Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Avoiding Starvation aka Simple Rice Cooker Recipes for an eighteen year old

When I was eighteen, I found myself on a fire crew with three other guys, in the fire crew quarters with cots, a stove, and some pots and pans. There was a tiny market nearby, but the nearest full service grocery store was at least 150 miles and four hours away. I came from a traditional family with a full time mom, who did all the cooking. I had some dish washing skills, but zero culinary ability. The other guys were a little better, not much, but I didn't starve. I learned how to shred potatoes, mix with eggs and fry. Pour a lot of catsup on the result and it was pretty tasty, at least to an eighteen year old. Later that summer, a tourist hit a deer on the highway. We heard about it, went out and butchered the deer, and that was our meat for the rest of the summer. (There was a freezer in the bunkhouse).

I have progressed since that time, spending some time around good cooks, and this time, paying attention. Still, there is the frequent need for quick easy meals that don't need much tending, since we are busy doing other things. The rice cooker is one of my ways of preparing quick one pot meals.

Now I have a chance to pass on some tips to my granddaughter, who is where I was, some fifty five years ago. Out on her own, and not a whole lot of practice feeding herself and her roommate. I don't know the cooking skills of the roommate, but I do remember that when I had roommates, taking turns was the way things worked.
On that note, to the rice cooker. Get one of the small ones, that do from four to ten cups. They come with a plastic rice measure. Fill that not quite to the top with rice. I like brown better, because it takes longer to cook - about 40 minutes. White is ok. It will take about 15 minutes. In either case, put in two full measures of water, put the lid on, and push the cook lever down, to start the rice.

Now the meat should go in. If you have frozen leftovers of any meat, cut in bite sized pieces, frozen in two person servings, they can go in now. Instead, you can take two precooked sausages and slice them up, and dump them in. Another meat we use frequently is the precooked, peppered 4oz salmon packets you find in the meat section.

About 15 minutes before you expect the rice to be done, put in vegetables, also in bite sized pieces. I frequently use broccoli. If you do, peel the stems, and slice them in little rounds, and break up the heads.

Summary, rice, water, meat, 15 min before finish, veggies.

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