Super easy: Sungold Omelet and Pork Fried Rice
I made a couple of tasty and healthy dishes this past weekend that I wanted to share with you all.
First, since we had two pints of sungold cherry tomatoes from our CSA, as well as a wealth of basil, I had an idea. I heated some olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, threw in a handful of the sungolds, shook the pan a few times and let them roast for a minute or two. Then I scrambled 3-4 eggs with salt and pepper and poured those into the pan. I swirled the pan around a bit and once the eggs were just about set, threw in a couple tablespoons of feta cheese, and a sprinkling of chopped basil. I cooked for another 30 seconds or so and then transferred to a plate, cutting the omelet into two servings (you can also use more eggs and cut into four wedges).
The other thing I had a taste for was fried rice. I like to make mine with pork, but it’s always difficult or next to impossible to make the kind of red-tinged barbecued pork you see in Chinese restaurants. So I did the sensible thing and picked up a container of roast pork at our local Chinese takeout joint. They call it “boneless spare ribs,” but it’s basically strips of barbecued roast pork (and it’s freaking delicious). So here is how I made my fried rice–I took a bag of frozen bag brown rice from Trader Joe’s (this is the best tasting quick brown rice you will find anywhere–I guarantee it), nuked it for three minutes and set the bag aside. I heated a couple tablespoons of canola oil in a large nonstick skillet with a splash of sesame oil. I threw in some finely chopped onion, carrots, sweet pepper, shelled edamame, and a small bit of minced fresh ginger — and stir fried that for 3-4 minutes. Then I dumped in the cooked rice and maybe 1/2 cup of diced roast pork and stir fried for another minute. Then I added a few sprinkles of Kosher salt, some shakes of black pepper; and a sprinkling each of teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and Korean barbecue sauce, stirring for about a minute. Meanwhile, at about the same time I added the sauces, I heated a small nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray, and dumped in one scrambled egg. Instead of stirring, I just let that set, and slid onto a plate, cutting into small pieces and adding to the fried rice, stirring another 30 seconds and then sprinkling with chopped cilantro. After dividing among two plates, I sprinkled mine with a few drizzles of chili oil.
You can make this rice with whatever you have on hand. Green onions are typical but I don’t like them and they don’t like me. You can also use peas, corn, bok choy or whatever you can find. It’s fun to try different combinations, but trust me — the pork is what makes it. My wife says it’s better than takeout, and who am I to disagree? So maybe you should try it and see if you like it too. But I already know you will.
Posted in: Chefs and Restaurants, Food on a Budget, Healthy, Ingredients, Recipes, Your Kitchen
Tags: barbecued pork, basil, bok choy, boneless spare ribs, brown rice, canola oil, carrots, cherry tomatoes, chili oil, Chinese, Chinese roast pork, cilantro, easy breakfast, easy dinner, easy eggs and fried rice, easy weeknight meals, edamame, eggs, feta cheese, fried rice, green onion, Korean barbecue sauce, Kosher salt, omelet, onion, peas, pepper, pork fried rice, roast pork, salt, scrambled eggs, sesame oil, soy sauce, stir fry, sungold tomatoes, sweet pepper, takeout, teriyaki sauce
Every once in a while, my wife and I decide it’s time to take inventory of what food we have in our house, because it tends to start overflowing in the refrigerator(s) and pantry(ies). And by -ies I mean in bags on a shelf in the basement. So I went and took inventory and one thing we had overstock in was frozen chicken breast. I asked my wife what we should make — let’s call my wife Jenny, because, well, that’s her name. She said, “How about we pound the chicken flat, stuff with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and roll them up? I thought for half a second and said, “Brilliant!”
I’ve been the main cook in our house, but Jenny has been cooking 1-2 times per week lately. Still, this recipe was all on me to execute, while she made the sides. Jenny wrote on a little chalkboard, “Tonight: Chicken with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes with a nice array of vegetables.” She was in charge of the vegetables–roasted asparagus and red and yellow bell peppers. I set out to make the main event.
So I cut the chicken breasts into 3-4 oz. pieces and then pounded them flat in a large zip-lock bag. I sauteed some spinach in olive oil and added salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder, and when cool enough added about 1/4 cup of slivered sun dried tomatoes (from a jar packed in oil). Then I placed a small mound of spinach mixture on each chicken breast piece, and rolled them up, securing with a toothpick. Obviously you cannot pan fry them with toothpicks sticking out, so I only used the toothpicks to hold the chicken momentarily together. And it worked!
