Archive for May, 2010

Fried Rice for the Lazy Single

May 11, 2010

Yawn. My first two days off in a row after 3 weeks of work.  Much needed. One-day breaks dont cut it. My fridge looks scarily empty. And I dont have any desire to shed my pijamas and get out grocery shopping. Bread? none. Meats? Zip. All I see is a couple free range eggs, wilting green onions, a red onion starting to desiccate, garlic, fresh ginger and half a red bell pepper. On the counter the rice cooker sits next to a half full bottle of light soy sauce. Together they look like a postmodern  still life painting. Is it possible that there be some left over rice? Yes! some white, fluffly basmati I made yesterday morning survived to see this day. So, time for brunch.

Drink choices: there is a handful of coffee beans ready for grinding. And with sunlight flooding my second floor kitchen, I look again at the fridge. I know what’s in there. A bottle of J.P Chenet bubbly Rose (15.99 at Everything Wine) and a bottle of Joseph Drathen Mosel Riesling (12.99). No. It’s too early. So the coffee gets brewed, the onions, peppers, green onions chopped and sauteed in vegetable oil with chopped fresh ginger and garlic on medium high heat. When they look tender, a few dashes of soy sauce, a cup and a half of rice joins the fray, so do the eggs and I stir until the latter look ready.

That’s all. Brunch is ready. It took ten minutes. I have no pretense anymore of chefing my meals when Im on my own. Vegetables get cut in chunks, potatoes remain unpeeled, parsley or cilantro keep part of the stems along with the leaves.  There is no precise recipe here. Any vegetable will do. Amounts? trust your instinct. Screw up once, twice, you will be satisfied on your third try.  Damn. I wish I had some oyster mushrooms.

The fried rice tastes really good. Too bad that by the time I serve  it the coffee cup is empty and I have no more roasted beans left. I really need a drink with my rice. And its only 1130 am.

I look at the fridge again. That rose is surely tempting.

ps. both wines would go well with this recipe, cutting through the oily coating of the veggies and eggs. The bubbly is light and fruity; the riesling is a la Mosel, with hightened mineral acidity. Both have a touch of sweetness to meet the sweetness of sauteed onions and red pepper.


Say NO to Farmed Salmon

May 7, 2010

Sea lice infestations are one of the consequences of salmon farms in BC

We all love seafood, fish, shellfish and so on. The problem is, our love for seafood is destroying entire marine and riverine ecosystems. We are not talking small change here. Trawlers have destroyed ocean floors on areas of inimaginable size in every continent. Pirate fishing fleets scour the oceans, international waters and destroy not only the fish species they target, but on their haste to make a quick fortune they kill innumerable seabirds, turtles and all kinds of creatures captured as bycatch. On the other front, fish farming, which could be an alternative to natural stocks, can also be a curse. Salmon farming for instance, has very negative consequences on both, the ecosystems in places like British Columbia and Chile AND on the fisheries of poor nations. This is because in order to feed the penned salmon, astronomical amounts of school fish must be caught elsewhere. Usually elsewhere is poorer nations that need to sell whatever resource they have in order to keep their heads above the water. All the anchovy, sardine and other small fish that are used to make fishmeal to feed salmon (chicken and turkeys too, for that matter) is caught in the seas of countries like Peru. Farmed salmon consumption is objectionable from every point of view. It doesnt provide “much needed jobs” in remote areas; in fact, it provides only a few jobs. We contribute massive amounts of tax dollars; our governments should see that those dollars create sustainable jobs in those remote areas instead of sending soldiers to kill Afghans in some war in which Canada has nothing to do. That costs billions. Just to mention one misuse of our tax dollars. Back to the subject of interest. Salmon farming only benefits a few huge companies at the cost of destroying bays and possibly being one of the main causes for the collapse of the wild salmon stocks. We are taking fish away from the table of a poor Peruvian or African kid to feed expensive salmon that not everyone can afford in Canada. Or in the USA. Or anywhere. Farmed salmon should be out of your shopping list. So should Chilean Sea Bass. Monkfish. Skate. And a hundred more. The world’s fisheries are in real, actual trouble. This is not science fiction, just check your United Nations FAO fisheries status online documents to understand what is going on.

Best Clams Ever (Until the Next Recipe)

May 4, 2010

Clams are like butter: Everybody likes them. Best way to eat them -for me, anyway- is cooked in a pot, in a brothy, flavor driven sauce. Thousand versions out there, just check out your friendly google search engine. Today I felt like having some clams and this is how I made them. They were INCREDIBLE.

Grab 8 live manila clams and rinse well

Fine grate lemon zest, fresh ginger (1/3  teaspoonful each)

Chop 1/4 Thai red demon hot pepper (more or less, depending on your love for spicy heat)

One small shallot, chopped fine

Mix in bowl all ingredients above, except for clams.

Heat a bit of vegetable oil and melt 1/2 spoonful butter in it

Add blended ingredients and cook on medium, medium low until shallots are opaque

Add half an ounce white wine and an ounce fish stock (in lieu of it, water will do but then you need to further reduce the broth)

When broth doesn’t smell of wine any more throw in clams and increase temperature, cover

One and a half to two minutes, check that clams are open or cook another half minute

Turn heat off

Let sit for two minutes

Serve clams + broth in a bowl, sprinkle with finely chopped Italian parsley (flat, not curly) and a squirt or two of lemon juice

Have some slices of nice, fresh french baguette waiting

Dip said baguette in broth

Scoop broth, take to mouth

Grab clam, eat

Repeat process until there’s nothing left in the bowl

It shouldn’t take too long

I had it with Italian Catarrato

You could do Catarrato, Orvieto, Sauvignon-Semillon, or other white wine with moderate acidity and firm flavor, to stand up to the solid flavors and texture of the broth

This is just enough for one person

If you want to impress your friends, double, triple or quadruple the amounts

Buen Provecho!

ps. Clams are mostly sustainably harvested or farmed, they provide lots of micronutrients your body crave and their nervous system is rather limited, so their capacity to experience pain is a lot smaller than say, cows, chickens, fish or crab.