Monthly Archives: August 2019
Wednesday afternoon. Been pulling weeds all day…whew!
Got to make dinner for the troops, and a half hour to do it.
What to do?
What’s in the fridge? A container of cooked brown rice. Eggs. Some fresh (zucchini, broccoli, yellow squash, spinach, celery, carrots) and frozen (corn, peas, lima beans, chopped onions…) veggies. In the cellar: onions, garlic, potatoes, sweets.
And in the freezer, a bag of small/medium shrimp, salmon, chicken breasts…
The usual stuff.
But it’s 5:30 and I’ve been doing yard work all day (don’t get too close!)
So…what’s for dinner? This supply list cries out for one perfect thing: Fried Rice. Can do!
Quick and easy–I recommend you keep 2-cup freezer packs of cooked brown rice for emergencies (they freeze well). This is the quickest, easiest, tastiest, and welcome-ist, emergency dinner you can conjure up. Note: we also always have some grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the freezer, just in case. This recipe can be made with chicken, shrimp, or vegetarian, in about 15 minutes, start to finish.
So if you’re in a hurry…
Restaurant-Quality Shrimp Fried Rice
4 teaspoons peanut or canola oil
2 cups brown rice, cooked and completely chilled (use white rice if you prefer, but it MUST be cooked and completely chilled (not just room temp.) before using. This is why I always have a couple of bags of cooked brown rice in the freezer
1 lb. 26-31-count frozen shrimp
1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch strips (roll cut)
1 cup frozen peas
1 small onion, cut into eighths, then sliced in 1/2-inch slices
2 green onions, medium chop
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
6 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fine-ground white pepper
1. Defrost the shrimp in a bowl of water, peel and devein, place in a screen strainer over the sink, and toss with kosher salt.
2. Do all the prep: cut the carrots, onions, and green onions, mix the three sauce ingredients, lightly beat the eggs
3. Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil and immediately add the carrots, onions, and peas; stir-fry for 5-6 minutes, until just beginning to brown and soften. Do not overlook.
4. Push the vegetables to one side, add a teaspoon oil and the shrimp; stir-fry quickly, for ONE minute.
5. Push the shrimp into the vegetables on the side, add a teaspoon oil and eggs, and scramble for ONE minute.
6. Quickly toss all the ingredients together, add the half the rice, stir-fry to combine, then repeat with the remaining rice and toss to mix everything.
7. Whisk the sauce to combine and add the white pepper and HALF the sauce to the fried rice, stir to completely coat. Taste, and add more sauce if you wish. Stir to combine all the ingredients to coat everything with sauce.
8. Turn off the heat, drizzle with a little more sesame-seed oil, sprinkle the green onions over the dish, and serve immediately.
NOTE: if using raw chicken, cut into small dice and cook until just slightly underdone at the step when the shrimp is added; if using cooked chicken, chop small and add at the same time as the rice. If making it vegetarian, but you want more protein, toss in fresh bean sprouts or top each serving with a sunny-side egg.
It’s blueberry season!
Every year about this time (or actually a little bit sooner), we go to the local farmer’s market and buy a flat or two of these bulbous blue beauties. We freeze them in small bags to use the rest of the year.
This year I took a flat for myself and made preserves. Blueberry preserves.
And they are sensational.
With a bit of lemon juice and zest for a fresh jolt of flavor and some acidity for the canning process, I’ve created a monster of a product. Because I don’t like to add pectin to my products it didn’t tighten up like spreadable jams–it’s just a little bit runny; now it’s more like a topping. Try it on pancakes. Spread it on a slice of banana bread. Drop a spoonful or two on a scoop of ice cream (you may never look at vanilla ice cream the same way). Or slather a bit on toast or an English muffin. The blueberry and lemon flavors are so intense that you don’t need much.
Because it’s a little loose I am calling this little jar of goodness “a topping,” not jam or preserves (if you want it to tighten up into a jam add a package of liquid pectin at the half-hour mark). But make no mistake. This is preserved blueberries at their finest.
Try this one yourselves.
Blueberry “Topping” (psssst…it’s preserves)