meatless

Blue Salad (with green): Berries and Cheese

I love blueberries and I love blue cheese, so I figured they might go together well.

They did!

In this light, refreshing summer salad.

Nice for a full lunch — add a crust of bread. Or as a first course for dinner.

I bought the blueberries and the cheese. But the greens? Right from my garden! What a joy!

Blue Salad (with green)

  • 1 head leaf lettuce or 6 cups mixed greens

  • 1 cup blueberries

  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese

  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives or scallion tops

  • 1/3 cup olive oil (or use avocado oil)

  • 3-4 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds, optional

Tear the lettuce into smaller pieces and place them in a salad bowl. Add the blueberries, cheese and chives and toss the ingredients. Pour in the olive oil and toss the ingredients again. Add 3 tablespoons of the Balsamic vinegar, toss and taste, add more Balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve and garnish with the toasted almonds if desired.

Makes 4-6 servings

Pizza with Spinach, Tomatoes and Cheese

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Has pizza become the official post Passover food?

I don’t remember that being the case when I was growing up. After Passover, we were full-on with bagels, challah and sandwiches.

So when did this well-loved dish become so extraordinarily popular?

In the first half of the 20th century there were only a few pizza parlors in the United States, all in urban centers such as New York and Boston (and in New Haven, where, in 1925, Frank Pepe set up the still-famous Pepe’s Pizza). But most of the clientele were folks in the local Italian immigrant community.

Pizza became a “thing” in the late 1940s, spurred on by former GIs who had been to Italy during World War II and tasted it there and didn’t want to do without.

Can you blame them?

Pizza has since become an iconic American dish, with toppings way way beyond the classic, original Italian Marhgerite.

We have homemade pizza post Passover, because why not!

Also, when we want a meatless meal, because why not!

For Shavuot, the “dairy” holiday, because why not!

As an hors d’oeuvre for a dairy or fish dinner, because why not?

Pizza with Spinach and Eggs 

  • 1 pizza crust (about 10-inches)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, washed and dried (about 6 ounces)

  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, sliced

  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded or chopped

  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the crust on a pizza stone or lightly oiled pizza pan or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Heat 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the spinach and cook for 3–5 minutes or until wilted and all the liquid has evaporated from the pan. If necessary, press the spinach in a sieve to extract liquid. Spread the spinach evenly on top of the crust. Place the tomato slices on top. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and oregano. Drizzle with remaining half tablespoon olive oil. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the crust is beginning to brown.

 Makes 2 servings

 

 

 

Tahini Turmeric and Mjadra

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I have made mjadra (mujadara) so often I can't even count the ways. It's a family favorite that I serve on special occasions (the #1 item at my Yom Kippur Break-the-Fast), at somber times (the Nine Days), for holidays (my Thanksgiving vegetarian entree) and sometimes just for any old meatless meal. 

I've made mujadara using bulgur wheat and brown rice, barley and kaniwa

But I never made it with wild rice or with white rice. In fact, I hadn't even thought about that possibility until I got Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox's new cookbook: tahini & turmeric; 101 Middle Eastern Classics Made Irresistibly Vegan.

This is one gorgeous book, stuffed with recipes that anyone who loves good food, or who is kosher or a vegetarian or even a hearty carnivore and even a vegan-skeptic would find -- yes -- irresistible.

There were (still are) so many recipes I want to try. I've followed Vicky and Ruth's blog for years and have cooked many of the dishes in their posts, every one of them a winner.

But when I saw the recipe for Mjadra, I knew that had to be the first from the book.

It was as delicious as any version of this dish I have ever tried. The addition of pomegranate molasses to the onions gave the dish a faint, lush tang. The authors suggest one of two sauces to accompany the grains. I prepared the (vegan) Cucumber Yogurt Sauce (which is also paired in the book with Zucchini Fritters -- a delicious-sounding recipe that I will try next to see how the taste compares with my own, non-vegan version).

