Weekly Winner: Tomato Lovers’ Take on Fried Rice

tomato fried riceThis is the time of year when the farmers that sell the amazingly sweet cherry tomatoes at my local market actually start to recognize me.  I’m sure the rest of their produce is awesome, but I make a beeline right to the cartons of cherry or grape tomatoes.  I cannot get enough of them!

Since I always have them on my kitchen counter, I’m always looking for new dishes to use them in. My new favorite? Tomato Fried Rice. While it would make a lovely side dish to some summery grilled chicken or fish, I was perfectly happy letting it take center stage as a wonderful meatless main course.

This super-easy gem of a dish comes from Bon Appetit. So, before tomato season is over, run, don’t walk to your local farmers’ market and buy these luscious little jewels and make this dish!

Tomato Fried Rice

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 scallions
  • 1 lb. cherry and/or grape tomatoes of any and all colors
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1½ tsp. finely grated peeled ginger
  • 2½ cups chilled cooked long-grain white or brown rice
  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (for serving; optional)
  • ½ lemon

Procedure:

  1. Trim dark green tops from scallions and thinly slice; set aside.  Thinly slice white and pale green parts; set aside separately.
  2. Quarter any larger tomatoes and halve any small ones..  Place about one-quarter of tomatoes in a small bowl; season generously with salt and toss to combine.  Set aside
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high.  Add reserved white and pale green parts of scallions and remaining three-quarters of tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and any liquid from tomatoes has evaporated, about 4 minutes.  Mix in garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add rice and stir to separate grains.  Cook just to heat rice through, about 3 minutes
  4. Scoot vegetables and rice to 1 side of skillet, then pour half of remaining sesame oil into pan. Add eggs and cook, stirring often, until just set, about 1 minute. Mix into vegetables and rice then drizzle in soy sauce and cook, stirring, just until wall combined.
  5. Transfer fried rice to a large bowl or platter.  Drain salted tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and spoon over rice.  Sprinkle with reserved scallion tops and red pepper flakes (if using) and drizzle with remaining sesame oil  Finely grate zest from lemon over and serve.

Weekly Winner: Haters Gonna Hate – until they try it!

IMG_0529OK, some people might think I’ll need to give up my “personal chef card” (as if there is such a thing), after reading this post, and others are going to say to themselves “oh, wait a minute, I can see how that might work”.  That second group of people are who I’m talking to here.

So, first of all a bit of a back-story to this.  For quite some time now I’ve been seeing commercials for this product (not that it’s new, but obviously is going through a “rebranding”). I’ve also noticed it prominently displayed in grocery stores recently.  In a specific commercial they actually show said product in this exact dish with the tagline “Don’t knock it until you FRY it”.  Yes, that’s right I’m talking about Spam.  In particular Spam-fried Rice.  Something about the commercial immediately clicked with me.  I thought to myself, “Oh heck yeah, I’m gonna try that”!  And I did.  And it was fabulous.  And I’ll be making it again — possibly often.  Ah, the power of advertising!

I probably haven’t had Spam for over 30 years.  I’ve never had anything against it, and I definitely enjoyed it on the rare occasion my mom made it for us as kids.  I have never turned up my nose at it — to me, it’s far better than Canadian Bacon.  Oh wait!! Spam Eggs Benedict!  OK, add that to the list!  Maybe I should offer my services to the Spam recipe development people.  But I digress.

Without further ado — here is my personal recipe for Spam-Fried Rice.  As with all fried rice dishes it is open to all kinds of riffs and modifications.  This was simply the veggies I had on hand.

Spam-Fried Rice

Ingredients:

3/4 of a 12oz can of Spam Classic, cut into cubes

2 Tbsp peanut oil

1 tsp Sesame oil

3 cups cooked white rice, chilled

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp ginger, minced

2 large eggs, beaten

2 small carrots, diced

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and green parts separated

Procedure:

  1. In non-stick frying pan or wok, heat 1 Tbsp peanut oil.  Add eggs and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring gently until just set.  Remove eggs to plate and break up into small pieces.
  2. Add remaining peanut oil and sesame oil to pan or wok.  Add scallion whites, carrot and Spam.  Cook, stirring often until Spam is crisped on edges and carrots are beginning to soften, about 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger and continue to cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add rice and cook, stirring about 3-4 minutes more until rice is heated through.
  4. Add egg, peas, and soy sauce.  Season with salt and pepper and toss until thoroughly mixed.  Serve immediately topped with scallion greens

Weekly Winner – Fried Rice with Potato Chips. What’s Not to Like?

I’ve been flying solo this week at home which basically means, I can make whatever I want.  And although I still try to be healthy, being by myself has always led to little culinary indulgences.  No one’s around to catch me and The World’s Dorkiest Cat won’t tell on me because he knows there’s a few extra treats in the deal if he keeps quiet.

My greatest junk food weakness has always been potato chips.  I usually refuse to buy them because I simply cannot control myself.  An open bag of chips is evil — it must be killed — and quickly!  But what if it’s a required ingredient in a new, and for the most part, healthy recipe I’m going to try out??  Well then I have to buy it, right?  I knew you’d understand.  And yes, it is true that the recipe only calls for a half cup of chips.  One of those small snack pack bags would have easily handled it.  I just feel you can’t be too safe.  You must be prepared.  That’s all I’m saying.  And the cat isn’t talking.

Without further ado, this week’s Weekly Winner is Turkey Fried Rice with Crushed Potato Chips from Food & Wine Magazine.  It’s definitely a keeper.

And did I mention the potato chips??

Turkey Fried Rice with Crushed Potato Chips

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only

4 ounces ground turkey

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups leftover (cold) cooked rice

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped mint

1/2 cup plain potato chips, lightly crushed

Asian-style hot sauce, such as Sriracha, for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat a wok until very hot. Add the vegetable oil, ginger, garlic and lemongrass and stir-fry over high heat until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the ground turkey and salt and break up the meat into small clumps. Stir-fry until the turkey is just cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  2. Make a well in the center of the ground turkey. Add the eggs and stir-fry over high heat until just set into large curds, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir-fry until heated through and the grains are separated, about 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir-fry until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil and transfer to bowls. Stir in the scallions and mint and garnish with the potato chips. Serve with hot sauce.