Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Culinary Experiments

In an effort to eat yummy, nourishing food on the trail, I've decided to make my own dinners! 

Tasty freeze-dried or dehydrated meals are difficult to come by if you are a vegetarian - like myself. Also, the astronomical amounts of sodium found in most of the pre-packaged foods is a bit much for me. I know, I know, I need to replenish my electrolytes, but rest assured, my diet provides plenty. 

Nesco FD-75PR Dehydrator
I will use my Nesco Dehydrator to experiment since I have a lot of time 'til I hit the trail. My plan is to place generous portions of my dinners in the dehydrator, let them - well - dehydrate, transfer the food into ziplock bags and let them sit in a shelf for about a month at room temperature. None of the food should spoil, but I'd prefer to be sure now than be surprised at camp after a 16 mile day! 

So far, I've experimented with two of my favorite dishes: black bean spread with grilled onions and seasonings, and yellow lentils with grilled onions and spices. 

Ready for the dehydrator
Black beans (like most legumes) are high in calories, fiber, carbohydrates and protein. I prepare the beans with olive oil which adds more calories and fat (and also has anti-inflammatory properties). 
Yellow lentils are also high in calories, fiber, carbohydrates and protein. The lentils are prepared with olive oil too. 

                          finished product - black beans
finished product - lentils
My plan is to mix the above dishes with either rice, mashed potatoes, buckwheat, noodles (rice noodles are in the dehydrator as we speak), quinoa or couscous to make generous portions of end-of-the-day savory goodness. Many experiments to follow - check back soon.

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