Tag Archives: creme fraiche

Breakfast Fried Rice

30 May

(Your next favorite killer comfort breakfast is good for you and has various tweaks for various diets…)

Breakfast Fried Rice

Breakfast Fried Rice, sans necessary extras

After a few years of On Food and Film (time sure flies!), it must now be obvious how much I love breakfast. Savory breakfast at least. Sure, I’ll eat a pancake or french toast if you shove it in front of me but otherwise, savory breakfast rules.

Well, then. Let me give you a savory comfort breakfast that will satisfy you completely. It’s also fairly healthy and can adapt to a variety of diets.

You see, along with loving breakfast, and chicken, and pasta, and salad, and… I love rice. I’ve mentioned that growing up Cajun the starch that was our staple was white rice not potatoes. Rice is a wonderful vessel for so many things… Gravy! Au jus! Red beans! Butter! Gumbo! Etouffee! When I was in grade school, I loved white rice topped with French’s Yellow Mustard (long story). Oh hell, I still do. But I even love rice all by its lonesome.

I also love fried rice. Once a week growing up in my hometown of Port Arthur, Texas, Mom, Dad, my brother David and I went to The Dragon Inn, a restaurant in downtown Port Arthur run by a wonderful man named Johnny. If you’ve seen the final scene of A Christmas Story, you know what Johnny and the restaurant were like, although The Dragon Inn was a long rectangle shooting in perpendicular fashion back from the street. It had a bar on one side and booths all along the other. Painted on the booth side wall, winding the length of the restaurant, was a single, very long Chinese dragon that enthralled me for years. Johnny is who hooked me on Mu Shu Pork, Sweet and Sour Pork, Beef with Snow Peas and amazing fried rice. 

Back to breakfast: I’ve been working out early mornings as of late, with a terrific trainer named Ryan, who suggested the best time to eat carbs was after a hard workout. When he said, ‘You can even use white rice’ I lit up, given I’ve been avoiding rice lately trying to slim down. His suggestion was the only encouragement I needed and voila! Breakfast Fried Rice was born.

While I love this dish best with white rice, you can also use brown rice and even cauliflower rice if you are avoiding carbs completely. (The cauliflower version is a terrific Keto breakfast.) My good fried Rob actually prefers the cauliflower version over white rice, although it was he who remarked last week, when I made the white rice version yet again after we worked out, “This is incredible comfort food.”

Eat first. Thank me later.

Breakfast Fried Rice w.Egg

Breakfast Fried Rice with some necessary extras

BREAKFAST FRIED RICE – serves 2 (you can easily add more for more)

*NOTE: This recipe is just a guideline… for instance, use sausage instead of bacon, or if you are vegetarian, omit the meat. You can use a different chili pepper… though the Fresno chili is best here! You can use a variety of spices and herbs as well, depending on what you like. If you don’t like eggs (what???) omit. But give the original a try before branching out.

** ALSO: this is a very easy recipe. The instructions are long because I want to make sure everyone gets it the first time. But, seriously, this is easy. Once you do it two times, you will be doing it constantly with no thought at all.

Ingredients (see notes below)

4 strips bacon, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 Fresno chili, diced (the seeds are the heat… use all or sparingly, depending)

1 cup cooked white rice (see note below)

cumin seed, a shake or two

salt and pepper

4 eggs

fresh chives (optional but necessary)

Avocado or guacamole (optional but so good)

Crème Fraîche (optional but oh my)

** Notes on ingredients:

– Red onion is best here but in a pinch, yellow or white is fine.

Fresno chilis, which look like red Jalapeño chilis, are incredible… they have a kick but not quite the kick of a Jalapeño and the flavor is much better. If they are in season (as they are now!) grab them!

– Rice: cold, cooked white rice from the fridge works best as it crisps up better and creates more of a ‘fried rice’ feel. I make this so much I keep cooked white rice in my fridge. But if you don’t have any left over, freshly made rice works fine. THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN THIS FOR RICE IN A PINCH : Trader Joe’s Frozen Jasmine Rice.

 One cup is just a guide. I usually throw in whatever I have.

** Also, cooked brown rice or raw cauliflower rice work very well as a substitute.

Instructions

– Heat your largest skillet over medium with a glug of olive oil. (Any skillet will work but the wider the skillet, the more surface plane you have to crisp up the rice.)

– Add the diced bacon and spread it around, stirring occasionally, until it is about halfway done, usually 5 minutes or so. I rarely get the bacon really crisp the way for this recipe, but feel free.

– Turn heat to medium low and add your diced red onion and Fresno chili. Mix well with the bacon and let saute’ until the vegetables are soft and the bacon is cooked some more. If you need a little more oil… add some butter!

– Season with a shake or two of cumin seed,  and salt & pepper. Cook for a minute more.

