"Hotel Room Gourmet" contest - with only a coffeemaker & a microwave
- grocerytrekker Jan 15, 2007 03:54 AM
I haven't found that many good ideas although I've seen some valiant efforts.
I had to spend some time on the road at hotels with no decent food. If you are happy with Olive Garden and Bennigan's, I guess you are fine. I was tired of eating out, and desperately wanted to cook for myself.
I bought half a dozen eggs at convenience stores whenever I could. The easiest meal to make is soft-boiled eggs. (I've attempted chawanmushi in the microwave - tricky to do.) Place the eggs in the coffee pot. Drip hot water over them. Let them cook for a few more minutes. With a bit of salt, it is a satisfying "home-cooked" meal. Condiments which travel well can be used to add some interest.
Your ideas? The only requirement would be that it's easy to clean up in the sink. Oh, you do have a little fridge. The ingredients would have to be something available at a gas station convenience store (some better than others), plus something you can bring with you - umeboshi, for example, and not too heavy, obviously. It has to taste good!
OK, I'll play. I just made this one up now:
12 oz Vodka
2 packages hotel ground coffee beans
1 package unflavoured gelatin
1/4 cup water
. Place ground coffee in filter basket.
. Pour vodka into cofffee maker reservoir.
. Turn on coffee maker and brew
. While coffee is brewing, unwrap a sani-wrapped cup and
mix the water and gelatin together in it.
. Add all the sugar you can find to the gelatin mix
. Heat on "hi" in microwave until mixture boils.
. Remove from microwave and stir until dissolved.
. Pour geletin mixture into vodka/coffee percolation, stir,
and place into minifridge.
When gelled, cut into bite-sized morsels and enjoy while lying
in bed watching the Weather Channel.
Serving suggestion: sprinkle with non-dairy creamer.
re: Chuckles the Clone
> > . Pour geletin mixture into vodka/coffee percolation, stir,
and place into minifridge.
Problem is, it could take a full day or better to set, or if it even sets up at all. Mini-fridges also generally do not have the power or performace to keep things like milk from spoiling but some are better then others.
Ice! Ice is your friend here, and all h/motels have it and even an ice bucket. Making a mold out of the thin cup thing may work but it would be nice to have a loud mouth glass jar for this.
Though not available everywhere, often enough I've seen hard boiled eggs in convenience stores. Give me some of those, add jars of yellow mustard, mayo, sweet pickle relish, a bag of sunflower seeds and I've got egg salad. Dressed it up a bit with some kosher salt, pepper, and dill weed I've brought from home. Slap it on some bread and I've got one of my very favorite sandwiches.
I actually lived on 'em for two years while living in a dorm. Egg salad made up for at least 50% of my meals.
1. Turn on coffee maker
2. Order room service or get some great local chow to go.
3. Heat it up in the microwave
4. enjoy with a nice cup of coffee!
Y'know ... If you can softboil an egg in that coffeemaker you can
definitely poach a trout in there.
The problem then becomes finding a trout at the convenience store.
You probably can't find a trout at the convenience store. But you can
almost certainly find a pack of Oscar Meyer bologna.
Which brings me direct to my second entry in this contest: Poached Bologna.
Recipe and procedure identical to that of soft-boiled eggs with the simple
replacement of the eggs with bologna.
Enjoy while perusing local yellowpages and favourite chapters from the
Gideon bible -- in particular Leviticus 11 is recommended.
re: Chuckles the Clone
All right then. Let's say a decent supermarket happens to be close by.
And that was actually the case at times, and I've tried poaching fish. VERY nice. Tomatoes, too. A tiny bit messy - I do have to think about the next person who will use it for coffee. So, after a thorough rinsing (a little bottle of vinegar is a good thing to pack) I'd poach some fruit, and the meal would often end with a nice cup of fruit tea brewed in the coffeemaker. A cinnamon stick does wonders for a simple poached fruit dessert.
Microwaved broccoli is excellent, by the way.
Indeed, that would be really helpful.
