Memories Hidden From View

The past is merely fragmented memories woven into a story that changes according to how you tell it. You can alter the impact your past has on you by changing your story about it…You live in whatever story you tell yourself.

Jarl Forsman and Steve Sekhon – Bite Size Happiness: Volume 1

Taking time off from work is both a blessing and a curse. I’ve taken long weekends where by the final day I am ready to head back to the office and get back to work. This compulsive urge of needing to work has been with me my entire life. My parents’ generation of immigrants, my ethnic heritage, my upbringing all contributed to my strong work ethic. I was quite surprised when recently all of this changed. It’s not that I’ve lost my work ethic or anything like that. I still work hard but I’ve also found other things to do with my time. One of the projects on this extended weekend was to de-clutter  and the target was my collection of saved recipes. Like any other household item the strategy was brutally simple: keep or toss. It didn’t take long to determine that most of the recipes I’d been keeping for possible future meals would be tossed.  Here’s some of the things that you learn about yourself while de-cluttering your recipe collection:

  1. I had saved recipes and old newspaper clippings since 1976.
  2. I never used any of those recipes.
  3. I’ve known for a long time that what I cook and eat currently is a lot different than what I used to cook and eat.  Most of the saved recipes are dishes that I would not cook now.
  4. An entire folder of pork and lamb recipes got tossed.  I eat pork on rare occasions and can’t even remember the last time I had lamb.
  5. Groupings of old newspaper articles eventually became cookbooks for their authors.  I have these same recipes in the cookbooks from the same authors in my cookbook collection.  Why did I keep the old clippings?
  6. Thinning out the cookbook collection is next on the de-clutter list.

I was literally tossing out everything until I found this:

 

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At first I didn’t recognize what I was holding in my hand.  It took a few minutes to realize I was holding an old recipe that was written in my Father’s handwriting.  After this discovery the pace of my purge slowed.  I didn’t want to accidentally discard a cherished memory.

Memories hidden from view that were here with me waiting to be uncovered and woven back into my story.  Have I ever mentioned my Father was one hell of a cook?

 

Ampaipitakwong Fried Rice (aka Pete’s)

 

Pete’s Fried Rice

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3-4 C cold leftover rice
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 T canola oil in a nonstick wok over high heat.  Coat pan with the hot oil by twirling.
  3. Add the egg and fry until golden brown and curling on the edges.  Flip and brown the other side.  When cooked through, remove to a plate and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining canola oil to the wok, heat on high, and twirl your wok.
  5. Add carrots and broccoli, stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add onions and stir fry for a minute.
  7. Add rice and stir-fry while breaking up the clumps until rice is heated through.  Add more canola oil to prevent sticking, if needed.
  8. Turn heat down to medium-high.  Cut the eggs into large dice.  Add the peas, corn, and eggs to the work.  Stir constantly until the frozen vegetables are heated through.
  9. Season with salt and pepper. Add sesame oil.

 

There have to be as many versions of Fried Rice as there are cooks.  I wrote this line several years ago for another fried rice recipe.  I was making fried rice for dinner when suddenly I realized that one of my favorite fried rice recipes was not written down anywhere.  So after dinner I sat down at my computer and…

Ampaipitakwong Fried Rice!  Number One Son was a damn good soccer player and he had some damn good coaches.  Coach Ampaipitakwong was one of those coaches.  Watching Coach dribble was like watching a professional dancer. His son Ant went on to play professional soccer in Thailand.  But I digress.

At one of those pot luck soccer get togethers that kid soccer teams do all the time Coach Ampaipitakwong brought a tub of fried rice.  It was incredible!  And after years of producing clumpy bad fried rice, I finally got it down.  Here is my version of Coach’s fried rice.

Nobody could pronouce Ampaipitakwong correctly.  So we shortened his name to Coach Pete.  Pete’s Fried Rice.

Tips – The rice needs to be cold and leftover from the previous day or two.  Be daring and use different vegetables.  Add animal protein.  Add fried tofu.  On second thought, don’t add fried tofu.

May your fried rice never clump.

 

 

Peanuts May Lower Cardio Death Risk – Medpage Today

Nut (predominantly peanut) consumption is inversely related to all-cause and especially cardiovascular mortality in African-American and Chinese men and women.

The inverse association of nut consumption and mortality is unrelated to baseline metabolic conditions.

It’s a cardiovascular intervention that literally costs peanuts.

via Peanuts May Lower Cardio Death Risk | Medpage Today.

This is great news.  My unique preference for peanut butter and pancakes turns out to be scientifically heart healthy given my ethnicity.  More peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Pad Thai with crushed  peanuts, spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Update 03.04.15

I ate a mini peanut cup last night.  The jar of dry roasted peanuts was moved from the cupboard to my office.  I have absolutely zero guilt.  It’s for my heart.

China Completes Paperwork for Poultry Export to U.S. | Food Poisoning Bulletin

And yet another reason to never eat another chicken nugget unless you know where that nugget comes from.  Yikes!

via China Completes Paperwork for Poultry Export to U.S. | Food Poisoning Bulletin.

The food safety scandals in China have ranged from companies adding melamine to milk to increase its nitrogen content and hide dilution, which sickened 300,000 babies; to plastic added to bubble tea; to pork blood pudding made with formaldehyde and industrial salt. And jerky pet treats imported from China into the U.S. have been linked to thousands of sickened and killed pets.

Scallion Fried Rice (add Rotisserie Chicken for #5 in the Series One Rotisserie Chicken – 50 Meals)

Scallion Fried Rice

4-6 fresh scallions (green onions)
2 eggs
Salt and black pepper, to taste
3 T canola cooking oil
3 cups cooked rice (leftover and cold American Basmati)
2 tsp sesame oil

  1. Slice and separate white and green parts of scallions.
  2. Heat cooking oil in a nonstick wok over heat.  Coat pan with the hot oil by twirling.
  3. Add white parts of the scallions and saute about 1 minute.
  4. Add rice and stir-fry while breaking up the clumps until rice is heated through.  Add more canola oil to prevent sticking, if needed.
  5. Turn heat down to medium-high.  Push the rice to the sides of the wok, creating a well in the center.  Crack in the eggs and stir constantly while not allowing the egg to completely set up.  Gradually incorporate the rice until the egg is blended in well with the rice.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Add sesame oil. Garnish with the remaining green tops of the scallions.

 

There have to be as many versions of Fried Rice as there are cooks.  Everyone has their favorite recipe and somewhere along the Path I started making this simple fried rice.  This rice makes an excellent side dish and can be made ahead of time and gently reheated.  The original versions I remember from my childhood had bits of dried Chinese sausage or char siu in the dish.  I’ve also encountered versions made with tiny bits of ham or bacon.  Here I present the ovo-lacto veggie version.

Tips – The rice needs to be cold, preferably leftover from the previous day.  Make fried rice with hot or warm rice and you will make a Giant Clump Fried Rice Ball.  Any white rice will do fine; we prefer the taste of American Basmati.  Better yet, use Texmati American Basmati.  I’ve tried other rices and it’s just not the same.  Now if you want to make a meal out of this fried rice, add some diced Rotisserie Chicken and you have Chicken Fried Rice.

That was easy.

Update 08.23.14

Two eggs, not one.  I’ve also changed the Tips to reflect the type of rice I use.