Gourmet Cooking on the Playa

What do you eat and drink on the playa? Share ideas, recipes and advice here.

Postby Elderberry » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:18 pm

maryanimal wrote:Image

All this talk about food is giving me great ideas! Maybe we should have a potluck one day of that week!


Maybe we could all bring a dish to the meet n greet? That would kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

It's hard to schedule too many activities...well it's easy to schedule them, but it's hard to keep them.

We always seem to bring too much food, so towards the end of the week, I just end up cooking it all up and sharing anyway.
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Postby wraith » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:22 pm

I seem to have come into a kerosene stove now. Much prefer it to propane, given the choice.
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Postby Elderberry » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:26 pm

Savannah wrote:The most gourmet meal I have had on the playa was an enormous freshly caught salmon, grilled with lemon, butter and herbs. Very simple, but the best salmon of my life, and I remain grateful. I barely knew the woman who shared it with me (and others).


I've done salmon filets too, but certainly they weren't fresh caught. Everything tastes great on the playa!

I've tried to hook up with the tuna guys a couple of times, but never made it to their camp. They bring in a whole truck load of fresh caught tuna...that would cook up nicely, just sear it quickly on a hot grill. Serve it with rice and grilled asparagus. (I use that precooked pouch rice from Trader Joes.)

Speaking of Trader Joes, they have a lot of frozen prepared food that works well and tastes good too. All you need is a burner and a pan. That just got me thinking about their mandarin orange chicken. Maybe I'll bring the wok this year.
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Postby Elderberry » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:32 pm

Bob wrote:In what universe is pizza 'gourmet cooking'?

I think just the uniqueness of having it on the playa puts it in that category, especially after reading all the posts about eating food out of a can heated in the sun. The term "gourmet" has a less rigorous expectation on the playa!
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Postby maryanimal » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:53 pm

jkisha wrote:
maryanimal wrote:Image

All this talk about food is giving me great ideas! Maybe we should have a potluck one day of that week!


Maybe we could all bring a dish to the meet n greet? That would kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

It's hard to schedule too many activities...well it's easy to schedule them, but it's hard to keep them.

We always seem to bring too much food, so towards the end of the week, I just end up cooking it all up and sharing anyway.


that ia a great idea jk! A M&G potluck!
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Postby Elderberry » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:00 pm

maryanimal wrote:
jkisha wrote:
maryanimal wrote:Image

All this talk about food is giving me great ideas! Maybe we should have a potluck one day of that week!


Maybe we could all bring a dish to the meet n greet? That would kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

It's hard to schedule too many activities...well it's easy to schedule them, but it's hard to keep them.

We always seem to bring too much food, so towards the end of the week, I just end up cooking it all up and sharing anyway.


that ia a great idea jk! A M&G potluck!


Maybe we should run it by Doc Pyro?
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Postby Dr. Pyro » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:06 pm

I think it's frigging BRILLIANT!!! We ask people to bring either: ice, liquor, or something to drink; well, why not expand the entire idea. We have plenty of trash containers, a burn barrel that Ygmir made for paper waste (which there will be a ton of), tables, ice chests, propane cookers, microwave ovens, and certainly enough space to control the unwashed masses. I would like someone (Misa, Tamarakay, or MyDearFriend would be an excellent choices, since they're One Of Us) to coordinate it. I have my hands full taking my daughter to college and herding 200 cats within BDV. But you have my absolute approval and I will even mention it in the next Barbie Death Village newsletter so others, who may just be lurkers or morons, can contribute as well. Consider it done.
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Postby some seeing eye » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:22 pm

The playa addled taste buds like salt and oil, plus stronger spices. Suggest cajun spices (like Chef Paul Prudhommes Blackened Redfish Magic - no, I have no commercial interest in it) The Tuna Guys are famous for tuna sashimi marinated in soy sauce and ginger - throw the marinade in with the previously Ziploc'd frozen fish and by the time it's thawed, it's marinated. Thai is easy and the coconut milk adds a lot. Pineapple and other Thai canned items can supplement whatever fresh ingredients. The thinest rice noodles cook in an instant or less with soaking. Japanese Chankonabe with dashi packets, TJ boxed broth, fresh miso, ginger, vegies, meat, silken tofu (no refrigeration - sealed box), rehydrated dried shiitake and choice of noodles. How about Moroccan with olives, nuts and dried fruit? Pull some spices out after mid week and you will be golden. If you bring fresh vegies, consume early, then have the mid week arrivers bring more.

