Every week, I take a moment to scan apartment dÃ©cor blogs, book suggestion blogs, and food suggestion blogs. With each type of blog, I have a system: for the apartment, I gloss over anything that won’t stand up to one hyperactive dog and one passive-aggressive cat that scratches the furniture and then accidentally-on-purpose manages to swipe the dog sitting on that furniture; for books, I completely skip over anything whose cover looks like it was “enhanced” with one of those highly questionable Instagram filters. For food blogs, I have a much more extensive list of “Nopes!”
For starters, living the meat-free life always presents limitations. As fun as it is to scope out meaty recipes for spice ideas, the majority of my time is still spent looking at veg-friendly blogs. Since I am already skipping over a relatively large swathe of food, I refuse to engage in food blogs or recipes that scream “sugar free!” or “gluten free!” or “fat free!” or “all cardboard and electrical tape – actual food free!” I understand the role of these blogs ““ people with diabetes and gluten intolerance and pancreatic issues need to eat, too ““ but I have decided that for myself, meat-free is a sufficient limitation. I’ll pass on the bacon, but dear lord do not skimp on the olive oil! So anything that tells me that is sugar and fat free is something, given my current dietary restrictions, that I can happily skip over.
This week has been a full-fat week and I kicked it off in style with fried rice. The secret to a decent rice fry is using old, cold rice. I mean, within limits ““ once the rice has visible signs of life in the form of frantically reproducing mold and other micro-flora, then it has past the point of fried rice and has entered the realm of putrid science experiments. So, getting back to the cold rice, fried rice is an excellent way to use up bonus rice ““ it is pretty quick, it is pretty delicious, and it is just straight up pretty. I don’t use egg in mine (Shock! Horror! Panda-ovium! ) and if you want to use egg you totally should, but you’ll have to throw it in on your own time. Here’s what I’ve got:
- 3 cups cold rice.
- Vegetable oil for all the frying (sesame oil would be great, but it can be expensive), but leave a little room for chili oil.
- Fresh vegetables of your choice. Frozen will work, too, but be careful to watch how watery they get. If you go frozen, it is probably a good idea to heat them up before adding the rice. I particularly like using broccoli because it catches the flavor, and mushrooms because who doesn’t like mushrooms, and onions because they are flavor bombs. Shallots and green onion are also excellent additions.
- I also like to add tofu, but you do you.
- As for spices, I go with ginger, paprika, black pepper, a little garlic powder (especially since I am always running out of real garlic ““ damn my insatiable appetite for garlic). I also do a couple drops of chili oil for extra heat.
Anyway, start with the oil. Add egg next if you go that way. If not, add the vegetables. Then add the tofu, rice, and soy sauce and spices. Stir and sing a little song about the deliciousness that awaits you and there you go.