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By Steven Li on 2006-02-23

February 22, 2006

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Exciting! Ok, I’m at college, live in a dorm without a kitchen and have no meal plan. There is no place within walking distance that’s worth eating at (these are the times when I really miss NYC) and I have no car. How do I eat?

I make shopping trips on the weekends to the farmer’s market, nearby supermarket or Trader Joe’s. I end up eating at the school dining hall quite often due to a lack of time. Many nights I cook rice and have it with the Vietnamese pork chops, or other dishes and vegetables my grandma made in abundance and froze for me. Sometimes I make little sushi rolls, cone sushi, and because there’s an L&L nearby, the occasional delivery when I get homesick.

Back to the present. I just finished my 4th midterm of the week and decided to reward myself by setting aside more time that usual to make dinner. A quick inventory of my fridge decided that good old fried rice was on the menu. While the brown rice was cooking, I chopped up half a can of Spam, washed spinach and sliced up shitake mushrooms. Sounds like an odd combo? Well it was what I had in the fridge!

I took my hot plate from underneath the bed, borrowed a frying pan from the girl next door (also from Hawaii – note that we’re the only people on the floor with cooking equipment, thus Hawaii = Food) and started frying the Spam till it was nice and crispy. Added the mushrooms ten minutes later followed by the spinach and rice. You’re supposed to use old rice, but I didn’t have the patience to wait so I just used less water than normal too cook it. By the way, brown rice makes an awesome substitute for white when making fried rice.

I was so happy watching the whole thing cook, the dark green of the spinach, little chunks of crispy Spam, the tender mushrooms and the mmmmm starchyness of brown rice that holds everything together. I got a lot of satisfaction from the fact that I was making this on the floor on a little campfire hotplate with no kitchen. A lack of kitchen makes it tough for me too cook. Hehe. I suppose it is for the better – I would never get any homework done if I had a kitchen right next to my room. Just before removing the rice from the heat, I beat in two eggs and viola! My dinner J This hearty meal was very satisfying, especially in the rainy weather. It even tasted semi-healthy (apart from the Spam). I added a splash of shoyu and polished off two big bowls. Well worth my time!

I’ve never had fried rice made with brown rice before. I don’t usually put in spinach or mushrooms (or Spam for that matter) so this was a completely new dish for me. Surprising how delicious random ingredients thrown together with enthusiasm can taste, eh?

I’m energized! Next up on list is the recipe for Puttanesca that appeared in today’s NYT. I just have to go find a dorm with a kitchen…don’t want tomato sauce all over my floor!



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