Miso and Bok Choy Rice Noodles with Hoisin Tofu or Seitan

Click Here to go straight to the Recipe!

Kate and I love us some miso. “It’s miso good!” should be an alternative way to say “It’s very good!” even though the miso phrase means its much better. (I have a slight head cold right now so if things sound strange its the cold’s fault. I am a respectable person, dammit!)

One soup I made when we first started dating was a basic miso soup. You boiled a pot of water with soy sauce, green onions, spinach, mushrooms and seaweed. Then simmered for a few minutes. Then add the miso paste and tofu. Its a great soup for anytime of the day and especially if your buddie Pete’s birthday was last night.

A few nights ago it was my turn to cook dinner and it was also super cold in Durham North Carolina so a brothy soup sounded like a great way to roll. We had also just stopped by a little farm shack on the side of the road and purchased some beautiful shitake mushrooms. Shitake’s are this crazy named food item that are really easy to cook with. Just remove the stem and throw it away. Then do what you want with the cap. However for about half the price I am fine with white mushrooms as well.

I did a little Googlin’ and found this recipe: Recipe: Miso & Shiitake Ramen with Hoisin-Glazed Tofu – Blue Apron The photos were what sold me for sure, hopefully mine are enticing as well. I had to make some alterations as I didn’t have Choy Sum, Enoki Mushrooms, or Fresh Ramen Noodles.

I guess if I ordered from Blue Apron they would bring me all of those items – Blue Apron: Fresh Ingredients, Original Recipes, Delivered to You. That sounds like a nice thing for people who can afford to spend $10 for a meal that they have to cook. If I was able to be that reckless with spending I would either go out to eat all the time or hire a manservant to shop and cook my meals. Best of luck to them though. The site is nice looking and the recipe was easy to follow either on my iPhone or Laptop.

We ran down to the Kroger and picked up a few items like Bok Choy(which is good to get since that’s in the name of this friggin recipe), organic soy sauce (we use a lot of that stuff, getting the organic is supposed to be a good idea as soybeans are heavily sprayed with stuff that isn’t safe for us to eat, its also a fun way to spend more money!), and organic firm tofu(same reasoning as the sauce). We might have grabbed a box of wine as well… What can I say? I like wine and not spending a terrible amount of money, combine those together and bam! Almaden Vineyards – California’s First Winery.

Good God man! On to the recipe!

Recipe for Miso and Baby Bok Choy Rice Noodles with Hoisin Tofu

  • 2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
  • 6 Ounces Baby Bok Choy
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Scallions/Green Onions
  • 1 Package Firm Tofu or 12 oz Seitan
  • 3 Ounces Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 4 Cups Veggie Broth – We like Frontier Vegetarian Chicken Flavored Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Bragg’s
  • 1 Tablespoon Miso Paste
  • ¼ Cup Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 sheets of Nori dried seaweed
  • 1 cup Bean Sproutsa
  • 12 Ounces Thin Rice Noodles

Step 1) Cut everything up and have it ready to roll.

Smash and dice the Garlic and put it in a bowl. Cut the white parts of the Scallions off from the green. Put the green parts aside for now. Chop up the white parts about quarter of an inch. Put in the same bowl as the Garlic.

Peel the Bok Choy leafs off and wash the dirt from them. Cut the leafy part off the stems. Rough chop the leaves and thinly slice the stems. Put them into in their own bowls.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and rinse. Then slice the caps so they are about 2 inches long and half an inch thick. Put them in the same bowl as the Bok Choy stems.

Get four cups of water and add the broth and soy sauce.

Have the miso scooped up in a spoon and ready to cook.

Drain the tofu and pat dry. Cut it until you have half inch cubes (they better be perfect too!). For Seitan cut it into half inch pieces.

Cut the seaweed up into cigarette size pieces with scissors and put in a bowl.

Rinse the bean sprouts and place in a bowl.

Chop up the green parts of the scallions and put in a bowl.

Finally have the noodles package open and sitting on the counter.

Great work, pour some of that box wine into a glass and take a sip, you earned it!

Step 2) Cook that tastiness up!

Add 1 teaspoon of oil to a 2 quart or larger pot on medium heat. I like sesame for this recipe cause the flavor is nice but you could also use vegetable or olive oil. Once its got some heat to it add the garlic and scallion whites. (That was nice having everything ready to just plop right in the pot huh? Bam!)

Let them cook for a few minutes but don’t you dare walk away. Garlic loves to burn and once you burn garlic it is garbage. Stand there with your spoon or heat resistant spatula or stick and stir things around. Everything should get some free time on the bottom of the pot and get a nice golden color to it.

