Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Leftover Supper

Last night I was in the mood for leftovers. Not in the traditional sense of the word which connotes reheated bowls of past suppers. I wanted pantry and refrigerator leftovers or the odds and ends that I had lying around just dying to be cooked with. I love improvising on the fly whether in music, writing, or cooking and last night’s dinner with Valerie was no exception. I threw together a couple of dishes that came out well and we ended up eating a mighty fine meal. We started out with some pita bread and leftover raita which I made earlier in the week to accompany my Tandoori chicken. I still cannot get over how well that one turned out. I then made a simple salad of Boston lettuce with grapefruit vinaigrette and chopped hazelnuts. There was some grapefruit mustard left over that I concocted last weekend for a dinner party with my sister Emma. I mixed the mustard with good olive oil and a splash of sherry vinegar to make a fresh and zesty citrus vinaigrette which went smashingly with the greens and crunchy hazelnuts. The main course was vegetable fried rice with lots of broccoli and various odds and ends from the refrigerator. I recommend trying this Chinese classic which is incredibly versatile; just substitute your favorite ingredients and follow the recipe with your protein or vegetables of choice. This one happens to be vegetable but I have also made fried rice with chicken, pork, shrimp, and myriad other things. A well-seasoned wok is preferred for making really tasty fried rice with a crisp texture but I guess you could use a large skillet or two depending on the quantity. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

Vegetable Fried Rice
Serves 4

2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 Tsp. Freshly Grated Ginger
2 Large Garlic Cloves, finely minced or pressed
4 Scallions, cut into 1/4 in. rounds, separated white from green
1 1/2 Cups Broccoli Florets
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper, cut into 1/4 in. cubes
2 Eggs, beaten
3 Cups Cold Rice, preferably a day or two old
1 Tsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 Tsp. Sesame Oil

1. Set a wok over medium-high heat and wait until slightly smoking. Add vegetable oil and heat until shimmering. Add ginger, garlic, and the white part of scallions and heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir constantly throughout cooking.
2. Add broccoli and bell pepper, adding oil if necessary along the cooking process, and cook 2-3 minutes. Move the contents of the pan to the sides of the wok, opening up the middle area, and cook the eggs until scrambled.
3. Incorporate the other ingredients in the wok, adding oil if necessary. Add the cold rice and cook stirring constantly for another 2-3 minutes. Add the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil to the wok making sure the rice is well coated. Serve immediately topped with remaining scallions.

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