that eventually we can express those now "recycled" externalized-internalized "statements" and mentally/physically externalize them.
     Maybe this will be better understood with a provided example. I love dancing, I have a blast doing it and have always wanted to be a good dancer, I never thought I had good rhythm until someone put the energy into telling me I did. After that external validation, I was able to internalize it and then believe now I'm dancing with confidence versus the fleeting insecurities that once existed in my realm of dancing.
     make any sense?
     Through observations of people in relationships, I've seen them experience a lot of growth, and self acknowledgement. People transform in relationships, and it's inevitable. When you choose to spend so much time with one person, influence is natural, so some parts of you will develop, either for the better or sometimes worse, but still some sort of progress is occurring. Usually (hopefully) validation is happening in relationships, verbally expressed fears or doubts are reversed and instead self-confidence built and supported. Quash the negativity. Being in any sort of relationship opens infinite doorways of possibility, not just in terms with that person, I'm focusing more on the self. Whether you agree or not, what others say and tell you influences you, leaves a mark of some sort. You may not bring the message home with you, but some statements you will cling to and they may very well influence you to develop somehow, not always with effort either. They naturally change you, and your view of yourself. If someone you care about tells you they love your time appreciating whatever that is becomes naturally easier.
     Traveling back to my self-doubting days, I will not deny that those parts are still existent, but they are far more silent than before. The relationships I have been in, or are still involved with have helped those parts grow more tolerant and quieter. Going out in a dress used to be a challenge, come post-work time, those are what I rock! Acknowledging my power was something invisible to me before, externalized statements and support was internalized and now is expressed in me, for me, on an external basis.
     Seeing this theory, naturally the brain, internal parts seek out that external validation and support. Hearing compliments, positive feedback, loving remarks are desired, they are what we want and (dare I say) need in getting that extra push in believing in ourselves...get a little internalization going so we can digest it AND use it.
     Do we regularly spend time with people that we feel horrible around, do you want a community of people where you finish your night feeling worse about yourself?
     Are you actively choosing to feel like less of a person?
     If your answering yes...why?
     Why put yourself through this?
     Why hinder your progress?
     Your growth, your enjoyment in yourself?
     I will readily admit, I want to become and grow into a super confident~ SUPER confident rocking woman...a lot of it I will have to do myself, but a lot of it I realize will have to do with those I surround myself with. If I'm only spending time with people that make me feel less than or negative; becoming a confident person is impossible. If I'm around supportive, like-minded, positive people, this goal~ hope, is possible.
     Another example of what I'm trying to explain is seeking approval, or compliment fishing. So many times when I was younger, well when anyone is a child, any sort of creation you ask someone you like (usually parents) "Did I do a good job?" or "Do you like it?"~ actively seeking approval so that you can internalize that compliment and feel better about yourself, externalize it.
     When you're with friends or your partner, "Does this look good?" or the negative "I feel fat." "I don't like my body."etc.~ you're seeking a compliment. Not saying that these are not valid personal thoughts, but it is externally expressed with sub-conscious hopes of a positive remark instead. To a certain degree, everything is said or vocalized in hopes of getting some sort of attention. Attention is not a bad thing, it's natural and there's nothing wrong with wanting it.
     The attention receives an externalized response that can then be internalized then eventually, potentially expressed through internal means, externally. 

     the external-internalized digestion of externalized process.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

만두break down~

Ingredients: soybean sprouts (콩나물), carrots (단근), tofu (두부), cabbage (양배추), onions (양파), kimchi (김치 home made), garlic(마늘), leeks(대파), mushrooms (버섯), soy sauce (샘표), and sesame oil (참기름)~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
chop it all up~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
all dressed and ready to kill~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
too hot to handle~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)

The people of our influence.

