Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's crumbly.

Para para shiteru.

Idiot-resistant fried rice

I think most of us are used to fried rice recipes that tell us to cook scrambled eggs and then add as many servings of leftover rice as there are people you need to feed. I used to cook fried rice that way too, and it usually turned out mushy. In this case, "usually" means "about 95% of the time.

I've been using a new method for the past six months or so, and my fried rice success rate is now in the mid 70s. Apparently, what I was doing wrong was

1. Cooking the eggs throughly first

2. Starting with cold rice

3. Trying to cook more than one serving at once

4. Using a nonstick frying pan instead of an iron wok.

Now, those of us with Chinese mothers will probably protest, but, remember, I said "idiot resistant". I did not say "authentic."


Garlic soy sauce (peeled cloves of garlic tossed in a glass bottle, fill with enough soy sauce to cover, let sit in fridge for a week. Regular soy is just fine, too), bacon bits (like I said, "idiot resistant", not "authentic"), bowl, eggs (one egg for each cup of rice), and, of course, leftover rice. Not shown: chopped green onions, oil, iron wok, and stainless steel ladle.

Microwave one cup of leftover rice (remember, "idiot resistant", not "authentic"). It should be just as hot as if it were freshly cooked. When that's done, heat whatever else you are going to add to your fried rice, such as diced ham, green onion, canned crab, leftover turkey (I've tried the first three, but I see no reason why the last wouldn't taste good).

In a bowl, beat one egg.



Line up bowl of beaten egg, hot rice, and other ingredients where you can reach them. Tie any children under school age to their chairs. Heat wok until smoking hot. Add oil. Vegetable oil or sesame oil is good. I used bacon grease. Hey, I said "idiot resistant". Never did I say "coronary artery disease resistant."


Add egg. Wait 8 seconds, or just count very slowly to eight.


Most of the egg should still be runny when you add the rice.


Now, use your steel ladle to vigorously mix the egg, oil and rice together. What you want to do is create an emulsion of rice, egg and oil, with each grain of rice coated with a very thin layer of egg. A wok and a ladle will work better than a spatula and a frying pan, because the curved shape of the ladle against the curved shape of the wok lets you smash apart any clumps that might form. You don't want a non-stick pan you're going to be afraid of scratching. Another thing: trying to cook more than one cup of rice at a time will make it harder to smash clumps.


If you're not making a racket, you're probably not doing it right.

After you have an even mixture of rice, egg and oil, add the rest of your ingredients. Cook only long enough to mix evenly. Season with soy sauce, salt and pepper. Dump into a dish. Repeat process as many times as needed.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

I can't get it out of my head.

Atama kara hanarenai.

So the radio stations are still giving Michael Jackson overtime airplay.

I wasn't all that into Michael Jackson when he was at the peak of his popularity. Back then, I was into Billy Joel and Lionel Richie (yes, Nicole's dad).

Billy Joel's song "Just the Way You Are" is about his first wife, whom he later divorced. Apparently his band's drummer invented alternative lyrics to the part that goes "I love you just the way you aaaaare!" which were "she took the house, the dog, the caaaaar!"

So now, I can't get that tune, and those alternative lyrics out of my head, and I've been singing "she took the house, the dog, the car" to myself at work and at home. I'm wondering how many people think I'm singing "Just the Way You Are" and how many people at work even know who Billy Joel is. Remember, one of the youngsters didn't understand why everyone was making a fuss about Michael Jackson's death.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Write your wish on this strip.

Negaigoto wo tanzaku ni kaite.

July 7th is Tanabata. Legend has it that two lovers enjoyed each others' company so much that they never worked. The angry gods separated them with a wide river. Once a year, a flock of birds form a bridge so they may cross the river to see each other, but being a bridge of birds, it can only be crossed when skies are clear. The river is the Milky Way, and the lovers are Vega and Altair. If you write your wish on a strip of paper and hang it on bamboo, and the skies are clear, your wish will come true.

So this is what the Pumpkin Princess wrote on her strip of paper.


For the non-Japanese literate, she wants to be Cure Peach, the previously mentioned girl superhero.

I should probably mention that half the girls in her class wanted to be Pretty Cure. And that the Pumpkin Princess apparently got into an argument with a girl in her class over who would be Cure Peach.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Slightly better

Sukoshi ha mashi.

We celebrated Fathers' Day a week late with sushi.


The Pumpkin Daddy is really getting into the paternity leave thing. Last week, he took the Pumpkin Princess to the neighborhood park and did some spontaneous community service, picking up trash.


The boy in the yellow shirt lives a couple houses down the street from us. He was practicing soccer lifts but decided he wanted to be a good citizen too.

Yesterday, I got my rear outside and weeded the garden for 10 minutes. For my trouble, I got six mosquito bites and the garden looks like a garden that hasn't been weeded in a while. This is a slight improvement from before, when it looked like a greener version of the set for Little House on the Prairie.

I found a tomato starting to turn red.


Lovely sunflower that no one remembers planting. Probably sprouted from a seed that fell from one of last years'.


Rather dissociated in content, but at least I no longer have Michael Jackson on top of my page.