If you’ve ever seen “Fiddler On The Roof,” you probably know the term “yenta.” A yenta, in Yiddish, is a busybody, a meddler; in “Fiddler,” though, she’s a specific person, a matchmaker.
My whole life, I’ve always been something of a yenta. I love to get involved with people’s life decisions, telling people where to work, where to live, who to date. I’m kind of annoying that way. Which is why, over the years, I’ve pulled back a bit and let people lead the lives they want to lead, not getting too involved. And as far as matchmaking, occasionally I’ll set people up–I have some successes under my belt, some disasters too–though now I think I’m better off applying my skills to food: which is why I decided to pair pineapple upside-down cake with homemade toasted coconut ice cream.
After that salmon dinner, we were still hungry. Isn’t that funny how that works? You spend an hour making an elaborate French dinner (ok, I said it was easy, but it still took about an hour) and after you’re done eating it, you’re still hungry! But this proved to be a blessing, because it gave me an opportunity to improvise a dessert.
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.
Mario Batali is my #1 favorite food-world hero: I love his books, I love his old Food Network show “Molto Mario,” and I love his restaurants. When I found out, last year, he was doing a show about Spain, I was delighted. Especially since Craig and I are going to Spain this summer–we leave at the end of next month!–so I expected a lot from “Spain: On The Road Again,” his show with Gwyenth Paltrow and Mark Bittman on PBS.