Karl’s Za’atar Orzo with Pine Nuts for Burning Man

Wife Jan is going off to Burning Man again. Last year she broke her arm, I hope she comes back in one piece this year. As usual, I am making quick cooking camp meals for her group.

Karl’s Za’atar Orzo with Pine Nuts for Burning Man

Karl’s Za’atar Orzo with Pine Nuts
for Burning Man

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Filed under Pasta, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Karl’s International Six Chile Chili Powder for Burning Man

Wife Jan is headed for Burning Man again. Last year I sent some of my four chile chili powder. This year, I thought to make a unique blend for the event. Over time, I have collected several chile powders from around the world. Balancing the heat and flavors I ended up with a six chile blend.

Karl’s International Six Chile Chili Powder for Burning Man

Karl’s International Six Chile Chili Powder for Burning Man

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Filed under California Fusion, Sauces and Spices, Vegan, Vegetarian

Karl’s Saag Pilau II for Burning Man

Wife Jan is going off to Burning Man again. Last year she broke her arm, I hope she comes back in one piece this year. As usual, I am making quick cooking camp meals for her group.

Karl’s Saag Pilau II for Burning Man

Karl’s Saag Pilau II
for Burning Man

Food at Burning Man is far more restrictive than simple camping food. It is the ultimate in the philosophy of “you pack it in, you pack it out.” You cannot simply boil a large pot of pasta and then pour out the “grey water.” I also needed to create dishes that would stand up to several days of +100º F desert weather with a minimum of refrigeration.

As I thought about it, I also realized that people would not want to just hang around camp cooking when there was so much else interesting going on. Of course, with all that was going on people would also be very hungry when that did finally stop to eat—and that people might not want to eat all at the same time. I needed to create something that would cook in just a few minutes, that left no “waste water,” that could be cooked in portions as needed, and that would be satisfying to hungry people with varying dietary needs.

A pilau is properly made with rice, and I had originally intended to make this a rice dish. Wife Jan though that rice would take too long to cook. Israeli couscous was invented as a rice substitute when the fledgling state of Israel could not import as much rice as people wanted. This could therefore be called Israeli pilau.

I was creating meals for 7-10+ people. I settled on the idea of making “box” dishes—like RiceARoni®.  A spice packet, premeasured and mixed ingredients that you just add water to and simmer. By breaking the ingredients into portions, I could allow the Burners to make enough for 4, 8, or 12 people as the situation needed.

The recipe below is for one portion—I will be providing my Burners with three portions of each dish to allow as much flexibility as possible. Each portion should feed four people. Any leftover portion(s) from a particular meal could then be used for a later meal or gifted to another camp later in the week.

As a further restriction, I I was told that there would be at least one vegetarian. I made the main mix vegetarian, but with the option of adding protein later. You can always add non-vegetarian ingredients, but it is hard to take them out. I am also providing a list of possible last minute add-ins for those who need their proteins or wish to add fresh vegetables if available.

Note: While this is very similar to what I made last year—which got rave reviews—I had to tweak it just a bit.

Karl’s Saag Pilau II for Burning Man

Note: Quantities listed below are for one portion, to feed four people.

Ingredients

Bag 1 Spice packet (x3)

1 cube Knorr vegetable bouillon, crushed
2 Tbs. Madras curry powder
1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ cinnamon, ground
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. garlic flakes
1 whole Indian bay leaf

Bag 2 (x3)

1 cup Israeli couscous
½ cup dried spinach
¼ cup sprouted green lentils
2 Tbs. dehydrated onions
¼ cup dried toasted coconut
¼ cup Zante currents

Possible add-ins

Canned or precooked chicken
fresh carrots, diced
fresh celery, diced

Directions

1. For each portion (2 cups), bring 3½ cups of water to a boil and stir in one portion of the spice mix  and one bay leaf (bag 1).

Note: One portion of the spices is 4 teaspoons of the spice mix.

