Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Garden's Bounty - Garden Fried Rice

I'm excited about this recipe.  It's actually not all that thrilling - kind of what I call "plain" food.  You taste the ingredients, the spices are not super rich.  But I had several goals in mind when I came up with it, and this recipe served me well.  In the future, I'll try to mark other recipes that also meet similar goals.
  • Use up zucchini and squash from the garden
  • Be very economical, which means I had to have things on hand and use no meat.
  • Be filling and diet friendly.  I did not measure or do a calorie count, but this recipe is heavy on veggies, heavy on whole grains, light/no fats or dairy (which I understand are part of a healthy diet, but I've already eaten plenty of those today)
This would make a vegetarian main dish to serve about 3-4 very hungry people, or a side dish for 5-6.  It's super basic - wide open to changes.  Halved cherry tomatoes would be great with the squashes (mine aren't ready yet), jalapenos, banana peppers, or cayenne with the onions would make it pop.  Any other ripe veggies that you would normally saute or stir fry would fit right in.  Salsa on top would swing it mexican, without requiring sour cream or cheese.  Or go ahead and add shredded extra sharp cheddar to a plate full - believe me, I would have LOVED to eat this dish like that!

I recommend a very large skillet - look into getting the 13.25" from Lodge Cast Iron if you cook like this a lot - that's what I have.  It's worth the investment.  Also, a good, sharp metal-blade spatula that can stand up to heavy scraping to keep your food from tearing as you stir.

Garden Fried Rice
Serves 4-6

This entire recipe is cooked in the same skillet, in 2 shifts.  The ingredients marked with an * came from my garden and farm.

First Shift:
EVOO spray
3-4 small/medium yellow summer squash*
3-4 small/medium zucchini*
big handful garlic chives in 2" pieces*
2 cloves pressed garlic*
salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder, to taste

Second Shift:
2-3 teaspoons olive oil or EVOO spray

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced*
2C cold, cooked rice (preferably brown)
2C cooked/canned pinto beans (rinse well if canned in salt)
big handful basil leaves, slivered*
2-3 eggs*
salt, pepper, onion & garlic powder, to taste
chive blossoms, or other edible flowers (optional)

  1.  Slice your zucchini and squash into about 1/8" pieces - they don't need to be paper thin.  Spray a very large skillet with EVOO and heat on medium/high.  Add the squash and begin to sautee.  After a few minutes, when squash begins to brown, add the garlic chives and pressed garlic and season with salt, pepper, onion & garlic powder to taste.  When squash is done to your liking, remove to a large serving bowl.
  2. Pour oil or spray more EVOO into skillet - the rice likes to have a bit more oil to sizzle in, but you can do without it.  Add onions and sautee for about 2 minutes, or until beginning to wilt and scrape up bits from the bottom.  Add the beans and heat through, about 2-3 more minutes.  Crumble cold rice into skillet, and mix well, breaking up any clumps with your spatula - it's fine if the beans get a bit chopped up.
  3. When everything is heated through, scrape the mixture into one side of the skillet.  Move the skillet so the burner is under the empty side.  Spray a touch of EVOO, and crack in your eggs.  Let them set up for about 30-45 seconds before gently breaking the yolk and scrambling the egg lightly.  Let set for about a minute total before scrambling the eggs together - they should start to look like a fried egg, but then you change your mind.  Scramble until the eggs are nearly done but still very moist, then pull the rice down and toss all together.  Add basil and seasonings here and continue to toss.  Taste and adjust.
  4. When the rice looks nearly perfect, add the cooked squash and toss well.  Now, let your skillet sit and sizzle for a minute before giving it a toss, and let it sit again.  This gives the bottom a chance to brown nicely before getting mixed in.
  5. Pour Garden Fried Rice back into your large serving bowl and garnish with flowers.  Serve with a smile!

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