Okay, be forewarned that this post is not about gardening and if you don't care about the meals that VPH and I have eaten this week, skip this post! A little something to whet your appetite to help you hang in there through the entirely too long text ahead:
Money's a little tighter around our house than it has been in the past -- but I know we're not alone. We're not destitute, but we're much more conscience of each dollar we spend. Since SS2 is back at school and SS1 comes by every 7 to 14 days for a meal and football -- don't know what will happen after the Superbowl -- it's just the two of us for dinner most evenings and what's for dinner is always an interesting question. We used to get take-out quite often, but now sushi from the A&P Fresh is about all we allow ourselves (seriously we're sushi snobs and it's delish!).
Now I'm fully aware that sometimes getting take-out is more economical than cooking a similar meal at home (Taco Bell tacos are one example that comes to mind...I dare you to make tacos at home for less than 3 dollars). But something like pork tenderloin, roasted rosemary potatoes (with our own rosemary -- see I tied it in to the blog), and brussel sprouts is going to be much cheaper at Chez Heather than any restaurant in town. Monday night VPH made the aforementioned yummy menu with leftovers galore -- more than half the pork tenderloin and a bowl full of roasted potatoes. I scrambled some eggs and heated up a few small pieces of the pork and half the potatoes for breakfast the following day. Tuesday night VPH was dying for Chinese, so he got Singapore noodles, but I was not a huge fan of American Chinese food before I went to Hong Kong and Beijing in June of 2004, and I'm really not a fan now, so I went with Burger King instead. Let me clarify that statement -- I love real Chinese food, but what you're served in the suburbs of Connecticut is a far cry from what I ate there.
I joined some colleagues for lunch on Wednesday at Guilford Bistro. I wasn't that hungry so I was planning on a Caesar salad and grilled chicken when the waitress announced a halibut and Caesar salad special. Now I knew that was going to be much more expensive than the $10 I had budgeted for lunch, but I had been craving halibut in the worst way. Well if you're local I urge you to try Guilford Bistro -- I swear they brought me a grilled piece of halibut that had to have been a pound and the salad bowl was the size of a soup tureen full of yummy Caesar salad. Needless to say I only ate half and it was well worth the $23 price tag. VPH ate the other half for a late lunch and his leftover Chinese for dinner. I had scrambled eggs and the rest of the roasted rosemary potatoes.
So if you've read this far (and thank you for hanging in there), you'll know that we still had the huge piece of pork tenderloin left. Since he wrapped it up and put it in the fridge on Monday night VPH had been promoting pork fried rice and I finally gave in. He searched on-line for recipes since we had never tried fried rice at home. He's very much a creative chef (I'm a follow the directions kind of girl and the science of baking works much better for me) so he used those recipes as a guide and came up with a delicious meal.
First he heated a small amount of vegetable oil in our wok on the highest heat our electric stove will reach. Ironically we have a gas furnace and if we owned this house, you can bet we'd put in a gas stove too. If you don't have a wok I think a large frying pan would probably work for you. He threw in chopped up baby carrots, scallions, and ginger along with frozen peas for a very short period of time:
Then he set this aside in a bowl and heated up some more vegetable oil in the wok (until it sizzled) and started adding pre-cooked white rice. We've read that rice that's sat in the fridge for a few days works best, but we didn't plan that far ahead and he added 2 more bags this size:
After tossing the rice around in the oil VPH made a little hole in the middle and poured in 4 pre-beaten eggs:
He gently, but quickly, folded the rice from the sides into the egg as it fried and added soy sauce:
Then the pork (about a 1:4 ratio with the rice) which he had pre-cubed went into the wok. Remember that everything cooks very quickly in a wok and needs a lot of stirring:
Then he added back in the bowl of veggies (you take them out to prevent them cooking down to mush):
Look at him go:
It was delicious, but the seconds we both had were even better, so lesson learned -- let it sit for a few minutes so the rice absorbs the flavor of the ginger. And no ginger doesn't appear to be a classic fried rice ingredient, but we both love ginger. You could make the fried rice alone or use just about any leftover protein you have on hand -- shrimp, chicken, tofu. Like VPH's frittata you could throw in any vegetables you like -- snow peas, peppers -- oh the garden goodness that we'll be adding to this one come harvest time!