Organic Pork Fried Brown Rice (from scratch)

I absolutely love pork fried rice. Unfortunately, white rice (fried in oils and salt) doesn’t always fit into a balanced diet. So this is my attempt at making it healthy enough to More »

Caturday Mouse

Just a quick Caturday post! We found this guy a couple weeks ago in a grocery store parking lot. His eyes were still closed and Mama Mouse was nowhere to be found. More »

Adventures in Wok Seasoning

A couple months ago I received a carbon steel Joyce Chen wok as a gift. Beautiful, flawless, shiny. What more could I ask for? I knew it needed “seasoning” of some sort, More »

The Catio

When we moved to a house, I vowed that our cats would have their own little porch. It got put off most of the summer until one day in August I put More »

Wilting a Rainbow

We are in possession of more greens than we've ever had in our lives. Turns out, it's surprisingly easy being green! More »

Brookford Farm CSA: Week 1 – Overcoming Fears

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been a little stressed out over the past couple weeks. We signed up for the Brookford Farm summer CSA and Thursday was the first pick-up. For More »

If cars ate People Food we’d all be broke

I've been biking to work a lot lately and wanted to do an energy/cost comparison to driving. More »

Apple Almond French Toast

This was a quick meal made with leftover ingredients that turned out to be really, really good. More »

Simple Rice Noodle Salad

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Welcome to Caturday!

Hey Kuto-cat! Whatcha doin? Doyouseealittlebirdy? Do ya? Do ya? More »

Organic Pork Fried Brown Rice (from scratch)

I absolutely love pork fried rice. Unfortunately, white rice (fried in oils and salt) doesn’t always fit into a balanced diet. So this is my attempt at making it healthy enough to be more than just a treat.

A key ingredient of pork fried rice is called Char Siu, or ch??sh?o (??) – a delicious Chinese-style barbecue pork. I usually buy it pre-made from my local Asian market, but I wanted to try making it for myself this time.

A couple notes on this recipe: First of all, you are going to want a rigid spatula, spoon, or paddle for stirring the rice in the wok. Believe me, a springy spatula will send bits of rice flying all over your kitchen.

Second, there is one enduring secret to turning any recipe organic… buy organic ingredients! I don’t want to be redundant in my lists, so the choice is up to you. The one thing I couldn’t find organic was hoisin sauce, though I hear you can make your own if you’re feeling hardcore.

Char Siu:

  • 1-2 lbs pork chops (we used Brookford Farm pork)
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (or Dr. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
  • Honey to taste
  • Optional: Red food coloring (if you’re going for that “authentic” take-out look)
  1. Mix up the marinade, tasting it as you go. Make sure it’s perfect, because once you add the raw pork there will be no more tasting.
  2. Drown a couple of pork chops in the mixture and let sit for 8 hours or more.
  3. Apply meat to fire:

Let the pork chops sizzle on medium heat until they are cooked throughout (about 10 minutes). You can do this on the grill, though I used a grill pan.

Making the Rice

  • Char Siu (from previous step)
  • 1 medium onion
  • Scallions to taste
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice (I make this GABA-style in my rice maker)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T sunflower oil (or other high-temperature oil)
  • 2 T soy sauce (or Liquid Aminos)
  • 1/ t powdered ginger
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  1. Cut pork and onion into small pieces (about 1/2″ cubes) and chop scallions.

  1. Beat egg in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Put a wok on medium-high heat and add oil, followed by the pork, onion and scallions.

  1. Add the seasonings (pepper and ginger).
  2. Add the rice.

  1. Add soy sauce to taste.
  2. Make an indent in the rice and add the egg.

  1. Allow egg to sit for one minute, then stir liberally until completely cooked.

And there you have it. A wok full of delicious, (relatively) low-sodium, whole-grain pork fried rice.

Caturday Mouse

Just a quick Caturday post! We found this guy a couple weeks ago in a grocery store parking lot. His eyes were still closed and Mama Mouse was nowhere to be found.

He’s just about old enough to release, possibly today. For the first few days we had to feed him KMR formula every two hours – around the clock. Good thing they grow up fast!

Adventures in Wok Seasoning

A couple months ago I received a carbon steel Joyce Chen wok as a gift. Beautiful, flawless, shiny. What more could I ask for? I knew it needed “seasoning” of some sort, but I’m no stranger to cast iron. How hard could it be?

Little did I know that seasoning a wok is not for the faint of heart.

 

Now, in all fairness, the included instructions were 100% correct. They just didn’t discuss the full consequences of oiling up a wok and placing it on high heat. So when my flawless new toy started to turn black and ooze smoke… I may have flipped out a little. To get an idea of how terrifying this is to the uninitiated, watch this video.

Nothing to worry about, the internet told me. That’s just the “breath of the wok” as it changes color. So I suited up in a grubby shirt and safety mask, opened all the windows, and temporarily disabled the smoke detectors.

I ended up following this technique, though I also saw a fascinating process using salt. And apparently you can do it in the oven, but I didn’t trust myself with that one after a bad pizza stone experience.

I was pretty pleased with the results given my panic midway through. They say it’s one of those kitchen tools that gets better with use, so I’ll keep you posted!

 

The Catio

Long time no post! We have officially entered Kitchen Shrine: What I did on My Summer Vacation Edition.

This is a device I’ve wanted to build for a couple years now. We used to have chicken wire surrounding our porch at the apartment, but it just wasn’t enough to keep the little one at bay.

Click for an expanded view

 

When we moved to a house, I vowed that our cats would have their own little porch. It got put off most of the summer until one day in August I put my foot down.

“Matt, I think we need to build the catio.”

“Today? But we have so many other projects…”

“For every week that goes by, it’s like, two months in kitty time. From their point of view we’ve been wanting to do this for a decade. We’re doing it TODAY.”

We got to work. Now, this by no means my original idea, as you can see here and here (the possibilities are endless). But I felt that our area called for the “custom treatment,” so I designed a triangular frame that sits up against the house right next to the bird feeders.

It’s made of strapping, scrapwood and chicken wire, featuring a hinged door on the right side. It’s held in place by a combination of gravity and bricks.(Special thanks to Trs Boucher for the spare bricks!) The cats enter and exit via a series of platforms next to the window.

All in all, it probably took us four hours to make. And the result? Happy kitties!

Murrrrr.

2011 China Trip Entries

Not much to see here, just a bit of organization. You can find all of my 2011 China trip entries listed (in order!) below:

Operation: China

Yay, Vaccines!

In Transit…

Day 1 (Part 1): Markets, Kitties and Missiles

Day 1 (Part 2): Hotpot

Day 2: Starbucks & Hunan Lu

Day 3: Bus Crashes and Massages

Interlude

Day 4: F?z? Mio

Day 5: Welcome to Shanghai

Day 6: Old and New Side by Side

Day 7: Cafe Day

Day 8: Ming Tombs

Day 9: Final Lap and the Best Bao Ever

Day 10: Loose Ends

Bonus Day! Gourmet Dumpling House Chinatown, Boston