Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In Room Dining

This week I am technically “on the road” but not for my own gig - I’m visiting B! We continue to be lucky with the timing of our gigs, having yet to go longer than three weeks without face-time. I’m in the middle of a two-week break at the Met, so I’m here in Ohio, doing my studying and role prep at the Marriott instead of in my apartment. Being away from my office and kitchen for ten days is a small price to pay for the luxury of hanging out with my husband, sharing our daily lives in person instead of over the phone.

That said... we both are missing that kitchen! I’ve eaten well when staying in hotels for a few days here and there, (I learned years ago that I could open a ripe avocado with a hotel key card...) but we’re here for a few weeks. Our hotel suite has a mini-fridge and a microwave, so B and I have been getting creative with our cooking, seeing as how a) take-out options are limited in cities that aren’t New York, and b) we are not made of money. Thank god there is a Trader Joe’s nearby, so B was able to stock up on sandwich makings, fruit, pre-cooked rice & lentils, and a few high-quality pre-made meals before I got here. I brought a few things from home when I arrived a week later, including a big microwave-safe bowl and some plastic wrap, and we’ve been brainstorming ever since.

Last night we ate a pork tenderloin and roasted Brussels sprouts - all made in the microwave! Just kidding. Those I made at home on Monday night and carried on the plane. It was delicious! A little microwaved polenta on the side and we ate like kings. The front desk downstairs has free cookies every afternoon, so today we made sure to go grab a couple for tonight’s dessert. Free is good!

I put out an APB on Facebook for my friends’ best “hotel cooking” ideas, and got some great ones: baked potatoes & veggies, wilted spinach salad, a simple chicken soup, even a variation on an Egg McMuffin! Great ideas, all, and we will certainly be using them. Thanks to SH, SS, PDB, LAM, CC, & MP! I also got an incredibly detailed gourmet option from my friend CO; here’s is a sample:
5. Dice one small shallot into the coffee maker. Load two to four sprigs of fresh thyme into the filter basket without a filter, then run 1 cup of cream and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice through the coffee maker together. Season with salt and pepper, and allow the sauce to reduce over the hot plate for 15 to 20 minutes. Just before serving, add 1 tablespoon diced butter and swirl to melt. (Note: Coffee maker will require heavy cleaning afterward.)
Brilliant! You can tell that many of my friends have spent months and months living on the road...

Tonight I went a bit more simply: pasta with salmon and sugar snap peas, which is really just a fancy way to say “mac & cheese with canned salmon and whatever veggie we could find on the side.” The only real trick was draining the pasta, so I got creative with a paper bowl:
Could have used a few more holes, but it got the job done! I had to use two socks as hot pads; that microwave-safe bowl still got pretty damn hot. A box of TJ’s mac&cheese can be dressed up pretty well with some canned salmon, and who doesn’t love fresh sugar snap peas? A sprinkling of pepper from the S&P shakers that B swiped from a room service tray in the hall, and voila! Dinner is served.
Bon appetit!


Nicole Randall-Chamberlain said...

This guy was on Splendid Table on NPR and was hilarious about all the things he cooks in his hotel while on the road:

Twister said...

The little hot pot (Rival Hot Pot Express) I have can be used to heat soup etc in addition to heating water for fab coffee. I spent a summer cooking in a dorm room. Made potato salad with hard boiled eggs using a crock pot. This hot pot would do a great job for both. YOu could probably get pretty creative with it!

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