Friday, June 29, 2012

Curry Honey Fried Rice

It looks like I'm on a bit of a fried rice kick. I think it's because there are so many delicious veggies in season and fried rice showcases their flavor.

Notes: The sauce I made for this had only a hint of the curry honey flavor, so I upped the amounts in this version. You might have to play with it to find the right balance.

It's best if the rice has been refrigerated, so leftover rice works great. If you don't have leftover rice, even if you put the rice in the fridge for 30 minutes, you'll be better off.

2 cups cooked rice (I used brown rice)
1 cup cooked broccoli florets
1 cup chopped bok choy
1/2 cup carrots, diced
3/4 cup cubed baked tofu (optional)
4-5 scallions, sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of cilantro
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon curry paste
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons of oil for stir fry


Prep all your veggies first. Mince the garlic, slice the scallions, cube your tofu (if you're using it), dice the carrots, and chop the bok choy. Chop your cilantro and set aside.

Arrange all the ingredients next to the stove. Add your oil to a large skillet and heat it on high (or use a wok if you have it).

While the skillet heats, add the soy sauce, curry paste, and honey to a measuring cup and whisk the sauce together.

When your skillet gets hot, add in the broccoli and carrots. Stir fry until tender, about 4 minutes. If the veggies start to brown, just add a few tablespoons of water (watch out -- it will smoke and spatter). Next, make a hole in the center of the pan and add the bok choy, garlic, and scallions. Stir fry for 2 minutes and season everything with salt and pepper. Make another hole and add the tofu, stir for a minute. Make another hole, add the rice. Let the rice sit undisturbed for a minute and then stir it around. Pour the sauce over everything and stir together for another 2-3 minutes. Top with cilantro.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Famous Veggie Chili

It's probably not accurate to call this "famous" veggie chili, but it has routinely been a crowd pleaser. Scott and I have entertained with it on several occasions and it always goes over well. I'm kind of surprised I haven't put this on the blog before. It's one of my oldest recipes.

Notes: The key to this chili is a balance of flavors. You want a combination of heat, depth, and sweetness.

The beans are easily swappable: use pinto beans or red kidney beans if you prefer. I happened to have fresh corn, but you could use frozen (about 1/2 a small bag) if it's not in season.

This chili is not particularly hot. If you want extra heat, look for the diced tomatoes with green chiles in them!

5-6 small or medium carrots
1 onion
2 ears of corn
2-3 garlic cloves
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 large tablespoons cumin
10-12 drops Tabasco (I used the chipotle)
1 capful of liquid smoke
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or honey)
2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil


Chop your carrots and onion in a small dice. Strip the kernels off your ears of corn by standing them up on end in a bowl and running your knife down each side. Mince the garlic. Drain and rinse your beans under cold water.

Heat your fat of choice in a large stock pot on medium-high. Add in carrots, onion, and garlic. Saute about 2 minutes and then add the corn. Saute for another 2 minutes. Add in all your chili powder, cumin, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Stir until the veggies are coated. Add in the Tabasco, liquid smoke, beans, and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine.

Bring everything to boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Let it simmer for as long as you have time to wait, but at least 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quinoa Risotto

Is there anything more comforting than risotto? And if you can make it with brown rice, why not make it with quinoa?

Notes: This is the first time I've tried making quinoa risotto-style and it worked well. I think it even took a little less time than regular risotto does; it may have been 30 minutes rather than the usual 45. Obviously the quinoa won't be as creamy as arborio rice, but it will still be creamier than it would be if you just boiled it.

The new ingredient this time was coconut oil. Now, the jury is still out on whether or not coconut oil is healthy, but it isn't the evil fat that everyone used to think it was. The New York Times has a nice primer on it, if you want to read up. It worked really well for sauteing and I really liked the flavor it gave to the greens.

1 cup quinoa
4 cups stock or water
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or other fat of your choice)
1/2 bunch of kale leaves, stemmed
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
2 garlic cloves


In a small sauce pan, heat the stock or water to a simmer. Keep it simmering. Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain. Chop the rosemary, mince  the garlic, and thinly slice the kale.

