Edamame Fried Rice

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Some days we get to go out and splurge on decadent dinners, but most days we’re just a couple of recent college grads who want to sit down to some homemade comfort food after a long day at work. For us, fried rice is one of these comfort dishes that always comes through for us with a satisfying meal when we’re pressed for time. Recently, I started added edamame to my fried rice. It was a weird change since, as a child, I didn’t even like peas in my fried rice and I would spend the first five minutes in front of my bowl carefully extracting each pea one by one with my chopsticks. But for whatever reason, I love adding edamame to my fried rice, and Trader Joe’s sells them already shelled and frozen, making life that much easier. Edamame, or green immature soybeans, are a great way of kicking up a plain ol’ fried rice with some beautiful bright green color and a nice crunchy texture, not to mention the high protein and fiber content! Martin doesn’t like the change in texture, so sometimes I just add some to my portion, or if I have leftovers, I’ll toss in a handful of edamame straight out of the freezer and heat them up together in the microwave.

Voila! The Finished Product

Without further ado, here is the recipe for making this ovo-vegetarian (that is, vegetarian + eggs) dish that you could serve as a side dish or eat on its own as a hearty, well-balanced entree.

Ingredients:

3 cups of cooked white jasmine rice (see our com do entry for notes about the type of rice and prep method)

2 eggs, 3 if you like your fried rice extra egg-y

1 cup of edamame, shelled and parboiled (or the pre-shelled ones straight out of the freezer)

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

Olive Oil

Garlic Salt

Black Pepper

Maggi, soy sauce, or other soy-based seasoning sauces (we like Golden Mountain)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or wok (you’ll want lots of room to mix and toss the rice around) on medium-high heat. Saute the garlic and onions until softened and almost translucent. Add the edamame. You’re mostly looking to “defrost” them if using frozen, but I ended up browning mine a bit and it tasted pretty good with a nice nutty flavor.

Sauteed onions, garlic, and edamame

Pile on the rice and crack the eggs on top. Stir vigorously to coat so that everything is a nice golden color.

That’s Martin stirring vigorously.

Season to taste with some garlic salt, black pepper, and soy sauce of choice. If you like your rice a bit crispy, crank the heat up to high and let the rice sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally just enough to prevent burning but not too frequently so it will have a chance to brown. Serves 4.

Bon appetit!

Let us know how it goes! We hope you’ll add this recipe to your weeknight dinner rotation.

Meatless Monday: Quinoa, Kale, and Tofu

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Happy Meatless Monday! Last week, we posted this photo (via Facebook and Twitter) of our delicious vegan dinner — here’s the recipe if you want to make it at home.

The finished product

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

1/2 cup of quinoa

1 cup of vegetable broth

1 bunch of kale

Minced garlic

Minced ginger (optional)

Salt & pepper, to taste

1/2 brick organic firm tofu

1 Tbsp mirin

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a seed rich in protein and high in fiber. Commonly used as a substitute for grain, quinoa is actually not a grain at all and is related to Swiss chard and spinach! It’s easy to prepare – just rinse, drain, and throw in a pot with water in a 1 part quinoa to 2 part liquid ratio. However, we prefer to use vegetable broth instead of water for added flavor. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes until all of the liquid has been absorbed. The quinoa should have a firm but slightly chewy texture when done. It is deceptively filling, so we abide by the serving size of 1/4 cup (dry) per person.

Kale is a beautiful dark green leafy vegetable rich in vitamins A, C, and K. I’ve always been mystified by how to cook it (it’s not a common ingredient in Asian cuisine), but we put together a sauteed kale dish that turned out similar in flavor and texture to the sauteed gai lan in Chinese restaurants. First rinse the kale leaves under cold running water. Cut or shred into pieces (I used scissors and sliced every inch or so along the leafy part and every 1/2 inch along the stem part). In a pot, heat a bit of olive oil. Toss in the kale. It’ll look ambitious at first, but trust me, it wilts down.

Overflowing (with healthy goodness)!