– Turn heat to medium high and add your cooked rice (or uncooked Cauliflower rice)… Mix well, then spread the rice out as evenly as possible over the bottom of the skillet. This is why a larger skillet works better, to get as many grains of rice pushed flat to the bottom of the skillet as possible. Let cook over high heat a minute or two. Then stir it up and spread it out again. The rice should be getting a nice crisp, even a bit brown, on the side that is flat on the skillet. This is creating the ‘fried rice’ feel.

– While you cook the rice, fry your eggs in a separate skillet to you liking… sunny side up is of course the only way to eat fried eggs and makes the dish that much more wonderful when the yolk runs all over the rice… but make them to your liking… sigh.

* Important note: I confess, some lazy mornings I crack the eggs over the rice and cook them on top of the rice for the final two minutes. It doesn’t make for the most beautiful presentation. Still tastes great, though!

– When the eggs and rice are ready, divide the rice into two large bowls. Top with two eggs per bowl. I love to add sliced avocado, a dollop of  my hot sauce, a spoonful of crème  fraiche’ and some chopped chives.

Enjoy! This is awesome!

Homemade Crème Fraîche??!!

19 May

(how to make homemade crème fraîche you will eat with a spoon, plus suggested uses and recipes)

CremeFraiche

homemade crème fraîche

I can’t believe I’ve been cooking for years and didn’t know I could make crème fraîche at home with 90 seconds of prep. Well. Now I’m making it at least once a week, if not more, using this incredibly delicious and decadent ‘soured cream’ on everything. 

Less tart and much creamier than sour cream, I’ve used store bought crème fraîche for years. It’s terrific in soup and stews, wonderful on eggs, a better way to make creamy salad dressings, and is the perfect foil for both sweet and spicy dishes: it brings a slight tartness to a sweet dessert, adding depth and balance (how ‘chef’ does that sound!) and tempers a spicy dish, such as my skillet chilaquiles. 

Trust me… give this a try and you will ever after always have a jar of homemade crème fraîche in your fridge. The uses are near innumerable. 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups heavy cream

3 T buttermilk

DIRECTIONS

Mix the heavy cream and buttermilk in a glass jar (mason jars are perfect.)

Cover with cheese cloth or a kitchen towel (the material needs to be breathable) and secure with a rubber band or mason jar lid-band (another easy aspect to using a mason jar.)

Let the jar sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Uncover, stir and stick in the fridge. (Be sure to lick the spoon or knife, damn.)

SUGGESTED USES

–  Any dessert you make? Either spread a swath of crème fraîche on the plate, putting the dessert on top, or simply dollop on top of the dessert. I like this better than ice cream on many desserts, such as pie or cobbler, as it tempers the sweetness and adds a richness and texture ice cream doesn’t have.

– Make my homemade vinaigrette (easy!), add a few dollops of crème fraîche and some more thyme and you have a lovely ranch. I like it more liquidy but you can add enough crème fraîche to make a thick ranch.

– You all know my obsession with eggs. There isn’t an egg dish you could make that can’t use a little crème fraîche on top. My baked omelet for instance. Or, as mentioned, on top of my skillet chilaquiles

– Make my pan sauce for any main course. Add a couple of spoonfuls of crème fraîche at the end to make a creamy version of this sauce. Genius.

– Simply dollop on top of fresh berries, with some mint.

– For another wonderful salad dressing, combine a few tablespoons of chopped preserved lemons (you really should be making these, so easy and so useful), some of the ‘goop’ from the preserved lemons jar, half a cup of crème fraîche, a few shakes of red wine or sherry vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper and you have an incredible salad dressing, perfect on butter lettuce (but any lettuce will do.)

Skillet Chilaquiles2

skillet chilaquiles with crème fraîche

Do you like crème fraîche? How do you use it? Let us know!

 

Winter Greens Lasagna

11 Mar
Lasagna

Winter Greens Lasagna

Everyone loves lasagna yet I know great cooks who won’t bother to make it at home, myself included for a long while, because it seemed too much work. 

Not true, not true!

I’ve learned over the past few years lasagna can be pretty damn easy to make, particularly when someone reveals to you, as my great friend and great cook Tiffiny told me, that you don’t have to boil the lasagna noodles. That blew my mind, given the one time I tried to boil the noodles, then layer them, was a nightmare of near biblical proportions.  I never got that tray of lasagna into the oven and I never tried again until Tiff told me, no you don’t have to do that. Just layer them into the lasagna out of the box.  Genius.

Ultimately, lasagna is simply layers of flavors you stuff in the oven and bake. Yes, the layers themselves determine how good it will be and you want to make sure it isn’t too dry. But particularly with some quality store bought ingredients, you can prep and layer a terrific homemade lasagna in 30 minutes or less. Lasagna also sits beautifully so you can prep it on a Sunday, have it ready to shove in the oven when you get home Monday and then have wonderful leftovers all week. 

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