It's hard to be a discerning eater and a lazy cook. But I remember being surprised by how tasty the simply poached salmon was. Or pears. I could have seasoned it better, perhaps, but I was happy with just salt and pepper. (Chowhound ideas here for how to best season the dishes)
When there is no fish, no supermarket, yes, I HAVE eaten bologna. Every bit as good as an Olive Garden dinner, enjoyed in comfort, costing hardly anything at all.
>> I do have to think about the next person who will use it for coffee.
That's very considerate but the real thing you have to think is, "did the last
person cook shpilkes in this?"
The poached pears sound really good. While they're poaching you can bring the
microwave into play by using it to melt a chocolate bar to pour over them.
If the room's got a minibar, add a splash of brandy/rum/burbon to the
re: Chuckles the Clone
(oops. I requested this to be posted under your post, so they removed it, but apparently I had to repost it myself.)
I am sure it's not just me who runs it with water and throws out the first batch.
Impressive - your "shpilkes". So is the chocolate/rum idea.
Keep more ideas coming. I am too impatient to write recipes, and I know chowhounds can pull off some useable, detailed ones.
There is a drawback to microwave broccoli, unfortunately, in that the smell permeates the room--maybe not so bad during dinner, but I don't like waking up to it.
I often stay in a place with a kitchenette, and my regular routine is to get a bag of greens, maybe a fresh tomato, the smallest bottle of salad dressing I can find, a small loaf of good bread, and a package of Aidell's sausage. That will feed me for two nights, and seems a little healthier to me than eating out. I'm getting a little sick of this meal, though, so I'm hoping to find a way to vary the meals that I make.
re: Chuckles the Clone
Chuckles -- You are smart to consult scripture here. Without a doubt, the cloven hoof is going to be easier to stuff into a coffeemaker than the hoof that is not split.
So when you are in the convenience store, definitely take a pass on those hares and rock hyraxes. But watch out for the cud! That could be hard to deal with in the confines of a hotel room.
Years ago, in the early 80's, when I used to travel alot & was bored by bland restaurant road food, I would take along (an approx 14 x 6) electric griddle that was the bottom of a West Bend slow cooker. The slow cooker part was separate & was a 2 qt rectangular dutch oven with glass lid - sometimes I would bring that along too. Worked great for making lots of things. Eggs over easy, scrambled, omelets and so on. Could grill bread for toast, make grilled cheese sandwiches, other grilled sanwiches, steak (you can easily buy a single steak) or fish. Sometimes I would make pasta with sauce in the dutch oven part (which sits on the griddle for heat) or soup for a first course. The list goes on. This was before microwaves were in a lot of hotels, but honestly, I hate microwaves and do not use one at home anyway.
Another jockey friend who travels, brings along a smoothie maker & an electric wok. I believe they now sell really small electric skillets, which might broaden your horizons. I always have a soft sided ice chest (med shoulder bag style with plastic tub insert) in my car. Comes in extremely handy!
I no longer travel with my long retired West Bend cooker, but one thing I never leave home without besides my little ice chest, is . . . .
It is a salt free seasoning mix that is wonderful! It is really great on eggs too, but I use it for many different dishes. It is not your typical generic cajun seasoning.
This is made by a New Orleans local who is a chef and the seasoning is wonderful on just about anything from meat, chicken, pork & fish to salads to vegetables to dips, the list goes on. It has saved me from many bland & boring take out meal (and yes, I confess to having a tiny purse sized shaker - for those desperate moments). The great thing about it is that not only are the seasonings well balanced (and no, it is not spicy hot) but the fact that it is salt free means you can correct the seasonings of poorly seasoned food and still have it be edible because you are not adding salt! It is a very local kind of product here in N.O. and sometimes hard to find here in New Orleans, because it is not hugely massed produced, but made by Chef Eason himself. However, the link I provided above is the one I send to my friends outside of New Orleans and they can easily order from that website. I have used this product for years and always bring extra bottles on trips for those new found friends who fall in love with it too!
Aw cripes, I just reread your post, I guess I got carried away - and just now seeing the title again I realize you want to stick to the microwave & coffee pot. Well, maybe you could expand to a small electric skillet, I think there are 6 in square ones on the market. Definitely get some BAYOU BANG! It will turn whatever you make into something much more interesting!
