KAREN’S QUICK SHRIMP FRIED RICE

I jumped on this recipe right after I read the blog post in Karen’s site, because I knew we would love it. I modified it just a tiny bit, to adjust to our digestive issues – omitting garlic and onions. Visit her site for the regular version if you like. Fried rice with all kinds of different flavors is a dish I adore but very rarely order in restaurants because it is so heavy. And at the same time so easy to over indulge because one helping is never enough. I find myself going back for another little morsel of egg, another bite of shrimp, or chicken, and of course the rice just tags along… Plus the restaurant versions are normally loaded with too much oil and cornstarch-thickened sauce. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but for the most part a couple of hours later I am not feeling too perky… This version has all the goodies, but is considerably lighter. Using the shortcuts recommended by Karen turns it into one of the easiest dinners to prepare. Make it, and you can thank her later…

QUICK SHRIMP FRIED RICE
(slightly modified from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

10 ounces jumbo shrimp, cut into thirds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons neutral oil such as peanut, divided
3 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
12 oz microwavable-ready to serve rice
1 package (12 ounces) frozen peas and carrots, thawed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Toss the shrimp in the salt, pepper, and cornstarch and let marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. When it is hot enough for a bead of water to evaporate instantly, add one tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat. Add the shrimp and spread it out into a single layer. Let fry, untouched, for 30 seconds. Stir-fry the shrimp for an additional minute, until almost cooked through. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon to a plate.

Reheat the pan and add another tablespoon of the oil. Add the eggs and swirl the pan to spread the eggs out to a thin layer. When they are almost cooked through, remove them to the same plate as the shrimp. Cut them into approximately 1 inch pieces.

Add the last tablespoon of oil. Add the ginger, cook for a few seconds, then add the rice and stir to incorporate the ginger. Spread and press the rice over the surface of the wok and let it cook, untouched, for about one minute. Toss the rice, respread it, and let it cook for an additional minute, untouched.

Add the soy sauce and toss with the rice. Add the peas and carrots, the cooked eggs, the almost-cooked shrimp, the rice vinegar, and the sesame oil. Stir fry all of the ingredients together to heat through and completely cook the shrimp. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Above you see the rice I used, which was surprisingly tasty. I don’t normally buy this type of product but Karen’s post made me open my horizons. If you are in a hurry, this is the perfect shortcut ingredient. Same goes for the frozen peas and carrots. Leftovers were great next day too. I am a bit picky about seafood leftovers, but the shrimp held up ok. Not sure I would enjoy leftovers with salmon or another type of fish, but maybe your tastebuds are more user-friendly than mine.

I love this type of meal that is one bowl with everything: carbs, veggies, animal protein. Of course, you can make a vegetarian version using mushrooms or seared tofu, the basic mixture will shine no matter what…

Karen, I don’t know how many recipes I’ve made from your blog, including breads, sweets, savory stuff, but this one is another big winner!
THANK YOU!

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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE POBLANO TAHDIG

With this post I will upset a lot of people. First, by mixing a classic Middle Eastern recipe with a Mexican component. And second, by making it a much quicker version than the authentic. However, since I first made this version back in 2019, I never stopped. It is by far the most requested side dish by the resident food critic, and I adore it too. My only problem lies with that portion control thing. I tend to over-eat because it’s just too good. The basic method is the same, and to be honest I don’t even measure anything now, because it always works. This version rocked our little world.

POBLANO TAHDIG
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

1 cup rice
3 cups lightly salted water
1 Poblano pepper, roasted with a touch of olive oil until soft
1/3 cup full-fat yogurt
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper (or other pepper of your choice)
drizzle of olive oil

Mix the yogurt with the poblano pepper, salt and chipotle pepper. Process with a mini-food processor until smooth. Reserve.

Cook the rice for 12 minutes in salted boiling water and immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Rice and yogurt mixture can sit separately for a couple of hours before continuing.

