My friend Steve introduced me to this new energy saving and time saving method of cooking for picnics. Basically prepare your food in aluminum foil and cook them on the engine while driving! It wasn't a new concept but it was great to try when you go on a road trip. Basically here is the direction: We marinated 4 pieces of lb+ steak and wrapped each 2 in three large layers of aluminum foil. Make sure you wrap them tight so that heat transfers well. Drive for a while first. Open your hood and find a place to put the steak. The Idea location is the place that is hottest and the most stable. You can use more aluminum foil to secure the steak in place. Avoid moving parts as well as air intakes. Now close your hood. Drive for about 160 miles. And congratulations, you just made 4 median rare steaks for lunch. You can also cook stuff like shrimp, fish, etc. If you can and have imagined cooking on your engine so far, I have no doubt that are able to imagine plenty of other stuff to cook on your engine.
I am an advocate of the George Foreman Grill. My model is GR18. It is so easy to operate that there is not even an on/off switch. All you need to do is plug it in. Many of my friends have it too. However, a general comment on the Grill is that it is hard to clean. Most people like it but they usually spend a lot of time cleaning the Grill. The reason is that people clean the Grill the same way they would clean other cookware. That doesn't work for the George Foreman Grill and other non-stick electrical cookware.
Here is how I clean mine. It is simpler and works all the time. The key to clean the George Foreman Grill is to clean it while hot. Before I write further, the disclaimer, if you choose to use my method of cleaning electrical cookware, I am not responsible for you hurting yourself. Don't get burned when cleaning. The way I see it, life is about taking chances and the grill is easiest to clean when it is hot. So I always take my chances. Basically, just take some paper towels and wipe it down. The paper towels don't even need to be wet. In fact wet paper towel is harder to hold when hot.
I generally clean my Grill right after I am done cooking. But even after the grill gets cold, you can still plug the wire back in the outlet and let it heat up for a while. Then you can wipe it down with paper towels. Other cleaning options are also available. Some people take a wet paper towel and lay it on the grill as soon as they take the meat off and close the top. After the meal, they just wipe every thing off.
You can also find a George Forman Grill Sponge set, box of 3, at Target or Bed Bath and Beyond. I never used the sponge because it looks like the sponge will wear off your non-sticking surface faster. Besides, the grill is hardest to clean when cold. The sponge does not make the grill easier to clean but make the act of cleaning easier. I prefer something easily cleaned to start with.
I had my second urban bachelor cooking dinner this past weekend. I only had one guest this time because I gave out a very short notice. I am experimenting with a new receipt my friend Keith gave me recently. It is basically some canned beans and tomatoes mixed together. Keith already simplified the recipe for everyone by combining two complicated recopies, and thrown out ingredients that are hard to prepare. Further more, he combined several cooking steps into one. The original recipe from Keith was: Canned Kidney Beans (fist size) Canned chunked tomato (large size) Hamburger Meat (fist size) Mixed Vegetables (fist size) Canned Pinto Bean (fist size) 12 Oz Beer (regular size) Chilly Mix (bag) Tomato Paste (small size) Mix them together and bring to boil in a pod. Set heat to low and let it boil for about 20 minutes. Food is about to ready when most of the beer is gone. Good luck. The dish tastes great with fresh bread.
I tried out a new vegetarian receipt from my friend Rhett yesterday. It is called: “tomato spinach cous cous” Here is the direction: “You get a box of cous cous and get the cous cous started. then while that is going, wash and cut up some tomatoes into small pieces, wash a bunch of fresh spinach and rip it up into bits (tear the stems out if you want). i usually make enough of these things so that there's about as much vegetable as there is couscous. Take a corn cob and with a serrated knife, cut the corn off the cob. Put some butter (or oil) in a pan, put the corn in the pan, and sauté it a bit until it's a little bit cooked. Add salt if you want. (This is also a much faster way to cook corn than boiling the entire thing.) Once the cous cous is ready, dump the tomatoes, spinach, and corn in, and mix it all together. You can also leave the corn separate, or add different stuff. This stuff is ok to eat later, and is good to take for lunch...” Here are some pictures. This is the only thing I made yesterday. It took me, all together, 18 minutes and 30 seconds.
In term of speed and efficiency, cous cous is very easy to cook. All you need to do is boil some water, dump the cous cous in the water and cover it for 5 minutes. Cutting and sautéing the corn did take while. If I were to change the recipe, I would use frozen corn to safe preparation and cutting time. It doesn’t taste as fresh but more efficient. Corn and tomatoes can be common ingredients of other receipts. If I were to cook this dish with others dishes that uses corn or tomato, I would save more preparation time. In term of taste, the recipe has a good mixture of vegetables so the dish has verity of good taste. Hence you can have it for a meal by itself. The cous cous is very filling as well.