Monday, January 22, 2007

Menus From Vacation

No one eats well on vacation. Normally, you don't even have the ability to cook, so you're stuck eating nasty restaurant food on the edge of your hotel bed. If you're like me and the Wife, you're stuck at the few restaurants that can accommodate both of your eating habits. (At Outback Steakhouse, I can eat the blue cheese salad, she gets the Chicken on the Barbie, and we split the flourless chocolate cake for dessert. Mexican is easy, so is Indian.)

Luckily, we have a kitchen here at at the trailer, so we can cook for ourselves. But there's very little in the cabinet here, meaning we have to buy whatever we are going to eat. We brought some polenta, some Tinkyada pasta (the only really edible gluten-free brand), and breakfast cereal, and bought basic supplies at the SuperFresh and the two health food stores. (The one in the Midway Plaza has a good selection of frozen baked goods; the one on Rehoboth Avenue is better with dry goods, including a full selection of Tinkyada products and DeeTee's pizzelles). But that means that we're on a limited menu for the week. Here's what we put together.

Sunday:

Breakfast: Fried Eggs

Dinner: Black Bean Chili and Cornbread

Cornbread: Gluten-Free Pantry's Yankee Cornbread Mix. The mix called for buttermilk, which was a pain because we only needed a third of the quart and I have no idea what to do with the rest.

Chili: I made the whole 1 pound bag of beans, and put most of it away for the rest of the week. Then I made this:

Bring to a boil 2 c beans and 3 cups broth from boiling. (Don't use the liquid from canned beans; it's gross. Instead, add water or broth.) Add 1 cup uncooked rice, 1 chopped carrot, 1/2 chopped onion, 1/2 chopped potato, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1 cup frozen green beans or other frozen veggies. I didn't get to add frozen veggies, because my bag of frozen green beans was totally gross and dried out; they were really old. Blast those grocery stores with low turnover in organic frozen goods. Add whatever spices are in the cabinet, preferably cumin and chili powder, but in my case, McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning, celery salt, and paprika. I have to say, our version turned out pretty lousy. But the cornbread is top-notch.

Monday:

Breakfast: GluteNo Plain Bagel with cream cheese

Lunch: (eaten at 6 PM) Pizza and Salad

Pizza: Amy's Gluten-Free Cheese Pizza. Tastes a lot like their non-GF pizzas, guaranteed vegetarian. As good as frozen pizza gets, in my opinion. Cooks better cut into quarters.

Salad: Half a head of romaine lettuce divided between the two of us, one chopped carrot each, Newman's Own Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing. Lettuce was bitter. Again with the old produce.

Dessert: (eaten in place of dinner when I awoke from my nap at eleven) Kinnikinnik Chocolate Frosted Donuts, chocolate peanut butter ice cream

Tuesday:

Breakfast: A banana for me, an Ensure for the Wife

Lunch: La Tolteca, which is a little Delaware chain. She had Bola Chile Dip and I had Huevos Rancheros.

Dinner: Polenta and Black Beans.

Beans for polenta is best made with cannellini or pinto beans, browned butter, fresh sage, and no broth. Sometime I'll give you a recipe. Until then: melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in saucepan. Add two chopped cloves garlic. Cook briefly, but do not brown. Add 1.5 cups black beans and 2 cups liquid. Sprinkle in sage if you have it, or herbes de provence. I used "Italian seasoning" and celery salt. Cook it down until the liquid is mostly gone. Then, slightly mash the beans and cook until the liquid is nearly entirely gone. Serve over hot, soft polenta, sprinkled with salt and probably with more butter.

Wednesday:

Breakfast: We split a GluteNo Bagel with cream cheese.

Lunch: A pack of peanut M&Ms, a 'chai tea latte' (see below for what I think of those), a bag of movie theater popcorn and a bottle of Boylan's root beer, all split. We were on the go.