2. Put the water and spices in a pot—large enough for the amount you are cooking—and bring it to a boil.

3. Stir in Saag mix.

Note: I am leaving all three portions mixed together in the second bag for maximum flexibility. One portion of bag 2 is a 2 cups to be paired with one premeasured portion of the spice/lentil mix—this is enough to feed four hungry people.

If you wish to make more/or less than one or two portions. For each person± you are planning to feeding, you may measure out ½ cup more or less of the second bag. Add or subtract ½ cup of water for each measure. If you are only adding or subtraction one person’s portion, do not try to divide up the spice packet, simply use the closest amount as is.

4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Tip: Stir and scrap the bottom of the pot every two minutes. If it seems a bit too dry add more water a quarter cup at a time. The final dish should be a bit wet, but not a soup.

Note: If adding cooked chicken or fresh vegetables add them now.

5. Remove the pot from the heat and cover the pot.

6. Let the pilau steam for another 4-5 minutes.

7. Fluff the pilau and serve warm.

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Filed under Main Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Jan’s Sage Camp Cocktail

Wife Jan Is going to Burning Man again this year. Her group of scholars has become an official camp, “Sage  Camp.” Jan decided that a camp needs an official cocktail. Inspired by a cocktail recipe she found online and a recipe for sage simple syrup, she assembled a signature cocktail.

Jan’s Sage Camp Cocktail

Jan’s Sage Camp Cocktail

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Karl’s Country Eggs Benedict

Since I discovered a decent canned version of Hollandaise sauce, I have been making Eggs Benedict at least once a week. While I love the version that is sold in most restaurants, I am constantly tinkering with the recipe. Today, my wife Jan wanted pancakes for breakfast, but I wanted eggs Benedict—and a new variation was born.

Karl’s Country Eggs Benedict

Karl’s Country Eggs Benedict

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Karl’s Broiled Salmon with Liliko’i Glaze

Broiled salmon has become a go to weekday dish when I need a fast meal for the family. I have discovered that my homemade jams make a good glaze and I have used lemon, orange, and my ginger peach jams to great success. Jan has recently discovered that she loves liliko’ipassion fruit—and when I discovered a jar of Liliko’i jam at the local Hawaiian market—Kumar’s Island Market—I knew I had to buy it.

Karl’s Broiled Salmon with Liliko’i Glaze

Karl’s Broiled Salmon with Liliko’i Glaze

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Karl’s Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Adapted from a RasaMalaysia recipe

Wife Jan asked for chicken satay for Sunday’s dinner. If you search for this dish on-line you will find it spelled both “satay” and “sate.” While these are basically the same dish, the difference lies in whether the recipe has more Thai or Indonesian influence in the seasoning. While the recipe I based this one on was more Malaysian, I pushed it toward Thailand in my choices of ingredients.

Karl’s Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Karl’s Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

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Filed under Chicken, Main Dishes, Sauces and Spices

Karl’s Cucumber Apple Salad with Thai Lime Dressing

Wife Jan asked for chicken satay for dinner. Satay needs a salad. Most recipes on-line suggest a cucumber salad, but one suggested adding apples. The dressing is more Thai inspired, rather than something that would be served in Thailand.

Karl’s Cucumber Apple Salad with Thai Lime Dressing

Karl’s Cucumber Apple Salad with Thai Lime Dressing

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Karl’s Thai Fish Stew

My family has been sick or traveling so we have not had a Dad cooked Sunday dinner in a while. My wife and daughter Miriam are both “off” onions and garlic, so anything I do has to be adapted to their needs. At the moment, my wife does not trust any meat but fish. Taking all of these issues into account I thought a fish stew would fir the bill. A Thai soup—with coconut, lime, and Thai seasonings—was but another small step.

Karl’s Thai Fish Stew

Karl’s Thai Fish Stew

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Papa’s Fine Shrimp Soup

Wife Jan has been having digestive difficulties for the last few weeks. She is finally getting better, but she is being really cautious about reintroducing various foods to her diet. At this point, she knows that she can handle seafood, but she is still afraid of chicken.

Papa’s Fine Shrimp Soup

Papa’s Fine Shrimp Soup

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Filed under Main Dishes, Shrimp, Soups