Meet Linda, the blogger behind Spicebox Travels and the winner of this month's Shine Supper Club and a swank 4-quart casserole from Crate and Barrel for her simple recipe for Gratitude Fried Rice (recipe below). (Be sure to also read the story that goes along with the recipe--it's deeply humbling and a much-needed reminder this time of year.) Peek inside Linda's mind and refrigerator as she answers our usual questions:
What ingredient are you currently obsessed with?
I'm a huge fan of spices (hence my blog name) and my current favorite is an ancient one: cardamom. My husband crushes green cardamom pods into my coffee and tea and my all-time favorite coffee cake recipe has a really assertive cardamom flavor.
Favorite food memory?
This is a little embarrassing, but it would have to be my 5th wedding anniversary dinner, which was nearly a decade ago. My husband and I were young and unsophisticated food lovers who were willing to splurge on a special meal, so we decided to celebrate our anniversary at Le Bernardin. There were two amazing tasting menus, so we each had one. The food was amazing and the service was understated and professional. After probably painfully observing me and my husband exchanging bites of our dishes on our bread plates, one of our servers quietly removed the plates (no comment needed). Soon after, Chef Eric Ripert appeared and smilingly asked if we were enjoying our meal. At that time, we had no idea who he was! If I could replay that meal now, I hope we'd play it more smoothly.
What's your go-to easy dinner?
There's usually leftover rice in our fridge so some variation of fried rice, either this recipe or kimchi fried rice. And lots of stir fried greens on the side, with plenty of garlic.
Ketchup or mustard?
Mustard. Or Sriracha, if it's an option.
Who would be the ideal dinner party guests (living or dead)?
I'd like to mix it up to keep the conversation lively. A couple of my favorite authors-- Zadie Smith and Ann Patchett; someone from the food world, like Anthony Bourdain; and someone quietly strong and inspirational, like Aung San Suu Kyi.
It's your last meal. What's on the menu?
I think it would be comfort food which reminds me of home, so it would include favorites from my mother's kitchen, Taiwanese beef noodle soup and stir fried rice noodles. And for dessert, the sweetest, ripest tropical fruit, including pineapple, mango, mangosteen and custard apple. Plus dark chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat. But if you asked my husband, he'd say I'd want whatever's on his plate.
Gratitude Fried Rice
from Spicebox Travels
Serves: 6 to 8
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 small onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
4 cups cold cooked rice (any long-grain variety will do, Jasmine preferred)
2 cups diced roast turkey or chicken, some skin included
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
garnish: Tabasco or other hot sauce
In a small non-stick frying pan, heat 1 tsp of oil over medium heat. When warm, add beaten eggs and scramble until softly cooked. Take off heat and set aside.
Heat remaining oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick frying pan (or seasoned wok) until it is shimmery, then add onions with a pinch of salt. Saute or stir-fry for a few minutes until translucent.
Before adding the cold cooked rice, use a spatula to break up any large clumps. Add rice to the onion and oil and stir so that the rice is coated with the oil and grains are mainly separate.
Add the turkey or chicken and continue to stir-fry for a few minutes.
Add vegetables and continue to stir so that they're well distributed. Add soy sauce and pepper and lower heat to medium. Continue to stir every few minutes so that the rice doesn't stick to the pan. Cook just until the vegetables are no longer frozen.
Add previously scrambled eggs to the fried rice and stir until the eggs are scattered throughout. Adjust seasonings to taste.