Yesterday the sky was a purple quilt with a border of rose. Today I didn’t see the sunrise, and I confess I was glad. My sleep is improving.
Fried Rice with Ginger and Shrimp
What a mouthful of flavor this is! It is a combination of traditional Oriental ingredients plus some ideas of my own. Dishes like this are a good place to use some of your leftovers. Take the meat off the bone of that chicken wing in the fridge and throw it in. And that little piece of ham that isn’t enough for a serving would work too. The same goes for vegetables if they still have good color and texture. Yes, those two asparagus spears that no one ate last night will work as long as they aren’t mushy. All of these things will only add to the complex flavor of this one-dish meal.
You will need: A few Scallions
3 1/2 cups Water 4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups uncooked Rice 2 teaspoons grated fresh Ginger
24 or more Shrimp 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoons Canola Oil 3/4 cup Sugar Snap Peas
4 eggs 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
6 slices Bacon 2 Tablespoons Molasses
2 Jalapeno Peppers 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 medium Onion Salt
4 red Radishes 2 Limes
A few Scallions
1. Remove the stems from the chilies and mince them, seeds and all. You can use pickled jalapenos or fresh jalapenos or any other hot green pepper.
2. Dice one-half medium yellow onion.
3. Mince 4 cloves garlic.
4. Grate two teaspoons fresh ginger. Peeling the ginger isn’t necessary. If you have no fresh ginger, use one teaspoon dried ginger.
5. Halve, then quarter the limes. These are for the garnish.
6. Cut the scallions into one quarter-inch lengths. Use both green and white parts. This is also part of the garnish.
7. Cut the bacon into one-inch pieces.
8. Crack the four eggs into a bowl and beat them slightly. You will be making two omelets with the eggs.
9. Slice the four radishes. The slices should be a little over 1/16 of an inch.
1. In a sauce pan, bring 3 1/3 cups of water to boil. Add 1 1/2 cup uncooked rice and a pinch of salt. Stir once, then bring the water back to a boil. Turn the heat to low, put a lid on the pot and cook for 18 minutes. After 18 minutes turn the heat off and let the rice steam in the residual heat for 18 more minutes or until you are ready to add it to the skillet.
2. Boil the shrimp until they turn pink. If you are using precooked shrimp, you can skip this step. if you are using unshelled shrimp, peel them and remove the tails.
3. Make two plain omelets using half of the beaten eggs and half of the oil for each one. Stack the omelets on your cutting board. With your chef’s knife, chop them into bite-sized pieces of any old shape.
4. In a large skillet, fry the bacon until it is almost crisp, then remove it from the pan reserving the bacon fat.
5. Saute the two jalapeno peppers, the diced onion, the minced garlic, the grated ginger and the red peper flakes in the bacon fat until the garlic becomes translucent.
6. Add the sugar snap peas and saute for one minute. If you can’t find the sugar snap peas, use their close cousin—snow peas or just plain frozen green peas.
7. Add the shrimp, bacon and rice. Don’t add all the rice at once. You could have more than you need. If you have extra rice, save it to make a nice rice pudding later in the week.
8. Add two tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons molasses and two tablespoons soy sauce. Stir and cook for about three minutes.
9. Add the chopped omelets.
10. Taste and adjust the seasonings. This is the point where you ask yourself: Is it hot enough for my taste? Do I want more red pepper flakes? What about the molasses? Can you taste it? Does it need salt? While this recipe makes use of many seasonings, I have purposely used very conservative amounts. If you want more, use more. Make this recipe your own.
1. Make one large mound of the fried rice on each dinner plate.
2. At one place on the edge of the fried rice, sprinkle a few slices of the radishes, then rest one of the half limes in the center of the radishes.
3. Sprinkle the chopped scallions atop the rice.
4. Revel in the flavors.
Food for Thought:
Every One is Someone
If our Fried Rice recipe is to be at its best, it must contain bacon. Bacon provides protein and crunch. The Jalapeno peppers add a tingle to your mouth; the ginger spices things up, the sugar snap peas add nutrition, and the molasses helps create a rich sauce. Each ingredient in the recipe is important. Every spice, every shrimp, onion flake and minced piece of garlic is needed.
Individual human beings are similar. God has placed each of us on the earth for a special reason. We all have some personality trait, gift or aptitude that people need.
Each performer in a string quartet, for example, provides a necessary something. The two violinists, the violist and the cellist each offer a uniqueness: a particular sound, a melodic or rhythmic line, a haunting interpretation. The masterpiece will suffer if one performer is absent.
Many of us question our worth. Maybe you feel you’re nothing but a “good ol’ Joe.” Do you remember the TV detective Columbo? Outwardly, he was an ordinary, bumbling sort of fellow. But underneath was a simmering brilliance that would leap out at the perfect moment, and track the killer down.
You may not be a brilliant detective like Columbo or an artist like Thomas Merton’s father, who “painted like Cezanne and lived above the level of the world.” (Merton) But maybe you have a sense of humor that endears you to everyone. The creative writer Madeleine L’Engle valued anyone who could make her laugh. She believed they would be given a special place in heaven.
Or maybe you’re easy to be around, like the paper artist who was assigned to be my roommate at a conference. Nancy’s speech was calm, her movements measured, her manner humble. It was a balm to be in her presence.
Another woman I know felt worthless because she’d been sexually abused as a child. But Joyce worked diligently toward healing, and now she’s a much sought-after speaker. She shares her story and teaches victims to paint out their anger and frustration. She has become a healer.
Montapert said: “The monument of a great man is not of Granite or Marble or Bronze. It consists of his goodness, his love and compassion.”
So “light your candles quietly, such candles as you possess, wherever you are.” (Alfred Delp)