10 Minute Umami Fried Rice 

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During the week families need meals that are fast, cheap and easy.

If I make rice I ALWAYS make additional and set some aside just for this recipe. My family loves this fried rice and I do too because it is practically a meal-in-itself.  Add sautéed shrimp or grilled chicken to the dish, and there you have it…. dinner. Using day old rice is not only to speed the preparation process, it’s important because fresh cooked rice  can continue steaming itself to mush during the stir fry process. Still good, but even better if the rice sits in the fridge overnight.

If you can’t get your hands on Japanese rice, feel free to substitute with other types of short grain rice. You can also use Jasmine or Basmati. To save additional time, I often use my mini food processor to chop the onion, garlic and the carrot.

Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons butter or butter substitute

1 large yellow onion, very finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large carrots, peeled and diced very small

6 cups day old short-grain Japanese rice, room temperature

2 eggs, beaten

½ teaspoon garlic salt

1/8-1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup frozen green peas, cooked and held warm (optional)

3-4 green onions, sliced in 1/4 inch diagonal slices

Sesame seeds for garnish

 

Method: 

In a large stove top wok or 12-14 inch large sauté pan, heat the butter. Add the onions and carrots. Sauté until the carrots and onions begin to brown and the natural sugars start to caramelize. About 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 1 minute.

Add the day old cooked rice and stir until the carrot, onion and garlic are incorporated well. Add the beaten eggs and toss  the rice quickly to cook through —stir well. After everything is incorporated turn up the heat to high and allow the rice to begin browning string constantly. About an additional 3-4 minutes.

Season to taste with the soy sauce and add fresh cracked black pepper if desired. Remove from the heat, add the cooked peas, and scallions – toss to fluff the rice up and serve immediately. Garnish with sesame seeds.

To enhance the umami flavors ( our fifth taste sensation ) use Dashi broth instead of water when making rice!

Makes approximately 6 to 8 servings.

Green Monster Muffins! 

My stance on getting sneaky in the kitchen is very simple. I don’t like to lie about food, especially to children. I also know how hard it can be to get little ones to eat green. Fun holidays like, Halloween or St. Patricks Day and year end holiday are a great time to get green. Or flex your parental power and establish a “green food “ day of the week and introduce new green foods on that day.



Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose or gluten-free flour

1 cup cane or coconut sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups raw baby spinach

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups butter

3 over ripe bananas

2 teaspoons good quality vanilla
Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350’F degrees and prepare 2 regular sized muffin tins with non-stick, organic cooking spray. Or cupcake liners. Or, prepare 2 loaf pans

2.In a blender, combine spinach and bananas. Blend until spinach changed to a liquid state.
3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and allspice. Mix well. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and butter, mix on high speed until creamy and sugar crystals begin to dissolve- about three to five minutes. Add eggs, one at a time mixing well in between each addition.

 

5. Slowly beat in the spinach – banana mixture. Add vanilla.

 

6. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well to combine.

 

7. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins or two prepared loaf pans.

 

8. Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes or until muffins spring back to the touch and are slightly browned on edges. 60-90 minutes if baking loafs.
Test for doneness by running a toothpick in the center. If if pulls out clean, loafs are done. Makes approximately 2 dozen medium muffins, 1 1/2 large and 3-4 dozen mini muffins or 2 loafs.

Coq au Vin – French Comfort Food- A Rich and Historical Culinary Masterpiece!!

This dish though! < Big Sigh,>  Chicken cooked in a rich, velvety sauce, framed with smoky bacon & earthy flavors!  Various legends trace coq au vin to ancient Julius Caesar, but the recipe was not documented until the early 20th century when Julia Child featured coq au vin 1961- on PBS in the United States.The Kennedy Era. This French countryside stew is now seen as one of Julia’s signature dishes.


Ingredients   

1 Large whole chicken cut into 8 pieces

1/2 bottle full-bodied red wine, such as beautiful Burgundy 

1-2 cups rich full bodied chicken stock

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper 

6-8 ounce slab bacon, cut into 1/2-in. dice 

3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, if needed 

1 lg. yellow onion, finely diced 

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 

20 large white pearl onions, peeled 

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 in chunks

1/2 pound  small cremini mushrooms 

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 

1 Tablespoon tomato paste 

2 Tablespoon Cognac 

1 -2 chicken livers, coarsely chopped 

2 bay leaves 

8-10 fresh thyme sprigs

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350’F  degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large 8 qt. Dutch oven or heavy 8 quart stock pot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate (lined with paper towels ) with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add carrots, onions, 2 t. salt, and 1 t. pepper to the pot and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes–stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly brown.

Add the garlic, cook additional minute. Add the Cognac and place the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate back into the pot. Add the red wine, chicken stock, thyme and bring to a simmer. 

Cover the pot with a tight lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is pink color –close to the bone. ( from the red wine) Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Combine 1 tablespoon of butter and combine with the flour to form a thick paste. Stir into the stew until thicken.Add the pearl onions.

 In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until caramelize and crispy brown. Add to the pot. 

Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. 

Season to taste. Serve hot with warm French Bread and the remaining bottle or Burgundy! 

Oooooooo La La!