My pantry needs a makeover. When we moved in well over a year ago I tried to organize the shelves with intention. I bought bins and drawer organizers, and for a while at least, I seemed to be in control. But in the spirit of spring cleaning (I've already donated lots of clothes to charity), I need to take a long, hard look at my spices, bags of rice, and stash of various vinegars. In short, I need an intervention.
I'm well aware of the benefits that come from a well appointed pantry, because you know, it might really be nice to know exactly what I have at any given time. Especially on days when a pantry-inspired meal is required to get through a day or two of not running out to the grocery store. At various points during the day I'll drift off about the pantry and concentrate really hard about what I think might be in it. A cup of black rice. Red wine vinegar. Soy sauce? Not sure if I used it all the last time. Lasagna noodles. It's a process.
And sometimes I get it right. I had a night alone recently while Andrew attended some E3 after parties in downtown LA, so I wanted something simple. We had a few eggs, half a bag of brown rice, and that mysterious soy sauce, it turned out. I enhanced the minimalist vibe of the original recipe by adding grilled carrots and zucchini, and it was just what I needed. That, and a cup of hot tea to end the night.
EGGS WITH BROWN RICE AND SOY DRESSING
Adapted from Everyday Food, June 2011
I borrowed a technique from Saveur to cook my rice, so no more worrying about perfect water-to-rice ratios. Instead, boil, drain, steam. It's as easy as it sounds!
1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 zucchini, thickly sliced lengthwise
2 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced lengthwise
2 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
To cook the rice, bring 12 cups of water to boil in a 4 quart pot. Add rice; lower heat slightly and boil uncovered for 30 minutes; drain. Return rice to pot and add butter. Cover and let steam for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine.
While the rice cooks, prepare the eggs and vegetables. For medium-cooked eggs, place eggs in a pot covered by an inch of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and remove from heat. Let sit 8 minutes; place in a bowl of cold water to stop cooking. After five minutes, peel and quarter; season with salt and pepper.
On a lightly oiled grill pan, cook zucchini and carrots for about 5 minutes, until softened and sufficiently charred with grill marks. Season with salt and pepper; cut into matchsticks.
After rice steams, fluff with a fork and pour in the soy dressing; stir to combine. Distribute rice among bowls and top with eggs, vegetables and scallions.