We start with a few tips for travel. Clean out your cooler, because you don't want any surprises moldering away. Once it's clean, don't pack it with ice; instead, buy a few bottles of water (or a plastic gallon jug) and freeze them instead. They cool just as efficiently, as they thaw you can drink icy fresh water, and if somebody overturns the cooler, there's nothing to leak.
Not that that has ever happened.
Pack the essentials. It never hurts to have a few cups, or a few basic utensils, and it definitely is a plus to have paper napkins, plastic bags for trash, and perhaps some wet naps to clean fingers. Especially before putting your hands on the steering wheel.
"I," said Tazendra, "intend to eat at hostelries along the way."
"And, if we are between hostelries?"
"Then we shall bring bread and cheese."
"Very well, said Khaavren, "then we also have no need for napkins and tablecloths."
—The Phoenix Guards, Steven Brust
Keewee's Corner has the scoop on the bread and cheese with Ham and Cheese Scones. While munching those down... before you take off, I mean... make sure to pack the Trail Mix provided by Homeschool Blogger. The intrepid homeschoolers suggest that you pack this in individual baggies for single servings. It seems to me that would cut down on the problems with sharing.
Kicking Over My Traces has an oh-so-simple recipe for Banana Bread, which is durable, travels well, and is a great favorite. I remember once my mother left on a trip and left me the oldest, blackest bananas you could imagine to make bread. I took the standard recipe, added sunflower seeds and raisins, and, well, squeezed the bananas out of their skins into the bowl. That was really, really good banana bread.
Terence's idea of roughing it consisted of pork pie, veal pie, cold roast beef, a ham, pickles, pickled eggs, pickled beets, cheese, bread and butter, ginger beer, and a bottle of port. It was possibly the best meal I had ever had in my life.
—To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis
Trail Mix is good and Banana Bread is tasty, but the cooler's still empty. Luckily, there's quite a selection of sandwiches to pack. Riannan of In the Headlights tells us of Muffuletta, a Dagwood-worthy sandwich that increases in taste through sitting around. Men In Aprons submit Sweet and Spicy Chicken Salad Sandwiches, a recipe that includes both apples and hot sauce. (Kinda reminds me of my husband's propensity to put horseradish in tuna salad sandwiches.)
As a snack, why not consider frozen grapes? Wash and dry your seedless grapes— Thompson are best, but any seedless will do— and carefully remove them from the stems. I find a gentle twist works better than a pull. Drop them into a freezer bag— you did dry them, right?— and freeze overnight. They're ideal for those hot, stuffy days when your car doesn't have an air conditioner, because they're tasty even after they've thawed. (They don't last much past thawing, though. Throw away any leftovers at the end of the day.)
"What do you do on your half-day off?" asked the young man interestedly.
"We go to the forest. Mr. Pemberthy and Peter Aurelious and me— I mean I. One of the cooks lets me take any old scraps of bread and cake that are left over, and we have a picnic. We have a lovely time."
—The Ordinary Princess, M.M. Kaye
Laura Rebecca has a Hasty Chicken Salad that sounds pretty well ideal for those picnic lunches. Toss it in the cooler! And to clear your palate, Jami Leigh suggests cool Mint Cucumbers.
The BBQ General submits not one recipe, but a whole picnic. His Red Truck Picnic includes Right Off the Jar Potato Salad (nb: "Hellman's" mayonnaise is sold under the name "Best Foods" west of the Mississippi), Blue Smoke Devilled Eggs, and Championship Chicken. Take a look through his whole site. He is a great proponent of the idea of doing new and tasty things as well as the tried and true.
"It's too hot," Garion advised critically as the rat-faced little man prepared to lay strips of bacon in a smoking iron pan.
"Do you want to do this?"
"I was just warning you, that's all."
"I don't have your advantages, Garion," Silk replied tartly. "I didn't grow up in Polgara's kitchen the way you did. I just make do the best I can."
"You don't have to get grumpy about it, "Garion said. "I just thought you'd like to know that the pan's too hot."
"I think I can manage without any more advice."
"Suit yourself— but you're going to burn the bacon."
Silk gave him an irritated look and started slapping bacon slices in the pan. The slices sizzled and smoked, and their edges turned black almost immediately.
—Castle of Wizardry, David Eddings
Once you've reached your destination, it's time for the main meal. Are you taking a grill out to the beach? Are you cooking over a campfire? Gullyborg of Resistance is Futile has a suggestion for Pacific Rim Salmon With Rice and Asparagus. Now, I can figure out how to adjust to cooking the salmon over a campfire, but the rice is a stumper. Perhaps this is the recipe for when you've reached your friend's house with the brand new gas range. But Everything and Nothing has a recipe for Fresh Corn Sauté with Tomato, Squash, and Okra that is a single-skillet meal. You could be the envy of a campground with such a meal.
"Cooking over an open flame is its own art, and doesn't have much to do with oven cooking or stove cooking. I'm not really good at it. But I know that wine always helps."
