I’ve mentioned previously that when I started my job with Automattic I gifted Richard with 100% of the daycare chore and in exchange I picked up the majority of the weeknight cooking. I absolutely love cooking so this doesn’t bother me at all, but I have been struggling recently with a food rut. I have two cuisines that are my default night after night, Asian and Southwestern. You’d think my recent trip to Santa Fe would have worn down the Southwestern impulse, but apparently not. I start making dinner and I reach for a can of green chilies or some soy sauce.
I have resolved to break out of my rut, so last night when I looked at the pile of leftover rice in the fridge, plus the many vegetables we need to do something with and the leftover chicken I said to myself, “for the love of God Cat. Do not just make fried rice AGAIN.” But then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend earlier this week in which he said he doesn’t like to cook Asian dishes like stir-fry because it’s impossible to get interesting flavors out of them. As anyone who knows me can tell you, that is tantamount to issuing me a personal invitation TO PROVE YOU WRONG. “I beg your pardon!?!?! Not interesting?!?! I’ll show you!!!” So I revisited the fried rice idea and had an enormously creative, way outside my comfort-zone idea:
Southwestern Style Fried Rice, aka Fried Rice Different
Isn’t that genius? And it’s SO COMPLETELY different from my normal cooking. Right?
Okay, I admit it. My cooking creativity still needs some work. However, it turns out that Southwestern Style Fried Rice was delicious AND it tasted nothing like normal fried rice, so what I failed at in terms of getting outside my comfort zone I totally made up for in being right about it being possible to inject interesting flavors in Asian cuisine. Take that friend whose name I am politely not mentioning butyouknowwhoyouare!!!
If you want to know how I accomplished this bizarre cuisine fusion, it was actually really simple. I flavored the veggies and chicken with chili powder and cumin, and replaced soy sauce with salsa. Then I topped the whole thing with green chilies and melted cheese, having learned in Santa Fe that this is the hallmark of authentic southwestern cuisine, and served it with guacamole and sour cream. Healthy? Not in the slightest. Yummy? So very, very much.