Every recipe sounds and looks tempting. Over the summer I will try my hand at the Tangy Roasted Carrot Hummus -- a quick and easy hors d'oeuvre for the company I am sure to have. And because I love all versions of Shakshuka, I will definitely try the interesting Chickpea and Pepper Shashuka -- with rounds of polenta taking the place of the traditional eggs! (It's the recipe on the book cover.) Before the High Holidays I am going to try the spectacular-sounding Creamy Tahini Cheesecake with Pistachio Crust and Fresh Pomegranate. 

I could go on and on. I rarely post about cookbooks, but this one is special, and comes in handy particularly this week, when the Nine Days begin and observant Jews will be eating meatless meals. 

Good luck with the book Vicky and Ruth!

WILD RICE MJADRA

Our take on this classic Middle Eastern dish incorporates wild rice and sautéed on-ions, as opposed to fried, for a healthier version. We also cook the rice, lentils, and onions separately, and then mix them together right before serving. This is a fool-proof method to prevent the mjadra from becoming mushy.

Traditionally, this dish is served topped with a cucumber yogurt sauce, which we made using nondairy yogurt (see Zucchini Fritters with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce, page 26). While we were growing up, our dad always ate it with his favorite Spicy Israeli Salsa (page 62), made with freshly picked tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden.

Store in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

WILD RICE:

½ cup uncooked wild rice

½ teaspoon salt

LENTILS:

1 cup dried French green lentils,

picked over and rinsed well

½ teaspoon salt

WHITE RICE:

1 cup uncooked basmati rice

1 teaspoon salt

SAUTÉED ONIONS:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

            (see page 132 for homemade)

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce (page 26) or Spicy Israeli Salsa (page 62), to serve

Prepare the wild rice: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan over high heat. Add the wild rice and salt. Bring again to a boil, lower the heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the heat, drain well, and set aside.

Prepare the lentils: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the lentils and salt. Lower the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but not mushy. Remove from the heat, drain well, and set aside.

Prepare the basmati rice: In a medium-size saucepan, bring 1½ cups of water to a boil in a separate medium-size saucepan over high heat. Add the basmati rice and salt. Return to a boil, lower the heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered.

Prepare the onion: Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet. Add the sliced onion, salt, and pepper, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes. Add the pomegranate molasses and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, or until the onion turns dark golden brown.

Assemble the mjadra: Combine the cooked wild and basmati rice, the cooked lentils, and the onion in a large bowl, and toss well. Serve warm, topped with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce or Spicy Israeli Salsa.

Referenced recipes:

CUCUMBER YOGURT SAUCE:

½ cup plain unsweetened coconut or CASHEW YOGURT

1½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ teaspoon salt

1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into small dice

SPICY ISRAELI SALSA:

1 pound assorted colored tomatoes, diced small

5 to 6 Persian cucumbers, diced small

2 to 3 jalapeño peppers, diced small

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ to ½ teaspoon salt

HOMEMADE POMEGRANATE MOLASSES:

6 cups pomegranate juice

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to a low boil and cook, uncovered, for 2 hours, or until the liquid has reduced to about one third. Keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t overflow.

Remove from the heat, let cool, and transfer to a glass jar with a tight lid. The molasses will thicken once cooled.

Store in the refrigerator for up to six months.


Excerpted from Tahini and Turmeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics—Made Irresistibly Vegan by Ruth Fox and Vicky Cohen. Copyright © 2018. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Arugula Salad with Grapes and Dates

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On the first day of summer, what could be more refreshing than a good salad?

This one is a good fit with grilled meat, chicken or fish but if you're doing a meatless meal add some crumbled blue, feta or goat cheese. Or hard cooked eggs. Or tofu.

Doesn't get much easier than this. 

I used La Tourangelle* avocado oil for this -- it is rich, with a fabulous mouth-feel and is a really delicious vegetable oil for salad. But olive oil would be fine too.

*I did not get paid for this or receive free product. I just love La Tourangelle products.

Arugula Salad with Grapes and Dates

  • 2 cups (packed) baby arugula
  • 2 cups (packed) shredded radicchio
  • 1 cup halved red grapes
  • 12 medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or use olive oil)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Place the arugula, radicchio, grapes, dates and avocado in a salad bowl and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour the avocado oil over the salad and toss to coat them. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the salad and toss again. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings

 

Potato Cheese and Spinach Kugel

Tell me Shavuot is coming and my first thought is cheesecake.

