Monday Mangia: Rice Omelette

Yeah, I know, it sounds weird, but hear me out. Back in high school, I was very into this Japanese show called ToraDora. It was cute, sweet, and very emotional. In one episode, for dinner a character made “omurice,” or rice omelettes. I was intrigued by the idea, and I loved the show, so I immediately set out to learn how to make it so I could try it.

On the most basic left, a rice omelette is what it sounds like. It’s an omelette, but instead of cheese or spinach or ham in the center, you have ketchup-fried-rice (KFR is a popular dish in japan). Now, there are multiple ways to make an omelette (who knew), but I stick with the more Western version of basically an eggy-burrito.

The first time I made it, I decided to make ketchup-fried rice from scratch, which turned out to be a total chore, but amazingly delicious. There’s something about the texture of rice that goes really well with egg (Maybe it’s because it hides the texture of the egg, which I’m usually not a huge fan of).  Now I pretty much only make this whenever I have rice from something else left over. It’s a good weekend breakfast/lunch, because it doesn’t take a lot of time, and it’s very filling.

Considerations:
Vegetarian/Vegan: Depending on the fried rice you’re using, this dish is already vegetarian. I’m not sure if there currently exists anything out there to act as a vegan scrambled egg. Sorry!

Gluten Free: Rice and eggs are naturally gluten free, but some fried rice has soy sauce in it. If you don’t already have a favorite fried rice, just add some cooked rice with some butter and your favorite vegetables to a pan, and heat it all up until the flavors combine.

What you need: fried rice, eggs, salt and pepper, milk (optional)

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Leftover fried rice from a less successful meal

The hardest part is making the base of the omelette. If you get that down, you’re golden. prepping the eggs is pretty much like scrambled eggs, crack eggs into a bowl, add salt and pepper (and milk if that’s a thing you do), and whisk with a fork until the eggs get bubbly. I don’t use a whisk. My mother taught me to make scrambled eggs with a fork, and I think it tastes better that way, so that’s how I do it.

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To give yourself the best chance at an easy omelette, use a non-stick pan with just a little bit of butter.

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Just enough butter to have some abstract art in the pan

Put the pan over just-over-medium-but-not-quite-medium-high heat, and once the butter is melted, pour in the eggs. Now comes the hard part. You must wait. You don’t stir anything, you don’t flip, just wait. If your fried rice was in the fridge, heat it up while you wait.

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Patience, grasshopper

Once most of the egg on the bottom of the pan is cooked, you take your spatula and gently scooch an edge of the omelette in, and tilt the pan so any liquid egg on top will run into the pan-space you just made for it. You won’t get all of it, that’s okay. The rest of the egg will cook once you roll into an omelette shape.

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Once you see that most of the egg is cooked, add your fried rice in the center, and now it is time to roll. The easiest way is to just put all the filling to one side of the pan so you can just fold your omelette in half and slide it onto a plate. If you’re feeling industrious, you can fold it like a letter, folding one third of the egg over the middle, and then folding again toward the last third and onto the plate. I have found you a convenient GIF to demonstrate.

What you may want: ketchup, hot sauce, sour cream (or greek yogurt), Japanese mayo

Traditionally, Rice Omelettes are eaten with ketchup, and maybe Japanese mayo, which is sweeter than classic Helmann’s.

Depending on how sweet or dried out the rice filling is, I might add hot sauce and sour cream instead. Today I went with ketchup

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Cost: This is a dirt cheap meal. If you’re not someone who orders take-out often, they sell microwavable fried rice in the grocery store for like $2, and that amount makes 2-3 omelettes, depending on how stuffed you like them.

Time: I call this a 5-minute meal, once you get the omelette technique down and if you already have the fried rice. You mostly have to be patient with the eggs. If you’re really just hungry and not picky about presentation, you can turn this into a 3-minute meal by just making scrambled eggs and topping with your fried rice.

Dishes: Dishes are pretty minimal for this too. You have the pan you cooked in, the bowl you scrambled the eggs in, whatever you ate off of, and utensils. You might have to wash a storage container from your rice.

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Monday Mangia: Chili

If you want to skip to the recipe, click here (none of that scroll to the bottom nonsense): Mom’s Chili Recipe

Today is Labor Day, which in the U.S. marks the unofficial end of summer. It means the beginning of cooler weather is upon us, as well as football season (if that’s your thing).

