My Most Important Recipe: It's no showstopper.

06.22.11: Leo is: Rarely willing to wait more than 20 minutes for a meal


What does your family have when dinner suddenly jumps out at you from around a corner when you were least expecting it? Let’s say you’ve got 20 minutes to produce…something to set before hungry people. And maybe you haven’t been grocery shopping quite as much as would be helpful.

In this situation (which occurs at least weekly I’m afraid), I no longer panic. I have a stand-by. Here are the criteria that my stand-by meal must meet or exceed:

The whole family likes it

We have the ingredients

It’s pretty healthy

I can make it when I feel stunningly stupid

It’s fast

The magnificent meal that lives up to all this is, well, it’s not technically magnificent. But it is delicious! Ready: Rice and Eggs. Steamed rice, usually white or else short grain brown (but that’s a reach on Stand-by Night). Eggs over easy, or “yellow and white eggs” as Leo refers to them, since they are not scrambled to uniform yellowness. The egg goes over the rice. On the table are 3 sauces: sriracha (“grown-up spicy sauce”), a good quality soy sauce (we use organic shoyu) and sesame oil. We drizzle and drip these condiments over rice and eggs. And for the vegetable part that proves we’re not just eating breakfast again, we scrounge. Broccoli? Steam it. Cucumbers, peppers, carrots, avocados? Cut them up. Nada? Frozen broccoli florets will pass muster.

The condiments sparkle on this simple meal. The runny egg yolks sauce the rice. The simple colors appeal. It’s savory. It’s comforting. It’s cheap. And I hope I’m not jinxing myself by saying it hasn’t let me down yet.

There you have it, that’s my most important recipe. So simple it doesn’t deserve the name, yet so vital to our workaday functioning that I can’t believe I hadn’t shared it with you yet. So, what’s your stand-by?

Note: This recipe is meant for a postnatal diet. If you're expecting, you should avoid eating foods that contain raw eggs as an ingredient.

Zoe Singer is a freelance food writer and cookbook editor and co-author of The Flexitarian Table. Food Editor and blogger for The Faster Times, she tries not to eat for two now that her son is a toddler.