I’ve been reading Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant by Jenni Ferrari-Adler, which is a fascinating collection of essays by foodies and “regular” writers about cooking and eating alone. I rarely find myself home alone for dinner, but tonight Rob was at a work engagement until 7:30, and I’m not feeling well, so my parents generously offered to pick Sam up from football practice and take him to dinner so that I could rest. I found myself alone, and, because of Ferrari-Adler’s book, thinking more than I usually do about what I was going to eat.
I am not, like some of the essayists in the collection, given to throwing something together, or eating saltine crackers until I’m no longer hungry. (I was surprised to learn that Marcella Hazen is in no mood to create anything elaborate when she eats alone, and that she often eats sandwiches. Who knew?) I usually cook eggs, just because I like them, they’re easy to cook and clean up, and (if I have a glass of wine) I can pretend that I’m Elizabeth David and very sophisticated in an earthy sort of way. I couldn’t have any wine tonight, though, because I’m taking medication. Furthermore, a puritanical voice was telling me that there was left over rice in the refrigerator from Monday’s curry, and that it was a shame to waste it.
I would have fried myself some little rice balls with mozzarella in the middle, but it was jasmine rice, and I didn’t fancy Asian-Italian fusion. Instead, I decided to invent a sort of fried rice which is probably criminally inauthentic, but which was nevertheless satisfying in all possible ways. Here’s the recipe, in case you find yourself alone and hungry, with a serving or two of leftover rice lurking between the yogurt and the Prosecco.
Ersatz Spicy Fried Rice for One (Although you could certainly make more if you felt like it and you had enough leftover rice)
- 1 – 2 cups leftover rice
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 onion or 2-3 shallots diced
- 1/2 red or green pepper
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste (this made VERY spicy fried rice; you may just want 1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- Water, as needed
Heat oil in a large saute or frying pan over medium heat. Saute the onions, garlic and pepper until they begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add rice, and cook, stirring frequently to break up lumps until rice is heated through and well mixed with onions and pepper. Add curry paste and fish sauce, stirring thoroughly to mix; you may need to add a bit of water at this point to rehydrate the rice a bit and to dissolve the curry paste. Break eggs into rice mixture and stir in until they are thoroughly cooked. Eat on the couch while watching a re-run of something you would be ashamed to admit that you like.