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.
What’s happening around here? We cut our tree down / put our tree up, keep making / slurping Heidi Swanson’s Green Lentil Soup, and are playing Town Mountain’s I’m On Fire over and over and over. The winter trifecta. XO
Green Lentil Soup: Curry Powder, Brown Butter, Coconut Milk & Chives from Super Natural Everyday
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, or extra-virgin coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups green lentils or green split peas, picked over and rinsed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Indian curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
Fine-grain sea salt
1 bunch fresh chives, minced
Combine the 2 tablespoons butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, but can take as long as 50 minutes.
In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauce until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.
When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth. Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of salted broth. Serve drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives.
Hey there! I’m quickly popping in here to share a super delicious weeknight dinner or make ahead lunch recipe – Singapore Rice Noodles. I made this meal a couple of weeks ago as our packed lunch item for the week. I was feeling so smart and organized until I ended up eating half of the noodles immediately after cooking them and finished the rest off later that day – oh well, back to mid-day salads.
This recipe is extremely adaptable to whatever quick cooking vegetables you have on hand from zucchini to summer squash, asparagus, cauliflower, or bok choy. If you have leftover chicken in the fridge simply shred the meat and replace the cubed tofu. The noodles are good warm or at room temperature.
Singapore Rice Noodles slightly adapted from It’s All Easy
serves 4 to 6
7 ounces thin rice noodles
4 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
½ cup finely chopped broccoli
½ cup chopped green beans (½-inch pieces)
½ cup fresh or frozen peas
7 ounces firm tofu, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon madras curry powder, or more to taste
1 large egg
¼ cup tamari
2 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt, if desired
1. Soak the rice noodles in hot water for 10 minutes or according to the package instructions.
2. Meanwhile, heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon each of the peanut and sesame oils. When the oils are hot but not smoking, add the onion and cook, untouched, for 1 minute to sear. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes more. Transfer the onion to a bowl.
3. Add the broccoli, green beans, peas, tofu, and another tablespoon of peanut oil to the pan. Sauté over high heat until the veggies are just cooked through and the tofu is beginning to brown (about 2 minutes); transfer the veggies and tofu to the bowl with the onion.
4. Add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, the soaked and drained noodles, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and stir to combine.
5. Make a hole in the middle of the noodles, add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil, and crack in the egg. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon and let scramble until almost cooked through, then mix in with the noodles.
6. Add the tamari, scallions, and cilantro and stir everything to combine. Taste for seasoning, add salt if necessary, and serve.
A couple of weeks ago Design Mom interviewed me about our house and what it’s like to live year-round on Martha’s Vineyard. She sent along 10 really insightful questions for us to answer. The whole process allowed me to sit and reflect on how much work we (well, mostly Nick) has done to our house and organize my thoughts about the pros and cons of living here. I came out of it feeling even more grateful for this home and community. I’ve included the interview questions here and a link to my answers at the bottom on the post.
I’m sure you’ve seen glimpses inside our house on my instagram page but if you haven’t here is a sneak peak inside. Someday I want to share the before pictures too but that requires some organizing and digging. And what’s with this big chicken you’re asking? I decided to spontaneously roast a whole bird earlier in the week and it was such a good move for many reasons: 1. One-pot dinner! 2. We’re on day 5 of cold and rain 3. I ate the leftover vegetables with eggs for breakfast this morning 4. I made stock in the slow cooker for soup tonight. So much goodness has come out of this simple meal.
Spring Roast Chicken
1 4 to 5 pound chicken
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
Small bunch scallions, ends trimmed
1 lemon, sliced into rounds
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 F and toss all the vegetables, sliced lemon, a few glugs of olive oil, salt, and pepper, in the bottom of a roasting pan. Put the chicken on top of the vegetables, tie the legs together, fold in the wings, and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle over salt and pepper.
Roast for 1 1/2 hours, rotating the pan half way through. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Psst – I know the edges of the vegetables look burned but I promise they don’t taste that way.
1. Tell us who lives here! All the quirks. Maybe how you and your husband met, what you both do for work, and a few unique details about your kids.
2. Tell us where, exactly, you live. Describe your neighborhood, neighbors, why you love it, why you don’t love it, housing prices (NO ONE EVER TALKS PRICES!), and the cool things nearby. Also, MARTHA’S VINEYARD! All the things we couldn’t get from a guide book!
3. How did this home become yours? Describe the process of finding and then making it yours. Was it hard? Effortless? Any tricks to buying in your area?
4. A 1924 cottage! Tell us how hard it is to modernize a property like that! All the nitty gritty details that no one ever tells you before a project like this.
5. You write cookbooks! Tell us about that. Where did you get your start? Give us some interesting highlights!
6. You and your husband are both artists; how does that affect your design choices? Is it more difficult to choose how you want to live with your kids? Are you more unwilling to give in to ugly toys or messes? How do you integrate their style with your own?
7. What are the quirks of living on MV?! Any celebrity sightings?
8. What do you hope your kids remember from this home and you as their parents?
9. What has been your absolute favorite thing about living with your own kids? What do you already miss?
10. Please finish the sentence: I wish someone had told me (and I had listened!)…
Most people I know are just beginning a spring cleanse of some sort. Although this season seems to push us all towards cleaning up our eating habits, the people I talk to all seem to be doing it for different reasons. One friend just weaned her baby and wants to experiment with her diet, another recently returned from a warm vacation full of sugary drinks, and a third has watched her diet suffer due to family stress. For me, I just feel gross and want to feel better (those samosas yesterday didn’t help). Nick and I are starting the Whole 30 next week and despite not really knowing what it is (okay, I know the basics but need to research all the details) I am really excited to dive in.
This pretty chicken dinner fits into most programs, maybe with a few tweaks, was yummy, and is something I’ll make again. We ate it with rice but a big skillet of garlicky greens would be even better.
Ginger-Scallion Chicken Breasts in Parchment
Serves 4: From Clean Slate
1/3 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup tamari
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 piece (4 inches) peeled fresh ginger: 3 inches finely grated; the remainder sliced
4 scallions, white and light-green parts only, finely chopped; plus more, julienned, for garnish
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Soak mushrooms in the boiling water until soft, about 15 minutes. Lift mushrooms with a slotted spoon or a sieve; thinly slice mushrooms.
2. Stir together tamari, sesame oil, vinegar, honey, and sliced ginger in a baking dish. Stir together chopped scallions and grated ginger in a bowl.
3. Cut chicken in half lengthwise to make 4 pieces total. Make a slit in one side of each piece to create a pocket, leaving other side intact. Spoon scallion-ginger mixture into each piece, dividing evenly. Transfer chicken to baking dish with tamari mixture. Marinate at room temperature, turning halfway through, 20 minutes.
4. Cut four 12-by-17 -inch pieces of parchment. Fold each in half crosswise to make a crease, then unfold and lay flat. Arrange a chicken piece on one side of crease of each parchment rectangle; top with mushrooms and sauce. Fold parchment over ingredients, creating half-moon shape. Make small overlapping pleats to seal open sides. Cook on 2 rimmed baking sheets 10 minutes (chicken’s internal temperature should be 165 F). Open packets, garnish with julienned scallions, and serve immediately.