Mix the rice with the yogurt. Heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet and add olive oil, swirling around the whole surface. When the oil starts to get hot, add the rice-yogurt mixture and spread it all over the pan, smoothing the surface with a silicon spoon. Cover the rice with a paper towel moistened with water, then place a lid. Don’t worry if the lid is not totally tight.

Place on a low-burner for exactly 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes check to see if the bottom is golden, if not, increase the heat lightly and remove the lid. Leave it for a minute or two, should be enough to make a nice crust at the bottom. Carefully place a platter on top and invert the rice on it. Cut in wedges to serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The above picture shows what was left once we finished our dinner. We could have inhaled it all, but I decided to consider my lunch next day. If you are a rice lover, please try this method. And now that we loved the poblano version so much, I have plenty of other variations to try. The only thing to keep in mind is under-cooking the rice in the beginning, and choosing a skillet that is right for the amount of rice you have. For 1 cup dry rice, the 10-inch skillet is perfect. Thirty minutes on low-heat. DONE.

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GREEN TEA RICE WITH EDAMAME & BUTTERNUT SQUASH

I drink tea every evening and often incorporate it in my cooking (and baking). Any green tea will work well for this recipe, but I used a very special kind, that goes by the beautiful name Thunder Dragon. I did not know, but that’s how people of Bhutan call their country… Bhutan: The Land of the Thunder Dragon. Isn’t that beautiful? The tea they produce is rarely exported, but not too long ago was available for sale by “In Pursuit of Tea”, and I got some. First time I made this dish, I brewed some tea and used it to cook the rice later, but if you don’t have a problem with the tea leaves staying around… this method is easier and delivers the same flavor.

GREEN TEA RICE WITH EDAMAME AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the rice:
1 cup Basmati rice, rinse and drained
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
fresh ginger, minced (about 1 tsp, or to taste)
2 cups water
2 tsp green tea leaves (loose)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup shelled edamame (frozen works great)

for the butternut squash:
1/2 butternut squash, cut in 1-inch pieces
olive oil to coat
salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Start by roasting the butternut squash. Heat the oven to 420F. Coat the pieces of squash with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and paprika. Place as a single layer on a baking dish lined with aluminum foil, sprinkle a bit of water (a tablespoon or so), and cover tightly with foil. Roast for 25 minutes, remove the cover and roast for 20 more minutes uncovered while you prepare the rice.

If using frozen edamame, remove it from the freezer and place on a baking dish to defrost while you make the rice. Heat the grapeseed oil in a saucepan, add the ginger, saute for a few seconds, and add the rice. Season with salt, and saute for a minute, until all grains are well coated with oil. Add the water, tea, and bring to a gently boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Place the edamame on top of the rice and cover the pan again. Leave for 10 minutes undisturbed, and when the butternut squash is ready, fluff the rice, mix the edamame with it, and serve with the squash around it.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The rice can stand on its own as a side dish, but the color, texture and taste of the roasted squash was surprisingly good with it. I often do a very similar approach using frozen corn kernels instead of edamame. The residual steam as the rice is ready and waiting is enough to warm up the corn and it retains a very nice texture. If you ever want to perk your rice up, it’s a pretty easy way to do it. I might do a double feature next time, edamame and corn together, green and yellow, the colors of Brazil!

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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES FOUR: OCTOBER 2020

It’s been a while since I shared with you recipes that are super simple but tasty enough to justify being featured on a blog post.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1
EGGS WITH ZA’ATAR AND LEMON

This very simple “recipe” is from a wonderful cookbook called “Falastin.”  Gently boil as many eggs as you want, but just for 6 minutes. The idea is to get the yolk still pretty creamy. Now in a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, and za’tar. Peel the eggs, and chop them coarsely, drizzle your little sauce and sprinkle salt on top. Amounts are totally flexible, I usually go with 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon olive oil and then improvise.  I don’t know how many times I’ve called this lunch, with Ak-Mak crackers or a slice of sourdough bread. So good!

