Kimchi Fried Rice
November 18, 2013
I’m not sure where it started with me and nature. Growing up my family was not all that outdoorsy. Sure, we’d go canoeing down the Huron River a few times each summer, there was a bit of dabbling in camping once or twice, my dad or brother would take me fishing sometimes at Argo Park. We never took it to the next level or anything, like with gear or synthetic shirts or hiking boots. But who knows, maybe that was all it took, maybe that was just enough to give me the itch for more.
In high school I adorned my walls with pictures I cut out of magazines like Outside, Backpacker and Powder. I imagined myself scaling huge cliffs, whitewater rafting, backcountry skiing, writing for National Geographic, going on extreme adventures. When I was 22 years old Drew and I moved out west to Boulder, Colorado where we hiked and camped all the time for four years. It was there that I started to realize I’m not so much of an extreme sport sort of person. I barely even like waterskiing. I would much rather snowshoe or cross-country ski than downhill. The thought of scaling huge rock walls with hundreds of feet of nothing below scares the shit out of me. What I like most of all about being in nature is the stillness, the quiet. That when I camp all I have with me is a good book, stuff to cook with, and a camera.
Last month we met our friends Kim and Ryan at Bluestone State Park in West Virginia to camp for a couple nights. We’d never been to this campground before and when we got there the cool, rustic tent camping area was closed and the vast, nearly treeless, someone’s-playing-a-radio-a-few-sites-over RV campground was the only place open. So after setting aside our disappointment and our vision for a secluded, backwoods getaway, we sucked it up and found the best spot we could from our limited options. We cooked food, drank wine, caught up on life and then the next day, right around lunchtime, the whole campground cleared out and we had the place to ourselves. Suddenly it became the best place ever.
It was one of those long, lingering afternoons where it feels like it should be 5 o’clock but instead it’s barely one. It was early October, the afternoon was windy and sunny after a foggy morning, the leaves just starting to turn, wisps of burnt red and orange. We sat at the picnic table for hours, played Euchre, drank coffee, went on a long hike, took pictures, Drew and I made kimchi fried rice for dinner, Kim and Ryan built a fire. Then the next day, sometime in the early afternoon, after a breakfast of potatoes and eggs, we went our separate ways, Kim and Ryan back up to Thomas, West Virginia and us, home to Asheville. It had poured down rain in the middle of the night and as we drove through the Virginias and Tennessee, you could see the changes in the trees, the leaves getting closer to their peak.
Somehow I need more of that in my life, and I’m on a quest to find a way to make it happen. There is nothing that calms me to the core like being outside away from everything. When I was 19 years old I spent nearly three months working at a summer camp in northern Wisconsin and on the long drive home back to Michigan, after weeks of sleeping in a cabin, waking up at sunrise to swim or sit alone on the dock and read, watching the sunset every evening, I cried, feeling homesick for what I was leaving behind. I’ve always been conflicted, wondering if I’m a city girl or a country girl, since I feel at home in both and fear isolation, in both. But for now, with the colder nights, shorter days and holidays approaching, I’ll have to let my ideas simmer and embrace the city girl in me a bit more. With a good book to read, a camera and stuff to cook with.
Kimchi Fried Rice
I love making this recipe at home or camping. It takes hardly any time at all, uses barely any ingredients and is so very, very satisfying. Unless of course, you hate kimchi, in which case I don’t think you’ll like this at all.
A few tablespoons of canola oil
About 2 cups of kimchi
About 4 cups of leftover cooked rice
4 fried eggs, or poached would be super delicious too if you’re feeling ambitious
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kimchi and sauté for about 5 minutes or so, until a little bit crispy. Add the rice, cook until heated through. Divide onto plates and top with a fried egg. Enjoy every bite.