CATEGORIES

Mikey’s Beef Fried Rice

I’ve been on a mission lately to find Chinese roast pork in the grocery store. And I don’t think it’s gonna happen. One day I will stop being lazy and just pick up a container of it from the local takeout place and make my own fried rice with it. Because lately I can’t seem to find good fried rice. It’s either bland, too yellow and not brown enough, has too many onions or green onions, not enough meat, or all of the above.

So yesterday I was in the grocery store and saw these really nice stir fry beef strips. The last thing we had on our weekly menu (yes, Mrs. Mikey and I try to do that) was fish, and I had not thawed it, and want to be especially careful thawing seafood. So now then. I suddenly had a vision in my head for fried rice. Basically watching a lot of “Chopped” and “Top Chef” has made me try to think more creatively than usual lately.

So I took the beef strips and marinated then in teriyaki sauce for 15-20 minutes or until I prepped the other ingredients–Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice (poke a few holes in the bag and nuke for 3 minutes for absolutely perfectly sticky and delicious brown rice), carrots, 1/2 an onion, some snow peas, ginger, canola oil, sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, some cilantro, a lime, and a couple of eggs. I chopped the ginger up fine, chopped the carrots (I used baby carrots) and the onion, and then sliced the snow peas into slivers. I put about a tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet and when hot to the 2-inches-away touch, put the veggies in the pan and stirred, adding a bit of salt and pepper. After the onion just started to brown I removed the vegetables to a plate and added the beef to the pan, with some salt and pepper. The beef started to brown but I wanted it to be slightly charred in spots, or in this case a bit overdone to make it like a sponge for the teriyaki sauce if that makes sense.

Then I put the beef on a plate, and poured a little bit of sherry and soy sauce in the pan to deglaze it. I added a touch more canola oil, a sprinkling more of sherry and soy, a few drops of sriracha and a few drops of sesame oil. I put the veggies back in, chopped the beef into small pieces and added them to the pan, followed by the rice. Then I stirred, and added a little more teriyaki sauce and set aside to keep warm. Meanwhile, I heated a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and cracked two eggs in it. I put the rice in two bowls, topped each with a sunny side up egg, some chopped cilantro and a lime wedge, and there you have it….Mikey’s Beef Fried Rice!

My only regret is I forgot to snap a picture. But I will say it was some of the best fried rice I’ve ever made, and Mrs. Mikey agreed. Damn, now I’m hungry again.

Mikey’s This and That

A few random food observations on a snowy Madison Thursday afternoon…..

*Is there a reason why many canned soups have this gummy, almost plastic sheen of a taste these days? This is particularly true of so-called diet soups which I think use gummy fillers to make up for the loss of fat–i.e. loss of flavor. But they wind up making a chemical concoction that has totally turned me off of canned soup. I’ve been trying to make more of my own, which always tastes better, but it’s not always easy to find the time. Thankfully football season is over (well not really thankfully) which means more cooking for the week on Sundays with the wife.

*Salads just are not appealing in the winter. I sometimes find myself not getting enough vegetables in the winter, and a big reason is that I have almost no desire to eat healthy salads. That’s a summer thing, right? Maybe I need to make more soups. Where have I heard that before?

*I can’t believe Kristen fell on a sword on Top Chef: Seattle last week and didn’t throw Josie under the bus as she should have. I pegged her as the potential winner. I haven’t watched Last Chance Kitchen…but maybe she still can win if she won her LCK battle. But wow, Josie. Please go away.

*Speaking of Food TV, did you guys catch the first episode of that Rachel vs. Guy Celebrity cook off show on Food Network? That’s one of those reality shows that grabs its players from the depths of wherever they get contestants for Celebrity Fit Club. This season they’ve got the likes of Carney Wilson, Hines Ward and an actress and a socialite I’ve never heard of. And then there was Gilbert Gottfried. The poor dude doesn’t know how to boil water. So the first episode, he makes a peanut butter sandwich. Then, as he’s battling another contestant for elimination in the same episode, he makes a peanut butter sandwich AGAIN. Dude, who is your agent and why would they put you through that?

*I often profess my love for Trader Joe’s on here. But I’ve come across something that’s amazing even by their standards. This Speculoos Cookie Spread. It won their award for customer favorite product of 2012, so I bought a jar. Holy smokes. It’s like peanut butter-like crack in a jar. I don’t even know what it is made out of…but it’s like a “butter” that is sweet and has cookie pieces and hints of cinnamon and….well, just go try it, and if you don’t love it, then you don’t like food. It’s impossible to not like it.

