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"Hotel Room Gourmet" contest - with only a coffeemaker & a microwave

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!

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  1. OK, I'll play. I just made this one up now:

    "Shpilkes"

    Ingredients:
    12 oz Vodka
    2 packages hotel ground coffee beans
    1 package unflavoured gelatin
    1/4 cup water
    sugar

    . 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.

    7 Replies
      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

        Wow, I'm gonna try this at home and wrap a piece of thinly sliced balogna around each cube. The new MOTEL style prosciutto and melon with a drink added in all at once. Fab!

          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

            After you eat that you'd wake up hungry and youd be sick.

            1. 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.

                1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                  Don't you face the possibility of the vodka igniting? Now THAT would be real hotel fun!

                2. 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. 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!

                    :)

                    1. 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.

                      7 Replies
                      1. 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.

                        1. re: grocerytrekker

                          If you pack a roasting bag (high temp plastic) then you could do all sorts of things in the coffee pot.

                          1. re: Leucadian

                            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.

                          2. re: grocerytrekker

                            >> 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
                            melting chocolate.

                            1. 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.

                            2. re: grocerytrekker

                              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.

                            3. 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.

                            4. 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 . . . .

                              BAYOU BANG!

                              http://www.chefbang.com/products.html

                              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!

                              Isabella