Below is more information on Terra, as well as a great and easy recipe!
Hi! My name is Terra G., mom to twin girls (Charlotte and Veronica, born July 2008) and married to Joe. We live in Clintonville with our two cats and small backyard garden. My husband and I are what you might call food hobbyists. You name the gift-giving holiday, and I can guarantee I got a blender, food processor, kitchen-aid mixer, Japanese chef’s knife or food dehydrator. To encourage his experimentation, I surprised him with an electric smoker for Christmas and now our backyard smells like hickory on weekends and we eat an unreasonable amount of homemade pulled pork and smoked salmon. Since moving to Columbus from Brooklyn, NY in 2006, we have played around with smoking, canning, freezing and drying our food. And I was so into making my own baby food that my twins never ate any food that came in a jar.
So, not surprisingly, my posts will be about food – growing it, harvesting it, cooking it and preserving it. And, ideally, with an eye toward getting toddlers to eat it. We’re calling it Living Seasonally*. The idea is to aspire to a goal of eating what’s in season and available locally so we aren’t getting flavorless tomatoes in the middle of winter that came on a boat from Argentina. We’re lucky to live so close to such great agricultural bounty. I plan to feature items during that magic few weeks a year when they are in their peak season and give you ideas for how to grow them, where to pick them, how to cook them so your kids will eat it, and how to preserve them to use in the dead of winter.
*Living Seasonally isn’t all that original. I have a personal blog of the same name (livingseasonally.blogspot.com) where I post about many of the same ideas. If you’re interested, check that site too because it’ll have original content that isn’t necessarily aimed at family friendly eating (pickled jalapenos and strawberry rhubarb margaritas, anyone?).
And now for the first official recipe of Terra's Living Seasonally column...
Fried rice is a great quick meal that can get you out of a jam when you don’t have enough of anything to make a meal around. Maybe you have 2 carrots and a couple of mushrooms and a handful of cooked chicken in the fridge. Great – you have the makings of fried rice!
Ideally you should use leftover rice. Just don't cook rice and immediately make fried rice out of it. It isn’t as good, don’t ask me why. Instead, try microwavable frozen cooked rice (Trader Joes sells 3-pack boxes).
Below is the version I made for dinner tonight. It used snow peas from the Clintonville Farmers’ Market, shiitakes mushrooms from the North Market, and lovely spring onions from the Pearl Market. But really, any combination of veggies and/or protein will work. Generally, add items in order of what takes longest to cook. Carrots first, greens last. If you want to use meat, cook it first (or use leftovers) and set it aside until the end – stir in just to warm it through.
My 23 month old daughters were happy to devour this. Maybe it was because we all sat together and ate the exact same dinner, which is still sadly a bit rare for us. Who knows what it was, and I can’t promise your kids will eat it, but it’s a good way to use up some leftovers in the produce drawer.
Ingredients (all quantities totally approximate – use what you have):
2 cups leftover cooked rice (or microwaved frozen rice – prepared and cooled in fridge)
½ cup diced carrots
¼ cup chopped spring onions (or green onions)
½ cup chopped snow peas
2 beaten eggs
8-12 sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger (I use a kind that comes in a jar & stores in the fridge)
oil (canola, sesame or peanut)
If using frozen rice, microwave and put in bowl in fridge to cool. Chop all your veggies into similar size pieces to aid in even cooking. Mince garlic and ginger. Beat eggs in a bowl.
Heat 2 tbsp oil over medium high heat in a large, nonstick pan. You want it hot to cook quickly - don’t be shy! Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally 2-3 minutes until they start to brown, then add carrots and cook another 2-3 minutes until they start to get tender. Add green onions and peas and cook another 2 minutes.
When all vegetables are nearly done, add garlic and ginger, stir and cook for about 30 seconds until you start to smell them, but not too long or the garlic will burn. Add another 2 tbsp oil (at this point, I prefer a flavorful oil like peanut or sesame), then add the rice to the pan. Stir until all grains are coated. Cook another minute or two.
Add 3-4 tbsp soy sauce and stir. Push rice to the side of the pan, leaving a well in the middle. Add the beaten egg to the center, stir to scramble and allow to cook fully – about 1 minute. Once cooked, stir together with the rice and serve.
Look at that almost empty plate!
If you have questions, requests or suggestions for my column, please let me know. I would love to hear from you! Either comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.