Innovative and creative without a real kitchen
As a mother for a 19 year old student I often hear some conversations that my daughter have with her friends that are in lockdown away from home in students accommodations. Mostly without a kitchen. Even before that in the last two years of high school my daughter was living in a boarding school and had no means to cook. She could boil water for tea and have a blender and a fridge but nothing else. Those living arrangements often force the students to eat from vending machines or what ever they can find in the supermarket that is ready to eat. Just last night I over heard a conversation where this beautiful girl who is now living on her own in boarding school in Melbourne. She has to compromise on ready-made supermarket food mostly. After growing up in Bali on a super healthy organic , mostly Vegan diet, now have to consume all those commercial and nutrition empty foods, that we as parents were always against. I remember checking the cafeteria in my own kid's school that had mostly frozen , commercial food and not ever fresh veggies and feeling helpless not being able to feed her the same as she was fed at home growing up. No more home cooked meals with organic fresh veggies. No more green juice for breakfast. And yes very soon her body started getting weaker and it effected her overall well being as well as her mental emotional state. At these time especially when your brain must be switched on and ready to study , nutrients are so important. It was easy enough to make smoothies having a blender but savory food is different and mostly involves cooking.
All I wanted was to come to the rescue of my kid, on my 'flying carpet' and deliver (in my imagination) clean healthy food to nourish and support her at the time.
For students now that are in lockdowns around the world away from home. For any one that is on the road, living without a proper kitchen I like to share few tips .If you are fortunate and going on traveling soon and like to keep a healthy diet on the road, this might come handy.
In the years I was on the road allot, on my many trips around the world starting at a young age more than 35 years ago, where there were hardly any vegan restaurants or widely available healthy food, I had to improvise. Living in small hotel rooms, tents, boats , sleeping in my car. Or when I was working as a chef on boats in Turkey and Bali. When there was no stops for fresh food-shopping for days. And also when I was a mother already, traveling with my kids to remote areas. My imagination was at its best. All those times when survival mode kicked in, it had brought up the most creative and imaginative dishes.
I like to share with you some of those 'tricks' that might be of help if you are in the same situation now or you don't have a complete kitchen. If you are living in a one room and only have a water cattle, a toaster oven , a thermos, blender and a small fridge. If I had all those back then I would have felt fortunate. But those are mostly the basic equipment that most dorm rooms have.
Eating Grains without over the stove cooking ? yes there is a way to cook with out a stove nor a pot. To prepare grains all you need is boiled water and a thermos. Pre soaking Brown rice and other hard grains, few hours or over night, will help them soften and become more digestible. For Oats , quinoa and other instant grains you don't need soaking. Make sure your Thermos is at list 1 litter. Put one cup of soaked grains in it with 2 cups of boiled water and some salt. Let it sit through the night and you will have warm cooked grains in the morning. You can use it for porridge or lunch grains . If you let it sit in the morning then it will be ready for dinner. For sweet porridge you can add some dry fruits , seeds, nuts or veggies.
Over night fermented nut cheese
Soak over night cashews or other nuts you like. next day bland with little of the soaking water and add slowly till desired consistency. Open 1 probiotic or acidulous capsule and mix.
let it sit over night in a jar. I add salt and apple cider vinegar for flavor.
Next day place in the fridge.
Eating lots of green will strengthen your immune system, create new blood and will give you fresh looking skin. When i was traveling in a car I used to pick some greens or buy some , wash them and put in a plastic bag or container. If you using plastic bag create a balloon while the greens inside, tie the end and let it sit in direct sun for about an hour. The greens will steam and be ready to eat fast. The time depends on the direct sun you get in your room. I suggest placing this bag next to the window.
There are many dressings you can make fast and easy and put in your fridge. My favorite is Tahini. Use white or unhulled sesame paste mixed by hand with water, lemon juice, salt and garlic. If it need a little bit of extra salt or lemon just taste and add as much as you wish. Yummy
You can sprout just about any seed , grain and beans. You can create your little sprout garden easily and keep having fresh sprouts daily. Buying seeds for sprouting is widely available now. You can also sprout your lentils and quinoa fast and add them to your salad.
Sprouted lentils makes an easy to make lentil soup with chopped fine or grated onions and carrots , boiling water, cumin, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
Those are easy to make and add delicious flavor to your meal and healthy enzymes to your stomach. It create friendly bacteria that support healthy intestines and smooth digestion. It also helps to boost the immune system.
You can pickle just about any veggies that you like. Chop and place in a glass jar with salt and water to the rim. Shake and let sit as long as you like. The pickles can be consumed the next day crunchy or 3 weeks later softer. For preservation add apple cider vinegar. For more flavor add garlic, english pepper or dill.
I love those. I can grab a rice cracker at any time with some cashew cheese with it or just as is and it can be breakfast or dinner. My favorite one is coriander pesto. The ingredients are simple and I use the same for other greens as basil, parsley and kale.
Coriander, parsley, garlic, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, cumin and salt. If you like spicy add cayenne pepper. Blend it all , place in a jar then keep in the fridge. It can stay a month in your fridge and only gets better.
chop onion very fine, mix with balsamic vinegar, salt and dates . If you have date syrup it works even better. Or soften some dates with boiling water. Let it sit in your fridge and the onion will absorb the flavors and reduce sharpness.
Tofu 'goat' cheese
For this one you will need a nice miso paste ( preferably white or sweet ), a block of Tofu and a glass jar that closes tight.
cover your tofu block with miso all around then place in a glass jar. leave for 3 days. Then scrape the miso off and use it for a dressing. The tofu will ferment and taste like creamy 'goat' cheese. I like to chop some scallions on top or use my coriander spread.
If you have toaster over you could make your favorite cookies, quiches , patties, beans and nuts burgers and roasted veggies. It's small and enough for your individual needs. I'm not in favor of cooking with electricity but sometimes its all you got.
You can write to me with questions and more ideas. Be creative and innovative and make the best of what you got. Your body and soul will thank you !!!