All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Tom Cooks 20. Soondupu tofu stew and spinach namul

This is the best soondupu Tom has made so far. He even made the yangyeom seasoning mix for the soup. Incredibly, a small spinach side dish also appeared on the table.

Before cooking, Tom showed me how much spinach he was going to use. While it seemed like as much as half a bunch to him, it was only half a bunch to me, and clearly not enough. But I kept my mouth shut, as Tom wouldn't have listened to me anyway. He learns best from his own trial and error, not from other people's advice. My words are noise to him, especially after he has made up his mind.

At the dinner table, Tom said, "I guess I should use more spinach next time."
Uh-huh. I won.

Another major improvement. For a long time Tom seemed to think that Asian food needed lots of seasoning, and his dishes often tasted like nothing but soy sauce. Our lower-sodium diet is helping us sense subtle differences in taste better than before, and Tom has started to use just enough seasoning to bring out the characteristic taste of ingredients themselves.

For this namul, he sauteed spinach with sesame oil and seasoned with shiokoji salted rice malt. Very simple, and a clean taste.
Tom said he was going to add sesame seeds but didn't, because I would complain that sesame seeds were already being used to top the rice. I guess he is listening to me, sometimes.
At this dinner, new trivets from my hometown prefecture made their debut. I am very pleased with their beauty and functionality. They are bit too shiny right now, and I look forward to them gaining a pretty, subdued tone from repeated use and aging.

Takaoka, a city in Toyama Prefecture, is known for metal and casting works, some of which date back to the 17th century. Copper, brass and tin are the main metal materials of the industry. The trivets are made of brass by Futagami. The company is relatively new (founded in 1897) compared to many other businesses in transnational industries. At one time my impression of the brass products of Takaoka was that they were just old things for Buddhist altars, but now I see many items for office or kitchen use. Innovation can happen beyond computer technology.

Recipe for Tom: Sundupu / Soondupu jjigae Korean soft tofu stew

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