I must get something off my chest. Please bear with me.
To: Lady Gaga
Re: I’m trying, really.
May I call you that? Gags? Thank you. We must speak, and quick. I’m trying, really, truly trying. I learned to love you begrudgingly. I had to get past Just Dance, which has never been my favorite, and you burst onto the scene opting to forego pants, which, in my opinion, is mostly unforgivable. But then something shocking happened. I started to pay attention and I realized you actually have talent. And you started reeling me in with Poker Face, and I was hooked. But then there was this. I assure you, I never thought I would be in the position of telling anyone what is right or wrong in the face of royalty, but I promise you, that was wrong. And I was angry, and I decided I had no time for you or your shenanigans. But damn you Gags! You performed with Sir Elton at the Grammies, and it was awesome, and then Bad Romance got me again. So you win. Gaga: 2, Me: 0. So perhaps you are a genius, but still, that doesn’t mean I will sit quietly by and abide by this. It can’t go on. It makes me tired. You have TALENT! Make that your schtick! Stop with the outfits! You look ridiculous! It makes me want to poke myself in the eyes! And use lots of exclamation points! And that is unforgivable!
That is all, please go back to making delightful music, and perhaps invest in some pantsuits, at least when you are not performing.
Many apologies for that brief interlude, it has nothing to do with food aside from the fact I was thinking about Lady Gaga while eating dinner and perusing the interwebs the other night, and I had to use this, my only public forum, to get that off my chest, because that’s how I feel about that.
And now on to better things. I know I have been MIA, but I have an excuse. This happened.
Because this happened:
That is the littlest. She is now a college grad. I think she is having very mixed feelings about it. But it was a lovely day and we had a little shindig for her afterwards and there was a vanilla cake with nutella filling at the graduate’s request. So I got to play with fondant again. And I get a couple more opportunities to play in the next couple of weeks. Fun will abound. I will keep you posted.
But until then, I would like to discuss this amazing ginger fried rice with you. I feel almost as strongly about it as I feel about Lady Gaga, but my emotions are not mixed, they are unequivocally positive. Overwhelmingly positive even.
This is a recipe I discovered on Smitten Kitchen. It is a Mark Bittman adaptation of a Jean-Georges recipe, and it is remarkable in its simplicity and deliciousness. You use leftover rice. I like (and the recipe calls for) jasmine, but it is a great use for any leftover rice you have on hand. Like all fried rice recipes, you need leftover rice for this. Freshly made rice will end up too mushy.
There are only a couple of other steps to this, and the whole thing comes together quickly. It differs from standard fried rice because it is much simpler, has much cleaner flavors, seems lighter, and in this recipe the ginger and garlic are actually garnishes.
They get fried to little brown crispy bits at the beginning (or ahead of time, if you make extra the first time you make this, they last awhile, and you can cut down further on the steps for next time….super quick!) and then sprinkled over the rice studded with leeks and sprinkled with soy sauce and sesame oil, and served with a fried egg. You can even get fancy like I did and mold the rice in a ramekin, which looks very cool and professional. Take a look.
This really couldn’t be easier. You fry the ginger and garlic, remove them from the pan, add a bit more oil and soften the leeks for about 10 minutes. You then add the rice to the pan to warm through and get a little crispy, as you fry and egg (or as many as you need) in a small pan, then voila! You just plate everything and dinner is served. I used one of my larger ramekins and thought there could have been a bit more egg to rice ratio, so I think I will stick with the smaller six-ounce ramekins as molds in the future, but putting it together couldn’t have been easier. I rubbed the inside of the ramekin with just a little bit of oil, and packed the rice/leeks combo in so it was fairly tight quarters in there.
I covered the ramekin with a plate, and turned the rice over onto the plate, it slid right out and kept its shape. Then I sprinkled the rice with the soy sauce and sesame oil, topped with the fried egg, and sprinkled the whole thing with the browned garlic and ginger bits.
This really was so easy and good. And I will be making it again and again and again. And I recommend you do as well. It is an easier, and seemingly lighter, version of more traditional fried rice. Which I also love, but I think I love this one more. (You can see just how much I love this in the very top photo. My plate has looked like that both times I have made this.) It is easy to scale down for one, and makes a really great quick dinner.
Ginger Fried Rice (serves 4, technically, but like I said, I prefer the ratio of a 6-ounce ramekin to one egg, so this might serve six if I was serving it-and then they might want more because that is not enough to fill one person, but adjust at your leisure)
From Mark Bittman in the New York Times, inspired by Deb’s rendition on Smitten Kitchen
1/2 cup peanut oil (I used canola and it was just fine, but peanut would be very good.)
2 tbl minced garlic
2 tbl minced ginger
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried (I use one good-sized leek when I make this for one.)
4 cups day-old cooked rice, preferably jasmine, at room temperature
4 large eggs
2 tsp sesame oil
4 tsp soy sauce
In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly. (Can be done ahead, feel free to make extras to cut down on this time for the next time you make this. Just store them in an airtight container or plastic bag.)
Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and add 2 tablespoons oil and leeks. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not browned. Season lightly with salt.
Raise heat to medium and add rice. Cook, stirring well, until heated through and starting to get crispy. Season to taste with salt.
In a nonstick skillet, fry eggs in remaining oil, sunny-side-up, until edges are set but yolk is still runny.
Divide rice among four dishes. Top each with an egg and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger over everything and serve.