WRITTEN ON May 24th, 2010 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Grains, Nuts, Side Dish, Stir Fry

I think the city made me lazy.

On one hand, the pace in New York (and most other major cities) flies at lightening speed.  It’s move or be moved. There is a certain gotta get it now mentality, a get up and go-ness, that weeds out the bumpkins within the first year of residence.

The flip side of that, however, is the fact that true urbanites grow so accustomed to having whatever they want, when they want it, that when presented with the very suburban idea of delivery-free living, they are fish out of water.  They have forgotten how to survive in a post-doorman life. And this is what I mean by lazy.  Because for all the killer instinct, many city dwellers are actually completely useless when it comes to anything suburban.

But, you ask, didn’t you grow up in the ‘burbs? Well, of course.  That said, I never had to deal with the complexities of, say, trash day. That was Dad’s job. Case in point:

Monday and Thursday are our trash days here in the village of Huntington.  There are some other specifics regarding bulk items, recycling and yard waste, which I’ve not yet mastered. Now, to those who have never lived in a concrete jungle, this may seen completely benign. But think of it this way:  for ten years I’ve been walking down the hall, shoving my trash into a compacter chute, and walking back into my apartment.  Where it goes after that is of no concern to me.  That’s what I pay maintenance for. Someone else takes care of it.

Not so in our new abode.  For some reason, there is one bag of garbage that for two weeks the collectors have simply refused to take.  Not sure why.  We have re-packaged it, put a bow on it, fondled it in every possible way, and still, nothin’.  Last week, bound and determined to get to the bottom of this dump of a situation, I set up camp at the bottom of my driveway, $20 in hand, ready and willing to grease whichever garbage man would remove said bag.  I had half a mind to slip into the one sexy nightie I own, a gift for my wedding which is stashed somewhere in the back of my tee shirt drawer with the price tags still on it.  Of course, halfway through my sit in, my bladder betrayed me, causing me to miss the collection.  I ran outside, waving the $20 furiously, to no avail.  The offensive garbage was still there.  I guess I’ll be making a trip to the Smithtown dump this week.

See what I mean?  Turns out that for all my subway cool, my urban chic knowledge of how to ignore celebrities and what to do about three tourists walking abreast down the street, I am completely useless when it comes to more practical, every day instincts.  In short, my suburban lexicon sucks.

I almost forgot to pick up the dry cleaning last week (which reminds me, I have to get it today) because for a decade I simply had it delivered to my doorman.  Friday night I was on the couch with a glass of wine all ready to call in a delivery order for Chinese when I realized that I’d actually have to go pick it up.  That dilemma had a happy ending.  I made this rice instead. It’s modeled after the house rice at my former favorite local Chinese spot, Cafe Evergreen on the Upper East Side.  Don’t be deterred by how simple and plain it looks. I promise, this rice will rock your world.  Serve it with anything teriyaki.  Make an extra serving for the trash man. It never hurts to get on his good side. Just make sure to pee pre-stake out.

It's not delivery...

Ginger Pine Nut Fried Rice (serves 2 as a side dish)
1 cup basmati rice, cooked
2 handfuls pine nuts
3 tbsp ginger, minced
3 scallions, sliced thin
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Canola oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
In a wok, heat Canola oil until hot but not smoking.  Add pine nuts, and saute, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add ginger and scallions, saute about 1 minute more.  Season well with salt. Add rice, stirring to combine ingredients and coat rice in oil.  Taste, season again with salt.  At the last minute, add the sesame oil and cilantro.  Saute about 30 seconds more, serve immediately.

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