Daily Archives: 14 March 2020

In Need of Comfort Food {CtBF} #EverydayDorie

The world feels upside down. The COVID-19 pandemic is sobering and scary. At my house, we are fortunate that we don’t have anywhere we must be and have the luxury of staying put: limiting excursions from the house, substituting trips to the gym with brisk walks outdoors, and cancelling all social engagements. I’ve been travelling over the past few weeks, and though my health is robust, I don’t know what I might have been exposed to or what I might unknowingly be exposing others to. In addition to avoiding exposure, everyone needs to do what they can to keep this virus from spreading. From afar, I’m concerned about a loved one whose immune system is currently suppressed and about older relatives who aren’t taking the threat of COVID-19 seriously.

For me, in times of stress, cooking is always a calming activity. This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays is a perfect recipe for improvising with what’s on hand. In Everyday Dorie, Dorie says that before she wrote it down for the book, Ginger Fried Rice was something she just made to clean out the fridge.

Fried rice is not something I’ve eaten or cooked much. When my family went to Chinese restaurants, we always had white rice, never fried rice. As an adult, I find that some of the people I got to Chinese restaurants had the opposite experience, and they always order the fried rice. And, though I think I’ve made it at home once or twice, it’s not something I usually think of.

In the spirit of Dorie’s fridge raiding, I tweaked her recipe for Ginger Fried Rice to mostly match what I had and was delighted by the result. I did purchase baby bok choy, but otherwise, I had the other ingredients around. I cooked the rice in the morning and put it in the fridge for the day so it was “leftover” by dinner time. I used a leftover soy dipping sauce for the ponzu and thawed some frozen corned beef from a past St. Patrick’s Day to add some protein. The dish was so simple to throw together.

How big/small is a baby bok choy? I wish cookbook authors would provide weights for vegetables because the size of most vegetables is highly variable. It would help judge how much and how big. I quartered my baby bok choys as instructed, but, in retrospect, given that bok choy was the only ingredient in the finished dish that required me to use a knife, I should have sliced them into strips to be more bite-sized.

I also wondered why only half of the vegetables were stir-fried and charred at the beginning. The second batch of vegetables added after the rice was still raw when it was hot. I ended up just cooking everything longer, but with so many ingredients in the pan, that second set of vegetables just steamed. I think it would have been better to stir-fry all the vegetables in batches, adding rice to the last batch and then adding the already cooked vegetables back in. Live and learn.

We really enjoyed this recipe. It was particularly good served with a salad tossed with more of the soy dipping sauce I had. My typical way of using up the fridge and freezer odds and ends is a savory tart, but I will try to remember fried rice as a delicious (and simpler) alternative.

My Cook the Book Fridays friends share their reviews of Ginger Fried Rice here. If you’d like to make it yourself, it can be found on page 239 of Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie.

Take good care of yourself and your family. Even if you’re healthy, if you are able, staying at home and social distancing are sensible things to do for the next couple weeks. For the common good, we all need to limit the spread of this virus.