Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Year's Thai Crab Fried Rice


1 tbsp. water or fish stock
2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. honey or agave
about 2 cups cooked (1 cup uncooked, following package directions) of day-old brown rice
2 shallots, minced
6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 inch of ginger, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, minced fine
6 oz. green beans, chopped
8 oz. lump snow crab meat
2 eggs, seasoned and beaten
approx. 4 tbsp. oil (one with a high smoke point), divided
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 bottle Laurelwood Public House & Brewery's Free Range Red

(Note: if you have a wok, follow the traditional method. We don't, and our cast iron doesn't get hot enough, so we do this in batches instead, so as to get a better texture.)

1) Stir the first five ingredients into a smooth paste. Set aside.
2) In a heavy-bottomed cast iron skillet or equivalent, heat 1 tbsp oil until smoking. Add 1/2 the carrots, onion, and green beans and cook until blistered, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape into bowl.
2) Heat another tbsp. oil and fry the remaining carrot, onion, and green beans. Scrape into same bowl.
3) Add next tbsp of oil. Stir-fry the minced garlic, shallot, and ginger until fragrant and toasted, 1 minute. Add the red curry paste and liquid mixture and toast for 30 seconds.
4) Add rice. Incorporate into sauce (it should have dried up very quickly) and fry, about 3 minutes, with more oil if necessary.
5) Stir vegetables back in with rice, adding the lump crab meat. Move to one side of cast iron and add last tbsp. oil to empty side. Fry the beaten eggs. When cooked, mix all together.
6) Mix in fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and black or white pepper.
7) Open bottle of Laurelwood's organic Free Range Red Ale.
8) Enjoy together.


Have we talked about Laurelwood before? I have no idea. Anyway, Laurelwood is three brewpubs, a pizza pub, and an airport bar. Just our size of company. And style too--it's based out of Battle Ground, Washington, and their beers go down real, real easy. It's an open question whether we'd know as much about their beers if the aforementioned airport bar wasn't in the PDX terminal JetBlue usually flies into, which we see at least twice a year, but I'd like to think we still would have found them. And as it is, the meeting was rather magically predestined.

Free Range Red is an organic ale, and Laurelwood owner Mike DeKalb claims that they were the first brewery in Oregon to "brew beers that met the rigorous certified organic standards of Oregon Tilth." Well, I'm not going to lie and say I fact-checked this. What I did do was visit Wikipedia to find out what the hell Oregon Tilth is. Wikipedia claims that Oregon Tilth is a nonprofit membership organization that educates gardeners, farmers, legislators, and the public on how to make better sustainable growing choices and conserve natural resources. But I didn't fact-check the Wikipedia entry either. For all I know, Mike DeKalb is a handgun magnate with a dirty-coal plant he rigged out of harvested elephant ivory to power his breweries. I'm just saying. Not that he is. And for all I know, Oregon Tilth is a grunge rock band who want their name to evoke a combination of filth and the more generalized enigma of the capital letter "T." I mean, maybe the Wikipedia entry is right. But I didn't...never mind.

What I DO know is that the beer is delicious. The Free Range Red is one of their year-round offerings, and it's sort of cheap to pair it with this dish, because you could drink Free Range Red with anything. Any sort of flavorful comfort food would go well with this brew. It's a pretty coral-copper-beige pour with pinker tones in good lights, with a nice smooth head. The toffeeish malts you get in the background are offset and nicely complimented by grapefruit rind and a good, clean acidity. Hops are more prominent than they would be if brewed in any other state, and that's 100% fine by us. All around, a very drinkable beer that also has the advantage of being rigorously organic (unless it's actually produced using babies on treadmills--I didn't fact check, so who can say?).


I kick myself that I haven't updated this blog for so long, but the end of this year came at me like a lead freight train. First, there was Christmas. Yes, Christmas is all rock and roll and the cappuccino's foam and the best of times, but it also meant rather extensive cooking. We changed our routine this year and lived to regret it--three ducks instead of one fat goose, and our cooking method was trusted (Cook's Illustrated) but sadly imperfect. Well, imperfect unless you enjoy duck jerky. And you know, some people do. But we made duck gravy and the sides were delicious and all was well. The salad was the winner of Christmas Night. I'll throw in this recipe as a bonus, even without a picture, because it was inspired.

a whole big bunch of wild arugula
plenty of chopped roasted chestnuts
a good amount of slivered fennel
minced fennel fronds
lots of broken-up frico wafers (frico is a melted Parmesan or Asiago crisp: recipe here)
more-or-less-Jamie-Oliver's "Mind-Blowing Sauce"

Sauce a la Jamie more-or-less: take six peeled cloves of garlic and 10 anchovy fillets and gently simmer in a pot with 2/3 cup of milk for ten minutes, until garlic is cooked. In a blender, mix these ingredients with about 1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil (more for creamier dressing) and 2 or 3 tbsp. good white wine vinegar. Season/sweeten to taste and dress salad. Voila! Best. Salad. Ever.

And then Gabe turned 30. Oh, lordy. I wanted to outdo myself for that one, so my friend Heather and I hosted a shindig at a very cute downtown Italian wine bar the day before his birthday. That was epic--and then, then, we went to Babbo.

This is what Mario Batali calls "Guancia Ripiena" with Eggplant Caponata and Broccoli Rabe Pesto. It's basically house-made sausage wrapped in pork fat and roasted, then grilled. The food there was so good it hurts. When you take ravioli and stuff it with goose liver pate, and then dress it with balsamic and brown butter sauce, you have made a friend of Lyndsay Faye and company. Gabe had a great time too. But I still scored bites of everything. In the end we were taken out by Luis and Allison, and we're still on about how nice that was of them and how Mario Batali is a food rock god and how we love our friends.

Then there was New Year's Eve. I was not prepared. Then there was the trip to Washington. Also not ready. But then I got back and it was...


This is like my crack cocaine.

I ran around to nine (is it nine? I think it was nine...) separate Sherlockian events over the course of five days. The daring folk at the Baker Street Journal trusted me to report on the events, which was absurdly charitable, and so I'm in the midst of writing up a report now. But god damn, it was fun. There were all sorts of people there I never get to see and love chatting with, and we gadded about and toasted everything in sight and talked scholarly papers and ate the best crab cakes of all time (the Coffee House Club's) and I think I might finally be sober now, two days later.

I hosted two of the events, which was also a blast. In retrospect, they ought not to have come right after each other. But truly, it was far more hitchless than I had any right to expect.

This is a picture from the BSI Dinner itself, with Mr. Peter Blau. It would be tough to find a better human being outside of Doylean literature. Mike Whelan held the dinner at the Yale Club this year, and I think it was a great move from the Union League Club. Food was great, the event itself wonderful, and the waitstaff had as poor an opinion of an empty wine glass as anyone I've ever seen.

Anyway, I am back to work and keeping up with this blog and determined not to let my focus slip. But this was, just like last time, one of the major highlights of my year. And it ended with Robert Downey Jr. winning the Golden Globe. How bloody cool are we Sherlockians?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Christian Ettinger, who was the head brew dog at the Laurelwood, is responsible for many of the current recipes, including Free Range Red. He has since opened Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) in southeast Portland. Christiand never makes a bad beer and anything hoppy is his specialty. HUB's Ace of Spades (100+ IBUs) is one of the best brews I've ever had.