Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cilantro

Just like your name, you start out quick
Pick yourself up out of backs of minds
Explode a little
Then linger--
ci-laaaawn-tro.

Some say you taste like soap to them
What a shame, to taste soap where you are.
To me, you taste like earth
Zest and herb and essence all in one
One sprig.
Arrived in Sydney this morning.  Don't know how much of the fourteen-hour flight I spent sleeping, but it must not have been a lot, because this is what I found jotted down on the loose sheets of scrap paper in my carry-on:
IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT WITHOUT HEADPHONES: AN UNINFORMED REVIEW
IRON MAN 2: 'Splosions.  RDJ still awesome.
MAN V. FOOD: Spicy chili.  Gratuitous amounts of it.  An Abe Lincoln costume (not gratuitous).
INTO THE UNIVERSE WITH STEPHEN HAWKING: Aliens.  Stephen Hawking still awesome.
JUST WRIGHT: Queen Latifah's happiness hinges on a man's affection.  For the most part, he is satisfactorily affectionate, and so we get to watch Queen Latifah be blissfully happy for two hours.  Also, practice reading lips, because close to 80% of the lines in this movie are predictable.
DATE NIGHT:
    And that's when I put on my headphones.  I don't remember writing a lot of that.

    Aaaanyway.  I'm staying with my great aunt and great uncle in Pymble; it rained all day, and I spent most of the day feeding the wild parrots outside the house, doing warranty-voiding things to my iPhone, and relearning Chinese.  I haven't spoken this many consecutive sentences in Mandarin or Shanghainese in years, and I'm sure the case is the same with my relatives and English.  We whiled away the hours talking about everything from cookies to Buddhism, stumbling doggedly through broken grammar and forgotten words.

    At some point, my great aunt asked me what I like to eat, and we somehow had a lengthy conversation about vegetarianism and humanely raised farm animals.  Turns out we're on the same page when it comes to eating meat -- it's tasty, but too sad to eat if it's spent its entire life being mistreated.  She tells me Australia has a lot of free-range animals and animal products, though, so maybe I'll try some of those over the course of my trip.

    Then, she asked what I like to cook.  Chinese or American?  Oil or butter?  Dinner or dessert?  I thought, simple things.  Flavorful things.  Things fit for a rainy day.  And this is what popped into my head.


    Garlic-Cilantro Fried Rice

    Ingredients
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1.5 cups cilantro, chopped
    • 3 cups mixed brown and white rice, cooked
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce

    Directions

    Heat olive oil in a wok.  Add rice, making sure to break up into clumps and coat evenly with oil.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.


    Clear a space in the wok and add garlic; cook until fragrant, about a minute.  Mix into rice and add soy sauce.  Cook until the rice on the edges of the pan is slightly crispy.


    Mix in cilantro.  Serve as an easy side dish that makes the most out of what naturally good ingredients have to offer.

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