—Athyra, Steven Brust
For the grill on the beach (or by that mountain lake!) we have several selections. Grilled Shrimp Kabobs (With Southwest Citrus Marinade) sound utterly heavenly, and they're from the healthy eaters at A Weight Lifted, so you know they're good for you. Trub (the sediment of life) supplies a recipe for Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin Steaks with Honey-Chipotle Sauce. You should refrigerate these for several hours... but it seems to me that appropriate prep before driving and proper storage in the cooler might do the same thing.
While we're on the subject of grilling, I should reveal that kabobs are far easier than I had thought, for some reason. You soak your wood skewers in water so they don't burn, and you cut your veggies in chunks (I prefer red onion, bell peppers of varying colors, and cherry tomatoes), and then comes the meat. When last we did kabobs, it was nothing more than flank steak cut into cubes. I rubbed a little kosher salt on mine, grilled it, and it was amazing.
The feast began with a mild culinary skirmish. Riyan's cook opened with cactus soup made from an Isulki recipe. Pol's cook countered with small fish broiled in wine, presented on waves of puff pastry as if they leaped through the ocean. Then came the lobsters, steamed to succulence in silk wrappings, one claw clutching a tiny pearl to be kept as a remembrance of the occasion.
The real battle began. Chunks of elk and lamb glazed in mossberry and onion sauce were accompanied by dark Gribain red wine in goblets that were part of Chiana's silver service. Riyan's cook, disdaining the obvious accompaniments, concocted a salad of an astonishing variety of greenery, dressed with vinegar-and-something that set Sioned's tongue deliciously atingle.
Until now, the war had been pretty much a draw. But both cooks knew Pol's weakness. The final weapons were pinenut pie oozing honey, and a more suitable fruit pastry, countered by small mountains of taze ice festooned with candied flowers.
—Skybowl, Melanie Rawn
What goes well with grilled food? Corn, that's what. Blog d'Elisson takes us back to simple summer days with his easy corn recipe. (You can also lay those ears of corn on the grill, shucked or not as you prefer.) I am now looking forward to the time when Sloughhouse Corn is available. It's only a twenty-mile drive...
Of course, Disease Proof has not one, but three tasty, healthy stews. Dutch ovens were made for things like this. Just set up your stew in the coals, and let it go... and those ingredients aren't going to be hurt by a ride. The Headmistress of The Common Room also sends a recipe for something that could go in a Dutch oven... but Asian Style Pot Roast for 36 (and Ginger-Sesame Slaw for Twelve) makes me think we're going to need a bigger pot! Maybe an imu!
Continuing with the vaguely Asian-style cooking, Triticale has determined how to make Chicken-Fried Rice, or you might think of them as fried-rice balls. Mmm. Sticky Americanized-Chinese goodness.
Me-ander has a recipe for Goes With Everything Sweet Kugel that, obviously, goes with your grilled stuff. And your corn. It sounds quite refreshing and different.
There were petit fours in their pale colors, with frosting flowers— no, preserved flowers, roses and violets and marigolds and nasturtiums; there were perfect miniature fruits, each with the color and bloom proper to its skin: apples, peaches, pears, plums, oranges, none bigger than a large marble— marzipan, those must be; there were rolled up lacy cookies dipped half in chocolate and filled with cream; there were candied orange slices and ginger chunks and whole red strawberries all sparkling with sugar; there were slabs of shortbread pricked with a fork in patterns of flowers; there were small cakes like chrysanthemums; there were piles and drifts of the glistening red seeds of the pomegranate; there were, in fact, exactly as Keats had said in "The Eve of St. Agnes," candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd (by which he meant melon, and Melinda Wolfe provided cantaloupe); jellies soother than the creamy curd, and lucent syrups, tinct with cinnamon, all right, Janet could smell it from where she stood, and dates, too— all of which Porphyro had brought to seduce Madeline.
"Shall we go eat some of the artwork?"
"So you think it's safe?"
Molly hadn't even read "The Eve of St. Agnes."
Janet said, "With Anne around, what would she want with us?"
"It's the pomegranate seeds that worry me," said Molly. "Blackstock isn't really my idea of Hell, but its physics program is a pretty good imitation."
Janet patted her on the shoulder. "We'll confine ourselves to the marzipan, then; there can't be anything sinister about marzipan."
—Tam Lin, Pamela Dean
And what is a roadtrip without sweet stuff? Seriously Good— whose whole blog deserves a deep culinary inspection, and do bring a towel to wipe up the drool— has some seriously good Marscapone Brownies. Oh. My. And The Glittering Eye, unable to decide between three tried and true crème brûlée recipes, presents all three recipes for our edification.
Next week's Carnival is hosted at Caterwauling. Please submit your links to recipes to email@example.com before noon Central Standard Time on June the 29th. Don't forget, it's Independence Day— think of all the classics that you serve. (Anybody have a recipe for red, white, and blue cheesecake? Strawberries and blueberries?)