Add coconut oil to a large skillet and heat on medium-high, add kale, garlic and rosemary. Saute for 30-45 seconds. Add the quinoa and toast for a minute. Add four ladles of stock and stir. Season with salt and pepper.

Allow the quinoa to absorb the liquid and then add more. Add roughly two ladles of liquid at a time whenever the dish starts to look dry. Repeat this process until the quinoa is cooked -- it will be tender and the little grains inside will unfurl like little tails -- it should take about 30-40 minutes.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

(Almost) Vegan Gnocchi with Kale and Fava Beans

Ladies and gents, it's time for some fine dining here in the professor's kitchen!

As my cooking skills expand and improve, I find I'm getting pickier about restaurants. Don't get me wrong -- I like simple food. But if I go out to a nice restaurant, I have high expectations. If I plan to pay a lot of money for dinner, I want it to be a meal that I can't make (or make as well) myself.

Case in point: a friend arranged a lovely private dinner at a local eatery for a group of us. The food was, for the most part, quite good. One of the side dishes, however, was supposed to be gnocchi. Trust me, nothing about this dish was gnocchi. I knew I could do better myself, so I started planning this dish.

Notes: This bad boy is a labor of love, no doubt about it. It's great for a weekend or a day off, but don't plan it for week night.

My new ingredient in this dish is fava beans. I've never used them before, but the co-op had some and my curiosity triumphed. They were delicious! They take a little prep work, but they really aren't hard to use. Here is a great run down of how to prepare them. There are really only two steps.

Step one: Remove the beans from their pod.

Step two: Steam the beans in simmering water for about 3 minutes to loosen the outer casing. Remove the beans from the water and let them cool. As they cool, the outer casing will buckle and you'll be able to peel it off, revealing the emerald green bean inside.

Shelled fava beans on the plate
Once they're fully shelled, they're ready to put in whatever dish you want. Soups, dips, or in my case, pasta!

You can prepare the fava beans and the gnocchi ahead of time if you were entertaining with this dish. And boy would it be an impressive meal to show off!

The dish is "almost" vegan because I sauteed everything in butter. But it would be vegan (to my knowledge) if you used coconut oil or a vegan butter substitute. The gnocchi themselves are vegan because I used my chia seeds instead of eggs. They worked great!

I froze half of my gnocchi since I was just making dinner for two. We ended up with almost no leftovers. So I would cook the whole batch if you're cooking for four.

Ingredients for the gnocchi (adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen's recipe):
2 pounds of Russet potatoes (I uses three large potatoes)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chia seeds
3 tablespoons water
1 cup all purpose unbleached flour

Ingredients for pasta:
1/2 bunch of stemmed kale leaves
1 cup shelled fava beans (see notes)
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
5 tablespoons of butter


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake your potatoes for about an hour until they are fork tender. Let them cool some (just enough so you can handle them) and peel them. Grate the cooked potatoes over the large holes of a box grater or pass them through a ricer or food mill into a large bowl. Add salt.

In a small bowl, add three tablespoons of water to one tablespoon of chia seeds and let stand ten minutes. Add the chia mixture to the potatoes and stir to combine. A little at a time, add the flour to the potatoes. Mix to combine and keep adding flour until the dough comes together and no longer sticks to your hands.

Once the dough comes together, turn it out on to a floured surface and knead it just like bread for about three minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and then divide it into six smaller balls. Roll each ball into a rope about 3/4 of an inch thick. Using a pairing knife, cut the rope into 1 inch pieces and place them on a baking sheet (you'll fill two baking sheets).

Traditional gnocchi has little ridges. To make the ridges, roll the gnocchi pieces down the tines of a fork. Keep rolling and cutting until you use all six dough balls.

Put the gnocchi in the fridge while you prep the pasta ingredients.