Minimize cleanup by cooking or baking in disposable roasting bags (non approved use, they are made of plastic!) Pack 'em out. A covered grill needs minimal cleaning and the lid minimizes dust storm buildup.

If you like minimizing CO2 stop by the Alternative Energy Zone village to learn about solar ovens that can bake cookies, stews in the roasting bags, solar pickles and the famous DEATH RAYTtm solar concentrating roaster. (bonus a mini DEATH RAYtm can be made with an old ~20" satellite TV dish covered with al-foil)
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Postby Elderberry » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:13 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:I think it's frigging BRILLIANT!!! We ask people to bring either: ice, liquor, or something to drink; well, why not expand the entire idea. We have plenty of trash containers, a burn barrel that Ygmir made for paper waste (which there will be a ton of), tables, ice chests, propane cookers, microwave ovens, and certainly enough space to control the unwashed masses. I would like someone (Misa, Tamarakay, or MyDearFriend would be an excellent choices, since they're One Of Us) to coordinate it. I have my hands full taking my daughter to college and herding 200 cats within BDV. But you have my absolute approval and I will even mention it in the next Barbie Death Village newsletter so others, who may just be lurkers or morons, can contribute as well. Consider it done.

Wonderful. Sounds like a plan. Maybe we could start a thread here like " what I'm bringing to the meet n greet." or some such, and one or all three of the ladies can sort of moderate it?
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Postby Mojojita » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:33 pm

For me, food is a big part of the art. Cooking for a crowd is one of the things I like best out there. Menus usually include garlic stuffed marinated portobellos (grilled), barbecued tri-tip, slow-smoked ribs, lime and tequila roasted corn on the cob, etc.... We also do appetizers for cocktail hour in the afternoons.

For the meet 'n greet, I suggest appetizers because there are so many people, it would be hard to pass main courses and expect everyone to get a bite of each. I brought shrimp scampi to the m&g for a couple of years which went over well. Sounds like LOTS of fun....
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Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:42 pm

jkisha wrote:
maryanimal wrote:Image

All this talk about food is giving me great ideas! Maybe we should have a potluck one day of that week!


Maybe we could all bring a dish to the meet n greet? That would kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

It's hard to schedule too many activities...well it's easy to schedule them, but it's hard to keep them.

We always seem to bring too much food, so towards the end of the week, I just end up cooking it all up and sharing anyway.

That's a good idea, if it doesn't become sort of "dump food we don't know what to do with on BDC&WB" event. I don't know how much prep Doc and the crew do, but we don't want to increase their workload without asking.

Edited to add: Somehow I missed half of hte second page, and obviously I look a little silly.
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okay "we" will do this

Postby MyDearFriend » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:43 pm

jkisha wrote:
Dr. Pyro wrote:I think it's frigging BRILLIANT!!! We ask people to bring either: ice, liquor, or something to drink; well, why not expand the entire idea. We have plenty of trash containers, a burn barrel that Ygmir made for paper waste (which there will be a ton of), tables, ice chests, propane cookers, microwave ovens, and certainly enough space to control the unwashed masses. I would like someone (Misa, Tamarakay, or MyDearFriend would be an excellent choices, since they're One Of Us) to coordinate it. I have my hands full taking my daughter to college and herding 200 cats within BDV. But you have my absolute approval and I will even mention it in the next Barbie Death Village newsletter so others, who may just be lurkers or morons, can contribute as well. Consider it done.

Wonderful. Sounds like a plan. Maybe we could start a thread here like " what I'm bringing to the meet n greet." or some such, and one or all three of the ladies can sort of moderate it?


Happy to help out here, but if "we" are starting a thread about the meet & greet, where should "we" put it? Where would you look for it? JK if you are cooking it should be "2011 Art & Performance," but, we are not all up to your standards. :P

"Get Involved," maybe, conveniently close to the JOTS thread?

And just confirm for me somebody, we're talking Thursday at 6 PM?

Y'all blow my mind on here every fucking day. I thought I was jumping off the wife&mommy train, running away to Burning Man, but here I am trying to organize a daggone pot-luck supper... well at least it's within my current skill set. Anybody who shows up with jello salad better watch out, though.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:54 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:
theCryptofishist wrote:
Ugly Dougly wrote:
Bob wrote:Elitists.


I agree, but how to cook them on the playa?

I'm thinkin' chicken kushiyaki (teriyaki shishkebabs), maybe roasted over a solar flame.


