I’m a foodie and a binge-eater – unlike any that you’ve ever met! My obsession with comfort food is simply too wild to relate fully. And frankly, it can get a little embarrassing sometimes. Because people, despite their best intentions, have a tendency to judge. For the most part, I blame my Spectrum Cable Services connection for my unrestrained food cravings. Seeing one food show after another can have that effect on you. I’m talking an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations to the Gordon Ramsay-starrer Hell’s Kitchen. Followed by a heavy dose of the Rachael Ray Show.
The same goes for social media (primarily Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat) posts from the Food Channel and Kraft Foods. Whenever I chance to see any of the productions (‘artworks’, I call them) on these channels, my mind goes on a spin. And my mouth starts dribbling saliva uncontrollably - like an eager and unrestrained infant.
Allow Me to Divulge a Little (or a lot) about myself…
Seeing my condition on such occasions, my mother has even remarked that I suffer from a psychological illness. And to be fair, I could (and should) say that she might have a point.
But you know what? I’m really not bothered – because I like how I am. My culinary obsession is what makes me unique – in a world that is desperately trying to make everyone a nonconformist. I’m against stereotyping of all sorts, but there really is a case to be made for some healthy uniqueness.
So before I digress any further from my main objective here, let me put a lid on my personal revelations. Because I know you really don’t want to read me go on about myself any further. You’re here to learn the 5 instant recipes that will do you good on all your trips.
And I mean ‘good’ in every sense of the word. Because these dishes are not only tastier than your mother’s traditional shepherd’s pie spread, they’re also easier to whip up – and far less expensive to slurp to. With only a few basic ingredients (which you probably already have on your kitchen counter) and cooking implements – you’re all set to go.
And I mean this quite literally!
Five Instant Recipes for Your Trips
This is the part where you take out your pen, paper, and spectacles (if you’re short on eyesight).
1. Amazonian Gumbo
My Amazonian Gumbo recipe is sure to be a stomach & crowd pleaser whenever you choose to boil it up. For this bad boy, you’ll need:
• Chicken Thighs – 600 g (cut in halves)
• Smoked Bacon – 300g (cubed)
• Turkey Sausage – 350g (any brand; non-spice)
• Vegetable Stock – 1.25 liters
• Thyme sprigs – 1 tsp
• Oregano sprigs – ¾ tsp
• Dried Parsley – ¾ tsp
• Cayenne Pepper – ¾ tsp
• Salt – 1 tsp
• Freshly Ground Black Pepper – 1 tsp
• Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
• Corn Flour – 1 Tsp (dissolved in 125ml of water)
• Water – 1 Liter (for boiling)
In a large Dutch oven, mix all the ingredients together, and cook on a medium flame for 35 minutes. In this time, the volume of liquid will have reduced by half. Gradually pour in the corn flour mixture, and stir gently with a wooden spoon for fifteen minutes. Once the dish gains the right consistency, ladle it out in porcelain bowls. Consume hot.
2. Parmissiano Baked Alabama
My mother taught me this recipe for ease during my Grad school years. It also turned out to be a hit during one camping expedition in the south of France. To make this southern delicacy, you’ll need:
• A Loaf of Fresh Italian Bread – Cored
• Parmesan Cheese – 1 Cup (shredded)
• American Cheddar – 2 Cups (shredded)
• Garlic Cloves – 24 (diced)
• Olive Oil – 50 ml
• Unsalted Butter – 1 Cup (melted)
• Fresh Mint Leaves – ¼ Cup (diced)
• Fresh Parsley – 1/8 Cup (diced)
Simply take a loaf of Italian bread, and core it through the middle (or have the baker do it). In a large bowl, mix together the other dry and wet ingredients – and funnel into a baker’s tube. Insert the tube into one end of the loaf’s hollow, and gently squeeze until the bread’s insides are completely filled.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for about eighteen to twenty minutes. Serve hot, with a bowl of Mexican salsa.
3. The Gypsy’s Mac & Cheese
All the credits for thinking up this godly concoction are mine. You’ll need:
• Elbow Macaroni – 1 Pack (boiled as per package directions)
• Parmesan Cheese – 1 cup (shredded)
• American Cheddar – 1 cup (shredded)
• Feta Cheese – ½ cup (sliced)
• Mozzarella – 1 cup (sliced)
• Full Fat Milk – 1.5 liters
• Whipped Cream – ½ cup
• Salt – 1 tsp
• Freshly Ground Black Pepper – 1 tsp
In a large Dutch oven, simply mix together all these ingredients, and bake in preheated oven (375 degrees F) for about 30 minutes. Serve hot.
4. Milk Cake
If you have a sweet tooth, then this dessert is perfect for all your midnight traveler’s cravings. You’ll need:
• Full fat milk – 2 liters
• Granulated Sugar – ½ cup
• Desiccated Coconut – ½ cup
• Pistachios – ¼ cup (diced)
• Rice Flour – ¼ cup
• Unsalted Butter – ¼ cup
In a pot, mix together all these ingredients, and simmer on a medium flame until the mix reduces to one-quarter of its original volume. When fully thickened, press with the bottom of a cool cake mold. Instantly, the hardened milk will stiffen like a granola bar. Eat chilled.
5. Caramel Bites
I cheated this off from a Spectrum Internet provider tech, who happens to be my neighbor as well. We often have cookouts in my backyard on the weekends. Simply caramelize 1 cup of granulated sugar, and add in some coconut powder. Let the dessert harden, and cut in bite-sized pieces.