09 August 2011


Since I'm pretty much doing half the cooking in the family now (to give my mum less housework and more rest time), I figured I should learn how to cook animals. So, I've been browsing through the Costco cookbook since I figured, hey, let's just get the gist of cooking animals, right? I personally find cookbooks more useful than the internet when I'm a complete neophyte at cooking something (in this case, animal flesh). They're not for me to follow, though. They're just kinda... there. As a guideline. Something for me to manipulate.

I've never made any marinades before. Today, however, I made dinner and I made some sort of stove-top grilled tofu with this sweet and sour fruity marinade. To appease the rest of the family, I also made stove-top grilled pig flesh (pork chops) with the same marinade. Apparently, 1 cm-thick pork chops cook pretty quickly, and I overcooked the first three chunks (I mean, how was I supposed to know whether they were cooked or not? I can't taste test them...), but they were still edible. The rest of the chops turned out fine, though.

My mum and brother definitely liked the marinade. Although my brother didn't comment much (he did say they were "juicy" though, and he couldn't figure out what sort of marinade it was), I felt really pleased because his fork kept transporting chunks of pork chop to his bowl. My sister responded to this new dish by saying "Eww", which is the norm. The only comment from my dad was that it needed more salt. Meh. I wonder how it's like when I'm not at home. *Here comes the bitter snide comment* I wonder if my dad would cook dinner if I hadn't been home today. My mum had to take my sister to a party today, and didn't get back until 8 pm (which is literally when I finished stir frying the bak choi - I started making dinner around 7), and my dad was just watching TV, and he'd been home for half an hour. I mean, would everyone wait until 9 for dinner?

Anyway. To get the general gist of a marinade, I read the recipe from page 105 of Favorite Recipes The Costco Way 2007. It's a recipe by Paula Deen called "Pork Chops with Ragout" which isn't that great of a title in my opinion because in translation it's "Pork Chops in Sauce". My marinade is extremely loosely based off of Paula Deen's recipe, there is no butter in it. At all. Funny, huh?

Small clove of garlic
60 g onion
100 g (~1.5 stalks) of celery
4 leaves fresh basil!

1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp coriander
5 cut dried juniper berries
1 tsp nutmeg

150 ml apple juice
70 ml balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp vinegar
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lime

1 kg marinade-able objects (in this case, half tofu and half boneless pork chops in two separate containers)

1 tbsp all purpose flour

1. Finely chop stuff in Group A.
2. Mix stuff in Group A, B, and C together, in a container with a lid. It will be liquidy.
3. Cut marinade-able objects into pieces that are about 1 cm thick. For tofu, a thickness of 0.5 cm is better. Stick objects into marinade.
4. Leave container in a fridge for at least 4 hours.
5. FOR TOFU: Cook marinaded tofu in a frying pan on medium heat, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes on each side. If you like crunchy, burned exteriors, 5 minutes on each side is pretty nice too.
FOR PORK: Plop pieces onto the frying pan on medium heat, and cover for 1-2 minutes. Flip. Cover for 2-4 minutes. Keep uncovered and check frequently for doneness. This is quite difficult if one doesn't actually eat pork...
Remember: Sizzling is good.
6. Promptly remove marinated objects from frying pan, and scrape all the leftover marinade into the frying pan.
7. Stir (with the same spatula you've been using) on medium heat. When the marinade starts to bubble, add in E. (1 tbsp flour). Continue stirring until you end up with a thick sauce.
8. Pour sauce onto marinated objects and eat!!

I didn't take a picture of the pork chops but if I would say that they had neat grilled-ish exteriors and were squishy. They looked pretty fantastic on the inside too.

The marinated tofu tasted pretty good...it wasn't sweet enough for my liking, though. Still, I had leftover marinade so I marinated more tofu! :)

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