Quick Ham-Fried Rice With Lavender

2 tablespoons safflower oil, sesame oil or other vegetable oil

1 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts), plus 1½ tablespoons coarsely chopped scallions (white and light-green parts), for optional garnish

1 cup chopped celery

½ cup seeded, chopped red bell pepper

1 to 1¼ teaspoons finely minced fresh culinary lavender spikes (bloom heads) or coarsely ground dried culinary lavender buds

1¼ teaspoons minced or grated peeled fresh ginger root

1 to 1½ cups trimmed and coarsely diced thick-sliced baked ham or precooked ham steak

2½ cups cooked and cooled long-grain white or brown rice

½ cup golden or dark seedless raisins, or a combination

2½ to 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, or more as needed

¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1½ tablespoons salted peanuts or cashews, for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, stir in the cup of sliced scallions, the celery, bell pepper, lavender (to taste), ginger and ham; cook, stirring frequently,

Thoroughly stir in the rice, raisins, 2½ tablespoons of the soy sauce and the black pepper (to taste). Continue cooking, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the rice is heated through. Taste, and add more soy sauce, as needed.

Transfer to a serving bowl or divide among individual plates. Garnish with the chopped scallions and peanuts or cashews, if using. Serve right away.

Note: If you have leftover cooked rice on hand, you can quickly turn it into a meal with this recipe. Use the larger quantity of ham suggested for a main dish, the smaller amount for a side.

Makes 2 or 3 servings

Nutrition | Per serving (based on 3, using safflower oil, baked ham, brown rice and golden raisins): 420 calories, 15 g protein, 63 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 900 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 17 g sugar

From cookbook author Nancy Baggett

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