garlic

Fried Rice

by Nancy on June 14, 2011

in Main Dish

I’ve heard a story that a Chinese king was traveling and stopped unexpectedly at a peasant’s house for the evening. The peasant made a dish of leftovers to serve the king, the king loved it, and thus fried rice was invented. Now this story has multiple problems if you stop to think about it but for a cooking blog the idea of fried rice using up a variety of leftovers is at least plausible. Unless you live in my house. I rarely have enough of even one leftover to add to fried rice much less 5 or 6.

Although I have a basic recipe for fried rice, I vary it according to what meat I have on hand or what vegetables are in season. In spring I might add snow peas, in summer zucchini or in winter frozen corn. I’m even more likely to vary the ingredients depending on which child is eating with us. One doesn’t like peas, another doesn’t like mushrooms, etc. I always add carrots and a green vegetable like bell pepper or celery for color appeal. And I might even add some leftovers if I have them. All ingredients should be cut into bite sized pieces. I use peanut oil to fry my fried rice although any vegetable oil can be used. Peanut oil adds some flavor of its own which isn’t bad in fried rice but I use it because you can fry foods hotter in peanut oil without the oil smoking or the food burning.

For a vegetarian dish, double or triple the mushrooms and omit the meat.

Fried Rice

  • 3 cups steamed rice
  • 2 cups shrimp, chicken or pork
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 bell pepper or 1 cup celery
  • 1 cup corn, peas or snow peas
  • 1 cup mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

Serves 4.

  1. Clean shrimp or cut chicken or pork into bite sized pieces.
  2. Cut onion, carrots, mushrooms, bell pepper, celery and other fresh vegetables into bite sized pieces. Mince garlic.
  3. In large skillet or wok, saute meat and garlic in oil until cooked through. If using shrimp, remove shrimp from skillet.
  4. Add onion, mushrooms, carrots, snow peas, bell pepper and celery (and other vegetables except frozen or canned) and saute.
  5. Move food away from center of skillet and pour in beaten egg. Scramble egg breaking it into bite sized pieces.
  6. Add frozen or canned corn or peas and other frozen, canned or precooked vegetables. Heat through.
  7. Add rice and soy sauce. Heat through stirring frequently. Serve.

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Gazpacho

by Nancy on May 3, 2011

in Appetizers,Soups,Vegetarian

If you have been following Kuchen Together, you probably guessed that gazpacho is not an old family recipe. Carrie and I both live in Silicon Valley which has a multiethnic population. When Carrie was in elementary school, the school of 500 had students speaking 17 different first languages. Eating with friends and acquaintances has introduced us to wonderful foods from all over the world and gazpacho is one of them. I’m posting this recipe for the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo which is celebrated here by people of all ethnicities.

There are hundreds, thousands of recipes for gazpacho. This one is the one I use. It has a nice, fresh flavor, a bit of bite and is fast and easy to prepare.

Gazpacho

  • 1  46 oz can tomato juice
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 2 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  1. Peel and seed cucumber.
  2. Place garlic in blender with 1/2 cup tomato juice and puree.
  3. Chop cucumber, onion and bell pepper into pieces.
  4. Add cucumber, onion and bell pepper to blender and fill blender with tomato juice.
  5. Blend on slow speed just until vegetables are chopped to about 1/4 inch in size.
  6. Mix all ingredients in bowl and chill.

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Sweet and Sour Chicken

by Carrie on March 1, 2011

in Main Dish

This is a really quick and easy recipe that all the picky eaters in my family love. I asked them what they like about it so much and they said that it’s flavorful but mild with easy flavors like honey and soy sauce and you can spice it up to taste. It’s also easy to prepare any vegetables (which neither my fiance nor my sister like) separately — I like to have this dish with a green salad or sauteed red pepper strips, onions, or snap peas.

Sweet and Sour Chicken (inspired by Everyday Food magazine)

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • garlic powder
  • ginger powder
  1. Dice raw chicken into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat skillet to medium high and add vegetable oil.
  3. Saute chicken until cooked on the outside.
  4. Whisk together honey, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic and ginger powder to taste. Pour over chicken in skillet.
  5. Simmer in the sauce until chicken is cooked through.
  6. Serve with rice and veggies as desired.

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Spinach and Artichoke Dip

My mom, Nancy, once told me that she thinks the food processor is a “stupid” appliance. She told me it couldn’t do anything that you couldn’t do with a blender so for years I went without one. Then one day I tried to mix up a pie crust in the blender and ended up with a giant mess. Not too long after than I spent about an hour grating a wedge of Parmesan by hand. And then I realized I was never going to be able to make spinach and artichoke dip, one of the only ways I’m willing to eat spinach but absolutely one of my favorite foods, without a food processor so I eventually caved in a got one. I absolutely love my food processor and use it multiple times a week.

Now that I have a food processor I can grate my own Parmesan for this recipe in under 30 seconds and save a bundle over pre-grated cheese and I can finally make a smooth and lovely dip. I’m not a fan of mayonnaise or marinated artichokes so I spent years looking for and refining this recipe (inspired by Everyday Food magazine) before I finally developed this version that I’ll make over and over again.

Scoop out a round of sourdough bread to serve this artichoke dip and I don’t think you can find a food that screams California any more than that.

For best results, thaw your frozen veggies in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before making this dip. If you try to add the frozen veggies straight to the food processor they won’t chop and mix smoothly.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

  • 16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts
  • 4 ounces bar cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic (or more to your taste)
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach
  1. Add 8 ounces of artichoke hearts, cream cheese, Parmesan, lemon juice, and garlic to the food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Add spinach to the food processor. Process until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining 8 ounces of artichoke hearts to the food processor and pulse 4-5 times so that the artichoke hearts are chopped into bite size pieces and evenly distributed but still chunky.
  4. Serve cold or bake at 425 degrees until bubbly if you’d like a hot dip.

Enjoy with bread, tortilla chips, crackers, or raw veggies.

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