June didn’t like the scallion flavor in the peas, so next time, I’ll be leaving the scallions out. I like it either way.
Set out three shallow bowls. Put a large, heaping spoonful of flour in the first, the egg in the second, and a large, heaping spoonful of panko in the third. I didn’t measure the flour or panko, and I think you can safely eyeball it. Beat the egg well with a fork.
Season the cutlets with kosher salt.
Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge in flour with one hand, shaking off excess. Transfer to the egg dish, turning the cutlet with your other hand to coat both sides. Lift, allowing excess egg to drain off. Transfer to the panko bowl. With your first hand, scoop panko on top of the cutlet and gently press to adhere, taking care that the whole thing is coated. Transfer to a clean plate. Repeat with remaining cutlets. If this is done properly, your first hand should touch only dry ingredients, while your second hand should touch only wet, and ideally it’s not too messy. If it is, oh well.
Pour oil into a 10-inch skillet to a depth of ¼ to 1/3 inch. Place over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers and runs loosely around the pan when you tilt it (around 350°F), gently lower the cutlets into the pan, laying them down away from you to prevent splashes of hot fat. Don’t crowd the pan; cook in batches if necessary. Cook cutlets until the bottom side is set, and then flip and fry until the second side is set. Continue cooking, flipping occasionally for even browning, until the cutlets are golden brown – fried-chicken color – and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. I use a Thermapen to test for doneness, pulling cutlets from the pan around 155°F. They will rise to 165°F (the USDA safe temperature) as they rest. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the peas and scallions and a generous dash of salt, stir to coat, cover, and cook until tender. I didn’t time this. Maybe 10 minutes?
Serve everything hot, the buttery peas spooned over the cutlets.
Yield: 2 to 3 servings
The season for sour cherries is short, and they can be hard to find. But keep an eye out: they’re small, bright red, and often labeled as Montmorency cherries. (Or, if they’re dark red, they’re probably the other main sour variety, morello.) You can pit them with a cherry pitter, or you can do it by hand: just pull gently on the stem with one hand while you gently squeeze the cherry with the other. Usually the pit will slip right out with the stem. Usually. (And if not, they’re still easy to pit by hand, tearing them open and pulling out the pit with your fingers. Be sure to do it over a bowl, so as not to lose any juice.) If you can’t get fresh sour cherries, Matthew says that jarred or canned sour cherries (note: not pie filling!) make a good substitute, and that the jarred morello cherries from Trader Joe’s are his favorite.
Oh, and don’t feel as though you have to have two full pounds of cherries on hand to make this recipe! Sour cherries are expensive! I get it. I only had about 12 ounces last weekend, myself, so I just scaled back accordingly, using about one and a half cups of ice cream. We wound up with three small shakes, perfect for an afternoon snack.
Put the cherries in a blender or food processor, and blend to a smooth puree. Add the ice cream, and continue to blend until the mixture is smooth and pale pink. Pour into four glasses, and serve immediately.
Yield: 4 (12-ounce) shakes
In Thailand, the eggs would be fried in the wok, either before or after cooking the rest of the dish. But Matthew claims that he always breaks the yolk when he does it that way, and he’s ten times better at stir-frying than I am, so I cook the eggs separately, in a skillet.
As for the chiles, the number that you use is up to you. I used five chiles the first time I made this, and it was pleasantly fiery. The second time I made it, I was eating solo and decided to go a little milder, so I used only three chiles. (You can always remove some of the seeds, too.) Oh, and if you have an exhaust fan over your stove, turn it on. I always forget until the chiles hit the hot wok and I have a coughing fit.
Also note: this dish comes together very, very quickly, so be sure that you’ve measured out and prepped your ingredients and have them close at hand.
Stir together the garlic, chiles, and salt. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil, and add the garlic, chiles, and salt. Stir-fry for a few seconds until fragrant, then add the beef. Continue to cook, stirring, until the beef is cooked through and just starting to brown. Add 1 tablespoon fish sauce and the sugar. Add the basil and stock or water, and stir just until the basil is wilted. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a separate skillet, and fry the eggs. The proper fried egg for this dish, Matthew says, has a runny yolk but a browned and crispy underside.
Scoop the rice into bowls, and then divide the beef and its juices over the top. Crown with the fried eggs. Serve immediately, with a good squeeze of lime.
