Comfort Food aka Fried Rice!

January 15, 2015

The daughter left today, returning to school for her last semester. We all had a very nice visit for the past month, but the last time at home before she graduates was definitely bittersweet. And, because yours truly saw a Southwest Airlines sale back in October, today’s trip involved a 6 a.m. departure for Sky Harbor, and being back at work before 11 a.m. Tired!

Now, if I was eating gluten—15 days, just about pure, and feeling pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good (and yes, it’s four x pretty, even though Larry David does ramble on)—and I had my own radio show, this would be a good time for some Bebop-a-rebop Rhubarb Pie. Comfort food, for sure, and off my list for now!

So what can a man do, especially when he’s a foodie who has forsaken bread and cheese, mostly? And pie for sure! Well, this man has the answer. Fried Rice! Well, not fried rice per se, for my dish has no eggs (and I go very light with the oil), but in these parts we call it fried rice, it’s good, and because no one else eats rice at my house, I get the leftovers. 24/7.

Alright, before I give you the particulars I need to share with you the nastiest, most decadent-looking fried rice I’ve ever seen:  Dirty Fried Rice, from Hot Joy. (The reporting is by Andrew Knowlton, presented in Bon Appétit’s The Best New Restaurants in America 2014 issue.) The subheading for Hot Joy is “Deliciousness reigns at this pan-Asian stoner-food temple in San Antonio, Texas.” Here’s the recipe, along with a video with tips. Très décadente! (By the by, I’m game for a Texas road trip, maybe this fall, to sample food in Houston, San Antonio, and Hill Country. Interested? Please send a private message.)

Digression aside, my fried rice starts with white rice. You’ll see sushi rice in the picture below, for our daughter does eat sushi voraciously and I bought rice for that purpose. Not perfect for fried rice, but it’s what I had tonight, and as you’ll soon see, my version falls into the “what you have” category of cooking. (Jasmine or Uncle Ben’s converted rice is best.)

Here’s my recipe, so to speak. (I’m intuitive, which means I have to follow instructions in my day job, and choose not to in most other instances.)

Cook the rice per any instructions on a box or label. Undercooking just a bit is good.

Sauté some veggies, chopped pretty small. I always include onion, and everything else depends on what I have. Carrots are good, as are mushrooms, and I never met a celery stalk that didn’t look like, well, like it’d look better chopped and cooked.

Carrots (first), Onions, and Red Peppers

Carrots (first), Onions, and Red Peppers (No celery available.)

Veggies, with the added mushrooms

Veggies, with the added mushrooms

Once the veggies are sautéed, the dish comes together very quickly. Only two additional ingredients are essential:  soy sauce and frozen peas. Chopped green onions and fresh herbs—parsley, cilantro, or basil—are great additions, as are Asian fish sauce, Sriracha, and most any other sauce.

So, how do you bring it all together? When your sautéed veggies are soft, and your wok or frying pan is hot, toss the rice in. Stir everything around.

Sushi Rice with Veggies

Sushi Rice with Veggies

If your peas are frozen, get them in quickly; if they’re defrosted, wait just a bit. When everything seems just dry, add some soy sauce and any other sauces, in amounts that cause your pot to just sizzle a bit. Not too much, as Asian sauces are salt-carriers. Let everything blend, and when it’s hot and almost as dry as it was, remove the rice to a serving plate. Add scallions and any fresh herbs. Eat immediately.

(About proteins. The picture you’re about to see includes tuna fish. Leftover anything is great. I like pork lots, but don’t have any right now. Seafood is also wonderful. With any uncooked products of the sea, take care not to overcook.)

And, for those who have been suffering through my prose, here’s dinner for January 15, 2015.

Fried Rice, a la Rubin

Fried Rice, a la Rubin

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