Friday, January 28, 2011

Traveling Gluten-Free

I'm a risk taker about a lot of things. Real estate investment? Go for it. New job? Sure. Performing in front of ten thousand people? Bring it on! I won't take risks about my food though. A few places "get it": Disneyland, select restaurants in Del Mar, Seattle, and New York...and pretty much most of Italy. But other than that, I like my food from my own kitchen.

The last way I want to spend my vacation (or business meeting, or...) is doubled over on the bathroom floor, or rushing off to the local ER to get a dehydration-fighting IV. I mean, I'm sure the local nurses are nice and all... but if I'm going to take changes I'm going to take them with the comfort of my own bed and team of caretakers nearby. At least for now. Maybe I'll take more chances when I'm healthier.

This is difficult when traveling, though. There are a few great go-to travel snacks that don't need refrigeration: Rice Thins, San-J Crackers, my favorite Boulder Potato Chips... but those certainly won't sustain me through a weekend. My trusted consultants and wonderful man have put our heads together to find some travel tricks that work. The first trip we took required a solid week of planning. I'm glad to say our last short weekend jaunt took us two short hours to pack and leave (including clothes, etc). Plus one quick grocery trip.

On our first multi-day trip, the man (let's call him Brad) and I found gorgeous accommodations with a full kitchen. We packed an entire large suitcase of kitchen supplies which we lugged across the country. Now, I'm not sure how avoidable some of that is, but we're learning to narrow it down.

The last trip we made was a short car trip. We got away with one bag of food and one bag of kitchen supplies.... though there was no kitchen at the hotel.

On this trip, we brought:
One-Serving Blender (for breakfast smoothies)
Travel Spice Holder
Rice cooker with steamer basket
A paring knife
Small cutting board (sometimes this kind)

Plus aluminum foil, disposable dishes and silverware.

Since this was our first experience cooking a meal with a rice cooker, we kept it simple.

We first measured rice and water as usual, then started it in the cooker with the lid on.
Then Brad chopped garlic, carrots, celery and zucchini.

Then we built a little aluminum foil basket where we steamed the veggies with a big pat of butter.

The veggies were cooked perfectly - sweet and just the right amount of soft. Mmmm.

When that was finished, we dumped in some black beans to heat which we served with a sour cream dip - (we added onion and garlic powder to each). Oh, one more thing... we steamed an extra whole clove of garlic to mix in with the sour cream dip. Then ate it with the aforementioned addictive potato chips.

It was a great experiment and we're learning more all the time.

Turns out, there are experts in rice cooker meals ... there's an entire sub-culture of people that cook this way! Why didn't I look this up when I thought of it?

Beautiful meals! Are you kidding me? NY Times did this writeup.

Consider me humbled. Next time I travel (or I'm stuck in one of those bad dorm rooms at a conference), I'm packing the rice cooker.

Happy Travels.

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