Now, I make chili whenever I want something kind of heavy, but don’t really want to spend a lot of time cooking or cleaning up. It’s good for serving a lot of people if you’re going somewhere or having visitors, and also good if you want to have leftovers for days when you don’t feel like cooking (this freezes really well).

Considerations:
Vegetarian/Vegan:
It’s actually really easy to change this into a vegan recipe. Instead of ground meat, instead add about 3/4 cup of rinsed red lentils after adding the diced tomatoes and broth, and simmer for about 15 minutes. If you don’t like lentils, you can pretty much add any hearty beans you like, and maybe some corn for sweetness. This is a very customizable kind of meal

Gluten Free: This recipe is generally gluten free, but you have to be careful of the chili seasoning, as apparently some seasoning packets contain gluten. To make your own chili seasoning: 1 Tbs chili powder, 1 Tbs cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt. You can adjust this to your taste preference.

What you need: 1 pound 80/20 or 90/10 ground beef (or turkey or chicken or 3/4 cup lentils, if you’re going the vegan route), 1 onion (any kind except red), garlic (I by the pre-cut stuff because I can), pepper, 1 can black beans, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can diced tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 packet chili seasoning, 1 can chopped green chiles (according to my mother, you can add chopped fresh jalapenos or chopped pickled jalapenos, and you will get a completely different flavor), and either chicken stock or a chicken bouillon cube (yes chicken, not beef, trust me on this – unless you can’t eat chicken, then you can use vegetable)

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The first thing you do is chop your onion. If you’re not familiar with the practice, I highly recommend *this* video to help you along. You’re going for a “rough chop” here, you don’t want the pieces too small

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Solid onion pile

Next, you heat up some canola oil (not EVOO, its smoke point is too low) on medium high heat, and toss in your onions, cooking until you get this nice brown on them:

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yuuuuuuuuum

(Technically, you should also add celery here, but I think celery is ick, so I leave it out. If you want celery, treat it the same way you would the onion.)

Now you add what I like to call a “healthy lump” of minced garlic (if you’re cutting from scratch, I’d say 2-3 cloves), stir for a minute or 2, then add your meat.

 

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Pictured: a healthy lump of garlic

Once the meat is mostly brown, add your chili seasoning and a good amount of pepper, continue stirring until your meat is all seasoned and there’s no pink left.

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Here comes the time to dump! Open your cans, dump in the tomatoes, dump in the chiles, [drain first, then] dump in your can of beans!

To thicken up and add more flavor to your chili, add tomato paste. Add about half a can, or if you buy it in the tube because you never *ever* use a whole can of tomato paste, probably a healthy 3-4 tablespoons

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Better than an Eat-n-Park Cookie

Once you’ve stirred all of that up, your chili may be perfect, or it may be too thick, because you thought it would be cute to draw a smiley face in your chili using tomato paste. If it’s too thick, add chicken (or vegetable) stock (or water with a bouillon cube), until you have the consistency you want.

Tada! You’re done! You can let it simmer if you want the flavors to get richer, but really, once it’s all mixed in, you’re ready to go.

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Delicious.

What you may want: toppings
When my mom would make chili as I was growing up, she would 1. leave out the beans, because my brother and I wouldn’t eat them, and 2. serve it with Fritos. This is kind of the same concept as people who serve their chili with cornbread, but, you know, Fritos. Now I don’t usually have Fritos in my house, and I haven’t been able to make cornbread that didn’t taste like buttery dirt, so I usually make rice to go with the chili.

I also usually add a heaping amount of sour cream and cheddar cheese on top, because sour cream and cheddar cheese are delicious, but honestly, the sky is the limit here.

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Toppings: a preview

If you make spaghetti noodles, you can have yourself a Cincinnati/Skyline Chili (it’s a thing, I promise).

You can add basically anything that can go on tacos or nachos: sliced avocado, fresh tomatoes, guacamole, slices jalapenos, you name it.

Cost: For how much chili you end up having, this isn’t a very expensive meal. Depending on where you live and the quality of meat you’re buying, you can probably make this for about $10-15

Time: About 20-30 minutes. The most time-intensive part of this recipe is chopping the onion, browning the meat, and opening all the cans. After that you’re letting the flavors combine.

Dishes: Not counting sides and toppings, this is a one-pot meal, which is great, but you do have to clean up all the cans (hopefully for recycling) and the cutting board and onion scraps and whatever dish you eat out of. So you’ll end up with some work, but then you won’t have to cook for a few days, so it balances out.