Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fried Rice

I'm surprised that as I get older things I never thought I'd like I eventually change my mind about.

For example I have recently decided that I like Perrier Mineral water. I haven't ever liked mineral water before because it's always had a weird aftertaste but I gave it a go and actually find it to be very refreshing. Growing up my dad used to make me lemonade or limeade (depending on what we had on hand) but instead of water he'd use seltzer water so it had great fizz.

And I've spent literally most of my life avoiding apples because it's given me a bad itchy reaction but suddenly I've been very apt to slicing one open into 8 slices and snacking on it with Trevor after dinner.

Now, as a continuation of my last post, fried rice is a perennial favorite. Even the pickiest of eaters will usually be more than happy to have some of my fried rice. Trevor in particular seems very fond of it when either I or my mother whip some up for him. Since I learn from the best I can say that simplicity is the key to great fried rice. Also...a need to clean out a lot of random ingredients from your fridge.

Fried Rice
5 cups or so of cooked rice, preferably day old
4 Chinese sausages cooked and diced
1 whole onion diced
2-3 garlic cloves diced
1 baggie of frozen veggies (peas, corn, carrots...)
1 handful of cooked diced shrimp

Really you can fill your rice with whatever you want, but I'm most apt to put Chinese sausage because I usually have some on hand. It's very yummy but I understand not everyone carries it in their fridge for these kind of occasions. If by some chance you have roast pork hanging around, by all means make yourself some pork fried rice. I made some before but I can't say there are ever leftovers (even though I cooked up at least 3lbs of pork!)

Saute your garlic and onion in the biggest cooking vessel you got with some olive oil. If by chance you have a wok, all the better. I then add in a tablespoon of butter and let it cook until everything turns a light brown color. Add your rice and shake it around while you season. You don't need anything too exotic, just salt, pepper, sugar and a dash of soy sauce. You can feel free to throw in some other herbs and spices you like. I would recommend Chinese 5 Spice. It will make a popping noise while you stir-fry everything together. Since it can be quite a bit of rice you can do it in shifts and shake everything together in a big mixing bowl after the fact. Add in your frozen veggies, sausage and shrimp. And if you're like me you can throw everything in for a second fry to make sure it's consistently well seasoned throughout and has a nice color.

You can add any number of ingredients you have on hand. I've added chopped jalapeƱos for spice and chopped cilantro for garnish in the past. And I can guarantee there's no MSG in my fried rice. :) It's always nice to feel that you're eating something healthy, and it's nice for kids because they just dig in to all those little veggies. If it's cut small enough usually only the pickiest of eaters with bother trying to dig them out.

I'm already getting a little nervous about kids since I will inevitably be having some of my own. I don't feel the loud ticking of my internal clock yet but I do want very much to feed my kids like my mom fed me because it gave me an opportunity to appreciate all kinds of flavors at a young age and it probably helped keep me open-minded as I got older. My mom never catered to a "kid's menu" and just fed me whatever anyone else was eating. She tempered back on chili peppers when I was young but that didn't mean they didn't exist on the menu. You simply get used to it as you become exposed to it over time and now I love spicy food. I read somewhere you have to expose a child to a food 10 times before writing it off as a lost cause because children will always initially be cautious. So don't give up too soon! I think the last thing anyone wants to do is raise a horribly picky eater that only wants candy.