Kalte Natscherl und warme Trutscherl.
"Mm, what's that??
After recent feasts of mutter paneer and dosas, saffron and rosewater bastani, and melanzane sott'olio (a gift from Adele - mille grazie!!), I guess J would be anticipating something on the creative & fantastical end of the culinary spectrum ;)
He was about to get something creative all right, but if I'd told him "I'm making fried rice"....well, suffice it to say he'd be happy he was getting something to eat -- but it just didn't sound as exotically enticing.
Kalte Natscherl und warme Trutscherl....that's what my Omi used to tell us when we'd ask her what was for lunch or dinner. We never knew what to expect. Sometimes that meant:
- A guate Supp'n mit Suppenfleisch. Beef noodle soup was always a complete meal at Omi's house. First, she'd serve the broth and noodles served in large shallow Suppenteller (soup plates). Then she would slice the meat she'd used for the broth, and that would be served, with lots of salt and pepper, a lovely green or cucumber salad, and maybe some vegetables.
- Gulasch. Gulasch, as served in Bavaria has nothing at all to do with what most Americans think of as "goulash" (rather ghoulish, IMHO). My grandmother's dish was made from onions, special cuts of meat, fragrantly fresh paprika from Hungary, and caraway seeds all slow-cooked to a spicy stew which she served with boiled potatoes, or sometimes with Spaetzle, and a small dollop of sour cream to tame the spice. Ah, Szegedinergulasch....
- Apfelstrudel. Which meant, first course: a light soup, then second course: Strudel!!!
Sometimes it was leftovers. Especially then would we hear the Kalte Natscherl und warme Trutscherl response coming from the kitchen.
Thus, my response as noted at the top of this post. Truth be told, I'd have probably told myself the same thing instead of saying "fried rice." After all, fried rice doesn't exactly conjure "feast." But there's something about it. First of all, it's an ingenious way to use leftover rice. And what better way to clean out the veggie bin, right? That odd piece of zucchini or stalk of kale hiding underneath the bag of potatoes and ginger, which are both camouflaging the celery and cilantro. You know what I'm talking about. We both know all about those stray peas or shriveling baby carrots rolling around in the crisper!! Uh huh!! And, last but not least, it's quick comfort food.
Speaking of odd pieces of non-optimally ripe veggies, today I spent several hours on telecons & live meetings - my ears feel like cauliflower florets! Truly, the last thing I want to think about is cooking dinner. But I'm hungry too. What to make?!?!
What's in the fridge? Cold rice with peas, an onion, one lonely zucchini, some ginger, some roasted garlic, a lovely heirloom tomato, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Spin the wheel, Vanna!
And it's spinning...Soup? Pizza? Salad? Spinning slows and stops on Casserole? No, it stops on (in your best AM radio announcer voice) Kalte Natscherl und waaaarme Truuuutscherl. And tonight that means fried rice!
Fried rice?? Is fried rice worthy of it's own blogpost?? Well, all I can say is that after tonight's dinner, J suggested that "you should always cook extra rice so we can have fried rice." (Love his use of pronouns there!!) Maybe we were both just hungry, but here's how I made it:
Note: This is just a basic pattern; you can use whatever kinds of veggie combination you like. Or try adding sauteed pineapple and topping with holy basil and lime (instead of cilantro and lemon) for a more Thai version. Sometimes I toss in chopped kale or chard, or diced eggplant (the slim Japanese kind), or some bell pepper, whatever. Or you can vary the spices: leave out the ginger and habanero and use comino & chipotles, a handful of corn, and maybe sprinkle with some pecorino. Be creative!
KNWT Fried RiceCoconut oil, a few tablespoons
½ cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 habanero pepper, minced
Roasted garlic cloves, maybe 10-12
1 medium zucchini, diced
½ green peas
1 tomato, diced
2 cups cold rice, I like brown basmati
½ cup chopped cilantro
Tamari (gluten-free), to taste
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. When it’s shimmery, add the chopped onion, and sauté for a few minutes – until glassy. Toss in the ginger & pepper – don’t inhale J -- the oils in the habanero can take your breath away!!
When the onion is golden, add the garlic, zucchini and green peas. Saute until the zukes are softened, then add the diced tomatoes and continue stir frying for a few minutes.
You may need to add more oil to the pan at any time during this dish.
Add the rice to the pan, breaking up any clumps, and stir fry till the rice is hot and no longer has a "grainy," crunchy core.
Grind on lots of black pepper, stir in the cilantro, and taste if it needs more tamari or pepper.
Plate it up, generously sprinkle with fresh lemon juice, and voilà – a most delicious version of kalte Natscherl und warme Trutscherl!!
Mahlzeit or bon apétit!
So, now it's your turn: What versions of kalte Natscherl und warme Trutscherl do you make??