Rice Pudding Brûlée

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 3.47.32 PMCrème brûlée can feel intimidating: what if the pudding curdles, or doesn't bake quickly enough? How do you use a blowtorch? This version—combining comforting rice pudding with the burned sugar topping of crème brûlée—takes out a lot of the guesswork, and you can use the broiler or a blowtorch to caramelize the sugar. Just be sure to watch it closely to make sure it doesn't burn too much! (And psst: using a blowtorch is really fun.) Find the video and full recipe on Sunset.

Kimchi Fried Rice

IMG_2122I've spoken before about my love for fried rice as an easy weeknight meal, but lately I've been wanting to spice it up a little. Believe it or not, I had never had kimchi until relatively recently (there aren't a ton of Korean restaurants in Minnesota, unfortunately) and the first time I tried it, I wasn't so sure if I liked it or not. IMG_2117

But after trying it a few more times, I'm officially a convert–plus, fermented foods are supposed to be very good for you. Ari is still a little wary of the funky, spicy fermented cabbage, so I've been making this fried rice in the meantime–you still get all of the spicy goodness of kimchi, but cooking it for a few minutes tones down the taste.

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Kimchi Fried Rice (adapted from Food52)

1 to 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil1 package tofu, drained and cut into small cubes
2 cups mixed vegetables (I used peas, carrots and broccoli)

4 to 5 scallions, whites only, finely sliced

1 1/2 cups kimchi, chopped

2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)

4 cups cooked rice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 pinch salt, to taste

Fried eggs (1 per person)
Heat canola or vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan over high heat. Add tofu and cook, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides. Add vegetables and sauté until just cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Add the scallion whites, and cook while stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Next, add kimchi and kochujang, and cook while stirring for 3 to 5 minutes until the kimchi begins to soften.Add the rice and soy sauce. Then mix well until the rice is coated with the kimchi. (You can always add a little bit of the briny liquid from the kimchi jar if it seems like there’s not enough color or spice for all of your rice!)

Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for just a few more minutes until the rice is warmed through. Season with salt, to taste.

Serve topped with a fried egg and sprinkled with scallions greens.

Vegetable Fried Rice

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Do you ever have one of those nights where you feel like you have nothing to eat even though the fridge has plenty of food? Sometimes I get home from work at 7:30 and don't feel like making a complicated meal, and lately, fried rice has been the one thing that has saved me from ordering takeout (also great, but it adds up quickly). Fried rice may not be quite as healthy as having a salad, but it is a great way to use up any miscellaneous vegetables and the variations are almost endless. I love adding chicken or tofu for more protein, and while my favorite vegetables are broccoli and peas, it would be great with carrots, zucchini, or pretty much anything else you might have lying around in your refrigerator.

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Vegetable Fried Rice (serves 3-4)

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 large eggs

Salt and pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

5 scallions, white and green parts separated

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 cups broccoli florets and stems, roughly chopped

3/4 cups fresh or frozen peas

3 cups cooked rice

2 cups spinach, chopped

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts (optional)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan or wok. When hot, crack eggs directly into pan, and quickly scramble with a spatula until barely set. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat remaining oil in the same pan. When hot, add white parts of scallions, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and sauté until you can smell the aromatics, 1-2 minutes. Quickly add rice vinegar and sugar and stir. Add broccoli and peas, and cook until broccoli is bright green and still crisp, about 5 minutes.

Add rice, spinach, oyster sauce, soy sauce and fish sauce and mix well. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add cooked eggs. Serve immediately, garnishing with remaining scallions and peanuts, if desired.