Okay, Dougly, I'm sending over some very nice friends to talk to you. They will be wearing lab coats.


They're here! What are those nets for?!!!

Seriously, solar cookers = no charcoal ash = kitchen's closed at sunset. :)

Look, I can see cooking over a solar flare, well no, but I know that such things exist. I have no solar energy is fusion and something totally different from rearranging carbon and oxygen.

I could be wrong. We'll see if Iso mocks me.
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Re: okay "we" will do this

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:55 pm

MyDearFriend wrote:
jkisha wrote:
Dr. Pyro wrote:I think it's frigging BRILLIANT!!! We ask people to bring either: ice, liquor, or something to drink; well, why not expand the entire idea. We have plenty of trash containers, a burn barrel that Ygmir made for paper waste (which there will be a ton of), tables, ice chests, propane cookers, microwave ovens, and certainly enough space to control the unwashed masses. I would like someone (Misa, Tamarakay, or MyDearFriend would be an excellent choices, since they're One Of Us) to coordinate it. I have my hands full taking my daughter to college and herding 200 cats within BDV. But you have my absolute approval and I will even mention it in the next Barbie Death Village newsletter so others, who may just be lurkers or morons, can contribute as well. Consider it done.

Wonderful. Sounds like a plan. Maybe we could start a thread here like " what I'm bringing to the meet n greet." or some such, and one or all three of the ladies can sort of moderate it?


Okay if "we" are starting a thread about the meet & greet, where should "we" put it? Where would you look for it? JK if you are cooking it should be "2011 Art & Performance," but, we are not all up to your standards. :P
"Get Involved," maybe, conveniently close to the JOTS thread?

And just confirm for me somebody, we're talking Thursday at 6 PM?

Thursday @6, Theme Camps 2011.
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Re: okay "we" will do this

Postby Elderberry » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:11 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
MyDearFriend wrote:
jkisha wrote:
Dr. Pyro wrote:I think it's frigging BRILLIANT!!! We ask people to bring either: ice, liquor, or something to drink; well, why not expand the entire idea. We have plenty of trash containers, a burn barrel that Ygmir made for paper waste (which there will be a ton of), tables, ice chests, propane cookers, microwave ovens, and certainly enough space to control the unwashed masses. I would like someone (Misa, Tamarakay, or MyDearFriend would be an excellent choices, since they're One Of Us) to coordinate it. I have my hands full taking my daughter to college and herding 200 cats within BDV. But you have my absolute approval and I will even mention it in the next Barbie Death Village newsletter so others, who may just be lurkers or morons, can contribute as well. Consider it done.

Wonderful. Sounds like a plan. Maybe we could start a thread here like " what I'm bringing to the meet n greet." or some such, and one or all three of the ladies can sort of moderate it?


Okay if "we" are starting a thread about the meet & greet, where should "we" put it? Where would you look for it? JK if you are cooking it should be "2011 Art & Performance," but, we are not all up to your standards. :P
"Get Involved," maybe, conveniently close to the JOTS thread?

And just confirm for me somebody, we're talking Thursday at 6 PM?

Thursday @6, Theme Camps 2011.


I hope the "we" isn't in quote because it seems like I volunteered you into doing something you don't want to do. I was just going by what Doc Pyro suggested. :cry:

But theme camps 2011, sounds like the right place to me also, or open discussion would work too, but the theme camps section might make it look more official.

I'm not really that good of a cook, I just like cooking and I know how to read and follow a recipe and use an instant read thermometer. Cooking is actually like chemistry, so I guess I'd call myself a kitchen chemist rather than an artist of any sort. But I do like the presentation part. :shock:
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Re: okay "we" will do this

Postby MyDearFriend » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:13 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:Thursday @6, Theme Camps 2011.


Done. Thanks, Fishy!

Just yanking your chain, JK
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Postby tamarakay » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:21 pm

Boijoy wrote:Greek style pasta salad is nice also, it you don't want to mess around with lettuce. I jar my own dolmades & they go hand & hand.


how do you prepare your dolmades?
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Postby ehcsztein » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:24 pm

Happy to see so much excitement about cooking on the playa this year as it is increasingly becoming my primary focus!!! I can hoesntly say that my overall burn is improved by improving the quality of food that I ingest and share with others.

My biggest challenge this year will be planning perishible ingredients as I will be coming from Portland, Or. instead of living in Reno which made this sort of thing a lot easier in years past.