I haven't tried this in a hotel room, but there's no reason it couldn't work (I did this some years ago when our kitchen was out of commission due to a reno.): Squash Risotto. Microwave the squash first (with some garlic and olive oil)(oregano if you have any). Then zap the arborio and some stock (I think I *gasp* used powdered), stir in the veg, and add some reggiano. Hey, presto.
Or what about caldo verde? Even easier, and I have actually made it in a hotel room. Only three ingredients, which were easy to find (even in Calgary in the middle of winter): kale, potato, chorizo.
With a microwave, just about every entry in the "What's your favorite food that comes in a can or box" thread would be possible. Travel with a couple of light microwave cookware items makes poached fish, steamed vegetables, and baked potatoes easy. Recommend something like:
Pressman, Thelma. 1989. 365 Quick & Easy Microwave Recipes. Harper & Row. Ney York.
Leave the coffee maker for coffee. On the other hand, if you only have a coffee maker, you can make quesadillas on the heating element of the coffee maker and stuff like canned Chef Boyardee mini ravioli in the pot. But do carefully clean up.
You can make a decent breakfast sandwich in the microwave, assuming you have a small microwavable bowl and a pat of butter.
Grease the bowl, crack in an egg (pierce the yolk) and nuke for about 30 seconds. Keep an eye on it just in case. Use the rest of the butter on an English muffin. Put the egg on there, top with cheese if you can find it at your convenience store, or ketchup packets from a cafeteria.
You can make coucous in your coffeemaker. Bring a spice packet and some dried fruit.
Canned soups, obviously - make sure you get the ones with the pop tab opening.
When reading these fun posts, my brain ran to the iron too! Grilled sandwiches in foil sounds very doable, but what about cooking a piece of fish or chicken breast between sheets of foil??? Sprinkle herbs or seasoning in there! Now were cookin' with gas, er, the iron. Grill veggies too!
Careful with cooking foods that emit a discernible odor... Food odors cling to clothes and bedsheets, so either cook on the balcony and let the fumes escape outside, or be prepared to have food smelling clothes, and for the next time you leave and enter your room, to be bowled over by the smell of last of night's dinner!
At the moment I am cooking mainly on a single electric burner ($19.99 at Target)while waiting parts for my gas cooktop. The thing is small and compact and could easily fit in a carry all and along with a small skillet. Since I smashed the cooktop on New Year's eve I have also purchased a slow cooker and borrowed an electric skillet but that little burner has made both of those pretty unnecessary. I do have a microwave and an oven made pozole yesterday in my LC dutch oven and finished it in my oven though I could have transfered it to the slow cooker. Just having that one burner has made an exercise in frustration just go away.
When we were little kids, we made a road trip to the Maritimes with my parents who were on a really tight budget and we ate many memorable motel meals out of an open-top kettle that my mom brought with us. The places where we stayed didn't even have a coffeemaker.
We brought a case of instant noodles with us (although really thin somen noodles + miso soup mix would be healthier) and cooked them in batches. One time, we bought a couple pounds of live shrimp from the bait shop, poached them and ate them off of a pile of newspaper.
With a coffeemaker AND a microwave, what luxury! You could boil water quickly through the coffeemaker, and then finish cooking in the microwave some using the coffee mugs.
Nowadays, when I travel for work, I am usually starving for vegetables. Maybe you can find frozen spinach at the gas station or build a stash of raw stuff from a local dodgy 'salad bar' earlier in the day. Meanwhile, pocket a few pats of butter, salt & pepper, marmalade (an excellent stand-in for marinade), and salad dressing from your hotel breakfast buffet or lunchtime restaurant digs, in case you need ingredients for later.
Hard fruit, nuts, carrots, dry sausage, some hard cheeses, half bottles of wine also travel well, if you'd like to pack them ahead of time. Sometimes I've found emergency groceries in 24-hour RiteAid or Duane Reade as well.
( Love the panini iron idea!!! )
Cooking with just a coffee maker and a microwave? No problem! But shopping only at a convenience store? Argggg!
Splurge a little (on time, distance, or car use) and go to a real grocery store for real food - especially fresh fruit and veggies. Couscous mix in a box, chicken strips, asparagus, and bagged salad are your friends.
There was a thread last year on cooking in hotel room, although that poster had more supplies.
