Here I am, again, about to make excuses for why it’s been a little while since I posted. Are you ready? I wrapped up an avalanche of work on Monday last week. Tuesday I graduated, Wednesday I boarded an airplane, and Thursday evening I arrived in Stockholm, where my fella met me at the train station to help me lug my massively overweight luggage home. On Friday morning the in-laws arrived for a visit, and on Saturday afternoon we all boarded a ship for an overnight cruise of the Baltic Sea. We arrived in Helsinki on Sunday morning and spent the day touring around – we did a whirlwind of some favourite spots Paul and I discovered when we spent a week in Helsinki a few years ago. Sunday afternoon we got back on the same ship and cruised overnight back to Stockholm. The light sure is something at this time of year. The pictures below are me on the boat at sunset on the way to Helsinki, and midnight (more like 12:30am) on the Baltic en route back to Stockholm.
Back in Stockholm on Monday after the cruise, I got an opportunity to unpack and start settling back into my kitchen. Hello All Clad! Hello Le Creuset! Hello knives! I’ve missed you all so much! It’s such an amazing time of year to be returning to this part of the world; the long, light, warm days are a stark contrast to the dark and cold I left behind in December. This is definitely growing time, and local produce is becoming abundant. Road-side stands are boasting, among other things, the coveted Svenska jordgubbar (Swedish strawberries). Rest assured those will be headlining a post very soon.
This recipe, which is less of an actual recipe and more of a chat about a technique, is one of the last that I made and photographed in Vancouver before I left. The star of the show here is really asparagus, so I was pleased to find local asparagus in the Swedish markets as well upon my return. Local asparagus, like local strawberries, is one of those things that you can blink and miss, but is well worth the effort of seeking out while it is hanging around.
Fried rice is one of my standby meals. Like I mentioned back in this post, I make a habit of cooking up a big pot of whole grains early in the week with the intention of using them in a few different meals. Fried rice (or whatever grain) is almost always one of those meals. And I know I mentioned it before but I’ll say it again here; you can freeze cooked grains in individual portions. So go ahead and cook up a big ol’ pot of wild rice and stash some away in the freezer for busier days.
Some time ago my fried rice world got rocked when I figured out that the egg part of the dish could be cooked separately from the rice. Upon realizing this I finally figured out what it is that I never really cared for about eggs in fried rice; how when you cook it up with the rice and other ingredients, it tends to get lost. Maybe you dig it that way, and if so just go ahead and disregard this part of our chat, but f0r me this was revolutionary; I could cook up a plain, thin omelet, and then slide it out of the pan to rest for a moment while the other ingredients head into the same pan, then slice it into thin fluffy little ribbons before returning to the pan at the end. Genius! I’d like to say that I came up with this idea all on my own, but of course I did not, and also of course I owe credit to Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks. Typical.
Springtime Fried Wild Rice Recipe:
Inspired by 101 Cookbooks
What you decide to throw into your fried rice is up to you. Here I have used wild rice, but really you could use any grain. I’ve used brown rice, wild rice, barley, and quinoa in the past, all of which turned out really well in this kind of application. In-season asparagus, frozen shelled edamame, the best eggs I know of, red onion, and a bunch of chives from my mother’s garden turn up in this dish, finished with a ginger-y soy sauce and a splash of rice vinegar.
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 cups cooked wild rice or other whole grain, preferably a day or two old
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed of the woody end and cut into 2 cm pieces
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated or finely diced
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk until mixed well and slightly foamy. Add olive and sesame oils to the skillet. Pour the eggs into the skillet, and wait a moment before swirling to coat the pan. The egg should form a thin layer. When the bottom has set, carefully one side over the other, then flip the omelet over once before sliding out of the pan onto a cutting board.
Place the same skillet back on the heat and add the asparagus and edamame. Sautee, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes, then add the rice and the chives, and fry, stirring frequently, for another 2-3 minutes to heat the rice through.
Slice the omelet into thin strips, and slide back into the skillet with the rice mixture. Toss through, then add the soy, ginger, and rice vinegar. Toss to coat, turn off the heat, and serve immediately.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2011