April 15, 2020
Eating vegetables and fruits grown by local farmers with stellar practices is one of the best ways to build immunity in our bodies. Whether it’s by visiting neighborhood farmers markets or getting a farm share, there is no time like the present to support our farmers and ranchers — they need our business.
One resolution I’ve had for the past few weeks at my restaurant is to primarily cook produce grown by area farmers. So when Knopp Branch, a beautiful lush organic farm in Wharton, asked if we would partner to use its entire harvest, which amounted to hundreds and hundreds of pounds of fennel, carrots, turnips, greens, herbs and more, I jumped on it. I knew we could pickle and preserve much of it.
Always looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into our meals, at the recommendation of a friend, I tossed fried rice with torn lettuce, and it made for a delicious light lunch. The lettuce wilted every so slightly but tasted really good — and who doesn’t love a flavorful, light fried rice?
2 to 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
3 to 4 cloves of sliced garlic
4 skinny carrots, cut into small wheels
1 fennel bulb, sliced
3 to 4 stalks green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chili crisp (see note)
2 tablespoons grated unpeeled ginger
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds or peanuts
2 cups cooked white rice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 cups torn or sliced lettuce leaves
1 cup chopped herbs like cilantro or mint
In a large wok, heat the toasted sesame oil, add garlic slices and turn the heat to low. Within a few seconds, they will turn golden; immediately add the carrots and fennel. Cover the wok and let the vegetables simmer and soften, roughly 5 to 7 minutes.
Turn the heat to high and add green onions and chili crisp, ginger, and peanuts. Almost immediately, add the white rice, vinegar, and salt and toss the whole mixture together. Turn the heat off.
Fold in the torn lettuce leaves and herbs and serve immediately or at room temperature.
Chili crisp is a spicy Sichuan condiment that has grown popular lately — it tastes good with or on almost everything, but try to find one without MSG. It mostly consists of assorted ground chili, oil, spices, and sometimes peanuts.
Replace the lettuce leaves with sliced cabbage, kale, or watercress.
Add an egg or two before adding the lettuce.
Old rice, even if it is dried up, is especially good for absorbing the flavors of fried rice.
Add a small amount of water to freshen drier old rice.
December 02, 2022