I had a major case of FOMO for not taking a class with Chef Jean-Marc Fullsack (aka Chef) when I was a student at the University of San Francisco. Lucky for me, my friend Lily introduced me to Chef and I was able to relive my university days and cook with one of the best teachers at school!Read More
A lot of us say we wish we did this and wish we had this career - and really how many of us actually go out and do what they WISH they could do? I met someone who actually followed through with pursuing his dreams of taking a hiatus from his 9-5 tech job to become a cook at a prestigious restaurant in San Francisco, Trou Normand.Read More
Reem Assil is a force to be reckoned with in the cooking world. After traveling on a life changing trip to Beirut, she was inspired to bring Arab baking and hospitality to the Bay Area, specifically in Oakland where she opened Reem's California. As part of a thank you gift to her Kickstarter Community, she and I collaborated on creating a how-to video on how to make Sfeeha, a Lebanese mini-meat pie that is juicy and full of flavor.Read More
I can't believe it's been over a year since I launched The Buttery Existence. I've learned so much and have been so lucky to have had the opportunity to collaborate with some pretty bad-ass people.Read More
I had never deep fried anything myself at this point in my life and had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, Kaz showed up and taught me how to properly fry chicken. Since then, I've been bugging him to teach me how to cook something, so he decided to pay homage to his first cooking teacher: his Mom, LisaRead More
For over 20 years, my family and I have been coming to this local seafood spot in Oxnard, CA to get our crab and shrimp fix. It's an institution! Tour groups from Asia actually come in and have lunch here because it's just that good.Read More
As many of my friends know, I'm obsessed with Barry's Bootcamp here in San Francisco. I never considered myself an athlete at all until I came to this place and worked with the trainers here. Honestly, I'm that girl who would consider running a 3.0 pace on the treadmill a "hardcore workout". Thank goodness this place forever changed my outlook on fitness for the best.
Outside of being one of the best workouts I've ever done in my life, one thing that makes Barry's in San Francisco stand out from the other studios is how much the team there cares about their clients, aka #FitFam. One of my favorite trainers there, Erica Stenz (hay 2014 Racked Hottest Trainer SF !) loves to go above and beyond to make sure her clients think about their fitness holistically by challenging us to eat healthier.
Living in San Francisco is tough because we have access to some of the best restaurants in the world, which can lead to bigger waist lines and less money in the bank from going out all the time. So when Erica and fellow Barry's trainer Tommy Stracke (who is also her bf, I know #powercouple) put together #ChallengeSF, which consisted of choosing one of the following 1) No Sugar 2) No Alcohol and 3) Whole30 - I decided I had to go big and went for the Whole30 option.
For those of you who don't know what Whole30 is, it is basically a slightly more extreme Paleo style diet. Without going into too many details you basically eat protein (meats), vegetables and fruits and you can cook with approved oils. Yes, say bye to all grains, legumes, dairy and obviously sugars. If you want to learn more, check out their website.
Participating in this challenge for two weeks was no walk in the park. I'm not going to lie and say that it was really easy for me to adhere to this diet change because I am Asian and LOVE rice and noodles, which I obviously could not eat on this diet plan.
However, I purchased the Whole30 recipe book to help inspire me so I wouldn't be stuck eating boiled eggs everyday. Let me tell you, the book is well worth buying. You can find it online at Jet or Amazon for around $18.00. Trust me, it's worth purchasing. The authors Melissa & Dallas Hartwig provide some creative ways to diversify what you eat when you're on Whole30.
My favorite recipe from the book is the Chicken Cacciatore (my attempt below).
The recipe is really easy and the dish is pretty filling and hearty, so it's a great meal to try out when you're first starting your journey on Whole30. Since this is an Italian style dish, I decided to use my spiralizer and make zucchini noodles and pre-pack both my lunch and my husband's lunch for the week. This meal was full of protein and also replaced my need of having carbs with my protein. I bought my spiralizer from Sur La Table. You can find a range of them in different styles and prices here.
Another indulgence of mine is iced coffee. I love to buy iced coffee from all the coffee hot spots: Blue Bottle, Sightglass, Four Barrel etc. However, I know 1) It's an expensive habit 2) Some of these places add cream/whole milk and sugar to their coffees and that is why they taste so damn good.
So, in order to satisfy my need of delicious iced coffee, I invested in the Hario Cold Brewer. It's really easy to use, however it does take time for the coffee to steep. Here is a great tutorial to watch on how to use it.
These are just a few things I did when I was on Whole30 for two weeks. I know, it is supposed to be for a whole 30 days, but hey, at least I stuck with it through out the entire duration of #ChallengeSF! I seriously felt rejuvenated and amazing and my sugar and carb cravings have subsided.
In addition, eating this healthy and working out I lost a few lbs along along the way! The dress I wore to the San Francisco Ballet Gala last night fit like a glove! (Thank god because I didn't have any back-up dresses that I was willing to wear) I am not quite at my goal weight, but doing this challenge was a great start.
I always knew I wanted to have Kim teach me how to cook something, so when she told me that she wanted to teach me how to make tofu from scratch I couldn't say no! Tofu is something that I normally just buy at the store and never really thought to make from scratch.
Check out my interview with Kim below and read about her story behind making tofu from scratch!
Tofu is something that I can just go and buy at the store - why make your own?
I was vegetarian for 13 years and have always enjoyed eating tofu. I started making my own tofu mainly for 2 reasons: 1) I missed eating fresh homemade tofu (the tofu you buy in the store just doesn't compare in taste and flavor) and 2) I was saving money for my around the world trip and on a strict budget and organic tofu and soy products were expensive to buy. I thought myself how to "milk the soy" as part of a cooking experiment for a year before I left for my trip. The Milking the Soy experiment helped me save money for my trip but more importantly it became a very meditative and therapeutic experience. It became a connection with the food I was making and the people I was making it for. It kept me focused, provided a creative outlet, and I learned a great deal about myself through the whole process. The milking the soy experiment in many ways helped me prepare for my travels. During that year, I would jokingly tell my friends that I was busy with my "Soyfriend". I had indeed developed a love and passion for soy during that experience.
After my cooking lesson from Kim, I now have a new found appreciation for the soy bean and the process of making tofu. I had no idea how much work it takes to make such a simple dish and as you can see in the video, the process can be time intensive. However, it's well worth it for some tasty fresh tofu.
1 Cup of Organic dry soybeans
1 Bottle of Liquid Coagulate/Nigari
Start with organic dry soybeans and soak them in water overnight between 10-18hrs.
Blend soaked soybeans in blender or food processor and slowly add some water to create a paste.
Transfer soybean paste to a tall pot and add enough water to cover soybean paste.
Turn on the stove to high and cook soybean paste for approximately 20 minutes, or until you see the the soy fibers, known as "okara", separate from the soy milk.
Extract soy milk from the okara by pouring the mixture through a muslin cloth across a large bowl.
Clean out the pot you used to cook the soy paste.
Place soy milk back into the pot and cook to 165 degrees.
Once the soy milk reaches 165 degrees, turn off the stove.
For a soft/silky tofu, add about 2-3 drops of liquid coagulate (Nigari) to separate curds and whey. For a firmer tofu, add about 4-5 drops of coagulate (Nigari).
After adding the Nigari, do not move the coagulate/soy milk mixture for about 25 minutes.
While you are waiting for the curds and whey to separate, set up tofu mold by placing muslin sleeve inside of tofu mold.
Once the curds and whey separate, scoop curds and press into tofu mold.
Prep Time: 10 Hours Cooking Time: 2 Hours Yield: 1 Block of Tofu