We're having a heat wave in the Sierra. To me that spells it's not the time to hit the kitchen. It's more fun to take a dip in the pool or Lake. Still, I have to eat; so a homemade stir-fry with rice and veggies meal is on the menu this week at Callie's cabin. While baking in 88-degree temperatures I took a trip online back to 1999 - the year I moved here. On July 12, the temperature was the same it is this week - historical summer heat for the South Shore.
I also have 20th century memories of moving here from the San Francisco Bay Area. I treasure images of me ordering Chinese food to go while I sat amid boxes in my San Carlos bungalow. It was my goal to move to the mountains and to switch from magazine journalist to book author. I opened up a fortune cookie and it said that I would embark on a journey and luck would follow. As I enjoyed my food, I hoped for the best and moved.
I do miss that particular Asian restaurant. It was the fried shrimp and fortune cookies that had me. The rice and veggies? Not so much. I am fussy and was wary of the sauce and its contents. Actually, I do these better myself. So a quick trip to my local Safeway helped me replay this mea,l but my way and with a bit of panache.
Stir-Fry Rice and Vegetables
1 cup brown rice (or Asian-style noodles), cooked
1 teaspoon European style butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
1 cup mixed cruciferous vegetables, chopped
1 teaspoon each garlic and onion, chopped
1/4 cup cashews, lightly salted, chopped
Vegetarian spring rolls (available in the Safeway Deli)
In a pan, boil water and follow direction for rice or noodles. In a skillet melt butter on medium heat. Add garlic, onion, veggies, and nuts. Stir-fry till tender. Do not overcook. Place rice, veggies on a white plate. Put spring rolls on the side. Drizzle honey on spring rolls. Serves 2.
Vanilla Almond Milkshake
1 1/2 cups premium vanilla bean almond ice cream
1/4 cup organic 2 percent reduced-fat milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
In a blender, mix ingredients till thick and creamy. Pour into a milkshake glass. Put into freezer for about 15 minutes to thicken. Top with whipped cream and garnish with banana slices. Serves 1.
This meal is quick, healthy, and fun. In midweek, I will enjoy leftovers. Ironically, I revisited the past while stirring up these foods and will go back in time again in August. I am booked for a book signing at Barnes and Noble bookstore in the San Francisco Bay Area. Funny, I did become a book author despite surviving two brutal recessions (rice and vegetables were my friends). My variety of books that I've penned have been translated in 20 languages and purchased by major books clubs. While the Bay Area fortune cookie was spot on (or there is a writer's god), I still like my homemade stir-fry better than takeout. Note to self: Stop by the restaurant (pray it's still there) and pick up a bag (or two) of those fortune cookies.
Motto: People and places change. You can't control restaurant food, but you can control home cooking and enjoy it with a little bit of creativity and luck.
- Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include "The Healing Powers" series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. "The Healing Powers of Coffee" and "Animal Attraction: A Collection of Tales & Tails" will be released this summer. Her website is www.calorey.com.