Dinner: Salad (same as made on Monday) for both of us. I had hummus, toasted black bread, and sriracha. Thumbs way up to sriracha, which Barbara calls "the rooster." I've never gotten a bottle before, purely through chance, but it's a hotter, chunkier tabasco.

The Wife had a mug of Imagine Cream of Tomato soup (which is vegan, despite the name). We're both huge fans of the tomato soup (though I'm off tomatoes for the moment, grrrrr), and also buy their No-Chicken Broth for cooking at home. However, I've never been as impressed with their other soups; the corn and the potato leek are both way too bland for me. I want them to taste more like, respectively, corn and potatoes and leeks. (In fact, I've added potatoes and leeks to the potato leek soup, and lo and behold, it turns good.) This probably works for the tomato because tomato flavor holds up so well to heavy processing, and because tomato soup is not supposed to taste 'fresh.' In any case, try the soups, but don't expect fresh vegetable flavor. They are, however, a damn sight better than most packaged soups.

Dessert: My aunt who lives down here came over, and we had tea and custard.



Maple and Spice Custard
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Place a large baking dish (a 9x13 pan) half-full of water in it; this is called a bain-marie, and helps the custard not curdle. Heat 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup maple syrup, a dash of powdered cinnamon and a dash of powdered cardamom on the stove. In a casserole dish small enough to fit in the baking dish, beat three eggs. When milk begins to steam, pour it extremely slowly into the eggs, whisking all the while. Put the casserole in the bain-marie, and bake for 30 minutes. Can be served warm or cold. If you don't have maple syrup, you can make this with 1/2 cup sugar; beat it with the eggs. Whole spices can be boiled in the milk and then strained out, if you've got them.

Thursday:

Breakfast: Fried egg for The Wife. I made what I'm calling scrambled tortilla, by which I mean tortilla in the Spanish, not Mexican sense.



Scrambled Tortilla
Cut half a potato and a thick slice of onion very thin. Saute in oil or butter (or both) with a hefty spoonful of chili garlic sauce, or another hot sauce. When the onions look soft and the potatoes look brown, crack an egg over the whole deal. You can probably turn off the stove and cook the egg entirely on residual heat, especially if you're stuck with a stupid electric range (I hate electric ranges). Serve with more hot sauce and some salt. Defend against interested cats.

Early Evening Snack: Tomato soup for The Wife. Hummus, carrot, and rice crackers for me.

Dinner: NACHOS!

My Nachos
Dump a whole bag of tortilla chips onto a baking sheet that you've covered with aluminum foil. Sprinkle a cup and a half of drained and rinsed black beans over the top. Cover with cheddar cheese until the beans are mostly obscured, and sprinkle cumin and chili powder over top. (Having neither of those, I used garlic salt and paprika.) Bake in a 350 oven for about ten minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted. Serve with dips of choice. Our dips of the evening were Desert Pepper Chipotle Black Bean Dip and chili garlic sauce mixed with cream cheese and melted in the microwave, which is pretty tasty but has given me a stomach ache every time I've eaten it.

Friday:

Breakfast: Bagel for her, toast for me.

Lunch: A Mexican restaurant two blocks from the beach on Garfield Parkway in Bethany, which is two towns south of Rehoboth. The restaurant was run by surfer-ish white dudes, and the food they turned out was inauthentic but fairly tasty.

Dinner: I tried to make macaroni and cheese, but something went terribly wrong with the cheese sauce. I didn't have cornstarch, which is my flour-substitute for gravies and b├ęchamel sauces, and so was going to thicken with instant polenta, but the cheese didn't melt right, and it all turned into a gloppy mess. So we had pasta instead. Hers with butter and salt, mine with sauteed onions and celery seed.

Saturday:
The Day Of Eating Leftovers. I can't actually remember any organized meals; we just ate everything in the fridge. All day. Until we left. Then it was chips and honey roasted cashews and Mr. Pibb in the car all the way home.

5 Comments:

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Please note: I do not have an eating "habit". That is all.

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