Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chicken fried rice


Chicken Fried Rice

I've posted some version of this recipe before, without the chicken and with shiitake mushrooms. Want to look at that recipe? Click here.

Here's what I'm providing in this post, should you prefer a fresher read, a more abridged recipe, followed by a photo essay of what I made yesterday.

I made this for a group of people (eleven people total, I think) that came to my house. I neglected to take into account that this was a pot luck. Moreover, I am accustomed to cooking in large quantities; this probably has 14-16 servings. Yup. The photo essay stops abruptly, because I was late as a hostess and company had already started to arrive. Oh, and my other confession is that the rice ended up being a bit drying than my liking.

The abridged recipe - Chicken Fried Rice:

  • 5 cups of medium grain rice (measured b/f cooking).
  • 1 small package of frozen mixed vegetables.
  • a few cloves of garlic, diced
  • half a cup of chicken broth (ish).
  • 6 eggs.
  • soy sauce.
  • sea salt.
  • chicken breast, cut into small pieces.
  • modest amount of olive oil.

Cook the rice separately; I used a rice cooker, so I wouldn't have to constantly monitor it on the stove and worry about it burning. Microwavable rice is simply not an option for me. Once the rice is done, dump in a large pot.

In a pan, place some garlic and olive oil inside, and turn the stove just under medium heat. Once the garlic starts sizzling and smells wonderful, stir fry the egg, adding a touch of sea salt. Once the egg is done, add it to the rice. Gently stir the rice and egg concoction. Repeat the garlic and olive oil, a bit of sea salt, add to pot process with the chicken and the frozen vegetables separately (the chicken and then the vegetables). Make sure the fried rice is mixed well and serve.

Unabridged Version of the Recipe for Chicken Fried Rice:


5 cups of medium grain rice. Oh, how rice is a vital part of my everyday meals.

This rice cooker is a piece in the kitchen that gets a lot of wear and tear. I'm usually cooking rice in it at least twice a day. I do so love freshly cooked medium grain rice.

Six eggs.

Frozen vegetables. After all, part of this blog's title is "quick." At some point, I need to make good on that part of the title. No washing or cutting of vegetables necessary as a result of this ingredient. Yay!

Cloves of garlic. I happened to use five yesterday. I enjoy garlic so much, I have a hard time remembering there are people who don't appreciate it so much.

Olive oil. Only enough to keep the eggs or chicken breast from sticking to the pan. No more than a few (perhaps a couple) of tablespoons necessary.

Sea salt. A modest amount.

Soy sauce. Just enough to give some of the rice color. I believe we, the average Americans, have become a bit too accustomed to drowning our foods in saltiness, sweetness, or some other variation of flavor. That sort of practice not only is bad for our health, but that doesn't give us a chance to enjoy the natural flavors of the ingredients (i.e. the chicken, eggs, or vegetables). As tempting as it might be, I highly recommend going lighter (read, less) on the soy sauce; don't let people be confused and believe you're using brown colored rice because you drowned the rice in soy sauce).

Chicken broth. I added just a bit when stir frying the vegetables. I hadn't washed the pan after frying the eggs or chicken, to maintain the flavor of what had been cooked previously.

Frozen chicken breast. I'm doing things on a tight budget. So, I buy chicken breast when it's on sale and that usually means it's sold in a family size. Once i buy it, I cut and slice it immediately, separate it into smaller bags, and freeze it.

The process:

Dice the garlic.

Crack the contents of the eggs into a bowl.

Beat them. I've used chopsticks for such purposes for as long as I can remember.

Here's the cooked rice thrown into a larger pot, with soy sauce drizzled onto it.

The eggs, after they have been fried, dropped into the pot.

Eggs and rice stirred.

Chicken breast, after it had been fried, dropped into the pot.

And my company had arrived, so my photograph taking came to an abrupt end. The end.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lily Chang's Hot and Sour Soup


Lily's Hot and Sour Soup

If you are new here, you need to know that I've been cooking for a long time now, using my sense of smell and taste. I also think of the dish I am making as a work of art. Taste, smell, and presentation all matter. That being said, rules are made to be broken, and recipes, such as this one, are completely my own. Stuff like celery, corn, and tomatoes are not standard fare in "traditional" hot and sour soups. That's why I've titled this Lily's Hot and Sour Soup, not that other recipes on this blog aren't mine; it's just that this one's a bit more unique in personality. Capeesh?

