The Ultimate Veggie Fried Rice

Check out my Ultimate Veggie Fried Rice guys!  This weeknight recipe is a quick and healthy version of the Classic Chinese take-out.  My version is loaded with a powerhouse of vegetables such as boy choy, red cabbage, carrots, shitake mushrooms and asparagus.  This is my go-to weeknight recipe for the fam.  There are never left-overs and I find myself throwing this into the dinner rotation at least every other week, varying the vegetables. 

Also, with the summer heat, do I really want to turn on the oven?  I think not! So, stove top cooking is the way to go.  This recipe comes together in under 30 minutes.  All you need to do is prep your veggies in advance and let the countdown begin.

This is the veggie version of fried rice, but feel free to add your favorite protein such as shrimp, chicken and tofu.  This recipe is so customizable it screams do what you want with me.  Yes, I said that! The meal is bright and colorful, so you’re totally eating the rainbow.  It’s nutritious and will instantly become a part of your weeknight rotation.

Isn’t that what a weeknight dinner is supposed to be?

The Ultimate Veggie Fried Rice//serves 4

3 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon oil (sesame, coconut oil, etc).
2 eggs, beaten
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 medium sized onion, diced
3-4 carrots, sliced into rounds
1 small head cabbage, shredded
½ lb fresh shitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
4-5 boy choy, stems and leaves thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin

Heat a wok or frying pan to medium high heat until hot.  Add ½ teaspoon oil and swirl around wok.  Add beaten eggs and swirl around to coat bottom with a thin layer.  When the egg is set, with a rubber spatula, roll the egg into an omelet and transfer to a plate to cool.  Wipe out the wok and return to the heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of oil and add minced garlic, grated ginger and diced onion.  Cook stirring often, until onions are translucent and garlic and ginger are fragrant.  Add your vegetables and salt and cook, stirring often until vegetables are cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.  Transfer vegetables to a bowl.  Set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to work, and place 3 cups of the rice into the work.  Spread the rice out evenly and allow rice to sit for about 5 minutes.  This will help brown the rice on the bottom.  Add the vegetables to the brown rice along with the tamari, rice wine vinegar and mirin.  Stir all together until well incorporated.  Add more tamari to taste if you’d like. 

For the egg omelet, slice and place atop of veggie fried rice.  Transfer to bowls and serve immediately.  Garnish with cilantro, Thai chili peppers or Sriracha.

Asparagus & Gruyere Tart

Happy Easter everyone!  I made this Asparagus and Gruyere Tart to include as part of your Easter Brunch or dinner.  Or to be enjoyed at both your Easter Brunch and dinner because it’s just that good!  First, I’d like to say that I am cheese fanatic.  I especially love hard, intense flavored cheeses, such as the cheese used for this recipe, Gruyere.  It has a nutty, sweet flavor which pairs well with asparagus’ pungent flavor.

This recipe is quite simple to prepare with just three ingredients: fresh asparagus, Gruyere cheese and puff pastry.  Now, let me talk a little about puff pastry.  Puff pastry is light, airy and decadent.  It is best to purchase at a supermarket vs. attempting to make it from scratch as it requires a lot of folding.  My recommendation for puff pastry is Dufour, which is an all butter puff pastry.  If you have concerns about using an all butter puff pastry, Pepperidge Farm is another great brand as it uses vegetable shortening.  I’ve used both with great success.

I must say, growing up Easter dinners consisted of ham, roasted turkey, green beans with ham hocks and potatoes, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, homemade dinner rolls, coconut layered cake, banana pudding … it was quite a spread.  I haven’t kept a lot of these traditions because 1. I don’t eat beef or pork 2. I’m a habitual tradition breaker.  Going rogue is generally my modus operandi.  Don’t get me wrong, I cherish and respect tradition.  So many of these meals I had growing up are still prepared.  They are just deconstructed with healthier ingredients added, except for the macaroni and cheese. Not happening!

Gotta run.  Again, have a wonderful Easter Sunday!

Asparagus & Gruyere Tart//serves 4
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to make a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside of the markings (docking) to let steam escape while it's baking. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.