Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
This is my adaptation of a recipe from Milagros Collazo, chef at the award-winning Ristorante Tuscany in the San Juan Marriot Resort on the Condado beach in Puerto Rico. It works beautifully with acorn squash, which goes from oven to table. The recipe sounds complicated, but read it through and you’ll see it’s simply a matter of putting a custard filling in acorn halves.
3 small acorn squashes
1 cup mashed squash
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2-cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cut the squash in half; discard the seeds and place each half, cut side down, on a flat plate or platter. Microwave on the high setting, turning every minute, until the squash is fork-tender. Remove some cooked squash from each piece until you have a cupful. Sprinkle the shells lightly with cinnamon and brown sugar and set them in baking dishes or in one baking pan that allows them to stand upright. Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, mash the reserved squash and whisk in the milks, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and eggs. Carefully fill each squash cavity with the custard mixture and pour a little water into the pan(s) around the squash. Bake 10 to 20 minutes or until the custard is set. (Baking time will depend on how much heat remained in the squash by the time you filled them.)
This recipe makes six dessert portions or a sweet side dish that goes well with grilled ham slices or pork steaks. Note: If you cut a tiny slice off the bottoms of the squash halves they’ll sit better, but take care not to cut a hole that would allow the custard to leak out.
Herbes De Provence
If travels take you to Los Olivos, California, don’t miss Clairmont Lavender Farms. If you’re lucky you’ll see acres of fragrant lavender in bloom with the Santa Ynez Mountains in the background. In any season, however, stop in to see the 300-year-old oaks and to shop for dried, organic, culinary-quality lavender. Then make your own Herbes de Provence to season chicken, vegetables, beef, and pork. This recipe makes 3/4-cup. Double it if you like. Mix and keep in sealed jars in a dry, cool place. Use it in recipes that call for Herbes de Provence.
3 tablespoons dried marjoram
3 tablespoons thyme
3 tablespoons savory
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon crumbled rosemary
1/2-teaspoon dried sage
1/2-teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2-teaspoon culinary lavender
15- or 16-ounce can stewed, Italian-style tomatoes
Medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
Medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2-teaspoon cayenne pepper
Few shakes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons liquid margarine
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon flour
Freshly ground pepper to taste
16-ounce package frozen cooked, cleaned shrimp, thawed
In a saucepan, cook the vegetables with the bay leaf until tender. Discard the bay leaf. In a small bowl, stir the cayenne, Worcestershire, liquid margarine, and milk into the flour until smooth and then stir into the hot tomato mixture. Stir over low heat until thick. If the shrimp are large, cut into bite-size pieces, and then stir into the tomato mixture and heat through. Divide into six portions and serve over rice or toast.
Country Ham In Pineapple Sauce
This recipe from The Gourmet Slow Cooker, Volume II (see “Books For Cooks” below) makes the most delectable sauce imaginable thanks to the combination of crushed pineapple and pineapple-apricot preserves. It cooks carefree in the slow cooker while you’re enjoying campground life.
4-pound, bone-in ham
10 whole cloves
20-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 tablespoon cornstarch
18-ounce jar pineapple-apricot preserves
1/4-cup dried sour cherries
1/4-cup golden raisins
Stud the ham with cloves and place in a slow cooker. Drain the juice from the pineapple and combine the juice with the cornstarch, stirring well. Add the pineapple and preserves and spoon over the ham. Cook on low five to seven hours, and then add the raisins and cherries and cook one hour more. Remove the ham to a cutting board and let stand 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with the sauce.
Walnut Basil Rice Casserole
This healthful recipe is from the new book ExtraVeganZa (New Society Publishers, $24.95). It’s a vegan main dish that also can be served as a hearty side dish with meat from the grill. It’s easily doubled or tripled to make a rave dish for campground potlucks. The author’s recipe calls for blending everything into a mush, but I prefer more crunch. By using my instructions you won’t have to wash a food processor and blade, but the result will be more crumbly, best served with a spoon rather than sliced. Following is my adaptation of the book’s recipe.
2 cups cooked brown basmati rice
11/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1/2-cup fresh basil, finely chopped
Half a medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
5 tablespoons milk (can be rice milk or soy milk)
Author’s instructions: Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until coarse. Spoon into an oiled loaf pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Let set 5 to 10 minutes and then slice. Serves four to six. Janet’s instructions: Mix everything together and press into a sprayed casserole dish. Bake as above and serve with a spoon. Serves eight as a side dish; four as a main dish.
Cassoulet In A Crockpot, Motorhome Style
Another slow-cooker recipe comes from David and Sandy Fuller, F331444, who simplified a recipe they saw in Gourmet magazine and enjoyed it while parked at Mustang State Park on Mustang Island, Texas. Sandy says it serves four to six.
2 turkey drumsticks
3 large, spicy sausage links
2 tablespoons olive oil, or enough to brown the meat
1/2-pound ham, cut in chunks
Large yellow onion, chopped
Large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cans, 151/2 ounces each, Great Northern Beans, with liquid
2 teaspoons dry parsley
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper (preferably a peppercorn medley)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons coarse salt
Nature’s Seasoning to taste
1 cup water
Brown the meats in the oil and cut the sausage into bite-size pieces, removing the casing if you like. Put everything in the slow cooker, top with the drumsticks, and cook on high 4 to 41/2 hours. Remove the drumsticks to debone them and return the meat to the pot. Remove the bay leaf and serve with crusty chunks of baguette. I (Janet) simplify this recipe further by using two 10-ounce cans of chunk turkey, broken up; a 10-ounce can of chunk ham; and a 12-ounce package of fully cooked sausage links (hot or mild), cut into bite-size pieces. Throw it all in the slow cooker and mix well. This eliminates the messy browning step and the need to debone the drumsticks. Cooking time is reduced to 2 to 21/2 hours on high or 4 to 41/2 hours on low. Serves six to eight.
At Enid’s Restaurants in the all-inclusive Almond Resorts in Barbados, cooks make this all-purpose seasoning by the gallon. Because it keeps two weeks in the refrigerator and adds such a piquant touch to so many dishes, I make it at home by the pint to add a homemade flair to quick meals made on the go. Browning refers to a liquid browning agent such as Gravy Master or Bovril. This is my adaptation (and reduction) of the Almond Resorts recipe:
1 bunch green onions, including green tops, cut up
Medium white onion, cut up
3 or 4 large stalks celery, cut up
2 tablespoons white vinegar or lime juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon browning agent
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2-teaspoon dried basil
1/2-teaspoon curry powder
2-3 drops hot pepper sauce (optional, to taste)
Pulse the green onions, white onion, celery, and vinegar or lime juice in the food processor, scraping down the sides as necessary, until finely chopped. Add the other ingredients, mix well, and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Add to taste (usually one tablespoon is enough) to soups, stews, salsas, salad dressings, and casseroles
Books for cooks.
The Gourmet Slow Cooker, Volume II (Ten Speed Press, $18.95) by Lynn Alley focuses on regional comfort foods such as the country ham recipe above. It’s loaded with color photos, practical recipes, and new slow-cooker concepts based on traditional favorites. If you’re a devotee of slow cookers as I am, you’ll want this book and Volume I, too.
Visit Janet often at CampAndRVCook.blogspot.com. Each week she adds a new recipe and a new Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week, plus tips on simplifying recipes and cutting down on dishwashing. The second edition of her book Cooking Aboard Your RV is available through bookstores or by calling (800) 262-4729. It also available in French, titled Cuisiner a bord de votre Vehicule Recreatif.