Favorite Playa recipes

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Favorite Playa recipes

Postby JezebelinHell » Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:35 pm

I'm in a camp of about 15 people this year, and I like to eat well on the playa. My general strategy is to make some meals the day before I leave, freeze them in tupperware, and then just heat them up on the camp stove when I'm hungry. Well, this year I've volunteered to cook nine dinners for the entire camp, provided the campmates throw some scrill my way for ingredients. We have a good budget, but I'm wondering if anyone has any good recipes for food that holds up well, reheats well, and it easy to make in large batches. My (incomplete) menu thus far is:
Shrimp and sausage gumbo
Red Chicken Curry
Chicken Tikka Masala
Potato Cheese Soup
Chicken fried rice

I could really use some ideas for the other four meals. I'm a really good cook, but since I'm going to want to make everything the day before I leave I will be on a bit of a time constraint. When I'm only cooking for me I tend to stick with curries and Indian food, but I don't want my campmates getting sick of that stuff part-way through the week. Variety is the spice of life and so on...
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Postby betrdanevr » Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:06 pm

You call one day a "bit of a time constraint?" LOL

I think you should give yourself an extra day, if only for pot washing. Done some catering along the line, and whether it's for 5, 20 or upwards, there's still some time there . . .

Here are a couple that are good for groups:

Hamburger stroganoff. Add onions, mushrooms. The base of the sauce is cream of chicken soup. Add salt, pepper, paprika. Finish it off with sour cream when you're ready to serve it. Noodles or rice.


There's another good recipe I like, and since you like curry, I'll mention it.

Dice and brown pork. Add diced onions. Add diced Granny Smith apples (about 3/4 inch dice). Add raisins. Simmer in chicken broth and add curry, salt and pepper. You can thicken it with cornstarch on the playa if you like or do this ahead. Great served over rice.
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Postby JezebelinHell » Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:25 pm

I'm planning the times out pretty well. I'll start saturday night and do the really complicated stuff, and then all day sunday will be spent in the kitchen. Friday is a prep day; no cooking but I'll be chopping veggies and the like. I think I'll be okay. My girlfriend's gonna get stuck with the last of the dishes, since she's not coming out till Thursday.
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Postby betrdanevr » Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:53 pm

Ah. Sounds better! Three days instead of making it all in one day. ;-)

Have fun.
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Postby **burn** » Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:00 pm

We intend to pre-make and freeze spicy chicken wings and drums to be eaten hot or cold.
And premake the day before gazpacho soup to serve cold, sealed in plastic water jugs.
Spaghetti is good, and always better the day after and even cold. And lasagne can be frozen.
We sometimes opt to get pizza dough from the local pizza joint, freeze it, and toss it out on the playa, throw it on the bbq with a can of tomato paste, onions, pepperoni (refrigerate after open, so we eat it all) and canned olives. That is always a winner. They can make their own personal sized.

Yum - Masala.
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Postby Barbie » Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:29 pm

Ohhhhh I do the same with food cook it and freeze it - but I cut it up into individual pieces and freeze-

My favorite for this is MEAT LOAF or Lasagna. I also cook whole chickens or turkeys and DEBONE split into packs and use them for snacks or make chicken casadias good for big Groups- Shiskabobos are also GOOD thing -

If you have them in their own little packs you can take it out of the cooler and lay it on top to warm up in sun or eat kinda cold - that way you don't have to
hook up stove- if you don't want. :) or you can heat it up either individually or together.

- you don't even need silver were eat it out of the baggie- these are great things to past around to your friends to your Drunk Burner Friends it the middle of the night.

Meat loaf in a bag :D sounds kinda funny when I say it - BUT PEOPLE LOVE LOVE LOVE meat loaf in a baggie.
And I have fed whole Bars FULL of people Chicken Casadias.
Pancake mix that you just add Water to if the BEST STUFF ever- but you need alot more of it than you think.

