Saturday, February 22, 2014

Survive winter by taking comfort in hearty meals

On a chilly, rainy Friday, large bowls of takeout pork tofu soup warmed up the meat eaters in my family, but I was perfectly happy with the seafood version ($12.99 each with five side dishes).
Our takeout order from BCD Tofu House in Fort Lee included grilled galbi ($19.99), above, and five small, beautifully fried fish that were among the free side dishes, below.


The sun is shining on northern New Jersey today, but Friday was a complete washout and the forecast is for more snow next week.

We are winter weary here on the East Coast, having weathered six or seven storms with significant snowfall so far.

In between all the shoveling I've been doing, comfort food has been my port in the storm. 

The Haemul Pajun from BCD Tofu House was filled with seafood and scallions ($9.99 for small), but it was greasier and not as fluffy as other Korean pancakes I've tried, notably at Gammeeok in Fort Lee. Better were BCD's steamed pork dumplings ($6.99 for small).

When in Fort Lee

On Friday, I spent six hours at a surgery center in Fort Lee, where a family member was being treated for a broken leg, and on the way home in the car, we stopped at BCD Tofu House, 1640 Schlosser St., to pick up a warming dinner. 

I had called ahead, ran in and paid, then back out into the wind-whipped rain with nearly 20 containers in three large paper-in-plastic bags.

BCD Tofu House is one of the best Korean restaurants in North Jersey, but it is more expensive than Palisade Park's So Gong Dong, which my teenage son calls the "World's Best Tofu Restaurant."

Still, when he tasted the BCD pork tofu soup I emptied into a large bowl at home, he loved it, along with the barbecued galbi and steamed pork dumplings.

I ordered seafood tofu soup "very spicy" and found that all that red pepper burned my tongue, making it uncomfortable to eat. My son finished it later.

But I was very happy with the small fried fish, wonderful kimchi and other side dishes, and brown rice, which So Gong Dong doesn't serve.

When we go to a Korean restaurant for tofu soup, we are served a fresh egg to cook in the bubbling broth, but we didn't find any eggs in our soup from BCD Tofu House.

Crunchy broccoli is one of the free side dishes.
Sweet-and-spicy radish is a delightful side.
The cabbage kimchi from BCD Tofu House is among the best I've had.
A Jewish deli would be proud to serve these pickles.

Hearty home cooking

On Thursday night, I quickly whipped up 1 pound of organic whole-wheat pasta shells with bottled sauce, fresh garlic, and canned anchovies and sardines.

The shells are like catcher's mitts, holding the sauce and other ingredients.

The meal was complete with a glass of wine and a salad of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix, adding in diced apple, blueberries, cinnamon-dusted almonds and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, all dressed in extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

The made-in-Italy pasta came from Whole Foods Market in Paramus, and the rest of the ingredients were from Costco Wholesale in Hackensack and Fattal's in Paterson. 

I have been boiling and mashing sweet potatoes with Kabocha Squash, whole peeled cloves of garlic and extra-virgin olive oil as a bread substitute. Here, I served leftovers with an egg-white, sun-dried tomato and cheese omelet.
Two organic brown eggs sprinkled with shredded Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (both from Costco Wholesale) make a great topping for bibimbap, a Korean dish I made at home with organic brown rice and seasoned vegetables from H Mart in Little Ferry.
Imported organic organic whole wheat shells from Whole Foods Market in Paramus are a bargain at $1.39 a pound. They are wonderful in bottled pasta sauce with added anchovies, sardines and chopped fresh garlic.
For a hearty breakfast, top the shells with a fried organic brown egg.


  1. Why does it have to be a brown egg?

    1. It doesn't. That is the color of the organic eggs sold at Costco.


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