Product Testing + Jared Leto in 1996
Indio, California: This is the way
my mind works: I see a recipe for Sesame-Encrusted Fish in The New York
Times. Sounds good, but I read through the comments and notice people are
having a difficult time getting the seeds to actually adhere to the
fish. Noted. We are in Los Angeles and I discuss the fish recipe with Lisa. Lisa
says she has made a similar dish with tofu. Hmmm! Then I recall there is a new
sooper-dooper firm/high-protein tofu in the grocer (that doesn't need
pressing!!!) and then I start to Google Sesame-Encrusted Tofu recipes on the
internet and, well, that's how my brain works.
I found several versions of a recipe, originally from a Mayo Clinic Cookbook no
longer in publication. Also included is a recipe for
a very traditional Vietnamese spicy-salty-sweet dipping sauce. The combo sounded
This block of
Organic High Protein Tofu was very easy to use. No need to press the tofu to
remove excess water. Usually tofu has 8g protein per serving; this version has
14g. It sliced well and did not fall apart. Because it has less liquid, there
was very little "splatter" in the wok.
NOTES ON TOFU: Always purchase Non-GMO soy products.
The recipe I used, Sesame Crusted Tofu, (from
here) called for dipping tofu slices in beaten egg, then rolling the tofu in
a mixture of panko bread crumbs, sesame seeds, black sesame seeds and salt. Then
the coated tofu slices are fried in vegetable oil and served with the nouc cham
made the nouc cham early in the afternoon. Five ingredients - sugar, lime juice,
fish sauce, sliced chilies and garlic.
Thai Kitchen brand is available nation-wide. I need a brand that use
anchovies in their fish sauce (instead of shrimp), which is very important if
you 1) don't eat non-Kosher animals or 2) allergic to shellfish or 3) both. Thai
Kitchen brand is owned by McCormick. Anyway... nouc cham is just lovely. The
sauce can be as spicy as you prefer, as garlicky as you prefer, etc. Remove the
seeds if you want little heat, add more chilies if you want more. As you can see
from the photo below, no seeds were removed in my version. I used one green
Serrano chilie and three large cloves of garlic.
The only variation I made to the recipe was to double the panko
and sesame seed mixture. It just didn't seem like enough to me and it wasn't.
Doubled, the mixture generously coated 16 ounces of sliced tofu.
Slivered green onions served as a garnish and also a lovely
accompaniment to the dish.
The tofu slices and dipping sauce were served with steamed Jasmine rice and a
quick stir fry of baby bok choy and red bell pepper in a sesame-ginger
We enjoyed our meal and have enough for lunch tomorrow. As
much as we relished the crispy tofu for dinner, I can't wait to prepare this
recipe in bite-sized cubes (on a cute bamboo pick!) for an appetizer. I see
no reason this recipe can't be made ahead, refrigerated and reheated in the
oven. Plus, it is so pretty.
Speaking of pretty... in 1976 (circa) Jared Leto made a movie in
Eugene, Oregon about famed Duck runner, Steve Prefontaine. The movie, amazingly
enough, was called
My memory is fuzzy, but I think Dave, Lisa and I went to Eugene with
several other families for a track meet (?) and somehow were all invited to Bill
Dellinger's house (Dellinger was Dave - and Prefontaine's college coach)
after the meet.
Jared Leto was at the house. Hanging out? Talking to Bill about Steve
Prefontaine? Leto heard I was coming over? At this time, Leto was a huge teen
heartthrob, starring in a television series,
Called Life (Jordan Catalano!) with Claire Danes. Lisa adored him.
Jared Leto and me
One thing I do remember very well. Lisa (15 or 16 at the
time) and her friends wanted to go to a restaurant (or somewhere... can't
recall) instead of going up to Dellinger's house. Bill's wife snapped the
above photo (no kidding - it is an instant Polaroid), and gave it to me.
Lisa and her friend were so upset they did not go with us to Dellinger's
Lisa found this photo the other day at her house. It will be scanned before
it fades away completely... like my memory of the day 20+ years ago.
Until my next update, I remain, your so-called correspondent.
RV PARK: The
Motorcoach Country Club
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