Oh, and I just saw Alton Brown do a "recipe" for oatmeal in a hotel coffee pot - basically, two packets of instant oatmeal and an herbal teabag where the coffee filter goes.
i ended up being in a hospital about a 1000 miles from home for over a month. when my mom came to stay with me they gave me a room with a pull out bed and an extra sink/counter.
first thing my mom did was go out and buy a rice cooker. they're pretty small and you can fry, saute, boil, steam almost anything in those. she made bulgogi, scrambled eggs, spaghetti, and fried rice to name a few meals.
short of that, i've made a psuedo chawanmushi in the microwave with eggs, water, and scallions (or dried chives) beaten well then nuked. i add a little drizzle of soy sauce and it can be heavenly. also, kimchi might be a good thing to bring along for veggies - just remember to double/triple bag the jar! :o)
In the past couple of years due to a condo remodel and later sale, I lived out of a hotel room for a while. And because of the damn cat, it was a Motel 6 ... one of the few places that allow cats.
And despite my overall loathing of cooking, when you actually CAN'T ... it's a different ballgame.
I can't find it but there's a 3-in-one appliance that I used ... coffee maker, little griddle on top and toaster oven. It is lightweight & easy to throw in a soft picnic hamper and take along. The trouble with a microwave is they are heavy.
Get a hot plate and a cheap sauce pan. It can do a lot.
There are electric pots that heat water that are nice for tea and coffee ... if you use a drip melita cup.
There are picnic coolers that you can plug in that have settings for either cool or hot ... so you can keep milk on the cool setting ... or hot foods on the warm setting.
All of these things had afterlives.
The cooler is the most useful. You can pick these up at places like Target or Walmart. Great if you are buying seafood that is not close to home. They have adapters so you can plug into the car cigarette lighter or whatever they are called these days. Not so shoddy either for bringing food to a picnic or transporting a hot dish to a pot luck.
The hot plate I've used to for dinners as an extra burner or to keep food warm on a buffet.
When we have guests, I put the little 3-in-one in the spare room with a basket of tea and snacks so that people can have a little snack/drink in their room without having to shlep through the house in jammies or getting dressed ... Motel 6 'R Us.
Cuban Sandwich a la motel:
This can all be found at a convenience store:
- Mustard. Bonus points if hot and spicy. Sweet/hot, etc.
- Pickle, sliced thing and length wise.
- Swiss cheese
You might be able to kill several birds with one stone by getting their soggy hamd and cheese sub. Get it, strip off their mushy lettuce, etc. Then do this:
Take the hotel iron and fire it up. No need for water. Scout for a hard surface... tile, stone, or something metal. Don't try this on formica, plastic or anything else that melts. The longer stay places should at least give you a plate or two.
Place the hot iron on the soggy bread innards. Get em firm.
Then build the sammy... a layer of mustard, pickle, ham and cheese. Now it's time to toast the outsides. No need to press. Let the iron slowky sink in. Flip it and keep heating the bread until it's golden brown. You'll soon have a delish, toasty, melted happy gob of fun.
Noodles with Beef Jerkey(just cook with the noodles)or peperoni,half and half(from Mcdonalds)lol or some coffee creamers.Pickled Vegis stay good forever.Nuts,dried fruits.
A can opener might widen your horizens.
Yah coffee maker burner makes some pretty nice sandwiches.If theres fast food near by theres all your condiments you can even go through drive through and tell them the condiments you need,including half and half.
I like the idea of hot oatmeal in the coffee maker if thats all you got.
I've done it, it works great. You'll need some foil, or a brown paper bag. Preheat your iron on the Linen setting, either wrap the sandwich in foil or in the bag, set the iron on top, and let it sit for 3 to 4 minutes per side. You don't need to butter the bread, it makes itself a pretty nice crust without it. Once you have the basic grilled cheese down, quesadillas and panini are an easy step.
Once you're done making the sandwich, you can fix some sunny-side-up eggs to go with it. Take an 8x10 piece of foil and fold each edge 1/2 inch in three times. This forms a makeshift skillet. Butter the inside of the foil, then break two eggs into a glass; if you want scrambled eggs, add one or two of those little things of half-n-half, and salt and pepper, then scramble with a fork. Hold the iron hot side up, and put the foil on top of it. When the butter sizzles, use your free hand to add the eggs. Cook them until they're as done as you like. You might be tempted to prop up the iron so you can let go of it... don't. Things could end very badly.