Fill a stock pot with water and heat it on high. Chop the rosemary, mince the garlic, and finely slice the kale. Add the butter to a large skillet and heat it on medium. Add the rosemary, garlic, and kale, season with salt and pepper, and saute while you cook the gnocchi.

Once the water gently boils, drop the gnocchi in the water (carefully) half a baking sheet at a time. When the gnocchi floats to the top, remove it from the water and add it to the pan with the kale. Once all the gnocchi is cooked, add it all to the skillet and turn the heat up. Add in the fava beans and saute just until the gnocchi starts to brown slightly. Serve immediately and enjoy fine dining at home!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Q.E.D.: Sardine Cakes

Time for another recipe using everyone's second least-favorite fish.* Sardines, as you may know, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and high in B vitamins. So the health benefits of this wee fish abound.

Notes: A super Q.E.D. meal if ever there was one. It might take you 15 minutes if you move at a very casual pace. And it's a pantry staple to boot!

I liked making these into tiny cakes, but you could probably make two large patties if you'd rather.

If you don't have lemon dill mustard like I do, just add Dijon mustard, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a little extra dried dill.

You can use sardines packed in oil or water, it really doesn't matter which.

This recipe can be easily doubled if you want to make more cakes. They'd be a cute appetizer (for your friends with more adventurous palates).

*I am presuming that anchovies are everyone's first least-favorite fish.

1 tin wild-caught sardines
1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon dried dill
2 teaspoons lemon dill mustard
Cracked black pepper
Butter and/or olive oil for frying


Add the sardines (plus the liquid from their tin) into a bowl. Season with dill and pepper. Mash the sardines with a fork. Add in bread crumbs and mustard a little at a time and mix with a fork until the mixture is sticky enough to form patties.

Take heaping forkfuls of the mixture and shape into small cakes. Lay the cakes on a plate and pop them in the fridge while you heat the pan.

Add enough butter and/or olive oil to the pan just to pan fry the cakes (you don't want to deep fry them). Heat it on medium-high. Once the pan is hot, take the cakes from the fridge and put them in the pan. Allow a crust to develop on one side before you flip. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Flip the cakes over (be careful, they'll be delicate) and let them brown on the other side, about 3-4 minutes.

Drain on a paper towel and serve warm.

Served here with lima beans and grits

Adventures in Dough, Part Five: Homemade Biscuits and Gravy

Scott's grandmother (Maw Maw) was a traditional Southern cook. She had a large repitore of Southern classics and, depending on which grandchild you ask, a different one will be the favorite: fried chicken, banana cake, greens beans. For Scott, it was her biscuits and gravy.

Try as I might, I have never been able to recreate her recipe. I have it in a family cookbook my mother-in-law gave me. But, as it is with most Southern cooks, Maw Maw had brand loyalty. She made her biscuits always with Red Band self-rising flour, which you can only find in certain places in North Carolina. Different ingredients yield different results. And I have come to believe that only Maw Maw's hands could have produced the legendary food she made.

So while I can't recreate her biscuits and gravy, I can make them my own way. I've been making them for years, but I usually use frozen biscuits. Not this time!

Notes: As with most Southern dishes, time and measurements are never exact. A lot of these ingredients are approximate and my directions will involve descriptions of how things should look or feel.

Biscuits take some practice, so if yours don't quite turn out right the first time, don't worry. Getting the dough just right requires experience with how the dough feels and there's no way to get that unless you make it a few times.

The important thing is to not work the dough too much. You don't want to knead it or roll it like bread. The dough will be sticky, so have some extra flour around to sprinkle over the top of the dough and on your hands.

Remember, Maw Maw made her biscuits with her hands and utensils that most people have around their kitchen. No need for fancy tools!

As for the bacon and gravy, just remember: don't rush the bacon! Flip it sparingly to start with and then flip it more once it starts to get done. Bacon cooks as its own speed, so there's no neat time table for when it will be done. Resist the urge to turn the heat up or else you'll have burnt bacon.