Of course. Cheesecake the dish most associated with the holiday. I love it. Make all kinds. Some plain. Some spiced. Some covered with fruit. Some with chocolate.

On the other hand you can't just eat cheesecake. 

Shavuot is generally a dairy holiday.

I love dairy.

Especially if there is a potato involved.

Like in this kugel, which is a wonder all by itself. But also good with salad, other dairy dishes or served with sunnyside eggs on top.

Perfect dish for the holiday.

 

Potato Cheese and Spinach Kugel

  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 8-10 ounces fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 6 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish. Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks and boil them in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes or until tender. Let cool and chop into small pieces. Place the potatoes in a bowl. While the potatoes are cooking, wash and dry the spinach and chop it coarsely. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes or until softened. Add the spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes or until wilted (if there is liquid in the pan, raise the heat and cook until it evaporates, or drain using a strainer). Add the spinach mixture, the feta cheese and dill to the potatoes and mix gently to distribute the ingredients evenly. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in 3 tablespoons of the melted butter and pour over the potato mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gently mix the ingredients. Place the mixture inside the greased baking dish. In a small bowl, mix the panko, the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over the ingredients. Bake for about 30 minutes or until hot and crispy.

Makes 8-10 servings

 

 

Cheese and Vegetable Kugel

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When my kids were young and still living at home, I made kugel a lot. My daughters were not terribly anti-vegetable, but I realized that pairing veggies and noodles would make it even easier to have more vegetables at our meals.

Also, it is a good way to use leftovers -- the recipe below is extremely versatile. Add cut up cooked green beans or asparagus, corn kernels, peas. Like that.

This kugel is filling enough for dinner. Also yummy with a sunny-side egg or two on top of each serving for a meatless (Monday) dinner. And a wonderful choice for dairy-fest Shavuot.

Veggie Kugel

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 10-12 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 bunch spinach or kale, washed and dried, coarsely cut
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 12 ounces medium-wide egg noodles
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • paprika

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x9” baking dish. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until it has wilted (kale may take a minute or so longer). Add the carrots and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and set aside. Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain and place in a large bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, the cooked vegetables, eggs, sour cream and 3/4 cup of the Swiss cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir to mix ingredients well. Place in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Swiss cheese, Parmesan cheese and paprika. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is crispy and brown.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

Kaniwa Mujadarah

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Everyone who knows me knows that Mujadarah is among my favorite things to eat. I serve it for my annual break-the-fast. I serve it anytime I have lots of people over for a celebration, like a birthday or a welcome-to-the-world party for a new grandchild.

I've made Mujadarah using brown rice. I've made it with bulgur wheat

Sometimes I add mushrooms (there's a recipe for that in my book, Hip Kosher).

Recently, the good folks at Pereg sent me a bag of Kaniwa. 

What?

Have you heard of kaniwa?

It's similar to quinoa (in fact some call it baby quinoa), but the seeds are much smaller (about the same size as poppy seeds). It is a complete protein, it's gluten-free and high in iron. That is a big big deal when you are looking for nourishing, meat-free recipes.

Unlike quinoa, kaniwa does not have a coating of saponin on the surface, which means it does not have the somewhat bitter, somewhat soapy taste that some find objectionable in quinoa. You don't have to rinse kaniwa (in fact, if you do, these teeny things will fall right through the holes in the strainer!).

I've actually cooked with kaniwa. A while ago I posted a recipe for Kaniwa Salad with Roasted Tomatoes. It's a terrific base for salads. A nice soup filler. You can sweeten it and eat it like cereal, for breakfast.

But me, with my mujadarah love? I made some kaniwa mujadarah! Look how beautiful this is! Perfect dish for a meatless Monday.

