Cooking Day 4 – Thursday May 16, 2013

Breakfast

This was a breakfast prepared before bed. Steff was on my case about still cooking and working in the kitchen after dinner, but all I had to do in the morning was get up and put it in the oven. I think once she had breakfast she was fine with me doing “extra” work the night before.

I doubled the recipe, making two casserole dishes. And, yes, we had plenty of leftovers yet again. I followed the recipe almost exactly, except I tore the bread into chunks instead of leaving the slices whole.  I figured that would be easier for serving a large group. I also added an extra touch:

Pioneer Woman’s topping for overnight French Toast

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • ½ cup cold butter
  1. Blend all ingredients together.
  2. Sprinkle on top of dish and bake.

Lunch

I don’t remember if I boiled all the eggs the night before, or if I did it in the morning. But I do know that I boiled the potatoes in the morning. The recipe served 50, so I cut this one in half. Yup, plenty of leftovers, which nobody minded in the least. Caroline helped prepare the salad, and we had a lot of taste-testing so we could adjust the flavor as needed. I don’t think we made any significant changes.

The tuna sandwiches were pretty basic. I mixed the tuna with mayonnaise, S&P, some diced pickles and celery. If I have it available, I like to add cheese and tomato slices to the sandwich as well, but I don’t recall if I did that day. The outside of the bread was buttered (I do believe I actually used the last of some margarine – horrors, I know) and then the sandwiches were placed on a cookie sheet in the oven, at 425 *, I think, turning over halfway through.

Dinner

  • Lentil Curry
  • Chinese Chicken Salad
  • Fried Rice

We only had nine people for dinner tonight, but I still quadrupled the recipe, to make 16 servings.  I cannot remember where I found the recipe, but at least I have it written in my notebook.

Lentil Curry

Serves 4

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 Tablespoon curry opwder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  1. Cook lentils; set aside.
  2. In separate pan, cook onion in oil.
  3. Combine spices and add to onions; cook 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomatoes and heat through.
  5. Add cooked, drained lentils and combine.
  6. Serve over rice.

I got the recipe for the salad from a friend online.  I’m so glad I took the time to write this one down and put it on the menu.  It was a huge hit, and something I will happily make again for my family.

Chinese Chicken Salad

  • chopped Romaine and/or red leaf lettuce
  • chopped cucumber
  • chopped green onion
  • bean sprouts
  • chopped cooked chicken

Dressing

  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • toasted almond slices for topping
  • toasted crushed ramen for topping

I think I doubled the dressing and just used what looked like a good amount of the salad ingredients. I remember there was some difficulty in acquiring bean sprouts. Apparently several stores were out because of a threat of salmonella, but I do think Kim was finally successful in locating some.  We did not have almond slices and I did not crush ramen, but I did have some of those crunchy Chinese noodles so we used those.

Have you ever made fried rice? I used to try it without any sort of directions, and it never turned out quite right, though my family would eat it anyway. After finally looking up a recipe and following it, and making the best stuff ever, I don’t need a recipe anymore. It’s not so much about what you add to it as it is about how you do it.

Fried Rice

  • Cold leftover rice (Some people make wonderful fried rice with hot freshly-made rice, but I prefer to use cold leftovers; it works better for me, and that’s how I learned to do it.)
  • Oil (Olive oil shouldn’t be used for high-heat cooking, but if that’s all you have use it. Sesame oil is great for fried rice, or even peanut or coconut oil.)
  • 1-2 eggs, scrambled
  • finely chopped veggies (Have all your additions chopped and ready to go. Leftover bits of cooked veggies work great, like onions and broccoli, but really you can use anything you have, even corn, though that isn’t authentic. If the veggies are small enough, you can start with raw.)
  • sliced green onions (I highly recommend green onions – save them for the very last.)
  • finely chopped meat (I like to have a bit of meat, too, so don’t feel compelled to always eat that last little bit of meat from a meal; wrap it up and save it for rice, since you don’t need much. Chop it into small pieces. I’ve used chicken, pork, roast, shrimp, even kielbasa and ground meat at times. But you can keep it vegetarian.)
  • soy sauce
  1. In a small skillet you need to scramble an egg or two. Cook them hard, not soft, in small pieces. Set aside.
  2. In a wok or very large skillet heat some oil. For a quart of rice I’d recommend ¼ cup. I think it’s better to have a bit too much oil rather than not enough.
  3. Add rice, making sure to use your fingers to eliminate any clumps. Stir constantly until heated through.
  4. Add soy sauce, enough to give it all a bit of a brown coloring. More can be added at the table to individual taste preference, which is better than having too much for the whole batch.
  5. Slide rice up sides of pan, leaving the bottom of wok empty. Using a bit more oil if desired, add veggies and meat, stirring until hot. Combine with rice.
  6. Add scrambled eggs and keep stirring.
  7. Remove from heat and add green onions. Serve to your adoring family or friends.

~Lynn

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