I waited for the school bus this afternoon. For the first time, I had to choose my waiting spot strategically. It was either that or get beaned.
The oak trees have it out for us this autumn. They keep us up at night with a barrage on the roof. Heading outside to check the coop for eggs is a potentially life-threatening experience. The back yard and driveway are covered with little round balls and their missing berets.
It’s acorn season.
As I stood a bit in the road, having found a place where there was no tree coverage while at the same time not entirely in the street and at risk of becoming roadkill from a passing, way-too-fast and inattentive vehicle, I contemplated the acorns blanketing everything around me. They had to have some value, didn’t they?
Sure, I’ve heard that there’s a correlation between the abundance of acorns and the harshness of the coming winter. I’ll let you know next April if that one’s true.
It’s also said that if you carry an acorn with you you’ll have a long life and good luck. I don’t know if that’s the case, but I’m not taking any chances. I’m headed out to put the biggest darn acorn I can find in my pocket right now.
Acorns have to have some other use. They’re not poisonous because I stood there and watched squirrels gather them up and bury them around the yard. Thanks to the rodents’ forgetfulness, I’ll be pulling oak saplings out of my herb garden and flower pots all spring.
The hunter/gatherer in me took over, so after Dudette got home and we’d finished homework, I headed to the computer to find out why acorns aren’t gathered and used by us as regularly as walnuts or hickory nuts.
It turns out that the the main reason is laziness (not a big surprise). Where most nuts can be harvested, cracked open and eaten immediately, acorns need more work because the fresh meat is bitter. Additionally, back in the ‘old days,’ they were not used by us for general eating like other nuts, but for flour.
Before being used, the nuts need to be cracked open and the meat inside leached of the bitter tannins. I won’t go into the process, but apparently it takes at least an hour from start to finish.
You know what ended up fascinating me about the whole deal? It’s the fact that I watched the squirrels bury the acorns in the ground instead of storing them in their nests. The ground becomes a natural leach field for their acorns. Such smart little animals, those squirrels.
Some day I might grab a bucket, head out and try making a batch of acorn flour. Some day when I have the hours to spend leaching the nuts, drying them and grinding them.
Today, today I have time for stir fry.
This is another recipe from All You’s Delicious On A Dime Cookbook. Take a moment and think back to the last time I went through several recipes in a cookbook. Remember what happened? That’s right; because I don’t review cookbooks unless there’s something in it for you. Just keep that in mind as I share some of these dishes with you.
I love stir fry because it’s so fast once you get started. Since this recipe uses frozen vegetables, it removes the chopping prep work and makes life even more simple. Score another point for this dish.
I used my wok, which is one of my most cooking pieces and this came together in no time flat.
I did have one issue and it was totally my fault. I must have been speed reading through the ingredients because I read ’5 cups’ and ‘cooked rice.’ I totally missed the ‘cold’ part.
Hot rice = sticky fried rice
Cold rice = not-sticky fried rice
Use cold rice. It won’t change the taste, but it does change the consistency.
What drew me to this dish was the amount of garlic and ginger. I love both and was not disappointed. The flavor of the rice was wonderful. Yes, it was a bit sticky, but that didn’t matter. The vegetables were still a bit firm so they added good contrast to the rice. I’m already looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
Even though I enjoyed this, I didn’t get enough soy sauce flavor with just three tablespoons for the whole dish. I’d double the soy and sugar sauce and leave out the 1/2 teaspoons salt.
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced, peeled fresh ginger
- 5 cups cold cooked rice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
- 1 12-oz. bag mixed frozen vegetables, such as Birds Eye Asian Medley
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce and sugar. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggs and cook, stirring once or twice, until just set. Transfer to a small bowl and wipe out pan.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same pan. Saute garlic and ginger 30 seconds. Add rice and salt and stir-fry until heated through and starting to crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture, scallions and vegetables and stir-fry until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Return egg to pan and stir-fry until just combined. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve.
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