Thursday, January 26, 2012

They say it's your beet-day

So, Allie's birthday is coming up. Casey is taking her to Florida. The rest of us are insanely jealous ...

Well, I do get my own time away when I head to San Diego in February. I'm attending my first ever APPCA conference on February 10th. Mom is coming with me. It's going to be magic. I can't tell what I'm more excited for: mingling with my personal chef peers, hanging out with my mom, all the eating we'll be doing, or just running in 70 degree weather. Be still, my heart. And then Mark goes to Vegas at the end of February. Seems the draw of warmer climes has gotten the best of us.

But, I digress.

The Clean Plate Cook Book Club celebrated Allie's birthday this past Sunday and made every effort to elevate the fare to her standards (the woman can cook like you read about).

I think Hanna hit the jackpot with her Beet and Chocolate Cake, topped with candied beet chips. It was heaven. The by-product of the beet chips was a bright red, beet tasting syrup that- in the 11th hour of drinking- was turned into a few rounds of Allie's Beet-day Booze ... a combination of the beet syrup, citrus vodka, regular vodka, ginger ale, and a squirt of lime.

Strong? Yes. Surprisingly delicious? Even more so. 

Thank goodness I made more sliders for dinner than should be allowed for human consumption. We needed a tasty "booze mop". For fun, I stuck a bit of cheddar cheese in the middle of each mini patty. The next night, Allie turned the leftovers in to Chop Suey and a killer Mexican style layer dip.

Do you see why I hang out with these women all the time?

That's my Cook Book Club right there! xo

In other news, Bear and I have had quite the running week. No walks in the woods due to warmer than average temperatures and what's sure to be a slush-fest once we hit the tree line. Nope, just paved and salted sidewalks for us these days. At least we have Abby to keep us company. She's a great running partner- significantly faster than me, but very patient.

I've been on a crazy brown rice kick the past few days. I think it was sparked by the sirloin and rice dish I made for Melissa and Matt, which they enjoyed last night. So, in preperation for my Asian cooking class I'm teaching on Wednesday AND because I just had the craving AND because we had lots of left-over pork, I made veggie and pork fried brown rice last night. It was delicious. Here's the recipe:

Vegetable Fried Brown Rice
You can also add any proteins you wish to this dish (pork, beef, chicken, etc.)- a great way to use leftovers!
Makes 6 servings.
2 cups uncooked brown rice
4 ½ cups water
3 Tbs peanut, vegetable, or stir fry oil
2 egg whites (optional)
1 – 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
3 scallions, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
1 cup bean sprouts
2 Tbs reduced sodium soy sauce OR oyster sauce/fish sauce (or 1 to 1 of each)
1 Tbs dark sesame oil

Combine rice and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let sit for 30 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Set rice aside and allow to cool (the best method is to spread rice on a baking sheet- or you can use rice made a day ahead of time).

Heat one Tbs of oil of your choice in a pan. When hot, add your egg whites. Cook them until they are scrambled, but not dry. Set aside when done and wipe out pan.

Add two Tbs of oil to pan. When hot, add onion, garlic, carrots, and peas. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice, scallions, eggs, soy sauce and/or oyster sauce. Allow the dish to heat through. Finish with sesame oil.

Garnish with sesame seeds. 

I didn't take any pictures of it because we ate it too quickly. I'm a hungry girl. So, just imagine what it looked like. Doesn't it look amazing??

Busy days are ahead ... so much to do, I wish I could hit a magic pause button so I could continue about my tasks without losing so much daylight. 

If you ever find yourself feeling this way, call me. Making dinner doesn't have to be on your to-do list. Hire me to make your meals and you'll instantly gain anywhere from 5 to 10 hours a week in extra time on your hands. 

What's not to like?

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