 

Kaniwa Mujadarah

  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • water or stock
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup kaniwa
  • 1-3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, cut up
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
  • salt to taste

Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water starts to boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook the lentils for about 25 minutes or until they are tender. Drain the lentils and set them aside. While the lentils are cooking, place the carrots in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water starts to boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook the carrots for 5-6 minutes or until they are tender. Drain the carrots and set them aside. Place the kaniwa in a saucepan, cover with 1-3/4 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for about 15-18 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. While the kaniwa is cooking, heat 5 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes or until the onions and mushrooms are soft and brown. Place the lentils, carrots, kaniwa and most of the onion-mushroom mixture in a bowl. Stir gently to distribute the ingredients evenly. Stir in the remaining olive oil. Add the parsley and cumin, if desired and toss the ingredients. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Top with the remaining onion-mushroom mixture.

If serving at a later time, cover the pan and reheat in a covered baking dish in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

Tomatoes Stuffed with Bulgur Wheat, Raisins and Pine Nuts

Although it’s a nice reminder, it doesn’t have to be Meatless Monday for me to want a vegetarian dinner. Sometimes I am just sick of meat.  I grew up in the kind of house where dinner was the traditional: meat, starch, vegetable. We sometimes had vegetarian meals although my mother never called them that. When dinner included no meat or fish it was called a “dairy” meal. Once in a while my mother made a veggie burger, but that was rare indeed.  There was never anything like you see in the photo here: a tomato stuffed with bulgur wheat, toasted pignolis, raisins and fresh spinach.   Styles have changed. I still prepare the kind of dinners my mother made, although usually it’s meat and two vegetables and only sometimes a starch. This is the way I am used to eating.  But, as I said, sometimes I need a change, meaning a good vegetarian dinner, like this stuffed tomato. By itself it may not be enough for dinner, so add a soup or other vegetarian item to make a meal of it. Or serve two per person. It also goes nicely with grilled fish.   

Although it’s a nice reminder, it doesn’t have to be Meatless Monday for me to want a vegetarian dinner. Sometimes I am just sick of meat.

I grew up in the kind of house where dinner was the traditional: meat, starch, vegetable. We sometimes had vegetarian meals although my mother never called them that. When dinner included no meat or fish it was called a “dairy” meal. Once in a while my mother made a veggie burger, but that was rare indeed.

There was never anything like you see in the photo here: a tomato stuffed with bulgur wheat, toasted pignolis, raisins and fresh spinach. 

Styles have changed. I still prepare the kind of dinners my mother made, although usually it’s meat and two vegetables and only sometimes a starch. This is the way I am used to eating.

But, as I said, sometimes I need a change, meaning a good vegetarian dinner, like this stuffed tomato. By itself it may not be enough for dinner, so add a soup or other vegetarian item to make a meal of it. Or serve two per person. It also goes nicely with grilled fish.

 

Tomatoes Stuffed with Bulgur Wheat, Raisins and Pine Nuts

 

  • 6 large tomatoes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch spinach, washed thoroughly, dried and chopped
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

 

Slice off top part of the tomatoes and scoop the insides (save the pulp for other recipes). Sprinkle the insides of the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes upside down on a rack. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook for 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove the nuts and set aside. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just beginning to soften. Add the garlic and spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Add the bulgur wheat and mix ingredients. Add the water, bring the liquid to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan and let rest for 25-30 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add the raisins, parsley, dill, mint and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss ingredients and spoon into the hollowed tomatoes.

Makes 6 servings.

Beet, Quinoa and Vegetable Burgers

Don’t those patties look like regular, ready-to-cook burgers? The ones in the top photo?

But they’re not. In fact, they are veggie burgers and the vegetable mixture includes chopped beets, which makes them red, like raw beef.

I am a meat eater for sure. So is Ed. But sometimes we want something lighter for dinner. So occasionally we will have a vegetarian meal. Usually it’s eggs or a salad or some kind of pasta dish. But I love root vegetables and thought I would figure out how to make a burger looking dish, like this one.

I also cooked the mixture as meatloaf (glazed the top with a mixture of some Balsamic vinegar and vegetable oil). That was quite tasty too, though I prefer the burgers. We are big sandwich eaters at our house.

