When it comes to food, the holidays–and by holidays, I mean the big three: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas–are like rides at Disneyland: you almost always know what you’re going to get. That’s what makes them so comfortingly familiar. Alter the turkey, sub out the latke, or cancel the Christmas cookies and you’re looking for a world of trouble. So accept this holiday dessert despite whatever resistance you might feel; it’s my humble creation based on a bottle of Amarula, a cream liquer from South Africa, that I was sent in the mail. I took one sip and thought: “Rice pudding…with toasted almonds!”
Innovation in the kitchen is not my forte: I like to follow recipes. But every now and then I am lazy and home on a weekend and unmotivated to shop. It’s then that I open my cabinets and my refrigerator and see if I have enough on hand to whip something up.
And it just so happened that last weekend, I had a tub of basmati rice and leftover pineapple from my pineapple with molasses and lime zest. Here’s what I did: I cooked that rice according to the package directions. I chopped up some ginger, some onions and some celery and got my cast iron skillet really hot (next time, I’ll just use my non-stick pan). I added vegetable oil, tossed in the veggies, and cooked them a bit; then I added half the rice. I moved the rice around and then let it sit so it started getting crusty. I also added some Sriracha and soy sauce. While that was cooking, I cut up the leftover pineapple and when the fried rice started looking like fried rice I tasted it and liked it; then I added the pineapple and stirred it around, turning off the heat. Voila! Pineapple fried rice.