What better way to revitalize this blog than with simple, delicious food? I really can't think of one. While Riley Writes Scout may be my day job, one of my favorite things is cooking real food (I wish we didn't live in a culture that I had to specify that, but alas here we are).
I blame this all on picking up a copy of Michael Pollan's Food Rules while on a trip to Boston several years back. I devoured it in a single plane ride & ever since have probed "what is it that I'm/we're actually eating?" Cue me consuming (pun intended) Pollan's other brilliant books, as well as delving into the world of food documentaries. Down the rabbit hole I fell. I brought Jordan with me.
That domino effect eventually led us to wanting to eat more plant-based meals. Enter the Farmers Market Fried Rice. It's easily one of our favorites, so much so that it's basically on a weekly rotation around here. The best part about it is you can change up the vegetables depending on what you have on hand (for instance, this past week we picked up some zucchini & snow peas at the market & threw them into the mix)!
Farmers Market Fried Rice
Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything recipe (a fabulous cookbook if you don't already have it on hand)
prep time: 10-15 minutes* (chopping veggies); total time: 40 minutes; serves 4
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 med. onion, roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded + roughly chopped
- handful of broccoli florets, chopped
- 1/3 of a zucchini, roughly chopped
- a handful of snow peas
- 1 c. fresh or frozen peas
- 3 T. peanut oil (preferred) or a neutral oil (like grapeseed or corn) - lately we've used grapeseed
- 1 T. minced garlic, or to taste
- 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger (the original called for 1 T. but we don't care much for a gingery taste)
- 3-4 c. cooked long-grain rice, chilled (like basmati or jasmine)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 rice wine, sherry, stock, or water (we use sherry)
- 2 T. low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp. dark sesame oil (optional - we skip it)
- salt + pepper to taste
*One thing to note is that it tastes best when your rice is cooked the day prior & chilled overnight, so this prep time is a little misleading! This is occasionally a hiccup for us when we're wanting to make it on a whim. I think our conversion of raw > cooked rice was to start with 1 1/2 c. of dry brown jasmine rice. This usually yields more rice than necessary (almost double), but once it's chilled we use it for the next batch (yes, we really do make this regularly).
- If peas are frozen, soak them in cold water to defrost while you begin cooking. Put 1 T. of oil in a large skillet/pot over high heat. When hot, add all the vegetables (carrots, onion, bell pepper, broccoli, zucchini, snow peas) minus the fresh/frozen peas, stirring occasionally, until they soften & begin to brown (5-15 minutes). Lower the heat if mixture starts to burn. Use slotted spoon & transfer to a large bowl.
- Drain peas & add to skillet, for a minute, until hot. Transfer to the bowl of vegetables.
- Add remaining oil (2 T.) to skillet, with the garlic & ginger (I suggest adding the garlic & ginger at the same time, as the oil will splatter when you add them). About 15 seconds later, add the rice a bit at a time, breaking up clumps & stirring into oil. Once all the rice is added, make a well in the center & scramble the eggs. Incorporate into rice.
- Return vegetables to rice & integrate. Add rice wine (or sherry) & cook, stirring for about a minute. Add the soy sauce (& optional sesame oil), then taste & add salt + pepper if necessary. Remove from heat & serve.
If you're wanting to add chicken or another meat to the mix, the original recipe called for 8 oz. of diced chicken, cut into 1/2" pieces or smaller. Once you remove the first batch of vegetables, you would add the chicken to the skillet & cook over high heat until cooked through. Add it to the bowl of vegetables & then cook the peas.
The cherry on top is that this reheats really well making it great for leftovers, especially for those "what should I eat for lunch?" moments.