My friend Sophia IM’ed me the other night while I was at school. She asked me for some cooking advice based on the ingredients she had in her kitchen. It turned into a game of IM Iron Chef or Stump the Cook from The Splendid Table. Here is a log of our chat (edited for readability). I’ve also posted photos from Sophia of the final result.
Sophia: ok Iron Chef, I’ve got ground turkey, yellow squash, broccoli florets, onion, tomato, garlic, some white rice, bag of frozen cut veggies (carrots/corn/peas), heavy cream. olive oil and balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, ground pepper.
And Fage yogurt
me: ok. You have a rice cooker?
me: Ok, easy. Cook the white rice.
while that happens, saute onions, garlic
add tomatoes and ground turkey
add the cooked rice in
and use that as stuffing in the squash (cut in half and partially hollowed out)
me: you can chuck in some of the other veggies too
or a bit of the yogurt/cream to enrich things
and then put the stuffed squash in the oven
until the squash is cooked through
Sophia: nice – so I’m stuffing the raw squash?
(they’re skinny, is that ok?)
me: yeah, cut them in half lengthwise
and partially de-seed using a spoon
Sophia: oh shoot they’re yellow zucchini
that’s what I meant to say
me: yeah, you can still do it
to save time, you can parboil, steam, or roast the squash while the rice cooks
Sophia: I’m hazy on what cooked through for squash is – got an estimate on time?
me: 30 minutes (or however long it takes for the rice to cook)
you can pre-cook the squash and make the squash then
if you have cheese, you could melt it on top
or put the Fage yogurt on as a topping instead of the sauce
that’s amazing – you need to do this for a living
or we have to put you on a blog
Sophia: how long would you cook ground turkey for? It’s always dry for me
me: because there is very little fat in the turkey, put the ground turkey in the sauce after you saute and onions and garlic and add tomato
so it cooks in sauce instead of frying it dry
Sophia: also – I was always taught to cook meat separately from veggies – in this case it’s ok to add raw meat to the tomatoes/garlic/onion?
me: yeah, because you are cooking it a long time
the turkey is not frozen, right?
me: or if you want to brown the turkey for color or taste, cook the turkey first in olive oil.
remove it from the pan, then cook the onions, garlic and tomatoes
then put the cooked turkey back in when the tomato sauce reduces
Sophia: I like it better not browned. So I can just add it raw to the onions? How long do I simmer/cook this together
me: here are the steps:
heat the pan. When it gets hot, put some oil in. Then the onions and garlic
then put in some turkey
and saute it until it changes color
then the tomatoes
bring to boil
then turn the heat to the lowest setting
until the rice is done
which would be about 20 minutes or so
if you are putting yogurt and cream into the sauce, put that in after you have turned the heat to low
Sophia: it’s ok to cook yogurt?
me: if you use yogurt, just stir it in just before you stuff the squash
but for cream, put it in when you turn heat to low
but I would choose 1, not both
Sophia: awesome. I’m going cream I think
me: sounds yummy. I’m in class and STARVING
Sophia: lol I have green onions too – would that mess it up?
me: no, I would chuck in the green onions at the end, just before you stuff the squash
me: in order of doing stuff: preheat oven to 400 degrees, wash the rice and get it going
then cut all the veg. Pop the halved squash in the oven
then make the sauce
Sophia: Definitely blog this!