Hawaiian Fried Rice

One of our good friends just welcomed her first baby boy last week! Due to COVID, we couldn’t have a large baby shower as we were hoping, and instead opted to have a small gathering with a few good friends a few weeks ago. We chose a tropical theme to shower Baby K and the menu matched accordingly. Along with Hawaiian meatballs, grilled steak skewers and halibut, we served this Hawaiian Fried Rice. This recipe uses sambal oelek and soy sauce to help flavor the rice making it sticky, salty and just a touch spicy.

Hawaiian Fried Rice
Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs ginger, minced
  • 4 oz cubed pancetta
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tbs sambal oelek
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, minced

Directions:

  1. Cook the rice according to package directions. Drain any excess water and set aside.
  2. In a deep pot – at least 4 inches – saute the pancetta in the canola oil for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and bell pepper and saute another 3-4 minutes until the bell pepper starts to soften.
  3. Add the sambal, soy sauce and rice and stir everything together until the rice is fully coated in the sauce and everything is well incorporated.
  4. Crack the two eggs into a small bowl and whisk well.
  5. Push the rice to one side of the pot so that you have an empty space at the bottom of the pot. Add the eggs and cook in the pot until the eggs are cooked through. Mix the eggs into the rice until they are distributed evenly throughout.
  6. Remove the rice from the heat and add additional soy sauce or sambal depending on your salty/spicy preference.*
  7. Stir in the pineapple and top with cilantro. Serve immediately.

*Stop here if you want to make this recipe in advance and reheat. You can reheat over the stove-top by adding a bit of oil or in the microwave. Just leave the pineapple and cilantro out until everything is heated and you are ready to serve.


Spring Risotto with Carrot & Asparagus Salad

On top of everything else in the world making us feel a little crazy, nothing can ever beat Denver weather. On Saturday we were in shorts and t-shirts getting sunburned and by Sunday morning the ground was covered in snow. During this time of year, we like to have meals that can help us transition with the weather and this Spring Risotto does just that. The warm, cheesy rice makes the dish feel warm and savory while the carrot and asparagus salad adds a much needed cooling crunch to the dish. Hopefully you are in better weather than us, either way we know this dish will satisfy.

Spring Risotto with Carrot & Asparagus Salad 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cooking Time: 35 minutes      Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients for Risotto: 

  • 2 tbs butter 
  • 1/2 cup white onion, small dice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 6 cups warm chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup fresh peas (or frozen peas thawed) 
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbs shaved Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Ingredients for Carrot Salad: 

  • 6 stalks asparagus, chalky ends removed 
  • 2 large carrots, peeled 
  • 2 tbs olive oil 
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon  
  • 1 tbs fresh dill, minced 
  • 1 scallion, cut on the bias into thin strips 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Start by making the carrot salad: use a vegetable peeler to create thick ribbons of asparagus and carrot. Toss them in a medium mixing bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. 
  2. To make the risotto, heat a large, deep pan over medium high heat. Add the butter to the pan along with the onion, shallot, and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes or so. Add the rice to the pan and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until the rice begins to caramelize and smelly nutty. Add the wine to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon until it is absorbed. Begin adding the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, and stirring with a wooden spoon until it is completely absorbed before adding another 1 cup. It will start to look very velvety and expand quite tremendously. 
  3. When you add the final 1 cup of chicken stock, add the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and peas to the pan. Stir to combine everything and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a large bowl with the remaining 2 tbs Parmesan and carrot salad on top. 

Fried Rice: Quarantine Edition

Cooking in self imposed quarantine has provided a fun opportunity to get back to the basics of cooking. This recipe reminds us of our days in college – using up what we had in the fridge and freezer to create something out of nothing. Fried rice is the pinnacle of quarantine food. You could make a thousand variations of this recipe with what you have on hand and consider it a thoughtful meal. No rice? Use any similar substitute including quinoa, buckwheat, bulgur, cous cous, or cauliflower rice. For the vegetables you can use literally anything you have on hand that would go well with stir fry. Frozen vegetable mixes are perfect for this but expand the criteria to shaved brussels sprouts, frozen edamame, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower…. the sky is the limit. For the photo below we used a pre-made vegetable stir fry packet that we found in the produce section of the grocery store and supplemented with a packet of frozen veggies. Add it all together in a pan with a few scrambled eggs, soy sauce, garlic, and sriracha and you have yourself a pretty darn tasty meal!

Fried Rice: Quarantine Edition
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw brown or white rice*
  • 4 cups vegetables- this can be prepared stir fry mix, frozen vegetables, anything!
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbs sesame oil (sub vegetable oil if you don’t have sesame)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs ginger, minced (optional)
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs hot sauce (sriracha or sambal)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped scallions or cilantro, for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large sauce pan. Add the brown rice and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. If the vegetables you are using are frozen, add the vegetables to the top of the pot. Cover and turn off the heat. Let the vegetables sit covered for 5 minutes to thaw.
  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 tbs sesame oil and crack the eggs into the pan. Use a spatula to scramble the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the eggs from the pan onto a plate when they are near done- they will be back in the pan to finish cooking in a few steps.
  3. Put the saute pan back on the heat. Add the remaining sesame oil, garlic, and ginger to the pan if you have them on hand. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic starts crisping and is fragrant. If you are using fresh vegetables that can be stir fried (leafy greens like kale, shredded brussels sprouts, carrots, broccoli etc), add them to the pan. Stir everything well to coat. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan to help steam and saute the vegetables for 4 minutes.
  4. Add the brown rice and any frozen vegetables if you thawed them into the saute pan. Add the soy sauce, hot sauce, and eggs to the pan as well. Stir everything to combine and cook another 3 minutes so that all of the flavors can blend. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with cilantro or green onions if you have them on hand.

* If you have brown rice that is already cooked, use 3 cups. If you have frozen brown rice cook according to package directions and add in at Step 4.