Growing up, my sisters and I were expected to help out in the kitchen.
We started by setting the table, cooking, making a pitcher of lemonade, baking cookies and brownies, and making dinner that included simple dishes like grilled cheese and tuna casserole.
It’s the good old days.
I don’t have a lot of kids with me, but the ones that come into my orbit from time to time are busy. I’m crazy. And that doesn’t account for school, summer camp, and everything in between. Heck, I don’t know how their parents find time to eat meals together that don’t come from the drive-thru.
It seems that he acted in a misunderstanding. I, like many people of a certain age, underestimate the children of today.
I recently had the opportunity to give a cooking demo. Space Coast Junior LeagueKids in the Kitchen event at Wickham Park. From age 5 he was a fun and interactive day designed to teach 12 year olds about nutrition, physical and mental health. Over 300 children and their parents visited the health and wellness booth. The Space Coast Health Foundation was handing out toothbrushes and his two-minute timer. The Florida Academy of Baking has set up a make-your-own waffle station. The running zone had hula hoops.
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For my demo, I wanted to create something easy and child-friendly. I decided to make a quick fried rice that relied heavily on leftovers. It’s something that’s in my regular weekday rotation. I call it Susie’s secret fried rice because I throw in a bag of cauliflower frozen rice at the end for extra nutrition. The secret is that I don’t like cauliflower, but I know it’s good for me, so I disguise it.
The first demonstration was over quickly, and the rice was ready in less than 10 minutes. As my younger audience lined up to get a sample, I discovered my first misconception: cauliflower isn’t as spicy as it sounds. Most of these kids like it. After all, there is no need to hide from them.
For our second demo, we decided to experiment with audience participation a bit. A sharp knife and a hot stove made me nervous, but my parents were in the room. asked for permission.
“Does anyone have knife skills?”
A mother volunteered for her daughter.
“Who wants to crack an egg?”
The boy’s hand reached out.
I heated a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and sent a few kids to the sink to wash their hands and get started.
The girl chopped green onions with practiced efficiency. The boy dropped the eggs into the hot skillet like a pro.
The dish was ready in no time, and another of my personal beliefs was exposed. These kids had skills that far exceeded my grilled cheese making abilities.
I hope they learned to make my fried rice. I know you enjoyed learning not to underestimate them.
Suzy’s secret fried rice
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cut 1 cup of cooked chicken, beef, or pork into bite-size cubes and season lightly with salt and pepper
1 bunch (about 5) scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced
2 cups cold cooked white rice
1 large egg
1 cup frozen cauliflower
½ cup sprouts
2 tablespoons soy sauce
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add the meat and the white part of the scallion and sauté until the meat is warm, about 3 minutes.
Add rice to skillet and stir until warm, about 3 minutes.
Make a well in the middle of the rice and crack the egg into the well. Immediately stir the eggs into the rice and continue to stir until cooked, about 1 minute.
Add the frozen cauliflower to the skillet and mix carefully. Add bean sprouts and soy sauce and mix. Cook until dish is hot, about 3 more minutes.
Topped with the green parts of scallions and served with a green salad, it’s an easy weekday meal that uses some leftovers from your fridge.
- You can use any leftover meat. For example, if you cook pork chops on Monday, cook a few more and use them for Thursday’s fried rice.
- You can use freshly cooked cauliflower and fresh bean sprouts. I use frozen and canned. It’s easier to keep them handy.
- Please adjust the recipe to your liking. More meat, less green onions. Add peas or chopped carrots.
- This is best eaten with yum yum sauce, available in the international aisle of the grocery store.
- Fried rice is ready in no time, so have all the ingredients ready and nearby. After that you are ready to start cooking.
- Be sure to cool the rice. First day is best. This will prevent the fried rice from becoming mushy. You can use white, brown, basmati and jasmine. If you have no choice but to cook freshly cooked rice, spread the hot rice evenly on a baking sheet and put it in the refrigerator without a lid for 1-2 hours.
- Use the stir-fry action of scooping and tossing gently, rather than stirring like in a stew. This allows it to get under the rice and vegetables and keep them moving so they don’t stick and cook evenly.
- Make sure the ingredients are approximately the same size. If the meat is bite-sized, he cuts carrots into 1/4-inch dices, for example.
Susie Fleming Leonard is a featured journalist with over 30 years of experience.contact her firstname.lastname@example.orgFind her on Facebook: @SuzyFlemingLeonard Or on Instagram: @SuzyLeonard.