Tofu No Ishirizuke (tofu doused in fish sauce)


1 10.5 ounce block Japanese-style tofu
2 teaspoons Japanese fish sauce *
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon quality dark sesame oil
7-spice powder (shichimi togarashi)

Remove the tofu from the package and set it on a cutting board propped up at one end and angled into the kitchen sink to allow it to drain.  Place another cutting board or other similar weight on top of the tofu and leave to press out moisture for 1 hour. The top board should not smash the tofu.

Place the tofu on a small plate, spoon the fish sauce over the tofu, and rub it across the surface. Make sure the bottom surface is filmed with fish sauce as well. Place a sauté pan over high heat and add the oils. Carefully add the fish sauced tofu into the hot pan. Sear on both sides for about 1 minute. Cut into 8 pieces, sprinkle with shichimi togarashi, and serve as a small plate before dinner or as a side dish.

Schichimi Togarashi (7-SPICE POWDER): Contains red pepper, sansho, tangerine peel, white and black sesame seeds, hemp seeds, dried ginger, and aonori. Readily available at Asian markets.

* If Japanese fish sauce is not available, use another top-shelf fish sauce such as Red Boat from Vietnam.

Stephenson’s Apple Farm: Family Influence


I’m too young to remember going to this restaurant, but fortunately my family bought their spiralbound cookbook.  So many of the recipes have become family classics. It’s actually hard for me to imagine not having these recipes in my repertoire, sure I’ve made some subtle and some not so subtle changes to their recipes over the years though the inspiration iscompletely Stephenson’s Apple Farm.  Unfortunately the restaurant closed in 2007, but lives on in many homes.  My own thought are echoed here:

”I remember arriving at Stephenson’s and running down the stairs to the lobby where there was a barrel with ice cold apple cider and these little 2-ounce paper cups. I must have filled mine 10 times.

I remember walking into the Parlour, the first room to the left of the lobby, red velvet wallpaper and a little faux balcony, one of eight dining rooms at the Old Apple Farm Restaurant. I remember the paintings on the wall, the white tablecloths, starched napkins, candles on each table and the big glasses.

We sat down, and my father immediately ordered two dozen apple fritters and some chicken livers. All the boys were served cider in big chilled glasses, while Mom and Dad sipped apple daiquiris. They were served on little cocktail napkins with Stephenson’s logo and a bite taken out of the apple. Did I mention the bowls of fresh apple butter served with the fritters? How about the corn relish? Oh my …“

~ JASPER J. MIRABILE JR., “Kansas City Star”