Fried Rice With Vegetables

When the sweet bride made fried rice with kale, it was delicious! “Oh sure, I will send you my recipe,” she said. Sounded simple.

Sauté minced garlic with olive oil in a pre-heated wok or skillet on medium high heat. After the garlic is golden brown, add diced carrots, and stir for five to six minutes until the carrots are soft. Add one or two diced tomatoes. Stir. Cook for a few minutes more, then add cooked rice and combine.

Make a hole by pushing the mixture to the sides of the pan, add two or three eggs, let them stand for a few minutes and stir as you would scrambled eggs. Then finish by mixing the eggs into the rice. (Add the kale at this point.)

There are pitfalls for the inexperienced: the threat of gooey rice, the risk of eggs not mixing in well. One voice of caution suggested that in the hands of a non-expert, things might get mushy.

Some cooks suggest beginning with cold (even frozen leftover rice). And Frugal Feeding recently posted (here) about cooking the eggs separately as a little omelette, then rolling it up and cutting it into pieces before adding. Foolproof he says, and the bites of egg stay separate and taste great.

I also happened on Post Punk Kitchen’s recipe for “Brussels Sprout Fried Rice” (here). She cooks the sprouts (trimmed and quartered) with the carrots (and outlines some other possibilities).

I asked the sweet bride if she thought that would work – “Of course,” she said, “that would be delicious!”


Squash and Sage Soup

“Frugal Feeding” posted a Pumpkin and Sage recipe I’ve made several times with pumpkin, but I’ve also used a big green Kabocha squash. It’s delicious soup – savory and filling!

Frugal Feeding begins by peeling and cutting the squash into pieces to roast. I just cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, brushed on a little olive oil inside and out, and roasted the squash face down on a tray until a fork pierced it easily.

If you do this ahead, you can use the skin and seeds in stock – a nuisance but a wonderful thing. Flavorful stock does make a difference in this soup.

Saute two roughly chopped onions in a little olive oil, and while they cook, boil two halved potatoes until they are tender. (I add another potato if the squash is really big.)

The recipe calls for three bay leaves, and two or three whole sage leaves plus two tablespoons of finely chopped sage. Frugal Feeding adds the whole leaves and three bay leaves along with the roasted pumpkin to the onions. (I misread and added the chopped sage he intended as a garnish – which worked for me – but he might consider that too much sage.)

Stir in a quart of the vegetable stock, and salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer for 30-40 minutes, remove the bay leaves, and use an immersion blender to blend till smooth. If you still have them, put the finely chopped sage on top of the soup as a garnish. (My old friend who lives on Bainbridge brought turkey dressing decorated with sage leaves she’d cooked in olive oil with a little salt to Thanksgiving dinner – they were fabulous and would be perfect atop this soup!)

If you live in a chilly climate like Washington this month – where cupboards are cold and pottery very cold – it’s good to warm the bowls with a little boiling water before serving the soup.

Orange is a happy color in December’s red and green!

Paddington at ease

Saag Aloo

The Website “Frugal Feeding” recently wrote about the spinach and potato dish called saag aloo. (Saag aloo sounds a little like a line from one of Lady Baby’s songs, “saag a-loo my darlin’.” But not.) So, because I had new potatoes, some spinach, and much kale raab from the CSA, I tried a variation.

Begin by toasting spices in a large pan (half teaspoon turmeric, one teaspoon garam masala, and a teaspoon of black onion seeds – called for but I couldn’t find). This smells terrific as it warms. Then add oil, and begin to cook a finely chopped onion.

Continue cooking the onions until translucent, then add three cloves of garlic mashed, one or two chopped chili peppers, seven or eight cherry tomatoes cut in half, and 300 grams or 10 ounces of potatoes cut into one-inch chunks.

Frugal Feeding is a Brit, so his recipes always call for a little interpretation by Yank readers – his grams to our ounces. He says to add a “splash” of water after a few minutes – but he quantifies his splash as 50 to 60 milliliters – around a quarter-cup by my trusty Pyrex measuring cup.

With the lid on, continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender.

The original recipe calls for 160 grams of fresh spinach (about five ounces of spinach or in this case leaves and flowers of raab) blanched in hot water, then blended in a food processor until paste-like.

Stir the greens into the pan once the potatoes are cooked and serve with rice or chapitis. I remembered to mold the rice using a cup (as the sweet bride taught me), and the saag aloo looked colorful around the rice.

How did it taste? Both bland and spicy – maybe it needed more salt than I added – maybe I shouldn’t have added another splash of water (to prevent too much sticking). The potatoes tasted great, but maybe the black onion seeds were crucial. And I substituted the raab, so not really a fair test, though it made a very green paste. It was warming and used up the raab, and leftovers the next day tasted way better.

Maybe saag aloo another time!

Cherry tomato pattern