Tag Archives: quick

Fried rice!

I think there are very few people out there who haven’t had fried rice. It’s an amazing, tasty thing…but you know, for a long time, I didn’t like it. My dad makes it with Spam and oyster sauce, which is really popular in Hawaii, but the two tastes together always made me quick to put my fork down. The flavors in it just didn’t jive with me.

And so, for a long time, I wasn’t a big fan of fried rice…until I finally made my own. And boy, was it good! M likes hers with egg, which I don’t, but I love adding tofu, bean sprouts, sauteed cabbage… The flavor and texture combinations are endless. In this one, I used both egg and boiled peanuts, along with the usual veggies. Pheasants! Fried rice is the perfect vehicle for vegetables! Don’t forget this. You can put essentially any tasty vegetable in it…the more, the merrier, although I usually stick to a 1.5:1 rice to veggie ratio to keep it rice-y.

As for rice types, I prefer to use whatever I have in the fridge at the time…long grain or short, I’ve never noticed much of a difference, as long as the rice is chilled and not too mushy.

Pheasant’s fried rice

2 1/2 c rice, chilled

1 c mixed veggies (frozen is perfect!)

1 egg

4 tbsp minced onion (the real stuff, not dehydrated)

1/4 c “party style” peanuts

3 cloves garlic, minced finely

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce (Aloha brand highly recommended)

3 tsp fish sauce

3 tsp garlic or vegetable oil

First, heat some water to boiling and place your peanuts and veggies into a bowl large enough to fit them as well as some hot water. Pour the boiling water over them, and let it all soak for about ten minutes. If you like your peanuts softer, drain and repeat the process.

Heat your pan or wok to medium-high. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and allow it to heat. Scramble your egg, add a little water (a tablespoon or so) and add it to the pan. You want to cook it to a soft scramble…it should be creamy and not too dry. Take them from the pan, place them on a plate, and cut into little curdles, like so: 

Now, place your onion mince in the pan and allow it to sauté until softened and browned. Add in your garlic; allow this to sauté as well, and then add in your rice. You’ll want to add in the remaining oil now…make sure to spread it around so that it evenly coats everything. Now toss it like your life depends on it!

Once the rice and onion/garlic are mixed, drizzle in the fish sauce and soy sauce, making sure to also spread it around. Live action shot time: 

Stir the rice again, and let it cook for about three more minutes. Once this is all done, add in your drained peanuts and vegetables, making sure to mix it all up so that it’s nicely divided and scattered. Then, add in your egg bits, stir, cook for another five minutes, and…oh, ma belle, oh, ma chérie….you are beautiful. 

 

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Filed under Ethnic, Pastas, grains and oatmeal

French onion soup

Today, pheasants, was approximately as cold as Washington gets when there’s no snow involved. It was absolutely freezing and I was walking around in a skirt and heels down in the U district, looking for a job.

Coming home, M and I were nothing short of tired and cold, and very hungry. We’d picked up a loaf of my favorite French bread (crusty on the outside, light and fluffy as a dream on the inside) with which to dip, nosh and generally make merriment. This soup is brothy, light and satisfying. The recipe feeds two hungry people, three less hungry people, or four to six as an appetizer. In an effort to make the easiest soup known to man, I present now to you:

Pheasant’s easy onion soup

2 medium yellow onions

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 tsp garlic mash

1 tsp ground, dried rosemary (measure after grinding)

2 tsp soy sauce (Aloha brand highly recommended)

2 c beef broth

2 c water

bay leaf

1/4 c red wine (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot, heat the oil on medium. As it’s heating, slice the onions very finely. Add them to the pan, stirring. Mince the garlic and add it, as well as the garlic mash, rosemary and some pepper. Stir this all together and allow it to sauté for a few minutes until everything starts to wilt and become translucent. 

Turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the onions to brown for a while. Once it’s beginning to brown and crisp, turn it back down to medium-low and let it go for 20-30 minutes, checking occasionally to adjust the heat, until the onions have become caramel-colored, soft, and reduced to 1/3 their original size.

Once reduced...voila!

The pan should have a nice, deeply-browned (but not burnt!) fond across the bottom (fond is the fancy French term for that brown crusty stuff on the bottom. And it’s better than gold!)

This is fond. You may now fall to your knees in worship.

Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the soy sauce and wine to the pan to deglaze, making sure to scrape every last bit of that fond off the bottom. If you aren’t using wine, just use a little water. Once everything is all mixed together nicely, add the bay leaf, beef broth and water, then turn it up to a boil. When it boils, turn it down to a simmer and let it go for about ten minutes, or reduced to 2/3 its original volume.

A little taste-test during the process...

If you like, melt Gruyere cheese over crostini and float in the soup. M and I, however, prefer our French bread dipped into the broth. Enjoy!