 

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2
SMOKY CHICKPEAS

Inspiration for this recipe came from Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea (I adore it). You will need some smoked tea (Lapsang Souchong), but it is totally worth it to get some and keep in your pantry, even if you don’t enjoy it as a regular tea. I use it in chocolate ganache and quite often in cooking. It gives the food a very nice, subtle smoky flavor.

Slice open one bag of smoked tea, mix its contents with some cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. Open a can of chickpeas, drain and rinse well. Add into a bowl, drizzle some grape seed oil all over it, add the dry spice mixture and mix.  Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and roast in a 400F oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.  Once again, amounts can be totally eye-balled, no need for precision here. Relax and have fun with it.

 

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3
AROMATIC BASMATI RICE

I found this gem of a recipe at Spice House website and made it four times in a row. That tells you how much we enjoyed it. It just turns a regular batch of rice into something special.  I made some adjustments to their recipe as I felt that the rice was turning out a bit too underdone for our taste.

AROMATIC BASMATI RICE
(adapted from Spice House)

1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed
1 Tablespoon grape seed oil (or another mild-flavored oil)
5 whole cardamom pods
2-3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
salt to taste
2 cups cold water  

Add oil to a non-stick saucepan and place the pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cardamon (you can lightly crush them if you want more flavor), cloves and cinnamon stick to saute briefly. When fragrant, add rice and salt. Saute a minute or so to coat the grains of rice with the flavored oil. Add water, but don’t put the lid on yet.

Once the water boils, turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for 7 minutes. Cover the pan, and let it cook on very gently heat for 7 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let the rice sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the spices and fluffing the rice for serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Make sure to count how many little spice pieces you add to the pan so you can be sure to remove them all, although they are pretty visible on the cooked rice later.  There is so much flavor in this recipe, I guarantee you will be hooked on it.

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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #4
BAKED SALMON WITH SOY-GINGER GLAZE

BAKED SALMON WITH SOY-GINGER GLAZE
(inspired by At Home with Natalie)

3 salmon filets
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil (do not add more, it is powerful stuff)
salt to taste
sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Place the salmon filets (skin side down) over a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil leave at room temperature while you heat the oven to 350F and reduce the sauce for glazing.

Mix the soy sauce and mirin in a small non-stick saucepan, add the ginger, brown sugar and sesame oil. Simmer gently for a few minutes, until it starts to get a little thicker.   Brush the top of the filets with some of the glaze, season very lightly with salt, and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Reserve the rest of the glaze.

Remove the pan from the oven, brush with more glaze and sprinkle sesame seeds. Return to the oven, and cook until done to your liking. Serve immediately.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

We eat salmon every week, but usually the husband is the seafood cook in our house. I rarely venture into his department, but was tempted to try this very simple preparation. I know I’ll be making it regularly, the only key thing is to get the fish cooked to the exact point you want (which is easier to do with sous-vide, but sometimes it’s nice to simplify things further).  Probe the filet with a paring knife, and remove from the oven when it reaches your personal Nirvana level.

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SECRET RECIPE CLUB: GREEN RICE

THREE YEARS AS A MEMBER OF THE SECRET RECIPE CLUB!

Last Monday of the month. You probably expect me to whine about the cold, but guess what?  As you read this post, I should  be far, far away in Brazil, enjoying balmy temperatures, wearing shorts, t-shirts, and recharging my batteries to face the frigid months ahead.  But the last Monday means fun, because it’s Reveal Day for The Secret Recipe Club! I was paired with the blog “A Day in the Life on the Farm“, hosted by Wendy. Her story is fascinating: she and her husband were police officers in a large city (which of course meant a ton of trouble in their hands…), but when they retired they moved to a tiny little town of 4,000 people, and bought a house on 12 acres of land.  They raise meat chickens, turkeys, and pigs, and Wendy – to fight her empty nest syndrome  –  decided to host foreign students in their place.  Now she works part-time for the World Heritage, placing students into homes for a year of schooling here in the US.  Being in academia and therefore often exposed to the troubles that foreign students face (plus, I was one myself), I know how important this type of work can be.  Please, stop by her about page and read more about their life on the farm, and how on top of everything she also takes care of her Mom, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. She actually devotes a section in her blog to talk about it, under Life with Mom. Beautiful, touching, and at times funny.