I heated some olive oil in a large non-stick skillet, and cooked the chicken rolls on each side over medium heat (maybe 8 minutes total) until browned and cooked through. Then I attempted to put the dish over the top. I melted a pat of butter in the pan, added a teaspoon or so of olive oil, then added a little white wine, scraping up the brown bits in the pan. Then I added a little chicken broth and some salt and pepper. As the sauce reduced down, I then added some water and let it reduce more, and then added some lemon juice and parsley, pouring the sauce over the chicken rolls on the plate. Jenny added the “nice array of vegetables” and a new dish was born in Mikey’s (and Jenny’s) Kitchen.
Posted in: Healthy, Ingredients, On the Grille, Recipes, Your Kitchen
Tags: asparagus, butter, chicken, chicken breast, chicken broth, easy chicken recipe, garlic powder, healthy chicken recipe, healthy recipes, lemon juice, olive oil, onion powder, pan fried chicken, pepper, red and yellow peppers, salt, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, white wine
Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival–fun and flavor for all
Thanks for the fine folks at Grassland Butter, I took my wife and 5-year old son to the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival two weekends ago. We moved to Wisconsin two years ago and this was the first time we went to the fest. It also certainly won’t be the last time. The food was great, the rides were great for our thrill-loving boy, and the weather was perfect as well (75 and sunny).
Grassland was an official sponsor of the event, which meant their butter was the perfect companion to the sweet corn. We were amazed at the production line for the corn–as we waited with our tote, we watched the corn come out of the steamer in husks, after which we had to peel (ouch!) ourselves. Then we brought the corn to the butter table, where the fine folks rolled our corn in a gigantic block of Grassland butter, and then we made our way to the hanging salt shakers before gorging ourselves with the corn. Of course, it was peak season and the corn was delicious, but the Grassland butter really did take it to another level. My only regret was that I totally forgot about the grilled cheese sandwiches, which are also slathered with the butter and supposedly a fair favorite. Next year though!
Before we ate, our son dragged us to pretty much every ride there was, and every weird haunted house “ride.” My wife had the pleasure of going on just about everything, while I skated by only going on the flying swings with him once. He had the best time, and that is always the most important thing.
So, is it next August yet?
Posted in: fairs and festivals, Grocery stores, Ingredients, Product Reviews
Tags: amusement park rides, butter, corn, corn fest, corn on cob, delicious Grassland butter, fair, Grassland butter, Grassland Dairy, grilled cheese, rides, salt, steamed corn, Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival, sweet corn
Magazine recipes that linger–cole slaw and “flapjacks”
If you are like me, you read new food magazines voraciously, especially ones that have cool typeface and awesome photos like Food Network Magazine. But then after trying a recipe or two, they pile up until you have a chance to clip your faves. I swear there is a business idea in there, if only I had time to develop such an idea.
Anyway, that being said, there are recipes I have clipped that I go to–frequently. One such recipe is the one I use for cole slaw from…wait for it….GQ. I have to hand it to GQ. My comp subscription has made me feel old at times, but every month I look for its recipes and ideas about food. Seriously. So in the June 2008 issue, there were barbecue items–how to cook a hamburger properly for one, how to make kickass grilled peaches for another. But the one that stood my test of time was the cole slaw recipe–it’s simple, it’s classic, and it’s delicious. It also gives me a template even if I veer a bit with the ingredients, but I never seem to want to because of how delicious the original recipe is.
Then there was this other one–an article and recipe in the March 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. This is a mag my mom reads and probably has 35 years worth of them piled up, but I grabbed one in an airport one day and wound up clipping this article about British “flapjacks.” Food journalist/blogger/restauranteur Molly Wizenberg wrote it and made these things appear to look and sound delicious. The recipe haunted me for two and half years until I pulled it out again the other day. The one thing holding me back–an ingredient called golden syrup, which is only available in specialty food stores and British import shops. They are not pancakes per se, but more like cookie/granola bar hybrids that they call flapjacks. The ingredients are simple–quick cooking oats, butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and a pinch of salt. I’ve always loved the taste of oatmeal and oatmeal cookies and anything made with oats, but dang…golden freaking syrup. Finally, I realized something. The last few months I have found things the new-fashioned way–online. Well, duh. You can buy anything on Amazon.com these days. So there it was–Lyle’s Golden Syrup, maybe $5 a can but about $10 in shipping. That was fine with me. It arrived and I made the recipe the next day. My wife and I devoured the whole tray and I made another tray which I devoured this past week. Now let’s be frank–a stick of butter will make almost anything taste good. But these flapjacks are the bomb, and I suspect we will make them again this weekend, making two trays or more.
