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Cooking While on Vacation


sheetz
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And just to show how things never change:

"The kitchens of holiday houses, whether cramped and larderless, or vast, bare, with a day's march between sink and stove, usually have a stony bleakness in common. However adequate the beds or satisfactory the view, the kitchen equipment will probably consist of a tin frying pan, a chipped enamel saucepan, one pyrex casserole without a lid, and a rusty knife with a loose handle."

Elizabeth David, opening lines of "Improvised Cooking for Holidays and Weekends" from Summer Cooking, 1955.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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  • 5 months later...

Hi -

Every year, I go on vacation with my wife and in-laws (six adults and two children), where we rent a condo by the beach. I'm not a beach guy, so I focus on my hobbies - sleeping, reading, and cooking. This is one of the only times of the year I can cook great food that takes a lot of time and attention.

I'm already planning on some slow cooked brisket or pork, a great tomato tart, corn and bacon chowder, etc., but I'm open to any great ideas from my esteemed eG colleagues. Are there any recipes that you love, but can't make because life gets in the way? I'm looking for any fabulous and reliable recipes.

My constraints: an electric range and only what tools and equipment I can bring in the car (and no immersion circulator, yet!). Healthy is a plus, but it's vacation, so it's not a must. I try to avoid going too exotic with this crowd, so I'll probably avoid anything too esoteric (squid ink and anything involving a sea scallop foam need not apply). I have access to a good old American mega-mart and a farm stand.

Thanks in advance for your creativity and suggestions! My family appreciates it...

Thanks,

RDaneel

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We are doing similar soon and I WILL be taking my crock pot and wok along. The ability to braise something like ribs and throw in the pot to cook while we are beaching is super.

We will probably hit the local fishermen and make various seafood dishes that work for young and old as we have three little kids along. Thinking shrimp dumplings from Nguyen's book, poached flounder with lemongrass, crab (off the back dock) cakes, fish sticks for the kids and fried oysters or such.

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Doodad - sounds like good choices! Not sure if your family are red meat eaters, but if so, this is a great recipe to use in that crock pot. I make the tacos with the quick picked onions mentioned on the page, sour cream, and fresh lettuce. Amazing combo. This is one of the things I plan on cooking (but I'll use the dutch oven method, I don't want to bring the crock pot for just this one dish, I think).

http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/01/southwestern-pulled-brisket/

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Much depends on the heat factor. The peopes may not want heavy stuff after baking at the beach. I am thinking things that have a dough wrapper with a stuffing like tamales, empanadas, spanakopita, Vietnamese "egg rolls", etc. They can be served room temp whenever the beach crowd returns, and can be reheated. You also get to play alot. Or a mole type sauce? When we used to rent a beach house I focused on the local Portuguese sausage, the fish from the sport fishing boats, the already q'd smoky tri tip from the guys in the parking lots, as well as the often pathetic grills at the houses. With the freedom and luxury of time your creativity tends to really unleash. I did always bring some inspirational cookbooks or articles with me (pre-internet).

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If I had nearly unlimited time on my hands for a period of several days, I do believe I'd have to try out a few French bread recipes. I never have time, in regular working life, to do what needs to be done to the dough, when it needs to be done. Having that kind of time on my hands would be my definition of Nirvana.

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This is one of my go-to recipes for company, Soft-Shell Tacos with Salmon, Avocado Salsa, and Spicy Cherry Tomato Salad from Beverly Gannon's Hali-imaile General Store cookbook. You don't have to use salmon. Any kind of tasty fresh fish will do. People love these tacos, and ask me for the recipe. The recipe is on Googlebooks, Page 72, here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=hUK0obUbHHYC&pg=PA72&lpg=PA72&dq=general+store+cookbook+salmon+tacos&source=bl&ots=p-xaYKUjig&sig=eBccLj0L8rH10K62Xq_mJQ1zTWo&hl=en&ei=Jf80TL2_BMHsnQeMjcnZAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

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So, what goes with a trip to the beach? Answer: a clambake. Ideally it can be done (for a few people) in a large pot or can on an outdoor heatsource. Less ideally, on that electric stove in a large kettle. Just make sure you can purchase most if not all the ingredients locally (it's worth the search). We did that the last time we went to Acadia National Park, and we'll do it again this year when we return.

Ray

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I do this when I go home in the summer and hang out with my Dad for summer holidays. We plan cooking projects, usually tied around a theme like Korean food (grilled galbi) or curry night. This summer we're going to tackle a butt, and probably something out of Cradle of Flavour, which I got him for his birthday.

Last summer was brioche, which was totally worth it. From Dorie Greenspan, we split the recipe in half and made one loaf of brioche and one pan of sticky buns. Very well-received by the rest of the family.

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How about bottling some homemade vanilla extract for holiday gifts? Bottle them now and they should be ready to give by Christmas.

---------------------------------------------------------

"If you don't want to use butter, add cream."

Julia Child

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One thing I love to make when I have plenty of time is moussaka. My recipe here: http://kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com/2009/09/08/one-blog-post-two-disparate-topics/. It may be a bit heavy for a beach meal, but should be easy enough to make with locally available ingredients. With it, I love couscous with dried fruit, and a tomato and feta salad with dill.

Another great one I tried last night is a saute' of fresh corn, shrimp, chives and basil in butter, served with caprese salads. Couldn't believe how good it was.

Finally, depending on availability of grouper, there's nothing better than broiled grouper topped with a shrimp or crawfish etouffee.

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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  • 7 months later...
-- lasagna seems ditzy and would dirty too many dishes. 

Lasagna can be made within very minimum amount of dishes. You need a frying pan to brown you meat and the pan to cook the lasagne in. You can use the noodles that don't require cooking, pre-made sauce (some of it is pretty good), some fresh herbs and cheeses and away you go. You can put it together in about 20 minutes! Not quite how you'd probably make it at home but very good, filling and simple, all the things you want if you're cooking on vacation.

