I was planning to take a short break from blogging but I guess I just cannot stay away. I have so many thoughts in my mind and I just feel like blabbing sharing right now.
I was pissed as hell yesterday. So many things pissing me off.
First of all, it was damn hot. The sun was scorching me alive, and I could feel the sun beaming into my gleaming forehead, leaving an unsightly sunglasses tan mark. I could feel the back of my shirt sticking uncomfortably onto my skin, drying up as soon as I walked into a shady sidewalk and then melting back into grimy sweat when I stepped out of the shade.
What was I doing outside?
I was interviewing someone for my journalism final project. That part was fine, because Jacqueline (my interviewee) was such a pleasure to talk to. We had a great hour’s long conversation in Starbucks. The only slightest annoyance was that my iced coffee was a total failure. That didn’t piss me off too much though, since I was too engrossed in my conversation with Jacqueline.
Moving on. After the interview, I walked to Koreatown, sweating profusely and desperately needing to pee. You know what’s the worst combination? Hot humidity and a full bladder.
I arrived at Koreatown. What was I doing in Koreatown?
I was trying to secure my new apartment by handing the manager my security deposit. Well, there would be no apartment.
The room I had originally visited and wanted was leased to someone else. The manager showed me a different room, which he had promised “is the same as the room I showed you.”
LIAR!!!! Not only was the room much smaller than the one I wanted, it was a freaking human pig-sty. The bathroom tiles were disgusting. Worst, the kitchen was in shambles. The fridge barely worked and the fridge door had trouble staying shut. The oven and stove was mini doll sized and I had a suspicion that the oven didn’t even work properly.
This wasn’t the apartment I was willing to lease for 13 months. This wasn’t the apartment for which I had paid $300 in application deposit.
The manager saw the expression on my face and started looking uncomfortable and “umm”-ed a lot. I don’t know what I looked like, but I imagine my face was several shades of purplish rage.
I wanted my $300 money order back, but the manager could only give back $250 because $50 was already paid for the credit check. That meant I had to walk out into the blistering heat again, find a bank, get cash, find a gas station, get a $50 money order, and then go back to the apartment so that the manager could return my $300 money order slip.
Pissed, oh so pissed.
Also, while I was dark and sticky and enervated from the sun, the manager stayed cool and good-looking in the apartment complex, which pissed me off even more because I HATE guys who are prettier than me.
So, so effing pissed.
To make myself feel better, I bought a box of Peppero:
But when I entered the bus on my way back home, the bus driver very, very pointedly leered at my Peppero and said, “Ooh, what’s that?”
I had to reluctantly offer him some. I sat next to an old man who was also eyeing my Peppero, but I selfishly ignored it. My Peppero. I deserve it after this horrible, awful day.
Peppero helped lift my moods by a hairline, until this group of middle school kids hopped onto the bus and started screaming and shrieking with laughter, causing the babies in the bus to start wailing and screeching as well.
W. T. F. I was pissed as shit!!! I got off the bus with my head ringing from all the public noise pollution.
So. You can just imagine how pissed off I was that day.
I am back to square one for apartment hunting.
I wasted $50 and too many hours of my life for nothing.
I don’t have the time to go visiting different apartments right now because I am in the middle of finals.
But I’ve already notified my landlord that I would be leaving May 16th, and someone else has shown interest in my current room.
Conclusion: I’m screwed.
So I freaked out. Got a little bitter at my friends who could afford to pay more than $1000 for a month’s rent, while a single dollar played a role in my housing decision. Got very nervous that I won’t be able to find a place in time. Got annoyed at God for letting this annoying thing happen.
And then, by the time I was back home and took a long shower, I calmed down.
Sure, this is a minor inconvenience. But what’s the fun in life if everything went exactly my way? I have a feeling God will help work something out again, and just like my lemon tree house, I’ll find something that fits me perfectly, something I will cherish more for the precise reason that it took a bit more heartache to get.
