Tuesday, February 9, 2010

the mark bittman minimalist club: solid food for milk babies

My friend jshu is the best: funny and smart and generous and clever (if not particularly good at Boggle) and generally up for anything, except for the long list of things he is not up for. Which brings me to my next point: My friend jshu is a milk baby. If you've read the comments on this bl*g, you know that jshu doesn't think I post enough (waaah), and jshu doesn't like it when I post recipes (waaah waaah). In fact, jshu doesn't like recipes at all. As far as I can tell his cooking repertoire consists of toasting bread, boiling water for tea, throwing random items from the fridge into a blender and calling it a smoothie, opening bottles of beer, adding frozen peas to Amy's Mac & Cheese, and making Rocky Mountain Toast.

If he were less of a milk baby, this next recipe would be perfect for jshu: He knows how to fry an egg, he should have half the ingredients in his fridge, and while it's simple, comforting food, Ginger Fried Rice is worthy of a dinner party (though jshu thinks Amy's Mac & Cheese with frozen peas is worthy of a dinner party, so that last point is probably moot).

This recipe is definitely perfect for me: Simple enough to whip up on a weeknight but Saturday-evening delicious. There are a couple of secret ingredients:

Toasted ginger and garlic

Really good, really fresh eggs

The former I made by following the recipe, the latter I acquired through marriage: My mother-in-law has access to the best eggs in the whole world, and she generously shared a dozen with me last week. You may not be able to get your hands on the best eggs in the whole world (the yachtsman's brother is already married), but this recipe is worth finding better eggs than what you can get in the grocery store (unless you're a milk baby, in which case stop whining and just buy them at the bodega by your house).

Ginger Fried Rice
from the New York Times

½ cup peanut oil [I used canola]
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried
4 cups day-old cooked rice, preferably jasmine, at room temperature
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons sesame oil [toasted]
4 teaspoons soy sauce

1. In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly.

2. Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and add 2 tablespoons oil and leeks. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not browned. Season lightly with salt.

3. Raise heat to medium and add rice. Cook, stirring well, until heated through. Season to taste with salt.

4. In a nonstick skillet, fry eggs in remaining oil, sunny-side-up, until edges are set but yolk is still runny.

5. Divide rice among four dishes. Top each with an egg and drizzle with ½ teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger over everything and serve.

A few notes:

* The first time I ate this I made it with my Greek stepmother. We cooked the full quantity of rice and ginger/garlic but only fried two eggs, using the remaining rice and ginger/garlic the next day for leftovers.

* I didn't have day-old rice, so we went to the crappy Thai restaurant near my house and got a takeout order of rice and let it cool down before we cooked it.


  1. did you copy that from smitten kitchen?



  2. "One of the tastiest new treats I've had recently," said Onyx, the (humane) Society Girl boxer who usually does not filch food, after devouring all the toasted ginger and garlic her foolish lady left on the counter unattended. I, FL, agree -- with all the other ingredients plus a second batch of ginger and garlic, it is delicious indeed.

  3. Oh, FL, I'm so sorry your ginger and garlic were stolen, though Onyx deserved a treat, I'm sure. Maybe promise her her very own serving next time and she won't filch from yours.

    Suz, both Smitten Kitchen and I copied it from Mark Bittman (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/dining/27mini.html?scp=3&sq=ginger%20fried%20rice&st=cse). The only two food bl*gs I read with any regularity are 101 Cookbooks and Orangette, but I need to add Smitten Kitchen to the list, as her writing and photos are wonderful.

  4. Is a milk baby more or less infantile than a titty baby? And where do cry babies rank? I need a better sense of the hierarchy of babies in order to understand specifically how big a baby jshu is, I've never heard of this "milk baby."

    And in case EBids is wondering, I would not tap this one, as the green egg in photo two has me super sketched out.

  5. "Milk baby" is actually jshu's term; it's what he uses to call people like himself. Frankly, jshu is not that much of a baby at all (remember the time he got arrested for hanging from a bridge? http://gruelfordinner.blogspot.com/2009/09/look_25.html) except when it comes to complaining about this bl*g and a few other things, such as food, which he doesn't think should require too much effort, but more effort than bringing compost to a potluck, which as his spokeswoman I can tell you jshu does not condone.

  6. No pressure or anything, but the blog mistress is going to have to step it up with her recipes from now on in order to top EBiddie's gnocchi phallus (and I encourage a very liberal interpretation of "top").

  7. That milk babe learned everything about food prep from me. Or maybe I shouldna' be admitting that...

  8. Well then. A fine how do you do. And here I thought you wanted my rocky mountain toast recipe because you were hungry. First of all, just because your eggs come in various colors and they're not white doesn't make them good. Why are you so anti-white. One more Deschutes Black Butte Porter bottle, svp.

  9. You think being a friend of a milk baby is taxing? Try being the boss of one...

  10. Made this yesterday for brunch. Milk Baby said:
    This is good.
    This is really good.
    This is yummy.
    This is very yummy.
    Wow, this is great.
    So, it may replace Rocky Mountain Toast in his repertoire - if he ever gets around to making it, that is.

  11. http://www.mytartelette.com/

    another GORGEOUS food blogger if you're interested...