Sunday, April 5, 2009

mixed results

So I'm feeling the desire to get moved sooner (meaning next weekend) rather than later. Except that I do not want to pack. I picked up four egg boxes from Key Foods today and I've packed one full, the other over halfway. But, conveniently, I ran out of packing tape after 9 tonight. So I'm waiting to go to Staples tomorrow.

Instead, I cooked - lunch for this week maybe? This was a game of "What's in Emily's Fridge?" + "Let's Try Something New!"

So, I had a block of extra firm tofu in the fridge, and I want to make some macafoni and cheese, but I know that I get tired of the same food over and over. So I split the block in half and decided I wanted to fry some up and maybe make lo mein since I have shirataki in the fridge. I've never really made tofu at home besides the macafoni, so I figured, why not waste a few hours?

I started with this recipe/website - I cut the tofu into strips, dry-fried it, and marinated it in lots of garlic, ginger, scallions, 1/2 cup soy sauce, less than a tablespoon of oyster sauce, a squirt of sriracha, and maybe 1/8-1/4 cup rice vinegar.

I let that marinate for an hour, and then fried it up a la Cooks Illustrated - dusted in a bit of cornstarch. Once it was fried nicely, I added the glaze from CI - a tablespoon of soy sauce, a tablespoon of brown sugar, two tablespoons of chicken broth. Once that was tossed together - at the high heat it glazed up very, very quickly, I threw it in a bowl and added pre-cooked shrimp. (I had half a bag from Trader Joe's left over in the freezer.)

The lo mein has mushrooms, scallions, edamame, and a decent amount of a napa cabbage-carrot-scallion-cilantro-mint mix. I had the cabbage mix left over from another recipe and it was about to hit the trash otherwise. I added the tofu marinade with water and cornstarch at the end, along with the shirataki, and let it come to a boil. I pretty much followed the directions in this recipe. I then topped it with more fresh scallions and cashews.

Why mixed results? The mint permeated the dish a bit more than I expected. Also, the tofu probably only needed 30 minutes in the marinade - since they were smaller strips, they sucked up the soy faster. And, since I made the mistake of adding ALL the marinade to the dish, it's a bit on the salty side. It's not bad, but it's not perfect. I'm thinking of drizzling just a teeny bit of honey on top of it when I eat it for lunch or whatever, to help cut the salt.

It's sort of a clusterfuck of ingredients:
shirataki (tofu) noodles, tofu, shrimp, cremini mushrooms, scallions, edamame, napa cabbage, carrots, cilantro, mint, ginger, garlic, cashews, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar.

If nothing else, it's a learning experience. The tofu is divine - the glaze is yummy and almost burnt, and it fried up nicely without actually being so "fried". I would definitely recommend it.

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