We had so much going on this past month, that I needed to jump on my assignment right away.  The recipe I set my eyes on was a drool-inducing dessert, a Caramelized Almond Apple Upside Down Cake. But, I decided against it.  Why? With Thanksgiving saying hello, then the holidays, a lot of heavy food will be popping everywhere.  I did not want to start early with the excesses, so this cake shall wait. Sorry, folks, but better safe than sorry.  Then, I almost went with her cute Pretzel Dogs. Finally it was a tough decision between Zucchini Enchiladas, or Green Rice.  As you can see, I went green.  Green is good for you, and this was one of the most flavorful rice dishes I’ve made.

Green Rice

GREEN RICE
(very slightly modified from A Day in the Life on the Farm)

2 poblano chile peppers
1 green pepper (I used half a Serrano)
1 cup long grain rice
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley
2 cups chicken stock
1/2  teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil (I used grapeseed)
1 small shallot, minced
Dry roast the peppers in a griddle pan (or on a grill), turning frequently so the skins blacken but the flesh doesn’t burn.  Place in a strong plastic bag, seal and set aside for 20 minutes
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Put the rice in a heat proof bowl, pour in boiling water to cover and let stand 20 minutes.
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Drain the rice, rinse well under cold water and drain again.  Remove the peppers from the bag and peel off the skins.  Remove any stems, then slit the peppers and scrape out seeds with a sharp knife.
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Put the peppers in a food processor, strip the leaves from the cilantro and parsley and add to peppers.  Pour in half the chicken stock and process until smooth.  Add remaining stock and puree again.
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Heat oil in a saucepan, add the rice and minced shallot and fry for 5 minutes over med heat until the rice is golden and the shallot is translucent.  Add the salt, stir in the green puree, lower heat, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed  and the rice is just tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
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ENJOY!
to print the recipe, click here
 
Comments:  Lately I’ve been quite smitten with poblano peppers.  Very little heat, but so much flavor! Our stove did a great job charring them, I don’t think I was ever able to get such a beautiful blackened skin with almost no effort.   Using a paper towel to remove the charred skin was also a great move, a tip I got from watching Marcela Valladolid in her show Mexican Made Easy.  I never liked the idea of rinsing the peppers because there’s quite a bit of flavor loss if you do that.  The paper towels removed just the skin and I could leave little bits here and there for an extra smoky flavor.   Aren’t they cute?

compositePeppers

Adding boiling water to the rice and waiting for 20 minutes was also something I had never done, and I liked the texture of the finished product.  If you are a cilantro-hater, this rice is not for you, its flavor is obviously very prominent.  You could substitute spinach.

GreenRiceServed
This was a delicious dinner!  Green rice, simple roasted carrots, and for our protein a few slices of center-cut pork chops, cooked sous-vide, and finished off on the grill.   Life is good!

Wendy, I hope you had a great time this month with your assignment!  It was wonderful to browse through your site, I read all your posts about your Mom, and am still in awe of your ability to do so much Everyday in your Life on the Farm… 

For my readers: if you want to see what my fellow Secret Friends cooked up this month, give a little click on the blue frog at the end of this post.   Normally Groups C and D would take a break in the month of December, but apparently me and Dorothy from Shockingly Delicious whined so much about withdrawal syndrome, that The Secret Recipe Club will have a little surprise reserved for both groups.  It will be awesome, so stay tuned!

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