What You Going Bring? Potluck Thoughts and Taegu Tofu Salad

When we get together with friends, it often is a potluck affair. In fact, even when it isn’t a potluck affair, everyone brings something anyway. Sometimes there is a theme to the gathering that helps narrow down the choices of what to bring. Sometimes, there is a list of dishes that people are bringing so that you don’t have too much overlap.

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Potluck gang. We all love food!

Here is a recent photo of the incredible dishes at a recent potluck.

I don’t consider myself to be a good cook. I do enjoy food.  I do enjoy cooking. That doesn’t mean that I’m all that confident in my cooking skills. I love recipes and cooking shows. I even collect cookbooks.img_5875

A few years ago, I went to dinner at my sister in law’s parents home. Both my sister-in-law Allison and her mother Leila are awesome cooks.  I love eating with them. Shabu shabu night was incredible–it felt like I was in Japan. Leila’s chili is awesome and full of good stuff.  Allison could open her own izakaya if she wanted to. (And jewelry store too!) One night, Leila served this incredibly beautiful and flavorful salad. Of course, since I’m a recipe collector, I asked for the recipe. Salad is something I enjoy bringing as a potluck dish. Not much cooking involved.  Just layering and presenting. Just my style. Adds a dimension of healthiness to the array of meats and other indulgent dishes that are usually present at a potluck. This dish is one I’ve been known to bring to many, many potlucks since I’ve had it.

This dish is a taegu, tofu, watercress salad.  It is so easy to make.  Just chop and layer, and dress. Ready to serve. Here is the incredibly easy process of making this salad that gets rave reviews.img_5867Chop watercress and layer in a dish. This turns out to be a pretty big salad so I put it in a large Pyrex dish.  I like that the colors can be seen from all sides. By the way, before you tell people you’re making the salad, make sure you can get watercress. I went to KTA Puainako yesterday and they didn’t have it. I asked the clerk if he thought the downtown store would have it and he said no–they have the same supplier. I went to Sack ‘n Save today and the clerk said they wouldn’t get it in until the afternoon.  I stopped at the Hilo Farmer’s Market and they didn’t have it.  The people there said only the stores carry it.  Just to check, I walked to KTA Downtown and they didn’t have it out. I was so sad, but asked the clerk, just in case.  Lo and behold–it was just delivered and the produce clerk retrieved a bunch for me from the back!  Thank you, KTA!img_5868Layer a package of bean sprouts over the watercress.  Like I said–easy!img_5869Chop tomatoes and layer over the bean sprouts.  These are tomatoes from Kamuela.  I like supporting our local farms and farmers when possible.img_5870Layer the cubes tofu over the tomatoes. I used Oshiro firm tofu that I got from KTA.  Oshiro Tofu is another local product. Their factory is located right on the side of Floral Mart in Hilo. You can even pick up their tofu and other related products at Floral Mart when you pick up your lei or flower arrangement for the party you’re going to.img_5871Slice some onions and layer it on the tofu. I used red onions because they are prettier, but you can use Maui onions or any sweet onion.img_5872Takuan, sliced into matchstick-sized pieces, go right on the onions.img_5873Then the star of the salad is the taegu. I got this one at KTA Puainako in the seafood section. Just chop it up and put it right on top.I serve it dressed with a shoyu dressing.  My sister-in-law gave me a recipe for the dressing, but I’m busy/lazy and so I buy pre-made shoyu dressing.  These are my two favorites for this salad.  The one on the left is often priced more reasonably than the one on the right. But the Pietro dressing is my daughter’s favorite.  She calls it “Big Mouth Dressing.”

Anyway, if you don’t know what to bring to a potluck, try bringing this salad! It is very popular with my friends and because of the quantity of ingredients, makes a generous salad–perfect for potlucks!  If I can make it, you definitely can make it–or just invite me to your potluck and I’ll make and bring it! Living Hilo Style!

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