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Lemon Grass Tofu Perfect Pork Chops Basic Oyster Sauce

Lemon Grass Tofu
From the Kitchen of:
Joan Namkoong, "Go Home, Cook Rice" Cook Book

20 oz. firm tofu
2 Tbs. lemon grass, finely minced
2 Tbs. shallot, finely minced
2 tsp. garlic
2 Tbs. fish sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. turmeric
1-2 Hawaiian chili peppers
3 Tbs. oil
1/4 c. la lot, finely chopped
1/2 c. roasted peanuts, chopped

Drain tofu well.  Cut into 1" thick slices and gently press between paper towels to extract as much moisture as possible.  Cut into bit-sized cubes.  Mix lemon grass, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, turmeric and chili peppers.  Add tofu and gently toss mixture to coat the tofu with the marinade.  Let marinate for at least an hour.

Heat a non-stick skillet and add oil.  When oil is hot, add tofu and pan fry, turning the cubes so that each side gets nicely browned.  This is where patience comes in.  When all the tofu cubes are nicely browned, add the la lot and peanuts and gently mix together until leaves are wilted.  Serve immediately. 

Note:  La lot is the Vietnamese pepper leaf available in Chinatown stores.  You could use the purp0le stemmed Thai basil in place of la lot.

Perfect Pork Chops
From the Kitchen of:
Joan Namkoong, "Go Home, Cook Rice" Cook Book

1/4 c. kosher salt
4 c. water
4 pork chops with bone, about 1/2 inch thick
salt & pepper
2 Tbs. oil

Dissolve salt in water.  Place pork chops in baking dish in a single layer and pour salt water mixture over.  Brine should cover the pork chops completely; if not, add a little water.  Cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours.  Preheat over to 325 degrees.

Season pork chops lightly with salt (the brine will add salt to the chops) and generously with pepper on both sides.  Use a heavy 12-inch skillet (or any heavy pan that will hold the chops in a single layer) that can go into the oven.  Heat ski9llet over medium-high heat; add oil.  Place pork chops in hot pan, searing one side, about 3 minutes, until nicely browned and crusty.  Turn over and sear other side.

When chops are seared, place skillet in oven and continue to cook for about 18-20 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 145-150 degrees.  Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving

Basic Oyster Sauce
From the Kitchen of:
Joan Namkoong, "Go Home, Cook Rice" Cook Book

5 Tbs. oyster sauce
2 Tbs. mirin
1 Tbs. sesame oil
Blend all ingredients with a whisk.  Makes about 1/2 cup.  Store, covered, in refrigerator.
Use with stir fried vegetables and meats.