Basil Fried Rice

As with most dishes that I "make up" myself, I'm generally trying to replicate something amazing that I've had at a restaurant. In this case, it's the Basil Fried Rice from Tamarind in Chicago. Tamarind is in the south loop on Wabash, convienently located across the street from my former office. I came no where near close to the deliciousness that was their dish, so this is in a constant state of tweaking. Still, since I"m 2,000 miles away from Tamarind, it'll have to do.

Peas ½ c
shredded carrot ¼- ½ c
basil 1 cup
rice 2 cup cold
onion 2 T
garlic 1-2 t
chilis 1-3 t
white pepper (1t or 1/2 t black)
peanut oil 2-4T for frying
2 t soy sauce
pinch sugar

Heat a wok till the surface is almost smoking. Then add the oil and spread it around till it coats the surface evenly.
Temporarily move the wok off the heat and the add the garlic and chillies, then stir for about 10 seconds. This is to prevent the garlic and chilli from burning. Then add the onion. Move the wok back to the high heat, add two pinches each of salt and pepper and toss around for another 30 seconds. Add carrots and peas.
Now add the rice to the pan, crumbling any big sticky blocks with your hands to ensure they're all separate.
Toss the rice and the veggies well and keep stirring for another minute or two so that the rice grains are properly coated with the oil. Then add the sugar, white pepper, and soy sauce. Stir the mixture around again for another minute. Then taste the rice to check saltiness.
Add the Basil. Stir the rice and basil mixture in the wok for another minute, then take it off the heat and serve. That's all there is to it.

You need a large wok or pan for this.
Be sure to use cold rice.
If you add other veggies to the dish, make sure they get enough time to cook before adding the rice.

Tyler and Phoebe's Perfect Pesto Sauce

The name don't lie. This is page 177 from La Dolce Vegan. I've made it plenty of times, and there was always something off about it. I toasted the pine nuts because the recipe says "toasted pine nuts". We have a basil plant that I harvest every so often for this recipe, and then I'd make it and we'd be like, eh- not so good. S'alright- but not good. The pine nut taste was way too pungent.

File that under "taking things far too literally". The f-ing pine nuts say "toasted" on the bag. So, this time, I just used the 1/4 cup of them plain- untoasted, and abra cadabra shezam- perfect pesto. Duy.

So, yeah, don't toast your toasted pine nuts.

Basil Tofu Ricotta

This is the Basil Tofu Ricotta from p 133 of Vegan with a Vengeance. This picture pretty much looks like hell and does it no justice. Please don't take that out on the recipe, which is really very delicious. It calls for just the right amount of nutritional yeast which can make me sick when there's too much in a recipe. It tastes full and rich and flavorful, but has a fraction of the fat and calories of ricotta. I used it in a lasagna which was good for days (we made a separate real ricotta cheese one for days so I had an 8x8 tofu one all to meself). Davey tasted mine and said it was better than the cheese one. Also, I finished mine and his is still aging in the fridge, so I guess he was right.