So, the rules are that we have a fridge, a microwave, a coffee pot and everything in a convenience store. I love a challenge!
Blue slurpee mixed with vodka (mini bar of hotel) and garnished with chocolate shavings (scrape off mini Hershey bar)
White Fast Russian-
Cream (free creamers) mixed with strong coffee (chilled Starbucks or hotel coffee) and vodka (mini bar of hotel)
Ham & cheese crepes-
Cut ham and cheese from either a sandwich, or a Lunchables meal. Heat coffee maker so that bottom implement is hot and coffee pot is on the side. Mix pancake mix and creamer packets with one egg. Melt butter on heating implement and spoon on batter. Flip crepe when edges are dry and cook on other side. Fill with ham and cheese.
V8 juice with chopped cucumber and green peppers (taken from a salad) and jalapenos, salt & pepper (free, taken from the fixings bar). Chill and serve.
Thinly slice beef jerky and place in bowl with ketchup (from fixings bar) and water. Microwave until hot and let jerky sit until reconstituted. Heat coffee maker so that bottom implement is hot and coffee pot is on the side. Mix the finely crumbled coating from a corn dog with pancake mix, creamer packets and one egg. Melt butter on heating implement and spoon on batter. Set tortillas aside. Mix reconstituted beef with green peppers (from salad), onions and jalapenos (from fixings bar). Fill tortillas and serve.
Spicy Sausage Pannini-
On a roll, layer sliced sausage, jalapenos and nacho cheese. Spread butter on outside of roll and press with clothes iron. Press sandwich on each side until toasted.
Spam Frittata Primavera-
In a microwaveable bowl, nuke eggs, chopped Spam and chopped veggies of your choice (and availability). Top with diced cheese.
Strawberry chocolate trifle-
In a soup bowl, layer sliced Twinkies, strawberry jam (free packets), and vanilla pudding (from pre-made packets). Top with whipped cream (can), chocolate shavings (scrape off mini Hershey bar) and a few chocolate covered cherries.
Banana/apple dulce de leche shortcake-
A packaged honey bun cut in half width-wise w/vanilla ice cream sandwiched in between halves. Microwave caramels and sliced bananas/apples until caramels are just melted. Pour over honey bun. Top with whipped cream and crushed peanuts.
Chocolate pecan bread pudding
Take sandwich rolls (from ham and cheese sandwich) and leave out over night to dry. Cut into pieces and place in microwaveable bowl. In separate bowl, mix vanilla creamer packets and lots of dark chocolate shavings. Microwave until chocolate is melted. Let cool and mix in 1 beaten egg. Pour over rolls and microwave until just puffed. Topped with drizzled chocolate, whipped cream and crushed candied pecans.
I can go on.......
Im going on vacation next week,after reading all these posts ill be doing research about the surrounding restaurants and use the coffee maker for coffee.They got free breakfast at most places,I can get 3-4 plates of that food back to the room and then all I got to find is dinner somewhere or get out the iron and make grilled cheese on waffles with beef jerky in them.
OK, I have never done this but have given it a think so here it goes:
In the grocer buy:
six sea scallops (use shrimp if opposed to scallops)
organic vegetable broth
organic chicken broth
1 - saute mushrooms in coffee maker
2 - sear scallops in coffee maker and wrap in foil
3 - saute onion in coffee maker until soft, add rice, coat the rice
4 - meanwhile heat a 50-50 mixture of the broths in the MV until bubbly
5 - make risotto in coffee maker as you would on a stove(you may have to plug-unplug often to keep temperature correct)
6 - when almost complete add the mushrooms and scallops/shrimp
S&P should be in the room.
You can't find a supermarket? Maybe you can if you look harder? They don't sell much fresh healthy food in convenience stores. Can you bring a plastic or glass cookware dish and plastic wrap? This is not gourmet, but I like a big dish of microwaved broccoli with a little shredded cheese. Add a few drops of water with cheese, then microwave until done. Trader Joes has great organic frozen broccoli but any broccoli would work. The cheese you can bring from home..it does not take up much room. You can cover the dish with the plastic grocery bag if need be. I find this dish very satifying and nourishing.
