Summer vacation~ what to pack
POSTED ON August 14, 2015
Last summer when I packed up my kitchen essentials to head to the beach for a couple of weeks, I thought about writing this post. So, this year I decided to photograph what I packed to share what I take when heading to a summer rental.
I’m not sure about you, but for me when I’m away and in a place surrounded by nature I want to cook with a relaxed approach, which means having basic ingredients on hand. My loose rule of thumb is to keep shopping to a minimum and limited to visiting farm stands for daily vegetables. If you are visiting a place with great food provisioning options, then you won’t need to be so organized and it can be fun to explore what they have to offer.
When planning for vacation, no matter what I always bring something to have the first evening for dinner since we usually get in late and want something fast, simple and satisfying. For this meal I packed pasta (this one is gluten free), good olive oil, garlic, hot pepper flakes and Parmesan (or you can use aged goat cheese). I can usually find parsley on the way – and this becomes dinner.
Another favorite summer (or anytime) takeaway is granola. I prepare a big batch, which usually means I can clean out the kitchen cupboards at the same time and use up extra nuts, seeds and any rolled grains I have lying around. I always loosely base it on the recipe in my book and also the one here. Since I plan to eat granola for breakfast most days, I leave out the maple and even reduce the rice syrup so it’s more nutritious and less of a sweet start to the day. Once the granola cools, I stir in chia seeds, hemps seeds and ground flax, which means I don’t need to bring any of these items separately. In the photo above you can see raw almonds and vanilla for making almond milk. (Yes, I do tuck my Vitamix into our luggage!)
I pack a few basic spices in small containers: beside the hot pepper flakes, I bring sea salt, turmeric and cinnamon and also a few umeboshi plums. If you’ve been reading here for a while, you’ll know how much I adore fresh cooked corn smeared with umeboshi Sweet corn is in abundance and this simple addition takes it beyond delicious. (Umeboshi is also a great cure for nausea, sore throat and mouth ulcers, so its handy to have around) In the middle at the bottom of the photo, I have a little jar of miso, which I take to make “instant miso soup” for when I’m feeling under the weather and for adding to dressings and sauces. If you haven’t yet tried the miso mayonnaise from my book don;t wait too long it’s delicious on tomato sandwiches!
I use being away from my own kitchen as a time to try recipes that I’ve been meaning to make from other cookbooks or food blogs. Since I don’t have every ingredient at my fingertips, I am less inclined to create new recipes unless they are super simple. Last year I packed the dry ingredients for Sarah’s famous “life changing loaf of bread” and haven’t looked back. I left out the hazelnuts this time and made a hazelnut butter (top middle right in photo above). Follow the recipe in my book for almond butter but use toasted hazelnuts instead. On cozy, foggy days at the beach, it’s nice to be able to bake. And since I won’t be buying sacks of flour or tins of baking powder , I bag up the dry ingredients so the mix is ready to go when ever I’m in the mood. You could also do this for pancakes if that’s your thing. This year I brought ingredients for an almond cake I’m working on (which you may have seen on instagram yesterday) and also the mix for vegan and gluten free scones from Green Kitchen Travels. The jar of coconut oil will be used in the baking and can also double as an after sun moisturizer. Honestly, I’m not sure why I packed that much ginger. I think because it looked so good and I feel like experimenting with refreshing drinks. Before I left the city, I grabbed some organic lemons, a handful of hard avocados and a loaf of rye bread.
No matter where I am, tea is a big part of my daily routine. Above are my current favorites. Clockwise from top left: Mulberry leaf tea from Bellocq, Turkish rose buds, tea infusers (perfect for brewing loose-leaf tea in any cup. Chinatown is the best place to get them), dried nettle tea (I buy in bulk from Flower Power), kukicha tea bags (Eden), rooibos, sencha, matcha tea and bamboo whisk. (Last 3 teas from Rishi Tea)
No matter how “equipped” a beach house may be, I always bring these basic things.
If you know there are good pots then you can stop here, but since where I stay is pretty basic, I also pack a skillet, small 2qt pot for cooking grains and my pressure cooker, which doubles as a pot for pasta and means you can create luscious bean salads or soups if it gets chilly.
And lastly I pack my favorite basic grains blends and a few different beans. I bag my sweet and brown rice mixture (recipe in my book and also here), so it’s ready to soak and cook. I also pack a cup of quinoa and red and French lentils for simple quick dips or spreads. Chickpeas and some heirloom beans also come and I use these for chickpea mash and simple marinated salads. The empty zip lock bags come in handy for storing leftovers or farm stand herbs.
Wishing everyone (in the northern hemisphere) a wonderful last weeks of summer!
Stay warm if you’re down under.