I also freeze my water bottles and use them as Ice- that way thur out week you can have cold water.... ahhhh its nice. (they say your not supose to do this 'cause of the plastic is bad for ya or somesthing )
ANy wayyyy....
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Postby JezebelinHell » Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:50 am

Ooh! Chicken wings! I never would have thought of that. Thanks for the ideas guys. Keep em coming! I'm mostly an ethnic cook (Indian, Thai, and Italian are what I'm good at) and I have never in my life made meatloaf, but the meatloaf in a bag sounds pretty awesome. I know there are meatloaf recipes everywhere, but can you recommend one that you know is good?
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Postby AntiM » Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:09 am

I do a great basic Teriyaki chicken with pineapple. Basically: soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, olive oil as a marinade. Bake the chicken, cool and prepare to freeze, then add sauce. Throw on sauce: again, soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, pineapple (crush or chunk with juice). Optional: oil, rice vinegar, garlic, red or cayenne pepper (lightly), onions and peppers. You can cook it or not, but I like to get it to a low boil and a short simmer. Do Not use your marinade as the sauce, I'm surprised how many people I have to tell that to! Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, but the seeds go on after you've reheated the chicken. Boil in bag rice!
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Postby Barbie » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:09 am

You can make Meatloaf any way YOU Want... THats why I LOVE MEATLOAF!!!
Soooooo this is what I do-


Start with alot of ground beef or turkey like 2lbs or so maybe even double recipe with 15 people to feed.
add alot of QUaker oats 2 1/2cups (maybe depends will talk more later on this)
an Egg
worcester sauce like 3-5lb spoons
can of whole tomatoes
mustard of some kind (I like the hot stuff)you could put in curry if you wanted
cut up fine onion & garlic heated in a pan

THen anything veggies you have like maybe green peppers, carrots (shred with peeler) corn. ( If ya really want to go crazy you could put in some sort of sausage cook it first till almost done.)

Put this all together in Big Bowl mix with hands if its to guey add more oats.
shape in pans- Take ketchup make like a frosting on top- cook for 1/2 hour or so and then check on the grease,
dump some if you have alot of it ( becareful) do this once and a while...

cook until done at 375 (may have to turn down stove at the end ) about an hour hour and and half( maybe even 2 if real big ) Test it

Life is good on the playa with Meat loaf in a baggie

:D
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Pasta on the Playa

Postby Marscrumbs » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:37 am

One thing I don't like about making pasta on the playa is that when done right there's extra pasta water left over that has to be disgarded. I love pasta and eat it many times each weekbut I may have to go over to rice for BM.
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Postby AntiM » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:49 am

Can you use the chilled pastas which are precooked and only require reheating?
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Postby phil » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:24 am

> there's extra pasta water left over that has to be disgarded.

Yeah, I've disregarded a lot of pasta water in my day.

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Postby mojo » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:17 pm

One of our favorites is burritos late in the week - the tortillas stay fresh longer than other bread and you can use leftovers from other meals. I always make carnitas ahead and serve with onions, salsa, cheese, guacamole, olives, sour cream, hot sauce and leftover whatever (chicken, steak, etc....)
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Postby Dr. Pyro » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:33 pm

We pre-cook about 15 pounds of spareribs and when we're hungry just throw them in the microwave and 30 seconds later you have a nice little nosh. Also we get pizzas the day we leave, place them in large ziplock baggies, and then Sunday night (before the event starts) have a pizza party (again, they microwave well) and any that might be left over gets served Monday evening. Can't go wrong with frozen burritos either. Now I recognize many of you aren't in 35-foot double-slide out RVs and may not have the capacity to nuke up a meal any time you'd like. That must kind of suck.
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Postby mojo » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:39 pm

I really love my propane barbecue - I freeze salmon, tri-tip, pork loin, etc for bbq on the playa - feeds a TON of people.
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Postby AntiM » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:53 pm

I've seen a 12v microwave, but have no idea how well it works.
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Postby MozyBonz » Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:15 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote: Now I recognize many of you aren't in 35-foot double-slide out RVs and may not have the capacity to nuke up a meal any time you'd like. That must kind of suck.



Well yea it does…. thanks for pointing that out Doc!


I want an RV....
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Postby gidget » Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:04 pm

You don't need an RV for gourmet meals... we've got a chef that camps with us and makes the most amazing food with 2 propane stoves. Granted we do have a sweet dishwashing station complete with drainage to the evap pool and we make all the virgins wash the dishes.... :D

Besides curry and burritos and pasta we also do stew (which you could certainly make ahead) and antipasto which doesn't require any cooking, just prep. Yummy meats and cheese and olives and fruit are awesome after a long day of setup! Also we make BBQ pulled pork in the crock pot ahead of time and freeze it, good for sandwiches any time.

