Grain/Rice Archive

Friday, February 5, 2010

ginger fried rice

fried egg on ginger fried rice

According to my calendar — the one I believe I just looked at for the first time since last September, when someone made my life go all date- and timeless — the Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day fall on the same day this year. In New York at least, the Lunar New Year is an excuse to eat egregious amounts of fried rice, spare ribs and to make your way through Chinatown streets over piles of strewn red paper* from firecrackers. Valentine’s Day, however, is dominated by French food because what could be more romantic than copious amounts of wine, butter, cheese, steak and chocolate?

brown jasmine ricejasmine ricegarlic, ginger and leeksbrowning the ginger and garlicfried ginger and garlic, crunchy bitsfrying an egg

Or, you could stay in and have a little of both. That’s what this ginger fried recipe is to me, a classic Chinese dish, clearly reinterpreted by a French hand. For one, it has leeks, which although used in both Chinese and French cooking, I can’t say I’ve ever seen them caramelized for fried rice. Second, egg isn’t scrambled into the dish, but pulled out, fried whole and laid on top of the rice. There are other deconstructions too: the ginger and garlic are fried until crisp and scattered over the dish, like bacon bits from the Far East, rather than tucked within. And rather than cooking the rice in gobs of soy sauce and sesame oil, both are conservatively drizzled on top at the end like droplets of a pan sauce.

cooking the leeks

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, January 7, 2010

barley risotto with beans and greens

barley risotto with beans and greens

So here’s a little eating-out confession: When we go out to restaurants, no matter how old-school posh or hot-new-It-chef-on-a-grungy-block, I rarely find myself moved to exclamation points over a piece of steak or a pasta dish; instead, it most of my ooh-ing and aah-ing is formed over the earnest piles of beans and grains and greens that form a bed for the main attraction. I’m always applauding the way a chef managed to get such flavorful beans, grains and even unloved greens, cooked so perfectly that I clean them out long before I stick my fork into the duck breast. I guess what I am trying to say is: A lot of people cook steak well. Making kale and wheat germ taste like nirvana itself is what really blows my mind.

pearled barley
red nightfall beans

It’s also, sadly, the place where the gap between what I pay others to cook and what I whip up at home is the greatest. I miss those sauces — those puddles of concentrated buttery rich brothy flavor! I want to splash in them! — I miss all of the in between spaces on my plate. I vow to conquer that this year. Bring on the puddles!

sad, old parmesan

Continued after the jump »

Monday, November 17, 2008

mushroom and barley pie

mushroom and barley pie

“So it’s a pie?”
“Well, it’s pie-like. I mean, it has a bottom crust and a top crust and it is filled with stuff. So yeah, pie.”
“With farro?”
“No, we have had barley sitting in the pantry for like a year so we’re going to eat that first.”
“Awesome.”
“And it has mushrooms and ricotta in it!”
“And bacon?”
“Ew, no. It’s a vegetarian Thanksgiving entree.”
“Can we have bacon on the side?”

barley, freefallingpile of creminimushroom barley ricottaegg washed

Anyway, perhaps if you don’t live in my apartment, you would be really excited to make this. I mean, I know I was. And lest you think Alex doesn’t like mushrooms and barley and vegetarian dishes, it is entirely not the case. But I have to admit, this is a wonderful dish (he’s eaten the leftovers, twice!) but it needs… something.

mushroom barley pieoh dufour

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, October 2, 2008

beef, leek and barley soup

beef, leek and barley soup

Seeing as my parents were spending the afternoon at my apartment on Sunday so I could pilfer content for my site from their recipe box, I figured the least I could do was make them some lunch. And although it is not quite soup weather yet, I have not been able to get my mind off of a recipe I read recently, so soup it was.

barley

Oh, but this is not just any soup. This will be, hands down and no contest, the easiest soup you have ever made. You’re not going to believe how simple it is, and what you get as a result–something so unbelievably hearty, you’ll never have room for your next course. It’s filling and healthy and warming and delicious and oh my god, I bet you just want me to cut to the chase already, don’t you?

about to simmer

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

pearl couscous with olives and roasted tomatoes

pearl couscous with olives and roasted tomatoes

I’ve had a minor fixation with Israeli couscous, the larger, more pearl-like variety of couscous, since my first year of graduate school. A friend of one of my housemates who was working as a live-in nanny-slash-cook for a wealthy family in Bethesda, brought over some leftovers from the family’s dinner and what was this? This smattering of white polka dots through a tangle of greens and vegetables? You call it couscous, too? Why has nobody told me about this before!

Continued after the jump »