As soon as you see the gold and smell the garlic get powerful you pour in that broth mixture, add the Bok Choy stems and mushrooms, and the miso. Stir things up!

Bring the heat up to a light boil or simmer and then reduce the heat a little and let sit for 10 minutes.

That was really impressive stuff! Did you manage to burn the garlic, your hair, or a child? If no, then great work, go have some more wine. If yes to all three, then you may want to put the wine away at this point and look for burn cream and maybe a hat.

Step 3) Hoisin Tofu Craziness!

Get a medium saute/frying pan out and add the second teaspoon of oil up to a medium/high heat. Once it gets warm add the tofu.
Miso Mushroom Broth Pot Vegan Soup
Be ready cause tofu likes to stick like a mofo to your pan. If you have nonstick it might be less bad but for the most part its gonna stick. I like stainless steel pots and pans personally cause they won’t offgas crazy stuff like the non sticks do. Also they are easier to clean if you get some Barkeepers Friend.

For frying the Tofu or Seitan, I take a page from The Sexy Vegan Cookbook on his Tofu Scramble recipe where he instructs you to let it sit there on the pan. You start to freak out a little as you think about how hard it will be to scrape it off the pan. This is where stainless steel is nice. Once the tofu or seitan has been on the pan for 4 minutes or so you grab a metal spatula (suck it non stick!) and you scrape everything nice and neatly, or so, off the pan and flip it over and let it sit for another few minutes.

Ideally you will get all four sides of each tofu cube crispy and perfect. The reality is that you will be luck to get the first side so be happy with that. As you start flipping the tofu too much it will start to crumble and fall apart. Stop before it becomes tofu scramble, unless thats what you want.

Now turn off the heat and pour the hoisin sauce on the tofu or seitan and mix it all around. Get every piece covered in that tasty plum sauce and then let it sit for a moment.

You are doing a really great job, congratulations! Did you burn the shit out of the Tofu? Don’t worry, your children can go eat next door anyway.

Step 4) Finish it and serve it!

Turning our attention back to the big pot o’ broth its time to add the Bok Choy leaves and noodles. Turn the heat up to medium/high for a couple of minutes until the noodles are done, mine said 8 minutes.

Once the noodles are done add some to a bowl, grab some veggies, and pour some broth over everything. Now put the tofu on top of that and serve with a fork and spoon.

Use the Seaweed strips, bean sprouts, and scallion greens as toppings. Add as much as you like. The seaweed will soften immediately and the bean sprouts and scallion greens will supply a nice crunch.

Great work! Its time to sit down with the soup and your glass of wine. What? You finished the glass? No problem, you bought a box, there is plenty more.

Here it is, your moments of zen.

Tofu Miso Mushroom Soup
This is the Shitake Mushroom version with Tofu and Baby Bok Choy. Mmmm baby.
Seitan Miso Mushroom Vegan Soup
This is the full load of condiments and with Seitan instead of Tofu. Also the mushrooms on this one are regular white and taste great.

Kotobuki Vegan Sushi in Norfolk, VA

As vegans, one thing we miss is the artful and tasty delights of sushi as most sushi restaurants tend to have one or two items we can eat.  Sure an avocado roll is good, but it would be nice to get something with some texture and umami flavoring to kick things up a notch!

Welcome to Norfolk, home of PETA

The fact that PETA is based out of Norfolk Virginia blows the minds of most people who live in Norfolk. There are not a lot of vegan options in the town that is home to one of the most prominent animal rights groups in the world.
Fortunately for us, we have the best friends in the world and, vegan or not, they are looking out for us and recommending places like Kotobuki. They are a sushi bar with an entire vegan sushi menu! WTF? OMG! Our friend Meredith took us here for dinner one night and it was awesome.

Meredith, Roger, and Kate at Kotobuki vegan sushi norfolk va oct 2014
Meredith, Roger, and Kate at Kotobuki

Vegan sushi, really?

For the uninitiated vegan sushi involved mock fish like salmon that is then used in place of actual fish. This gives a similar taste and texture to fish sushi just without the ethical and environmental issues which vegans try to avoid. If you are open minded and want to learn more about why vegans don’t eat fish check out these articles:

Vegan sushi is very good

Hugged Rolled Salmon and Seaweed

Vegan salmon and avocado wrapped in soy wrapper; covered with seaweed salad and sesame seeds, 8 pieces.

Peta Roll

Seaweed salad, inari tofu, fried tofu, and steamed carrots rolled inside, 6 pieces.