If you are relatively new here, you should also know that I never cook the same dish exactly the same way. I also fudge on the amounts needed to make the item, because the truth is, I am not sure how much I use. I also do not usually cook with measuring spoons unless we're talking about desserts, and desserts are way out of my comfort zone for cooking.

The hot and sour soup I made this afternoon, well I neither had the time nor the energy to photograph the making process. So, you're stuck with this finished product. If you want some version of my recipe, here it is. What isn't on that recipe is sesame oil. Also, instead of using canned diced tomatoes, this afternoon I used fresh cluster tomatoes. My mouth is watering just thinking about the soup.

Chicken and Potato Curry


Chicken and Potato Curry

Yesterday afternoon, I made two dishes:
1. cucumber salad, and
2. chicken and potato curry.

I blogged about the former. Missed it? Click here, on cucumber salad, for my recipe. The curry soup I made was using this new (well, new to me) yellow curry paste I am using to cook, by Mae Ploy. Comes in a yellow plastic container. First time I made it, see my recipe here, burned me like crazy. And, I used only half the package.

Used the second half of the package yesterday. Thought I was doing better by defusing the heat with more potatoes (I used approximately 12 red potatoes, double the number from the last time I made it) and doused the curry with loads of milk.

This curry isn't the sort that makes the lips burn. It tastes subtly spicy hot initially and gets hotter. Yesterday I ate what I had made with plenty of rice; didn't seem to rescue me much. I was at the debilitating mercy of the spicy hot, but flavorful, curry.

A couple of my friends at Starbucks tried it last night, and they reiterated what my husband said, tastes great. One of the two hardly found it spicy whatsoever. What the heck? Alright, so I revise my commentary to say: the chicken and potato curry dish is spicy enough to tease those who are avid spicy food eaters but can burn non-spicy eaters out of the house.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cucumber Salad


Cucumber Salad

I'm calling this a cucumber salad, for lack of a better term.

Immediately is just the recipe itself, followed by a photo essay with more details for the recipe.

  • 1/2 an onion, cut into very thin, moon-shaped pieces
  • 4 cluster tomatoes, diced
  • 5 small, seedless cucumbers, peeled and cut into somewhat thin pieces and quartered
  • sea salt - 2 tsp*
  • rice vinegar - 1 tbs*
  • white, granulated sugar - 1 tbs*

Place the aforementioned ingredients into a large enough container to allow it to soak up the natural juices that will result from the salt and vinegar interacting with the vegetables and onion. Let it sit for awhile (to soak up the salt, vinegar, and sugar), in the refrigerator (if you want to eat it cold - great for a hot day) before serving.


Here's the more unabridged, photo essay version of the recipe.


Half of this. An onion.

4 cluster tomatoes. Love fresh stuff.

5 seedless cucumbers.

Sea salt.

Followed by rice vinegar. Other types of vinegar, such as balsamic vinegar, are fine, too; but they will color or dye the vegetables. Not so visually appealing those other vinegars.

White granulated sugar.

Here's the preparation process.

Half the onion.

Then cut thinly, as thin as you can muster. I'm not a master cutter.

As for the tomatoes, begin by halving them.

Then, take a half and cut into smaller pieces.

Dice those babies.

Cucumbers. I peeled mine and cut the ends off. Then cut them like so.

Then half each piece, like so.

Here's where my memory gets fuzzy.

1 tablespoon of sugar.

1 tablespoon of rice vinegar.

2 teaspoons of sea salt.

Mix everything.

Let sit and then serve.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring, spring, spring is in the air, and so am I

We've been getting thunderstorms the past couple days (today included). Even got a brief tornado warning. Trees are budding, flowers are starting to show their colors. We have cool mornings and cool evenings. Sometimes we've got unpredictable weather. All remnants of the spring season; I love it. This is one of my favorite seasons, if not the favorite. Because I love spring and because I love my spouse, I made three dishes this afternoon, whilst the girls were off dreaming in dreamland.

First on the chopping block, guacamole. Mmm, mmm goodness. Don't believe me? Come over for some. I'm not known for stinginess.


Next, I made a cucumber salad of sorts. Seedless cucumber, sea salt, sugar, rice vinegar.

Last but not least, I made potato and chicken curry. Tried a new curry thing.

Delicious, but also very spicy and very salty. Not for the non-spicy or mild folks. Seriously. And I only used half the package. For those who think spiciness is a way of enjoying for, this is for you. This isn't spicy and nothing else; it has a wonderful richness to it. What else? It has no added MSG and no preservatives.

