Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Newborn-friendly fried brown rice

Some very good friends of mine recently had a baby, and my gift (or general tendency) was to offer home-cooked food and market bitch services. I'm a regular at the farmers' market and am pretty good at piecing together emails, texts, and voice mails into complete shopping lists. I've been willing even to venture up to the dreaded meat counter at Whole Foods, all for the sake of friendship. But my own cooking remains veg-friendly.

Of course plenty of people bring food to new parents, but I suspect few take on the challenge of unusual dietary restrictions with the kind of enthusiasm I do. (I am weird. See also: how much I enjoy vegan cooking despite not actually being a vegan.) The mom's been avoiding likely gas culprits like onions and tomatoes and the dad hates broccoli and cauliflower anyway, so it can get tricky to make flavorful, interesting, healthy dishes.

Last week, I assembled this dish, which they told me was the best yet. (Almost despite myself, I enjoy the ego-stroking.)

The fried rice contained:
--2 homemade vegan sausages (using this recipe, also found in the
Vegan Brunch book, as a base and riffing with black beans and five spice powder)
--3 scrambled eggs
--handful sliced shiitake mushrooms sauteed with chopped green garlic (3)
--1 red bed pepper, diced and sauteed
--big handful sugar snap peas, cut in half and sauteed
--~2 cups cooked brown rice, 1 day old (from the rice cooker)
--~3 tablespoons minced cilantro
--4 skinny carrots, grated
--~1 tablespoon curry powder (I used a homemade blend from an Indian recipe)
--drizzle of soy sauce, to taste
--slivered almonds, pan toasted in a little oil

Basically, I tried to gather something of every color that was fresh, seasonal, and local--though a few things I had to fudge, like the red pepper and the slivered almond and of course the sausage ingredients--and put it together in a logical way.

The thing with fried rice is that you cook all the components separately, then mix them all together with the rice. It's also key to use rice that's at least a day old, so it's had time to dry out just enough that it won't turn to a mushy mess in your frying pan. Luckily Kevin has a great rice cooker, so that part was a snap.

It could do without the egg, truth be told, but they're not vegan and it does add a certain something. I bet subbing in a mild tofu scramble (with sulfur-y black salt?) would work.

It's not fancy, exactly, but it looked festive and, by all accounts, tasted lovely. Which is really all you need in a meal.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Saucy greens party!

I made up this recipe for greens -- really, any kind of greens work, but probably the more tender/bitter types are best, not so much the kind you want to de-stem, though those will work too -- using a bunch of leftover Live Earth Farm share greens to bring something quick and easy to a work potluck. It got some compliments and I liked it quite a bit, so here it is:

--2+ bunches of any kind of green (I had mizuna, arugula, baby tatsoi, and a handful of red russian kale and collard greens)
--2" piece of ginger, peeled and microplaned into oblivion
--2 cloves garlic, microplaned
--1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
--2 tablespoons soy sauce/bragg's
--1 cup vegetable broth
--a tiny bit of mild cooking oil and salt and pepper to taste

Mix together everything except the greens and the mild oil and s&p so it's ready to go. Wash the greens and chop or tear them roughly into bite-sized pieces (if necessary). They don't need to be totally dried off; in fact, a little water might be helpful. Heat up a really big pan with drizzle of oil, then add the greens. Cook, turning often, until the greens are wilted. You may need to do this in batches. Once they're just wilted, pour in the sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn down so it's just simmering. Let it simmer for awhile, until any stems are tender. Season to taste and eat. Be sure to hold onto that broth! You could cook extra greens in it, or use it to liven up whatever bed of grains you're eating with the greens. It also goes well with toasted almond slivers.

BTW, this blog will probably be archived, due to a change in blogger publishing rules. Since I don't update often I haven't really bothered to deal with it yet, but I will, eventually.