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Years ago, when Emeril was still prime time on the Food Network, I watched an episode where he made “Kicked Up Fried Rice.” I had been wanting to learn how to make fried rice, and this recipe became my springboard for learning. Before long I found myself making my own version of fried rice for Erik and I every weekend. It, along with Trading Spaces (whatever happened to Paige Davis?), became part of our Saturday night repertoire. I forgot about making fried rice once our kids came along; let’s face it, 3 little kids with food allergies doesn’t scream “Shrimp Fried Rice.”

Recently I dug this recipe out and made it for just the two of us. On a Saturday night. We didn’t watch Trading Spaces, but we did have leftovers for days – which was an awesome thing!

Shrimp Fried Rice
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (because we live in a landlocked state I buy frozen shrimp, uncooked and tail off)
1/3 c. peanut oil
1 T. sesame oil
2 t. garlic, minced
2 t. grated ginger
1/2 c. chopped green onions
1/2 c. chopped yellow onions
1/2 c. diced carrots
1/2 c. frozen peas
8 c. cooked white rice (best when cooked the day before and refrigerated)
3 T. soy sauce, or more to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
3 eggs, scrambled firm, cooled and chopped

Ok, here is where I have to admit something. As per Emeril’s original recipe, I still use his Creole seasoning…er, uh, that would be Essence to season the shrimp. I don’t know why that bothers me so to admit that, but it does. It’s just such an odd name. Why would anyone call a seasoning “Essence?” I must have issues. And yet I can’t stop using it in this dish. It just makes it good. I don’t know what else to say.
So here is the recipe for Essence:
2 1/2 T. paprika
2 T. salt
2 T. garlic powder
1 T. black pepper
1 T. onion powder
1 T. cayenne pepper
1 T. dried oregano
1 T. dried thyme
Mix together and store in an airtight container.

Back to the directions for Shrimp Fried Rice: Season the shrimp with 2 T. of Essence and set aside. In a large wok or skillet, heat the oils and then add the garlic, ginger and half of the green onions. Stir constantly while cooking for 1 minute. Add the onions, carrots and peas. Continue to stir fry for several minutes and then add shrimp. When shrimp are pink, add rice and stir well to combine. Add soy sauce and black pepper, and mix well. Cook for several more minutes. Fold in eggs and heat through. Add remaining green onions and serve. We often sprinkle cayenne, sriracha or red pepper flakes on top of our bowls to well, kick it up a notch? Oh, that’s bad. At least I didn’t say, “BAM!!!” I almost did though. Enjoy!

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