When you make your roux for the gravy, you want equal parts bacon fat and flour, so if it looks like you have more fat than 2-3 tablespoons, add more flour. If you want to make a vegetarian gravy (Maw Maw would disapprove, but I won't judge) just swap butter for bacon grease.

Also, gravy needs LOTS of seasoning. You'll need at least 3/4 tablespoon of salt and more cracked pepper than you think you'll need. The best thing to do is season it and then it taste it. If it still tastes like flour, add more salt and pepper. I usually use what seems like a ridiculous amount of pepper and then when I taste it, it still needs more!

Biscuits ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick of butter (approx. 8 tablespoons), cold right out of the fridge
1/2-2/3 cup of milk
1 egg

Gravy ingredients:
2-3 tablespoons of flour
3/4 (approx.) cup milk
4-6 slices of bacon
Kosher salt

Directions: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a large skillet on medium low. Immediately add bacon to the pan. Wait until it starts to sizzle, then flip it over. You only need to flip it occasionally when it first starts to cook. You'll be making the biscuits at the same time, so just be sure to keep checking on the bacon. Once little brown flecks start to develop on the strips, you'll need to turn it more often. The bacon will be done when it shrinks, turns brick red, and starts to develop tiny white bubbles that almost look like foam on top of it. The whole process should take about 30 minutes.

While your bacon is cooking, gather the biscuit ingredients. Add the 2 cups of flour, salt, and baking powder to a large bowl and stir them together. Beat the egg into a small bowl and have your milk ready in a measuring cup. Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the dry ingredients. Using a pasty blender (better -- your hands!) work the butter into the flour. The pieces of butter should be about the size small peas and the flour should feel slightly damp when you're finished.

Make a well in the center of the butter/flour mixture. Add in the egg and about half of the milk. Using your hand, stir the sides of the well into the wet center. Keep stirring until it starts to form a dough mass. If it seems too dry, add the rest of your milk. Then turn the dough mass around in the bowl a few times to give it some shape.

Dump the dough out on to a floured surface and mound it up with your hands. Dust flour on the outside of the dough and on to your hands. Press the dough out until it's about 3/4 of an inch thick (no rolling pin!). Flip it over once or twice to make sure it doesn't stick. Dust with more flour if needed.

Use a floured biscuit cutter (or, if you're me, a floured glass) to cut rounds out of the dough (you should get about 4 rounds our of the first press). Lay the rounds on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Gather the scraps up into a ball, press them out again and you should two more rounds out of the second press.

Bake the biscuits for 15-17 minutes at 400 degrees.

While the biscuits are baking, finish up the bacon and make the gravy. When the bacon is done, lay it on a paper towel to drain. Add 2-3 tablespoons of flour to the bacon grease and whisk it together (in other words, make a roux). Whisk constantly for about 30 seconds (the finished roux should look like a wet paste). While whisking, pour in the milk. The gravy should start out looking a little thin, but once it cooks, it will thicken. Add salt and pepper. Wait a few seconds and give it a taste. Adjust the seasoning accordingly. Turn the heat to low and stir until the biscuits are done.

Pour the gravy on top of your biscuits, add bacon, and enjoy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Spaghetti with Mushroom Sauce

Recipe inspiration can come from many sources -- or perhaps a combination of them. The latter is true with this dish. First, my friend Stacy posted this recipe for a vegetarian ragout. Looks delicious, right? Then I was reading a recipe in one of my cajun cookbooks for a mushroom spaghetti. My finished product is sort of a combo of the two.

Notes: I have some leftover jarred marinara sauce that I've been trying to use up. I used that in place of the canned tomatoes and tomato paste that you see here. I wrote the recipe the right way because the jarred sauce didn't work like I wanted to.

If I had a blender, I would have blended the carrots, onions, and celery into the tomatoes and then added the mushrooms. That would have made the mushroom flavor really shine. A combo of mushrooms would have worked really well (I just used crimini mushrooms).