Thank you, Molly Wizenberg. You brought me something from your own experiences/memories, and now I’m going to get really fat eating them because they taste so good. Now, if anyone can share a recipe that resembles those Buitoni toaster pizzas from my childhood that they don’t make anymore, I will be forever grateful.
Posted in: Chefs and Restaurants, Food on a Budget, Grocery stores, Healthy, Ingredients, Recipes, Your Kitchen
Tags: Amazon.com, barbecue, Bon Appetit, British flapjacks, brown sugar, Buitoni toaster pizzas, butter, clipped recipes, cole slaw, cookies, easy recipes, golden syrup, GQ, granola bars, Lyle's Golden Syrup, magazine recipes, Molly Wizenberg, oats, recipes, salt
More food pet peeves
Earlier this week, I wrote about my pet peeve for tomatoes and the fact that grocery stores do not carry good ones right smack in the middle of summer, a.k.a. tomato season. But that was just the start of my thoughts on food pet peeves I have. So with that, here are a few more…..
Soft pretzels dipped in butter–I blame Auntie Anne’s for this, but now butter-drenched pretzels are the only ones you can buy in any mall across the country. I might be old-school here (no, I KNOW I’m old-school), but I long for soft pretzels you can buy that are drenched in nothing but salt. Seriously, butter goes on a pretzel like ketchup goes on ice-cream. Okay, that’s extreme, but you get my drift. But the final straw happened to me recently when I was in Target and tried to buy a pretzel without the butter. They looked at me funny, and said they needed to drench it in order for salt to adhere to it. I asked if I could buy the display one, which appeared to be butter-less, and they said that that was a fake pretzel. Go figure.
Hydration systems for produce–Seriously, do you really need to drench the lettuce and herbs until they practically wilt and turn brown? And do they have to spray every 10 seconds so that when I reach for something I get soaked?
Peaches–This is akin to my tomato gripe. Why is it that more than half of grocery store peaches are hard as a rock? I’ll tell you why. Because they pick them way before they should be picked. And they don’t ripen. Those hard ones only become slightly less hard, and they crunch when you bite into them like an apple. That’s just wrong.
High-fructose corn syrup–It’s known to be really bad for us, so why is it the primary ingredient now in things like soft drinks and popsicles? And why is it in supposedly healthy items like whole wheat bread? I bet soon we’ll be brushing our teeth with the stuff.
Raw onions–If you’ve eaten a raw onion, you know that it has an extremely strong and pungeant taste. Cooked onions are delicious and sweet, but raw onions are vile. So why does every restaurant insist on throwing them on my salad? I don’t always remember to ask for them to be omitted and in that case have to remove them myself. Inevitably, even if I use a fork, the onion smell gets on my hands and I can’t wash it off for three days. And if I miss a piece in my salad and eat it by accident, I have to deal with the lingering taste in my mouth the rest of the day. I also have horribly bad breath to deal with. And I feel like I could drink seven gallons of water. Seriously, why?? And how do you people who eat big slabs of raw onion on your burger taste the freaking burger?
Seasoned fries–I may be old-school again here, but I’ve grown tired of excessive seasoning on my French fries. Fries are best when they are cooked in oil and lightly salted–that’s it. But restaurants, and I’m talking in particular about chains, decided at some point that coating my fries with additional spices like pepper, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder or all of the above was a good idea. Let me help you here…it’s never a good idea.
Servers who don’t use a pen–This is more of a restaurant-only pet peeve. Why do servers insist on trying to remember my order as well as everyone at the table’s order without writing it down? I am never impressed if you don’t screw up my order, but I’m always impressed if you have the class (and common sense) to write my order down so that it’s harder to screw up.
Hey, that was fun! Feel free to add yours….
Posted in: Chefs and Restaurants, Grocery stores, Ingredients, Uncategorized, Your Kitchen
Tags: annoying food things, Auntie Anne's, butter, cooked onions, food pet peeves, french fries, grocery store produces, high fructose corn syrup, hydration systems, mall pretzels, onions, peaches, pet peeves, pretzel chains, produce, raw onions, restaurant pet peeves, salt, seasoned fries, server pet peeves, servers, soft pretzels, sweetener, tomatoes