My favorite movie (ever) is The Lost Boys. I grew up with that model of biker punk teen vampires long before modern authors came along and gave us kinder, gentler anemic vamps. These guys were jerks rather than actually evil, though. Take for instance, the classic scene where David gives Michael some Chinese food. Harmless steamed rice is offered with a little mind control suggesting that he was actually eating maggots. After Michael spits that out and realizes it was just rice, David offers him his lo mein which looks instead like mealworms. This is all set up, however, for the coup de grace, when David offers Michael some red wine, which Star warns him is blood. Of course by now the joke has gotten old and Michael drinks the night away. On real vampire blood wine. Funny, childish, and yet I never forget that scene when we order Chinese take-out.
I usually cook rice in an electric rice cooker because it is dead simple and hands off. It’s the best uni-tasker we own. Of course, fluffy rice can be made even on the stovetop without a lot of hassle and without resorting to instant rice.
Yield: 1 cup of steamed rice
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup white rice, long or short grain – not instant
- Medium saucepan with a lid
- In the medium saucepan, add salt to your water and bring it to a rolling boil.
- Stir in the rice and return to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover with the lid. Simmer the rice for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the water. You should see the rice dotted with steam pocket holes when it is done.
- Turn off the heat and set the covered pan aside to cool for 10 minutes. Keep covered until ready to serve.
The ratio is important. Most rice packages suggest a ratio of 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice, however, that is too mushy for a nice Chinese steamed rice.
Vegetable Lo Mein
Lo Mein is a wonderful cheap meal that you can use to stretch out leftovers or throw together quickly any time.
Lo Mein sauce
- 3 oz (6 Tbsp) soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp five spice powder, or ground ginger
- 1 tsp garlic powder, optional
- 16 oz (1 pound) lo mein noodles, or thin spaghetti
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 bell pepper, julienned
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- 1/2 cup snow peas
- 1/2 cup of broccoli
- Large pot and a strainer
- Wok or large non-stick skillet
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine well all of the ingredients for the sauce, then set aside. (You may need to shake it up before serving.)
- In a large pot, bring enough water to cover the noodles to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package directions, making sure the noodles are tender and not too soft. Drain the noodles in a strainer and set the noodles aside.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add all of the veggies and cook until tender, about 4-6 minutes.
- Add the cooked noodles to the wok and pour over all of it the sauce. Toss it all together making sure to incorporate evenly. Serve immediately.
Spaghetti will work if you can’t find lo mein noodles. Also, olive oil is a fine substitute if you can’t find sesame oil, but you will miss out on that wonderful nutty flavor. Also, feel free to use your favorite veggies, even a frozen stir-fry medley, thawed first. The lo mein police are not going to enforce any recipe list. If you like meat in your lo mein, I recommend cooking it after the noodles but before stir-frying the veggies. Then you can toss the veggies, meat, and noodles together to incorporate the flavors.
I recently discovered coconut amino as a replacement for soy sauce since soy and I don’t get along anymore. The only difference in flavor is that coconut aminos are less salty and have a touch of sweetness compared to soy sauce, but I can enjoy Asian food much more now. I find restaurants have started offering it as well. Not many stores, though — I have only seen it in organic/health food stores.
This recipe comes together so quick, and is so versatile, that we make it more often than grabbing take-out.