Hugged roll and peta roll at Kotobuki vegan sushi norfolk va oct 2014
Hugged roll and peta roll.

“Japanese Room” seating

One cool feature of the restaurant, besides having vegan sushi, is that they have raised the floor around a section of tables. This gives the effect of a traditional Japanese kotatsu table which is low to the floor. Fortunately for us inflexible westerners Kotobuki has simply raised the floor around the table giving you space to put your legs underneath without having to get all origami. Some raise the roof at Kotobuki they raise the floor!

Tasty Adult Beverages

Another cool feature are the super awesome adult beverages:

Red Dragon

Ty-Ku Sake, vodka, pomegranate juice, lemon juice and agave nectar.

Asian Sangria

Ty-Ku Sake, fresh seasonal fruits, and a splash of agave nectar.

Saketini

Ty-Ku Sake, vodka, sliced cucumber.

Sake Sunrise

Ty-Ku Sake, orange juice, a splash of champagne.

Ty-Ku Cosmo

Ty-Ku Sake, vodka, cranberry juice.

Directions and Info

721 W 21st St
Norfolk, VA 23517
757-628-1025
Website
Lot parking is available in the back, and street parking is available in the surrounding neighborhood.

Hours of operation:

Monday – Thursday
Lunch 11:00 am – 2:30 pm
Dinner 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Friday – Saturday
Lunch 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Dinner 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
CLOSED ON SUNDAYS

Here it is, your moment of Zen…

Kotobuki vegan sushi menu
Kotobuki vegan sushi menu

O’Connor Brewing Norfolk VA

Lots o’ love for beer and business

Kate praying at the taproom atlar at o'connor brewing norfolk va rolling with grass oct 2014
Kate praying at the taproom atlar.

We love beer. Our first conversation/argument was about how dumb I was for not drinking IPA’s. Kate enlightened me on the subject and ever since we have been happily travelling around enjoying various IPA’s from various breweries.
We also love local companies and supporting them as much as possible. Combining two of our love’s means we like to visit local breweries as much as possible.
While visiting friends and family in Norfolk, VA we found O’Connor Brewing.

From backyard to brewery

Kate looking cute at oconnor brewing norfolk va rolling with grass oct 2014
Kate looking cute in front of brewing machines.

O’Connor Brewing was started by Kevin O’Connor when we learned about craft beer and started brewing at home. Since then we immersed himself in the industry to learn how to brew successfully and commercially. Today they have a litany of beers on tap in their taproom and sell them by the six pack, 22oz, and growler.

Tasty Tasters of Tasty Beers

Whats left of the tasting flight at o'connor brewing norfolk va rolling with grass oct 2014
Whats left of our tasting flight.

Naturally we sampled all 7 of their current beers on tap. We liked some better than others but all were tasty and in the end we got a growler of their Great Dismal Black IPA

Directions and Info

View from the street of o'connor brewing norfolk va rolling with grass oct 2014
View from the street of o’connor brewing.

211 W. 24th Street
Norfolk, VA 23517
Phone: 757-623-2337
Retail and Tasting Hours: Tues-Thurs 4-8, Fri 4-9, Sat 12-9, Sun 12-6

TAPROOM EVENTS

WEDNESDAYS:

It’s Vinyl Night! Bring in a record or just jam to the great tunes we got playing in the tap room.

THURSDAYS:

Drink specials on everything served in a pint, flight, or growler. Plus 30% off all merchandise, too. You’re welcome.

FRIDAYS:

What could be better than a live music performance, delicious street food from our local food truck partners, and some tasty beers fresh from the tap to kick off your weekend?

SATURDAYS:

Come enjoy live music by local performers from 5 to 8pm, and delicious eats from our mobile food vendor partners from 3 to 8pm.

SUNDAYS:

It’s Service Industry Night at OBC from 3 to 6pm every Sunday. So if you work in a bar or restaurant, we’ve got an exclusive happy hour just for you!

Here it is, your moment of Zen, with power lines…

sunset from o'connor brewing norfolk va rolling with grass oct 2014
Sunset view from o’connor brewing taproom patio.

Boondocking near Charleston South Carolina

It’s time for us to start heading south ’cause its getting COLD! Having lived in Phoenix for 14 years I do not do well when the temps dip below 60 degrees. That’s a fact jack! We will be doing Thanksgiving in Raleigh with family and then heading towards southern Florida shortly after that.