     I won't be this age forever, I won't be kicking it in my twenties for the rest of my existence...I will eventually approach a time and place where my lungs will not work the same, my liver will become less tolerant, my mind much slower, my eyes weaker, my heart softer; I will not be with the same people.
     Over the past year, even the past few months, I have encountered hundreds (though most may be acquaintances) of individuals, been involved with several projects, exchanged countless ideas and dreams... But above that, there are the key and detailed moments. The personalized ingrained memories that will set some people apart from the others. So many brilliant people have departed Seoul over the past year, and more will soon be doing the same.
     I feel like my world is still very much a festival. I go from tent to tent, detached from reality, into a state of being where the truth that these tents may be torn down remains an accepted, if not willed, ignorance. This reality, the moments of clarity hit me fast last night- technically this morning, in an Irish pub (classic location for St. Patrick's day eh?) Last St.Patty's day was a full on adventure with so many people, many that have since moved on. This year was slightly quieter, though wonderful...more controlled.
     I'm not entirely sure where I'm trying to go with this...the cliched "We age, we grow, we get older" is holding hands with "be present, live the moment, completely be."
     My father has stated several times "life is about the people you have in it." maybe this isn't verbatim is formed around and with those you have in it. Life is always changing, (oh how prolific), I'm always realizing (though not wanting to sit with it) that within days it is inevitable that my life will change, whether drastically or on a small spectrum. As individuals, independents we are able to "choose" those we have in our lives, we bend out paths to fit in others, allow more influence, or a greater presence. Sometimes these "chosen ones" accept the invitation, step away from it, or deny it straight through.
     Do we devote most of our energy trying to convince those deniers? Sometimes, maybe we should, maybe more work is involved, but much time is wasted for this? I'm in a heavy thinking mode, I've been sitting with some thoughts. I spent last night nearly completely sober, simply observing my friends, reflecting on our times together and picturing how many of them, months from now, will not be here...will not be around.
a path of life lies here (photo taken by VeganBeats)

Life is about the people you let into your far, life has treated me well, people (on the most part) have been wonderful.

Pol's Birthday~

     This weekend began so well, Friday was such a great day! It started off with smiles and a "heavy" head but continued on with all around smiles and plans for Pol's Birthday! Pol, being one of the main Seouls in Korea, chose to have his birthday at one of the best quality restaurants in Seoul...think chill, fresh food, flavor-packed portions, a great staff, and all around great environment...
photo taken by VeganBeats
     None other than Vatos Urban Tacos, located in Itaewon. It's the only restaurant that I get excited going to, want to share with others, and often suggest. All of the food is fresh, everything is made to order, and the drinks are pure perfection!
     I made a reservation for 22 for the night (we're so lucky to have gotten the tables) and Vatos was packed! I could hear satisfied sounds escaping from stuffed mouths! This was all about Pol, but I was more than eager to have our crew kicking it in this place and about to greater understand the glory of Vatos! Kenny, Jonathan, and Jeena were GREAT~ they gave us the roof (!!!), were super patient, got orders in with ease, and service was awesome. We ordered over 50 drinks over the evening, everyone got plates of food, salsas and freshly made tortilla chips were served throughout the evening (that red chipolte salsa is amazing!), and kimchi carnita fries were feasted on by all them omnivore folk!
     Because there were so many people, and an overwhelming number of orders being thrown at Kenny, I didn't want to add too much trouble with making something special and vegan...worry about the other 20+ orders. Due to heavy traffic and a packed house, beans, avocados, and some other ingredients were lacking...but I got a great salad!
special salad! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The salad was exactly what I wanted. Chopped cabbage, jalapenos, salsa fresca, and an onion mix blended perfectly together to give me that crunch and sweetness that allowed the ingredients to shine. I threw on some of the salsa verde and chipolte red salsa just because I can! Along with the mango makgeolita(s)...this vegan lady was stuffed.

     I can't thank Vatos enough for their accommodation, and for all of the crew for coming and supporting both Pol and Vatos!

My past Vatos pieces~

Friday, March 16, 2012

English Lesson with food~

     Actively and enjoyably learning something, anything, especially a language comes with a lot of natural challenges. The more difficult the task, the easier it is to throw in the towel and give up all together. I do this all too often, especially when it comes to learning Korean. When it gets too hard, or even overwhelming, I take a break...and that hinders my progress even more.
     You need to work with admirations and interests, sure this is an obvious but having the freedom to work with someone one on one makes their learning experience and your teaching that much more effective. One of my new students is painfully shy, for the first couple hours with her, I felt like I was fishing for elephants in a shallow Attleboro. No luck...
     I called to my joys and whipped out a lot of paper, nearly every drawing utensil and art supply I had and found that she LOVES expressing herself now we draw and chat about everything. I don't want to abuse the art power, so last week...we did an English cooking lesson.
     I don't really think anyone doesn't like to use their hands when it comes to learning something...unless your learning about the sharpness of poisonous darts~ get in touch with several senses, get more brain activity going, being a part of a production. We made Korean food and while making the kitchen a mess, she was chatting away all sorts of facts about Korean food and her relationship with it. So what did we make?
빈대떡~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     Bindaeddeok, 빈대떡, or mungbean pancakes! These are high in protein, fiber, and you can literally throw everything you've got into them. In ours we added 김치, scallions, soybean sprouts, teeny mushrooms, zukes, and garlic leaks...result? Crispy, crunchy, flat mess of yum!
What you need:
  1. 14 ounces of mung beans, soaked overnight
  2. 1 onion sliced thin
  3. 1 small carrot julienned (optional)
  4. handful of green onions sliced up
  5. as much 김치 as you want, slice this up too
  6. handful of bean sprouts
  7. whatever chopped up veggies you're feeling for
  8. salt, to your taste
  9. water
What to do:
  1. rinse the soaked mung beans and put in a food processor and crunch all that jazz up
  2. add some water to create a paste
  3. in another bowl mix all the sliced goodies you have and the salt
  4. add the mung bean paste
  5. heat a pan with some oil
  6. ladle the mixture in, and get the sides crispy brown, serve with soy sauce or eat plain!
     Next we made one of the simplest, yet satisfying Korean Vegan go-to's...pan fried tofu (두부)

