I never bought or cooked tofu before. And, as I soon discovered, there really aren't that many recipes that feature tofu. And to complicate things, I need to find some way to get The Mrs. to eat it. Those of you who follow me know that finding something The Mrs. will eat is - a challenge.
Then I had an epiphany. But a back story first. A neighbor on the street owns an Asian Fusion restaurant that's right out side of our development. The food is very good and we try to frequent it as often as we can. A couple of months ago, The Mrs. and one of her friends went there for a girl's-night-out dinner. She told me about an outstanding soup that they had recently been added to the menu. It was a crab and asparagus soup - and it had tofu in it too. I remembered this story because The Mrs. doesn't like asparagus and I've never known her to eat tofu. So I set out to find a similar recipe. The best I could do was Chinese Shrimp and Tofu Soup. I substituted asparagus in for the peas (because The Mrs. won't eat peas either).
So here's another back story to show what influences my cooking. The day I wanted to make the soup I discovered a hole in the fascia board behind the gutter on the 2nd floor roof. The Boy had been hearing something in the ceiling/wall of his room. I set out snap traps a couple of nights before and caught 2 mice, but decided to get the binoculars out and do a perimeter check of the roof (good maintenance tip for those of you with a 2nd floor) when I found the hole. I then discovered that my extension ladder was too short to reach the area of repair and none of my buddies had a longer one. So I had to run out to a rental store, rent the ladder, and it needed to be back by 3:00PM or they'd charge me an extra day - and it was lunch time.
I got The Boy to help (mostly steadying the ladder), went up the ladder, pulled the gutter back, discovered the hole was rotted wood with no evidence of teeth or claw marks, and proceeded to cut out the rotted wood with my sawzall (I love that sawzall). Then I did about another 30 trips up and down the ladder, cutting pieces of wood, getting tools and screws and caulk and aluminum flashing and slapping it all together so it was watertight and rodent proof. I got the ladder back to the rental place at 3:10PM and fortunately, the guys were still there. This whole thing felt like the final scene from Goodfellas where Henry Hill is doing coke, cooking the veal, stirring sauce and being chased by a helicopter. That's how I feel every day.
What does all of that have to do with cooking? I didn't have time to go shopping for ingredients. The Mrs. volunteered. And she actually got me all the ingredients I needed, including pre-diced tofu. Who knew there was such a thing?
|Here's all of the ingredients including the stuff The Mrs. bought. That's the pre-diced tofu in the strainer - straining.|
|Here's a closeup of the tofu.|
|The garlic, shrimp and ginger. Another thing The Mrs. did right - pre-shelled and veined shrimp.|
|The chicken stock with asparagus.|
|The Mrs. made a salad to go with the soup. She actually hard-boiled some eggs - HARD-BOILED!|
|The finished soup.|
The Verdict. The Pudge and I liked it a lot. I may have gotten a little heavy-handed with the ginger, but it had a good flavor and the tofu was an interesting, spongy texture. I don't thing the tofu really brought any flavor to the soup, rather, it was an absorber of flavor. The Mrs. - didn't like it. When I explained how I was trying to replicate the soup from our neighbor's restaurant, she started telling me all of the difference between that soup and mine. The asparagus was sliced paper thin, there was a hint of soy and there was not that much ginger (in fact, don't ever put ginger in my food again). These were things I would have liked to have known when I asked her to read the recipe. I'll have to try the neighbor's soup to see if it's all that (it probably is - he makes great food).