Some days you just need something quick and very, very easy.
This is one of my family’s “favorites.” (And here the scare quotes mean that although it might not be any one person’s favorite dish, there are plenty of times when we’re all together when we know that this ONE thing everyone can eat and no one will actually detest. Family favorite, de facto.)
We all have rice cookers now, and the genius little pots sit like mini R2D2s on our countertops, glowing faintly. I taught my family how to wash rice not that long ago, but they’re split 50/50 on whether they like having the taste of polished rice, rinsed rice, or just ordinary “we are too tired it tastes fine” rice. We’ll call that Level 1. Still, there can be a lot of things that get on or into rice that you really don’t want to eat, ranging from bugs to arsenic to just getting rid of surface starch. So Level 2, or rinsing it at the bare minimum, is a good idea — just run some water through it, swish the rice gently, and pour the milky water off. Game on, Level 3 – gently rake the rice to one side and push the rice down, trying not to break any grains. Level 4, for really nice polished rice with just a bit more work, involves draining and punching down the rice a few times. I’ll prepare my rice this way if I have a nice batch I’m cooking. Check out this video for some tips: http://www.japanesefoodreport.com/2011/01/video-washing-rice-perfectly.html.
Next, we put the water on to boil and pull out some lean ground turkey. We break up and stir-fry the turkey in a pan with a little canola oil until it is browned. We usually keep the seasonings really light in this dish, because not everyone can handle a lot of spice — salt, pepper, and sometimes garlic powder is about it. (I’m once again using some purple onion in my mix, out of the hope that a little extra dietary quercetin might help tame raging mast cells).
Once the meat is on, we start the peas and boil them according to the package.
It’s one of those simple meals where the quality of the ingredients makes it taste so much better, so I like to use a really nice rice (even sometimes sushi rice), petite green peas, and a nice lean turkey … but hey, it’s also a very cheap dish for graduate students and big families to fix very quickly.
This isn’t something fancy. There is nothing too complicated, and it doesn’t really deserve a cooking or a blog post on its own. But every so often you have to have a few quick foods on the menu (or at least available to fix), and it’s no worries if the menu for the week doesn’t look like dinner at Noma or French Laundry. Not so long as everyone is fed and still breathing two hours afterwards. All hail the Easy Eats. 🙂