My favorite meal out there is our eggs benedict brunch... sorry had to brag. Bring on the hate.
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Postby Elorrum » Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:13 pm

I used to cook for a small yacht charter business and froze all the main meals in tupperware. They usually would catch fish as well, and some food would come back frozen... yum, kana levu. Corn starch thickening before freezing no good I learned. I'm not a great cook, but I stuck with some basics and for up to 2 weeks at a time, I was able to fake it. Tarragon chicken they liked (onion, celery, taragon). Rosemary and marmelade chicken good too. simple but nice flavors. A sweet and sour tomato base worked with pineapple, and veggies, and they could add their fish. popular as "stuff on rice" or "stuff on noodles" my skipper's favorite kind of dish. thanks folks! I love the idea of meatloaf in a baggie! dishes and waste water are such a hassle. My favorite meal as a solo was a can of chicken noodle soup and I threw in some sun dried tomatoes.
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Postby mk-ultra » Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:49 pm

Mmm... how about chicken adobo? Salty soy sauce, a stupendous quantity of vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, onion and bay leaves. A Filipino recipe made for the playa.

Our camp's plan this year is to do 90% of the cooking ahead of time the week leading up to BM... then vacuum bag and freeze the "base" components (like chicken adobo, yellow chicken curry, beef stew, etc.).

When prep-time comes, we'll provide a starch like rice or potatoes... and then just boil some water and sous vide the vacuum sealed grub while still in their bags. Meal prep = very hot water and a pair of scissors to open the bag.

Plenty of advantages:

- Pre-frozen food for sous vide packed in the cooler contributes to the refrigeration -- rather than requiring more of it.

- Almost zero cookware & kitchen clean-up required. After the meal, there are a few vacuum bags to throw away... no scrubbing of pots / washing of utensils.

- Near zero water utilization. The meals are reheated (sealed) in bags... so the water used to re-heat can be used repeatedly or put to other uses without worry of cross-contamination.

- You can still provide "home cooked" meals -- prepared exactly how you like them... but shift all the heavy lifting and prep work to your home kitchen instead of trying to do it out on the playa.

We aren't, precisely using "sous vide" as a technique... as in we're not going to get fancy with the "low temp, long time" water bath crap... but the overall idea is the same:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sous-vide

We're still planning one or two special dinners with things like BBQ tri-tip... but the bulk of our meals will be prepared sous vide, or frozen as a casserole in a disposable aluminum casserole dish.
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Chicken Adobo Recipe

Postby mk-ultra » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:29 pm

How I do adobo (everyone seems to have their own recipe):

1 whole chicken (cut into eighths)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 whole white/yellow onion, 1/2" dice
1-2 Tbsp vegetable/corn oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 whole black pepper cloves
3 dried bay leaves
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup white vinegar (yes, a full cup of vinegar -- don't worry)

In a 5 qt. pot, add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Heat on a medium high flame until oil shimmers. If the chicken doesn't sizzle, hard, when it goes in -- your pot is too cold.

Add chicken and brown on all sides (you aren't cooking it -- you're just adding color and flavor at this point). Go for a really deep browning here... it makes all the difference. Once you drop the chicken in, don't move it around for the first 2-3 minutes. If you do it won't brown... it'll just tear the skin off. Wait for it to release before turning it.

Remove chicken and pour off excess oil/rendered fat. Don't clean the pan -- leave every last bit of fond that has stuck to the bottom. Return pot to burner. Honestly, I skip this step... because the only thing tastier than chicken fat is duck fat. If you're a merciless chef or trying to drum up business as a cardiologist, now would be the time to add pork lardons to blow people away with :-P

Add onion and sweat until nearly translucent (without browning the onion).

Add garlic and sweat just until it becomes fragrant. Again, do not brown.

Add all other ingredients: soy sauce, vinegar, pepper/peppercorns, bay leaves. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen all the fond.

Return chicken to pot. If you need a little more liquid to nearly cover the chicken (don't drown it), add a little more 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 soy sauce mixture.