Should be able to fly in the critical stuff in my checked bag and get a few last minute items in Reno as well as have use of a prep kitchen when I am there for some fine tuning of stuff before the final drive out but, it is still a wonderful new bit of planning for me.

Looking forward to hearing some more ideas for things people are planning on cooking.

Looks like I will be helping establish a Balinese food cart/stand at some point during the event which I am really looking forward to right now. It seemed like a logical step since I'll have significant kitchen equipment and a health permit anyways. :)
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Re: okay "we" will do this

Postby Elderberry » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:08 am

MyDearFriend wrote:
Y'all blow my mind on here every fucking day. I thought I was jumping off the wife&mommy train, running away to Burning Man, but here I am trying to organize a daggone pot-luck supper... well at least it's within my current skill set. Anybody who shows up with jello salad better watch out, though.


Ironic, isn't it? But you can be sure this will be nothing like any potluck you've ever organized before! :D
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Postby Minxy » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:39 am

I <3 this thread.

I'll definitely bring something yummy to the M&G as I REALLY (cough) plan on making it this year.

I love to cook or "finish" foods out there. Food tastes so amazing. I CAN survive on the dashboard warmed can stuff for part of the time, but I get a great deal of enjoyment of preparing and sharing food.

I grilled up a mess of kielbasa and brats last year and shared them, that was fun. I also brought frozen balls of homemade choc chip cookie dough and baked them up; it seemed well received.

It helps build my pre-playa joy and joyness to prep food. I have a lot of fun testing recipes and ideas. I have marinated steaks, chops and prepared bbq pulled pork and similar things; frozen them for a week then cooked them "playa style" at home as a test to see how they came out.

A camp mate of ours has a fabulous kitchen set up and he has, on occasion, grilled/roasted whole turkeys, roasts and batches of all sorts of yummy goodness. I can't even tell you how good it was. :D

MOAR FOOD IDEAS, PLZ!!!111one!
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Postby TomServo » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:06 am

Dusted off the seal-a-meal, that my ex bought a couple years ago. BBQ'd 2 batches of Chicken Kabobs...ate the first batch, then sealed and froze the second. A day or two later, I reheated the frozen bag, and they tasted just like the first. My little experiment. Even if you want to cook on the playa, these would be great to store your prep work!

also...they are excellent for marinating
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Postby Mojojita » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:38 am

Oh yes Tom S - the vacuum bagger is a great help. I like to do as much cook-ahead as possible to cut down on energy use and waste and have discovered that my camp always requests a big batch of chili and also a turkey veggie stew, both of which are make-aheads in huge batches and freezer bagged. These lend themselves really well to being re-seasoned when heating up on the playa. Last year the turkey stew used all the meat from 2 20lb turkeys.

The fridg in my RV is pretty much dedicated to fresh produce, soft cheeses, etc that could otherwise get hinky if kept in a cooler. I also have a dedicated "freezer" cooler with dry ice as many of us do.

I really love doing a baked potato bar - if you partially cook the potatoes before you leave it really doesn't take too much extra cooking but needs to be planned for the menu early in the week. If you don't mind cooking them while on playa, potatoes are one thing I can do that don't spoil out there before they get cooked. I usually make a roasted potato, onion and carrot with parsley and garlic late in the week as the ingredients keep without refrigeration. I think you can make nearly anything on a stovetop or barbecue that you can make in an oven with a good cast iron dutch oven.

One of the best hints I have learned over the years is to crack all the eggs we need into big plastic drink containers with screw on lids - really cuts down on wet eggshell trash, saves time, and can be transported easily in a cooler.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:56 am

some seeing eye wrote:The playa addled taste buds like salt and oil, plus stronger spices. Suggest cajun spices (like Chef Paul Prudhommes Blackened Redfish Magic - no, I have no commercial interest in it) The Tuna Guys are famous for tuna sashimi marinated in soy sauce and ginger - throw the marinade in with the previously Ziploc'd frozen fish and by the time it's thawed, it's marinated. Thai is easy and the coconut milk adds a lot. Pineapple and other Thai canned items can supplement whatever fresh ingredients. The thinest rice noodles cook in an instant or less with soaking. Japanese Chankonabe with dashi packets, TJ boxed broth, fresh miso, ginger, vegies, meat, silken tofu (no refrigeration - sealed box), rehydrated dried shiitake and choice of noodles. How about Moroccan with olives, nuts and dried fruit? Pull some spices out after mid week and you will be golden. If you bring fresh vegies, consume early, then have the mid week arrivers bring more.

