Vacation Dinners, In Good Health and In Style!
Vacation Dinners for Two
When on vacation, we often deplore the lack of access to decent Kosher Foods, or any kosher foods, for that matter. Ha, where are all our East Coast-West Coast (or Israel) Restaurants when we need them? The irony is, they are nowhere in sight precisely when we have all the time in the world to dine out and get home home late.
How I became a pro at Vacation Dinners
Of course you know me, the resourceful cook and traveler! I will not be deterred, and I am determined to serve my old man and I not just decent, but indeed exciting, meals.
I did get some fantastic bootcamp training in my college years, training that has served me well my entire life. My healthy cooking-without-cooking survival guide!
Tinkering with Meals on the Road:
To me, it was the natural logical step: We are away, we go for broke, but we still want the meals to be interesting and fun. And Healthy. Of course. Healthy is the part that is not negotiable. Or else I wouldn’t be tinkering with anything. All my life, my healthy and all-natural guidelines have informed my cooking and eating. Yes, every day, anytime, anywhere. I eat no junk, I buy no junk, I serve no junk. So you might say I am the right girl to talk about this specific subject:
Vacation dinners, in good health and in style.
So the recurrent scenario I am zooming in on is, one I have encountered dozens of times: We are on vacation for a summer week. We have a small room or apartment, in the Berkshires, or Newport, or on a beach in New Jersey; there for the wonderful country, the long nature walks, museums, concerts, plays. Alas, no restaurants…. Our room comes with a small but lovely porch (oh yay, there’s one precious thing we don’t have at home!). We have access to refrigerator and microwave, and an electric kettle. End of story. Now the ball is in our court.
Needless to add, we don’t want to slave away on vacation time: We are here to have fun, and minimal kitchen time, so the meals must be whipped up in short order.
I am sharing what has worked best for us, tried and true traveling food hacks, and I know it will work for you too.
What to bring Vs what to buy
We always have access to supermarkets and health food stores, across the board. Good and fresh and plentiful. So we need to bring from home only the stuff we doubt will be accessible on the road, and that will travel well.
Here’s my survival kit list:
Don’t be surprised if it does include a couple items we can easily buy (cutting board, knives, strainer): I can’t be bothered with toiveling on the road, plus I would like immediate access on arrival.
- 2 disposable cutting boards, different colors: One for dairy and one for meat.
- 2 salad bowls. Same as above.
- 2 good small knives.
- 1 good strainer for coffee (Sorry no Starbucks in the boonies! Just steep coffee with boiling water for a minute or two, and strain)
- 2-3 nice chunks of cheese
- Plain yogurt
- 2-3 nice roast chickens. Homemade or store bought.
- 1 jar homemade salad dressing, even the simplest will do: oo, cider vinegar, s&p
- 1 jar tehina sauce/dressing. Make it at home, it will be easier: Whisk it with water lemon juice, a little minced garlic, s&p, and your favorite seasonings.
- A couple packages vacuum-packed cooked beets
- A blender is not necessary, but it would be awesome!
- 1 dozen savory muffins, or regular muffins, or/and homemade chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal cookies. Keep frozen. They will keep you right on track, at breakfast time, and later, when the munchies strike.
- A couple quart containers frozen soups. Some nights are fresh in the mountains or on the beach, and you might welcome a bowl of good soup or stew for dinner in the heart of summer!
- Your favorite spices/seasonings in tiny ziplock bags. It does seem a shame to buy expensive containers when we have so much at home! zaatar, s&p, cumin, hot pepper etc. Remember we are not cooking, just garnishing!
- If you a bread lover, bread on the road can be somewhat mediocre. Bring your favorite bread with you!
Everything else, you can pick up locally!
- Fresh Produce: Enjoy all the luscious summer fruit! Get small fruit, or fruit easy to cut and serve. Try your best to find pre-shredded carrots, cabbage, beets, zucchini, brussels sprouts; pre-washed greens, all increasingly available in supermarkets. Likewise, frozen cauliflower, broccoli florets, corn kernels, edamame, berries. etc…
- Packaged: Olives in jars, canned tuna, sardines, chickpeas, beans, lentils, nut butter, popcorn and roasted nuts.
- Cereal, granola and oats
- Wine and liquor: You’ll be surprised. WE never had any trouble finding kosher wines in even the most remote liquor stores!
What to do with all your goodies:
It seems to me you now have more than enough for a few small intimate feasts. Just a few examples of good stuff that will take a few minutes to prepare, for any meal you want, to suit your schedule
- Yogurt, berries and granola
- Overnight oats
- Muffins. All links above
- If you brought a blender: Awesome! Any smoothie you want!
- Avocado toast with sprouts
- Chopped salad with tehina sauce, or plain yogurt
- Any fresh salad you want, in any permutation you want: Throw in diced cheese, or diced roast chicken, or beans, or tuna, or sardines, seeds, nuts etc…
- Any sandwich you want: Same as for salad.
- A nice bowl of soup. Yep, a bowl of soup, remember, you brought it from home?
- Iced coffee, iced tea, lemonade, cold brew, hot coffee, hot tea
You might end up with a good problem:
You might run into long lost friends and invite them for dinner! Why not? After all, you have everything you need, and then some!