Remember our cookbook club (fun NY Times story here / tips on how to start your own here)? Our last meeting, a couple of months ago now, was focused on Small Victories by Julia Turshen. We read, cooked, and ate from Julia’s new release and I’ve been meaning to share some of her words of wisdom with you as well as the recipe that I made that night – Kimchi Fried Rice with Scallion Salad.
Take it away Julia….
“There’s a theory out there in the ether that even the best cooks stuggle with cooking rice. I’m afraid I’ve suffered from poor rice cooking for a long time. The fail-proof method I’ve grown to love, especially for long-grain rice, with grains that are best when kept separate (as opposed to cozy short-grain rice, where the grains hug their neighbors), is to cook rice just as you would pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the rice, and boil until the grains are tender (10 to 15 minutes for most types of white rice, 35 to 40 for more types of brown rice). When the rice is done, drain it in a fine-mesh sieve and serve immediately with butter and salt, or let it cool and use it the next day for one of the best foods in the world: fried rice.
Leftover rice is best for making fried rice because the grains become very dry and then act as sponges for whatever flavors you combine them with. My favorite is cabbage kimchi, the fermented condiment that’s eaten with every meal in Korea. I came to love it when I worked on Kimchi Chronicles, the companion cookbook to the PBS program of the same name. Served with a simple scallion salad (a popular accompaniment to Korean barbecue), this is one of my favorite side dishes, and it makes for a wonderful, savory meal on its own if you top it with a fried or poached egg.”
PS. Next month our cookbook club is throwing it back and reading, cooking, and eating from The Silver Palate Cookbook. Chicken Marbella 4-EVA.
Kimchi Fried Rice with Scallion Salad from Small Victories
4 scallions, roots and dark green tops trimmed off
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
One 16-ounce jar cabbage kimchi, including juice
3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil, plus more as needed
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups day-old cooked brown or white rice
1 Tbsp soy sauce, plus more as needed
To make the scallion salad: Cut the scallions thinly on the diagonal or into small matchsticks. The best way to do this is to cut each scallion into three even pieces and then cut each piece in half lengthwise. Put each piece flat-side down on your cutting board and cut into thin strips. Put the scallions, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and sesame seeds in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
To make the fried rice: Put a sieve or colander over a bowl and drain the kimchi. Reserve the juice. Finely chop the kimchi and set it aside.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add the onion and garlic and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring now and then, until the onion just begins to turn translucent, about 5-minutes. Turn the heat to high, add the chopped kimchi, and cook, stirring now and then, until the edges of the kimchi become ever so slightly crisp and stick to the pan, about 5 minutes.
Crumble the rice into the skillet and stir throughly to combine. Add the reserved kimchi juice and cook, stirring, until the rice is warm and red through and through from the kimchi juice, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, drizzle over the soy sauce, and taste for seasoning, adding a bit more salt and/or soy sauce if needed.
Transfer the fried rice to a serving bowl (or portion straight from the skillet) and top with the scallion salad. Serve immediately.
I wrote The Beginner’s Guide to Juice Making for Food52. Check it out!
Whether you received a juicer over the holidays, are in the midst of a New Year’s resolution kick, or simply want to get more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet (who doesn’t?), you may be curious about juicing…click here to read the full article and get the recipes.
Photography by Elizabeth Cecil
My mom made this dressing, then my sister made it, then I made it and I keep making it. I think my new obsession with Tahini-Yogurt-Ginger Dressing is a response to the generous bowls of garden fresh veggies our neighbor drops off and those I happily buy at the bi-weekly farmer’s market. If you happen to be drowning in cherry tomatoes, greens, or really any vegetable at all, I suggest drizzling this creamy sauce overtop and digging in. I imagine it is just as good brushed across grilled chicken, steak, or mixed into potato salad. In fact, I’m certain it would taste great on almost anything.
Tahini-Yogurt-Ginger Dressing from this collection of summer dressings
Makes about 1 cup
2 tablespoon Greek yogurt
2 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoon minced scallions or chives
3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons lemon juice
8 tablespoons olive oil
In a bowl or jar, mix the yogurt, tahini, scallions and ginger. Add salt and pepper and then the lemon juice and olive oil. Stir or shake until thick and smooth.
We are just hanging out this week – no camp or any big plans so I am going to make this short and sweet (can you hear the eager kids under my feet?!). Today I am sharing a favorite warm weather dinner, Noodles with Baked Tofu & Raw Veggies. I have made a million versions of this dinner (tweaking the sauce, noodle type, variety of veggies, adding a fried egg) but it always hits the spot. The leftovers are great, stored separately, for lunch the next day too. And really, what doesn’t taste good with roasted and salted peanuts sprinkled on top?! I’ve even been known to chop up a handful of salted peanuts to top vanilla ice cream. Try it, you’ll thank me. But, we digress, back to the noodles…
Noodles with Baked Tofu & Raw Veggies
1 tablespoon canola oil (for greasing the pan)
1 16-oz block extra firm tofu
3 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, grated
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 pound fresh Asian noodles (I used ramen noodles)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon toastes sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon chili flakes (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
1 1/2 cups thinly peeled carrot
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
First, make the baked tofu. Place whole block of tofu on baking sheet and press with a heavy pan (I used our big cast iron) for at 30-60 minutes to release excess liquid. When ready, pre-heat the oven to 350F. Slice the pressed tofu into rectangles. Mix the honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and rice vinegar together. Gently toss tofu squares in the marinade and let them sit as long as you can (at least 30 minutes but you can do this ahead and store in the fridge), then lay the tofu on a greased baking sheet, brushing on any leftover marinade. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes then flip, baking for another 15 minutes. When slightly cool, slice into strips.
To prepare the salad, mix the vinegar, honey, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and chili flakes in a bowl until the honey dissolves. Prepare all vegetables and cook noodles according to package instructions. Toss warm noodles with half the dressing. Combine vegetables, cilantro, and tofu with the remaining sauce (dump in any leftover tofu marinade as well). Pile noodles onto individual plates, top with slaw, and finally with chopped peanuts.
It’s good that I mentioned taking Sunday afternoons to meal plan because I feel like you are all holding me accountable. So yes, I am sticking with it and in general the plan is working out well. We recently had this Ginger Fried Rice (with eggs) for dinner. The meal was a cinch to make, full of flavor, and easily customizable for each family member (sriracha, extra soy sauce, a sprinkling of sprouts, raw sesame seeds…).
The hours after dinner and before bed feel like a whole new day – Nick is home and we often head out as a family to the beach, a lawn concert, or friend’s house. It’s these after dinner outings that make it clear how important a real evening meal together is. When we are out of the house, the kids run around like maniacs, we go in four different directions, and anytime I try to pack a dinner to “eat” in these situations ends with a barely picked at spread and two kids requesting bananas at 8 pm. Three cheers for simple family dinners!
Ginger Fried Rice from Genius Recipes
1/2 cup peanut oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 cups rinsed and dried thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
4 cups cooked rice, preferably jasmine, at room temperature
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
4 teaspoons soy sauce
In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the peanut oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown, 3 to 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly.
Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-low and add 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil and the leeks. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not browned. Season lightly with salt.
Raise the heat to medium and add the rice. Cook, stirring often, until heated through. Season to taste with salt.
In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, fry the eggs in the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil, sunny-side-up, until the white is set but yolk is still runny.
Divide the rice among four dishes. Top each with an egg and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger over everything and serve.