Recent Posts

8 lessons social media can teach you about being a great dad

I work as a social media consultant to professionals, which means I help them develop authentic personal brands online. I’m also a primary parenting dad, which means I’m the one who holds down the fort on a daily basis – not my wife. In the course […]

Paying it forward on Father’s Day

Do we need a day to thank our fathers for all they do and have done? Well, of course we do. At least, a day. Father’s Day, for me, is the ultimate paying it forward holiday. We start, as children, being taught to honour our […]

The best tofu and daikon sandwich ever

For many people, tofu just doesn’t sound that appetizing. I kinda get that – the whole bean curd thing gets less appealing the more I think about it.

But I love tofu – especially the firm variety. I love the taste and the texture. I love that it’s not meat, but full of protein. And I think I may have found the best way to eat tofu – in a sandwich.

I first discovered this sandwich in a small, underground vegetarian spot (literally, it was in the basement of a building I worked in on Spadina south of Queen in the late 1990s) and I have adapted it to my liking.

It has four main ingredients: tofu, radish, mustard, and greens.

Here’s how I make it:

1. Prepare your tofu in two steps:

a. Marinate your tofu. Start with the firmest tofu you can buy. Slice it into thin pieces (say 1/2 to 1 cm or about 1/4 inch) and then marinate for an hour or so in a store-bought Teriyaki sauce. You can use any yummy Asian marinade here, for instance this Korean flank steak marinade would work just as well.

b. After an hour of marinating, place the tofu on a cookie sheet and bake at 325F for 20 minutes or so. You just want to firm up the tofu and bake in the marinade flavour. Remove from oven and let cool. (Ok, you can taste one.)

2. Pick your radish. The original sandwich that inspired me used daikon (winter) radish and this has a great taste in combination with the salty tofu. You can also use traditional white-fleshed, red-skinned (summer) radish. The key is to pick a radish with a fresh, peppery taste. Slice your radish thinly, but not paper-thin. You want to maintain some crunch.

3. Use Dijon mustard. I’ve experimented with a number of other mustards and they don’t work as well. Dijon has that perfect combination of tang and heat to complement the flavours. I’ve tasted very hot and and very mild dijon, so find one that fits your palate.

4. Greens. To me, you just want a touch of green to finish this medley fo flavours. Sprouts would work, such as radish or alfalfa, but stick to the green tops and don’t overload. Chives might also work. This is really optional, so do whatever works.

Of course, your sandwich is only as good as your bread. As I recall, the original sandwich that inspired me was on focaccia. I’d pick something fresh and soft, but that’s me.

Now, after writing this post, I’m jonesing for a tofu and daikon sandwich. Let me know how it works for you.

 

The incredible jazz tree poster

I was in Berlin in the early 1990s – only a few years after the wall came down – and I found myself in a jazz club one night. It was there I first saw this poster – it was hanging on the wall – […]

Those ripening bananas on your counter will go great in these oatmeal muffins

For some reason, I’m finding myself craving home baked goods lately. And I mean craving – jonesing, even. Dinner’s done and I see the browning bananas on the counter and I think to myself: I could whip those into muffins in no time. I tell […]

Can a home made dad have help?

I resisted for some time, but have finally given in. Last week we hired a nanny.

My resistance was fairly easily explained. I had stopped working outside the home to move our family out west. I had embraced the whole dad-at-home thing and my identity had become tied up with doing a good job on the home front. I could cook and clean as well as the other moms. (Though many of the “other moms” already had help.) I could shop and prepare lunches and schedule after-school activities and drive the kids everywhere. And I did a pretty good job of it.

But it was clear early on that I needed to get back out there. Fulltime, stay-at-home parenting can be very rewarding, especially in the early years. But it can be very challenging as well. The web world always interested me and I had been blogging and involved in web technology for some time. Now I had time to sink my teeth into social media and see where it would take me. And so I did.

But as my consulting work grew, so did the pressure on my available time to do the other domestic chores that I have championed here on this blog. And rather than be simply a home made dad, I was stuck on trying to be a super home made dad.  I refused to acknowledge that I needed help if I was going to get back into working full time in any capacity.