1 pound thin spaghetti
1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
3 or 4 carrots
3 or 4 stalks of celery
1 onion
4 or 5 cloves of garlic
3/4 or 1 pound mushrooms (use your favorite)
3 or 4 anchovy filets
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 cup water
Olive oil

Directions: Start by prepping all your veggies. You want a small dice on everything. Dice carrots, celery, and onion first. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a stock pot and heat on medium high. Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Season well with salt and pepper. Let them saute for a good long while. You want them nice and tender, almost over cooked. Add the anchovies.

Mince your garlic and dice the mushrooms. Add them to the pot and saute until tender. Sprinkle in your herbs and red pepper and stir them into the veggies. Add in your tomatoes, water, and tomato paste. Make sure the tomato paste dissolves. Turn the heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.

Fill a stock pot with water. Once it boils add a small handful of salt and drop your pasta. Cook until al dente (for thin spaghetti, about 6 minutes). Drain the cooked pasta and add it into the stock pot where your sauce is. Stir to combine well.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Cornmeal Pancakes

Scott and I are celebrating finals weekend at the French Open. Because of the time delay, the matches are on in the morning. What better way to celebrate than with a championship breakfast?

Notes: These pancakes are drier and heartier than you might be used to, so just be prepared for that. As you might recall, Scott and I disagree about the roll of fruit in pancakes. As such, my pancakes had blueberries in them and his were plain. They were both delicious.

Normally, I am terrible at flipping pancakes, but for some reason I was able to get through the whole batch without messing up any. This is a first in my cooking career!

1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons of finely ground cornmeal
1/2 cup of "instant" pancake mix (recipe here)
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter (plus more for the skillet)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Fruit of your choice (optional)


Start by melting the two tablespoons of butter. I just zap mine for about 25 seconds in the microwave.

Add the cornmeal, cinnamon, and pancake mix to the bowl and stir to combine. Crack the egg into another bowl and beat it slightly. Add both the egg and the milk to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine and then stir in the melted butter.

Heat your skillet or griddle on medium-high. Once it's hot, add a tablespoon of butter and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the skillet. When it finishes bubbling, wipe the butter out of the skillet. Use a ladle or a measuring cup to add the batter to the pan. If you're adding fruit, drop it on top of the pancake now.

When the batter starts to look dry around the edge of the pancake and bubbles start to form and burst on the top, flip the pancake over. Let it brown on the other side for about 30-45 seconds.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Eggplant Lasagna

Vegetable lasagna is one of my favorite things to make and to eat. I have made many versions of it and I will make boatloads more in the future.

Notes: It's that glorious time of year again when summer vegetables start to come in season. The co-op got its first round of eggplant in, so I decided it belonged in my lasagna. Eggplant can sometimes taste bitter. Salting it before you use it will help draw out some of the liquid that contributes to the bitter flavor (I've included that step in the directions).

Lasagna is labor intensive, but not difficult. The hardest part it getting everything ready to assemble.

Here's a good tip: take your ricotta out of the fridge a few minutes before you need it. If it's closer to room temperature, it will spread more evenly.

When it comes to no-boil noodles, remember you need liquid at the edges or else they will stay crunchy. Just be sure to give them a nice coating of sauce before you put everything in the oven.

1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce (no less than 26 oz., but more is better)
1 eggplant
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
2 cups of washed baby spinach
12-15 oz. of ricotta cheese
1 large or 2 small fresh mozzarella balls
1 tablespoon herbs de provence
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions: Heat oven to 375.

Slice your eggplant into rounds and lay them on a cooling rack. Sprinkle them with salt and let them sit while you assemble the rest of your ingredients.

Chop the spinach and add it to a bowl with the ricotta cheese. Season well with salt, pepper, red pepper, and herbs de provence. Stir to combine and set aside.

Slice the mozzarella balls into small, thin rounds and set aside.

Take a paper towel and pat dry the eggplant rounds.