두부~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
What do you need:

  1. tofu
  2. oil
  3. some salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
  1. pat the tofu dry and cut into rectangles
  2. heat oil in a pan
  3. sprinkle salt and pepper on the tofu, fry it up
**I like adding garlic... because garlic is great~

     I made a sprouted green salad for the side, and we had a little English cooking date~

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Coco Curry House

     I was first introduced to curry when I was 12 years old. My family used to host Korean students attending schools in the states and one of my "brothers" loved this stuff. To make people feel at home (especially during holidays when students spent it with us versus their family) my mom would whip up anything they wanted. (Think "last meal" except you'll still be alive tomorrow morning). While cooking, this spicy, heavy, thick smell coated our house and with the first spoonful, there was instant "mmhhmmmm!" Chalk full of veggies, served over brown rice, Kyle may have been happy, but we were grateful for our blind date with curry. It's become a comfort food, the spice delivered from curry is different from Mexican and Korean spices, it's a deep, belly-rolling warmth that...feels just cozy.
     Since then, I've had curry all over parts of the world, obviously stateside, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and China. In China there was a curry house that had all sorts of vegan options. Any veggie you wanted, you could add it, and it wasn't wallet harming at all. This curry place is Coco Curry House...and there's one in Seoul! This past weekend, a few of us sauntered into the 강남 (Gangnam) curry house and it brought me back home, back to China, and back to food coma bliss.
     The great thing about this Curry House is there are options, not just veggie but rice serving size, spice level, and the salad and drink option. I went with a smaller portion of rice (500원 cheaper), spice level of 6 (or 9...second hottest on the list), americano, and a salad with peanut ground dressing.
salad (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The salad was the smallest thing ever, a couple crumbled leaves, some quartered cherry tomatoes, a slice or two of cucumber, and the peanut sesame dressing. It was good, though...I wish it was generous in serving...this lady loves her greens!
     In terms of the curry, I got the tomato and asparagus with spinach added!
more than filling! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The veggie curries are all around 7,200 원! And the add-ins range from vegetables, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus and tomato, spinach, natto, etc. If you add the salad and drink option, it is an additional 2,000원! This was filling, took me on a little trip, and a perfect meal for a groggy head~

How to get to Coco Curry House in Gangnam, 
강남역 line 2, go out exit 11 and walk straight. When you pass the Paris Baguette, take that right, then the first left on the lain street. You will get to a strange 3/4 way, veer to the right and Coco Curry House is right there!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

홍대 Hungover creations~

     홍대 is back, and in full force. Ugh~ devilish chocolate bar!!
There are always a few things that hit my mind faster than a shot of soju, 홍대 is: lots of dancing, lots of drinking, lots of laughing, and some sort of hangover. It's not always guaranteed that all of these things will happen, but being prepared for at least 80% is a smart thing to do.
     The past few weekends have granted me a "next morning" glory of groggy cooking, simple (or uncomfortably complex) head-healing noms. Here's nearly everything~ (I'm still stuck cooking with my eyes...ugh the repeated meals~)
green pea and chickpea white pepper hummus, whole grain mustard, smoked tempeh, sprouts, spinach, lettuce, and cucumber on balsamic toasted foccacia (from The Baker's Table)~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
red lentil, green pea, and torn tofu dahl~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
spicy cheezy (nutritional yeast) ramen, loaded with broccoli, carrots, and garlic along with chick'n style tofu~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
the best "pick-me-up" tea~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
premix 콩나물비빔밥 (soybean sprout bibim bap)~ photo taken by VeganBeats
post mix  콩나물비빔밥~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)  
     And the best cure for any 홍대 hangover (whether from too much fun, dancing legs shake, sleep deprivation, eye spoilings, etc.) kick it with your friends, spend the day laughing in bed, snuggle up~