Since our garden exploded with cucumbers, kale, tomatoes, tomatillos, and plums this season, home-grown produce has been predominant in my cooking. If you've been reading, you'll know that it started with fresh salads where we could taste every squirt of tomatoey freshness a couple of months back. Then the tomatoes started getting sauced. Then roasted. Then roasted and sauced. Same goes for the rest of the vegetables. While I was working late one night, Mr. Rose blanched and pitted 30 lbs of plums, then threw them in the freezer where they still await their final fate. I created a kale chip addiction among the 60 or so attorneys and staff on my floor -- I bring in large batches once a week to feed the addiction (I would not be a very successful crack dealer -- I know I should be charging money for this). I cannot cook all the vegetables fast enough and I certainly cannot eat them all. I know. This is not exactly a tragedy. But. It's. Just. Too. Much.
Still. Now that I'm off my grocery shopping moratorium, I'm back at it, making whatever I feel like eating, whenever I feel like it.
Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. It also happens that there was a scrumptious mixture of ground pork, chopped shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms in my fridge (left over from a certain meal of wontons that you'll read about soon). A splash of oyster sauce, a pound and a half of silken tofu, and a few leaves of napa cabbage would transform the pork-shrimp-shiitake mixture into a totally new meal.
2/3 lb ground pork and chopped shrimp (my mixture was about 2/3 pork with 1/3 shrimp, though it could easily be the other way around)
1/2 c minced shiitake caps
1/2 c watercress, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 lb silken tofu
6-8 napa cabbage leaves
In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients but the last two. Line the bottoms of two 8" bamboo steamer baskets with the softer green parts of the napa cabbage leaves. I fed the bottom white parts to my dogs, but they could have gone into the compost just as well. Cut the silken tofu into 2" x 2" cubes that are 1-1/2" deep. With a small paring knife, cut 1/2" diameter holes into the top of the 2" x 2" squares, being sure not to cut all the way through the entire 1-1/2" depth. Take a small amount of the meat mixture and gently stuff it into the hole, allowing a larger quantity of the meat mixture to sit on top of the tofu. Set the stuffed tofu on the napa cabbage in the bamboo steamer basket. Stack the baskets and place a lid on the top steamer basket. Place 1-2" of water in the bottom of a stock pot and place a rack on the bottom so that when you set the baskets in the pot, they will not be sitting in the water. Place the baskets on the rack and put a lid on the pot. Bring the water to a vigorous boil and let steam for 20 minutes.
Be careful when removing the steamer basket from the pot. Use a good pair of tongs to lift the lid. Then grip the side of steamer baskets, removing the baskets one at a time.
The stuffed tofu is good with extra oyster sauce or hot sauce (yay Sriracha!) on basmati rice.