Offal = Awful

I won’t mince words here. The thought of eating offal–i.e. organ meats and other parts of animals–makes me want to hurl and/or run for the nearest exit. I won’t tell you that brains, tripe, eyeballs, hearts or blood in general don’t taste good. It’s just that I don’t want to try them to find out. I start gagging as the thought of something like that crossing my lips seems just wrong. It’s a mental thing with me. I can’t get past what I would be eating. Now, I did make an exception last year when we went to Graham Elliot in Chicago and had the foie gras lollipops. Those were decadent and delicious and I’d eat them again. But I won’t go much further beyond that. Heck, I only recently started enjoying fish.

I felt compelled to write about this when I saw Chris Cosentino win Top Chef Masters recently. Chris’s specialty is offal meat, as evidenced by this website of his. And he made tripe, blood sausage and some other really gross looking dishes on his way to winning it all. A few seasons ago on Top Chef Masters, they also had an episode where the contestants had to make things like tacos out of things like tongue. I’m sorry, but ewwwww. I often look at the judges to see how they react to this stuff. And I think that I could never be a full-fledged food critic because there are foods I won’t touch, much less enjoy, with a ten foot pole.

How about you? How do you feel about offal?

Cooking Shows and Food TV on the Rise

A number of new genres of television shows have become extremely popular in recent years, due in large part to the wider exposure of specialized networks and the general expansion that always permeates the entertainment industry. For example, there are a number of shows that revolve around “dark creatures” – such as vampires, zombies, etc. – that have become very popular just in the last two years. However, even more sweepingly popular, because of its variety, is the concept of cooking shows, or rather, food-related shows, which have become some of the most popular items on direct tv. Generally, there are three types of food related shows – informative, instructional, and competitive. Here is a brief glance at each type.

Informative cooking shows strive to show you things about the food or cooking industries. This of course can have a good deal of variety within itself. It may apply to showing an audience the best restaurants in a certain area, or simply some of the best dishes around. Consider “Man Vs. Food” as an example. In this show, the charismatic, food-obsessed host Adam Richman travels the country exploring towns for their most famous restaurants and dishes. Each episode culminates in an eating challenge in which Richman devours something either deathly spicy or shockingly huge. It’s a great show for showing off the top restaurants in popular areas, as well as some decadent treats and dishes.

Instructional cooking shows are more about showing the audience how to prepare certain types of dishes or meals. There are many different shows that follow this basic formula, and often the audience sees fit to literally cook along with the host. One good example is “Boy Meets Grill,” in which star chef Bobby Flay shows his audience different tips not only for how to cook great food, but how to throw an amazing barbecue. These shows, in general, are very helpful for those who have culinary interests or inclinations.

Finally, there are competitive cooking shows, which may well be the most popular. These shows – such as “Top Chef” – feature host chefs, celebrity chefs, and cooking contestants, who compete for who can make the best dish, often with all of them using a single ingredient at the core of the dishes. Generally, contestants are eliminated one by one, until only one chef remains, and is crowned Top Chef. This can be instructional, as you do get to see amazing food created, but it is meant primarily for entertainment purposes.

Two great food shows right now

There are so many food related TV shows now that it gets mind-blowing to try and watch them all or to even DVR them all. But I want to turn you on to two that have new seasons happening now that you should absolutely watch, especially if you are a foodie.


The first is “Top Chef: Texas” on Bravo. I haven’t watched this week’s episode yet but caught the season premiere last week. The production company Magical Elves consistently hits home runs with their shows, especially this one. This year it’s big, just like the state of Texas, and in addition to regular judges Padma Lakshmi (host), Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, they have added Emeril Lagasse and Hugh Acheson. And they began with something like 30 contestants, but only half or so of which will actually wear the Top Chef chef coats and have a real chance to compete for the title of Top Chef. This show airs on Wednesday nights on Bravo, and if you haven’t seen it, you have to check it out. This is one show that knows how to keep us interested and just delivers quality shows every week. I can’t wait to see how this season progresses.


The other show is “The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs” on Food Network. The “Next Iron Chef” reality show brought us the likes of Jose Garces and Michael Symon, but this season is like no other. This time, they have all celebrity chefs, many of which we have already seen on Food Network such as Beau McMillan, Anne Burrell, Robert Irvine, Geoffrey Zakarian, Alex Guarnaschelli, Michael Chiarello and Marcus Samuelsson. Sign me up! So far two episodes have aired, and it’s clear that the level of competition is maybe like no other show that Food Network has ever seen, mainly because of how incredibly talented each chef is. Whoever came up with the idea of going this route as opposed to finding ten great restaurant chefs we have never heard of? Genius. This one airs Sunday nights on Food Network.

That’s it for now. There are more great shows going on and many more holiday themed shows we can talk about, but I think you should check these two out before the seasons get too old.

Related Posts