Beet, Quinoa and Vegetable Burgers

  • 1 small sweet potato 
  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked white beans
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small beet, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 packed cup chard leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 12-16 slices multigrain bread (or use burger buns)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Roast the sweet potato until tender (or microwave it). Scoop the flesh into a bowl. While the potato is cooking, place the quinoa and water together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and cook for about 12-14 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Add the quinoa to the bowl with the sweet potato. Mash the beans and add to the bowl. Heat the 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion, beet, carrots, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the chard and mix it in. Remove the pan from the heat, let cool slightly and add to the bowl. Toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the bread crumbs, egg and salt and pepper to taste. Shape the mixture into 6 or 8 patties. Coat the patties with some flour. Heat about 1/8-inch vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Fry the burgers for 2-3 minutes per side or until hot and crispy. Toast the bread if desired. Mix the mayonnaise and mustard. Spread equal amounts of the mustard-mayo on half the bread slices. Top with a burger, then the remaining bread.

Makes 6-8 servings

Simple Fried Rice

I could make an entire meal out of plain, steamed white rice. In fact, I have, on days when Ed is out of town and I don’t feel like cooking and I’m bored with eggs and there aren’t any leftovers to make into a sandwich or a salad. 

 But mostly I cook rice (not just white, but also brown, red and black varieties) as a side dish and sometimes I use it as a base ingredient for something grand, like Paella. Or even as a starting point for a dessert, like  rice pudding . 

 Then again, I think one of the best and easiest ways I use rice is as a vegetarian dish, mixed with cooked veggies, nuts and so on. I’ll serve that dish by itself or with other vegetarian dishes, when I want to go meatless.  

 One of my favorites is the extremely versatile Fried Rice. I made this dish last night using leftover cooked rice and stir-fried it with fried egg, scallions and peas — on other occasions I have added all sorts of other vegetables, like broccoli or cooked carrots and even canned items such as water chestnuts. 

 Of course you can add leftover meat too. Whatever’s in your fridge. So simple, so quick. Dinner is done in a flash. 

  
Simple Fried Rice 

 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil 
2 large eggs, beaten 
3 scallions, chopped 
3 cups cooked cold or room temperature rice 
1 cup thawed frozen peas 
salt to taste 

 Heat 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil in a wok or stirfry pan (or a saute pan) over medium heat. Add the eggs and fry them for a minute or so or until the bottom looks set. Flip the eggs and fry briefly on the other side until cooked. Dish out to a cutting board and cut into pieces. Set aside. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in the pan. Add the scallions and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice and peas and cook, stirring to distribute the ingredients, for about 2 minutes or until hot. Add the egg pieces and stir to distribute them. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot. Make 2 dinner servings, 4 side dish servings

I could make an entire meal out of plain, steamed white rice. In fact, I have, on days when Ed is out of town and I don’t feel like cooking and I’m bored with eggs and there aren’t any leftovers to make into a sandwich or a salad.

But mostly I cook rice (not just white, but also brown, red and black varieties) as a side dish and sometimes I use it as a base ingredient for something grand, like Paella. Or even as a starting point for a dessert, like rice pudding.

Then again, I think one of the best and easiest ways I use rice is as a vegetarian dish, mixed with cooked veggies, nuts and so on. I’ll serve that dish by itself or with other vegetarian dishes, when I want to go meatless.

One of my favorites is the extremely versatile Fried Rice. I made this dish last night using leftover cooked rice and stir-fried it with fried egg, scallions and peas — on other occasions I have added all sorts of other vegetables, like broccoli or cooked carrots and even canned items such as water chestnuts.

Of course you can add leftover meat too. Whatever’s in your fridge. So simple, so quick. Dinner is done in a flash.


Simple Fried Rice

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
3 scallions, chopped
3 cups cooked cold or room temperature rice
1 cup thawed frozen peas
salt to taste

Heat 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil in a wok or stirfry pan (or a saute pan) over medium heat. Add the eggs and fry them for a minute or so or until the bottom looks set. Flip the eggs and fry briefly on the other side until cooked. Dish out to a cutting board and cut into pieces. Set aside. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in the pan. Add the scallions and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice and peas and cook, stirring to distribute the ingredients, for about 2 minutes or until hot. Add the egg pieces and stir to distribute them. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot. Make 2 dinner servings, 4 side dish servings