Reduce heat to a simmer (a few bubbles here-and-there... *not* a boil). Cover pot and let 'er go for about 20 minutes. Don't worry about the cooking time... it's nearly impossible to overcook when poaching/braising something.

Serve over steamed rice.
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Postby Elorrum » Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:44 am

bump... still sticking with the canned chicken noodle soup with sun dried tomatoes as a favorite for playa friendliness and ease.
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Postby JezebelinHell » Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:17 am

We wound up vacuu-sealing portions of all the meals and just throwing them in a pot of boiling water when we were ready to eat. Worked brilliantly, and we will definitely be doing it again this year. I highly recommend it, because you can eat your food straight out of the bag, which means the only dish you have to worry about is a fork. I think the overall camp favorite was the breakfast tacos, which is potatoes and cheese and numerous vegetables all sauteed and vaccuu sealed, and then served with tortillas when ready to eat. I use Robert Rodriguez's recipe from the Sin City DVD, which I'm sure you can find online, and which cannot be beat.
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Postby mojo » Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:36 pm

I noticed that Costco has a new camping gadget in the stores - it has a camp stove on top and a propane oven below - all suitcase sized.
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Postby Oreally? » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:48 pm

Why are you making one day ahead? You could actually start 30 days ahead, so no stress, even if you only have to drive from Reno. When you freeze stuff, just make sure not to fill your ziplocks 100% full, double bag, freeze them flat (instead of in one big rock). If you have the time, use the dry ice cooler method. We last the whole week on dry ice and frozen goodness.

1. Meatballs-homemade freeze seperately.
2. Pasta-Either pre-boil to before al dente and freeze OR by the frozen pastas and sauce. It keeps for a few days on ice, no more freezing needed.
3. Rice-Go to TJ's, get the shelf stable stuff, no boil, no fuss.
4. Tamales, with eggs, tofu, whatever it takes.
5. Grill chicken, slice then, then freeze in strips.
6. Use egg beaters instead of shelled eggs, they will never know.
7. Bacon, pre bake, freeze, and crisp on playa. Sad thing is, no grease to make playa fire bombs. You know who you are...
8. Canned garbanzo beans, a bunch of olive oil, whole cumin seed, fry it up and watch it go.
9. Pozole, home made, frozen before hand (double bag).
10. Grilled Cheese sandwiches. They will love you.
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Postby Deb Prothero » Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:31 am

I love all these great ideas with the vacuum sealed, frozen bags just dropped in water.

One question though. I have a vacuum sealing machine that comes with a roll of bags. Will those withstand the boiling water treatment. Have to be honest, I've never tried it. I just use the vacuum sealer for doing frozen local vegs when in season.
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Postby Simon of the Playa » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:06 am

Cocaine and Coke, no ice, and a box of fucking wheat thins.

there, thats all you'll need, and you wont have to vacuum seal NOTHING.


and 1 lb of Mike and Ikes, or Jolly Joes according to taste.
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Postby velocirafter » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:33 am

What about a beef stew, you can just throw it all in a pot and let is slow boil for a couple of hours while you are making the other meals.


....I've had an even better idea, CODDLE. Its a traditional irish thing, its sounds odd and doesnt look great but my god does it taste good

Serves 6:

500g streaky bacon, chopped
500g pork sausages
500g onions chopped
500g potatoes, peeled and chopped
Parsley, chopped
Black Pepper

- Place one layer of onions in the bottom of a heavy pot. Place the potatoes on top of the onions, followed by the chopped bacon. Place the sausages in next. Season the dish with black pepper and parsley.

- Cover with water (if you have stock, or water ham was boiled in, this will add even further to the flavour), bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 1.5 hours!
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:30 am

Don't ya know, laddy, we might be after stealin' that from you, Erin go bragh!
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Postby oneeyeddick » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:33 am

Simon of the Playa wrote:

and 1 lb of Mike and Ikes, or Jolly Joes according to taste.


JOLLY JOES !!! :P

my favorite, and they are available at all the dollar stores !!!
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I think the grape PEZ is prolly my [s]second[/s] third flavorite.

OOPs, I retract that, swedish fish come in grape also, and I would have to place them first, although they are harder to find.
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