The Kitchen Sink

August 27, 2014

by Meredith Powlison, PeopleForBikes West Coast events crew

Scenic views from our kitchen at the Bighorn National Recreation Area in Wyoming.

Life on the road as the West Coast PeopleForBikes events crew presents a host of challenges to overcome. Some were difficult to envision sitting on a couch last winter, not the least of which being: what the heck do we eat?

While we may have started the summer with grand visions of expensed restaurant dinners, the harsh realities of the road quickly caught up with us. Keeping energy up at multi-day events with enthusiastic bikers, spending long days on the road, and trying to squeeze in rides at every available opportunity often rule out the option of eating out three meals a day. Plus we like to eat healthy foods and cook ourselves. So how do we keep up a Whole Foods diet on the budget of two itinerant wanderers?

Cooking in a hotel parking lot isn't glamorous, but it beats fast food!

“Home” cooking is key, and after a few months of fine-tuning, we’ve mastered some easy meals that we can whip up anywhere from a remote campground to a picnic table behind a hotel. Our car camping kitchen revolves around our two-burner camp stove. His name is Chef and he also has a pretty impressive sticker collection from our travels.

One of our go-to meals is a one-pot creation we’ll call the “Kitchen Sink.”  It typically ends up with a much more colorful name after a long day on the road, but Kitchen Sink is appropriate enough for our purposes here because until recently we also used our 4 quart pot for dishwashing.

The Kitchen Sink, in progress.

To feed two people, start off with about 2 cups of water and about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 1 cup of a grain like farro, barley or wheatberries, and bring to a boil. When the water boils, add half a yellow onion and about 2 cups of sliced vegetables. Carrots, broccoli, asparagus or green beans are favorite options. Lower the heat to a simmer.

When the grains have absorbed about half the water (10-15 minutes), add a handful of cherry tomatoes sliced in half (about half a cup). When almost all of the water is absorbed, sample the grains to see if they’re done. If not, add a splash more water. If they’re cooked, take the pot off the heat.

Add some salt and pepper to taste, and dish out into bowls. Don’t eat straight from the pot—it’s important to maintain some civility on the road. Add some basil if it’s available and grated parmesan cheese. If you had a big ride that day or are planning a big ride tomorrow, add extra cheese. A variety of hot sauce is also always available on our tailgate…I mean, table.

Keeping our stomachs (and our minds) happy is important wherever you live—but we appreciate domestic moments even more while living on the road.

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