Wednesday, I was pissed off. But today, I’m excited. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me. After all, every obstacle in life is just an opportunity to let God show me what He can do. Just because something doesn’t work out the way I wanted it to doesn’t mean nothing will work out.
Just like you had to endure that entire blabber on top to get to the good, juicy part: the fabulous recipe I have in store for you.
As you may have gleaned, I’m poor. That’s the reason why I rarely buy meat or seafood or exotic fruits and produce. Don’t worry, I still get my protein and nutrition. Mostly from eggs, but sometimes from tofu.
It’s funny how excited people get about tofu. I remember it used to be a symbol for Disgusting Hippie Grub. Not anymore. Especially with this fabulous recipe (if I say so myself).
Bul-Tofu (Korean BBQ Tofu)
- 19 oz tofu, cubed
- 1/3 cup gochujang
- 6 cloves garlic (grated)
- 1 inch ginger (grated)
- 1/2 onion (grated)
- 1 kiwi flesh (grated)
- 1/3 cup light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
- 2 stalks green onions (chopped)
- brown rice (mixed with toasted black sesame seeds and rice vinegar)
- sweet soy sauce or hoisin sauce
Mix together the gochujang, garlic, ginger, onion, kiwi, soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey in a big bowl. Stir in the tofu. Let sit for half an hour or so.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a baking sheet and line the marinated tofu cubes onto the sheet.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the tofu is baked nice and firm.
Top onto brown rice. Drizzle sweet soy sauce or hoisin sauce on top, sprinkle with chopped green onions.
I have been cooking brown rice a lot lately. I’m really starting to like the nutty chewiness of this grain, especially because it’s SO easy to cook rice now with my microwave rice-cooker that I ordered from CNS Stores.
Just wash the rice, pour the water, and let the microwave do its magic. You don’t even need to presoak the rice!
Perfect rice every time.
I mixed the rice with a bit of rice vinegar and toasted black sesame seeds. You can eat this plain, it’s so good.
The best part? Less than $10 for the rice-cooker. This cheap Asian is very happy.
So anyway, back to my Bul-Tofu. The reason I call it Bul-Tofu is because it’s a play on Bulgogi, which means BBQ meat (Bul “불” means fire and Gogi “고기” means meat).
I also have a confession. I didn’t get to use a kiwi because I forgot to get it. It’s actually not entirely necessary for tofu since the kiwi is really to tenderize meat. But I think it gives a lovely sweet fruity flavor to the marinade, and it’s what my mom always uses.
Make sure to pair this dish with a pair of cute chopsticks. You can’t eat this with a fork. It just ain’t right!
If I had been a bit more patient, I would have pressed the tofu so that it becomes crispier, but I HATE pressing tofu. HATE HATE HATE. Such a hassle. So I sacrificed the texture for laziness.
But I didn’t really care because the flavor was fantastic: sweet, spicy and smoky. Slightly stinky too, because of the garlic and ginger. But definitely yummy.
The “sweet soy sauce” I used to drizzle over the tofu and rice was this bottle of kecap manis:
It’s really an Indonesian condiment, a ubiquitous flavoring agent that is super thick and sticky and sweet. I’m in love with it.
But I suppose hoisin sauce will work okay too. Or no sauce at all is fine since the tofu itself is flavorful enough. I just thought the dark glaze made the dish look sexier. Or something.
I sense a bit of envy. It’s okay, I understand. It’s a bit like the envy I have towards fellow students who drive a BMW and live in a loft-style apartment right across campus.
It’s not a bad, bitter envy. It’s just an impatient envy in the knowledge that something better is awaiting me. Just like how you may feel the impatient envy to cook your own BBQ tofu.
The thing is, I probably wouldn’t have been able to enjoy this dish if I was swimming in cash and didn’t feel the need to pinch corners. Why, if I had all the cash I want, I would be lunching out at a chic bistro every day.
Not that that’s a bad thing, but it’s just no Bul-Tofu.
Question of the Day: Kind of a random question, but sort of related to this post. If you had all the money in the world, would you be eating any different?