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Filed under Autumn, Seasonal, Soup, Winter

Spinach and cheddar quiche with roasted garlic

Note on my changes: After a little deliberation, M and I have decided that neither of us liked the crust enough to want to make the quiche with it again, so I’m omitting it. It still creates an amazing, crustless quiche 🙂 

Eggs are really popular in our household. M generally only cooks when eggs (or easy mac) are involved, our roommate loves to boil them and leave them out on the counter for us to find, and I think they’re pretty swell, too. Eggs, sunny-side up, served with toast and some sharp cheddar are by far one of my favorite ways to start off the day.

When it comes to egg suppers, though, M loves nothing more than quiche. She’s mad for eggs. And yet, as much as I love quiche, I don’t make it very often. The sheer amount of cholesterol in the number of eggs it takes to make quiche are generally enough to scare me off, not to mention the glut of butter and cream the recipes call for. So, when M requested quiche for tonight’s supper, I was a little hesitant. Quiche is quick, and since we’ve got an engagement tonight, that is a great thing. I did balk at the idea of it, until Pheasant stood up and said to me, “No! You will make the best quiche ever. And you know what? You’ll enjoy every. Last. Bite.”

To the internet!

I’ve sifted through countless recipes looking for the perfect quiche recipe. And, finding none, I decided to improvise. I took pieces of quiche recipes from two or three different ones, and ended up with this one.

I love herbs, and so I decided to play with the herbs in this quiche…generally, I feel like quiche is really bland unless there is a ton of cheese (read: fat) in it. I love the idea of flavoring the eggs themselves so that no only the cheese and vegetables have flavor, but the eggs as well.

So, I set out with this lovely recipe in mind. Because we don’t have a pie pan, I used an 8×8 inch brownie pan, and just cut the quiche into nine pieces for easy eating.

Quiche, squared

4 eggs

1 c 1% milk

1 tbsp sour cream

1/2 onion, sliced thinly

10 oz fresh spinach

1 tbsp garlic mash

1 c grated cheddar

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

parsley, paprika and rosemary to taste

First, preheat your oven to 350°F (171°C.) In a large skillet, place the onions and some oil to sauté. When they’ve become golden-brown, add in the spinach until it all wilts down.

Combine the eggs, milk, and spices together, whisking to form a thin scramble. Spread the spinach and onion across the bottom of the crust. Cover in cheese, pour the eggs in, and replace the pan in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the eggs are set and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Let cool, then cut into squares and enjoy!

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Filed under All things eggs, Baking

Creamy, easy rice casserole

Sometimes, there are just recipes that immediately make you think of home, fond childhood memories, and that warm, fuzzy feeling you got from warm food on a cold night. For me, one of those recipes is chicken divan, and I can’t even begin to tell you why.

I am not, unfortunately, making chicken divan for this recipe. Collective sigh… Tonight, I’m just hungry. Chicken divan takes about an hour to prepare, counting the cooking and shredding of chicken, and another forty-five minutes to bake. I didn’t have that kind of patience tonight, mostly because I worked all day and didn’t take a lunch. It does end up cramping my cooking style… This morning, however, I did have the foresight to take out some chicken thighs. But, when I got home, I knew above all else, I wanted something creamy, hot, and chicken divan-esque…so, I threw this recipe together. And good gracious, it was fantastic. Not chicken divan, but everything short of it.

This is cooked rice combined with condensed mushroom soup and some chopped veggies that creates a most luscious taste in your mouth…rice that melts in your mouth like a dream, surrounded by the creamy soup base that cooks up almost like a pudding. The vegetables studded throughout make it easy to eat and wonderful to look at. This is a great meal for kids, too, because the mild flavors work wonders with them. I only used carrots and onion in mine, but I can definitely see how chopped broccoli, cauliflower, peas, lima beans or even finely-chopped kale would be wolfed down in an instant by even a picky eater.

Pheasant’s Creamy Rice and Mushroom Casserole

1/2 c uncooked white rice

1 c water

1 10-oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup

chopped vegetables

garlic powder and cayenne to taste

Set your oven to 350°F (171°C.)

In a small sauce pot, combine the rice and water. Bring it to a boil, then lower to the barest simmer and allow it to cook. Once it’s finished, do not remove the lid. Simply remove the rice from the burner and set it aside; the steaming part is essential to separate grains and to avoid nasty, gluey rice.

While the rice is cooking, line a loaf pan (or double the recipe and use an 8×8 brownie pan) with tin foil. Spray the foil with Pam. Chop the vegetables into approximately uniform pieces and spread them in the pan. You don’t have to be pretty with it…they’ll get all mixed up anyway. Empty the entire can of soup mix into the baking pan and mix it with the vegetables. Empty the entire pan of rice into the baking pan and mix everything all together well, adding spices, tasting and correcting as you go.

Once it’s all mixed, pop that puppy in the oven for 30 minutes. Once finished, take it out and do your best not to eat it until somewhat more cooled. Serve up with your favorite protein, and enjoy!

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Filed under Pastas, grains and oatmeal