Presenting The Faux Gourmet!

The Faux Gourmet has been on hiatus for a while. I began this blog as a creative outlet during law school. After law school, I started other blogs on other topics and no longer needed this as a creative outlet, not to mention my diminishing free time.

But I kept cooking, kept taking food pictures and garden pictures, kept wanting to share the little tidbits of what I'd made. I occasionally did this on my personal blog (to which, I'm sure, people yawned and wondered when I'd post another cat picture). But I started to miss this space. Of all the blogs I have, this format, culled over several dedicated years and incorporating that adorable illustration by Sam Wedelich (see info the left) is by far my favorite.

So I'm back!

Expect short and sweet posts. Less food porn, more recipes and tips. If you want food porn you can look at any of the 5000 million existing food blogs. I don't have good lighting in my apartment and don't have time to style plates. I just want to make something yummy and eat it. If that sounds ok with you, stick around.

Looking forward to being back in touch!


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    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    What to Do with Herbs vol 3

    Thai-ish Fried Rice

    Taste & See: It's inevitable: at some point in the summer, you will have too much caprese. 

    Sure, it's well and good in June, when can't get enough of the season's first tomatoes and basil drizzled in olive oil and balsamic. But at some point you begin to dream of other uses for basil. Maybe you make pesto. Maybe you throw some on pasta. But do you really still that tiny nagging voice in the back of your head wondering, "Isn't there something more?"

    In fact, there is.

    You may associate fried rice with cheap Chinese food, thawed frozen peas and carrots. You have been mislead.

    Thai-style fried rice is nothing like Chinese-style fried rice. It usually incorporates a colorful array of vegetables, and is often served with some combination of fresh cucumbers, tomato, and spring onions, doused with fresh lime juice, and given a shake or two of zingy white pepper.

    Like most dishes on this site, you're meant to use up what you have on hand. I prefer a simple mix of tomato and dark greens, but almost any chopped vegetables will do. (Caveat:
    Denser vegetables like carrots need more time to cook, so add them first, or even do a brief pre-stir-fry, so nothing gets burnt while you wait for the carrots to soften.)

    It's also perfect for incorporating handfuls of mixed basil. (If you grow different kinds of basil, you often have small amounts of each plant begging to be used, but not enough to season an entire dish with one variety. This is a great dish for mixing. Thai basil, spicier than the kind used in Italian food, is particularly good. Go figure.)

    I love this dish because it is cheap, quick to make, uses up leftovers, delivers a 1-dish balanced meal, and tastes great -- truly faux gourmet.

    What You Need:

    About 1 cup day-old rice (At least! The harder and dryer it is, the less it will stick and the less oil you need.)
    Vegetables of your choosing (I used about 1 cup torn spinach leaves and 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes)
    Handful of basil leaves
    1 egg
    Seasonings to taste: soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili sauce (You could use fish sauce instead of / in addition to soy sauce. I used brine from pickled carrots / daikon instead of vinegar - you can see the pickles on the side in the photo above.)
    Garnishes to taste: lime juice, white pepper

    What to do:
    Heat oil in wok, turning wok to coat sides. Add garlic slices and fry briefly; do not let burn. Add rice and stir to coat with oil, breaking up any clumps. A wide, flat utensil works best, so you can lift and turn the rice, rather than stirring it as you would with a spoon or spatula.

    Add seasonings to taste; not too heavy - you can always taste & add more. Add vegetables in order of most to least dense. In my case, I start with a handful of cherry tomatoes, then incorporate the spinach. Move everything to one side of the wok, add a tiny bit more oil, and crack in egg. Scramble it in the pan, incorporating into rice and vegetables as it cooks. Add basil and stir to incorporate, gently cooking.

    Serve with fresh lime juice and white pepper. A garnish of cucumber and chopped spring onions is nice as well.


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