Hello and welcome to Wednesday. Yesterday Andy cut Abby’s hair (he’s the “detail guy” in the house); I tested some cabbage recipes and made a style guide for my book; and I think I saw my 18-year-old for a total of five minutes. (She was holed up in her room or outside riding her bike.) For bedtime reading, I took on the New Yorker profile of Mitch McConnell and it — he — made me so furious that I barely got any sleep, which I guess isn’t that unusual these days. I’m trying to make this space as restorative and escapist as possible without sounding like I’m in total denial, but yesterday was tough for me. Living in New York, it’s become hard to go a day without hearing that someone we know has lost a loved one, and I feel like even the luckiest among us are walking around with a form of low-level nausea and dread. Exercise helps a little. So does eating dinner with my family. To that end…
Pantry: Fried Rice
It’s not so pretty to look at, but it sure tastes like comfort times a thousand. As anyone who’s been following this blog knows, we’ve been eating a lot of bowls as part of our new dial-back-the-meat initiative. Nine times out of ten, the bowl is rice-based, which means nine times out of ten, we have some leftover grains in the fridge, perfect for fried rice the next day — lunch or dinner. This recipe served 3 for lunch. You want about a cup of rice per diner, then scale up from there.
3 tablespoons olive oil (or grapeseed oil) plus more as needed
3 tablespoons onion, minced (or shallot or scallions)
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
3 cups leftover rice (or whatever you got)
1 garlic clove, minced
handful mushrooms, any kind, sliced
handful cabbage or greens, such as spinach, kale, chard
2 eggs, scrambled
handful frozen peas, thawed under running water
hefty drizzle of soy sauce (about 3 tablespoons)
hot sauce or Sriracha for serving
In a wok or a large nonstick pan set over medium heat, add onion and ginger, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Turn heat to medium-high and add rice, distributing into as thin layer as possible to allow it to crisp. Let sit without stirring, about 2 minutes. Toss and let sit again, another minute.
Move rice to the edges of pan as much as possible and add garlic and mushrooms and a little more oil as needed. Cook until mushrooms are shriveled, then and greens and cook until wilted. Move to the side of the pan with rice. Add egg to the same opening (will need more oil, probs) tossing with rice and veg mixture as it cooks. Toss in peas and soy sauce. Serve with Sriracha.
And here’s an old DALS recipe from my mom’s mom, Mary Camino Catrino (1898-1950) who I never met. Something delicious to dunk in tomorrow’s coffee?
Cream together 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) and 1 cup sugar. Add 3 eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, sift (or whisk) together 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 teaspoons baking powder.
Using an electric mixer, add flour mixture to butter/sugar/egg mixture — slowly so you don’t overload the mixer. Stir in: 1 teaspoon almond extract, 1 tablespoon anise seed, 1/2 cup chopped pecans or almonds.
Flour counter and hands. Take mixture out, place on a floured surface and knead; work into 3 loaves and shape. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes until firm and light brown. Cool and cut into strips.
Purpose: Classic Board Games
Catherine Newman wrote about playing classic board games through videoconferencing and Zoom and now all I want to do is call all the neighbors for a massive game of Pictionary.
Stay safe, stay home.
Photo up top: Lake Thun in Switzerland because it makes me feel momentarily calm.
The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at email@example.com.