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Simple Snack Ideas for the Road


Posted by : Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite, Wed, May 04 2011

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Ah, the month of May!  As a teacher, it signifies the "beginning of the end" and a much-needed long weekend before the final push to school finishing in June.  A long weekend screams "Road Trip" and I've put together a menu of items to take you on a journey around the world, no matter how short your journey is.  When you're taking a road trip, it's essential to have snacks that the driver can access and I can't think of anything better than deep fried garlic chick peas.  A tasty, Middle Eastern-inspired snack, these can be prepared well in advance and are a nice source of protein for those undertaking a long journey.

Deep-fried garlic chick peas (which I first tasted at Pimenton, by Lola Csullog-Fernandez)

1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
2 garlic cloves, minced
Oil, enough to cover the chick peas half-way up the sides of a shallow frypan

Make sure the chickpeas are very well dried or the oil will splatter everywhere when you add them to the frying pan. Heat oil over medium-high heat in frying pan and when it's smoking add the chickpeas. Continue to shake the pan every now and then so the chickpeas fry evenly. The chickpeas are ready when they start to turn a golden brown and look crunchy. At this point, add the garlic. Do this at the very end so that the garlic doesn't burn or become bitter. Turn the heat to low and continue to shake the pan for a couple of minutes. Remove the chickpeas from the pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with some coarse sea salt and pepper and serve warm. These will keep in an airtight container for a few days so they are perfect for a road trip snack!

How about swinging by Mexico on your road trip?  Well two typically Mexican dishes are perfect to pack in your cooler - gazpacho and guacamole. Since gazpacho is served cool, it's the perfect spring soup for your road trip and guacamole just requires a little preparation the night before and some assembly on the day to make for an exotic pause in any road trip.

Quick "to go" guacamole

2 small avocadoes, halved and pitted
12 small cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons fresh lime zest
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 shallot minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
yellow tortilla chips, to serve
blue tortilla chips, to serve??

Place the tomatoes, zest, cilantro, shallot and garlic in a "to go" container. Pack the avocados, whole.
Halve and pit the avocados when you are ready to serve.
Coarsely mash avocado with a fork.
Mix all ingredients into the mashed avocado.
Serve with tortilla chips.

A dish from a little further away - Laap from Laos - works well as a road trip dish too.  Again, all of the components can be prepared in advance, and as it's served cold, it is perfect for a more substantial coarse in your portable picnic.


Chicken Laap (adapted from Gourmet, September 1999)
Serves 4

4 tablespoons raw glutinous rice
1 pound ground chicken
2 teaspoons vegetable oil?
1/4 cup minced scallion?
1/4 cup fresh mint?3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro?
juice and zest of two limes?
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce?
1 to 2 small (1-inch) fresh Asian chiles, minced

Accompaniments: lettuce leaves (I find romaine works well as it doesn't fall apart), sticky rice, fresh mint, Thai basil and cilantro leaves; coarsely chopped tomato and seedless cucumber, cubed

Cook rice in a small heavy pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes (the rice will start to smoke).  Grind the toasted rice a coarse powder in an electric (coffee/spice) grinder.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a wok or heavy skillet over high heat, then stir-fry chicken until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the rice powder, (you will have some leftover, set aside in an airtight container and you can use it when you make this again!) Add remaining ingredients and stir well.

Serve chicken on a platter and serve with sticky rice and the herbs, tomato, and cucumber.  Roll the rice, chicken and other ingredients in the romaine leaves.

One of my favourite things to do is recreate dishes I have enjoyed on my travels and this next dish is not only a great dish to bring on a field trip but also one which brings back fond memories of a meal at Zazu Farm and Restaurant in Santa Rosa, California.

Corn and Zucchini Fritters - adapted from Sippity Sup's Corn and Zucchini Fritter stacks

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
sea salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 medium zucchini, grated
2 cups corn kernels (2- 4 ears depending on their size)
vegetable oil, for frying
salsa for dipping

Whisk ?our, baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine butter, eggs, and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients to flour mix and stir until barely combined. Fold in the zucchini and corn.
Add vegetable oil to bring the skillet level to about 3/4-1 inch. Work in batches, dropping 1/4 cup of batter into the hot oil, ?attening them with a spatula to desired thickness.
Cook turning once, until golden brown about 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel and season with salt while still hot.  Serve with dressing/ salsa of your choice.
These are delicious served warm but they are also excellent cold, served with some simple salsa for dipping.

Ready for dessert yet? I can't think of a better road trip-friendly dessert than your favourite chocolate chip cookies, except maybe my mum's Anzac biscuits (cookies)…

1 cup oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup coconut
4 oz butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/2 tspn baking soda
1 tablespoon boiling water

Combine oats, flour, coconut and sugar.
Melt butter and syrup. Mix soda with boiling water and stir into the butter, then stir into the dry ingredients. spoon onto trays and bake at (320F) 150-160c for 15-20 minutes

All of these dishes have been personally tested by me and believe me, they travel well.  I hope you'll enjoy some of these on one of your upcoming roadtrips. Bon appétit and bon voyage!

Mardi Michels is a full-time French teacher and part-time food blogger based in Toronto.  Her blog,eat.live.travel.write   focuses on culinary adventures both near and far because she travels as often as she can! 

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Posted: Wed, May 04 2011 by Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite

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