For what I made, here's my recipe:

  • Mae Ploy Yellow Curry Paste - half a package
  • 6 potatoes (should have used double the amount)
  • chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • half an onion, diced
  • milk

I cooked the potatoes in a pot separately. In a pan, I caramelized the onion, using a bit of olive oil. Then I put the chicken breast into the pan. Once the chicken breast was fully cooked, I dumped everything else in (potatoes, the curry paste, milk).
There it is folks, the chicken and potato curry. Excellent over rice.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chicken Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya


Chicken Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

I've cooked jambalaya a number of times now, and I really have no excuse for not getting it just the way I want. Even worse, I offered some to my neighbors before even tasting it; worst thing a chef (can I call myself that? probably not) can do is not taste her food first. I was late for an engagement, and I had my husband try it. Doesn't work for an excuse? Then, I've got none.

He (my husband) said it was spicy hot but in terms of overall goodness it was comparable or better than the other times I've made it. My neighbor left me a message saying she and her husband enjoyed the soup and didn't find it too spicy. But, they like spicy hot stuff. All this is to say, this recipe, the way I prepared it, may work for people who add hot sauce to everything they eat. You may not even be phased by this. However, for those who are not seasoned and adjusted to spicy foods, beware. Beware!

What follows is an abridged recipe, followed by a photo essay of part of the preparation process. I didn't take photographs of the cooking process, since I'm still at the mercy of a camera without a working flash and there was too little natural sunlight in the kitchen when I was working.

  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp rubbed sage
  • 2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • a few pinches of red pepper flakes
  • some sea salt
  • a few cloves of garlic, diced
  • a small to medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 things of green onions
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 package of carrots (1 lb), diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 5 or 6 small ripe tomatoes (fresh)
  • small can of tomato sauce (14 oz., approximately)
  • 1 cup of rice (measuring the rice before it's cooked), medium grain rice
  • 1-3 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire
  • chicken sausage (all natural, no preservatives or additives, no msg), cut into pieces
  • 16 medium sized raw shrimp
  • Cook the shrimp and chicken sausage separate from everything else. Truly successful soups, I believe, need to always do this. Don't overcook the meat and make it shrivel up super small and chewy. In a pan, I threw in the diced onion with a bit of olive oil and caramelized the onion. Once caramelized, I took most of it out and set it aside. Dropped the sliced chicken sausage into the pan. Once that was cooked thoroughly, I left the chicken broth that came through the cooking process but removed the chicken sausage and set it aside. Dropped the shrimp into the pan and cooked it until it was done. Again, I set the shrimp aside.
  • In a large pot (I used a stock pot, because I'm known for making huge quantities), everything else goes in - the vegetables, the herbs, chicken broth, water, the garlic, etc. I cooked the rice separately, in a rice cooker; and once the rice was done, it, too, went into the pot. Once everything has had time to soak up the flavor and the vegetables are tender to liking, put in the onions, chicken sausage, and shrimp; the soup is ready to serve.

Keep following along in this post for the photo essay and for some cutting tips, if you're interested.

Here are the ingredients I used this time cooking:


Rubbed Sage.

Ground mustard seed.

Ground black pepper.

Ground white pepper.

Cayenne pepper. This is the sort of pepper that takes the heat up exponentially.

Red chili pepper flakes. I love Trader Joe's. They need to open some stores here in the Denver area. Please?!!!!

Fine sea salt.

Garlic. Oh how I long for you.

Medium yellow onion. It was the cheapest of the onions available.

Green onions.

Cluster tomatoes.



15 oz can of tomato sauce.

Chicken broth.


Worcestershire sauce. Mmmmm.

Rice - medium grain. I cannot live without you.

Raw shrimp with shell in tact.

Chicken sausage - no preservatives or additives or msg. All natural. Made daily.

Thus begins the preparation process.

Peel and cut the ends off.


Sometimes into quarters.

Celery, cut into somewhat small pieces.

Onion - cut off one end.

And then cut off the other end. Peel the top layer off and throw away.

Cut in half this way.

Then slice thinly from one end to the other like so.

Then I sliced perpendicular from the last, two cuts.

Green onions. Chop somewhat fine.

Like so.

Dice the garlic.

Tomatoes. I don't have a problem with the seeds or any other part. First, cut each tomato in half.

Then cut them into wedges like this.

Then finish the dicing process by cutting them in a perpendicular position.


Ready to make your own?