A few of my favorite things are good food and celebrating my people. A few months ago, my friend’s husband enlisted me to help plan a 40th birthday party for her. Bev’s desire was to gather together with a small group of girlfriends and cook up a fabulous dinner together. Then she wanted to invite the husbands to join us around the table to enjoy the food and celebrate.
Now this is my kind of party. I used to host a monthly Cooking Club at my house with 10 couples who met for a similar kind of dinner party. We tried out all kinds of new recipes together, using new and exotic ingredients. Some of the women were just learning to cook so we shared techniques and practiced together.
One key ingredient to Bev’s birthday party was no kids. We love our kids, and we also savor some good adults only conversation.
Bev and I put our creative minds together and chose the menu for her birthday bash. She wanted an Asian fusion theme so we settled on the following:
Filipino Garlic Fried Rice
and my famous Chai Cheesecake
I helped shop for ingredients and Bev’s hubby bought an array of appetizers and wine for us ladies to sample while we were cooking. The one recipe that we decided to experiment with was the Garlic Fried Rice. There’s a traditional Filipino breakfast dish called Sinangag that Bev has tried before. This dish is a garlic rice topped with green onions and a fried egg.
We decided to make this recipe uniquely our own adding some local produce. The fun thing about fried rice is you can always incorporate what you have at home. Carrots, bok choy, peppers, and asparagus are a few ideas! This rice can be served up as a main dish or a tasty side like we did with steak and other goodies.
The dinner party was a huge success mostly because Bev got her wish for her kitchen full of treasured friends, quality conversation, and delicious dinner. Bev and I have been heart friends for more than 13 years now. We have done life together from pregnancy years to now having kids in middle school. We have processed grief and death, challenges in parenting, job and ministry changes, and even education. I love that she is a friend who always appreciates and good meal and points me back to my relationship with Jesus.
Do you have a friendship that has outlasted several seasons? In our busy culture, it’s easy to drift apart from friends if we are not intentional. I encourage you to celebrate a friend in your life with a cooking party. The food doesn’t have to be fancy. The recipes don’t have to be difficult. Time together bonding in the kitchen and around the table is always well spent.
Instant Pot Filipino Garlic Fried Rice (Sinangag)
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups basmati rice
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup carrots, chopped finely
1 cup corn (fresh, frozen or canned will work)
1 cup red pepper, chopped
1 package bacon, coarsely chopped
Garnish: 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- Add butter and garlic to Instant Pot. Select “Saute” feature and saute until garlic is fragrant.
- Add rice and stir to lightly brown rice and coat with butter.
- Add chicken broth.
- Lock Instant Pot. Select “Manual” and set to 10 minutes.
- While rice is cooking chop remaining vegetables and saute bacon in a pan.
- Release pressure on the Instant pot. Stir in vegetables and bacon. Garnish with green onions.
Serves: 10 (side dish portion)