Friday, February 26, 2010

'Deconstructed' Ginger & Garlic Fried Rice

Right now, I am eating while blogging. This is a first for me. Usually, I think, "Dood, there's no way I would interrupt quality time with my food. Writing comes after eating." But no, at this very moment, I'm practically licking dribbling creamy egg yolk from my bottom lip (and a little piece of rice) because I shoveled a bite in my mouth while the previous sentence was being created. I am so insanely excited about this recipe that I want to share it with the world ASAP.



Patience is needed though - I need to preface this recipe by first giving credit where credit is due. I first saw this thumbnail of culinary magnificence on a blog that my blogger buddy Matt Litman reminded me of: Smitten Kitchen. I love this blog because her recipes are so approachable and her photography is absolutely beautiful. She could probably make my mouth water simply with an elegant photo of a green onion - my least favorite food ever. Anyway, I was flipping through her beautiful photography, and I came across one with a sunny side up egg over rice..........c'mon really? A fried egg. over white rice. with soy sauce? That was me and every asian kid's staple breakfast and dinner in college. So - naturally, I had to see what all the fuss was about and it led me to Mark Bittman's version of a Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe. I watched Mark Bittman's video, and he referred to the final masterpiece as something like a "Deconstructed fried rice". Here's my second....."c'mon really?" Not everything needs to be deconstructed - this is chinese food, not a michelin star rated restaurant that also includes molecular gastronomy in their menu.

So tonight was the night that I would set my doubts aside and test greatness. My boyfriend is gone for a bachelor party weekend, and I'm cooking for one - perfect recipe for it. The verdict: Oh BOY do I stand corrected. This is a staple college dinner on steroids, and you can call it deconstructed or not.....it's FABULOUS. What makes it is the fried ginger and garlic crisps, along with the savory leeks and chewy sweet rice, mixed with creamy egg yolk. It's an amazing balance of flavors and textures - and it's SO easy to do. Before I go into the ingredients and everything else...I'm frying up another egg and going for seconds. Oh heaven.


Ingredients

1/2 cup peanut oil (Jean-Georges apparently uses chicken fat......ummm...next time?)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
Salt
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
4 cups day-old cooked jasmine rice
4 large eggs

2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons soy sauce

Add half of the oil into a medium pan over medium heat and add garlic and ginger. Swirl the pan around occassionally until the bits are crisp and brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic and ginger onto a paper towel. Reserve the oil.


In another pan, add the remaining oil over low-medium heat, add leeks, a pinch of salt and cook until tender and lightly brown. Add the rice and stir until heated through. To add more flavor, drizzle a bit of the reserved oil from the ginger and garlic and stir well. Salt to taste.

In a nonstick skillet over low-medium heat, fry the eggs sunny side up. To serve, scoop 1/4 of the rice on a plate, top with one egg, drizzle sesame oil and soy sauce over the dish, and finish with a generous sprinkling of crisp ginger and garlic.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Three Aioli



I'm starting off this post by saying that I'm not a mayo person. I end up scraping it off sandwiches if there's too much of it, I'd rather use olive oil and vinegar in my tuna salads, potato salads, etc... But aioli (prounounced EYE-OH-LEE).....for some reason, it's a different story. Perhaps because it's got a fancy name - or when I have it, it's usually from a restaurant so I have this vision in my head of them whipping it up from scratch vs. squeezing off-white goop out of a bottle. Plus, it's flavored! - usually with garlic.....which....mmmm.....I'm speechless.

I've got a dinner party to go to tonight! It's BYOB - Build Your Own Burger. Everyone jus
t brings their own fave burger building yummies - avocado, mushrooms, onions, cheese, etc - whatever the heck you want and we just make various different sliders. I'll probably go to the store to pick up a couple of avocados and onions for caramelizing but I wanted to make something special and different. So - I thought - AIOLI. Plus, we're having sweet potato fries, and it'd be perfect for dipping!

To increase variety, I ended up making a big batch of it, then flavored it three different ways: Smoked Paprika and Chipotle, Garlic, and Pesto. Yum yum yum yum yum....that, spread on a mini dinner roll, with a flat beefy meatball. HOORAH! How could you go wrong!?!?



Before I get into all the ingredients and such - note: if you're the one making the aioli, I guarantee that you'll burn the calories you'll end up consuming. It requires a good amount of elbow grease.

Ingredients
1 Egg Yolk
1 pinch salt
2 Cups Olive Oil
2 Tbs Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Chipotle

1 clove garlic - mashed

3 tsp pesto

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk and salt until well combined. SLOWLY - starting with one or two drops at a time, add the olive oil. Whisk consistently. Once you've started the emulsion, it should look a little thicker and a bit more opaque than the egg yolk you started out with, you can start drizzling the olive oil in a thin steady stream, while whisking the whole time. Alternate drizzling the olive oil and lemon juice depending on the consistency you want. Once all the olive oil incorporated, separate the aioli base into three different containers. Mix the Smoked Paprika/Chipotle, Garlic Clove and Pesto in each separate bowl. Keep refrigerated until serving.