Season with salt and pepper (we used Himalayan pink salt which adds a more delicate flavor and interesting crunch). Turn the kale; otherwise the leaves at the bottom start to burn while the leaves on top have yet to wilt. Add some minced ginger (or ginger paste!) and minced garlic for flavor. Serve the kale, juices included, over the bed of quinoa.

I found a brick of “high protein, super firm” organic tofu at Trader Joes. This is PERFECT for stirfrying as the tofu brick is very dense and is less prone to breaking while cooking. If you can’t get your hands on this super (firm) tofu, any firm or extra firm will do. Be sure to pat dry with a paper towel after removing from the package. Cut into small bite-sized cubes and throw into a bowl.

This is actually a whole brick, but we ended up with lots of leftovers..

In a smaller bowl, mix together the mirin, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Pour over the tofu cubes and toss to coat. Meanwhile, heat a bit of olive oil in a pan. When the pan is hot, add the tofu cubes including any remaining “marinade” and let it fry/simmer until warm. Serve on top of the kale and quinoa. Enjoy!

‘Tis the Season at Trader Joe’s

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It’s that time of year, when stores pack away the Halloween orange and black goodies and start setting out the winter holiday wares. Snowflakes, snowmen, Santa Clauses galore. What I had hoped to be a quick trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up some ginger chews turned out to be an exciting kid-in-a-candy-store feeling with all of the holiday items back on the shelves.

My spoils of war after battling the after-work crowd at Trader Joes!

My favorite by far: Dark Chocolate Stars. Shortbread cookies dipped in dark chocolate and covered with white sprinkles. Think of those pink and white frosted Circus Animal cookies from your childhood… this is the grown-up version. I probably go through 3 or 4 boxes before the end of the season. (I daresay, I get even more excited about these than Girl Scout cookies!) A one-pound box sells for only $4.99!

I hear they also make great cupcake/cake decorations!

I also picked up a remnant of fall before they all get shoved aside to make room for winter: Pumpkin Butter. It comes in an adorable little jar and has the texture of a marmalade. Delicious on English muffins and all sorts of creative ideas listed on the jar such as “…pastry filling, poultry glaze, ice cream topping, on toast or mixed with fat free cream cheese for a unique spread.” $2.99 for a 10 oz jar.

I once had a teacher who loved the expression “the best thing since apple butter”. I think he’d approve if I substituted this pumpkin butter instead. :)

What I found out from my friendly cashier Colleen was that Whole Grain Rye Mini Toasts are also on the holiday list! She likes them on their own, but when I saw them, I immediately thought of making my own Chex Mix the way it should be – none of those darn pretzels or bread sticks that end up abandoned at the bottom of the bag. Just lots of rye chips and cereal, with extra zesty seasoning. Recipe to come! I’ll be stocking up on these before the season ends. $1.99 for a 6 oz bag.

You’re my favorite part of Chex Mix, but shh.. don’t tell the cereal!

Another winter staple is Peppermint Bark! Martin and I have a fondness for the squares from Ghiradelli, which don’t really resemble peppermint bark very much at all but are delicious nonetheless. I thought it would be a nice treat to welcome the dreary winter season with some festive peppermint bark in an adorable metal tin. The tin holds one pound of peppermint bark and goes for $9.99.

What an adorable little tin!

The last item I bought, ginger chews aside, was a Milk Chocolate Orange. Yes, my friends, those interactive spheres of chocolate that you WHACK against a hard surface to break into orange-like sections. Trader Joe’s has their own and we are very excited to try them! And at $2.49 apiece, it’s a steal!

Can’t wait to take this out of the wrapper and *whack*!

There are lots of other winter treats on the shelves this year as well. Even more than previous years, it seems to me. And of course since it’s Trader Joe’s, everything is very affordable and many of the items are organic. (I noticed on the label for the rye chips that they’re Kosher!) With shelves stocked full of gift boxes of truffles, peppermint coated pretzels, candy cane cookies, sparkling ciders in many flavors… ’tis the season!