I often take lasagna on vacations if we're driving. I make it in advance in a disposable pan, then freeze it, then wrap it up really well and put it in the bottom of the cooler. It helps to keep the cooler cold, it's easy to heat up after we're there, everybody likes it, and then we throw the pan away.

Although this is obviously not an option if you're flying, once you arrive, you can still go buy a disposable roasting pan to prepare it it. That way, you don't have to worry if the vacation house has a large roasting pan, and even if they do, you don't have to stand there scrubbing it.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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  • 1 year later...

I will be spending the week at a friend's summer home. There will be 12 of us (6 adults, 6 kids, ages 10-15). I expect to be doing most of the cooking so I'm looking for recipe suggestions and ideas for items to bring. I am planning on taking kosher salt, pepper grinder, olive oil and a sharp chef's knife; what else should be in my arsenal?

I'm also looking for a suggestion for a storage box to carry my supplies. Any ideas?

Anne Napolitano

Chef On Call

"Great cooking doesn't come from breaking with tradition but taking it in new directions-evolution rather that revolution." Heston Blumenthal

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I have extended grilled vegetables into side dishes for two or three additional meals with a decent vinegar (I like sherry vinegar with grilled stuff) for western food and a bit of Vietnamese dipping sauce (garlic, bird chiles, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar) for Asian.

Edited by Chris Amirault
clarification -- ca (log)

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Damn - just wrote a huge long reply and hit something that disappeared it.

I'd start with breakfast - you'll probably do a couple of big ones in a week - so figure out what you might want to make something like pancakes. Check with the host and see if they have a big cast iron griddle, make sure they have flippers and such. I'd be taking along a bit of baking soda and powder just in case. Of course for pancakes I'd probably just take a mix. I'd probably take a spatula I like as well as a whisk. Oh yeah, and I always take a paring knife (I peel with a paring knife rather than a peeler) and a dollar store cutting board with me when I travel.

A neutral oil or pan spray along with the olive oil would be useful - for oiling the grill, or if you decide to do a bit of baking. You might want to make berry shortcake for dessert. A roll of parchment might not hurt either. I'd take some small bottles of my favourite baking spices if I plan any simple baking.

For lunches for a crowd that big - I'd probably do sandwiches and salads - so I'd want to make sure I had any strange condiments that might not be available (not sure how far from civilization you'll be). And my favourite spreader.

Totally agree with Chris on the vinegar, some small bottles of things such as soy, hoisin, hot sauces etc.

Dinner is where you will really find yourself wishing you'd brought the kitchen sink. I tend to figure out a couple of meals I expect to make and work them back to figure out what obscure ingredients or strange tools I know I won't find in a vacation home kitchen. So hamburgs for dinner won't require anything special. Steak, BBQ corn, steamed potatoes and a salad won't be a problem - unless you have a tool you like for flipping your meat that won't likely be there. I'd take my favourite steak rub though.

Certainly I'd probably plan a meal with rice and something - so a thai curry, a ratatouille etc - so I'd be thinking about what special ingredients that might require. If it could be managed a stir fry is a great way to feed a bunch. Not really stew weather, but if there was a crock pot in the place you could set it in the am, spend the day swimming and exploring and only have to make some mashed spuds when you get home. Or you could do a big batch of baked beans in the crockpot.

Kabobs would work well - make sure they have skewers so you don't have to bring them.

Some fresh herbs - wrapped in wet paper towels in a ziplock - should last the week in the fridge. I've found that most vacation areas a bit further away from civilization require you to bring your own shallots if you think you'll be needing them.

I use a box that diapers come in to transport all my stuff. Built in handles on the side and about the right size - but a box for milk bags would probably work well.

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You didnt mention where the house is....I go to a condo on Cape Cod every few years and bring my big ass pot to make lobsters along with a good knife and plastic cutting board...also aluminum foil and zipper bags. I try to bring some basic seasonings and dry goods because the supermarket is more expensive in a "resort" area

I put most of it in the big ass pot : )

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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We will be at a house in Cape Cod.

Anne Napolitano

Chef On Call

"Great cooking doesn't come from breaking with tradition but taking it in new directions-evolution rather that revolution." Heston Blumenthal

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I always bring knives (paring, chefs, bread), two cutting boards and a cast iron frying pan, plus extra tea towels. The frypan is great for cornbread (a vacation tradition for us), quick stovetop meals and bacon and eggs. I've only been in one vacation house that had a decently equipped kitchen and those were still handy. The last few times I have also brought my stick blender with its mini processor and whisk attachment and it's been very handy for mixing cakes, smoothies, making dips and pesto. We have a stiff plastic storage box with a lid that this all goes into. If I was with a big group I would also bring al foil, baking paper, plastic wrap and paper towels.

The suggestions to bring condiments are good: vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, olive oil and other sauces are always useful.

As far as meals go, the standards of grilled meats, burgers, corn and salads seem pretty good to feed a crowd on a summer vacation. Two of our bigger holiday successes have been Asian-ish marinated grilled meats with rice, cucumber salad and noodle salad, and lamb kofta with pita, hummus, tzatiki and salad.

For lunches you might go the bread board route: a mix of cold meats and cheeses, hard boiled eggs, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers etc and bread and condiments for make your own sandwiches - little fuss, prep or clean up.

If you are thinking of desserts, simple cakes topped with fruit and whipped cream or puddings make a change to ice cream. Plus the kids might like to bake cookies or brownies - take any pans and a large bowl you might want to use for this.

Also, if people are active all day drinks and snacks in the afternoon are always a nice way to delay dinner.

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