Yield: 2 servings
I bought my corn late last week and didn’t have time to cook it before we went camping, so I cut it off the cob, spread it in a single layer on a sheet pan, and froze it. Then, before I cooked it today, I let it defrost in a colander for about 30 minutes, shaking the colander a couple of times. It worked very nicely, and based on that, I am happy to say that you don’t have to use fresh corn kernels for this recipe! You can make it at any time of year, with frozen corn. If it simplifies things, note that you will need 10 to 12 ounces of kernels for a single batch.
Also, I used a 10-inch cast-iron skillet here, but you can use whatever kind of skillet you have.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high until bubbling. Add the corn, scallions, and jalapeno, stirring to coat with butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn begins to brown and stick to the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes. (You might hear some kernels popping toward the end.) Add the water and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any extremely delicious brown bits. When the water has boiled off, add salt to taste. Remove from the heat, and stir in the lime juice. Serve immediately, with additional lime wedges.
Yield: 4 side-dish servings
I pick up kimchi whenever I’m near a Korean market or Uwajimaya, but Ballard Market, my neighborhood grocery store, also carries it. They sell a couple of different brands, but I usually buy Island Spring. It’s made about half an hour away, on Vashon Island, and it has good flavor and heat. Matthew, however, makes his own kimchi, and it’s fantastic. Maybe he’ll teach me how someday. David Lebovitz also has a recipe for it.
As for rice, the best type for this recipe is Calrose, a medium-grain, Japanese-style white rice from California. But I’ve also used Thai jasmine rice, which is nice – though when you fry it, it tends to stick aggressively to the pan. Whatever you use, cook it a day or two ahead, cool it, and chill it. If possible, allow it to come to room temperature before frying.
About the pan: if you have a well-seasoned wok, use it. Or, if you’re stuck with just a heavy skillet and an electric range, as I am, that’s okay. I use my largest cast-iron pan. It’s nicely seasoned, but the rice still sticks a bit. It’s annoying, but not annoying enough to keep me from making fried rice. (Just put some hot water in the pan when you’re finished, soak briefly, and the stuck rice will come right out.) One word of warning: I wouldn’t use a nonstick pan. The coating isn’t safe for use over high heat.
Oh, and if I were you, I might fry two eggs per person. But it’s really up to you.
Put the bacon in a large skillet or wok, and place over medium heat. (I find that by starting the bacon in a cold skillet, I can get it to render more fat than it does when I start it in a hot skillet, and that’s helpful for this recipe.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is cooked through but still tender. Add the kimchi, and cook for several minutes, until the kimchi is hot and maybe even beginning to brown in spots.
When the kimchi looks right, raise the heat to high, and add the rice, stirring well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for several minutes, until the rice is hot and beginning to brown. (If the rice is wanting to stick to the pan, it’s going to be hard to brown it properly, but don’t worry. Just make sure it’s nice and hot. It’ll still taste very good.)
Meanwhile, in another skillet, warm some butter and fry as many eggs as you’d like, seasoning with salt to taste.
When the rice is ready, stir in the butter and sesame oil, and season with salt to taste. Divide between two or three bowls, and top each with a fried egg or two. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.
Yield: 2 generous or 3 moderate servings
It doesn’t get simpler than this, so be sure you start with fresh, firm parsnips and decent-tasting vegetable stock. Homemade is nice, but honestly, I use Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base, and the results are great.
Peel the parsnips, trim and discard the ends, and cut into ½-inch pieces. Put in a large pot, and add the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until the parsnips can be easily pierced with a fork, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Set a fine-mesh strainer over another large pot. Working in batches, puree the parsnips and stock in a blender, tossing in a couple of pieces of butter with each batch. (And remember that hot liquids expand, so never fill the blender more than a third.) This amount of stock should yield a somewhat thick soup, and you will likely need to add a little additional water or stock as you blend, until the soup reaches your desired consistency. As you finish pureeing each batch, pour the soup through the strainer into the pot, stirring and scraping as needed with a rubber spatula to push the puree through the mesh.
When the soup is entirely pureed, stir in the cream. Rewarm gently over low heat. Taste for salt, and serve hot.
Yield: I can’t remember exactly, but I would guess 6 servings