Friday, September 28, 2012

Leftover Salmon? Avocado? Bread?

Avo-toast with extra protein. Salmon is great cold, so it's worth making more than you can eat in one sitting-- as long as you don't over cook it. Just-done-enough salmon tastes much better (I think), and will taste better the next day if you decide to re-heat it. 
Lots of freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of salt, and a squeeze of lemon.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Skyline to the Sea Menu

Photo by Caroline Le.
I recently went on a backpacking trip along the last 12 miles of the Skyline to the Sea Trail, starting at Big Basin Redwoods State Park and ending at Waddell Beach. When I learned that I would have to create my own meals, I panicked for a second, intimidated by the prospect, and proclaimed that I would probably live on dried fruit, nuts, and oat bars. My friend then offered to double up on her own menu and showed it to me. And I realized I was being silly-- I just had to plan out two breakfasts, three lunches, and two dinners. Not a big deal at all!

Considerations of preparation, weight, and space had to be made, but all it took was to think about it for a little while.

What I brought:

Breakfast (all days):
oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, dried cranberries, and slivered almonds
yerba mate tea

Lunch (all days):
baby Gala apple
English Cheddar with caramelized onions
whole wheat naan

Dinner 1:
Trader Joe's boil-in-the-bag Saag Paneer (in the canned good section)
whole wheat naan
chamomile tea

Dinner 2:
Trader Joe's boil-in-the-bag Channa Masala (?)
whole wheat naan
chamomile tea

Snacks & Goodies:
5 oz dried apricots
3 dark chocolate oat bars
1 Ritter Sport dark chocolate with whole hazelnuts

Can you tell I did all my shopping at Trader Joe's?


- Packed way too much oatmeal and ended up consuming at least 2 portions each day. Oops. Measure 1/2 cup servings out next time. Packed oats with raisins, cranberries, and cinnamon already mixed in, a small amount of almonds in a foil packet. Brought 4 yerba mate tea bags. Considered bringing instant coffee, but decided the mate would be better/less fuss. Ate the oatmeal out of the pot both days.

- Whole wheat naan was a great idea: hearty, could handle potential squishing, went well with both cheese and Indian fare. Stayed soft even at room temperature, and was even better when I let it steam on the Jetboil lid.

- The English Cheddar with caramelized onions gave my simple ploughman's lunch an appetite-sating savoriness. Since temps were only in the upper 60s to mid-70s each day, I didn't have to worry about the big chunk of cheese going bad without refrigeration. Baby gala apples were just the right size.

- Boil-in-bag Indian Fare: I took them out of the boxes and wrote abbreviated instructions on the bags themselves. Hope Sharpie chemicals didn't leech too much into the water. Instructions say to let sit in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, but I put the bags in the water (which other folks were boiling for their Mountain House meals) from the beginning, and by the time the water boiled, the food was plenty hot. The downside is that you end up carrying that liquid weight around until you eat it.

Each packet was a very healthy size serving for me. I was pretty impressed with the flavor and spice level. Those with more sensitive stomachs will want to pass on this for camping food, though. Unless you don't mind potentially hanging out in (sometimes gawd-awful) pit latrines or hovering over catholes for a long time.

- Dark chocolate is always a good idea. Always.

I've had a tendency to overpack food, and I wanted to make sure this time was different. When I finished the last of my food during our lunch stop on the 9.5-mile hike back, I felt sweet, sweet pride.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Opening Oysters in Santa Barbara

My friend Mary Rose introduced me to the joys of buying fresh oysters from the fish market, then taking them home and opening them ourselves. Popping the blunt point of a knife into the hinge, then carefully slicing the attachment from the top of the shell. 

A squeeze of lemon is all you need (and maybe not even that). Salty, creamy, fresh. Though I love the way they do them at Hama Sushi, with ponzu (?), green onion, and a little roe, the satisfaction of prying the shells open myself and then slurping down the flesh is hard to beat.