Chicken Fried Rice for a Crowd

Maya and the gals were all at our house a year or so ago, and so were Sammy and Taylor when I suddenly realized it was supper time! Maya’s friend Madeline loves stir-fried rice and often makes it, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Once you understand the mechanics of it: use cold rice, cook meat, then veggies, then sauce, then add everything back together again, you can use whatever you have on hand. I like it with lots of veggies and meat so I add a lot. It’s pretty easy and it’s delicious – anyway, the gals and our family demolished it!

3 cups rice
5 7/8 cup water
2 tsp salt

Make rice and spread out on a tray or any dish that will fit in your freezer. The rice needs to be cooled down.

olive oil
3 eggs

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (thighs and/or breast)
6 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Sambal Oelek (a great hot sauce – or you could use Sriracha, or Tabasco)
8 cloves of garlic, crushed, or 1 tsp garlic powder

1 cup diced carrots
1 1/2 cup peas
1 1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup bell pepper

Heat a Tbsp of oil in a wok or large, wide skillet. Scramble eggs with a few drops of soy sauce. Remove and cut into chunks.

Mix chicken with 1 Tbsp of the soy sauce, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Fry the meat, stirring frequently until it looks cooked. Remove from the heat.

Add another Tbsp oil to the pan. Dump in carrots and onions and saute for a few minutes. Add peas and bell peppers and saute for a minute more. Push veggies to the outer edges.

Mix garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, chicken broth and Sambal Oelek in a bowl and pour into the middle of the veggies. Cook for a few minutes.

Add eggs and chicken back in. Stir veggies, sauce and meat together until everything is nice and saucy.

Add rice back in and cook,stirring to toss the rice with the meat and veggies. Check seasonings, and add red pepper and soy sauce as needed.

Louisa’s Wassail

I have to give thanks to my friend Louisa, who always has a pot of this amazing hot drink simmering on her stove on holidays, especially the Winter Solstice. She shared her recipe and I’ve made this for family get-togethers, Halloween parties, a very chilly block party one year, and of course for Christmas. (Our block party was on such a cold day one year that my neighbor Rachel saved the day by bringing out hot homemade chicken noodle soup in cups on a tray!)

2 bottles dry red wine (Trader Joe’s Three Buck Chuck is fine.)
10 cups fresh apple cider
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp whole cloves
2 tsp whole allspice
2 cinnamon sticks, broken up
2 oranges, sliced thickly and studded around the edge with whole cloves

Add wine, cider and sugar to a large pot or crockpot. Tie the spices in a sachet of cheesecloth, or a coffee filter loosely tied with a rubber band. Add to the pot along with the orange slices.

Bring to a low boil in the pot. Let simmer for 20 minutes and turn heat down. You can remove the spice bundle if you like, but I often just leave it in. Ladle into mugs.

Cowboy Coffee

blue coffee potIf there’s one thing I really appreciate,  it’s big old coffee pots – the kind you use on a campfire.

I’ve got a couple of my grandparents old coffee pots, and one of my mother’s and they’re a very quick and easy way to make good coffee for a crowd!

My note on the recipe says:  Full TTT group  – use big pot.  We drink a lot of coffee!

1 gallon water
1 1/2 cups fresh ground coffee
1 egg shell
1/2 cup ice water

Bring water to the boil in the coffee pot. Add coffee and eggshell, and bring back to full boil. Take off heat, cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes.  Stir coffee gently once to get the thickest grounds off the sides. Add 1/2 cup ice water and serve. (The eggshells help take away any bitterness, and the cold water pulls the grounds to the bottom of the pot.)

Kir (Rice pudding)

There are so many different ways of making Kir.  It can be very soupy, or quite thick.  It can be plain, or garnished with almonds, pistachios and raisins. I learned this recipe form my mother-in-law Shamim in Karachi, and it’s a great dish for large groups, because it makes a lot.  It is also called Phirni.

We took it most recently to an international dinner at my daughter Maya’s high school.  That was an amazing dinner –  her school is really diverse and the food was so good.   I also took some to a Unitarian Eid lunch one year. One of my friends who is Indian said it tasted just like her Grandmother’s recipe.

1 1/3 cup basmati rice, rinsed, dried and ground
8 green cardamoms, ground
2 Tbsp ground pistachios
Rose Essence (optional, but it gives a lovely floral scent) (1/2 tsp or to taste)
7 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar

Grind dry rice and cardamoms in a food processor or mortar and pestle. I use a coffee grinder we keep for spices that gets it really finely ground.

Add ground rice and cardamoms to a large pot and add 6 3/4 cup of the milk. Stir well, and cook over a medium/low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rest of the milk, pistachios, sugar and rosewater and cook 2 more minutes.

The kir should thicken up as it chills, but will still be quite soupy when warm. Pour into small bowls, (little unglazed clay bowls are traditional) and chill well. Before serving, garnish with more chopped pistachios, and if you want to give it the full monty; rose petals.

Note: Watch the heat carefully when you are cooking the milk. Don’t let it scorch!

Hot Buttered Something , possibly Rum

Served at our 2006 office holiday party. It makes a nice large batch that keeps well in the freezer. Thanks to Cathy R for sharing her family’s recipe!

1 lb. butter
1 lb. brown sugar
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 qt vanilla ice cream
1 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Heat all together in a big pot until dissolved. Let cool a little, then pour into a freezer container.

For serving, add two big spoonfuls to a mug and fill with boiling water. It’s delicious this way, and if you’d like, just add a shot of rum.