Second time around

October 6, 2015

Ugly cell phone photo. Haven't gotten used to new phone's camera. Must contemplate getting big camera back out.

Ugly cell phone photo. Haven’t gotten used to new phone’s camera. Must contemplate getting big camera back out.

You’ve seen some of this before. Specifically, you’ve seen the rice, with edamame, accompanying the caramel fish last week.

(And can I just remind you, that caramel fish was good, and easy, and you ought to try it?)

Anyway, I had rice left. It seems that no matter how much rice I cook, I wind up with too much. Except for the rare occasions I don’t make enough. I don’t think I’ve ever made just the RIGHT amount of rice. So I saved it, to let it dry out in the fridge for a couple of days and find its new reincarnation as fried rice.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. I will be eternally grateful to Mark Bittman’s “How To Cook Everything” for teaching me how to make fried rice. (Also pizza dough in the food processor.) The secret — the absolute, indispensable secret — to making fried rice is to use leftover rice that’s sat in the fridge for at least two days and dried out. Else you get sticky glop.

My rice veered toward the sticky glop side, because I had already used mirin and soy sauce on it during its cooking process, but I persevered. I sauteed my onion, my garlic, my ginger. Completely forgot my carrots. Didn’t do green peas since there were already edamame in the rice. Added a six-ounce bag of frozen, cooked salad shrimp. Crumbled the rice in the skillet, tossed it about, added more mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, a bit of sesame oil. Made a hole in the middle and scrambled an egg about half done before I stirred it into everything else.

Boom. Fried rice. Quick, easy, cheap, use whatever kind of protein you have, use whatever veggies you have lying around that need using up.

I had gotten cucumbers, so I had the delayed smashed cucumber salad. It was good, although I got it a bit too salty. And I can’t see what benefit the smashing of the cucumbers brings to the dish. I’d just as soon just quarter the cucumbers lengthwise, slice the seeds out, then dice them and let them sit in the dressing a bit. Whacking them with a cutting board hurts my hand.

I did, as directed, sprinkle them with a teaspoon of sugar and one of salt, then weight them down with a gallon ziploc of water in a colander in the sink to drain. I guess maybe they shed more water from being smashed, but I can’t imagine it’s enough to be critical.

The dressing is a tablespoon each of rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce; a half-tbsp of sesame oil (I think; I’m going from memory, here); some peanut oil; a bit more salt (unneeded) and pepper, a bit of cayenne or Szechuan pepper. I whirred it all up with the immersion blender. Tossed the cukes in it, and promptly forgot to sprinkle with sesame seeds (and I had both white AND black, too!).

Anyway, it was good. I’ll make it less salty next time.

It’s a good way to use leftover rice. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em try it.

 

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