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Midnight Rice April 19, 2010

Posted by jeffclef in Uncategorized.
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[I’m back from a long productive hiatus. In the next post, I will return to my causerie on the Leda myth]

Olive oil, hot pan, day-old brown rice. While the rice is frying, chop a scallion, mince a green chile. Toss into the pan and let sizzle. Push greens to the perimeter, and finely scramble an egg in the center. When the slivers of egg are almost cooked, pour half a can of (San Marzano) whole tomatoes with juice. Season with a dash of cinnamon, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and crush tomatoes with wooden spoon. When most of the liquid evaporates, dish piping hot. Garnish with any remaining scallions. Great for breakfast or a midnight snack. Cooking time: 10 min.

I came up with the above recipe–an Asian-Mexican-Italian fusion–from the flotsam in my fridge, but would have never been able to do it on my own had I not discovered Nigella Lawson. Nigella is Britain’s answer to Rachael Ray—and Tim Burton’s model for the White Queen in his recent reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, and it is easy to see why. She’s gorgeous, she’s greedy, and she has just a smidge of crazy; she keeps a hammer in the same place she keeps her whisk and spoons. She doesn’t spare the fat or calories. She has a masters degree in Medieval and Modern Language, and it shows in a sensuous—some might say porny—vocabulary that she delivers with a knowing wink and flirtatious flip: “I love the clattery batter”; “a brazen blush on each pale cheek” (white peaches in syrup); “I’m going to concertina the toast [tortilla strips] and eggs together so that I have toast in my eggs” (Mexican scrambled eggs); “you want to see all these lovely confetti shards of chile flecking the black rice” and “I love how these grey mottled prawns turn into these fat coral curls” (black rice with shrimp and Vietnamese dressing); “a tumbling layer of raspberries, all crimson madness and fabulous” (dark chocolate pavlova); She’s the first television cook that I’ve seen prepare Vietnamese nước mắm the way my mom does it, and while her menu offerings may not be the most authentic, they are inventive, easy to make, and oh so delectable.