I’m sneezing every 2 minutes. I can hardly remember what I was doing pre-sneeze, which made my efficiency drop at an all time low. *sneezes*
What was I saying? Never mind. Anyway, I’m supposed to go swimming later but now I’m not so sure if I should immerse my poor body in cold pool water for an hour. I might cook and feed my friends instead. And squeeze some painting or reading before that. (I do have a thick paperback in my little handbag. I can’t wait for my Kindle 3 to arrive! 🙂 )
So… what should I make tonight? Last night was a fun, vegetarian night with Dad. I made tomato pasta with red wine and a side dish of fresh avocado. I’m thinking of some rice tonight. Shrimp fried rice? Teriyaki mushroom and fish with rice? I have to swing by our little Safeway to see if they have fish or seafood. While I was researching recipes, I found a few useful tips from Steamy Kitchen when cooking fried rice:
Use previously chilled leftover rice
Here’s rule #1. You have to use yesterday’s (or earlier) cooked rice as it’s had a chance to dry out a bit in the refrigerator. The heat of the pan and the soy sauce will re-steam and hydrate the leftover rice. If you try to use freshly cooked, hot rice (like I did years ago,) you’ll end up with too much moisture in the rice and will make a heavy mess in the pan.
High heat is essential in cooking fried rice
But high heat doesn’t mean that you need super high BTU’s or a gas stove. All it takes is a bit of patience to let your pan or wok heat up. The high heat ensures that whatever ingredients that you put into the pan gets fried quickly and that each grain of rice gets hot to the core.
Fry ingredients separately
Fried rice has many different ingredients, and in my home it’s usually just a mixture of whatever vegetables, meats or seafood I can scrounge up from the refrigerator or freezer. But whatever the ingredients, you want to make sure that you can taste each individual one. To do this, you’ve got to fry your meat or seafood first, remove from the wok or pan when 80% cooked through and then toss it back in towards the end of the stir fry to finish cooking. Because if you try to fry all of the ingredients at the same time in the same pan, they’ll all compete for “wok time” and everything will end up tasting exactly the same!
No no touching!
A common mistake of stir frying is to constantly poke, prod, turn and flip every second. In a restaurant kitchen where flames are so powerful they can singe your brows, chefs have to keep things moving. But in home kitchens, our stovetops need a little more time to do their work to heat up and cook our food. If you keep poking at the rice, the grains will break, release more starch and turn the entire thing goopy. It will never have a chance to fry correctly…not enough “wok time” as my Mom likes to say. The best thing is to do is to spread out the rice, use the entire cooking surface of the pan and just leave it alone. Put your spatula down and back away from the stove for a minute. Give the rice a chance to heat up. Then flip, toss and redistribute the rice, again spreading it out and leaving it alone to cook another side.
*sneezes* Hmm. Shrimp fried rice with warm pumpkin soup is starting to seem more attractive by the minute.
While I’m slowly trying to be more comfortable in the kitchen, Chris is torturing himself in the yard. It’s just like Chris to do something ridiculously romantic. Instead of just welcoming me with a bunch of roses when we see each other again before the wedding, he wants to give me a whole garden. ♥ And not just any garden, one that’s complete with pretty pave stones (so we can walk comfortably around) and a cornucopia of flowers, fruit bushes and dwarf trees. I discovered that lavender repels bugs, there are flowers that smell like chocolates and that you have to kill grass, mulch the ground, and make sure you’ve gotten rid of those plant-killing grubs. At this rate, I’ll can just pick flowers from the garden and make my own wedding bouquet. (I’m secretly impressed. I’m an idiot in the garden. And who wouldn’t love a beautiful flowerbed?)
It’s too bad that he’s lost a lot of weight from the gardening when he’s the type who really should gain weight instead of losing it. Which brings me back to my new kitchen hobby. *sneezes*
Chris grudgingly acknowledged that I can out-eat him, and he’s horrified with how much and how often Filipinos usually eat within the day. I haven’t even told him about bopis, isaw or betamax yet. We’re the bottomless pits of Southeast Asia and I advised him to bring his Tums along when we visit the homeland for the first time because my family will insist on feeding us.