Friday, March 23, 2012

Dinner born of desperation

Sometimes I have no idea what to cook.  Sometimes I don't have what I want to cook in the house and sometimes it is a perfect storm of both.  The problem is that we recently lost our local grocery store.  It was a smaller local chain with tons of local products, the nicest employees in the world that also happened to be right on my way home.  Well a big mega-chain store has been wrangling to take over for a while and they finally won.  The local grocery is gone and the mega-store is preparing to gobble up all of the surrounding real estate and open with a giant shiny store at some point in the future.  Thing is, I won't shop there.  I liked my market and they killed it.  And I hold grudges.  But this is all neither here nor there.  Fact is that when I got ready to cook dinner the other night, I had no idea what I wanted to make.  And then it hit me, fried rice.  The idea hit me, not the rice.  That would have been messy.

Fried rice is tasty, quick and surprisingly kid friendly.  I also managed to have everything on hand to whip up a batch in no time flat.

Fried Rice Out of Thin Air

1 cup uncooked rice
2 Tbsp oil
1 medium sweet onion finely chopped
2 cups chopped or shredded veggies (I happened to have a package of Trader Joe's broccoli slaw on hand so I used that.  Incidentally, this is great for throwing into soups, sloppy Joe's, scrambled eggs or anywhere else you want to add a little veg.)
1/2 lb frozen shrimp (mine was still frozen and it worked out well, but feel free to thaw it if you prefer)
2 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp mirin
4 eggs
Cook the rice according to the package and set it aside.  
In a large pan, heat your oil.  Once heated, add your onion and cook until slightly soft. (I call for  a sweet onion, but a regular onion would probably work just as well.)  Once that is done, throw in your veggies and shrimp.  Stir constantly until the veggies start to soften slightly.  If you are not using your shrimp frozen, you'll probably want to cook the veg a bit before adding the shrimp or they'll get over cooked.  Once everything is all tender and cooked, add the liquid ingredients and toss them together.  Then dump in the rice and stir until it is all coated in the delicious sauce.

Cover your pan and in a frying pan with a bit of oil, fry your eggs.  Serve the rice mixture in bowls with a freshly fried egg on top (or you can scramble them and mix them in, I just think this looks a bit more like a proper meal).  If you have a kimchi lover in your house, heap some on top and if they're anything like Mr. Dog they'll probably squeal "Kimchi!" with delight when you serve them.

This makes 4 big portions or 6 smallish portions.  You can add more veggies to it if you want to add volume and cut the caloric density.