July 28th, 2007


Notes on tofu & ground beef w/ leeks

I'd been wanting to make tofu with ground beef. I'm trying to change my conception of tofu from "meat substitute" to "food substance that can be good in its own right."

Aliza marinated and roasted a chicken a while back, and the chicken was incredibly flavorful. So I also wanted to marinate the tofu, on the assumption that a little advance planning would result in a much tastier meal.

I poked around on the internet looking for a tofu marinade recipe. Finally found one that involved ginger, garlic, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, etc.

Some questions arose

1) if you put minced garlic into a tofu marinade, will the garlic burn when you stir fry the marinated tofu?

2) how do you tell if Chinese cooking wine has gone bad? It smelled kind of rank, but maybe that's how it's supposed to smell? Sherry doesn't smell that good either. This is a recurring problem for me; what I need is a book entitled "How To Tell If Stuff's Gone Bad."

The recipe called for 2 cups of Chinese cooking wine, which in retrospect may have been too much. (Especially if the wine was off.)

Next day I pulled out the tofu. Cooked up some ground beef with onions, then added some black bean paste (also smelly; was it bad?) and chilis and more ginger. Then threw in the tofu, then the leeks, let it all stir fry for a while.

When I tasted it, it was too salty. I guess the marinade was strong so I didn't need to put the extra stir fry spices. I wasn't sure how to cut the saltiness. In the end I dissolved a heaping spoonful of sugar in some water and added that to the mix. It definitely helped, though the stir fry still was a bit too wine-y.

Still I think there's potential in this recipe. Maybe need to add another veggie, like some bok choy. And make sure all my oils, spices, creams, unguents, etc are fresh!

Does cornstarch go bad? is there anything that doesn't eventually go bad? Even Diet Pepsi has an expiration date!