Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thinking one or two moves ahead

IMG_4486I'm on a little weekend retreat on a lake in Maine.  There aren't any grocery stores within easy driving distance, so I needed to do at least a little thinking about what food I'd bring, so  I didn't end up eating crackers, cheese and peanut butter for two and a half days.

I didn't know exactly what I'd have, but I knew I had stuff in the fridge that could easily be transported in a cooler -- basically moving my food stores up north.  But I had to be selective.  And I only wanted to "cook" one night.  So, the food puzzle became, "what food can a bring that will be cooked once, and lend itself to multiple interpretations?"

Into the cooler/provisions bag went:
  • Shriveling Asian eggplants (2)
  • Flat leaf parsley
  • One cup of brown rice tossed into a plastic bag
  • One avocado
  • One lime
  • One half a large red onion
  • One half a long English cucumber
  • One heckuva lot of marinating Korean style beef from the HMart, needing to be eaten.
  • Granola
  • Milk
  • Assorted fruits and snacks (which don't count for this little exercise)
One the way up, I thought some corn on the cob and tomato would be good too, in unspecified ways.  I bought more corn than I needed for one meal, because cold corn cut into salads is fantastic.

There was plenty of meat for a crowd, so I figured if I grilled it the first night, it would be useful for several meals to come, in various ways.  I'll probably end up bringing some home.

It was still pretty hot out by the time I was ready to cook, so doing almost everything outside made some sense.  I got the rice going, because that would take the longest -- 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, I sliced the eggplant and brushed them with oil for grilling on low heat, and removed the silk from the corn to roast on the same low fire, encased in the silkless husks.  The eggplant were ready in ten minutes, the corn in 15.  I created yet another variation on the "dress the eggplant after you grill them" theme, this time with oil, cider vinegar, habanero pepper sauce (a few drops), regular paprika (didn't have smoked), garlic powder (forgot the fresh garlic, doh!), salt/pepper.

So the first night was pretty straight-ahead, after I grilled the meat.

For lunch today, I had a pretty good assortment of things from which to create something tasty.  Cut the kernels off a couple of ears of the corn, chunked the avocado, diced some tomato, pulled the leaves off a good handful of parsley, tossed in about half the leftover corn, and remembered the red onion at the last minute.  Dressed in a little olive oil, lime juice and salt/pepper and it was a meal, accompanied by a little beef sandwich. Forgot I had cucumber, which would have been a good addition -- perhaps for tonight's rendition.  And the leftover eggplant is still waiting to be used.

Nothing fancy, but a satisfying lunch -- one that I'd pay for if I were out somewhere.  I still have a couple of meals to go, and I now have the salad plus a few other items.  No need to cook everyday, just leave some open ended opportunities for the use of the leftovers.

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