Here's a detail photo of the center front with steek.
As you can see, it's not very far along, but progress is being made a little at a time. Hopefully it'll be steady enough that I don't end up in a mad rush come June.
As promised, here are recipes for the sweet & sour tofu and the green beans. Actually, there's not really a recipe for the green beans, per se. I stir-fried them in sesame oil with tamari until they were hot but still had a little bit of firmness to them, then added a couple of crushed really-freakin'-hot little Thai chilies near the end, tossed them just a little bit more ('cause the chilies let off fumes and make me cough), then turned off the heat and sprinkled them with sesame seeds - a fairly basic Szechuan-style dish.
So here, then, is the recipe for the tofu (all measurements are approximate):
Slice a one pound block of extra-firm tofu into pieces (I did twenty approximately 1cm-thick slabs). In a bowl, mix to a fairly smooth batter:
- one cup all purpose flour
- salt, pepper, and coriander to taste
- one cup water
- one large egg
Dip each piece of tofu into the batter, then dredge through a second bowl of flour until the tofu is covered in a nice heavy coating of doughy batter. While you are battering the tofu pieces, heat a pan of canola oil at least a couple of inches deep to medium-high heat. Place the battered tofu pieces a few at a time into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon when done and place in a colander or wire strainer to allow the oil to drain. When all the tofu has been fried, heat in a wok:
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2/3 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 2 Tbsp. corn starch mixed into about one cup of cold water
- 2 cloves garlic crushed or sliced (I sliced, 'cause I couldn't find the garlic press)
Heat and stir until it begins to boil and the sauce clarifies and thickens. If it's not thickening sufficiently, you can always use a bit more corn starch. Turn off heat and add in tofu. Serve over rice.
And VUBOQ asked how the rhubarb wine tastes. In some respects it's not unlike a nice Riesling - a little fruity, a little tart (with a very light rhubarb-y flavor), and a little sweet - and it has a very slight blush to it. And since I have never met a Riesling I didn't like, this didn't disappoint, either (though it contains no Riesling grapes).