So the nanny started a couple of weeks ago and so far it’s amazing. The house is no longer a mess through the week and I no longer need to take a day off to clean it. The laundry is done by someone with the patience and job description to actually fold it properly. And when the other tasks are in order, the nanny has some time to straighten closets, clean fridges and generally tend to neglected tasks. Oh, and there’s some childcare mixed in there as well.

This new arrangement has freed me to do a number of things. First, I can now focus more time on my work. But also, I can focus my domestic time on doing the things I like to do, need to do, want to do. I can cook meals on the weekends and some evenings without feeling exhausted by all the cooking. I can spend a few hours with the kids after school and going to and from their activities without feeling I need to squeeze work in every free minute.

Yet I’m still the primary parent in our partnership and that comes with a ton of stuff to get done around the house. There’s shopping and meal planning, staying on top of school details and all the kids’ after-school social, cultural and sports activities, health care (doctors, dentists, sick days, etc.), planning our family’s social and recreational lives, etc.

In the end, like any working mother, I need this help in order to succeed working outside the home. All the while, I’ll be focused on opening hearts and minds to the fact that being a working dad doesn’t mean leaving all the parenting to mom – especially when mom is working too.

A wimpy guy’s guide to getting a vasectomy

Yesterday, I got snipped. As in, went to Dr. Snippy. As in, got a vas ligation – AKA, a vasectomy. And today, I’m lying in bed thinking: I don’t feel that bad at all. So what was all the anxiety and worrying about? When it […]

Here’s my escapist playlist

Music for me is and has always been escapist. I listen and let the sweet melodies carry me away to a good place. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of satellite radio in my new vehicle – particularly, the Coffeehouse station XM. I love […]

The Big V and my top 10 thoughts about getting one

When I was growing up, there was a pharmacy chain that operated in southwestern Ontario called “Big V“. Back then, the “V” in Big V referred to “value”.

These days, as my hair takes on a silver tinge and I approach 47 years of life, the Big V has taken on a whole other meaning.

I’ve been putting off getting a male tubal ligation (hereafter referred to as the “procedure”) for several years now, but I’ve finally come around. (No pun intended.) The time has come. (OK, I’ll stop using that word.)

But it is such a complicated issue. There is such a swirl of conflicting rational and irrational ideas, that I feel compelled to write about it. On my blog. In the form of a top 10 list.

So, here are the top 10 considerations (3 of them are really the same – but its an important one) I could come up with for why I really don’t relish the idea of getting the Big V but will do it anyway:

  1. I don’t mind trimming and keeping it tidy down there, but I’m not enthusiastic about the whole clean shaving thing.
  2. What if it affects my performance?
  3. As an ice-breaker, the doc doing the procedure at the pre-op consultation opened the door, walked into the examination room and announced: “So, we’re here to get your balls cut off, eh?”
  4. No one mentioned anything to me about the scalpel-less procedure involving a very large needle.
  5. Cutting seems so primitive. Isn’t there a medication for this yet?
  6. What happens if I change my mind?
  7. What do you mean it takes three months to verify that it worked?
  8. So I can go and get the procedure done and we could still be looking at 20 more years of child-rearing?
  9. No really, what if it does affect my performance?
  10. We’ve been having sex and dodging bullets for years and we’re not gettin’ any younger. Don’t you think we have time on our side?
  11. I’ve always taken a non-interventionist approach to my personal biology – unless necessary. Is this necessary?
  12. Women have historically bourn the brunt of managing fertility and as a contemporary feminist man I realize I need to do my part, but can’t you just go back on the pill for a little while longer? Please?
  13. How about this – what if it affects her enjoyment of my performance?

So, if you or someone you know is thinking about this procedure, whatever you do, DO NOT search Google images for the keyword “vasectomy”. (You’ve been warned.)

Ode to Galaga

In my early 20s, I worked in a lot of restaurants for summer employment. During those summers, the days were short and the nights long. Dinner restaurant shifts would begin between 4:30 and 5:30 pm and end anywhere 10:00 pm and 1:00 am, depending on […]