Minimize cleanup by cooking or baking in disposable roasting bags (non approved use, they are made of plastic!) Pack 'em out. A covered grill needs minimal cleaning and the lid minimizes dust storm buildup.

If you like minimizing CO2 stop by the Alternative Energy Zone village to learn about solar ovens that can bake cookies, stews in the roasting bags, solar pickles and the famous DEATH RAYTtm solar concentrating roaster. (bonus a mini DEATH RAYtm can be made with an old ~20" satellite TV dish covered with al-foil)


Dood, me camps wit yoo! :)
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Postby TomServo » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:57 am

Mojojita wrote:Oh yes Tom S - the vacuum bagger is a great help. I like to do as much cook-ahead as possible to cut down on energy use and waste and have discovered that my camp always requests a big batch of chili and also a turkey veggie stew, both of which are make-aheads in huge batches and freezer bagged. These lend themselves really well to being re-seasoned when heating up on the playa. Last year the turkey stew used all the meat from 2 20lb turkeys.

The fridg in my RV is pretty much dedicated to fresh produce, soft cheeses, etc that could otherwise get hinky if kept in a cooler. I also have a dedicated "freezer" cooler with dry ice as many of us do.

I really love doing a baked potato bar - if you partially cook the potatoes before you leave it really doesn't take too much extra cooking but needs to be planned for the menu early in the week. If you don't mind cooking them while on playa, potatoes are one thing I can do that don't spoil out there before they get cooked. I usually make a roasted potato, onion and carrot with parsley and garlic late in the week as the ingredients keep without refrigeration. I think you can make nearly anything on a stovetop that you can make in an oven with a good cast iron dutch oven.

One of the best hints I have learned over the years is to crack all the eggs we need into big plastic drink containers with screw on lids - really cuts down on wet eggshell trash, saves time, and can be transported easily in a cooler.


My ex wife and I used to do potato bars...with beef strips, sausage..even tater tots. The potato is the cream cheese of vegetables.
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Postby Boijoy » Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:30 pm

tamarakay wrote:
Boijoy wrote:Greek style pasta salad is nice also, it you don't want to mess around with lettuce. I jar my own dolmades & they go hand & hand.


how do you prepare your dolmades?


Hi T. I make mine with rice, dill, parsely, lentals, & spices. I put them in a jar, not too tight, & fill with olive oil & lemon juice & (boil for jarring yadda yadda).

I usually serve with feta, hummas & a pita ( drizzled with the lemon oil from the jar ).

Instant playa food !
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Postby CapSmashy » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:14 pm

I guess I don't see pizza as playa gourmet anymore since we had pizza night for the whole camp (23 of us) 3 nights last year. I night was planned, the other 2 just kinda of happened.
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Postby C.f.M. » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:56 am

tamarakay wrote:I'm glad to see this thread as I am not an artist, i can't sew well so our costumes already look a bit homey, i'm not mechanical, etc. etc. but what I love to do is cook. We will have the ready made stuff as a fall back, but now I am going to plan some good lovely meals. I think i'll do some homemade pasta before we leave and then a few simple sauces on playa. yum.


Lovely meals on the playa ARE an art, sister, don't for a second think otherwise! Real cooking is a gift, and those who invest their time and energies into it are god/desses among wo/men!
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Postby 530 Poppa » Wed May 25, 2011 12:13 am

I will be making seared Ahi on a gas burner in a cast iron skillet. A little Cajun rub and some wasabi soy sauce and teriyaki glaze to dip it in.
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Postby Clar-i-ty » Wed May 25, 2011 1:56 am

I use to be an avid cook on the Playa. But since I have started attending without the kinders in tow, I'm admittedly a little less inclined to cook outright meals, which is what I did in the past.

Now I make snack platters with hard cheese, some salami, wassa bread, dried fruits, and olives. (Reminds me, I need a new boda bag)

I treat myself to real meat for dinner with a side of rice and some canned spinach for dinner, plus lots of carrots for snacking.
GET OUT OF MY TRUCK HIPPIE!
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Postby Mojojita » Wed May 25, 2011 1:01 pm

Just planning for the playa with storage and prep issues is challenging but for those of us who also have to cook for a lot of people, I found a really nice recipe for Thai curried shrimp. PM if interested. Uses cocout milk, lemongrass, red curry paste, fish sauce, etc....
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