Sorry I missed my Meatless Monday post yesterday. I took the day off from blogging to catch up on emails and miscellaneous projects. Plus, it wouldn’t be right to post a meatless recipe during the day and then head on over to Peter Luger in the evening to eat my weight in thick-cut bacon and porterhouse steak (which was awesome by the way!) — would it?
Last weekend was a busy one indeed! We ran errands and got most of our chores done before spending the rest of it relaxing and hanging out with friends. James’ friends were visiting from out of town, so we had a delicious dinner together at Quality Italian. Everyone ordered a main course (I had a pasta dish with shrimp and zucchini blossoms) but we also shared the restaurant’s signature dish, the biggest chicken parmigiana I have ever seen, served on a pizza pan and cut into slices just like a pizza! Paired with an arugula salad and chili-infused honey, the dish totally lived up to its hype. We also had some eggplant polpette, kale carbonara, and corn crème brulee. The corn crème brulee, which was a side dish and not a dessert, tasted like corn pudding with a crispy caramelized sugar coating. Must recreate it!
On Saturday, we went to the Met for the Costume Institute’s Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibit. I didn’t know much about the designer before the exhibit, but when you see the haute couture ball gowns, you can’t help but admire his creativity and ingenuity. There were also animations to show how the fabric is cut, draped, and then structured to form some of his masterpieces. My favorite one was the clover leaf dress (in the middle) and a ribbon dress that was constructed by sewing colored silk ribbons together. The exhibit is on view until August 10th, so if you happen to be in New York, this one is a must-see!You can spend all day at the Met and still not have enough time to see everything, but I had to visit my favorite piece at the Met: PixCell-Deer#24. The taxidermied deer is covered with glass beads, which reflect and distort the textures of the deer’s coat!
We walked around to see several other special exhibits, including the Ikebana floral arrangements, and then headed to the rooftop garden to relax and sip on icy cold beer. Later that night we joined our friends at their engagement party at The Press Lounge just in time for a sunset drink and a stunning, breathtaking view of the midtown Manhattan skyline. We will definitely go back in the summer!The rest of our weekend was spent soaking up sun in Central Park and visiting the American Museum of Natural History (which I haven’t been to since grade school!) The Poison exhibit opened up last November, and we finally made it there.
Can’t miss the dinosaurs!
Anyway, it’s been a fun, activity-filled past couple of days, but I need to get back on track with my cooking. When I need to put dinner on the table fast, I often turn to fried rice. Chicken Fried Rice is a no-frill weeknight dinner that is not only delicious, but comes together easily and quickly. The best part is that it’s got rice, veggies, and protein all in one bowl, so you don’t have to worry about cooking up a main course with side dishes.
The trick to making perfectly cooked fried rice is to use long-grain white rice (or brown rice) that has been cooked and refrigerated overnight. Right before you’re ready to start cooking, remove the rice from the refrigerator and use your fingers to break up the rice into individual grains. As your stir fry the rice, it will reheat nicely and will not become wet and mushy (which always happens when I use freshly cooked rice).
No leftover rice on hand? Try reducing the amount of water when cooking the rice the day of. Too much moisture is not a good thing when stir frying. Keep that in mind if you’re using frozen peas and carrots — just thaw and drain well before using.
Give it a try and let me know how it turns out!