Call me cheap but I just went on vacation and the hotel had a very nice continental breakfast,that would get me by most of the day cause it was all you can eat,then you can take whatever you want to your room then id skip lunch and just eat snacks till dinner then eat brown rice,mixed canned vegis and cream of mushroom soup with fruit for dinner.There was a microwave and refrigerator in my room.
Ok, I see people bringing in appliances which defeats the contest. haha.
I would also not eat anything on this board.
Not every room has a microwave so I'm going to ditch that option which leaves me with an iron and coffeemaker. I would also skip any raw seafood and meat because it will take too long.
Pasta with sauce
1. Place sauce in freezer zip lock bag - you can add salad bacon bits, prosciutto, ham, onions...whatever is in your cooler. Put the bag inside the ice bucket and pour hot water until it reaches. Make sure the bag is not submerged otherwise you'll end up with tomato soup.
2.Place pasta in tupperware. Boil hot water and pour over pasta to cover. Continuosly boil hot water and drain to refresh the hot water in the pasta. Continue until aldente.
3. Drain off water from pasta and pour sauce over. Sprinkle cheese.
*condensed cream of mushroom soup + tuna + macaroni
Buy can soup with pop up lids. Most sanitary way is to remove the carafe, flip on the coffee maker and place the can on top. Stir stir stir..it'll be hot.
Wrap 2 slices of bread in foil. Iron bread on both sides.
Unwrap foil and assemble sandwich. Rewrap in foil and iron both sides until heated through.
Flour tortilla, cheese, cold cuts, foil and iron. Need i say more?
Microwave a few sardines and see how long you will be welcome back in the Hotel. I stick to Frozen food from the nearest supermarket. Otherwise, sandwiches and soup or takeout.
If I have to be creative, I microwave prawns and toss them with pasta boiled in the coffee maker and use some pesto from a jar. If you have an Iron you can make a good grilled cheese or some of those minute steaks!
Buy a white wine, put some in the coffeepot. Poach some fruit first, remove from wine then sprinkle with a sugar packet, then set aside, then poach your fish, maybe toss in some garlic or herbs into the poaching liquid. Eat the fish, drink the rest of the wine, then warm the fruit in the microwave!
Open a gratuity packet of sweet shortbread biscuits.
Refresh them by toasting them on the coffee maker plate.
Take your Shpilkes and sandwich between toasty bikies.
Dip shpilkes in shot glass of Bailey's and consume....
How about purchasing a microwave rice cooker? That opens up endless possibilities of combinations. Replace the cooking water with a can of chicken stock. Add chopped onions, peppers & garlic to cook along with the rice; maybe some frozen sweet peas. Convenience stores around here often have smoked sausage on a stick, or other hot cooked meats. Slice the sausage and/or chop some rotisserie chicken and combine with the cooked rice for a sort of jambalaya. The microwave rice cooker isn't complicated and it's lightweight, so adding it to your packing shouldn't be a burden. You can also steam vegetables in it. Really, I loves me some rice/meat/veg combos.
When I stay in a room with only a coffee maker, I can prepare the following foods:
reheat canned spaghetti, ravioli, chili. (stand the can in hot water)
Iced Tea (ice from the icemaker down the hall)
With a microwave and a fridge, it's frozen dinners, frozen sandwiches, pizza, various kinds of flavored popcorn, etc.
I can't believe nobody has suggested that Okie Classic dinner menu, fried balony and popcorn. Best if you can get the bulk baloney with the red plastic casing, but gas-station baloney would also work. Fry the baloney on the coffee maker plate, pop the popcorn in the microwave. Enjoy with with Burgie Beer or Dr Pepper. I actually knew a kid in high school that ate this every night for dinner.
At home I like to make rice krispie treats in the microwave. Sometimes hotels provide those individual size boxes of rice krispies, throw in a pat of butter and a few marshmallows (or use peeps so you don't have to buy a big bag of marshmallows). Fun and comforting.