After we told you all about our favorite cooking equipment, the pressure cooker (read here) as well as our newest purchase, a Coleman oven (here’s the story on Coen’s lesson in baking bread), we’d like to tell you a bit more about our latest FlexCooking Experiments, as we like to call them.
As we cook in different places, with different climates, at different altitudes, there are reasons enough for something to go wrong in one place but to turn into a delicious dish in the other. Stabilizing the temperature for the Coleman oven is one of the tricky issues here. Apart from that you never know what ingredients are available.
Apart from that you never know what ingredients are available where, so that adds another important element of flexibility that is required for cooking while on the road.
Cooking Experiments with the Coleman Oven
After our first successful attempt at baking bread, our baking sessions have grown into a weekly ritual. While the bread is rising, we try baking some other edible stuff.
Thanks to Tina, whom we met at Quinta Lala Campsite in Cusco, we made our first proper fudge:
I continue to experiment with oatmeal cookies varieties: adding peanut butter, pieces of dried fruit, cacao, cocos as well using local flours like quinoa, algarobina, lucuma, kawiña and amaranth. Whereas Coen is meticulous in following recipes, I’m not at all. As a result Coen’s breads come out in a pretty steady, delicious state whereas my oatmeal cookies vary from “let’s eat them all – NOW” to the batch that is eaten last because we have nothing else left.
Brownies made with black beans, how weird sounds that? Well, let me tell you, it’s a killer snack and great before or after a trail run.
We haven’t done much yet in terms of cooking meals in our oven, but this first attempt of potatoes was a success.
FlexCooking with the Pressure Cooker
Of course we eat something else than sweet stuff as well: vegetables. At several place in Peru I succeeded in finding organic markets, which have been a great joy. Apart from the produce being organic you often find many other types of vegetables, like Brussels sprouts, or kale, or other leaf veggies I’ve never seen before. Here’s an information page I wrote on organic markets and natural health food stores in Peru.
Here’s where we continue to use our pressure cooker. Our favorite and the simplest of all: steamed potatoes, sweet potatoes and a mishmash of veggies.
A Frying Pan, a Food Processor & no Equipment at All
In Cusco I made my first batch of granola with a recipe from Life Remotely, who recently published their Forks on the Road Cookbook (check it out here). Thanks guys for putting this one in, we’ll make it more often, that’s for sure!
Another new experiment: veggie burgers. Our first attempts:
There’s a lot to tell about making our own peanut butter, and other nut butters so here is a separate post on that topic.
Like peanut butter, we need a blender/food processor to make pesto. We’ve been lucky enough to find them along the way in hostels, at campsites, or with fellow overlanders. Our friend Emily is one of the avid users of a food processor and as we met on a couple of occasions I had plenty of opportunities to fill up my empty bottles.
Colette, her 1.5-years old daughter was a great help pushing the buttons. Colette now calls me “the peanut butter lady”.
Okay, this is not our equipment but that of our fellow overlanders Luisa & Graeme (here are their adventures). They camp a lot and love bonfires with a drink and a good BBQ. Luisa is a star at keeping the fire going! They showed us this great wafer-baking instrument to make cheese-tomato toasts in the fire.
As Pan-Am overlanders probably know, buying sugar-free jam is impossible to get in most of the countries here. So I thought I’d make my own strawberry jam. It was quite simple and fast to make but nevertheless concluded that you may as well just cut your strawberry in slices and put that on your bread instead. So that was a one-time try.
Now here’s something different. I learned about sprouting, which turns out to be easy and absolutely fantastic. I’m experimenting with sprouting seeds, nuts, grains and legumes. Thus far our favorites are sprouted (baby) lentils and local food like quinoa. I add them mostly to our salads, but they are great in stir-fries too.
As you may gather, Peru hasn’t been just about traveling & sightseeing. Lots of our time has been dedicated to experimenting with food. From FlexCooking in Peru we’ll move on to FlexCooking in Ecuador.