Add 1 cup of sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish. Then, layer everything as follows:
4 noodles
1/3 ricotta mixture
Eggplant rounds
1 cup sauce

Repeat the layers until you use up the ricotta mixture. On the last layer, add the remaining noodles and sauce. Lay the mozzarella rounds on top. Cover with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes until bubbly and hot. Take the foil off and bake for another 5-7 minutes until the cheese on top starts to bubble.

Let stand for 5-10 minutes, serve and enjoy!

Spelt Blueberry Banana Muffins

The impulse baker strikes again.

I bought blueberries at the store this morning because they were on sale. I figured they'd be great in my museli. There were a few too many for them to all fit in my container. Extra blueberries? The impulse baker knows just what to do with those!

Notes: These muffins aren't too sweet, so they're great for breakfast.

I've read in various places that you can use chia seeds as an egg substitute. I tried it for these and it worked great. You don't even know the chia seeds are in there.

This recipe can admit of lots of substitutions. Don't have yogurt? Use sour cream. Don't want dairy? Swap the regular milk for almond or coconut. I know people think baking has to be perfectly exact, but think of it this way: people have been baking long before there were measuring cups and conversion charts. It can't be that fussy!

2 cups spelt or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon chai seeds
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 banana
1 cup blueberries

Directions: Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Start by adding the chia seeds and water to a small bowl. Stir them together and set aside so that the seeds become sticky.

Add the brown sugar and butter to a bowl. Whisk them together until the brown sugar is mostly dissolved. Add in the chia mixture, yogurt, milk, and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Mash your banana and add it to your wet ingredients. Add flour, salt, spices, and baking soda to the bowl and stir everything to combine. Fold the blueberries into the mix.

Spoon the mix into your muffin tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mexican Fried Rice

Aaaaaand, we're back!

Remind me never to combine graduation, moving, driving half way across the country, and food poisoning ever again. Needless to say, I'm glad the trip is over! But it's so nice to have Scott and Sassy home with us for good.

Sassy is always ready for dinner. 

Now that we're all here, it's time to get back in the kitchen. I wish I could take credit for this new dish, but it was all Scott's idea. We were planning dinner for my parents and had decided on fried rice. Scott stared off into space and said, "Could you make fried rice but with Mexican flavors?" Hmm. Well, why not? We decided to try it and this is the tasty result.

Notes: A homemade enchilada sauce would have been so much better, but it takes time and lots of ingredients. I tried to jazz up the canned version I bought, but I think I would have added even more spices. Green peppers would have been good, too, but Scott isn't a fan of bell pepper. I'm not sure what veggies might work in this dish, so if you decide to experiment let me know what you use. I would also add some toppers like maybe some sour cream or avocado. This is both a budget and pantry friendly meal.

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 small onion
1 small bunch cilantro
1-2 ears of corn
1 15 oz. can small red beans (I used aduki)
1/4 cup of enchilada sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
A splash of water (to thin out the sauce)
Olive or vegetable oil


You'll want to do all your prep before you start heating up your pan. Start by removing the corn from the ear. It helps to stand the ear up on its end in a large bowl. Run your knife from top to bottom to strip the ear. The bowl will catch all the kernels. Dice your onion and chop your cilantro. Drain and rinse your beans. Set everything aside.

Pour the enchilada sauce in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk in the brown sugar, water, and cumin. Set aside.

Assemble all your ingredients next to the stove. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of oil to a high-sided skillet (I don't have a wok). Heat it on high. When the oil starts to ripple, smoke, and disappear a bit, add your onion. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the onion for about 2 minutes until it's tender and starting to brown. Make a space in the middle and then add the corn. Stir it together with the onion for about 1 minute. Again, make a space in the middle and add the beans. Stir them together with the onion and corn for about 1 minute. Make another space in the middle and add the rice. Stir the rice with everything and season with salt and pepper. Then pour the sauce over the all the ingredients. Stir everything together for about 2 more minutes. If the dish starts to look too dry, add just a splash of water.

When it's all done, remove the dish from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Enjoy!