Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Actually About Leftovers for Once


Yes, I love turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberry sauce and yummy turkey curry a la Bridget Jones, but it gets a little too turkeycentric after a while.  That is when I'll turn to one of my favorite ways to make a leftover protein (or leftover almost anything, come to that) part of a larger picture: fried rice.
  I'm sure the complicated recipes I've seen in demanding cookbooks and overwrought food magazines are more subtle, and more authentic, but I cannot be bothered with cook this, remove from pan.  Wipe out pan, add something else.  Set aside.  The point of leftovers is that they should be easy to prepare and pique the turkey-bored eater.  Fried rice is the answer to both.  (It also reminds me of a time when my family--and every other family in the neighborhood--ordered "Chinks."  We knew no better.)

  The only advance planning you need do is to cook rice, let cool, and refrigerate for a couple of hours. (Freshly made rice is too clumpy for this dish.)  It's even better if you chill it the night before, but not better enough to stress over.  I once bought a container of take-out rice, spread it out on a plate,  and shoved it in the freezer to rest for half an hour.  Worked fine. 
  I'm not going to give amounts here; this is all about what you have to hand.  In fact, you will probably notice that the version in the pictures is made with ham, not turkey. 
  Assemble your vegetables: I had frozen peas, frozen bell pepper strips (which I had never heard of until I read about them in a Bittman column), scallions, onion. You will be adding chopped turkey--dark meat, I hope?  Also prepped and ready to go: coarsely grated ginger, minced garlic, neutral oil, a beaten egg, soy sauce, cilantro, and one more ingredient that I will reveal at the very end.
   Pour some oil into the pan over medium-high heat, let it get well heated, add veg.  Stir around a bit until they are thawed and a bit limpish, two or three minutes.  Add the turkey.  Push everything to one side, add a bit more oil, and toss in the ginger and garlic.  As you can see, you needn't be obsessively neat about this.  Stir the two until they are aromatic, about thirty seconds.  Add the rice to the entire pan, stirring until it is coated with oil (add yet more if necessary) and nicely hot.
  Turn off the heat, and make a little hollow in the middle of the rice.  Pour in the beaten egg.  Stir madly to distribute.
  Add soy.  Doesn't look right, does it?  A bit pallid, perhaps?  Even beige?  The first time I made fried rice, I added so much soy to render it the "right" color that it was inedibly salty.  Now, I do what some Chinese restaurants do: I add a little bit of Gravy Master. (Nearly typed Gravy Train there, not a good idea.)  Toss until color is even, add cilantro, if you'd like, and serve.  Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all, some fried rice!

Monday, November 23, 2009

London Calling


I have always loved WWII food ads, especially the ones dealing with rationing, both in the US and the UK.  Back when food was food and chefs were cooks.  I wish I could  visit this exhibit.

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I'm a ninth-generation Brooklyn native living in Manhattan.