Potential Boondocking Sites near Charleston, NC

Boondocking sites near charleston south carolina mapHere is what we have found for Boondocking sites along the way. Have a look and if you have any knowledge of the areas please speak up. If you know anyone who lives in those areas please put is in touch.
We have heard good things about Charleston, SC and these are the Boondocking sites we have found so far:

Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area

This is a FREE campsite.
220 Santee Gun Club Road
McClellanville, South Carolina
GPS: 33.154879, -79.368238
Directions
Public – Fish and Wildlife Service (Official)
Website
843-546-8665
Email
Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area is open Non-hunting days. You may stay4 days at Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area.
http://freecampsites.net/#!9238&query=sitedetails

Elmwood Recreation Area

This is a FREE campsite.
McClellanville, South Carolina
GPS: 33.198958, -79.470065
Directions
Public – Forest Service (USDA) (Official)
Website
(843) 336-3248
The road in is Paved. Elmwood Recreation Area is open Year Round. You may stay 14 Days at Elmwood Recreation Area.
http://freecampsites.net/#!2463&query=sitedetails

Honey Hill Campground

This is a FREE campsite.
McClellanville, South Carolina
GPS: 33.174488, -79.561241
Directions
Public – Forest Service (USDA) (Official)
Website
The road in is Gravel and 1/4 miles from a paved road. Honey Hill Campground is open Year Round. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is . You may stay 14 Days at Honey Hill Campground.
http://freecampsites.net/#!2462&query=sitedetails

Halfway Creek Trail Camp

This is a FREE campsite.
Halfway Creek Road
Huger, South Carolina
GPS: 33.056686, -79.696588
Directions
Public – Forest Service (Official)
Website
(843) 336-3248
The road in is Dirt. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is . You may stay 14 nights at Halfway Creek Trail Camp.
http://freecampsites.net/#!9243&query=sitedetails

Halloween with Grass in DC

This year for Halloween Kate and I met up with our friend Mark who lives in DC. We didn’t have much of a plan and didn’t don a costume but we had a great time anyway. I took my camera with flash and took 375 photos. Here are the 22 I felt good about showing you.

Sexy sailor and our man Chad the Nerf Predator at scary 90's bar on U Street Halloween with Grass DC 2014
Sexy sailor and our man Chad the Nerf Predator at scary 90’s bar on U Street

Lean and Evan by the Saloon on Halloween Grass DC 2014
Leah (Sharknado) and Evan(Zombie?) in front of the Saloon on U Street.
Young people at Halloween Grass DC 2014
Tony Blair, Ulysses Grant, and Skuly-girl at the scary 90’s bar.
Young Ladies at Halloween Grass DC 2014
Cat Woman, Waldo, and lady with a nice bow at the Fainting Goat on U Street
Guys at Fainting Goat Halloween Grass DC 2014
Superman and Wolfman at the Fainting Goat on U Street
Lovely Ladies at Fainting Goat Halloween Grass DC 2014
Well dressed ladies at the Fainting Goat on U Street.
Mark and Kate at Fainting Goat Halloween Grass DC 2014
Mark and Kate chumming it up at the Fainting Goat on U Street
Pretty Ladies at Fainting Goat Halloween Grass DC 2014
More lovely ladies at the Fainting Goat on U Street
Ladies from above at the Fainting Goat on Halloween Grass DC 2014
Wood nympf and burlesque gal at the Fainting Goat on U Street
More ladies at the Fainting Goat on u Street Halloween Grass DC 2014
Pretty ladies at the Fainting Goat on U Street
Pink Bunnies at the Fainting Goat Halloween Grass DC 2014
Cute Pink Bunny couple at the Fainting Goat on U Street
PInata ladies at Fainting Goat Halloween Grass DC 2014
The pinata gals at the Fainting Goat on U Street
WWF Couple on U Street Halloween Grass DC 2014
WWF Couple on U Street
Blu Man, Tinnis Champ, and Maverick on U Street Halloween Grass DC 2014
Blu Man, Tinnis Champ, and Maverick on U Street
Banana Man Halloween Grass DC 2014
Banana Man on U Street
The Pinata Woman on U Street Halloween Grass DC 2014
The Pinata Woman on U Street
Mark and Kate Hi Steppin on U Street Halloween Grass DC 2014
Mark and Kate Hi Steppin on U Street
Poindexter and Death on U Street Halloween Grass DC 2014
Poindexter and Death on U Street
Hot Mess on U Street Halloween Grass DC 2014
Hot Mess on U Street
Too Sexy on U Street Halloween Grass DC 2014
Too Sexy on U Street
Cat Boyz at Cobalt on Halloween Grass DC 2014
Cat Boyz at Cobalt
DR Dre and Sugar Skulls at Cobalt on Halloween Grass DC 2014
Dr Dre and Sugar Skulls at Cobalt